Cordelia stopped apologising half-way through because she recognised Shelley’s figure at the corner of her eye. Clive also glanced at where she was looking since she had stopped speaking unnaturally.
“… Earl Cyldereine’s daughter? It would be best if you stayed away from her.”
“Yes, I think so too. But… she’s acting a bit strange, isn’t she?”
Shelley and Cordelia’s eyes met for a moment. Shelley threw a strong smile at Cordelia and said something to the waitress who was preparing the drinks. Cordelia didn’t know what Shelley had said, but the waitress seemed troubled.
“Cordelia-sama, are you going over there?”
“It’s not something you should poke your nose into. Moreover, it’s her.”
“But I’ve also prepared for complaints at the store, so I might be of help. Besides, it would be better to settle this before His Highness shows up, right?”
Clive sighed at Cordelia’s query. It was fortunate for her since he didn’t refute.
“Then, Clive-sama. I’ll see you later.”
Then, Cordelia turned her back to Clive.
(Shelley recognised me and is up to something. I don’t want to tempt her, but she’s troubling others. I just can’t leave this alone.)
Considering the actions that Shelley has taken until now, her public attacks will be trivial. She will either get me involved while falling, say rude things to me, or deliberately step on my dress like she did last time… Those were the actions that immediately came to Cordelia’s mind. She wasn’t 『Cordelia』, and Shelley wasn’t going crazy, so she should be able to handle it calmly.
When she got close enough to Shelley to be able to talk to her, her gaze clashed with Shelley’s blue eyes. Seeing Shelley’s provocative smile, Cordelia felt like Shelley was going to do something after all and put up her guard ―――.
But who would have expected that multiple glasses would come flying towards her?
Cordelia realised that Shelley had done this when the cold liquid slid down her skin. Fortunately, the liquid was juice and not wine, but it had still gotten all over her face and dress. The glasses shattered when they hit the ground, and the sound unexpectedly echoed well around her.
(This is…! Normally anyone would be furious about this…!)
Cordelia wiped her face before she spoke, and the people around her looked at her quietly.
(I’m hogging all their attention.)
She could tell that everyone was looking at her while holding their breaths.
They may be able to understand the situation from the shattered glasses on the floor, the liquid on Cordelia’s face and dress, and from seeing Shelley hold the tray, but they couldn’t comprehend why this situation had happened. Even Cordelia would have wondered what had happened if she saw this from an outsider’s perspective.
Cordelia didn’t miss the momentary look of accomplishment on Shelley’s face, although Shelley seemed surprised.
(The Heroine didn’t make this big of a blunder in the game.)
There was a scene in the game where the 『Heroine』crashed into『Cordelia』and spilled her drink on her. But it hadn’t been as brash as this. 『Cordelia』, who had only received a slight injury, flew into a rage and had made unreasonable demands to the 『Heroine』, so she might have been the person who had attracted everyone’s attention instead.
I can’t imagine why Shelley would do something like this, but I have no intention of following the scenario she wants.
(Let me declare that how the 『Cordelia』she envisions would do.)
Cordelia was scared and nervous, but she decided to hide all that in her mind.
She had come here with the determination to confront Shelley. Even though she hadn’t expected this to happen, she wasn’t going to back down.
Cordelia made a blank face and opened her mouth with determination.
“『It’s you again? Do you have any idea what you’ve done?』”
This was the first time that Cordelia had said the same words as the in-game 『Cordelia』to Shelley.
The setting was different, but Cordelia decided that this line was accurate since Shelley wanted to expose the true nature of『Cordelia』.
Shelley covered her mouth with both her hands.
“I, I wanted to help… I, I’m sorry, Cordelia-sama.”
Cordelia couldn’t see Shelley’s expression since she had her face down.
But it didn’t seem like she was really apologising. She had done it intentionally from the start, and even though she seemed frightened, she had justified herself before apologising.
“『Look carefully at how foolish your actions were.』You need to apologise sincerely and reflect on your actions, not try to justify yourself.”
“Cordelia-sama… Are you saying that words aren’t enough? What would you like me to do to show my sincerity?”
What was the reason behind her trembling voice?
Shelley stiffened as Cordelia approached. Shelley might have expected a slap to come flying at her, but Cordelia wasn’t 『Cordelia』. Even if she sometimes quoted 『Cordelia』, her thoughts were completely different from hers.
Cordelia walked straight past Shelley. When she took three steps forward and turned around, Shelley was still looking at her in surprise.
Cordelia turned her sharp gaze towards Shelley. So, she really hasn’t noticed after all.
“The person you should be apologising to first is this person, is it not?”
The person who was trembling the most at those words was the waitress who had turned pale.
Shelley didn’t understand the meaning behind Cordelia’s words even when she saw the trembling waitress who was speechless.
The waitress quickly lowered her head in a panic.
“I, I’m sorry…! Are you…!?”
“Please don’t worry about it. I’m alright.”
“But, th-the glass… your dress too…!”
The waitress was extremely confused since the drinks she had prepared were snatched by a young lady, and then used to harm another young lady. Then, her eyes widened even more when she saw the glass shards scattered on the floor. Cordelia stopped the waitress with one hand when she was about to run up to the shards.
“Please calm down. You’re going to hurt your hands. It seems like other people have gone to get cleaning tools, so please wait.”
“It’s alright, this will all be over by the time His Highness arrives.”
Still, the waitress’s colour didn’t return to her face as she was wondering how this had happened.
“Shelley-sama, are you not going to apologise?”
