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   Calm down. Be rational, me.
   You still haven’t confirmed if Klaus has an interest in you yet.

   There must be a reason why he keeps looking at you. Maybe you have bed hair, there’s a piece of lint on you, or bread crumbs on your face.

   I made up my mind and decided to call for Klaus.


   “M—, m’lady!”

   For a second there was a hitch in his throat, all expression clearing off his face before he answered. You can’t tell at all from looking at him that he has a certain fetish.

   I gulped in a breath of air, and gave it to him straight, “Is there something on my face?”

   I didn’t want to prolong this deadlock any longer. The way things have been lately had my stomach hurting so bad, you’ll have to excuse me from suffering.

   So, Klaus. No need to hesitate. Just hurry up and tell me if there is something there. Bread crumbs? A piece of lint? Or perhaps, a sweet potato fry?


   We stared at each other. With great reluctance on my part, but it would have been too unnatural for me to look away. I waited, trying to keep my face from twitching as much as possible.
   After seconds, or a decade’s worth perhaps, had passed in heavy silence, aggravating my stomach ache even more, Klaus finally opened his mouth.


   Oh, I see! So there’s nothing on my face!
   Then I want you to answer immediately, you son of a bitch!

   Mouth open on his nervous face, Klaus broke eye contact and looked down. I think I can see a faint tinge of color on his cheeks, but it must be my imagination. Today’s weather is great, but I suppose it is a little warm. That explains it!

   “In that case, don’t just watch me, observe your surroundings as well. You’re not only a guard to watch over his charge!”

   “Yes, m’lady!”

   In response to my reprimand, Klaus gave me a salute.

   Wai—…why do you look so happy. Stop, don’t look at me with sparkles in your eyes! You weren’t actually receiving a reward!
   Or rather, hey, self! Don’t skirt around the topic!

   Wearing a poker face, I shrieked in my mind. I mean, this guy just doesn’t get it. He’s way too messed up! Why would he look so happy getting dressed down by a little girl who probably knows nothing about guards nor fighting?
   If reprimanding him and hitting him is ineffective, what else can I do? Should I try reverse psychology instead? Maybe petting him? Handing out the compliments??

   I silently fell into confusion.
   On the other side of the desk, I felt like I was confronting a wild animal or some unknown life form, and I was blindly going by instincts. If I were to make one wrong move, it’d be the end for me. Folding my hands tightly under the desk, the back of my neck broke out in a cold sweat for the first time.

   In the end, what did I do?

   “I’m going to the library.”

   I ran.
   Laugh at me for deserting in the face of the enemy if you want.

   Because I’ve had enough of this pain inducing atmosphere!
   The maids were watching us attentively from a distance, and Klaus probably wasn’t even aware of them. I would definitely prefer to study in peace!

   Taking my assigned book and dictionary, I left my seat.
   Phew, I sighed quietly, and didn’t even notice it for several seconds. That the danger I had been planning to evade was, in fact, not something I can evade at all.

   “I will accompany you.”


   Oh yeah, that’s how it is.
   He’s my guard knight, so obviously he goes where I go, right! You’re such an idiot, me. LOLOLOL.

   With dead eyes, I walked through the corridors, and following me was a perv—…err, a guard knight.
   “Ugh, he can be whatever he wants!” I sulked, but then I realized what I was seeing through the windows, and my feet stopped moving.

   Below me, I could see the training area.
   My energetic little brother was hard at work again, training with my older brother. Johan, who was still a head shorter than Chris, looked like a mythical dwarf next to the giant figure of Sir Leonhard. I kept worrying he would get crushed underfoot.

   It was hard. I’ve always been next to him, and I still hadn’t gotten used to this distance between us. Even if he fell down, I couldn’t help him get up anymore, and that acute sensation of loss made me feel a little sad.
   But no, no, this is what I wished for. I’m not allowed to complain. Even if he hated me now, it was a consequence of my decision, so I needed to deal with it.

   Forcing myself to look away from Johan and the others, I was about to move again when I looked up and noticed the face in front of me.
   I clashed eyes with Klaus, who had a eerily warm look in his.

   …what is this disappointing guy looking at?
   Can’t her Royal Highness make a few funny faces?


