It was morning time and we were in our classroom at the Imperial Academy.
“Claire, how have you been feeling after all of that?’
After our battle with the demon, Philine was constantly worried about Claire-sama.
Even though she was injured quite heavily herself, she paid no mind to her own condition and was only concerned about Claire-sama.
“Thank you for your concern, Philine-sama. However, as I have already mentioned yesterday, I am completely fine now.”
For the sake of winning Philine’s favor over and establishing a good relationship with her, Claire-sama has been dealing with her as nicely as possible; however, as one would expect, it was a bit troublesome to have somebody constantly worry about your condition every day.
“Even if you say that, maybe that’s just one part of it. Although your wounds have healed completely, don’t those bad memories come back and haunt you sometimes?”
“I am not that fragile. If anything, the only thing I am thinking of is how I will definitely defeat him the next time we meet.”
That was the type of conversation they would exchange every morning.
Although the two of them shared a happy friendship already, the way Philine was trying to further narrow the distance between them seemed strange.
Somehow, she was trying to get close.
I suddenly felt a familiar sense of danger towards Philine, who always seemed to be excited around Claire-sama and kept trying to maintain physical contact with her.
It felt like her attitude towards Claire-sama deviated from regular conduct between normal friends.
Or rather, it felt like I had seen something just like this before.
More specifically, it was like looking into a mirror.
“Ummー Philine-sama? As I’ve mentioned many times before, Claire-sama is mine, so I’d like it if you didn’t stick to her so much…….”
“Ah…… y-you’re right. I’m sorry, Rei. I did it without thinking……”
Did it without thinking, you say.
I felt wary of Philine, whose cheeks were dyed with a color of timidity.
“Rei, you are overthinking it. Philine-sama and I are friends, so isn’t this much considered normal?”
“T-Thank you, Claire!”
Claire-sama forced a smile as she stepped in for Philine, the latter of which looked like her tail had started wagging again.
Hold on, Claire-sama.
Were you a dense protagonist from a light novel or something?
If you just stopped and thought about it for even a moment, you’d notice that she liked you.
“Philine-sama, you’re a member of the Imperial family, aren’t you? Don’t you already have a fiance?”
“No, not yet.”
“That is surprising. Wouldn’t an imperial princess be considered an incredibly powerful diplomatic trump card?”
Claire-sama, who was more knowledgeable about the circumstances surrounding the upper class than I was, asked.
“That’s because my mother prefers to appeal to other countries by force rather than doing so diplomatically…….”
Philine murmured sadly.
It was true that Dorothea was the type of woman who’d take whatever she wanted by force.
To her, politics were so roundabout that she could simply dismiss certain aspects of it as useless.
Well, not that I would say she was that hot-headed, though.
“So, that means right now, I don’t have a partner, you know?”
“Y-Yes, I see……”
“Why are you trying to appeal to Claire-sama by advertising that you are free?”
Philine definitely felt something towards Claire-sama.
Where exactly did her shyness go?
No, actually, she still seemed to be quite nervous around me.
“It’s not like I’m appealing to her…… I just want to be closer with Claire……”
“It seems like you’re trying to show off quite a bit, though……”
“Is that so……? Oh geez, what am I doing……”
She was acting all timid again.
That’s not cute at all.
I mean, it’s kind of cute, but it’s not cute at all.
“Philine-sama, do you have an illicit crush on Claire-sama?”
“Wait a minute, Rei!?”
I was getting a bit annoyed, so I decided to be frank and asked her about it directly, which seemed to cause Claire-sama to panic.
I mean, I couldn’t bear to watch this anymore.
“L-Love, you say. That’s not……”
Hey, I specifically said “illicit crush”, though.
I’d prefer it if you didn’t choose to conveniently interpret it as something so natural.
That’s why natural-born princesses are so…….
“Wouldn’t it leave a bad reputation if a member of the Imperial family was seen trying to make a move on somebody who was already taken?”
“No, the Empire supports polygamy in particular.”
Now that she mentioned it, she was right.
The Empire’s marriage system was different from Bauer’s.
It was not monogamous, and same-sex marriages were permitted as well.
That was a special characteristic that was set in place due to the nature of RevoLily.
“Moreover, aren’t Claire and Rei still considered two strangers as far as the law is concerned?”
“Besides, from a familial standpoint, I think that Claire and I are a better fit considering my status as a member of the Imperial family and hers as a former high-class noble.”
Was I being driven into a corner?
“That’s wrong, Philine-sama.”
When she saw that I was being cornered, Claire-sama spoke up and gently admonished Philine.
“It is true that Rei and I have no sort of relationship legally speaking, and that the environments we were born in were completely different.”
“However, I eventually came to an understanding. Marriage isn’t something that is just used as a tool for politics or a way to give back to the parents that raised us, it is also something that is very important for my own personal happiness.”
“Your own personal…… happiness……”
Seeing that, Claire-sama continued.
“It is not that I disagree with the principle of political marriages, nor do I think it is wrong to marry for the sake of repaying our parents. However, at the same time, I cannot bring myself to ignore how important my partner must be to me.”
“In that sense, there is no better partner for me than Rei. Even without any legal proof, to me, Rei is my irreplaceable companion. Please understand that.”
After saying her piece, Claire-sama grinned.
As for me, the expression on my face could not look any more triumphant.
“I see…… I understand……”
That was all she said. As expected, even Philine would start reconsidering things after hearing something like that.
From the beginning, she was somebody who had strong moral character, and she was probably just excited about making her first close friend, so she was probably just going to go back to――
“I understand. In that case, I’d like to announce my candidacy once again for becoming Claire’s partner.”
“W-What are you saying, Philine-sama? Were you not listening to what I just said?”
“Yes, of course I was. I was just thinking that I would also like to give you a love that is irreplaceable without leaving any regrets.”
Her response came out of left field.
Claire-sama and I were completely flabbergasted.
“I understand that Rei is an incredibly important partner to Claire. I will do my very best so that Claire will think of me that way as well.”
“N-No, that was not what we were talking about though?”
“Don’t worry. This is something that I learned from Claire. It’s important to accomplish things little by little.”
“No, that is also completely unrelated to what we were talking about……”
Claire-sama was a bit flustered.
Did Philine always have such a reckless side to her?
Well, Philine was the daughter of someone like Dorothea, after all.
“In any case, let me say again that I am looking forward to being with you two from now on, Claire, Rei. I will work to become a respectable lady worthy of you both.”
Philine made a haughty proclamation.
Claire-sama wore an expression that looked like she wanted to ask how things turned out this way.
Regardless of how it happened, here were the facts.
It seemed that I now had a love rival.
And of all people, it was somebody who we absolutely needed to rely on for her cooperation.
Right as I was feeling completely worn out, Yuu-sama came in.
Since she was in a different classroom, it was rare for her to visit ours.
“Oh, Yuu-sama. What’s the matter?”
“I received a letter from Bauer. This is probably…… going to sound like bad news.”
Yuu-sama said this with a grim look on her face:
“Bauer’s former Prime Minister, Salas Lilium, has disappeared. It seems that he has escaped from prison.”
With this, we’ve reached the end of chapter 10 (“Transferring into the Imperial Academy“)! Although I am just a fan translator, I am personally curious about what the readers think of everything that has happened so far. It’s been a wild ride, after all.
In regards to the release of chapter 11, that information has not been set in stone yet, but according to Inori-sensei, the pre-release may begin in early March. As usual, the public release will most likely start seven days after, so please look forward to that.
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As always, thank you all for reading I Favor the Villainess! We’ll be back with chapter 11 soon.