Act 01: Cordelia
Platinum blonde hair and white skin. She had red pupils with pink irises, the signature of her house’s magical heritage. Those who saw her, who strongly inherited the unique features of Earl Pameradia’s House, would unanimously say, “She’s exactly like a fairy,” in praise.
She was Cordelia Enna Pameradia.
She was the youngest sibling out of four in Earl Pameradia’s House and the second daughter. She was raised while being showered in praise ever since she was born into this world, and there were whispers that she would one day marry the Prince, who was close to her in age. It didn’t matter how young Cordelia was, nor if the person herself had no intention of marrying him.
Yes, Cordelia had no intention of marrying the Prince. Even though she was born as one of the kingdom’s nobles, and in addition to that, she was a daughter of one of the most prominent Earl families. No matter how honourable she was taught it was ―――, no, instead, she was informed that it was her duty to do so.
Cordelia was aware of the fact that 『she wasn’t normal』.
She possessed memories from her previous life.
She was three years old when she remembered it.
As her consciousness was hazy from suffering the nightmares of the epidemic, memories of her being 『Japanese』began to flow into her mind, one after another. As a result, her brain screamed, and she hovered at the border of life and death for about ten days…… She could certainly say that her life had been extended because of that, since if things went the way they were, then the future where she killed herself would come.
Yes, her situation also existed in the frightening memories that she had recalled. No, to be more accurate, it was the her who would grow up to become an adult.
『Cordelia』was in a game she had played in her previous life; to be more specific, it was a game that had a heroine and beautiful young men…… In short, she was the 『Selfish Villainess Ojou-sama』that appeared in love simulation games.
The 『Cordelia』in the game was gorgeous, but she wasn’t suited to her appearance. She was an extremely nasty person with a lot of pride. She was a cruel girl who looked down on those who had a lower social position than hers and saw them as only things to be used. That girl fell in love with the Prince, and she despised the heroine, despite the heroine also being from an Earl house like 『Cordelia』, since she lived for a long time amongst the townspeople. Also, she always plotted against the heroine.
Naturally, 『Cordelia』was not chosen by the Prince and the goal of the game was to marry the heroine and the Prince according to the player’s choices.
…… If it were just that then it would still be fine. There wouldn’t be any problems.
However, 『Cordelia』was impatient because of the relationship between the Prince and the heroine. She caused a riot with magic to raise her reputation but she failed when she tried to control the situation, and it caused her to lose her life. As a result, her whole family also received punishment. That was also implied in the story.
I think that it was the education policy in her house that caused her to grow up to be that kind of person, but that’s not the story at the moment.
Cordelia was astounded.
What a nuisance I’ve reincarnated into.
Why, would I be reincarnated into the option I wouldn’t choose at all if I had the choice? It’s awful.
But there was probably a silver lining in the dark cloud; Cordelia was still only three years old when her memories returned to her. Her innocence had yet to be distorted and, as a noble, she was still a relatively normal Ojou-sama. She didn’t even sneak around to eat snacks; she was a good girl who properly listened to what people said. In other words, she wasn’t infamous or anything. She also didn’t have a radical personality or aimed too high.
In brief, she would live within her means. If she didn’t get involved with the Prince and avoided the heroine, then she should be able to prevent the worst outcome.
This was for her survival.
She would be told to aim for the position as the Prince’s consort in the future (in fact, she felt as if they were already pressuring her to do so), but she wouldn’t yield at all…… No matter what happened, she was determined to avoid the Prince. She would eliminate any seeds of anxiety. Her instincts to avoid him were screaming at her.
Thus, a feverish three-year-old Cordelia made a firm and resolute decision. She had then recovered from her illness and was now in the present.
Of course, her resolution at that time remained unchanged.
(Now that I’ve calmed down and thought about it, it’s a waste to devote my life to just 『Avoiding the Prince』.)
What fun would it be to live my life like that? No matter the reason, wouldn’t it be boring to live my life like that?
Besides, to begin with, it would be harder to 『get close to the Prince』than 『avoiding him』.
