Chapter 5: Disqualified once the clothes are off!
Haran dragged along the dumbstruck me to the guestroom within Eren’s palace.
-- I am… a girl.
Haran proposed to me abruptly, and even revealed this secret, causing my mind to go completely blank and unable to analyse anything.
Prince Haran of the Golden Desert Kingdom, was he not the world’s most famous ‘bachelor’ with legendary charisma, pined for by all girls, and was still sailing his luxurious white ship in search of his ideal bride?
Such a prince among prince, was in fact a girl?
The room was darkened by the thick curtains hanging all over the place, and a sole candle flickering seductive flames atop a candle-holder was the only source of light which glowed against the noble face of Haran from the dark.
This beautiful face could definitely pass for a girl’s.
But even King Cecello had a beautiful face although he was already an old uncle with many children.
Haran undid his turban and a piece of thin linen floated down with a glitter. His beautiful black hair spread on top of his shoulder and chest.
Hair that had always been bundled beneath the white cloth certainly looked like it belonged to an elegant lady when released, but also gave off the aroma of a boy’s. Or perhaps neither gender – I was becoming really confused.
“In my country, females are the property of males.”
A male voice that was somewhat on the high side; or maybe it was a female’s voice that was on the low end.
Haran took off his lovely embroidered clothes and continued.
“Females are not allowed to reveal their faces before other people, nor can they choose their way of life, imprisoned within their family by males who are their masters until the end of their lives.”
Next, he untied the blue sash tied about his waist.
“My mother is the Emperor’s Queen consort.”
The upper garment dropped beside his feet.
I could see a few coils of white bandages wound about Haran’s chest, and I held my breath.
Could it be, that Haran was really…
“My Mother’s duty was to bear a male child to succeed the Emperor’s bloodline, but even after taking great pains with her weak body, she could only give birth to a girl.”
The white cloth spiralled downwards, gradually dropping beside the cloth that had fallen on the ground earlier.
I could see the remnants of the white strip covering the chest, as well as the portion of the chest that protruded even though concealed by them. My heart began to race.
The flame of the lit candle suddenly grew in length in the midst of the windless chamber.
“Due to the pains and difficulty of childbirth, Mother was declared incapable of bearing any more children. This was the reason that my Mother disguised me as a male, and brought me up under the identity of a boy.”
Light from the flames unveiled a waist so thin that it looked fragile to the point of breaking as well as a midriff devoid of any spare fats.
And above it, gradually revealed a supple pair of…
“I travelled the world, seeking out an ideal bride to be my partner for life – someone who is my opposite, with an appearance of a girl but is actually a man inside.”
When I heard this, I suddenly realised her meaning.
“I, I did not choose to be dressed like this, there is a reason!”
“Glinda has already told me about your situation. She told me that she has a twin brother who is weak of character, easily influenced and hopelessly untalented.”
I could not help but shout.
Glinda was actually talking behind my back like this when it was her fault that I had to cross-dress! Wuuwuuwuu…
But, but, so what if I was hopelessly untalented!
“When I encountered you in the great hall, I knew immediately that you are Glinda’s little brother. You have the same face as Glinda, but your willpowers are so different.”
“So what if I’m a useless little brother! Wuu… wahwah! You mustn’t strip further!”
The last wound of bandage binding her chest dropped off.
And before my eyes stood a half-naked dark-haired girl.
She did not try to hide her bulging pair of breasts, but just stared into me with her arms at her sides.
Her posture was like that of a mermaid that crept out from the deep sea in the dark night.
My eyes were locked into her pair of golden eyes which seemed to conceal mysterious magic.
“What do you mean by useless? To me, you are the ideal ‘woman’.”
She continued passionately in a sensuous voice.
“With you, I could also produce a child that could carry on my bloodline. I wish to bring you back to my harem and make you the next empress of Ismail Empire. I hope that you would make this convent with me in the name of the Great Sharra.”
A vow by the absolute god of the desert – Sharra.
To the people who had spent their entire lives in the desert empire, it was a vow that must be kept for all eternity. They believed that breaking of such a vow would bring about great disasters.
A thousand years ago, the Luxan Empire which had once dominated the desert in luxury was wiped out because it was said that a priest had somehow diluted wine offered to Sharra with just one drop of water, incurring His fury – but wait, this was not the time to discuss historicalanecdotes!
