Aristocratic Daughters Volume 1 Chapter 4 part 3

When I turned towards the voice—my eyes met those of a male student studying in the reading area.

With short, well-groomed red hair and beautiful purple eyes, he had some features resembling Elena.

(Huh? This guy seems kinda familiar but also not… Where have I seen him before?)

I sensed something vague about him from Byleth’s memories.

“……”

“……”

We silently held each other’s gaze the whole time. The awkwardness of the wordless situation just continued flowing.

(Ah… This is that thing, isn’t it? I don’t know him but he knows me… That [Eep] must’ve come from him, plus he’s staring right at me…)

No certainty, but naturally this fit the circumstances. I could think of no other rationale.

So I had no choice but to conduct myself without being rude.

“Yo~!”

I greeted him casually and openly, as if hinting [Of course I know who you are].


Scene Transition

“G-Good day… Master Byleth.”

The one who returned Byleth’s greeting—Alan’s heart was pounding rapidly. His whole body was blaring evacuation alerts.

(Wha-!? Why is the eldest son of the Marquis family, Master Byleth, in a place like this…!?)

There had never been any information about Byleth using the library.

Alan was facing an unexpected, improbable situation.

“Studying this early, huh? That’s admirable~.”

“N-No, nothing like that…!”

Alan waved his hands in refusal while leaning back to create distance.

(Sister told me not to blindly believe rumors, but still, impossible! His presence is intimidating! And that lingering voice is scary too!)

Byleth slowly approached while grinning. Sensing something sinister behind him, Alan’s face paled.

“Ehh~? No need to be so modest. What are you studying now?”

“I-It’s…business related.”

“Business!? Wow, business?”

Byleth finally stood right in front of him.

Unable to call for help in this situation, unpleasant premonitions ceaselessly welled up.

“Actually, I happened to hear that an acquaintance’s little brother is struggling with business matters too. I know it’s rude, but could I take a quick look at what you’re studying for reference? If that’s alright?”

“Mm…”

(He intends to ruin my notebook…!? I know your rumors, after all…!)

“I guess not?”

“N-No, I…! P-Please, go ahead!”

(Even knowing that, I can’t refuse…! There’s no way I can!)

Marquis and Viscount families. He held the superior position.

And this was cutting off my own tail. I handed over, with a trembling hand, my precious crystallization of studying to protect myself…to Byleth.

I had to suppress my anger at what was about to happen… And in the instant I steeled my resolve—

“Really sorry about this out of the blue. Thank you.”

“Eh!?”

Byleth, who lightly bowed his head apologetically as he accepted it, entered my vision.

(Huh? Just now he…bowed his head to me? Even though his status is higher than mine…?)

This was no mistake. The proof was Byleth carefully turning the pages without creasing them as he read, being mindful not to damage the notebook.

(For this to happen… For this to…)

A manner contrary to the bad rumors. It was a shock like being bashed in the head with a sledgehammer.

“Hey, how long have you been studying this stuff?”

“I’ve been…since I was twelve.”

“Twelve!?”

“Y-Yes…”

(Will he say [Too late. Do you even wanna do this?] Or [It’s impossible for you.]…)

I imagined negative reactions, but that was needless worry.

“Wow, that’s really impressive. Seeing the content, I can tell how hard you’ve worked. And that you continue studying daily, of course.”

“Huh…”

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“Recapping it neatly so you can review, making notes about parts you don’t understand. Not to put myself down, but I couldn’t imitate this if I tried.”

With a serious expression, he spoke sincerely without a hint of flattery. I was at a loss for words. I could tell he really meant it.

(Those bad rumors were totally bogus. To think he was such a humble, magnanimous person…)

“With this much studying under your belt, I figure you can hold your own knowledge-wise to a degree, right? At a glance, it seems you’ve covered a fairly wide range.”

“N-No, I still have a long way to go…”

“Is that so? But this diligence will surely be rewarded someday. Not just anyone could put in this much effort.”

