Author: gray Link to the RAW. https://ncode.syosetu.com/n5220gg/
Translator note: The title of the story translated as “The Duchess was puzzled” and they MC is referred to as “the duchess” but she’s only the daughter of a Duke and wouldn’t have the title of duchess so for clarity on that I make the correction in the translation. I did my best not to change any meaning from the author’s intent, but this translation was a tricky one for me. I hope I did it justice.
“Why don’t you come and bully me!”
The duke’s daughter was puzzled
“Are you a pervert? I’m afraid I must ask you to stay away, please.”
My name is Lady Bridget Newton. I am the daughter of a normal aristocrat with nothing unusual about me except that I was reincarnated with memories of a previous life in an alternate world called Japan. My father is the Duke of Newton. In other words, the aforementioned duke’s daughter is me.
Eh? A duke is a grand aristocrat, so what’s normal about that, you ask?
Everyone has a different standard of normality. This is my normal.
“I’m not a pervert!”
Standing in front of me, after barging into my dormitory room, is a pink-haired girl, who would be cute if she stood quietly instead of yelling.
It’s quite a rude thing to do after barging into someone’s room without an appointment.
What a shame. She’s rather well-known and attractive enough to be the talk of the school.
I believe her name is Flora…….. Flora Hook. I believe her status was that of the daughter of a baron.
As a result of the fact that I am the daughter of a duke, there is a significant difference in status between the two of us. I would not normally be treated with such rudeness, but … she is a bit of an airhead.
“People who suddenly say ‘bully me’ or something similar are perverts when objectively evaluated by applying common sense values to them. I’m sure you’d fall within the framework. Specifically, the addiction to abuse…”
“No! Let me say this right. You’re a Japanese reincarnation!” The small pink-haired girl said pointing at me with a smug look on her face, her nostrils widening and twitching.
She’d be cute, if only she wasn’t making that face.
Anyway, I’m not sure how it happened, but it seems that she’s discovered my true identity.
“Hohoho…You thought you hid it so well. So how did I realize you were a reincarnation?”
“I’m afraid if I were what you say, I wouldn’t be talking with you now…”
Normally if someone suddenly accused a more powerful person of something, they’d be ruined if they were wrong.
However, I suppose in her eyes, the daughter of a duke is equal to the daughter of a baron.
In the Edo period, I would be a princess of a great lord and she would be a daughter of a retainer of a shogun.
Head high, stand tall, Bridget. “I have nothing to say to you.”
“I know you don’t want to be condemned and exiled, but I’ll make arrangements to avoid that somehow, so from now on, bully me properly so I can make progress with Prince Ezerred.”
Crown Prince Ezerred is my fiancé in this life.
Rumor has it that he is intelligent, courageous, and incredibly handsome….
We are in the same class in school and have met a few times, but I have no interest in him at all, so I only vaguely remember him, but I do remember he had a good face.
Condemnation… what could she be talking about?
“Well… if you want to marry Prince Ezerred, you can do what you want, can’t you?” I reply.
Why should I get involved in a relationship between two almost complete strangers?
Well, technically, one of them is my fiancé.
When I was eight years old, we got engaged. When I met him, the first thing he said to me at the outset was, “I don’t care about marriages decided by our parents. I’m going to marry the one I love! I will break off the engagement with you at that point.”
And I said, in a reasonable way, “I think that’s a good idea.”
Since then, we’ve gone our separate ways, but I’ve had no luck meeting the man of my dreams, nor have I received any notice of annulment from him.
It’s about time he found someone he likes and sent me a letter saying ‘I wish you good health and happiness,’ otherwise we’ll really end up getting married. I hope he finds someone he likes soon.
Why is he delaying? As the crown prince, he has so many different options. Is he an innocent guy who still dreams of finding true love at his age?
For a 16-year-old guy, is it okay to be an innocent with dreams of true love…? Whatever.
“Oh my God! You’re a character of ‘Doki-Doki Handsome Love Paradise Kingdom’ too. You know this!”
What’s with that tasteless crappy title?
We stare at each other, tilting our heads. Maybe it’s a title for something, but it’s so lame.