She didn’t think that she would get closer to him herself, but assuming that she did so without meaning to, then she would need to devise some plans ―――; for example, she felt like she could accomplish her goal if she 『did not match the Prince’s taste while in conversation』. It was unlikely that the Prince would go out of his way to make a girl, who didn’t have similar values to him, the Queen. After all, the Prince had the choice to have any girl in and out of the kingdom for his bride. Even if she were to get involved with the Prince, she would act curtly and try not to get too deeply involved with him as best as she could. Then, no problems should occur.
(Anyway, if I only focus on avoiding the Prince, then what should I do after he gets married? It would surely be a peaceful life, but it’s sad to be left with nothing.)
Her life goal wasn’t to avoid the Prince.
Avoiding the Prince was just a 『checkpoint』that she must pass.
(Then…… What else should I do?)
Cordelia suddenly looked at the mirror while thinking those thoughts, and found an answer.
(『Cordelia』is cute. It isn’t a problem to say that she would grow into a beautiful girl.)
Even if she was cute at the age of three, it was still too early for her to say that she would turn into a beauty.
(If it’s like this, ―――.)
Cordelia came up with one thing that she wanted to try.
She wanted to improve the beautiful appearance that she was born with.
It wasn’t a very childish idea, but her mind, too, was indeed not that of a 3-year-old. 『It is better to improve yourself as soon as possible』; that was her determination.
She took action the same day.
Her outward appearance was important, but so was her aura, which enriched her beauty; things such as posture and gestures, which she would have to learn from then on. To be not only beautiful but also elegant ――― that was what she was determined to do.
Thus, Cordelia began her journey down the road of being a diligent child.
Of course, ever since she had that incident, before and after her illness, there was a difference in what Cordelia asked for and wanted from those around her. But luckily, no one around her ever grew suspicious of her. They said it was thanks to her growth period. “Ojou-sama is very intelligent,” and “You are growing more and more every day.” Those who noticed the change in Cordelia were the servants and tutor; her family members, who usually had little interaction with each other, didn’t notice it. But still, the head of the family, her father Earl Elvis Pameradia, was informed by the butler.
About a year later, Cordelia started to practice her 『Lady Training』.
When she turned four, Elvis clearly said to Cordelia in a stronger tone than usual, “You must strive to marry into the Royal family.”
It wasn’t something that he had brought up before. No, she could understand that from the mood, but she never imagined that he would say something like that at this point.
A noble girl of high standing should obey her father’s orders.
However, she had no choice but to shake her head.
Die. I’ll die. I can’t die.
So, she appealed to her father with a desperate look on her face.
What should I say? The Prince and I are close in age.
She would still be at a disadvantage if she threw a tantrum there. However, Cordelia yelled even if she understood that, “I don’t wanna!”
It was completely inexcusable for her to joke about it.
(What can I say to persuade him?! What should I say……?)
The maids, who took care of her, also started panicking seeing Cordelia so desperate.
Furthermore, Cordelia’s tantrum made Elvis furious. He slapped her across the cheek…… At that time, Cordelia said with her eyes redder than usual, “Cordelia will marry Otou-sama in the future! That’s why I don’t want to marry the Prince!!”
Yes, the only thing she could come up with was a child’s privilege.
That was by no means Cordelia’s true feelings.
That was just merely an『excuse』.
Cordelia and her family rarely interacted with each other.
The relationship between her siblings was fine, but it was strictly 『fine』at best. Her soon-to-be-married older sister seemed busy working as a proxy for their mother, who was a recluse. Her older brothers lived in a dormitory, so they were rarely home. However, their relationship wasn’t bad. It might even be good.
Her relationship with her parents, however, was extremely devastating. She had only seen her mother’s face a handful of times and only met her father when he had 『things to talk about』, like just now.
So naturally, Cordelia had no reason to put forth the effort into her reason for her father.
She only uttered those words to simply buy time.
However, those words were unexpectedly useful on the stubborn Elvis.
Elvis, who was not concealing his intense anger, lost his composure and looked at Cordelia, dumbfounded.
