Fairy Tale Parody 『Cinderella』 part two
Bam. The sound of a fist smacking a table resounded inside the elegant office.
The lone person in the room, who had an irritated expression on his face, was the neighboring country’s prince, Shade.
Though Shade was a prince well-known for his good looks and sociable character, the signs of exhaustion and unbridled frustration were evident even on his face right now. Which wasn’t at all surprising. After all, he was now away from his own country to look for his elder sister who had encountered a kidnapper and been missing for two years.
Their father, Kaffir, had been searching all over the country with Shade during these two years. They walked as far as their feet could take them and visited every nook and corner in search of the missing princess.
However, the result bore no fruit.
Shade visited the neighboring country with a heart weighing with overwhelming concern and hope that he wouldn’t find proof of his royal sister’s death. In place of his father who couldn’t leave the country, he decided to head as far as the neighboring country to spread the search operation.
It was because Wolfgang, this country’s crown prince, was someone deeply tied to his royal sister through fate. Had his royal sister, Lycoris, not encountered a kidnapper, she would’ve already been introduced as his fiancee. The two countries’ diplomatic ties ran deep and it was easy to travel to and fro between them. Shade staked a small glimmer of hope that maybe he could find his elder sister, who he couldn’t find in his own country, in this one.
A ball with a pretext to 『decide the crown prince’s spouse』 was held about a month ago. The King hosted this for Shade in order to find Lycoris. Under his royal command, girls of the same age as Lycoris had been gathered from all over the country. However, his dear sister wasn’t among them.
The only method left for Shade was straight-up information gathering and investigation. That… wasn’t going quite well either. Right now, the reports coming back to him were that 『there was no report of a girl similar to Lycoris in the area』.
The words 『then she’s already…』and the words 『there’s still hope』 clashed with each other inside Shade’s heart.
It was at that time…
A knock sounded in the office, and a tall, young man entered.
Black hair and violet eyes. It was this country’s crown prince, Wolfgang.
Wolfgang came here to bring a certain piece of information to the dispirited Shade.
「Shade. Did you receive the list of people who didn’t attend the ball a month ago?」
「……Yeah. I got it right after the ball」
「I came to know that there was someone who wasn’t on that list」
After Shade took in his words, Wolfgang almost couldn’t bear to look at the ray of hope that ignited in Shade’s fierce red orbs, out of pity.
If it was his father, his sole family member, who’d gone missing… Wolfgang would probably have done the exact same thing as Shade and continued searching, even if went on forever. He’d cling on to whatever hope was given to him, no matter how small the chances may seem to an outsider.
「There’s a girl named Lily who lives in a mansion at the outskirts. She wasn’t on the list because her family hadn’t reported she’d be absent. But then again, I hear she has golden hair and green eyes……」
「External features can be changed. In any case, I’ll meet her and have a look」
Contrary to Shade’s clear response, he looked worn down. Perhaps it was because Wolfgang ended up seeing him in this state that the words 「I’ll accompany you」 flew out from his mouth.
The two left the castle without their guards and finally arrived at the intended mansion shortly afterward.
It was quite a large but dilapidated mansion. It looks like the fence surrounding the mansion and the like would fall apart just by touching it.
It was at that exact moment a figure emerged from the mansion.
The two princes would have no way of knowing this, but it was the maid who visited Lycoris to help Lily. Carrying a basket in one hand, she came closer to the fence while paying careful attention to her surroundings.
When Shade called out 「Excuse me!」 with as bright of a voice as he could muster, the maid looked startled and sent the pair a suspicious glance. Judging from her reaction, the mansion probably doesn’t get many guests.
「There’s something I’d like to ask, but I wonder if it’s alright? Do you happen to be a servant of this mansion？」
Shade plastered on a broad, amiable smile. No matter what was going on in his mind, his outward appearance looked absolutely cheery.
「Y-yes. Well, I am, but……」
Even if it hadn’t removed her wariness, it seems the maid became inclined to speak with Shade.
「Actually, I’m looking for someone……She’s a girl right about the same age as me with golden hair and green eyes……」
「…………May I know what sort of business do you have with her？」
Shade tilted his head to the side embarrassedly, and with a bashful smile on his face, said:
「……I fell in love with her at first sight. I happened to see her figure in this neighborhood and couldn’t get her out of my head since. I heard from hearsay that a lady fitting the description lived here so……。Of course, I don’t mean to force her. But, if I could just see her. If I could just have a few words with her at least……」
Wolfgang ended up more impressed than flabbergasted. He was amazed at how Shade could keep spouting lies after lies, chock full of emotion.