I think the copywriter who thought of it should be ejected from the earth at mach-5 speed.
“Um, it’s an otome game?”
“Oh, you mean like a maiden game girls play…”
A maiden game is a game full of hot guys for women to drool over. And not a game where the guys are trying to get with each other…I think.
I was an stressed-out office worker in my past life, so I don’t understand it. I’ve never played an otome game or any girly games.
“I don’t understand, but are you saying that this world is similar to that game world or something?”
“Well, yeah… but do you really not know it? It was a popular game.”
“To be honest, I know nothing about it…”
The fact that it was a big hit with such a lame title means that the content was pretty good, right? I guess.
“What? So what’s a game you know?
“Blue Bloods Crusaders….”
That was the title of a game I used to play until shortly before the end of my previous life. I told her, but as I expected, she gave me a look like she didn’t know.
”I don’t know it at all…”
“That’s okay. It was only a small indie hit, so it should come as no surprise that you don’t know about it.”
“What do you mean, a small indie hit?”
“It sold well-enough. But it was a bit of a geeky game.”
I think it’s no surprise that many people don’t know about the maniacal survival game, where you can become a medieval aristocrat and try to conquer Europe. I enjoyed it, but it was definitely not a game for everyone.
”Well, I could tell you were a bit out of place.”
Huh? She thinks I’m weird?
She suddenly points at me and says, “Why aren’t you bullying people?’
It’s hard to be thought of as strange by her, so I ask, “What do you mean?”
“You know. In a game, there is a typical arrogant young lady, and I, the heroine, approach the capture target, Prince Ezerred. They get jealous of me and harass me in all kinds of ways.”
”Oh, I see. I’m in the position of the person who would act like that if I wasn’t a reincarnation.”
I got along well with the crown prince and had a casual relationship with him on the agreement of breaking off the engagement. However, from what she says, if I wasn’t a reincarnated person, I may have fallen in love with him, or chased after him without regard to his feelings.
It’s a passionate thing to do, but if the storyline says the engagement broke up, then it was all a wasted effort.
But you know what? I always wondered why my appearance was so uncompromising, but it makes sense if I’m supposed to be a villainess rival who looked beautiful with a smile.
I’ve never smiled much in my life. I think I’d look good if I tried.
Maybe I should practice in front of the mirror for a while. If my smile is good, I might use it in the future.
“The fact is, I reincarnated as the heroine. I approached Prince Ezerred to get things going, but because you haven’t harassed me, the conversation didn’t progress at all! Even though I was saying everything according to the game, he turned me down saying, ‘No, I have an important fiancée…’”
“…Why is he avoiding you?”
It seems like he’ s finally found his destined partner, so why is he running away from her?
No, but this is a good opportunity…
“I don’t know, can’t you do something about it?”
“The two of us won’t get anywhere, so let’s go talk to him in person.”
If there’s a romance flag and the crown prince has broken it, I’ll fix it by picking up the broken flag and shoving it into his head as hard as I can.
Yeah, yeah, that’s good. Let’s give him a nudge, let’s do that.
‘I’ll send immediate word of the visit, okay?”
This is the etiquette of an aristocratic lady.
Simply put, the letter gives notice: “I’m coming over, so if you’re unavailable, please let me know. ” You finish by tossing in any seasonal greetings, praise to God, and maybe an improvised poem as extra.
Eh? But how can they tell me that they aren’t home if they are out? There are always servants at home to send the reply, so there’s no problem.
By the way, Flora came over without warning, but that’s okay because I, Bridget, am a straightforward young lady who doesn’t pay attention to such things.
When a person like myself has a piercing appearance and is the daughter of a duke then she’s too intimidating for anyone to even visit the house. Usually.
In short, I’m a loner, so visitors are always welcome.
“Put the letter in an envelope, press the sealing wax, put a stamp on it, and voila!”
Why am I a loner? Right after I entered this academy, there was a group of girls who seemed like they wanted to approach me for something. I smiled to show my friendship while asking, “Will you be my friends?
In spite of that, I have a bitter memory of them running away in fear.
Looking back on it, there’s a saying that “smiling is by nature intimidating,” and I wonder if I looked intimidating.
