There appears to be no weight on that body at all. Seeing a woman walking on an empty road, Mariwa was thinking about these kinds of things.
It’s the woman walking slightly ahead of her with the blue eyes and blond hair. Unlike herself who was in her mid-twenties, this woman was fairly young and someone who could be seen as barely an adult for her age. Although she was wearing plain clothing that concealed her figure, the girl exuded this innocent aura around her that just made you want to smile even though you were just looking at her. Just looking at her lively walking gait, you could tell that she was in a merry mood. Observing the girl who was obviously in good spirits from behind, Mariwa felt a little strange.
There was only a short distance walk from when this girl got off her wagon to transfer to a different nearby wagon. When she was given this condition in order to get the opportunity to talk to her, Mariwa was confused.
The first princess of this country. Because she is a woman, she isn’t allowed the rights towards inheriting the throne but she is still proactive in the political scene and her opinions hold much influence with the people. In high society she is considered to be as precious as a gold ingot, but strangely enough she is also able to adapt herself to the street life.
Mariwa would not normally choose to have a connection with her. But Evaria’s school of thought is that nobles should not be privileged. This type of ideology is something that could benefit Mariwa. If she joins Evaria’s faction, she thought that she may be able to speak her mind when the circumstances permit for it. This was the selfish desire that she had.
「What is it my Lady?」
At the center of a street with little traffic, Evaria turned her head to look back. Having her name directly called without warning made her a little surprised but it was nothing she couldn’t handle. Evaria was known for her casual manner of speaking even within high society and it was not something to gawk over.
Such a noble lady was pointing at a space besides her which was completely empty. Within this country there was only a very limited amount of people that could walk side by side with her and at present there was naturally nobody of importance. Especially in this run down part of town, there is surely nobody who could match her standing.
「Don’t be like that, come over and walk besides me. Right now it’s totally free to walk besides me you know? Within high society it is naturally a steep price to stay besides me, but right now it isn’t something that needs to be made into a fuss of alright!?」
「You must be jesting, my Lady」
「Ehhh, don’t be like thiss. I was all alone when I was riding the carriage, if nobody is beside me now, I will feel really lonely~. Could you please come over heree.」
Hearing Evaria beckon her closer, she was secretly frowning inside.
Being this friendly with others and trying to connect with them is one of the oldest tricks in her book to ensnare people. It’s frightening to know that she acts like an airhead but still does these kinds of things naturally, most of all, Mariwa was bad at dealing with this type of people.
However, she did not show such emotions on the surface. She was standing ceremoniously and in a slanted angle so that she would not step on Evaria’s shadow.
「Someone as lowly as I, would not dare to fulfil such a request.」
「Why are you acting so formally and distant to me? You can relax and be at ease you know? Even if you don’t follow all the formalities when speaking to me, I would feel like that is a good thing, alright? Come on~ your facial expressions are totally stiff you know, Mariwa? Hence forth, I am going to make Mariwa’s stiff cheeks into a soft marshmallow~」
As soon as Evaria declared her intentions, she stepped closer towards Mariwa and pinched her cheeks. Not only that, she did it without restraint and was kneading it in full force.
「When I do this, a person’s cheeks is lifted and they are forced to smile. Look, Mariwa’s face is making a huge smile like when people say cheese~」
The previous atmosphere of respect all but dissipated and her gaze turned cold.
「Uwaah. Mariwa’s eyes are really scary!」
She released her grip over Mariwa and shouted out in an exaggerated manner, however, contrary to her words, she did not look scared in the slightest. Receiving a threat from Mariwa yet being able to stay composed enough to giggle at the situation. Perhaps she is the one that should be feared? She seemed to be the type to enjoy life to the fullest even if she was facing imminent death, she would be one of those people that laughed till the end.