How could I still calmly think about such legends while there was a beautiful half-naked woman in front of me,proposing marriage to me while calling me her ‘Ideal woman’? Stop trying to escape from the issue at hand!
Even if I were to expound on history and legends, the fact before my eyes would not alter.
In any case, the current situation of being in the presence of a naked beautiful woman was quite dangerous.
But my body could not move at all.
“E, even if you are to suddenly propose to me, I, I … Besides, wwweeee just met today!”
It had nothing to do with that at all!
How could I enter a harem and be forced to cross-dress for the rest of my life!
“Be, besides, I am still a man after all, and there would definitely come a time when hair begin to grow on my legs and face, and it would probably be very thick too. My muscles would also become bigger – Huh? What are you doing? Why are you taking of my clothes?”
“I have let you into my secret, so I hope you would show me everything about you too. Then we would truly understand each other.”
“Wah! Don’t unbutton any further! And don’t pull that ribbon!”
Why did I have to be the one that’s screaming in fear for my chastity?
Why was it she that was so boldly untying the strings around my chest?
“Wait! Wait a minute! We just got to know each other, so we should not be doing such things so quickly! Please, calm down!”
I was stripped off of half of my clothes, pushed down onto the bed, and pale all over. And to think that I just got pushed down by Jerome not too long ago too. Why were such things happening all the time?
“I’m completely calm, and even think that it is fate. Ever since that evening when I parted with Glinda on the beaches of Folsy, I am destined to meet with you, Sher-kun.”
Soft black hair fell upon my face and throat while a pair of golden eyes passionately looked into me.
If I was a girl, I might actually meekly offer up my body too. But…
“I’m a boy! I don’t want my first to be at the bottom!”
I shot out an implausible protest, using all my strength to push Haran away from me and rolled off the bed. Then, ignoring the untied corset and loosened back of my evening dress, ran towards the door with one shoulder exposed, screaming:
“Sorry! I don’t want to become a cute bride!”
-- That’s right, it should be me that wanted a cute bride!
My heart was screaming such as I turned to open the door.
Seira was standing insecurely outside at the door.
Why, why would Seira be here?
Seira beheld my visage and instantly looked displeased; then seeing Haran who was chasing after me, her expressions hardened; and when she saw the exposed chest of Haran, her eyes widened greatly.
This, this didn’t look good?
The secret that Haran was in fact a girl was about to be exposed…
I spread out my arms in an attempt to cover Haran’s body.
“Uh… The stuff that you just saw was just an illusion!”
Seira’s face turned pale, staring straight into Haran’s chest, and bit down onto her lips as if to stop herself from crying. She then ran off.
I chased after her in a hurry and managed to stop her by catching her shoulder at the corridor.
Seira shoved away my hand and lowered her head, causing her silver hair to fall over her face and hiding her expression.
She maintained this position and said in an angry low voice:
“She – is undressed.”
Seira’s shoulder trembled.
“Teacher said it before, under that circumstances, it is just a misunderstanding if both parties are clothed. A complete acquittal.”
Right, when Anneth spent the night over in my room until the next morning, Seira caught us sleeping on the same bed together, and I had uttered that in the confusion.
Seira kept her face lowered and her body continued to tremble.
“That woman… is undressed.”
“Uh… That’s because the room was very dark, so you probably had not noticed, her lower half is still clothed, and even I had been stripped just down by half. The most important thing is… the bottom part is not undone! So, this situation is still a misunderstand, not guilty…”
“No! This is fact, guilty!”
She refuted firmly in an icy cold voice, shutting off my denial completely.
But, when I was about to feel relieved over the fact that she had not noticed that the other party was Prince Haran –
“I have no idea that you are already in such a deep relationship with Prince Haran.”
The cat’s completely out of the bag!
“Please, Seira! Please treat what you just saw as a secret between you and I! This must never be revealed to other people!”
I grabbed her slim shoulders and bowed profusely in plea.
Sigh, this seemed to have happened before too.
That happened when Seira discovered I was a male.
Back then, I had begged her profusely not to tell anyone too.
Seira slowly lifted her head towards me.
She was tightening her face, lowering her brows and gripping her right wrist with her left with a fragile expression.
After that, she used a strained voice to question me:
“Teacher… What do you…”
As I could not grasp her question and so tried asking, Seira’s expression seemed more fearful like she was about to cry out.