It’s probably not a good thing that I have a hard look in my eyes and wear a lot of makeup.
I’ve thought to myself, `Why do I look like the queen of the evil empire?’
“Hello! Come here.”
A maid, who was in the next room, appeared quietly.
She is the Honourable Margaret Clarke. She is the daughter of our vassal, Baron Clarke.
While the families of Flora and Margaret are both baronies, the Hooke family are the king’s direct vassals, so Flora’s family is higher in rank. While the Clarke family are vassals of my father, in case you were wondering.
“You have servants here at school?”
Well, I am the daughter of a duke.
I’m sure I’m looking at Flora with a cringe-worthy expression on my face.
Margaret’s angry eyes stare at her as Flora talks to me.
From Margaret’s point of view, Flora is just a ‘rude person who is using the baron’s rank to talk with her master’s daughter’.
Well, I don’t mind about Flora’s lack of manners, but the people who are around me care about that thing called ‘discipline.’
I can already hear Margaret’s angry lecture after this, ‘’The young lady is too lax despite her status.’
I may have an intimidating appearance, but I have a real personality aside from my looks.
“Margaret, please send this to Prince Eldred.”
“You mean, Prince Ezerred.”
“Oh, yes. Him.”
Ezerred and Eldred. I get it wrong sometimes
I may look scary, but my personality is far from it.
It’s hard not to get confused by similar sounding names.
“How long before a reply will come?”
“We are in the same school. If he isn’t here, we’ll know right away.”
Margaret, who had taken the letter from me, went off briskly and returned just a few minutes later.
By all accounts, less than ten minutes had passed.
It’s not hard to understand if she ran as fast as she could, but she doesn’t seem to be out of breath.
Is my maid by any chance a superhuman?
“…You’ve returned far too quickly by any measure of time.”
“You may not have had any interest in this, my lady, and I’m sure you haven’t checked it out, but His Highness Ezerred’s room is just next door.”
Come to think of it, I have seen him a few times when I stepped out of my dorm room, no? I didn’t know that was because our rooms were next to each other. Although it was a surprising revelation…it was due to my own indifference.
“Hello, Lady Bridget.”
A shining, handsome man came stepping out from behind Margaret.
However indifferent I usually am, the appearance of this man turned me to stone when I saw him.
It was His Royal Highness Ezerred, the crown prince of this country.
“You sent me an all-too-rare omen that you wanted to see me, so I just had to come to you.”
For some reason, as he says that his smile seems filled with heartfelt happiness.
His usual good looks are also increased by a few percent and it seems as though a captivating glow of light surrounds him.
If this was our first time meeting each other, I might have fallen in love with him at first sight, but since it’s not our first meeting, I don’t fall in love with him.
I can’t hide my confusion at his presence, to be honest.
Why is the Crown Prince gazing at me with such joy. I want him to remember his feelings from when I was eight years old and he said, “I’m not going to marry you!”
“Are you ready to finally accept the idea of being my fiancé?”
The duke’s daughter was puzzled.
For the second time. Could it simply be that kind of day, by any chance?
“Oh! I knew it was different,” Flora says.
“I hope I didn’t startle you by coming over.”
What is he saying all of a sudden?
I don’t want him to be so unfair as to try to go back on a promise he made when we were children.
Huh? Aren’t promises made when you’re young usually more of a first-love, romantic thing?
Even with zero romance, the promise we made when we were young is still a promise.
“It’s been almost eight years since we got engaged,” I say.
“So it’s been eight years since His Highness swore to break off his engagement to me in the future.”
“Though that was on the condition that if I found someone I loved….”
Hmm? I mean, what is it? His Highness is this good-looking guy, and yet he can’t find anyone he likes………is he, by any chance, very shy or something? But he’s so attractive.
If that’s the problem then everything is just fine.
“Well, if that’s the case, there’s no issue. You see, ?I found this is a nice young lady who I believe His Highness would fall in love with.”
“Yes?” His Highness tilted his head with a puzzled expression.
Alright, I could return the confusion from this end.
“It’s the Honourable Flora Hook.”
