Prologue 4

Kays Translations

Just another Isekai Lover~

Prologue part 4: Gideon, the Duke, Makes a (Completely Unscheduled) Appearance

How can I avoid the future of being killed by the Crown Prince?

At the age of seven, I had carefully devised the following plan. –I was going to marry a nobleman in the state of Baral while making sure that I had the insurance of “magic” to live. By law, nobility can only marry nobility.

Of course, I will have a life that is not even remotely close to that of the Crown Prince. The house of my husband-to-be should preferably be within a thirty-minute carriage ride from the Crow house. That way, I could visit my family frequently even after getting married.

Many years have passed since I started working on the plan. However, the plan made no progress at all.

–Baral was too rural. I was aware of it, but… There were no encounters. Absolutely nothing.

There were no aristocrats my age in the neighborhood.

Five years passed quietly despite my worries about the path I should take.

And the summer of my twelfth year, for the second time, my life took a big turn.

A nobleman had been spotted in the neighborhood of the Crow family mansion in this rural area.

It was Arnold, our butler, who was the first to tell me about the man.

By the way, our butler was not the popular type of butler: dark hair, glasses, thin lines, sharp mind like a great detective, beautiful young man, and a “welcome home, miss” type of character. {TN: Sebastian}

Our butler, Arnold, was young, but he wasn’t a handsome young man, and he had a very strong physique. To put it simply, he was all muscle.

One day, Arnold, the macho man who brought me a cup of tea, happily told me,

“It’s a rare thing, but lately I’ve been seeing some nobleman’s son in the fields outside the mansion and in the nearby woods. I’ve passed him several times while doing sit-ups in the woods.

“Oh, huh, Mach…Arnold. You exercise in the woods?

“Yes, I do. When I work out in the forest, I get good oxygen and my muscles are happy.”

“Oh, right. –It’s unusual to see any boys around here. I wonder what he came here for.”

“Maybe he came to see the hills or the animals here. There are a lot of animals in the forests around here. In fact, that’s all Baral has.”

Arnold puts a small cookie on the plate in front of me. The cookie is round and topped with a single almond.

As I put the cookie in my mouth, I thought.

Did he come here to hunt deer? It’s said that among the noble kids, it’s popular to hunt a stag and stuff it to decorate their houses.

It seems the point is to catch a big stag and say, “I shot such a big one!” and proudly report to his father.

If the boy had come here to hunt, he shouldn’t be overlooked, because the surrounding forest is the domain of the Crow family. The animals that live there, the fruits of the forest, and the fish in the river are the property of my grandfather, who is the Lord.

Hunting without permission is not allowed.

Besides, my grandfather hated hunting, so he wouldn’t allow it even if an application was made.

“I’ll go to the forest later.”

I have to be careful.

But Arnold interpreted my thoughts in a different way. He gave me a mischievous wink as he poured another round of tea into my cup.

“He looks like a young man about your age Miss. Why don’t you make friends with him?”

“Oh, right. I’ll talk to him when I see him. Thanks for the great information.”

“Don’t thank me, thank my muscles! I didn’t do anything.”

Butler Macho laughed, scratching his head like he was shy.

It was mid-afternoon and the early summer sun was pleasantly bright.

I quickly entered the forest that stretched behind the mansion.

Early summer is the season for berries, and the forest was full of them. As I picked berries, I kept an eye out for the boy. It was customary for the Crow family to pick berries every year during this season.

I picked berries as I walked through the forest, filling the basket on my arm. The berries, peeking out from between the green leaves like red jewels, were just about ripe, and there were many of them in the forest.

Berries are very useful. They can be mixed into baked bread, made into jam, or made into compote.

There are so many ways to use them.

The bright midday sun was shining down on us from the trees in the forest in the form of rays. Occasionally, a moderately cool breeze blew pleasantly.

When I came to the edge of the forest, with a basket full of berries in my hand, wearing a dark blue dress to avoid staining it with berry juice, I heard a faint voice coming from somewhere.

I stopped and listened closely.

“Someone save me…!”

The voice came from the other side of the forest.

Breathing in quickly, I hurriedly ran through the forest. At the end of the forest was a field, and beyond it was a river. It was a small river that flowed from a small forest in the middle of the grassland, a small river that could be called a stream.

