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“Heir Presumptive”

It seems like in this country stew is the main dish for the dinner.
Yesterday it was a stew of a mysterious fish and the day before it was probably a pork stew.
And today it was a duck stew.
Seasoning consists mainly of salt and pepper, combined with several herbs.
Herbs are a bit not good for my taste. The scent is too strong. In addition, the salt worked too well and the duck meat has become too hard.
Even though it was a good duck meat with plenty of fat!
(A citrus marinated duck confit, then some duck and scallion noodles would be good. Better; maybe some charcoal grilled duck and scallions with some salted sauce…)

Ah, I really want them to let me cook. The precious duck is going to waste.
Compared to the Mr. Sweets Artisan from the daytime, the cook’s skills are drastically different.
No, I might just be picky, but…
But still, this quantity of herbs is unacceptable…I’m almost about to cry from the intensity of the fragrance.
(Do the preparation more carefully. That way the meat would become softer…and you wouldn’t have to cover up duck’s bad odor with the herbs…)
Duck has a distinct smell, which is both delicious and hopelessly bad. People who hate duck seem to be unable to stand this smell.
(I think that the sense of taste of people from this place isn’t that much different from mine.)
The things that we are used to eating, cultural differences, also the place, the people we are eating with, atmosphere…sense of taste is influenced by various factors, but『delicious』things should nevertheless still be『delicious.』
The basic rule for me is to『eat the seasonal food, at the optimal time, in the simple way that fully makes use of the taste of the ingredients.』
What creates a『delicacy』is not entirely high-grade ingredients or not even the skills of the artisan.
(Hunger is the best seasoning!)
Chanting those words like a spell, I started eating the bread.
White, soft bread. Hmm, this feels like Heidi’s white bread.

The lingering aroma of freshly baked bread was appetizing. I quite liked the solid wheatish taste I felt after chewing slowly. 
Actually, I’d love to have butter or jam with it too but that would be asking for too much. I don’t want to attract unnecessary attention so I decided to make due only with the bread.
Eating bread and Zade fried in butter and salt and drinking herbal water, I finished the meal.
(Sorry, it would be a torture for me to eat all of this….)
I don’t think I would be allowed to cook myself because of my current status as the young Princess, but I still want to say it.
(Please, let me cook! No, I’ll even compromise so please at least let me give directions!)
If that happens, I should be able to feel more appetite.

When the meal ends, it’s the start of the free time of the night.
The thing I have in my hand is the book Lilia brought me. The book about the history of this Kingdom…It seems like Alterie liked the history, since Lilia mostly brings me history books.
I’m grateful because this is the knowledge that’s necessary for the current me.
(….Alterie is an amazing girl)
Despite her being me, I end up being impressed as if she were an entirely different person.
I don’t have Alterie’s memories but I do have her knowledge.
Language is one of the things that unconsciously utilizes that knowledge.
It’s not Japanese for sure, but neither is it English or French that I kinda know and yet, I can understand it.
I have absolutely no problems with reading and writing and while there are things written in old…ancient language mixed in the history books which Lilia brings me, I have hardly any problems in understanding it.
It’s not like it’s being translated into Japanese in my mind. I properly think in the continental common language that’s used in the Dardinia.
It’s to the point that I didn’t even wonder about why I understood words that weren’t Japanese until a while ago.
Then there’s also the education that’s gradually coming back to me…for example, there are times when I would remember the techniques used to create a teacup after seeing it or the name of the stove. 
Furthermore, landmarks and the features of the land come to my mind when I heard the name of any place…this is undeniably Alterie’s knowledge.
I don’t know anybody I could compare her to so I can’t say for sure but wasn’t Alterie pretty knowledgeable for a 12 years old girl?

