I can do nothing but be silent. Unfortunately, it seems my prediction is spot on. So it really is that dangerous, huh? Those lips, gently smiling, are far too unfitting for the words they say. My smile mask stiffens.
Goodness gracious, this really is something I didn’t want to know about at all. No, no, I want dangerous, inside stories like this to be far away from ordinary people like me, I don’t want to know. No matter how you think about it, this isn’t something I should’ve heard.
I know realize the reason why that man and the princess tried to stop Klanven. It’s a regret I’ll definitely regret later, but no matter how much my bookmark has been taken hostage, I almost feel tears well up at my own thoughtlessness.
「The reason I’ve come to the palace is also to protect myself from those people. Since you can’t tell who’s a friend and who’s an enemy in a temple, can you now? By all rights, I should start preparations directly at the grand temple, but I couldn’t take it anymore. Good grief, it really is a nuisance.」
This is extremely rude, but I’m the one who has to deal with this nuisance. I’m sure the princess and that man also think the same. There are no smiles on those two as they drink their already cold tea, they had already ordered him to stop talking but he didn’t. Very doll-like, they look rather scary.
「Well now. Clementine, about the maidservant who’d assist me in my daily life while I’m in the castle.」
「As you said 『don’t decide until the last moment,』 I still haven’t selected one. After this, we’ll gather the candidates along with the head maidservant and decide.」
「Right, thanks. My bad, might have to apologize to the head maidservant. There’s no need for that anymore.」
「……What do you mean?」
The princess’s voice gets lower. There’s no way he couldn’t realize that, but Klanven still doesn’t mind, continuing his words.
「Well, I’m thinking I’ll request Filmina to assist me instead, you see.」
As he suddenly selects me out of nowhere, I’m almost about to drop the teapot I’ve been holding.
‘What is the meaning of this?’ I look at Klanven, and as I expected, of course he’s just gently smiling. I end up thinking ‘does he not have any other expressions?’
As I’m looking confusedly at his smile, ‘clang!’ the sound of cutlery colliding roughly resounds in the room. And that too, twice.
‘Wham!’ My interrupted trains of thought finally reboot, looking there to see that man and the princess have both struck their teacups onto their saucers, glaring at Klanven with earth-shattering intensity.
「With all due respect, Uncle. I cannot accept that.」
「She is my wife. My apologies, but I would like to turn that down.」
Even though both of them have such beautiful voices, pleasing to the ear, both of their voices have suddenly turned low and deep. Even though I’m used to that man’s displeased voice, it’s the kind of voice that makes me want to suddenly kneel and apologize before him without even knowing what’s going on.
Despite that, Klanven tilts his head to the side, asking the two with a calm voice so contrary to theirs:
「Because no matter what, Filmina is not a maidservant, she is this Agedilus Von Lancent’s – the Lancent family’s wife. She cannot be your maidservant.」
That man nods agreeingly at the princess’s words. There’s no chance for me to interrupt them as they’re unusually in mutual understanding. To think, the princess and this man working together as a team, what a dream team! It seems like they can make even the impossible happen. But despite that, Klanven objects, 「Is that so?」 with his head still tilted.
「It isn’t really necessary for my helper to be a palace maidservant, is there? What’s important is whether I can trust her or not. And when it comes to that, isn’t ‘Agedilus Von Lancent’s wife’ someone I can trust the most? Since when I told Filmina about how I came to stay at the castle, she didn’t even pry unnecessarily. Besides, if the wife of the hero of the world becomes my helper, just that alone gives me more prestige. Even among the people who are targeting me, a small amount of people might fear ‘the head wizard of the royal palace’ and not make a move.」
「……Do you mean to use my wife as a shield?」
「Well, you can interpret it like that.」
Tension runs through the arbor as Klanven easily doesn’t deny it. That man who’s about to stand up at any moment and leave, the princess who furrows her beautiful eyebrows without hiding her displeasure, His Highness Klanven who looks at the two with a smile, and I, who can’t do anything but stand shocked and look at the three of them. It’s chaos. This atmosphere, as if it can suddenly explode with any excuse, makes me nervous. Klanven’s amber eyes suddenly look at me.
「Filmina, what about you?」
「I’m asking what you want to do. Of course, if you don’t want to, you can just refuse.」
At those words, the princess’s amber eyes and that man’s sunrise-colored eyes instantly face me. I reflexively stiffen at those extremely sharp, powerful gazes. ‘No no no, I’m not the bad guy here. There’s no reason to glare at me like this……’ Even if I say that, these two won’t listen to me.
「Filmina, please refuse.」
……They say almost the same thing to me. I’ve thought about this for a while now, but are these two actually close friends? If I ask them that, they’ll completely cut me off with 「Gimme a break!」 but as far as I can see, from today’s responses they look just like friends.
「There’s no reason why only you have to take on the role. You have no way of protecting yourself, let alone protecting His Highness. Just what are you thinking, jumping into a dangerous situation by yourself?」
「My apologies, but Agedilus is right. I don’t want to experience the fear of possibly losing an important friend of mine again.」
For starters, I wish you two would please calm down a little. Their responses are just because they’re thinking about me, but is it really alright to say these things when His Highness Klanven is right there in front of us? He’s just smiling, but I don’t know what he’s thinking underneath that smile.
However, these two are quite right. The only thing I can do to protect Klanven at the critical moment is, like I did a long time ago, use myself as a shield. I learnt basic housework and dressing myself from my wet nurse Suzette, so in that area I can do more than an amateur maidservant. But I’m sure I’m no match for an experienced one.
It’s absolutely unthinkable that I can carry out the important role of being Klanven’s helper. These two don’t even have to tell me that, I’ll reject it. Thinking that, the moment I open my mouth, my eyes suddenly meet Klanven’s. For some reason, I feel like I’ve lost my words. My voice won’t come out.
Despite that, I somehow try to speak. Klanven crosses his arms on the table, looking back straight at me. For some reason, I strangely can’t take my eyes off of his gentle smile.
「That’s right. Becoming my helper means the possibility of you being exposed to danger is very high. You can’t accept that so easily.」
「Clementine, calm down just a bit. I’m talking to Filmina right now.」
Then, for the first time he makes a bitter smile as he says that to the princess, before smiling at me.
「Filmina, then why don’t we do this? If you accept the role of my helper, I’ll grant your wish. As as long as I’m capable of doing so, though.」
I don’t know what I should reply with. As reluctant as I am, that’s a proposal I haven’t even asked for. Or, to be precise, perhaps I should say it’s a proposal I can’t go against.
It almost slipped my mind, but Klanven has taken something hostage from me. My one and only daisy bookmark.
「Your Highness, please stay within your limits even while messing around. Do you think my wife can be lured by such a childish promise? ……..Filmina?」
That man calls my name dubiously. Not responding to that, I look at Klanven’s amber eyes, shining golden.
「——I would humbly like to accept the role of Your Highness’s helper.」