I know, I know. Long time coming.
Almost a month since the last chapter and it’s going to be another month before the next chapter comes out as I have things going on.
Something amusing happened two weeks back though. It turns out the BF of a new acquaintance I met at a friend’s wedding has read Happy Life before. He’s also dropped it because it’s been moving awfully slow. (Apologies. That’s totally my fault!) You can imagine how I felt though. Half mortified, half embarrassed.
This is like my virgin work. One that till today still feels like shit and definitely needs a lot more rewrites. (I don’t proclaim to be the best Japanese translator out there. God knows, I could use a bit more work). >////////< Shy shy la!
Anyway, here’s the start of the 12 year old arc!
12 Years Old: Chapter 49 – My Birthday & An Advise
Editors: Nahct & Wafflez & Kiti
First published on Ainushi
「On this auspicious day, congratulations on your birthday, Lizbeth-jou」
Towards the countless numbers of troublesome greetings, I went out and received them with my brightest smile and the most humble expression I could muster.
Technically, because of my overprotective servant and Father, I hardly had any social presence, but nevertheless, I still have to socialize at times. After all, as a noble, it was important to form ties with various parties and I was no exception.
Twelve is also the age when I have to come out into society. Therefore, a birthday party was organised, though I wouldn’t go as far as to call it an official debut.
Many nobles had zeroed in on me when I was at His Highness’s birthday party and many of the guests tonight were those who yearned for an easy life by marrying me and becoming a marquis. To be frank, they were annoying.
It seems that the calm smile I showed, that was becoming of my age, was to the liking of the noble boy who had come to greet me. Our ages weren’t particularly different ….. Although it could be said that he almost appeared to be an adult, there wasn’t much of an age gap in reality. He was probably the same age as His Highness.
I was fairly positive he was the son of a count. I believe Lord Huernia brought him along?
He came towards me with a smile. Come now, I know that’s a calculative smile. I have one too.
「Lizbeth-jou, you turn twelve today, don’t you? You seem very calm for your age.」
「Do I? Thank for your compliment. My father would have a word with me if I hadn’t yet learnt that much.」
The reason probably lies in my habit of sneaking out. With Gilles to accompany me, I would head out to the Magic Institution or discretely travel to the castle town. And then, I would buy sweets and enjoy myself..… Er, I mean, I was learning about social matters. I wasn’t playing around, really I wasn’t.
I do obediently read and admire the flowers at home like a young lady would but if Gilles were to see my wrongdoing, I would run.
When I lightly laughed while taking care to maintain my elegance, the count’s son thought it was a joke and laughed, seemingly pleased. Sorry to disappoint you, but I’m not as ladylike as you imagine me to be.
Although the count’s son displayed a refreshing smile that matched mine, his eyes were gazing at me as though he was searching for something.
Of course, I didn’t find his gaze pleasant. After all, I knew where his focus was. Mainly my face and around my breasts.
My face….. well, I’m aware that my features are genetically inherited from both my parents, and to begin with, children are mostly cute. It’s a child’s compensation.
….. I wish he wouldn’t look at my chest so much though. It’s very uncomfortable.
Thanks to the tightly fastened corset that squeezed together as much of my flesh as it possibly could, my breasts seemed well-developed for a twelve year old. It subtly made it seem like I had cleavage.
My dress, a pretty décolleté design, was lovely, but I felt it was still too early for me to wear it. No, forget about that! I want to quickly remove this corset!
As I couldn’t quite say「Don’t stare at it」in front of a guest, I could only show an elegant smile while sighing in my heart. ….. We really didn’t need to host a birthday party. I mean, Gilles isn’t here.
The servant that was always by my side was just not attending to me today. He was at a slight distance, watching over me. Even though he was smiling, he gazed intensely at the count’s son. Since only I would get the meaning of it, well ….. I wonder if that’s okay?
「Speaking of which, I heard that you’re close with His Highness, Julis?」
「His Highness is….. That’s right. If I may be so bold, I am graced with the privilege of being intimate with him」
When my eyes and lips formed a faint courteous smile, the people around us became slightly noisy. I’m sure they must have been listening closely. They seemed surprised when I affirmed my relationship with His Highness.
「I am unworthy of such a magnificent friend」
As it seemed like my earlier words would cause an outrageous misunderstanding, I smiled and continued my speech. There are limits to being overly familiar as a friend with the son of the man who rules our country, but His Majesty, the king, and His Highness, the prince, both had said they were fine with it. So please excuse me.
At my humble but firm assertion, the public was reassured. Both genders sighed because there were many women who wished, if circumstances permitted, to marry His Highness. In this country, polygamy was permitted.
On the other hand, it seems the men were relieved that I was still available. Well, from their point of view, I was a profitable object mainly because I am the daughter of the marquis that serves as His Majesty’s confidant. However, I wouldn’t say it to their faces that I would never yield to people who held such expectations.
「In that case, Lizbeth-jou, if I may—」
「Liz, so you were here」
A familiar voice interrupted the count’s son. That was unbelievably nice timing, I almost blurted out loud.
「Ah, Cecil-kun! You came」
「Wasn’t it you who invited me?」
Cecil-kun, who had just arrived, responded bluntly.
Tucked into his formal attire, Cecil-kun looked considerably mature. In particular, his hairstyle. Combed to the back with a portion of his bangs sticking out, it made him feel more grownup than usual.
Cecil-kun, too, was admiring my appearance….. Yeah, right. His face stiffened and this time, he turned to look at the count’s son. The count’s son once again looked at me with a pursuing gaze, and once again, Gilles’ eyes slipped.
Because it happened in an instant, I couldn’t tell what both of them had planned, but ….. it seemed like they had come to an agreement through eye contact. Gilles’s smile became seemingly cold and Cecil-kun seemed rather troubled.