Though what I’m the most impressed with is that Alterie knew the full names of all her escort knights and the maids.
Knowing full name means also properly knowing their family lineage and social status and it’s a pretty important thing.
Because it means that she knew about each and every person by themselves.
I don’t think that it’s something one can easily do.
(Crown Princess, huh…)
Even if she was young, Alterie must’ve been fully aware of her standing as the spouse of the Crown Prince.
A lot of things that I couldn’t understand immediately when I first woke up, became more understandable after I’ve settled down. 
(And someday…)
I might even regain Alterie’s memories.
Although I am living carefree, in truth there are plenty of things I don’t know and everything keeps bewildering me.
It feels like I’ve been thrown into a dark room where I have to find my way by probing with hands.
However, as time goes on, Alterie overlaps with Maya.
It feels like things that lacked realism and somehow felt like a daydream, were clearly engraved in myself as evidenced by each passing day and the emerging knowledge 
Since knowledge is a part of the memories too, one day I might also completely stop doubting that I’m Alterie.
“We have prepared Lob Tea for the after-dinner tea.”
Lob tea is a tea that makes you feel refreshed when you drink it.
It tastes like roasted Green tea  + Oolong tea and always appears after eating something oily. Apparently it washes down the oil content. It’s something like Pu’er tea without the distinct strong taste.
(Thank you.)
After carrying out the tea, probably because she had other matters to take care of, Lilia left the room instead of waiting by my side.
I’m accustomed to eating alone so I didn’t particularly mind it.
I stood up to wash my sticky hands.
In truth, I’m supposed to call maids at those times, but there is also cleaning up needed to be done after my dinner and it’s also time for them to eat in turns so I refrained from doing so.
I put my hands on the door.
“…Her Royal Highness refused to meet with Duchess?”
“Sounds like so, but it’s only to be expected.”
“Well, I guess yeah. Even if it’s His Excellency, he can’t coerce Her Royal Highness.”
Hearing the man’s voice, I unintentionally stopped my hand.
It’s probably somebody from the guard knights. If I see their face I’ll immediately remember their name, but I can’t identify them properly with only the voice.
(Eh?  Is this way actually not the washroom but rather the corridor?)
Moving carefully to not open the door, I quietly returned to the opposite side.
After I finished washing my hands and came back to my seat, Ellelucia and Julia returned right away.
Since I had finished the after-meal tea, I folded the napkin that was at the bottom of my neck and put it on the table.
It was also the signal that the tea time had ended. The two began to clean up and I started to think a little bit about the words I heard a while ago.
The escort knights knew that I had refused a meeting with the Duchess.
And they also thought that it was a matter of course.
Their voices felt like they wanted to say that it was well deserved. 
(Well, they are Imperial Guards, after all…it’s not surprising.)
Imperial Guards are closer to the private army of the royal family. Although they are different according to the national law, generally it’s okay to think of them as the private army.
That’s how close they are to the royal family and due to the nature of the troops, it’s not surprising that they would have passionate loyalty towards them.
So, there are many people within them who grieve the death of Princess Effinia and don’t look favorable at the Duchess Luciela who was the reason of her passing.
(It was just too much, after all….)

6 months after my mother, the Princess, has deceased, the Duke immediately married Luciela as the second wife.
Originally, the formal mourning should have lasted for 3 years. 6 months is just provisional mourning.
In case of auspicious events,  provisional mourning is accepted and the earlier ending to the mourning is allowed, but in this case, as expected, they got criticised for being way too insensitive.
Certainly, marriage of one of the 4 great Dukes who support the Kingdom was a happy event, but it was something that had no way of happening if not for the demise of the Princess. It was gossiped about how it was almost as if they were waiting for the Princess’ death.
(Because it was a death that came way too early, it seems that there were also people who were questioning if it was an assassination…)
The small theaters and playhouses would immediately turn the events that became hot topics into a play, but a program satirizing the Duke and the Duchess where Princess was depicted as having been poisoned by the two, became the most popular popular.
Of course, the names were changed and their ranks were changed to Earl and Countess too, but everybody knew who the characters were modeled after.
In actuality, the Princess’ death was due to the childbirth, but it’s not strange that the people would think contrary.

