Eliza is finally finished /o/. Thanks for sticking with me throughout this project and you can read about the otome arc in the web novel.
It was at the end of winter when I received a letter from the royal castle while I was busy preparing to move into the Academy dormitory.
There was half a month left until the Academy entered winter break, but a letter from the royal family told me to hurry up and get to the castle, so I had to do everything I could to get to the castle as fast as possible.
This is the duty of a noble, and it’s only natural for me to use the fastest mount to fulfil that duty.
Therefore, I decided to ride Rashiok to the castle with Claudia, who was completely useless in preparing and making arrangements. Of course, this included my revenge for suddenly being summoned.
… I was constantly given the right of passage on the road, and people took the liberty of avoiding me even in the normally crowded areas of town.
The trip was more comfortable than ever, but I could hear screams everywhere, so I’ll try to refrain from riding Rashiok in the capital…
“Enter, Earl Einsbark.”
The door to the audience room was opened and I was ushered inside.
What the fuck is going on? I knew that it was a royal summons, but I didn’t expect that I would have an audience with the King.
If such an occasion were to come to a junior noble, then it would be for a triumphant return, a prize ceremony, or a promotion ceremony. I have experienced all of those… but I have no idea which one of those it would be.
Sometimes the King would issue a decree like he did today, but in those times, Fadarat, the residence of the royal family, would be used instead of Alectoria, where the government is located.
The gorgeous audience hall in Alectoria castle was originally designed to be used for state guests, and it costs as much as a small evening party to use.
In the furthest corner of the audience room, on a throne built on a tiered platform, sat His Majesty the King, and next to him stood Archduke Dorvadine. Below the platform stood Marquis Rettalgau, the Crown Prince, Alfred, Grace, Eric and even Sieghart.
… What’s with these members? The mere fact that the three who made decisions in the palace are all here was enough to give me chills, but in addition to that, the four targets of the otome game are also here.
A terrible premonition crept over me.
I was careful not to look at His Majesty the King so as not to be disrespectful as I stepped forward and kneeled.
“Eliza Kaldia Einsbark has come before you in response to His Majesty’s summons.”
“Thanks for coming. Look up, Earl Einsbark. There is something I must ask of you.”
I was a little bewildered by his overly frank statement, but I did as he asked and looked up.
I raised my head and lowered my gaze for a moment. Rather than feeling like there was something I shouldn’t be looking at, I felt as if I had to pretend that I hadn’t seen her. I was slow in noticing her dress which was the same colour as the banner behind the throne.
Why is the heroine of the otome game waiting for me with the King?
“Let me introduce you. This is Emilia Uriel de la Rindarl, from the Archduke House of the neighbouring Rindarl Union Dukedom. She has come to our kingdom as a foreign exchange student. I would like to ask you to cooperate with my son, Alfred, to ensure that she is not inconvenienced at the Academy.”
Erm… So, you want me to look after Emilia? But wasn’t that the role of those four over there in the game?
The vision of the next two years which I had roughly planned shattered noisily in my mind.
Or rather, I don’t understand what is happening. Why would I, the person who had made a bad name for herself in the Rindarl army, be included among the people who will look after her?
I don’t know if Emilia knows about me or not, but if she does, then it would cause her to have a bad impression of me.
… Is that what he wants?
Did he choose me to humiliate the hostage princess of a defeated nation…?
I didn’t believe that Arxia would treat Rindarl like this, but it wasn’t impossible since dislike for Rindarl has grown even within the House of Lords.
“My name is Emilia Uriel de la Rindarl. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”
Emilia, who had stepped forward in response to the King’s words, introduced herself in a voice that couldn’t hide her anxiety and bowed. It was the most respectful bow in Arxia, even though it was still clumsy.
I was about to frown, but I held it in. It was rather bad for her, who has been welcomed as the Archduchess, to give the most respectful bow to me, who has the lowest rank, in a place where all the members of the royal castle are present, no matter what her ulterior motives may be.
I looked at Marquis Rettalgau and he nodded slightly. Does he want me to correct her mannerism as well…?
“………, ……… I humbly accept.”
I squeezed out after a long moment of silence. Well, I had no choice but to say that.
Then, I remembered. Cold sweat trickled down my back.
This… This scene was familiar.
――― It was the opening scene of that otome game. It’s the event where the heroine is introduced to the capture targets.
Or it was supposed to be.
So why am I here?
Don’t tell me ――― No way. It can’t be. Am I a capture character instead of the villainess?
Why ――― Why did it turn out like this!?