Something – no, a person – was being swept down that river.

(Oh my God! I have to help!)

I hurriedly threw down my basket and headed for the river, but as soon as I spotted the figure in the river, I stopped. It was a boy who was being swept away.

(It’s a lie… God tell me it’s a lie.)

Staring at the river in disbelief, I moved even closer, fearfully.

The golden-haired boy was drifting down the river with his hands flailing.

“Hey…, help me!”

He calls out for help, as he almost sinks into the water.

I wish I could believe it was an optical illusion.

However, he was wearing a dark red cloak, which only the direct descendants of the Duke family, one of the four most prestigious noble families in this country, are allowed to wear.

There’s currently only one boy who can wear it.

The person drowning in the shallow river in front of me was Gideon Lancaster, heir to Duke Lancaster.

For some reason, a young man from the very prestigious Duke Lancaster family, whose ancestors are the founding heroes of the Kingdom of Leia, is being shamefully swept down the river in front of me.

It’s such a calm river, the kind of river that children in the neighborhood play in. I rather wondered how he was drowning. The weather had been fine for a long time, so there was no reason for the water to be rising. In a way, it was an amazing trick.

Why the hell is he here?

The urge to help suddenly hit the brakes.

Gideon is a childhood friend of Iris Zephyrm. The saint who tormented me so much the last life I lived, and ultimately caused my death.

Gideon and Iris’s mothers were best friends, and the two grew up together like brother and sister, with Iris calling him “big brother”. After she became a saint, he had become like her guardian.

As the central figure of the Marquis family of Zephyrm, whose faction was rapidly expanding in the royal court, he always looked down coldly at me with his good looks.

(I’ll just wait. It’s such a calm river. Eventually he’ll get caught in the shallows and be able to come out on his own…)

I stopped before I reached the riverbank.(No! I won’t help. It may be an inhumane choice, but I don’t want anything to do with those damn Lancasters.)

I clenched my trembling fists, turned my back to the river where the boy was still screaming for help, and turned on my heel to head back to the house.

I dove into the forest, and after a short run, I stopped.

(It’s no good. I can’t be this kind of person…)

I heard the creaking sound of the basket I was holding to my chest. I was so upset that I held it too tightly.

I take a deep breath and look back.

In my previous life, I had first met Gideon at the royal palace. He was the successor to the prestigious Duke’s house, but at that time, he was a royal court magician, just like me.

Gideon was a very good-looking man, but it was widely rumored that he was arrogant and ruthless, so I tried to stay away from him. Furthermore, he was on a career path, and we were in different departments.

Suddenly, I realized that I couldn’t hear anything from beyond the forest. All I could hear was the whisper of the wind.

“No way, he sank?”

Unbelievable –How idiotic… 

I threw the basket down again and ran out of the forest to the river. My heart was beating fast.

As I exit the trees and my view opens up, I see a boy in front of the river. He seems to have just climbed out of the river and is stumbling away from it.

“Are you okay?”

Relieved that he hadn’t drowned, I ran over to him, calling out to him.

The boy brushed back his soaking wet hair. Water trickled from his golden hair, and his cloak, which normally would have been swept by the wind, hung heavily from his shoulders.

When the boy looked up and our gazes met, I gasped.

His eyes were azure, as if they were trapped in the calm waters of a southern country.

His skin was porcelain white.

The boy was simply beautiful. There is this child version of that Gideon.

(Looks like an angel painting on a church wall…!)

He’s so beautiful, I feel like I’m going to be blinded.

The eyes, framed by long eyelashes that curl upward, are as inorganic and transparent as glass beads. The water that moistens the eyelashes makes the boy even more beautiful.

The clothes he wears seem to be of very good quality, and the size is perfect, as if they were custom-made. –It’s soaking wet though.

He was wearing a pure white shirt, beautiful pants with a fine plaid pattern, a gorgeous bracelet and belt ornaments that one would hardly imagine for a boy.

The boy opened his mouth, breathing over his shoulder.

“Can you lend me something to wipe with…?”

“Uh, yeah. I’ll get you a towel, wait here!”

I make a mad dash from the river and jump into the forest again.

I ran along the forest path where twigs and leaves had fallen, gasping for breath as I made my way home.

When I returned to the Crow house, I ran into Arnold in the hallway.

