This guy again. I held my tongue when I was stopped in the royal corridor. I looked back to see Prince Sylvan, the nation’s first prince, smiling insolently at me.
It’ll be useless to avoid him, so for the time being let’s try to get away with it.
“Oh? Is there something you need from me, brother?”
“Stop with the bad acting. Haven’t you been impersonating my sister since this morning? Even if you fooled our retainers, you can’t fool mine.”
I’m at my limit. It’s to the point you can clearly see it on me. However, it is true that I switched with the Princess this morning. The real princess is on her way to a retreat in the Royal Villa.
As I breathed a sigh of resignation, I shook my head and spoke.
“…you see, Prince Sylvan, you shouldn’t so openly point out that the Princess and I have switched places. Anyone can be listening from anywhere.”
“I’ve already confirmed the absence of people here. I’m not one to make such a mistake.”
“Is that so?”
….Indeed, there should be no oversight in that regard. The Prince possesses a lot of talent. You could say his appearance is quite beautiful.
But the only difficult thing about him is—
“I’m not fond of it at all. You may be my sister’s double…but you don’t resemble her. My sister is more lovable and has the beauty of an angel….Hehe.”
—a gross sis-con no matter how you look at him.
Indeed, the real Princess Elemea is a wonderful person who is extremely popular among the people. However, Prince Sylvan’s drowning love for his sister is truly dumbfounding.
“… by the way I would like to ask, but how did you notice the change between me and the princess?”
“Through the power of love.”
“I won’t accept that nonsense. What was the difference between my appearance and behavior? I want to use it for future reference.”
“Well, I can only say it’s everything. It’s hard to call this imitating. It’s not even at the level of imitation. It’s not complete.”
As expected, I can’t accept that.
If I dress well enough, I can deceive the eyes of the royal couple — in other words, the Princess’s parents. From my long years as the Princess’s body double, I’m confident that I can copy every movement of the Princess faithfully.
But Prince Sylvan is the only one I can’t deceive. I can only chalk it up to a strange sixth sense.
“Anyway, in the future, are you planning on switching with the Princess to travel abroad?”
“Yes, for dinner in a neighboring country. Our relationship is good now, but up until a decade ago we were hostile with each other. Just in case, I will be sent by His Majesty’s order.”
“…by Father, I don’t like it. I’m the only one who should protect my dear Elemea. Damnit, why wasn’t I asked to accompany you as an escort…”
Prince Sylvan clutched his chest with a bitter look. There is no way that the First Prince, who outranks the Princess, would be made as her escort.
It’s true that the Prince is strong enough to deal with ten well-trained royal guards.
The reason why he became so strong was to protect his sister. With that motivation alone, he continued to train in silence for more than a decade. Well, more or less.
“I don’t care about the conflict between us, but please don’t go to His Majesty and take away my assignment as the Princess’s body double. I take pride in my work.
“What? Don’t tell me you’re planning to be her knight in shining armor and protect Elemea away from me?”
“I don’t need such a weird title. I respect the Princess and above all, she’s my important friend.”
I was originally the daughter of a servant who lived in the palace. There I happened to meet young Princess Elemea — my first thought of her was ‘It’s like looking at a mirror!’ And she held the same impression. It didn’t take long for us to get along.
Her being naturally indifferent to social class, Princess Elemea and I would confuse other adults by switching places. This mischief of ours was recognized and I was later made to be her body double.
But when I think about, even then, I don’t believe Prince Sylvan was ever deceived by it.
When I saw him as a young child, it was my first time switching with the princess. His first words to me was ‘Who are you?’. I trembled thinking he would scold me. In the end, he welcomed me happily, saying ‘Oh yeah! You’re my sister’s friend! It’s a pleasure to meet you.’ After that, he happily guided me into the palace.
Such a favorable attitude is now a thing of the past.
Nowadays, there seems to be a strange animosity towards me. ‘I won’t let you steal my role as my sister’s protector!’ — or something like that.
“……I will accompany you on your journey abroad. Even if something unexpected happens I’ll handle it. I can’t have you be the only one looking cool.”
“Your Highness can’t come with me. Please give up and wait for me at the Palace.”
“Aside from your worries, if I wear this I won’t get hurt. There hasn’t been any trouble with the neighboring country lately.”
“No, that’s what worries me,”
I tilt my head at what he’s worried about. I think it’s best to have peace without any trouble.
With a sweat on his brow, Prince Sylvan muttered,
“Certainly, we recently have had good relations with our neighbors… but that’s why it’s possible for their royal family and nobility to approach Elemea. A so-called political marriage can symbolize peace.I have no idea what kind of insects will be going to that dinner.”
“Well… I don’t think it would be strange to hear such conversations.”
Princess Elemea and I are now 15 years old. It’s rather late for her as part of the royal family to not have a marriage partner at this age.
Prince Sylvan, by the way, is 17 years old and has yet to have his fiance decided. There were offers, but everything ended in failure. It was pretty obvious why.
“Look here, you, if a strange insect approaches you, never show weakness. In spite of your profession, as a body double, all your actions are regarded as Elemea’s. If you even show a favorable face, Elemea can be taken away. I won’t forgive you even if the Heavens does.”
“I know that. I won’t imitate her to that extent.”
“Are you listening? You better follow through.”
Since we’re on the topic of weakness, I desperately jumped to ask about my shortcomings.
“I understand, but please tell me your trick in distinguishing me from the Princess. Don’t give me an easy answer just to cheat and say it’s the power of love.”
If I could just deceive the eyes of this sis-con, then I can confidently say I’m a perfect body double. In order to fulfil my duties faithfully, it’s important to check where I’m lacking.
Prince Sylvan looked like he was troubled by my question.
“I didn’t mean to cheat. How do I explain it…”
“Is it that hard?”
“It’s the other way around. It’s too easy. For example, you can see me and think ‘oh that’s the First Prince Sylvan.”
“Well I do, but not with the title.”
Sylvan nodded forcefully at my agreement.
“I can tell at a glance who you are. You aren’t my beautiful Elemea, but an ordinary girl named Mira. Is that an adequate explanation?”
That is no way adequate.
It was wrong to expect a decent answer from this strange person.
But aside from that.
It’s been a long time since I’ve been called by my real name, Mira, and I thought it was unusual.
“Woohoo~! I love freedom~! I don’t need to do any official duties while we’re switched! I wish Mira would always be a Princess~!”
Inside a carriage heading to the Royal Villa, the real Princess Elemea is enjoying her first vacation in a long time with Agusto.
The maid riding with her chided the Princess’ attitude.
“Princess, you mustn’t say such a thing in jest.”
“Well, it’s all right. Mira is more diligent at work than I am, and she’s going to do her official duties seriously. Why don’t you give me more opportunities to change places?”
“A double is a double. Besides, her disguise is not perfect. We don’t know who’s going to find out if we let her go on for a long time.”
“Really? I think it’s perfect. I look exactly like her in every way.”
“I hear that Prince Sylvan can easily tell.”
Hmph! Elemea pouted.
“Ah~ That idiot brother of mine is an exception so don’t worry.”
“But if he has such a good eye, won’t other people be able to tell as well?”
“A good eye…”
Elemea continues with a grin,
“To tell you the truth about my stupid older brother, when we were kids, I used to dress up as a commoner from the city by covering my face with dirt. Far from having a discerning eye, he couldn’t tell the difference.”
“But strangely, when Mira was disguised, as me or someone else, he would notice in an instant. So if I disguised myself as a commoner, he would only recognize Mira.”
In front of her silent maid, Elemea winked at his hopelessness.
“It’s the power of love, but that love isn’t aimed at me.”