Official marriage of the four great Dukes needs the King’s permission.
When Luciela and the Duke married, the conditions that the King gave them in exchange for the permission were the marriage between me and the Crown Prince and for the Duke to abandon all rights concerning me.
(Important part here is that it’s the Duke’s side that had to abandon their rights over me, while I still kept all my rights over the Duke’s family.)
Duke’s side accepted this unconditionally.
Duke’s side would lose a variety of rights over the daughter that the Princess gave birth to, but more than that, there was a reason why he had to officially marry Luciela.
Besides, in the political perspective, his daughter becoming Crown Princess  was the best thing one could ask for. The Duke might have had the smarts to think that a daughter was a daughter even if she wasn’t the one he had rights over.
The  marriage between me and the Crown Prince was something highly beneficial for him.
No doubt, at that time he couldn’t possibly have known that this marriage would become his greatest blunder and skew his calculations.
(Smart people really do make stupid mistakes from time to time.)

On the other hand, it is said that His Majesty the Kind was so angry that he didn’t even have a sliver of political judgement at that time.  In the first place, His Majesty was a person who was unrelated to the politics.
Aimless anger of the older brother which let his half-sister die while in misfortune, manifested in burying his sister which had already married into different family in the mausoleum​ of the royal family and fully taking away the daughter she gave birth to from her father’s hands. 
And almost as if rubbing it in the face of the Duke, His Majesty held the marriage of me and His Highness Nadir when I turned 7 months old.
Normally, in this kinds of cases, first the engagement would happen and then after certain age, it would progress into marriage. However, using Princess Effinia’s case as an example, His Majesty shut off everybody who opposed to the marriage by using age as an excuse, saying that such a mistake shouldn’t be allowed to happen once again.
It has been decided that the official marriage ceremony would happen once again after I’d reached the age, but anything besides that was held legitimately.
In other words, my marriage has been officially acknowledged by the church and the Kingdom.
(The one most troubled is probably the Crown prince, the person concerned. To be married at the age of 15, moreover to a 7 months old partner…)
His Majesty the Kind couldn’t forgive things that happened to his beloved younger sister. That’s why he placed me, the one she left behind, under his protection and thereafter avoided making me get involved with the Elsevelts. 
The lengths His Majesty went to accommodate me served as a way to vent his frustrations toward the Duke.
even if the Crown Princess didn’t usually have a palace of her own, he went out of his way to build one for me,  and what’s more, as a wedding gift, he even declared the Al-Baizel to be my territory. – the very city that had been under the custody of the royal family for many years, ever since the last feudal lord’s household ceased to exist over twenty years ago due to the lack of a legitimate successor.
Usually, it was something like a custom for the palace building expenses to be covered by the consort’s household as a wedding gift, and frankly speaking, Al-Baizel was a city that the household of the Duke Elzevelt had long since hoped to make theirs as their domain lacked any large port cities, and giving it to me despite of that fact was a clear proof of how fierce his harassment was to them.
Moreover, he’s been so thorough that this was the first time I’ve visited this castle where I was born and immediately left even though it was my birthplace and the house.
(In my opinion…)
It would be better if the Duke waited for at least 3 more years.
Leaving aside what I myself feel about him loving his mistress more than his wife, the people of this kingdom would most likely not blame him that much. Especially the people of  the noble rank.
 However, the Duke’s treatment of the Princess was just too much.
There weren’t many people who would directly criticize the Duke Elsevelt, one of the Great nobles of the Kingdom, yet the tragedy of the youngest Princess who was beloved by the citizens, was turned not only into a play, but also a song of a minstrel and spread to other Kingdoms.
But the Duke at that time had a reason why he couldn’t wait no matter what.
(Luciela’s pregnancy…)
At that time, Luciela was pregnant for the 5th time.
The national law of the Dardinia Kingdom allowed succession only to the children from the official marriage.
Therefore, no matter how much the Duke acknowledged his five sons birthed by Luciela, they could only be illegitimate children, unable to inherit the peerage, the assets or the land.
It’s not entirely impossible to be retroactively made into a legitimate child, but in that case it was essential to officially marry the woman who gave birth to the illegitimate child in question right after the birth.
(But that was absolutely impossible for the Duke…)
Because, he was the Princess’ official fiance ever since she was born.
Consequently, I don’t know how many people realized, but at that time, only Alterie had the inheritance rights​ over the Ducal family of Elsevelt.
(Though it’s just an unwelcome fortune.)
National law only allows the right of succession to the legitimate children. This is absolute and not even His Majesty the King can overrule it.
For example, if His Majesty had the children from the mistress, they wouldn’t be able to inherit the throne.
That’s why the Duke couldn’t allow the child in Luciela’s womb to be illegitimate. No matter how much infamy he gained, he had to hurry and get married….in order to make the born child legitimate.
(And then…)
Luciela gave birth to a son just before I turned one years old.
….However, it was stillborn.
After that, Luciela got pregnant several times again…but each time, she had a miscarriage.
It’s a well known fact that once you miscarry once, it gets easier to have another miscarriage.
Luciela never gave birth thereafter.
And currently, there is something clear to everybody.