“Miss, why are you in such a hurry?”

“I need to lend a towel to a boy who fell into the river. It’s the little boy from the forest.”

“What did you say?”

Ignoring the surprised Arnold, I went into the back room, pulled a towel from the closet, and headed back to the front door. But as I stepped outside, I screamed.

The boy was standing in front of our house.

(I told you to wait for me at the river!)

“Did you follow me? Here, wipe this off.

“Thank you.”

When the boy received the towel, he began to wipe his face.

Arnold came out of the front door a little later and stood next to me. He was obviously staring at the boy’s red cape.

“Whose son are you, sir?”

The boy replied as he held his arms over his clothes with the towel, trying to absorb the moisture.

“My name is Gideon of House Lancaster. I was wondering if you could help me.”

“Lancaster? That Duke of the House of Lancaster?”

Arnold was surprised and shouted a little louder.

“I’ll have a change of clothes for you in a moment. –Miss, please take him to the drawing-room!”

After telling me this, Arnold ran back into the house. He probably went to look for clothes.

When I looked back at him, Gideon was holding out his right hand toward me.

“I’m Gideon Lancaster. And you are?”

I can’t take his hand.

Because he’s a henchman of the saint.

This was a past I had never experienced.

This should never have happened in the first place. I had never met Gideon before I went to the palace.

Just as my days are not exactly the same as the last time, the future must be changing little by little.

When I hesitated, Gideon extended his hand further toward me.

“I wiped it with a towel. It’s not wet.”

It can’t be helped. This Gideon is meeting me for the first time, and Iris of the Marquis of Zephyrm is not even a saint yet.

Despite my bitter feelings, I reached out and shook his hand.

Gideon’s hand was unexpectedly warm, even though it was wet.

“My name is Liesel Crow. I live here. –Compared to the Duke’s mansion, it probably looks rundown and abandoned. Haha…”

Laugh it up.

I was just laughing.

–The boy didn’t laugh, but stared at our house, half of which was on the verge of ruin.

I cleared my throat, regained my composure, and invited him to come inside.

No way was I going to ask him to change his clothes outside.

Before he crossed the threshold, Gideon grabbed his cloak and squeezed it hard. A large amount of water fell onto the grass and was sucked in.

His bangs were splashed up, and droplets of water glistened in the spur of the moment as well.

As I led the way to the drawing-room, Gideon said while removing his cloak from his shoulders.

“Thank you. I’ll have the Lancasters send you a thank-you note later…”

“No, it’s fine.”

I left Gideon alone and walked quickly out of the drawing-room to find Arnold walking toward me with a silver tray. Apparently, he had made tea for the Lancaster family’s little boy.

And if you look at it, it’s in the finest cup in the house. He even put a silver plate full of cookies and tarts on top of the tea cakes.

“… Arnold, we’re not a restaurant.”

“What are you talking about? He’s a legitimate son of the Lancaster family, a prestigious noble family. I don’t want to be rude.”

As soon as he did, Arnold shoved the tray at me.

I looked up at him with raised eyebrows, trying to figure out what he was doing, and he tried to persuade me.

“Please take it with you, miss. It’s a unique opportunity to get to know each other!”

No, no, no. I don’t want to get close to him. 

On the contrary, I want to avoid the Lancaster family at all costs.

“And people aren’t pleased when a big guy like me brings them tea.”

What did this butler say?

Dumbfounded, I reluctantly took the tray and knocked on the door of the drawing-room just in time.

Gideon, who had already finished changing, accepted the cup with a radiant smile as soon as he saw me return. He didn’t even take time to sit down on the chair before he drank the tea and smiled, his blue eyes twinkling.

“Thank you for the tea, is there anything I can do to thank you for…?”

“No, it’s fine!”

I don’t want to have anything more to do with Gideon. I want to part ways with him. I know that I’ll be stabbed in the chest and die in the future because of my involvement with them.

Gideon shrugged somewhat regretfully, put his cup down on the table, and walked out of the house.

Once out in the front yard, he said to me.

“Have you seen my beloved horse? I don’t know where he’s gone since I was swept away.”

His beloved horse, which he left behind, is probably waiting for him upstream.

Even so, the son of a duke shouldn’t be wandering around the countryside alone.

Can’t help it. If we walk along the river, we’ll find it soon.