“What, what do you… feel about me…”
Seira’s voice sounded quieter and weaker, as if she was afraid of something. Even her face revealed a look of helplessness. She lowered her eyes and bit down on her lips, and then laid the right hand that she was gripping tightly on her thin chest.
“That… Seira, I don’t seem to understand your meaning, but would you please keep the secret of Prince Haran?”
I fearfully asked.
When she had that, she suddenly became icy cold like a western doll.
There was no longer any sign of weakness in her face, but instead an icy cold expression.
“I am completely uninterested in this kind of thing. Besides, revealing Prince Haran’s secret is not going to be of any benefit to Eren. It’s not the right thing to do.”
She walked off after saying in a calm voice.
Somehow finding the time to redress, Haran approached me from the back.
“Seira would not reveal your secret. She is an intelligent child, knowing what should be said, and what not to.”
“If even you say so, I could only believe it.”
As if realizing her mistake, Haran said.
That’s right, Seira would not do anything that she judged as ‘wrong’.
Since she had said that she was not interested, no matter which gender Haran was, it would not have mattered to her.
But, before she returned to her icy cold behaviour, she had a fearful expression that was close to tears on all the time, and that bothered me greatly. Also, she was always clutching her right wrist. What could that possibly mean?
Was that really an ordinary action? She did not seem to act like that before…
“Sher-kun, you should readjust your clothes. If you keep walking around like this in the corridor, there’s no telling if you would attract the unwanted attention from ill-intending men.”
Haran said to me in a completely serious voice, causing me to nearly fall down.
It was you who tore off my clothes!
“I have finally encountered my ideal partner, and all blood seemed to have rushed up to my head. I won’t force you. I would do my utmost to make you feel at ease about becoming my bride, and be with me by your own will.”
Haran said to me.
As a man, there was no way I would be at ease about becoming anybody’s wife, but since Haran’s behaviour right now was that of a gentleman, I would let it pass.
I gave a sigh of relief for the moment.
And yet, a commotion exploded the very next day.
At the time I was having breakfast with the royal family and Prince Haran. Haran sat opposite of me, elegantly eating the cheese omelette in mushroom sauce with fork and knife.
Her back was completely straight, displaying the pinnacle of nobility and elegance. Even the suave way she delivered the omelette into her mouth was sufficient for me to exclaim: This is definitely Prince Charming!
Even at this point, I could not believe that Haran was a woman.
I have read many serialized light novels from the newspapers with plots where girls had been brought up as boys since an early age, or tales where beautiful ladies looked more handsome than men when crossdressing. But when such a thing occurred before my very eyes, it was as if fact was stranger than fiction.
No, I had truly seen evidence that Haran was a woman with my own eyes.
When I recalled what happened the night before, my face burned up like it had been scorched by fire.
Thinking things over, this had to be the first time that I had seen the naked body of a mature woman. Although her frame was slim, the chest area was richly filled like that of a goddess’s statue, so beautiful…
At this moment, I could suddenly detect the icy cold eyes staring at me, and saw Seira wordlessly glaring at me with an icy expression.
When our eyes met, her eyes revealed an expression of wavering, seeming either angry or fearful. She bit down on her lips and frowned.
Was I being despised by her again…
At this point, I had no idea what was my worth in the eyes of Seira. Most likely it was at rock-bottom.
Uwuwuwu, so sad.
I sighed and suddenly heard a ‘clank’ sound.
Prince Ryuuju who was also sitting on my opposite was blushing and rushed to pick up the soup spoon that had dropped beneath the table. What was going on?
“Prince Haran, your trip this time is to find a bride, right?”
“Have you found any girl you like in Eren?”
“During the party last night, you somehow disappeared together with Glinda all of a sudden. It can’t be that love has bloomed?”
The twin princesses who were sitting shoulder to shoulder beside me innocently asked.
Prince Ryuuju’s soup spoon dropped again. I hurriedly answered:
“P, Princess Sarasa! Princess Orie! T, T-t-t-t-t-this is not a topic to talk about with ‘grueests’…”
Ouch, I bit my tongue again!
I must maintain my dignity as a teacher, or these pair of twins would be out of control.
Haran had an elegant smile of his face as he said:
“This is a secret between Glinda and me.”
Hey, wait, these words sounded like they were meant to admonish the other side, but were actually trying to fan the flames, right?
“Wow~ so romantic.”
“What secret? Glinda, you have to let us into the secret.”
See! Both their eyes were now glowing in excitement.