   Ya lookin’ at me, punk?! I menaced him with cold glare, but Klaus didn’t wipe that look or smile off his face.

   “Princess Rosemarie you are…a very kind sister.”

   What’s wrong with you?
   Or rather, you were there with us the other day when I was scolding Johan. What the heck are you saying when you saw the way I treated him?

   “Your flattery is unnecessary.”

   Giving him a suspicious glance, I started moving.
   I know I’m treating him poorly, but I have no idea when I’ll step on a landmine, so I don’t know how to move around him.

   However, far from being discouraged, Klaus kept talking to me as he followed behind. He’s seriously a nutcase!

   “It is not flattery!”

   “Is that so?”

   “Princess Rosemarie, I have only been serving you for a year and eighteen days—”

   How accurate…

   “—and four and a half hours, but—”

   Accurate! And creepy!

   “—I know how the people around you weigh on your mind, how anxiously you worry about them, and what a truly beautiful heart you have.”

   Shaken up, I responded without intending to, “Y-you think too highly of me.”

   My turmoil was in no way brought about by embarrassment from his praise, nor accompanied by the giddy emotions of a young girl infatuated. It was fear. I was getting pulled in.

   I’m begging you, please don’t pull me to the dark side!

   “That is not so.”

   Nevertheless, the guard knight who can’t seem to sense the mood denied my statement enthusiastically. I was too scared to look over my shoulders, but he was probably smiling at me right now.

   Please, sense the mood! I’m pale as a ghost, and my voice is shaking. No matter how you look it, you can’t possibly interpret it as embarrassment, so get a clue already!

   “Your Highness, I know you believe that if you truly care about His Highness, it is your responsibility to be harsh to him when time calls for it, I truly do. It is a bitter pill to swallow, and I greatly sympathize with your plight.”

   “Klaus, that’s enough.”

   “The other day, you were so awe-inspiring, and beautiful…”

   I told you to stop, didn’t I? Listen! Listen to me!
   I’m desperately sending you my thoughts!!!

   “This is my sincerest belief. Your Highness, there is more to you than the young, cute princess.”

   Oh, no. I was getting chills. I seriously had a bad feeling about this.

   My premonition reached its peak, and alarms went off in my head.

   “Princess Rosemarie, it is my wish that you too will become my maste—”


   I interrupted him.

   I mean, this guy started was starting to talk about “masters”!

   In the scene where he changed the way he addressed her from “Princess Rosemarie” to “Master”, Klaus vowed absolute devotion to her. Because it vividly recalls the dodgy relationship between those two, it became a forbidden word to me.

   “You shouldn’t say something so thoughtless,” I told him in a crushing voice. If I relaxed, my voice would shake.

   I want to escape. I really want to get away.

   I don’t know what’s wrong with him anymore.
   Why are flags raising on their own when I’ve done nothing to make it happen? Why does this keep happening to me? Unavoidable Events are way too hard. This isn’t easy—it’s seriously scary.

   “Your master is my father. Not me.”


   Hey, don’t look so dissatisfied.
   I’m begging you, listen to me! Also, don’t come any closer.

   “By order of the King, you were forced to babysit his daughter.”

   “That is not—”

   “I do not ask for any more from you. Therefore, you should also take that into consideration.”

   “Princess Rosemarie…!”

   I was being obstinate, so Klaus got impatient and took a step forward.
   Wait—…ho-hold up! Calm down…actually, just stay away!

   “I understand that you sincerely wish to serve me. However, if the person receiving your words had held ill-will towards you, the meaning of your words would have changed, and they might have interpreted it as dishonest instead.”


   “You have already sworn allegiance to the King, and therefore upon me as well. That is exactly why you should stop saying such thoughtless words.”

   “Princess Rosemarie…”

   Staring at the silenced Klaus, I wanted to make sure we were agreed.


   Great. He seems to be getting it.
   My official stance is, “Stop saying things with double meanings that can make people doubt you,” but it was all a cover for, “Don’t call me Master.”

   I may look composed, but my innermost thoughts were dripping with cold sweat. Ahhh—…hurry up! Sorry if I never want to have another heart attack inducing exchange like this again.

   I walked away, pretending not to see the questions lingering on his face.

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