“What, what are you…What?”
Even though I took the trouble to set up the perfect introduction, Flora gave a creepy smile with a twitchy expression and only slightly bowed her head.
No, no, no, no, no, no, you are the daughter of a baronet’s family, so you can at least do a proper courtesy! What is this girl doing?
Also, even though her face is cute, her smile is strained and exquisitely creepy. What a shame she’s such a disappointing aristocratic lady.
“…What’s the matter, Flora? Don’t you wish to greet His Highness properly?”
“Yea, no, me. Actually, I hardly ever talked to a guy in my past life. To be honest, I’ve only had experience with men in a otome game, so…”
What did she say?
“I thought you had been approached by quite a few men during your time here as well?”
Her manners are disappointing, but she’s beautiful and her confidence is such that she can talk to a duke’s daughter in a rather casual manner, so I thought she was often approached by men.
In addition to being such a high rank, my eyes fierce, and because I’m officially the fiancée of the Crown Prince, young men quickly flee from me when I approach them.
At night parties, she’s always talking with these guys about estate management and other topics that can hardly be described as damsel-in-distress.
I was reincarnated as a noblewoman in another world, so what is my humble way of life?
It’s all because of this handsome man here who hasn’t promptly broken off our engagement. Geez.
“I can somehow manage to get away with answering adequately when I’m spoken to, but I’ve never actually started a conversation with them.”
“This is what happens when you just respond at random and then run away.”
It seems that she was only training to run away when she should have been training to speak, since it was a good time to do so.
“You said that in Japanese so that only I could understand, damn it.”
Even if she is so cute, if she talks in a weird way, I can only say that people will run away from her.
It’s important for nobles to make the right impression on each other through their greetings. It is also written in the Book of Ancient Manners.
In addition, he is a handsome crown prince with whom other girls are incessantly trying to get close to.
He has a very discerning eye. A girl with a creepy smile and a fumbling greeting to such an esteemed person, of course, he would walk away even if she tried to approach him. It’s natural.
Considering all this information, the reason why this girl is in the shadows is because she’s a clueless girl and most likely not because I didn’t bully her. It wasn’t my fault. I am innocent.
“What … this girl?”
“Ho ho ho ho ho….. She’s just a bit shy, you know?”
The handsome crown prince is looking at me in bewilderment after being introduced to such an awkward girl.
My credibility has been damaged.
But, well, I guess it’s a good thing that the crown prince never had any trust in me, right?
No, it’s not good. It could be a factor in my career after the engagement is broken.
“First of all, she has a pleasing face. As the Crown Princess, appearance is very important. In that respect, she seems to be a passable choice.”
I do think she’s pretty—except when she’s talking to this guy, because she’s obviously very nervous.
Ohhhh, main heroine. You are being creepy to the handsome prince. This is a bad, bad impression.
Why didn’t you come to me first for advice about how all you can do is act creepy?
Oh, no, it’s impossible, impossible! Come on!
“In terms of appearance, Lady Bridget, I think you’re quite beautiful too, though.”
“Huh … I’m aware of that, but so what?”
Although my eyes aren’t very pleasing in appearance, I’m aware that I’m quite nice-looking on the whole.
My servants get me properly dressed every day, so regarding my appearance, I think I’m beautiful in an objective evaluation.
However, I’m a little concerned that rather than being pretty for the age of 16, I’m becoming an arrogantly powerful beauty because of the way my eyes look.
It’s really quite…extravagant for a 16-year-old to look so good in clothing designed to look like “The Evil Empress,” but I’m wondering if I could somehow pull it off.
I think it’ll be another ten years or so before I can wear that kind of racy stuff.
“Wow, you’re so confident in your own appearance……..”
“Yes, I am grateful to my servants for their daily efforts.”
Flora gives me a rather confused gaze, to which I nod proudly because I can’t pull this off alone.
The reason being, this level of appearance is only possible with a servant.
It’s absolutely impossible for me to become as beautiful as this on my own. I mean, it’s impossible, I’d never even worn any makeup in my past life.
The servants wash and dress me every day, applying makeup and making me look beautiful.