As for the maid, she looked like she now firmly believed in Shade’s act of an 『inexperienced, love-struck, young lad』. Looking at their appearance, it was evident that the two young men were people who were living good lives.
「Well……。Miss Lily is a cute girl, so I suppose these sort of things happen too」
「’Lily’… so that’s her name…? Would you perhaps allow me to meet with her？」
「But, I have to ask her about it… She isn’t at the mansion right now」
「I’ll gladly wait however long it takes」
「Eh? Aah, is that so. But……」
The maid, who, for some reason, had been deep in thought with an expression indicating there was more to this than meets the eye, finally gave Shade this suggestion.
「Today is inconvenient for her. Please come around at this time again tomorrow. The young miss, herself, will decide whether she’ll meet with you or not before then」
With an immediate response of 「Got it」, Shade gave a broad smile, conveyed（with a naturally fake persona) how he understood that it was because he had this sort of origin and withdrew.
Of course, that was just for show.
Now, unaware that she was being tailed by the two young men, the maid continued on her way to the witch’s house.
Lily’s mother hadn’t opposed when Lily decided to live with the 『good witch』.
There would be one less person to feed and there would no longer be a daughter to inherit the house. After weighing those two factors in, it seems she worked out that it was a good opportunity to get rid of a nuisance.
The maid now found spare time at work to enter the forest under the guise of looking for wild berries and nuts. Sneakily concealing souvenirs of pastries in her basket.
The path she traveled on often in the past month was something the maid had gotten used to. So long as she carried the scented bag she got from Lycoris, she will never get attacked by the animals inside the forest.
The maid’s stride turned into a bounce. She was looking forward to informing the ladies about the pair of young men she met a while ago. She was a woman who also loved tales of beautiful young men and love.
Halfway along the path in the forest, the maid spotted two shadows walking towards her direction. It was a pair wearing long hooded cloaks that Lycoris calls a 『magician uniform』.
Truth is, the maid was dissatisfied with their outfits that didn’t exude an ounce of sex appeal. The maid’s precious young misses, which wasn’t limited to Lily but also Lycoris, were young, beautiful women. It wouldn’t kill them to wear slightly more glamorous outfits.
「You two!」, when the maid called out, the pair noticed her and waved their hands at her.
「I was just about to visit. Where are the two of you heading off to？」
The maid started talking loudly to the pair who were still a little far away.
「There’s a job request. I’m even allowed to come along as a disciple！」
Lily answered, looking a little jolly, and Lycoris also gave a friendly smile.
「I’m thinking of taking on several more requests. I did get a reliable disciple」
After hearing that, Prince Shade could no longer stay still.
Shade leapt out from the shadows and started running up to Lycoris in a beeline. How overwhelming must have been the happiness in his heart!
But the one who displayed the most remarkable reaction of them all over his behavior — perhaps due to something called wisdom from age– was the elderly maid.
She tripped Shade, who tried to run towards Lycoris and Lily, and climbed on top of him without waiting for him to get his bearings and said:
「Unbelievable! You actually tailed me! To think, I actually thought you were a good young man!」
Once she said this, looking indignantly, she turned to the girls and warned them.
「Please run away, misses! I’ll deal with this hooligan somehow！」
With the maid’s reliable push on the back, the pair turned their heels.
However, the princes couldn’t let the pair get away from here either. Wolfgang started to chase their retreating forms.
Although they didn’t quite understand the situation, Lycoris and Lily had the advantage. The pair decided to escape in different directions to confuse him.
Now, here came the problem.
The one who had the problem was Prince Wolf.
He didn’t know the figure or voice of the person who should’ve become his fiancee.
The princess was abducted before he could meet her face-to-face. What’s more, because Lycoris’s father, King Kaffir, was stingy on his daughter’s portraits, he hasn’t even seen her on a portrait.
Still, he knew that her eyes and hair were both black, at least. But the young women were both wearing hoods over their eyes. Inside the forest where the trees obstruct the light, it was impossible to distinguish the pair’s eye colors.
Nevertheless, Wolfgang didn’t commit the folly of stopping his chase just because he was troubled over which one to follow of the pair that split up.
In other words, he followed his instincts and pursued the one that caught his eye to the best of his abilities.