『Crown Princess Alterie is the only heir to the Elsevelt family』

Around the time when he was marrying Luciela, the Duke abandoned all of his rights regarding Alterie, making her no different from being the daughter of the royal family rather than the daughter of the Elsevelts.
However, it’s an undeniable truth that Alterie is the Duke Elsevelt’s only legitimate child and it has become something with a very important meaning.
(It’s been said that Luciela is now 41 years old. It’s not the age where she definitely won’t be able to give birth but it’s probably unlikely)
One of my friends was a nurse so I’ve heard about it. Miscarriage can become a habit. Not to mention, giving birth at 41 would already be considered a late childbirth. Thinking about the medical care here too, it would most likely be impossible.
That’s why, unless the Duke divorces Luciela and welcomes a new wife or consort in, he will never have another legitimate child other than Alterie.
(In other words, the King’s revenge created an unexpected trump card.)
If the Duke does not acquire another legitimate child, everything he has will become not only Alterie’s…but also the royal family’s possession.
The Duke can establish a branch family with his illegitimate children and distribute the property between them. However, it has detailed regulations according to the law of the Kingdom, and to put simply, requires the consent of the legitimate child…the next Duke, to proceed.
Alterie can’t serve as both the Crown Princess and Duchess Elsevelt, so she can’t be the official successor of the Ducal family.
Nevertheless, she is an heir presumptive and currently fulfills her role as a stand-in for the heir apparent that she will eventually give birth to.
The second child Alterie gives birth to will, unconditionally, become the next Duke Elsevelt from the moment he or she is born.
Well, since I,  the vital person, am still the 12 years old, this is still a faraway fantasy though.

“Princess, it is about time to take a bath. Hot water is ready.”

I was taken aback by Lilia’s voice. I ended up thinking too much.Towards the bad direction.
I nodded to convey that I understood and rose up.
Unlike the other world, over here even taking a bath is troublesome. It’s troublesome for the people preparing the hot water and it’s also troublesome for the person taking bath.
It’s embarrassing but they won’t let me enter alone.
I’m enduring, comforting myself by thinking that it’s basically same as bathing together with other girls.
(….Hm? Come to think about it, how do I get in touch with the royal family?)
I wondered about it for a short while, but once I entered the math, I entirely forgot about it.

……Though I regretted it a lot later.

You asked and I shall deliver.

About the title: It’s properly explained in the chapter too, but in case you still aren’t entirely sure, heir presumptive is a person who is scheduled to inherit throne, peerage or other hereditary honour but can be displaced due birth of an heir apparent or of a new heir presumptive with a better claim to the position in question. In this case, Alterie is heir presumptive and not the heir apparent because she’s just warming up a seat for her future child.

Stew is 煮込み料理
I can’t vouch that the pictures are 100% what Alterie is describing but they’re the closest from what I could find.
Confit comes from the French word “Confire” which literally means “to preserve”. In this case confit means food that has been cooked slowly for a long time.
Noodles with duck meat and Welsh onions is 鴨南蛮, or at least that’s what the dictionary gave me.
Heidi’s white bread(ハイジの白パン) – I did include the picture but if you still have no idea where that’s from, it’s a reference to the anime called ““
教養 can be education, culture, breeding (not the literal physical one).
ロブ茶 – Lob tea or possibly Lov tea
エルルーシア wtf kind of name is this
Auspicious events – 慶事

I’m not really liking the pacing here, randomly switching from gushing about the food to dumping exposition on us. Nothing’s really happening so far and I’m pretty bored out of my mind.

There are definitely mistranslated parts here so if you are reading raws please do point them out. Don’t forget to mention the typos and grammar either pls

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