「Ahaha. Making you smile through just your mouth seems to be useless~. But I guess it’s alright. Mariwa’s face has become a lot more positive since a while ago. That’s the spirit. The Mariwa I wanted to meet is this Mariwa.」
「…… What do you mean?」
「Hmm~? After all when you talk amongst friends, you want to be able to see them face to face, wouldn’t you say so? I’ve already done an investigation on Mariwa just before our meeting, but even so…. Ah! That looks really delicious!」
Midway into the conversation, Her Highness the first princess got her attention taken away by a roadside stall. Getting the topic totally derailed into one about food, Mariwa secretly breathed out a sigh in relief.
She heard about Evaria’s personality from the rumours but experiencing it firsthand she still could not get her head around it. The majority of high society frowns upon her behaviour and yet there are still a portion of them who idolizes her. For Mariwa it’s just a silly thought, but if there was ever a time where a gathering of nobles came out to advocate for the rights of the people, it would probably be because of her. The princess isn’t just some simple girl that is really childish, right?
However, seeing Evaria so excited about buying some meat buns from the side stall makes one have second thoughts about the matter.
This person, is she actually just an idiot…..?
「A noble woman like Evaria-sama is really unusually isn’t it?」
「Hmm? I don’t think I’m that unusual.」
Eating her meat buns without a care in the world and stuffing her face, Evaria portrayed the splitting image of an innocent child.
Though you could say that this forms part of her disguise within these streets, are the results really all that effective? Taking skipping strides across the street, she seemed to have a strong interest in the exciting things happening. Seeing Evaria bite into the meat buns, it made her think that she was made to come along this journey due to the whimsical desires of a spoilt brat.
「I am always a spoilt girl no matter where I am. I’m just like any normal person, so you can treat me more casually if you wish you know?」
「There is no place where your Highness is not the princess. Also amongst all the princess’s your Highness is in a special class of her own.」
「Fufu~n. That’s a little disappointing, Mariwa.」
Just from speaking to her in this manner, the respect built up for the princess was being torn apart. She thought it was impossible for a royal noble like her to not exude the usual aura of dignity around them, but something about the way Evaria behaved really rubbed Mariwa the wrong way.
「To our royal family, it’s ideal to not skip any generations . So someone like me is actually very ordinary!」
Shall I first aim to abolish the oppressive rights of the nobles and then aim to discontinue the Edward royal family? Mariwa’s respect for Evaria was drastically reduced in the short amount of time they had together and she was seriously grasping for a solution.
「It’s the first time I’ve heard about this news, Evaria-sama. It would seem that the Edward’s royal family lineage is extremely exceptional.」
「That’s the way. Keep this up, Mariwa.」
Almost losing all respect and forgoing the use of polite speech, Mariwa’s sarcasm was taken by Evaria and it didn’t faze her at all. In fact, she sounded quite happy instead.
「That’s the type of lineage I have. Our ancestors are the masters that founded the country, and Gric Edward cherished the idea of freedom. Perhaps we have just inherited his will from generation to generation?」
「Trying to inherit the ideology of the founder of the country is a very strange train of thought. …..And, what concrete evidence do we have to support this statement?」
「That’s because, idiots are born!」
It was on this day that her Highness the first princess of this country clearly declared a bold statement to the world.
「How can I put this, in terms of the royal family most people will have restraint when they speak about them so I will say their thoughts out loud for them! The honest truth is that there are many fools.」
If all the nobles had the same personality as her than her statement is probably true…
「The thing is Mariwa… The royal family who is from the first generation are taught to supress those they hate and be vindictive, we are a pathetic humans. I am also one of these humans!」
「By the way, a male in direct line to the throne would naturally try to secure their rights to the throne by way of political marriage. That is probably the reason why there such a custom within the country. It’s probably to prevent an idiot from ascending the throne when something turns for the worse.」
「I thank the person who made such a custom from the bottom of my heart.」
「Is that so? As for me, I truly love the people of this country and as such I sincerely hope that we can abolish the special privileges that the nobles have. After all this country is really poor! Our financial affairs are in a pinch! We are not allowed to tax the rich and many would find fault with this governmental system, right? If only we could tax the aristocrat’s assets, then things would become really easy! Moreover—」
Evaria was speaking in a flamboyant manner as she talked about her own ideologies and beliefs but suddenly her mouth curved in a terrible smile.