If it weren’t for my servants, everything would be undone in a heartbeat.
In less than half a month, I’d burst into a bad-eyed female gorilla.
I’m so grateful for them, so I make sure to never miss giving them an appropriate seasonal gift.
“Let’s leave me out of this, and I’ll continue to introduce you to Flora.”
“Hmm. I didn’t expect my words to be swept away so smoothly.”
The Crown Prince gave a slightly troubled expression. Uhhhh, have I offended you?
I don’t want him to like me, but I don’t want him to hate me either. Should I have been at least a little bit happy?
While I am a nobleman’s daughter, I need to marry someone sooner or later, and this Crown Prince is going to break off the engagement, so there’s no particular reason to be happy about his praise. It is quite logical, really.
“I just thought it would be rude to be deliberately pleased.”
“Well, that is very much your attitude.”
However, even though it’s very much like me, he and I not that close to each other, though?
By any chance, is there a rumor that I am a lady who gives such blunt responses?
This is not good. Father might be angry with me if I’m too brusque. Let’s try to be a little more demure in the future.
“Back to the topic at hand, Flora’s awkward smile can be managed with training. If she can make a proper, beautiful fake smile, the creepy smile will be reserved for Your Highness.”
“Hey, you said my smile was creepy so mercilessly!”
Flora looks like she’s in shock. I don’t know how she managed to make such a creepy expression on her extremely cute face, but it was so creepy. It can’t be helped.
It is truly a feat of facial skills.
I think my facial muscles have been working too hard.
“No, I don’t need a creepy smile.” The Crown Prince said but… I don’t think there’s anything I can do about her natural smile being creepy.
I want him to smile refreshingly while seeing the creepy smile and say something romantic like ‘I like your natural smile.” Or something like that.
I think a crown prince should have that kind of finesse.
“Anyway, her face is good. Regarding the subtleties of family connections, it will be fine if she is adopted by my father and made my sister. That way, the marriage between the royal family and my family will not change.”
This is a method of forcibly raising a family’s status through adoption.
It’s a method that was often used in the old days in Japan and other countries, but it’s not impossible to do in this world either.
“Hmmm… Must I make this clear to you?”
When the crown prince heard my proposal, he seemed to be pondering something.
There’s an unfortunate creature on the inside, but the body is the original heroine, so if you work hard enough, you’ll be able to handle it.
Now, how will you train her?
Anyway, for now, she can just quickly learn the basics of etiquette and then make it up as she goes along. The inside will take a few years to mature………
“… The person I like, is you, Lady Bridget.”
The duke’s daughter was puzzled. For the third time today.
What did the crown prince just say?
“What!?” After a moment’s delay, even Flora is shocked.
No, I am astonished, why am I getting confessed to by the person who is planning to break the engagement?
I don’t understand.
“I’m not quite sure that I understand exactly what you are saying, Your Highness?”
“You know who I like, I said it’s you, Lady Bridget.”
The Crown Prince smiled at me with a sparkling smile, as if he was feeling relieved somehow.
It’s a charming smile that ten out of ten girls would fall in love with if they saw it, but honestly, in my case, I’m just confused.
I had never heard that the crown prince was in love with me.
Even though I purposely ignored him because I wasn’t interested in him!
What is this? I mean, if he met me on a night out or something, would he really be attracted to arrogant, harsh looking lady?
“Uh… So you are breaking off our engagement in order to ask me to marry you?”
“Isn’t that a waste of time?”
It doesn’t matter, It is a wasteful process that should be performed as change for the better.
“I love you, Bridget. I want you to marry me.”
“Hah, hah, hah!”
This guy is doubling down on being confusing!
Also, Flora, you need to stop being upset and do something, anything.
I’m upset at this too.
“No, but that promise you made eight years ago. What happened to the intensity of your feelings from that time, Prince Ezerred?”
“Before or since, Lady Bridget, you’re the only one who ever treats me as a person and not as a crown prince.”
No, he was treated like a scarecrow that could stand up and talk, not a person.
I can’t say that to the crown prince, though.
But more importantly, I don’t want him to approach me so forcefully. Why is he holding my hand?
