Chapter 4 : Once, I  — Before Rebirth (Beatrice’s POV)

“Ne, can I call you Trice?”

“Yeah, that’s fine.”

“Trice’s hair is beautiful.
It’s shiny and fluffy, and has a beautiful violet color.”

“Natalia’s hair is beautiful too.
It’s like a reflection of the sky.”

“Fufu, thank you.”

First grade.

Natalia and I became friends after she took me to the infirmary when I was sick.

“Ah, Alejandro.
You saved me a seat, didn’t you? Thank you.”

“It’s nothing.
I was here to eat too.
Ah, Natalia.
You can thank me with a slice of pork cutlet from that plate.”

“Eh? Are you trying to take from me? I lost out thanking you~”

“It’s natural.
You are a hundred years too young to try to use me for free.”

“Geez, Alejandro is so mean! Hey, Trice, say something too!”

“Fufu.”

“Trice? What are you laughing at?”

“I’m sorry.
I just thought Natalia and Alejandro-san are as close as ever.”

“Geez! We are just childhood friends! Don’t talk like that, Trice.
Hey, Alejandro?”

“…sort of.”

“And you don’t have to call Alejandro ‘-san’.
He is such a mean person.”

“What are you talking about? You should be addressing me as “-sama” instead of “-san”.”

“I don’t want to.”

Alejandro is rather frank.

He is a childhood friend of Natalia.
He is not a talkative person, but he takes care of natalia in any way he can. 

Although his tone of voice is a bit rough, he is also someone who cared for me, even though I am often absent from the academy.

“Thank God, I guess we made it in time.”

“And I’m pretty sure that Trice’s childhood friend is in it, too.”

“Eh.
Here, see…”

He came out to the training ground with a replica sword, was what I was going to say.

“That’s him.
The one who just came out for the mock battle.
The color of his strip is the same grade, isn’t it? I wonder who that is.”

“…ah, he’s that person, ha.”

Since we were in the regular course and Leopold was in the knight training course, and the buildings themselves were different, there had been few opportunities to encounter each other in the academy.

But since I liked Leopold so much, I went to see him in the knight training department’s mock battle, and Natalia came along with me.

“Um, that person.
My… childhood friend.”

“Eh? Really? Ne, what’s his name? What kind of person is he?”

“…Leopold.
He is Leopoldo Reinalpha-sama.”

And Natalia fell in love with Leopold.

Then the rest happened in a blink of an eye.

“Natalia, come here.”

“Ah, Leo!”

At noon, it became a habit to have lunch on a bench near the fountain there, in the courtyard just between the Knight Training Department building and the regular department building.

Usually it is just Leopoldo, Natalia, and me.

Sometimes Alejandro would come and go there as well.

It started with me being there because we were mutual friends, but to be honest, it was hard for me to stay there as they just created a world of their own.

And yet I kept going.

Day after day, even though I knew I was only getting in the way.

Still, I wanted to see Leopoldo with my own eyes.

I am sure that for them, the day I got sick and took a day off was their reward.

Still, it didn’t stop me from going.

Alejandro, who was sometimes invited by Natalia, would give me a foolish and somewhat cold stare.

The three of them would usually spend lunch together, but eventually, Leopold and Natalia began meeting alone after school.

Even after learning this, I still continued to go to the bench near the fountain with Natalia at lunchtime.
Looking back, I think I was quite a fool.

In Leopold’s eyes, I was clearly an unwanted intruder.
I knew that well, and yet, I took advantage of Natalia’s lack of rejection and went along with her, while feigning innocence.

“Do you want to get in their way or do you want to support them?”

One day after entering the second grade, Alejandro asked me that.

I still have lunch with Natalia and the others, but after school, on weekends, and other times, Natalia and Leopold were always together.

The two were frequently seen together on campus, and were rumored to be a passionate couple.

“I don’t mean to intrude… I just want to be with them… that’s all.”

“Hmph.”

Alejandro snorted with dissatisfaction.

“Well, they’re never going to be together, no matter what you do or don’t do.”

“…eh?”

Alejandro was astonished as he looked at me, as I blink my eyes in heartfelt surprise.

“Don’t tell me you didn’t think of that? The status of Natalia and that man are too different. 

Natalia is a Viscount daughter, right? And they’re not even wealthy; it is a poor Viscount family.”

“Ah…”

It was.

Leopold’s family is a Marquess.

At the very least, he is expected to receive a wife from a family ranked at least a Count or higher.

“…”

But maybe.

Maybe, if Leopoldo strongly desired it, his lenient parents might consider it.

It’s unlikely to happen, but I told him that it wasn’t without any possibilities.

“That’s quite an optimistic outlook.”

Alejandro still laughed at me through his nose.

And he was right, what I said was really just an optimistic outlook.

Third grade.

Leopold had said that he would surely persuade his parents, but when the Marquis of Reinalfa’s business failed and he was burdened with huge debts, a political marriage with a family that would provide financial support became inevitable.

Leopold just silently hugs Natalia, who is sobbing.

Then I offered a suggestion.

A proposal that, in the end, only brought everyone down to misery.

But I really believed it.

That both Natalia and Leopold would be happy.

Now I understand it better.

I believed that from the bottom of my heart at that time.

But I was really stupid.

☼☼☼

Sunnyshies: Nothing, just the list of ranks and order of noble titles in western nobility.

King/Queen – monarchs that outranks everyone else.
Well, sometimes, the King is higher than the Queen, and vice versa.
Well, it depends…on the novel settings…

Prince/Princess – royalty, children of monarchs.

Duke/Duchess –  ruler of dukedom or duchy– all have royal blood, well sometimes… depends on the story? There’s a story of a commoner general who becomes a duke, then marries an illegitimate daughter of a count.

Marquess/Marchioness – effectively the earl of an important border county.
They are higher than count/earl since they were at the border…Cale Henitus!!

Earl/Countess – head of a county.
It’s Ciel….

Viscount/Viscountess – below count.
Administrators and judges who ruled over specific regions of a county. 

Baron/Baroness – lowest noble title.
They just own land.
Call them landlords! Although they’re just landlords, most barons’ daughters became the Queen! – acc.
To otome game novels heroine and villainess knowledge ver.
101

— then below the baron are the knights!

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