「— Even if it doesn’t work out, isn’t it at least good to try?」
Hearing these words made Mariwa’s spine shiver. Hearing such frivolous words coming out from Evaria made Mariwa stare blankly at her face, but she immediately recovered and that strange moment disappeared.
「I wonder. Mariwa, why did you want to cooperate with me?」
Evaria showed a disgusting side to her but even so, a normal person could barely tell from the way she smiled. Evaria was finally getting to the heart of the matter.
Though what happened before weighed on her mind, there was a limit to how much time she could spend talking with Evaria. If she doesn’t clearly state her intentions now, she can’t expect to get the other party to open up either. It was time to reveal her thoughts and speak her mind. Just as Mariwa was about to open her mouth to speak, the eyes staring at her made her body freeze in place.
The blue eyes Mariwa saw was even clearer than the surface of lakes, it seemed to be able to see through everything.
「Ahh, is that how it is?」
Mariwa hesitated due to the pressure and before she could even answer the question, Evaria already cut her off.
Nothing had been said and yet how could she understand my thoughts? Having her heart seen through by Evaria, Mariwa muttered out in a low voice.
「I hated it.」
Her frank words confirmed that Evaria had hit the bullseye.
Just as Evaria had said, Mariwa who obtained the right to speak within the political world summed it all up with a simple word.
“I hated it”.
「Excellent Mariwa, you hated being denied, right?」
That was precisely right and she didn’t have any other words to describe it.
She hated being told that it was because she was a woman. Regardless of how talented or gifted she was, merely because she was a woman, the opposite sex could discriminate against her and crush her hopes. She was clearly more capable then them, but just because she was a woman it was assumed that she would take on a more obsequious role. Why was it that just because she was a woman she was seen as inferior, why was it that they assumed she could never best any man. She hated how unjust it was, she hated the current society that denied her of her rights.
This is the reason she chose to go to Evaria who was also a woman, so that she could change these preconceived notions against women and more importantly gain the acceptance she deserved—.
「– So that’s your motives.」
After seeing through Mariwa’s heart, she abruptly removed her gaze from her.
「You don’t have to participate in the things we do if you don’t want to, it would be fine if Mariwa showed her weak side more often, I know that it must be hard on you right now. I think its fine to say that you are a woman and make use of it. Swallow your pride and this way you can appeal to the weakness of being a woman. A normal lady would act as such, so if Mariwa chose to do the same, the problems would easily disappear.」
「I don’t want to. If that is what it means to be a lady then I believe it to be repulsive.」
「Is that so?」
This was the honest thought she had to being seen through by Evaria. Her mouth was shaped like the character へ and she was acting tough but there wasn’t any follow up questions. Instead of going down a line of questioning, Evaria giggled and smiled.
「If that is the true Mariwa, than that’s alright.」
After summing it up like so, Evaria halted. Before she noticed it they had already reached a bend in the road where the wagon was parked. This was the wagon arranged to pick up Evaria and the destination of this short stroll across town.
Evaria borrows the coachman’s hand and smoothly climbs on board the wagon.
「Goodbye, Mariwa. I’ll see you next time.」
After a brief farewell, the wagon begins to ride away. Mariwa who was seeing her off, was slightly biting on her lips whilst being silent.
Mariwa had never been defeated before due to her excellence. If things were fair and impartial, she had the pride and confidence to say that she had never been defeated. Yet at this moment, even though it was such a short conversation, she felt a sense of defeat.
In terms of social skills and the subtleties required to master them, Evaria overwhelmed Mariwa.