What is he planning to do in front of an audience?
“Even that day, you responded to my words in a very confident way. You didn’t try to cry to get my attention. It wasn’t due to shock, was it?”
“I was just quiet because I was enjoying what Your Highness was saying.”
I remember I didn’t try to cry, or rather, it wasn’t a scene that made me want to cry.
Do ordinary aristocratic girls cry out of shock in such a scene?
To be honest, though, I couldn’t help but smile at the fact that he looked like a little kid having a good time.
What’s more, I was more aware of being a businessman in a previous life then than I am now, I had never thought about attracting a young boy’s attention.
Even now, I don’t think about it.
At any rate, at that time, I just wanted to make this boy’s smiling wish come true.
So I refused to have any more contact with him than necessary, and I made it easy for him to meet other girls.
“It’s like that. You’ve never been caught up on the fact that I am the Prince. I couldn’t help but fall in love with you.”
So that’s it? You fell in love with me because I didn’t flirt with you at all, and instead was salty.
What a tedious way to fall in love with someone.
Is that why you’re the capture character for this otome game or something?
“But, but, now that we’ve found you a candidate. We can wait a little longer, can’t we?” I say.
For the love of God, he’s going to corner me against the wall and drape himself over me. Please don’t look at me… Is this what they call a wall slam?
I never thought I’d be the one being subjected to it, but it’s a hell of a power position.
“I don’t like it,”
He lifts my chin up. Shit. I’m about to be kissed before I can even understand why this is happening.
“I don’t like it either,” I say.
I refuse to accept a first kiss without consent. As a last resort, I dared to head-butt the Crown Prince.
Since the Crown Prince’s lips hit my forehead as hard as they could, it could be said that he kissed me on the forehead, but this would be a no-brainer.
“… calm down, please?”
“What a way to respond to this too. It’s just like you.” The Crown Prince laughed for some reason as he pressed his lips together.
“This is typical of me?” No, no, no, no, this is not the time to be angry, is it? For all intents and purposes, I’m insulting the Crown.
I mean. Is he a masochist?
“Yeah, I think it’s just like you, the way you’re always so cold and never swept away by the situation. That’s the part of you that I like.”
“I’m afraid I’ve never thought of Your Highness as a man before.”
The Crown Prince to me is still a cute little boy who is still scrambling to fight against the inescapable fate he faced when I first met him.
Well, ok … I suppose I was a little nervous when he slammed me to the wall earlier. That’ s not romantic. It’s alarming. Probably.
The human brain is a piece of junk that can’t distinguish between palpitations of fear and palpitations from romantic feelings. So, yeah, maybe.
“That’s fine, I’ll make you aware of me.”
I guffawed at Flora, who was still saying things like ‘hahaha’.
“Well, then, before I start feeling that way about you, I will re-educate Flora into a woman worthy of the queen and foist her on His Highness!”
“haha … yes?”
Flora is a heroine supposedly, right? Then it shouldn’t be too difficult to produce an attractive woman.
You have the specs, you just need an education.
As the English said. Civility makes the man.
“Let’s do our best.”
“Huh. Why is your smile so scary?!” Flora says.
It’s rude to be frightened of someone’s face, Flora. This is just me being very perceptive.
Since you are the source of this sudden turn of events, I’m going to hold you accountable.
Hopefully, we’ll be able to get what we want. If not, I can introduce you to my brother. Yeah.
He’s the next Duke, and he’s a superb stock. Except that he’s a sadist.
“It’s a pact.”
“I’ll take it.”
I laughed and nodded at the Prince’s…or rather, Ezerred’s challenging expression.
After this, lots of things happened. And it all culminated in one thing. But that’s another story.
If I ever get a chance, I’ll share the rest.
AUTHOR NOTE: Thank you for finishing the story. The rest of the story? It could go on, but I’m a slow writer, so I don’t know when that will be….
TRANSLATOR NOTE: I was just looking up the original Japanese title to upload to NovelUpdates and discovered that the author actually reuploaded this as the. first chapter of a multi part story. I was only planning on this being a one-shot but if there is enough interest then I will will add the other on-going story to my to-do list.