Being the one getting chased, Lycoris was honestly rattled.
A tall, unknown young man in black was wholeheartedly chasing after her.
It was a justifiably terrifying experience. Her heart was pounding like crazy. She couldn’t even afford to scream.
Since their stride and physical endurance were poles apart, before long, the gap between the two steadily grew narrower, and finally, Wolfgang caught the escaping Lycoris by the arm.
And around nearly the same time, a fierce cry reverberated inside the forest.
「Don’t touch Lycoris！！」
The owner of the cry was Lily.
A strong gust of wind, that suddenly brushed aside the cool breeze, swept across the forest. Her talent was exquisite. However, given that she only started learning a month ago, Lily’s magic was still lacking in control.
Hit by the strong gust of wind, Wolfgang and Lycoris lost their balance. Though to be exact, the one who lost the most balance was Lycoris.
It became a disaster because there was a tiny bump in the road beside the two. With her eyes shut, Lycoris tripped on the bump right away, unaware that Wolfgang caught her in his arms to shield her from harm.
After getting tangled up and tumbling down, the pair skidded to a halt on top of a carpet of grass on which sunlight was streaming onto through the trees.
And so, Wolfgang and Lycoris, whose hood fell down during her stumble, saw each others’ faces up close for the very first time.
Having easily sat up and paused, Wolfgang was now supporting the back of Lycoris’s head with his right hand. Thanks to that, they were extremely up close. No doubt, close enough to feel the other’s breathing. Although it was clearly an inappropriate distance for a man and woman of the same age who’d only just met, they didn’t try to distance themselves from the other.
This was because by peering into Wolfgang’s violet eyes, Lycoris was assaulted by a sense of deja vu strong enough to deprive her of thoughts.
『What bewitching violet eyes』
‘I’m sure I said that sort of phrase once before’, Lycoris thought.
It wasn’t long ago when Lycoris thought of Wolfgang as 『an unknown young man』, but she had, in fact, seen his portrait many times in the past.
The king wasn’t stingy with his son’s portraits, so he often has portraits painted of his son, Wolfgang, and sends them to Lycoris.
As she witnessed the young boy gradually growing up through the paintings, Lycoris nurtured the small love that budded in her heart.
It was at that time… that the previous 『good magician』 discovered Lycoris.
Her predecessor also saw through that the young girl in front of her– Lycoris, was someone who should become her disciple according to fate. And so, the magician brought Lycoris home in order to pass on the wisdom dwelling in her withering, old bones.
…all without permission from Lycoris’s family.
In short, it was an abduction.
It was an occupation that one could do nothing about even if they get called 『evil witches』 . You could say that was a good example of something predetermined which causes a great deal of trouble to others from time to time.
The witch cast a spell for Lycoris to forget her past. Of course, the witch was still human. It wasn’t a spell that erases the memories of the past, but a spell that prevents one from forcibly recalling their past until something triggers it.
And so, around three months ago, after passing on a wealth of knowledge to Lycoris, whose memorization skills, at least, was acceptable, in just a short span of two years, her predecessor died a natural death.
Now, while Lycoris was lost in thought while staring into Wolfgang’s eyes, Wolfgang naturally continued to look into Lycoris’s eyes as well.
There was no longer any doubt that this girl with black hair and black eyes was the neighboring country’s princess. It hadn’t quite occurred to him before this encounter that this was his own fiancee. Seeing her in front of him, Wolfgang was perplexed.
He couldn’t take his eyes off her.
An indescribable feeling swelled up inside him for the girl who was meekly settled in his arms. It was something that Wolfgang has never felt before.
If pushed to describe the feeling, it was the sort that felt as if 「no matter what happens, he didn’t want to let go this hand」.
And Wolfgang was a very decisive man.
「Oi, Wolfgang, quit fooling around, get away from her! Father may very well collapse next if there’s a huge lump like you sticking to Lycoris when she comes home! Even though you were acting like you were only concerned out of obligation till just now! You closet pervert!」
Said the neighboring prince who raged on and on.
「I’m sorry Lycoris! Please forgive me! Don’t hate me！」
Said the witch’s disciple who was in a panic for getting Lycoris in this mess with her magic.
It seems there’s still a long way to go before this situation gets settled, but the story will be brought to a close here.
They all lived happily ever after.
Art is… probably the pumpkin being raised at Lily’s house.
Only he’s yellow.
If he’d appeared in the story, he’d be the really noisy carriage.