Prince Ryuuju’s hands gripped the cutlery and emitted a dangerous air while Seira continued to eat with a flat expression. Prince Shin just looked sleepy as usual.
“But , I do believe that my long journey had arrived at its promised land – Eren Kingdom. Your Majesty, I had already proposed to Glinda. May I take Glinda back to my country to become my bride?”
H, how could she say something like that!
Prince Ryuuju’s cutlery dropped from his hands to the ground while the twin princesses let out a “Wow” squeal of delight.
Your Majesty in a maid uniform who was coaxing the baby Princess Suzuna in a rocking basket also looked up with a smile on her face and gave a little scream of “Ah”.
King Cecello simply let out a little “Oh?” of interest.
Only Seira remained quietly eating her breakfast, but her shoulders seemed to be trembling slightly.
Prince Shin… Sigh, let’s just leave him be for the moment.
Haran’s barrage turned the peaceful breakfast table into an uproar, freezing me dumb in surprise.
I hadn’t agreed to become her bride, and yet she was telling it to everyone already. Wasn’t that against the rules?
En? Right! I had been sent over as the Winstoria Empire’s emissary to seal the alliance between Winstoria and Eren for two years.
If I were to quit before the appointed date and depart for the desert kingdom far away, King Cecello would most likely be troubled. He most definitely would not marry off Winstoria Empire’s national treasure Glinda Dolye to another country, right?
He most definitely would disagree –
“That, could be complicated.”
The beautiful king whose looks did not lose to Prince Haran replied in his lovely voice.
Thank you, Your Majesty!
“Ms Glinda is the bridge that connects my country with the Winstoria Empire. As the king of Eren, I cannot just simply give her away to anyone.”
That’s right, that’s right, this was how it should be!
Prince Ryuuju nodded vigorously in agreement as well.
King Cecello suddenly revealed a smile.
“If Ms Glinda is willing, I had no reasons to rudely break apart two lovers.”
Hey, wait a second! Even you would say something like that?
The smile on King Cecello’s face became even more demur and sweet. He eyed Her Majesty in her maid uniform and said:
“Besides, if I am in the position of the Prince, even if I were to kidnap, I would bring this Queen back to my own country.”
One look at his meltingly joyful expression was sufficient to feel like there was a downpour of sugar-lumps from the sky.
Sigh, this was that kind of guy.
Even though he was acclaimed to be a skilful, wise and charismatic ruler, his brain was that of a romantic’s, otherwise he would not have torn apart nearly three hundred years of restrictive policies in order to marry a foreign lady.
Her Majesty looked very pleased as well, blushing as she said:
“Really, Your Majesty, how can you just blurt that out in front of everyone!”
It was only morning and they were already glowing like that. Enough. I was the fool for having expectations towards His Majesty.
The twin princesses said excitedly:
“As expected of Lord Father!”
“I wish to support Glinda’s romance too!”
“Me too! Even if Glinda were to go to Prince Haran’s home country, we won’t mind it at all. Right, Orie?”
“That’s right, Sarasa. So Glinda can go with Prince Haran without any worries.”
They were discussing as though I had already decided to leave, discouraging me even further.
The face of Prince Ryuuju who was seated opposite of the dining table was pale while Seira continued to sip at her soup with a severe expression.
“That’s too much, Haran!”
It was noontime after classes, and I was rebuking Haran at a corner of the courtyard.
“Because of you, I could not give a proper lesson. The twins kept discussing about whether the bridal gown should be styled after Winstoria or Ismail, Prince Ryuuju kept dropping his pen, while Prince Shin crafted a wedding cake from clay, and it is a 10-layered cake! Seira kept to herself icily and refused to talk with me.”
Haran had no remorse in her face as she said steadily:
“I thought that if I announced it earlier, it would be easier for Sher-chan to resign.”
“But, I have not yet replied that I would marry you, right? This isn’t the issue of resignation!”
I could not stop myself from rebuking her sharply.
Haran silently lowered her eyes, making me a little worried that I had been too harsh. I changed to a softer and gentler tone and said:
“A, anyway… What you’re doing would cause me trouble. The deadline for the teaching assignment is still far off…”
“That is supposed to be Glinda’s job.”
Haran lifted her eyes and directed clear golden pupils towards me as she said.
Her eyes contained within them the wisdom of a philosopher that had been searching for the truth, and I was taken aback.
Her words were… not wrong.
