The Imperial Princess’ Worries
“Philine-sama, may I speak with you――”
“I-I’m sorry! I’m sort of in a hurry!”
Claire-sama called out with the intention of becoming closer to her, but Philine took a quick glance behind her and quickly made her escape.
“How many times does this make it now…… Philine, do you actually have any interest in me at all?”
“That much I’m sure of, but….. this is kind of troublesome……”
The day after we found out that Philine was most interested in Claire-sama, we decided to take action by trying to approach her more frequently.
However, Philine would always escape and we haven’t been able to catch her at all.
I wanted to dispel her fear of Claire-sama as soon as possible.
Although, I wasn’t planning on handing Claire-sama over either.
“I wonder if there’s a better way to do this……”
Right as Claire-sama and I looked at one another,
“Hey, Claire, Rei! Why the gloomy faces? Your cuteness will be tainted!”
A noisy person came along.
“Ahh, Frieda’s here. Well, you see, we’ve been trying to come up with ways to get closer to Philine-sama.”
“Oh? Claire, do you feel love for Philine? You have broken up with Rei?”
“Of course not don’t make me hit you.”
Ah, I accidentally let my true thoughts slip.
“I apologize, my word choice was a bit vulgar there.”
“Oh, yes, I feel like I have been verbally abused, but, no need to worry about it.”
Fortunately, Frieda was a simple person.
Well, on the outside, at least.
“Joking aside, you two, want to be close to Philine? Then I have a good method.”
“What would that method be?”
“If you’re willing to, please share it with us.”
We were grasping at straws right now.
“It’s simple. You can lure her with food.”
“Philine-sama, do you have a minute?”
“I-I’m sorry. I’ve got something to do today……”
After classes were over, right as Philine was trying to shake Claire-sama off once again, I pulled a certain item out of my bag and said:
“Please wait a second. Will you give this a try?”
Her eyes were focused on my hands.
“T-That’s…… from Blume!”
“Yes, it’s chocolate.”
The item I took out from my bag was a piece of chocolate from Bauer.
Blume only had branches opened up in Bauer and Appalachia, but none in the Empire.
However, Philine was an imperial princess.
She had to have been up to date with the latest trends.
Just as I thought, she seemed to know about this chocolate already.
“W-Would you really let me have one?”
“Yes, why don’t we have it with some tea?”
“I believe the cafeteria should be empty around this time in the evening. Will you accompany us there?”
Philine looked hesitant.
Perhaps she needed one last push.
“Incidentally, we also have this.”
I pulled something else out of my bag.
“This is a new confection that Blume came out with last month. It’s called ‘rakugan’.”*
Back in the Kingdom, I provided Blume with their latest recipe, which was rakugan.
Rakugan was a traditional Japanese confection, although some people typically viewed it as a souvenir to bring back from school trips.
It was a type of sweet, dry confection that came in all sorts of colors, shapes and sizes―― in other words, it was a Japanese snack, but they were sweets that you wouldn’t be able to find in the Empire.
The ingredients needed and the method used to make them were surprisingly simple.
For the ingredients, all you needed was some powdered sugar, rice flour and water with food coloring.
To make powdered sugar, all you had to do was buy sugar from any marketplace, and then crush it in a bowl.
Since rice was widely circulated in Bauer, it was possible to make rice flour as well.
The problem was trying to find food coloring, but using cocoa powder or mashed up tea leaves proved to be acceptable alternatives.
As for making it, first, you had to mix the powdered sugar with the dyed rice flour, and then add a little bit of water to blend it all together.
Next, you would add some rice flour and mix it together again, and then sift it through a colander.
During all of this, if you wasted any time, it would begin to solidify, so it was best to work as quickly as possible.
Using the sifted powder, you would then press it into a mold of your choice.
Afterwards, you had to remove it from the mold, and then leave it to dry overnight.
You could make countless variations of it just by changing the color or by using different shapes for the molds, so it was a sort of snack that was often appealing even just by looking at it.
Philine stared at the rakugan with a look of intense interest in her eyes.
“Hey, Philine-sama. We won’t take up too much of your time.”
Philine was caught.
“Ahhh~ How sweet~……”
The one who let out a voice as if she was melting was Philine, who was eating the chocolate.
Some of the chocolates that Blume sold were low in sugar, but I knew I made the right choice.
