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Fake Cinderella Chapter 4

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“The Last Wish”

Not having anything to do can be quite painful.
I regain the sense of time when it’s the time for the meal, but there are instances when for a second I can’t recognize if it’s the morning or the noon.
(what a good smell…they must be stir-frying garlic)
Probably because the kitchen is nearby, there is an appetizing smell mixed with the wind.
In this country, dinner is served at around 7 o’clock in the evening.
I still had some time till then so I tried thinking of the plan of the future actions.

In the first place, my mother’s funeral, which was my primary reason for being here has already pa.s.sed.
This funeral thing is like a death anniversary and the one being held here is more of a ceremony. My mother’s body is asleep at the royal capital’s mausoleum.
If not for my falling accident, I would be back to the capital long ago.
(But even if I returned to the capital, the culprit still hasn’t been caught…and thinking about it carefully, there’s no guarantee that the capital is safe…)
“Princess…no, Your Royal Highness.”
While I was deeply in thoughts, Lilia unusually called out to me as『Your Royal Highness』.
In the last few days I understood that whenever she calls me Royal Highness, it means that she has some official matter with me.
I directed a gaze towards her as if to ask “what?”
“….Duke Elsevelt stated his wish of wanting to have his children and the d.u.c.h.ess meet.”
Momentarily, I lightly tilted my head.
“It seems that His Excellency the Duke intends to introduce the step-mother d.u.c.h.ess and elder brothers to Your Royal Highness.”
No I mean, I understand the meaning, but…I started to think for a bit.
Because, as I have said many times already, I have simple but very complicated circ.u.mstances.

Let’s review for a bit.
I am the Duke’s daughter born from the official marriage between the Duke and the Princess, and currently the Crown Princess.
I emphasized the “official marriage” part because it’s considered to be a very important thing in the Dardinia Kingdom.
When I tried to organize the situation regarding my status and the complicated circ.u.mstances based on this, it became, how to say it, very similar to a soap drama.
The father, the Duke Elsevelt, has 5 kids besides Alterie.
The one who gave birth to all 5 sons is the current d.u.c.h.ess Luciela, who became the 2nd wife.
The key point here is that she isn’t a『Consort 』, but rather the『Wife 』.
『Wife』is an official t.i.tle that isn’t a favorite mistress, but doesn’t possess various privileges that『Consort』holds. Luciela doesn’t have enough status to become a『Consort』
Although, this isn’t only a matter of status. In reality, there are a number of women who have become『Consort 』despite having lower status than Luciela.
However, Luciela will most likely never reach that position in her life. The Royal family will absolutely never acknowledge her as the『Consort 』.

There are reasons for this, of course.
The children which Luciela has given birth to in order from the oldest to youngest are Alan, Dior, Rael, Iris, and Erus…Alan is 27 years old and the last  Iris and Erus, the twins are 7 years old. Their father is, of course, the Duke Elsevelt.
“Hey, this looks strange age-wise”, or so many people might think. I mean, the second wife’s children are much older than the child of the first wife, after all.
However, this is really a simple thing. Plainly said, she has always been my father’s favorite mistress and after my mother died, she just became the second wife.
My father, Duke Elsevelt, became the fiance of the Princess when my mother, Princess Efinia, was born.
It was something that the Duke family had strongly desired and the royal family too, despite the difference in the two’s ages, didn’t reject it due to the political circ.u.mstances.
Although the 4 Great Duke families and the royal family have repeatedly married each other for generations, even within them, the spouses of Duke Elsevelt have always been royalties so it had been starting to become somewhat of an unwritten rule. 
That’s why they are called the spares of the royal family and if the Queen ascends the throne, the first candidates for the Prince Consort are always from the Elsevelt family.
It’s worth noting that when the Princess was born, he was already 15 years old and it was something that even the ducal family desired more than the Royal family.
This difference in age became the main cause for all the future events.

My father, Leonhart, fell in love with Luciela. the only daughter of the Earl Finos, when he was 20 years old.
At this point, my mother, Princess Efinia, was only 5 years old. Even if he had a fiancee, she was only 5 years old, so it was normal to think that it couldn’t be helped, and the matter between him and Luciela , even though it wasn’t welcome, was still pretty favorable overlooked.
Elsevelt was one of the most prominent n.o.bles in the Kingdom and for Earl Finos who was merely a feudal lord, her daughter getting the affection of the next Duke was something he couldn’t ask for more.
It’s not strange for the foul great dukes who marry the royalties to have a lover or two. Rather, it would be more unusual if they didn’t have any.
Eventually, a child was born between them.
That was the eldest son – Alan. After two years Dior was born and after yet another two years there was Rael…and 3 years after the twins, Iris and Erus were born…but the two weren’t married.
There was no way they could have married. Because he was the fiance of the Princess.
Nonetheless, Leonhart and Luciela were pretty much spouses at that point. That must’ve been so not only between them but to the other people too. Luciela was no longer just a mistress.
If he had other lovers too, it wouldn’t have become a problem. Regardless of whether he was suitable as the candidate who the Princess would marry to, it was not uncommon in any country to have several children with several lovers and if that was the case, matters wouldn’t become so complicated.
However, the Duke didn’t have other mistresses. It wasn’t like they were nonexistent, there were several women he had laid his hands on but that was it.
(….The most impressive thing was the rumors of the maids who even knew that there were other women he had slept with. That’s amazing, maids. Whose espionage network do you guys work?)
In my opinion, at this point, the Duke should’ve turned down the marriage with the Princess.
However, he didn’t do it…Although it seems like there were strategic and political matters along with other various things, personally, I consider his choice to be the worst.
And as for the result that was brought forth because of it…
(That’s where my mother’s tragedy that makes my current situation complicated comes into the play.)
The Princess of only 15 years of age was made to marry a man older than her by 15 years, who already had 5 children and a woman that was almost already treated as his wife…it was a tragedy for the Princess.
At the point, the only thing the Princess had won against Luciela was ger status.
In this case, youth can’t be used a weapon. Cheerful and lovely youngest Princess was popular with the citizens, but in the eyes of men, she was most likely reflected only as a child.
Womanly charm, calmness, and maturity…a 15 years old girl couldn’t possibly have something to fascinate men like that.
Besides, Luciela already had 5 children…she must have had the confidence of being loved.
…If there were at least 5 more years, that position might have been reversed.
From the portraits I’ve seen, the Princess possessed a marvelous beauty. I think the same when I see this face that was born from her too.