Because of Glinda’s disappearance, I had been forced to cross-dress as her double and had been sent here to Eren Kingdom.
Virtually every day I was fretting with cold sweat, complaining why was it that an ordinary repeat student like me should be the royal tutor to big shots…
“Besides, to be completely honest, Sher-kun’s goal is to simply be a NEET.”
“T, that’s true…”
After failing at my college-entry exams, I was no longer motivated to work harder, resigning myself to thinking that if I could just continue to parasite on Glinda and live out the rest of my days passably off, it would be great…
“Then, isn’t life in the harem the most suitable for you? There would always be servants and maid beside you, not to mention that you can enjoy abundance without any worries or responsibilities. Nobody would care even if you were to sleep till high noon.”
T, That’s indeed an ideal lifestyle.
“You won’t have to appear before anyone, nor worry about getting your true identity revealed. I think that should be far more convenient than your current life right now?”
How could she… be so right on the spot? I almost bowed and said “Thanks for your guidance”. This sneaky fellow!
But, Haran’s expression did not reveal any sign of cunning or ulterior motives, and even seemed to contain a streak of quiet sadness.
“I have already made up my mind, to deceive everyone around me for the rest of my life, but at least wish there would be at least a single person who would accept the me who is not crossdressing. That way, I can at least endure it all until Sarra summons me into paradise.”
This person… was actually very lonely, wasn’t it?
Being the heir to the throne, both handsome and charismatic… None of that actually held any meaning at all to ‘her’.
To this date, she had no way of confiding with anyone, living only to imitate the role of a perfect prince… But, she was in fact a girl.
When I thought about that, my heart felt hurt with pity.
I could even feel empathy for her, whose situation right now was similar with mine.
I could definitely understand. It must be difficult to shower? Changing clothes must have been a chore? Merely going to the toilet would have taken up much effort? Was it cringe-inducing when you got pursued by someone? At times, didn’t you wish you could just reveal everything because you had no idea how long the situation would last? Then,remember that if you died now, people would discover that you are in fact a cross-dresser, so you couldn’t even commit suicide due to the shame of discovery?
Such pains could only be understood by someone who had been forced to cross-dress and hide his gender as well.
“That… assuming… you do not return to your country, give up on your status as the prince, could you return to being a girl?”
Haran widened her eyes in surprise, and then immediately revealed an expression of anxiety, quietly shaking her head.
“My 15 brothers are all idiots. If I am not around, the country would be in an uproar and the empire split.”
Her golden eyes were overlaid by a shadow of loneliness, causing even me to have difficulty breathing.
“Besides… my late Mother wished that I could live freely with the identity of a man. If Mother only hid my gender for her own position and status, I would certainly have hated her and felt disgust towards cross-dressing as a male. But, she definitely had not done so because of that… Mother passed to me the freedom that she could not have…so, I… would not wish to become a woman.”
Even though she said that, her eyes exposed the conflicting emotions she had within, and even her expressions seemed to be one of forcing herself to give up.
Perhaps Haran had not wanted me to see her weaker side.
“I had an appointment with His Majesty to tell Him about the experiences I had from my journeys.”
She muttered and walked alone towards the buildings.
I was left behind alone in the windy courtyard, and sat cross-legged on the lawn without regard for my skirt, holding my head: ”Ahhh,really! After seeing her in that state, listening to her tale, how can I just leave her alone?”
I could not just ignore the problems of Haran was so lonely in her secret life as a crossdresser.
The reason she had chosen me as her bride was because I shared the same secret with her.
Even if you were to look all over the entire world, it was highly unlikely that you could find another person like that. So it was natural that Haran would consider it fate to find me as her dream bride.
When I recalled her truthful but lonely eyes staring right into me, I could feel my own chest tightening.
“… it might not be too bad to become a NEET in a harem.”
After all, I was only Glinda’s replacement…
The twin princesses and His Majesty seemed to be alright if I were to go,and I would not have to be worried about Prince Ryuuju discovering that his first love was in fact a cross-dressing guy, as for Seira…She had been ignoring me, probably did not even wish to see my face any more…
Compared to them, Haran seemed to need me passionately.
If I could become her ideal mate…
“Why not just… Accept her proposal…”
Just as I was murmuring to myself with my resolve waning –
“What the heck are you talking about?”
I turned, only to see the completely black, suave ambassador to Eren standing with an unimpressed face beside me.
Dress Boku Vol. 2
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