The chocolate Philine was enjoying was sweet and made with plenty of sugar.
“The rakugan is delicious as well…… Such refined sweetness……”
I was a little worried about whether or not she would like the rakugan, but it seemed that it was well-received in the end.
I was relieved.
“Did these suit your tastes, Philine?”
“Yes, incredibly so! I can’t believe there are snacks that are this delicious in this world……”
Philine-sama said, her eyes twinkling with excitement.
I was reminded of this by Frieda when she brought it up, but Philine was somewhat of a glutton.
She was particularly fond of sweets, which can end up being troublesome in various ways, but we’ll leave that for later.
Since she was the Imperial Princess, it might seem like she had access to a lot of things, but since Dorothea wasn’t particularly fond of sweets, her daughter, Philine, hardly got any opportunities to try them.
I never would’ve imagined that we would make a breakthrough with sweets, so I was incredibly grateful for Frieda this time around.
“Fufu, I am glad. I see that you like sweets too, Philine-sama. I also love chocolate.”
“You too, Claire? That’s right, sweets are justice!”
This was the first time Claire-sama successfully managed to initiate a conversation with Philine.
“I am glad we are able to have a conversation like this at all. It seemed like you were afraid of me, Philine-sama.”
“T-That’s not true……!”
“Is it not?”
“…… I’m sorry, I was a bit scared.”
Philine admitted honestly.
“No, this happens often. It seems that I am easily misunderstood.”
“Rather than calling it a misunderstanding, don’t you think you’re usually kind of terrifying when you enter your angry mode, Claire-sama?”
“Rei, please be quiet for a bit.”
“To be honest, I did want to talk to you too, Claire. You are somehow similar to my mother…..”
“Similar to Her Majesty, Dorothea?”
Claire-sama tilted her head upon hearing Philine’s words.
There were certainly some similarities between Dorothea and Claire-sama.
Such as their strong sense of self, their arrogance, and that they both had fierce personalities.
However, if you asked me, I would say that Claire-sama was far more mature than Dorothea.
She respected other people, had high aspirations, and always maintained her integrity – these were things Dorothea could not do.
What I wanted to say was, Claire-sama was just really precious.
“I am honored that you would compare me to Her Majesty, Dorothea. Although, Philine-sama, you don’t seem to be all that similar to Her Majesty.”
“…… I get that often.”
Philine let out a weak laugh.
“I don’t think I can ever become like my mother. After all, even among my brothers, I am considered a failure.”
Claire-sama had a sad look in her eyes as she listened to Philine, who was beating herself up.
“Claire, what do I have to do to become more like you? I want to have more confidence in myself.”
Philine spoke boldly as she looked like she was desperate to know.
Upon being presented with the question, Claire-sama thought for a little bit before answering solemnly.
“Well, let’s see….. That is a difficult question to answer, but personally, I think all it takes is a series of achieving small successes.”
“Yes. For the time being, you can try out anything that you personally enjoy or are good at. I’m sure you might fail many times in the beginning, but gradually, you’ll be able to leave some results.”
“…… I see.”
“It is fine if those results are small. As long as you end up with one result, you can then go back to make more and more mistakes. And during that time, I think you will be able to gradually build your self-confidence that way.”
Philine was really taking Claire-sama’s words to heart.
Seeing that, Claire-sama continued.
“Nobody is that confident from the start, and it is certainly impossible to build a lot of self-confidence right off the bat. If anybody says otherwise, that is surely just a misunderstanding.”
“…… That’s true……”
“Mhm, mhm……” Philine agreed as she nodded her head.
“Don’t be afraid to fail, and for the time being, try taking the first step forward and then dive in. I think that’s all there is to it.”
“…… I feel like I kind of understand it now.”
Philine gave a big nod, and said,
“I am quite timid. However, if I keep using that as an excuse, nothing will happen. And if nothing happens, then I will never be able to grow confident in myself.”
“…… That was an incredibly valuable conversation to me. Thank you, Claire.”
“No, I’m happy as long as I was able to be of some help to you.”
Philine stuck her hand out.
Claire-sama shook her hand firmly.
“Can I talk to you again sometime?”
“Yes, of course. Let us become friends, Philine-sama.”
Just like that, we were able to establish a connection with Philine.