“All right, I’ll look for him with you. What color is the horse you rode on?”

“It’s brown.”

As we walked through the forest, I looked for the brown horse as hard as I could.

Contrary to my expectations, the horse was hard to find.

The river was calm, with no junctions.

The only thing I could think of was that Gideon’s horse had left the river on its own and was running. Maybe the duke’s horse is surprisingly stupid.

(What? ……. Huh?)

I suddenly realized that there was no Gideon nearby. He had been walking right behind me earlier.

(Huh, where did he go?)

I held my head in my hands.

“I think I’d better go back to the house.  Can I leave him alone…?”

I don’t want to have anything to do with the Lancaster family anymore. I don’t want to get involved any further, because it’s related to my life and death.

As I made up my mind to go home again, I heard a scream from nearby.

“Help! Liesel!”

What’s the matter this time?

I followed the pathetic voice into the forest and found Gideon stuck in a small swamp.

I asked him fearfully.

“Gideon, – hey, what are you doing…?”

“As you can see! I’m trapped in a swamp and can’t move.”

Gideon in a swamp (?) He was in the middle of a swamp.

 He should have been able to step out as soon as he stepped into it, so why did he keep going deeper?

It seems that even if I reach out to him with my hand or a long wooden stick, I wouldn’t be able to reach him.

“How did you get in there?”

“I wasn’t watching my step! Help me!”

I couldn’t move my body.

It seems that my body is more honest than my mind.

Gideon, waist-deep in the swamp, shouted at me.

“Liesel, help me quickly!”

“You need my help…?

“What are you talking about…? You know the answer to that! Hurry up!”

Was this swamp really this deep?

I’ve never seen anyone get stuck in it before.

I thought it was shallower than my waist, but Gideon had already sunk to the top of his chest.

Considering the distance, I had no choice but to use magic to help him.

With no other choice, I raised my right hand.

I close my eyes and feel the wind in the forest with my five senses.

I pull the wind in and let it draw all the currents to me.

I hear a gurgling sound and open my eyes.

I point my palm at Gideon, who is already chin-deep in water, and blast the wind I’ve gathered around him all at once.

With a tremendous sound of water, the muddy water from the swamp is blown away by the blast. The mud flies through the air, turning the area behind Gideon black.

The water in the swamp is blown away with the mud, depleting it. It’s a small swamp, so it’s not too difficult.

“Gideon, get over here now!”

I shouted, reaching out my hand, and I turned to look.

Gideon was crouching in the swamp. If he had been in that position, he would have been up to his chest in water. But more importantly, why did he crouch in the swamp?

I don’t understand.

Gideon stood up and walked briskly over to me, my head filled with question marks.

“Thank you, Liesel. You’ve saved my life.”

Gideon, covered in mud all over, smiled, his face black and dirty but still beautiful.

“That was some fine magic you did there. — Aren’t you going to apply to the Academy of Magic?”

Magic is a national property, and the best students are gathered at a magic academy near the royal capital, where they hone their skills and work for the country in the future. I had enough magic power to apply for the Academy of Magic.

“I would like to, but…”

“Which do you want to go to, the Royal Academy of Magic or the National Academy of Magic?”

Why is he asking me that?

The previous time I was here, I enrolled in the Royal Academy of Magic, one of the two magic academies in the country, in order to become a magician who could support my family. Compared to the other National Academy of Magic, the Royal Academy of Magic has a huge advantage in securing employment after graduation. Those who graduate from the Royal Academy of Magic can almost certainly become a royal court magician, which is a popular job opportunity for magicians. They have a strong connection with the royal court and are more likely to be hired by the royal magic agency. That’s how I became a royal court magician at the age of nineteen before I died.

But I didn’t want to make the same mistake. If I’m going to go on to higher education this time, I would prefer to apply to the National Academy of Magic.

“The national one, I think.”

“Oh, I see. –Why don’t you go to the Royal University? I hear they have better employment opportunities there.”

“No, I prefer national.”

“Okay. –Well, I’d like to thank you for your help, why don’t you come to King’s Landing for a visit sometime? You could also visit the academy. Let me do something to thank you…”

“Ah! The fire in the kitchen stove was left unattended!”

I interrupted Gideon and ran back to my house, leaving him behind. With a little lie.

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