“I-is that so……” Elvis said awkwardly and then hastily left. It seemed that his anger had disappeared entirely. That surprised both Cordelia and the maids. That was because it was the first time that her usually stern father was unable to mask how troubled he was.
Although Cordelia did understand that he 『was happy and wanted to hug his child for the first time ever』and thought, Eh, why is the way this person thinks so cute? Then, two days after the 『I want to be Otou-sama’s bride』incident, the old butler told her why her father acted like that while 『talking to himself』.
Since then, Cordelia took every opportunity to appeal, 『I love Otou-sama』to Elvis since he was adorable.
But even more than just Cordelia thinking that her father was cute, she was spoiled by him a lot more. Her father was still the same stern man in front of her other siblings, but when it was just the two of them talking, the way he worded things was completely different ―――. To be more specific, it was only a slight change, but he also wore a small smile on his face.
At first, when she declared, “I want to be your bride,” she wasn’t serious; but now she thought, (If there was someone like father then I’ll swiftly propose to them). She thought that someone with a gap moe personality when a character acts differently from their habits/personality/character, etc. might say something like that.
But even though Cordelia hung onto the 『I love Otou-sama』filter, she began to think and gradually feel, (Isn’t father doting on me a little too much?)
The first time she fully realised that was when she was eight.
At that time, the thing that Cordelia was most interested in was medicinal plants.
People in the Pameradia House could use various kinds of magic, but she found out at that time that they especially excelled in magic that boosted the properties of plants.
That was why when she 『came home from school』, she secretly snuck into the garden, where she sucked on the nectar of a flower and was surprised by its sweetness. It was convenient magic where she could use it if she touched the plant while thinking about the magic.
Therefore Cordelia thought, (If there is an ability to enhance the properties of plants, then I might be able to make amazing medicine if I use more effective medicinal plants). Even though it was just a rough idea, she immediately went home and hunted for books in their beautiful library. That was how much she was interested in it.
In her past life, she was so fascinated by plants that she studied them at the『university』. However, she was even more intrigued by the possibility of being able to create something even better. If she could do so, then it would be a waste not to use it.
One day, Cordelia suddenly said to the workaholic Elvis, who had shoulders as stiff as boards, “There might be something good for father’s body, so I want to study medicinal herbs in the future.” Elvis was so touched by his daughter’s words that he promised that he would give her a glass-covered greenhouse.
Be that as it may, Cordelia thought he was joking.
However, ten days later, she got it.
There shouldn’t be any greenhouses in this Kingdom…… Or so she thought, but it seemed that it was designed and supervised by her father. The greenhouse was constructed with technology from all ages and places. Even though it only took ten days to build, it was able to withstand all types of magic. Incidentally, her father seemed to have used something called annual leave for the first time so that he could build it.
(Does this world even have yearly leave? And the first time…… You work too much, Otou-sama.)
Cordelia looked off into the distance as she thought that, but he was spoiling her way more than she’d expected he would. It was still far too early to prepare for the future. This was too lavish a present to give to an eight-year-old.
In this world, with neither gas nor electricity, there were instead magic tools similar to 『electrical appliances』that consumed magic power. But the expensive prices they had was nothing compared to Japan. A magic tool that blew hot wind to dry hair…… Or what was called 『Dryer』in her previous life, was the same price as a carriage there.
None of the magic tools lasted as long as electrical appliances, and at the same time, there weren’t any innovations in that field. That was why there was very little variety. If there were just even a little variation in the magic tool, then the price would skyrocket. That was why Cordelia wasn’t able to even fathom the cost of the greenhouse, which utilised all the advanced magic tools. Cordelia felt lightheaded before being happy.
However, it would be a waste not to use the building that she’d received. She hated being wasteful.
Cordelia, who was still thinking about what was yet to come, began to think about what she could research on, before making rapid development. First, she decided to work with wild plants that were referred to as 『herbs』in her previous world. The reason for that was because she had some knowledge from researching them in her previous life.
It wouldn’t be a lie to say that she wanted to research for her father’s sake, but she had such a fantastic facility. Since she had it, she wanted to make something that would be useful to herself in the future.
