“How was your vacation?”
“I went to the sea!! It was super huge~”
Everyone was talking about their vacation when the new academy year starts. Me? I didn’t take that much time off, but I did go to a lake near the Capital with my family. Nothing of interest happened while there, so I fell asleep in the afternoon out of boredom, though.
I was currently in the Elementary class. I’m here most of the time. I have to move to the Special class for half of my classes, but I belong here.
I feel at home here. There are some exceptions that create a disturbing atmosphere, but it’s just a group of kids. Compared to the cunning nobles and some of the more ill-natured students, they just talk behind my back and do no harm… so far.
Besides, I’ve made friends over here!! Friends of the same age!! It was my first experience in my life. I was so flustered when I was told I was their friend, and Alicia was also silently sobbing behind me.
When I told her later that there was no need for her to cry, she just cried and wailed, “But Princess made me friends!! And of the same age!!”
She seemed to be very worried about the fact that all my acquaintances were older than her. But this was inevitable. There are no nobles in Arland who are the same age as me. They say it’s because the blessing of the Spirits or something, but I don’t know the details. It can’t be a coincidence… can it? It’s obviously strange that there are so many nobles there, but not a single one of them is the same age as me.
Well, there are… people who have enough free time to investigate such a phenomenon that is not disadvantageous to anyone but me. I don’t really care, though. I’ve been surrounded by adults since I was born anyway, and I’ve never felt lonely because I’ve been surrounded by good people.
“A~lice!! Long time no see!!”
The girl who jumped at me was Anon Sheffield.
She has chestnut-colored hair that reached to her shoulders, which is basically impossible for a daughter of a noble. Basically, noble women grow their hair long. It was a symbol of status and power. In this world, if you don’t have money, you can’t maintain long hair. Even if they grow their hair long, it will become shaggy and shabby because of the harshness of daily life.
However, she refused to let long hair get in the way, and only let it grow to her shoulders… apparently, it was her parents who begged her to let it grow at least to the shoulder-length. She is a very energetic girl. She is our core member.
She is the only daughter of a Knight Sheffield’s household, and she herself knows how to use a sword. In fact, she is considered a genius in this country. Anon lamented that she can’t beat my Big brother, but it’s too pitiful to compare her with my Big brother. But she is capable of putting up a good fight even against the soldiers of Arland.
I heard that my Big brother also knows her by name. He said that since she is the same age as me and has such great skills with the sword, he praised her a talented person with a very promising future.
“I bet you were scolded for misbehaving again. What did you do this time?”
It makes me sad that I can’t argue with her. Because I am guilty, and that’s why I even refused to leave.
“Anon was in a bad mood because she couldn’t see you. You left for home right away, Alice.”
As I was squirming in her hold, I heard a dignified voice from nearby.
This voice was Keena’s, wasn’t it? I heard that she was the second daughter of the Viscount Lilium family, but I have no idea about the aristocratic situation in this country, so I don’t know this family at all. As I recall, she said they had a hereditary position in finances.
She is a kind of class president-like person. A pretty girl who looks good in glasses. She is basically a serious girl who hates doing bad things, although her only flaw is her sharp eyes that makes people mistake her for a villainess. She has scarlet hair, just like her scarlet eyes, and her hair was tied up in a string.
“I want you to complain to Alicia behind me about that. I resisted to the end, but she even used sleeping pills on me and just took me away.”
They both looked at Alicia with a reproachful look. Well, that’s usually too much. It’s an action beyond the abilities of a maid, but the two know that I adore Alicia, so they don’t complain in particular.
However, it seems that they have their own thoughts and there is a certain amount of distance between them. I would like them to get along a little better, but it is Alicia who is out of the reach of what a maid is supposed to do… but I want them to understand, it is not Alicia’s fault. She crosses that point only when she has to.
“… Well, it can’t be helped since you are busy as always, but please at least give a word before leaving. I was just thinking of shopping in town with you…”
“I can’t help it. If I don’t come back, my Father won’t do his job.”
Father was the one behind the strong-arm tactics. He thought that if he left me alone, I would not come back until graduation for fear of being punished. In fact, if they hadn’t forcefully brought me back, I truly might not have returned until graduation… there was about a 30% chance.
“Your father is definitely a strange person, Alice.”
“I’m often told that.”
Anon, Keena, and Sharon, who is not here now… Sharon will not be back until later due to family reasons, but these three are my friends.
Anon was the one who approached me when I was alone after entering the class, and the other two were her childhood friends, so we naturally became friends.
I was flustered and aghast at first, but that was unexpected to the three of them, and they laughed at me grandly… Alicia was laughing behind me too. They are terrible people. Because I was a complete stranger to them… and I had never had the opportunity to be approached by someone my own age of the same gender, you know? I’m misrepresenting my age by about one year or two at the academy, so I’m treated as a recluse, or a sheltered girl.
In case you are wondering, the reason we are misleading everyone is because I am the only child of the nobility born in the year of my birth. Therefore, to avoid being discovered, I am now acting as a 9 years old.
The students in my class are aged about 9… or rather, the schools in this world are not divided according to age, so there is some variation.