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   “What should I make today?”

   Night time, in the kitchen.
   I held cooking utensils in one hand, troubled.

   “Anything made by Princess Rosemarie will become a gem of superior quality.”


   “Yes, m’lady?”

   “Be quiet.”

   “By your will.”

   I sighed.
   Today, same as ever, I was accompanied by my bothersome guard knight.

   Why did he have to turn out so weird?
   Inside the game, unless you flipped his masochist switch, he was normally such a great guy. The Klaus now had a faint stench of disappointment.

   As you could expect of someone called a love interest, only his appearance was top-class, and the rest was spoiled by his words and actions. If I left him alone, he’d start to spout nonsense over every small event like he did earlier. It was seriously annoying.
   Praising a little girl at each and every opportunity, for whose sake exactly was this handsome guy doing that?

   My mental fatigue was extreme from being stuck with Klaus until night, but…I can’t complain very much right now.
   At any rate, the one saying selfish things was me.

   The method to shorten the distance between me and Lutz through his stomach has proven to be unexpectedly effective.

   Theo told me that Lutz loved sweet things, so I first asked the chefs to make sweets. The refreshments they created were quite splendid, but…how should I put it delicately? Oh, blast it! They’re not fit for consumption. Why don’t I make it myself, then? I thought, but there was no way the princess would be allowed in the kitchen.

   That was when Klaus stepped in.
   He was the one who set things up and made it possible for me to use the kitchen in the dead of night. On the condition that I would have to be accompanied by him at all times.

   “I’ve made steamed bread before…”

   Yomogi steamed bread were quite the hit.
   There were no adzuki red beans so I cut up sweet potatoes instead to mix in, but Lutz still seemed to eat it with great relish.

   Of course, he liked cookies and madeleines, too. To my surprise, however, I noticed that he preferred Japanese-styled sweets more, so I tried to make red bean paste.
   I haven’t been able to obtain adzuki red beans, but I substituted in similar white beans instead, and the end result turned out to be a mock white bean paste.

   What could I make with the paste made the day before?

   If it was going to be like this, it would have been so nice to have sticky rice. Next time I see Master Julius, I’ll try asking him for help.

   Anyway, what should I do? Cold sweets would be nice for the weather, but refrigerators didn’t exist either, so it would be hard to make mizu manju.
   As far as I knew, there was an icehouse inside the palace, but I couldn’t just use it without permission.

   All right then, just to be safe, let’s make dorayaki.

   Lining up the ingredients, I looked over my shoulder and talked to Klaus, “By the way, Klaus, how did the matter I asked you to take care of go?”

   “Anything you wish for, I will make happen.”

   The hand he fluidly stretched out placed a piece of paper on top of the counter. Whisking the sugar and eggs I had cracked into the bowl, I looked at the paper that had crept into the corner of my sight.
   What was written on it was a maid’s personal information.

   Hilde Kramer, 15 years old.

   Family ran a prosperous store. Family included grandfather, father, mother, older brother, and older sister.


   When I nodded my head a little, Klaus snatched up the piece of paper and threw it into the fire.

   Sifting flour into the bowl, I lost myself in thought while I mixed the ingredients.

   Lutz Eilenberg lost his sanity just before he turned 14.
   Hilde Kramer was, if my hunch wasn’t wrong, the woman who would become the cause of everything.

   Like I’ve mentioned before, in this world, those born with magic are extremely rare. As the first in several hundred years to have such outstanding talent, Lutz was special. The number of people after him were a dime a dozen inside or out of the kingdom, but there was one group of villains in particular who had their eyes set on Lutz and his talents.

   To make matters worse, their client was the king of a neighboring war-ravaged kingdom, bordering the Kingdom of Nayvel to the west.

   He had someone sent to the Kingdom of Nayvel, their purpose to create a contact inside the kingdom, and act as guide inside the palace.

   Lutz was stolen away. Afraid he would be used as a weapon of mass destruction, he attempted to escape, but it ended all too soon and he was captured.
   Coincidentally, a young maid had been taken hostage the same time he was kidnapped. Because she had taken care of him ever since they were in the palace, Lutz had developed a tendresse for the girl, and had had no choice but to obey given orders.

   Forced into the battlefield, he massacred countless foes before he was at long last allowed to meet the girl again. That was when he learned the terrible truth.
   From the very beginning, she had gotten close to him in order to deceive him.

   MONSTER! she called him.

   Betrayed, verbally abused, Lutz turned the girl who had been his first love into an ice sculpture, incapable of speech.
   Soon after, the king was assassinated, and the kindom lost the war. In the following chaos, Lutz ran for dear life. Seeking shelter in the Kingdom of Nayvel, he became a Court Wizard.

   I wanted to prevent Lutz and the girl from meeting each other, but I hated to admit her name hadn’t been divulged from those passages.
   There had also been no illustration image for that scene, so not only were her reasons for betraying him unclear, I also had no clue what she looked like.

   While I was wondering what to do, the girl he’d come into contact with finally showed up.
   The other maids feared those unknown beings called wizards, and went the around the boys to avoid them. That girl was the only one who assertively went out of her way to talk to Lutz. So she was Hilde Kramer.

   I’m positive it was her. I was, but I couldn’t say that with absolute certainty, either. I mean, no matter how you look at it, Lutz had absolutely no interest in her.

   I couldn’t rule out the possibility that he was just shy, but…considering how harsh his attitude was, that might be pushing it.

   There was also one more thing weighing on my mind heavily. I didn’t know why she was planning to use Lutz.

   There must have been someone pulling her strings from behind, and there was low chance it was her distant relative from the Barony of Behme. The head of the house was a well-known opportunist who waited to see how the wind the blew before he did anything. He wouldn’t have had the guts to stick his nose in something so big.

   For those two reasons, I couldn’t make up my mind.

   While I was covering the pan fried pancakes on top of the board with a damp towel, Klaus addressed me.

   “Princess Rosemarie.”

   Turning my head to look behind me, I found Klaus looking at me seriously.


   Did something happen? I lightly inclined my head, telling him to continue.

   “I can be of even more use to you.”


   “If you would but give me the order.”

   Seeing the warlike expression on his face, the words Sir Leonhard had once said to me before crossed my mind, and I was forced to realize their truth.

   The blaze in his bright eyes and his powerful voice invited me to use him. I had a feeling he was saying, Let me be your strength. I’m prepared to do anything.


   I tightly pursed my lips, falling silent.

   All I did was manipulate him, being halfway reliant on his support; I wasn’t qualified to agree or disagree.

   “You’ve done enough.”

   Therefore, I gave him an ambiguous answer with vague words.

   “Thank you, Klaus.”

   I’m sorry, Klaus.
   Apologizing to him in my heart, I smiled at him.

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