Another reason was the cosmetics situation in this world.
She learnt from a book in the library about refined essential oils obtained from faintly sweet nuts with hard shells that looked like walnuts from her former world. With just that level of stimulus, and lacking any scented balms and perfume, by combining it with the effects of magic, products that were beneficial for skin could be made. But it had been patented ever since it was announced 200 years prior.
Yes ――― it was reasonable to hear that the tradition had been patented, but there had been no further innovation for it in the previous 200 years. Nothing had been done to improve the production method, or to improve the variety itself. The reason for that was that there weren’t many types of nuts that could be refined and the fact that the trees could only produce a certain amount of nuts at once, and in turn, those trees themselves were challenging to grow. Above all else, the nuts were too delicate, and the refining process required a high amount of magic power to be channelled and was very difficult. That was why the price was extremely high.
In spite of its limited use and variety, it was still hard for even high ranking nobles to get their hands on it. Some said, 『There is value in it because it can’t be obtained』. Because there were circumstances like that, there were a lot of nobles who substituted perfume, and used garden flowers concealed as potpourri. However, the potpourri was only dry flowers, and she had a hunch that the only thing it had was its fragrance.
However in contrast to the hard to obtain nuts, herbs with little magical waves hadn’t been considered until then. Herbs were different from nuts and didn’t need complex magic adjustments. Since nuts didn’t contain toxins, it shouldn’t be necessary to cancel it out with magic.
So why do they continue to ignore herbs……? The reason was most likely because it was 『wild grass』.
Excluding the few that used herbs in cooking, most people thought of herbs as nothing but 『weeds』in this world. At least, that was how books treated them. That was why it wasn’t at a level where they would be recognised for their fragrances. It was instead because of that that the idea of using herbs wasn’t created.
To make matters worse, fragrant herbs only grew deep in the mountains. The herbs that chefs used were either grew at the base of mountains or cultivated by people. However, it was quite easy to make fertile land that was rich in magic and grow flowers, as long as they could be obtained…… For example, some herbs couldn’t grow outside of their natural environment so that you would need soil from the mountains.
To begin with, she knew about herbs that other people in the world weren’t even familiar with because she knew about them from her previous life. But even if she knew about them in her last life, it was hard to confirm the existence of herbs that weren’t edible like basil. Unfortunately, she wasn’t able to find books specialising in herbs in the library. She finally found a picture in a large encyclopaedia as a result of her reading the library books like crazy. However, there were no mentions of where to find the herb. So she couldn’t confirm if it existed or not.
Cordelia secretly asked the head chef, “Are there no other fragrant herbs besides the edible ones?”
It was outside of the head chef’s expertise, but he asked his acquaintance and gathered information for Cordelia. As a result, she discovered that there were many herbs in the world that she recognised growing in the wild. She asked the head chef for more favours; she asked him to obtain peppermint, which wasn’t used in food in that world, and tried to touch its magic lightly; the leaves became more vibrant than before, and Cordelia realised that she had a high affinity with the herb and its magic. Also, unlike nuts, it didn’t have any peculiar handling methods. She was convinced that it had a lot of potentials.
Cordelia seized the opportunity.
If she could produce essential oils from easy to manage medicinal herbs and succeeded in producing cosmetics from them, then it would be possible to lower the costs significantly. In addition to that, the distribution prices could also be reduced to some extent. Of course, it was necessary to keep a certain price for high-class goods; but it would work out somehow if she classed them by quality. Above all else, nobles were the types who liked to follow new trends. If she could produce essentials oils that only she could make, then she would inevitably be contacted by them in the future. Of course, something that she could use was helpful, but so was making connections. The more people she knew, the better. Even if there were connections that she, herself couldn’t use, Elvis might be able to use them.
Since she decided to enhance the beauty she was born with; she had no reason to let go of the chance to build personal connections, which might become a weapon in her arsenal later on.
Thus, Cordelia raised the curtain on her rebellion ーーー.
Editor: SenjiQ & Yuuki
|↑1||when a character acts differently from their habits/personality/character, etc.|