“Th-Thank you for your kind words!”

“No, no. Oh, and thanks for showing me. It puts me at ease that my acquaintance’s little brother has worked about as hard.”

Without an overbearing attitude or malice, he praised my efforts.

Furthermore, seeing Byleth worry about his acquaintance’s little brother completely changed my impression.

(What sister said was true…)

[…He’s kind, you know? He might be an unexpectedly good guy.]

[Byleth is just awkward. Some other noble is likely working hard to damage the Marquis’s reputation.]

My sister’s words from last night crossed my mind.

(Those bad rumors were totally false. Because he doesn’t have any real faults, the only way to ruin his reputation is to spread nasty gossip…)

Meeting him like this let me understand with conviction. This was the moment the dots connected.

“By the way, you’re not doing this because your father or mother forced you, right? You chose to do it yourself, correct?”

“Yes, of course.”

“In that case, isn’t your struggle more related to the foundation rather than knowledge?

“The…foundation?”

“Yeah. To give a simple example, conceptual stuff. Areas you have to think up yourself. I’m sure you’ve considered things to a degree, but you tried to gain more and more knowledge to explore whether that’s really right, no?”

“Ah!”

“Oh? Sounds like I’m on the mark, judging from what I saw. That’s what I figured.”

Having my innermost thoughts seen through and getting smiled at, I no longer felt an ounce of fear towards him in my heart.

(Just who is Master Byleth!? There’s no way he should be able to deduce so much in such a short time…)

I was flabbergasted. Someone so astute deserved a completely different rumor, like that [Book-Devouring Genius] Luna Peremmer.

The fact no such rumor existed meant he must be trying to spend his days peacefully without standing out.

But nobles who knew his ability feared him and sought to ruin his reputation.

(If it’s Master Byleth, then maybe I can rely on him…)

Just moments ago I had regarded him as wicked and kept my distance. Even so—

“Um, M-Master Byleth…I apologize for my rudeness, but if you have time, could you please listen to my proposal…?”

I nervously made the request. And deeply lowered my head.

“Huh? Oh, sure. No guarantees I can help, but go ahead if you’re fine with that.”

“Ah, thank you so much!”

(Even though he must’ve noticed me avoiding him, he accepts so readily… How merciful Master Byleth is…)

“Then pardon me for taking this front seat.”

“Ah, I’ll move the chair so…”

“No need, I can handle that much myself. I’m happy to advise you of my own volition.”

“!”

With those words, Alan became even more certain. That the bad rumors were false.

(I was mistaken… Please forgive me.)

Alan deeply reflected in his heart, then flipped a switch. To seize every second for himself, he faced Byleth with a serious expression.

──Completely oblivious to the girl watching the scene from between the bookshelves.


Scene Transition

(Hmm… I wonder who this handsome guy really is… He wouldn’t ask a stranger for consultation if he wasn’t acquainted with Byleth… I’ve gotta remember him quick or I’m so screwed…)

If he asked me [You know who I am, right?], I’d be totally busted.

While facing him, I was listening to their talk drenched in cold sweat.

“Well, you see… My father wants me to take charge of a new store,” he began.

“Huh, at your age?”

“Yes. My father and mother run several restaurants, so…”

“I see… That’s why you started studying so young even with circumstances like that.”

(His story kinda resembles what Elena told me, but that has to be my imagination…right?)

Red hair. Purple eyes. He did have some points resembling Elena.

If told we looked alike, I might also feel we did a little, but our personalities seemed quite different.

Plus, if he was Elena’s brother, Byleth would have those memories.

While his identity intrigued me, probing into it now would definitely make him feel uncomfortable.

For the time being, I had to lead the conversation to avoid him asking [You know who I am, right?].

“Anyway, moving on to the main issue, could you tell me what kind of shop you envision? That’s likely one of your sticking points too.”

“Understood.”

After a clear-cut reply, he began speaking…..





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