“I don’t understand what you’re saying! It’s obvious that that person has done nothing wrong! What does she need to be afraid of?!”
Shelley’s face was filled with frustration.
Cordelia had spoken words that 『Cordelia』would say, and yet the result was different from what Shelley had imagined.
Shelley was supposed to expose the ugly truth about 『Cordelia』, but she understood that it had not gone as she had expected from how people around her were acting.
Cordelia slowly stood up.
“It is responsibility for the job that you’ve been entrusted with. The host will probably ask who is responsible for this.”
“Are you trying to blame her? The glass isn’t yours, so don’t talk like you’re all that!”
“I’m saying that that is a possible scenario. This situation could be perceived as such, she let a guest help her with her job, and thus caused harm to someone the royal family had invited. Even if I didn’t care, I wouldn’t be surprised if she were to be held accountable in some way.”
Shelley probably didn’t understand the value of the glasses here. Cordelia’s dress might stain as well. Shelley probably didn’t even imagine what would happen if the bill for these things were directed at the waitress.
When Shelley glared at her while trying to find the words to refute, Cordelia pressed her for answers.
“What the hell do you want to do by causing trouble for others? If you’re going to continue to do these things, then『be prepared to make an enemy out of Cordelia Enna Pameradia. I won’t show you any mercy』.”
With that declaration of war, Cordelia felt as if a weight had been lifted off her shoulders.
Although her conflict with Shelley wasn’t completely over, she was able to tell Shelley this firmly in the dress that『Cordelia』preferred to wear, using the same lines as 『Cordelia』but yet, with a different opinion than『Cordelia』. With that, Cordelia felt like she could bid farewell to 『Cordelia』.
However, Shelley’s voice shook.
“Why… do you speak as if you’re on the side of justice…!?”
Her voice was honestly really quiet. She had asked a question, but she wasn’t asking Cordelia this. But no matter what Shelley thought, there was no one here who would take her side.
Then, Shelley suddenly stepped forward and grabbed Cordelia’s arm.
“If only… if only you had acted like you did in my dreams!”
Cordelia widened her eyes at the magic that flowed into her arm.
Suddenly, an unpleasant feeling coiled around her body and her heart jumped loudly. The feeling was extremely close to the sensation she had felt when she had dispelled Lara’s curse.
(This is a curse…?! Why does Shelley…?!)
I can guess that Shelley had strong magic powers since she was born to the Clydereine House, but I didn’t think she could use this kind of magic in two years. Besides, would Earl Clydereine even teach her this kind of spell?
She tried to shake Shelley’s arm off, but the chill made it hard to move. Besides, the power that Shelley had used to grasp her arm was so strong that it was hard to believe it came from a lady.
(Is her magic going out of control too?!)
Cordelia understood that Shelley didn’t care if she had killed herself in this process and desperately tried to resist.
However, her momentary lapse in judgement had been grave.
(This is bad…!)
The graveness of the situation must have been immediately conveyed to everyone else around Cordelia and Shelley as well, because she thought she heard the voice of a knight on duty.
(But she won’t make it…!)
I have to get away at all costs －―― With that thought, Cordelia concentrated all her nerves and resisted with her magic.
(There’s no way I’m giving up…!)
She persuaded herself, and her arm suddenly became hot.
(This is the bracelet Gille-sama gave me…?)
The heat ran through her body as if counteracting all the chills she was experiencing, and the unpleasant feeling that was consuming her, disappeared.
The bracelet shattered at the same time.
Cordelia looked at the bracelet that had fallen onto the floor while trying to calm her rugged breaths.
(I was protected by this bracelet…?)
Shelley was seized by the knight while Cordelia breathed a sigh of relief. However, Shelley had already fainted and didn’t show any resistance.
“Are you hurt?”
The knight who had spoken to her was Clarice, someone whom she already knew. Cordelia shook her head a little.
“No, I’m fine. More importantly, she might have some kind of curse cast on her.”
“I don’t know. But she had magic flowing through her that I don’t believe is hers.”
Cordelia informed Clarice quietly and Clarice nodded.
Shelley had invoked magic to harm Cordelia, and in the castle at that. This needed to be investigated even if it was determined that the magic wouldn’t kill Cordelia. Cordelia didn’t know what punishment Shelley would receive because of that, but that wasn’t something she could control.
“I’m going to leave for now. I’m not dressed appropriately to be in public at the moment.”
“Then, I’ll call Isma-sama.”
“Thank you for your concern, but it’s alright. I can’t interrupt Onii-sama’s work.”
Isma may have already heard about this commotion, but Cordelia didn’t want any plans to be changed since this was an event sponsored by the royal family.
Cordelia picked up the shattered bracelet.
“May I ask you to arrange a carriage for me? I look like this, so I’ll wait for them in the less crowded courtyard.”
“Understood. Then, I’ll have someone go with you.”
“No, that’s fine too. I at least know where we are, I need to calm down a bit.”
When Cordelia said that, Clarice didn’t say anything else either.
But Cordelia remembered that she had something to say before she left, so she bent down in front of the waitress and spoke.
“If you’re worried about the glasses, then I’ll explain this at a later date. It’s clear that you hadn’t intended for this to happen.”
“No, that’s… I, I…”
“I don’t mind. But if you’re that concerned about today’s events and don’t want to work here anymore, then I would like to invite you to the Pameradia House. We welcome responsible people.”
Then, Cordelia left the hall. As she passed Clive, she was able to tell him, “Please allow me to have that talk with His Highness at a later date.”