But the Princess didn’t have that time.

When I was born…the night when the Princess pa.s.sed away, the Duke was at the villa, at the birthday of the youngest children whom Luciela gave birth to.
He crushed the notice about his young wife’s water breaking during her first childbirth without calling off the party, continued ignoring the messengers from the main residence which visited many times and continued the party.
He prioritized the birthday celebration of his mistress’ child and because of that, couldn’t be in time for my birth.
Normally, fathers are the ones who name the children, but my mother was the one who gave me a name.
I think that it’s a very beautiful name. I really love my name, Alterie Lutiarne, which is also a pa.s.sage from the beginning of the Bible.
And Princess Efinia asked the cardinal from the State Church…currently the highest cardinal, Julius, who was there for the sake of my baptism.
『Please help me and this child go back to the royal capital. I don’t want to stay here anymore.』
That was her『last wish』
Because she took her last breath 1 hour after that.

『The last wish』was a very special thing.
According to the church’s teachings, 『last wish』must be definitely granted.
If it’s acknowledged as the『last wish』, the church will use all its power and authority to grant it, no matter what kind of obstacles stand before its fulfillment.
But, exactly because of this, there are strict rules for the『last wish』to be officially recognized. Otherwise, the people who were at the deathbed would make selfish requests by claiming that it was the last wish of the deceased.
It was because it was the night when I was born on…it was at that time when ironically all the conditions were met and the last wish was established.

By the way, those conditions are the following four.

Condition 1: Attendance of the high priest from the state church → Cardinal Julius.
Condition 2: Presence of two or more people with ranks higher than of a Knight→ Escort knights of the Princess, definitely more than 2
Condition 3: Presence of the in-laws and blood relatives of the deceased → Blood relatives: Myself, the child of the deceased and Archduke Keydia, her half-sibling/In-laws: The mother-in-law of the deceased and the wife of the former Duke Elsevelt; Earl Saudia, the brother-in-law of the deceased and his wife.
Condition 4: In case if the deceased is a n.o.ble, the attendance of the other n.o.ble that is neither the blood relative nor the in-law of the deceased → Earl Verni and Baron Farn who were messengers from the royal family, which was concerned about the Princess; childbirth,

Therefore, the Princess’ last wish was granted.
The next day, everything was already decided by the time when Duke rushed over.
Princess Efinia was buried at the royal family’s mausoleum and I was raised at the Elsevelt mansion in the capital.
A Married off Princess being buried in her own royal family mausoleum was something unprecedented, in the first place. I think that unprecedented event made it clear that there were some unspoken circ.u.mstances involved in approving that request, even if it was her final wish.
The mere 2 years of marriage life brought nothing but pain to the Princess.

“What should we do, Your Royal Highness? It’s an offer for a meeting within the family circle, but…”
While I was lost in thought, Lilia asked me once again.
(I want to meet the 3rd elder brother personally and thank him, but I feel like it’s better to do that and this separately.)
I slightly tilted my head and then shook it.
I’m not trying to be an ally of justice… And I don’t have Alterie’s memories… but still… there’s a part of me that can’t forgive the Duke and d.u.c.h.ess.
(I feel sorry for my mother…)
Something p.r.i.c.ked at the tip of my nose.
(I am…Alterie…)
Though this is a bit too late…even before this, I’ve been thinking that I am Alterie. But as expected, it doesn’t feel real, almost like I’m trying to convince myself of something.
But at those times, it really feels like I and Alterie are connected and I truly feel like I am her.
In this chest, there is a feeling that’s overflowing steadily…something akin to the sorrow.
Something that makes me want to cry, something that makes me want to scream.
It’s something that Izumi Maya, who doesn’t know this world, cannot possibly possess.
No matter how tragic you might think it is…you can let it pa.s.s, acting like it’s just the words of the stranger or a drama you are watching.
And yet, there is something piling up deep in my heart and I can’t ignore it.
I have only heard the stories but I don’t think I can ever forget it.
That’s why…..
(I will not meet you.)
After I shook my head once again, Lilia lowered her head with a somehow relieved expression.

—–
Notes:
Don’t you love it when you’re waiting for a fluffy cooking story but instead get a two-paragraph explanation of the names, royal hierarchy and an infuriating tale about a.s.shole duke and a sweet princess which deserved much, much better

Gads asked why was Alterie the sole successor of the duke and this chapter explains what’s happening in there

@me for any typos, mistranslations and awkward grammar pls

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Fake Cinderella Chapter 4 summary

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