Is this the true value of the lady that is said to be as precious as gold?
Consenting to this fact in her own heart, she felt disgrace from it.
「……I won’t lose the next time.」
Swearing revenge on the distant figure that was going away on the wagon, she turned her heels and walked away.
That was the first meeting between Evaria and Mariwa.
The princess who exuded an air of innocence and yet conceals a fragment of insanity within her personality. From thereafter Evaria manipulated Mariwa and her pride had been shattered on countless occasions. Meanwhile Mariwa’s ideology gradually changed, she learnt to swallow her pride and accept the reality. Instead of acting based on pride she is able to see through the facts of the matter and act accordingly to correct anything unreasonable. And although she failed to achieve her own desires, the secret story behind it has been buried in the past. There is no need to talk about these types of things any longer right?
At the very least, her personal history had nothing to do with the girl in front of her who had teary eyes due to frustration.
Holding on to the black chess piece, Mariwa considered for a brief moment as to whether she should point out the correct etiquette to the noble girl who was groaning out.
She was still around 10 years of age and she had black hair and black eyes. The surface of the board clearly indicated the superior side; black was winning whilst white was suffering a crushing defeat. Naturally the person playing black was Mariwa. Though the young girl leading the white troops was looking for any method to survival, her tattered forces lacked any means of escape and the match seemed to be set in stone.
After a long consideration, Chris hangs her head down in a heartbroken manner.
「Uuu…. I lost.」
Receiving Christina’s concession of admitting defeat like it was natural, she stood up. Although Mariwa has been employed as a private tutor, this girl who barely exceeded the age of ten was almost complete with her studies. It was to the extent that she could play board games in her free time.
Although Christina pleaded for a rematch, the result is all but apparent. Victory was snatched from right under her feet when a surprise attack strategy that she had not yet learnt was used against her. Stuck in a quagmire, the noble daughter could only show her teary eyed face as if she had been bullied.
「If you would excuse me, it is nearly time for me to go home.」
Leaving behind the girl who had just experienced defeat, Mariwa stands up and gives a curt bow.
She was the private tutor of the Noir family. At first she undertook the request because she was interested in the child that Evaria had entrusted to the duke’s household.
However, right now, Mariwa’s interest in the matter has shifted.
The missus who suffered a crushing defeat is surely going to stare hatefully at the person who defeated her, right?
「Next time… Next time I won’t lose okay! No, I will probably still lose the next time, but I will definitely defeat Mariwa some day!」
「Is that so? In that case, I look forward to that time.」
Mariwa receives Chris’s passionate declaration and answers her quite indifferently before preparing to leave. It has been over five years since she started working as a tutor. Chris is tomboyish and always gets carried away, however, Mariwa is aware of her rapid growth and doesn’t want her to become conceited so she defaults to giving harsher words and hides her real thoughts.
The small noble girl is someone she believes could overcome the history she could never defeat in her past, she does not want Christina to thread in the same footsteps as her and fail again, so as her teacher, Mariwa has more expectations placed on Chris more than anyone else.
Of course, the fact is that Chris’s life will need to be decided on her own. Mariwa is completely devoted to her role as the teacher and does her duties with sincerity, she has never been pushy by placing that expectation on Chris and she has not shown this side of her to Chris either.
Even so, there is still one thing she is convinced of.
On the ride inside the wagon as she drove away from the Noir household, she muttered something only she could hear.
「…. Hey, Evaria. After all this time, it would seem that I was not able to defeat you. However… The thing is..」
She is the type of person who would personally return something tit for tat, but just for a little bit, her need to be superior to others dissipated.
「That girl… I vouch that she will not be defeated by you.」
Regardless of the decision she made in life, Mariwa had a firm belief that Christina would surely exceed Evaria as a lady.
As a teacher, she was convinced that her revenge would someday be fulfilled and dispelling her doubts, Mariwa had a gentle smile on her face.