「There is something I’d like to speak to you about. My apologies, Gustaf-dono. I’ll be borrowing her for a bit」
Even for a moment, he had no reason to oppose the words of Cecil-kun who was the son of a Duke.
The count’s son must have been quite surprised though, judging by how he responded. After all, it was well known that my house and Cecil-kun’s were not on good terms with each other. So he was alarmed that we were close.
Cecil-kun’s request was favourable, or rather, it was what I was hoping for. I’m grateful that Cecil-kun had sensed the mood.
「You are too defenseless」
Those were the first words he said to me after he brought me to the terrace.
「You should have been able to handle it properly」
「I was just about to take care of it」
「Then you should have refused him quickly. Because of you, Gilles glared at me」
「Ah, I knew you were spurred on by Gilles!」
「If I wasn’t, did you think I would have purposely done this?」
Well, Cecil-kun never liked to stand out and he wasn’t very eager to address me, the guest of honor, either. The fact that he even showed up today was surprising. I thought he wasn’t going to come at all.
I wonder if it was because Gilles couldn’t intervene directly that he had asked for Cecil-kun’s assistance? It was just like Cecil-kun to find it a real nuisance.
However, I had a feeling that there was something fishy about the way Cecil-kun and Gilles were conspiring right now. To be exact, it seemed like Gilles was treating Cecil-kun nicely. Normally, he treated him the other way around even if that was based on his original opinion of him.
「Gilles is too overprotective, isn’t he..…」
「The person who’d have been finished if he hadn’t been overprotective would have been you」
「Really? Hah~ But I’m grateful that you saved me today. I was uncomfortable with how he looked at me」
As it wasn’t necessary for me to keep up appearances in front of Cecil-kun, I shrugged my shoulders and spoke my mind freely. Removed from the hustle and bustle of the saloon, there was only the calm atmosphere of the night that filled the vicinity of the terrace. That was why I could pour out my true feelings.
It doesn’t show on my face, but I dislike people ogling my body. I am undoubtedly paying for the consequences today, but even so, if I dislike it, I dislike it.
If they were looking at me as a love interest, I wouldn’t be bothered by it and would just leave them be. However, it’s inexcusable if the gazes were filled with desire. It’s not like I’m fastidious, I have my reasons. Even so, I find it unpleasant when a part of my body is being stared at by people who don’t get it.
「….. Didn’t that also happen because you’re dressed like that?」
「It’s not like I chose to wear this. Though, I don’t mind if you choose to stare at it though, Cecil-kun ..…」
「You’ve got a problem」
I didn’t mean that Cecil-kun was the type to look me up and down instead, he’s the kind that would look away. Though I did look all grown up, Cecil-kun was the innocent sort.
Instead, when I glanced at him, I felt slightly ashamed of myself. In the first place, we knew each other when I was flat-chested and we’ve even hugged.
「Then, why are you clinging onto me? I can more or less understand if you have feelings for me」
「Stop! If he finds out, your servant is going to have a word with me after this!」
「…..I was just kidding. Isn’t it great that you don’t have to listen to what Gilles has to say after this?」
I felt Gilles was quite relentless with Cecil-kun, or more precisely, with everyone else. Essentially, he shouldn’t have acted that way.
….. I’m grateful that he was worried for me, but he shouldn’t have intimidated Cecil-kun. I’ll have to have a word with Gilles about this afterwards without fail.
Cecil-kun looked at me and sighed.
「….. Frankly speaking, you should’ve notice it by now. Naturally, he has no intentions of letting you pull away from him」
「This may sound strange coming from me, but his attitude as a servant is inappropriate. He’s excessively mingling his personal feelings with work. Welf is also at fault for not saying anything about it」
Well, my behaviour is also at fault too, Cecil-kun added with a slightly worn out expression.
Gilles was….. acting inappropriate as a servant? For mixing his personal feelings with work? ….. Was that bad?
「….. Because you don’t see what’s so wrong with it, it’s better that you hear it from me. That guy is too obsessed with you, and it is beyond the role of a servant」
「….. Gilles is ….. ?」
「I’m saying this as your friend. Until you’re an adult, such behavior should not be permitted」
His words were blunt but the tone of his voice wasn’t cold. Instead, it was filled with sympathy.
….. When I become an adult, Gilles can’t freely touch me. It’s excusable right now because I’m still a child.
With the master-servant relationship that me and Gilles have, it is peculiar that we touch each other intimately. I realized that when he voiced it out.
「….. Look, I don’t mean to reprimand you. I’m just giving you advice」
「Hey, don’t cry. Dear God, it’s like I’m the bad guy….. All of this is Gilles’s fault. You definitely have to tell him to draw the line」
Cecil-kun stroked, or rather, disturbed my neatly arranged hair. I thought it was horrible of him to treat me, the star of the party, in such a manner, but even so, I felt comforted by it.
I laughed a little at Cecil-kun’s clumsy method to console me and gazed in the direction of the saloon. Even without me, the saloon seemed lively and cheerful.
「….. If it’s fine that I’m not even around, I wish I could escape to a place that no one knows of」
「Oi, you’re the main star of the party!」
「I’m kidding. Besides, I haven’t heard you congratulate me yet」
「Right, that’s my bad. ….. Happy birthday, Liz」
Cecil-kun brushed his hair back and replied with an unusually gentle expression on his face.
Even though he appeared to be curt and unsociable, Cecil-kun’s really just a good-natured person. At least, to the extent where he was worried for me?
….. Also, would it be better if I changed the way I treat Gilles? And whilst I thought of that, both Cecil-kun and I returned to the saloon. ….. That reminds me, His Highness isn’t here.