Chapter 5: The Villainess is in Love

Joshua was the second son of a distant relative of ours, an aristocrat from a remote region. He became my attendant from a young age to practice working for me as his future job.

In the beggining, he was incredibly stiff and polite, calling me “your highness,” which was adorable. It grew bothersome after a while, though, and he started calling me “Lady” and acting like some thug. It was nerve-racking at first, but our relationship quickly grew casual. Nowadays, he rarely treats me politely at all.

“It’s because Lady doesn’t act ladylike at all,” or so he says.

But no, you should just learn to behave. I’m certainly not very ladylike, but it’s because I’m still influenced by the vulgarity of my previous life.

In the game, he was treated as just a mob, the sidekick of the villainess, not even worthy of being named. In reality, he was a loyal follower who truly cared for me, and I cherished him greatly, attitude notwithstanding. Not to mention, he volunteered to start training to protect me, and before long, began serving as my bodyguard. He’s even smart enough to enroll at the same school as me and hold a top spot.

At first glance, he looked rather plain, but his long, slanted eyes were cool, and he had a handsome face with a clear nose. To be honest, I much prefer Joshua’s subtle looks to the western-looking Tristan. The game designers just don’t get it.

Joshua was with me at all times, but never once did he get in my way. Does he always know what to do, or is he just unusually good at reading the air? Anyway, he’s very good at understanding my intentions.

“So I’d thought I’d just go ahead and play the villain.”

“I see. Should I not tell you that you’ve always been one?”

Even now, alone in my room, we kept a reasonable distance between us. He sat diagonally across from me on a small sofa, playfully kicking my pompously crossed legs with his toes. Actually, looking at it from the side, I doubt this would be considered a ‘reasonable’ distance. 

But I’m comfortable with it, so whatever.

“Hah? What’s this? I am a calm and intelligent young lady.”

“No, no. Looking at Lady’s face, the first thing that comes to mind is definitely a villainess. Being too beautiful is a handicap, you know. You look cold, not calm.” 

“You should have a little more respect for your master.” 

“Of course I respect you, Lady. I love that side of you.”

This impudent manner of speaking was also standard.

“I doubt anyone would love such a villainous face.”

“Can’t you just focus on the ‘beautiful’ part? Besides, it’s only in front of that woman that you truly give off bad-guy vibes.”

“Oh? Was it really that obvious?”

“I think it’s a distinction that only I can appreciate. That condescending look… Honestly, it’s paralyzing.”

“I wouldn’t know. I can’t exactly see my own face at that time.”

It’s certainly true my face looked cold and composed. I wasn’t in the hobby of praising my own appearance, but if I thought of myself as the woman I was in my previous life, I could appraise my appearance as Ilse objectively. Or at least, that’s what I thought as I looked in the mirror.

I’m definitely a beautiful woman, but it’s not the type of beauty that will get someone popular. It’s the sort of beauty that crosses the realm of normal human looks, and just makes you impossible to get close to. 

After all, Men like approachable girls like Esther—airheaded blonds with fluffy hair and tanuki faces. I’m definitely not the type to wear huge ribbons on my head and make friends with everyone. 

“So, what should I do? Should I grunt like a thug whenever Lady says something? Or should I say ‘As expected of the young lady!’?”

“No, I don’t want to be that cheesy of a villain.”

“huh.”

“Besides, referring to your master as just ‘Lady’ already makes you look like a thug.” I sighed, holding my head. That’s not the sort of villain I want to be.

“If I’m going to do it, I want it to be cool, and I want to do it in style. Something like a flower of evil.”

“But then I won’t have a part to play.”

“Well, what can you do, besides yell and shout?”

“Someone has to be in charge of morale,” he said with a sly look. 

But really, Joshua’s competent in just about anything. His proficiency as an escort goes without saying, but he can also handle spy reconnaissance, negotiate with ease, and maintain a polite and respectful attitude to all his superiours—except me, that is.

“You also have an evil face, so just keep your mouth shut and glare at people.” 

“Ilse, you’re awful~!”

“Ugh.”

“An imitation of Esther. Did I get it right?”

“I wanted to slap you.”

He gave a goofy smile, and I kicked his leg lightly. Even the voice was similar. It was rather chilling.

“Well then, I’ll just stay at Lady’s back and keep quiet.”

“Thank you. I’ll do my best to bully Esther, so if her followers get too mad, please chase them away.”

“Ah, there’s something I’m good at. I won’t let anyone lay a finger on my Lady.”

He narrowed his eyes, a thin smile on his lips. You could feel a ferocious force radiating from him, like a carnivorous predator.

“Yes, that’s it. That’s exactly the face we need. I love it. You have a fox face, so it suits you well.”

“Really? Did you fall in love?”

“Oh, I did. I fell in love. I love you, Joshua.”

“Can’t you act a little more seriously?”

I wasn’t acting, but Joshua seemed dissatisfied, speaking in a particularly emotionless tone.

I really liked Joshua, but he never seemed to understand.


Notes:

This chapter was super fun to translate. Leaving that aside, I didn’t write any notes yesterday. Naturally, It was because I was saving up space for today. Feel free to skip if you don’t care about funnily-named Japanese tropes and beauty standards that showed up in this chapter (e.g. tanuki face).

  1. In case you aren’t familiar with the Japanese practice & expression, here’s a BBC Worklife article about “reading the air.” It’s basically a high-level situational awareness.
  2. This chapter spends a lot of time describing characters’ appearances, including some very specific descriptors that don’t really have an equivalent in English. I imagined some of you may be interested in them or wish to have a better idea of what the characters look like, so here is a brief explanation:
    1. Food is pretty popular in Japan. It’s moderately popular elsewhere, too, being essential for human life and all that, but you’ve never seen a food-centric culture until you’ve visited Japan (or one of many other countries with rich food cultures, I guess). 
      The point of this weird ramble is that Japanese people like food enough to describe their favorite face types with it. To be more specific, Joshua and Tristan were originally described as salt-faced (塩顔) and sauce-faced (ソース顔), respectively. I doubt many people would recognize those descriptors, and they sound ridiculous enough in English to take people out of the story regardless, so I translated them as “subtle looking” and “western looking,” which are generally correct but vague explanations for what salt-faced and sauce-faced men look like. 
      Still, you may want to search online for examples or more in-depth descriptions if you’re interested. Here’s a short Medium article about salt, sauce, and a few other condiment-faced types, including everyone’s favorite ketchup-faced Kaname Jun. Yes, it’s real, and no, I have no idea how they came up with it.
    2. Tanukis are Japanese Raccoon dogs. I imagine everyone’s probably heard of them. Tanuki-faced women like Esther, meanwhile, form another specific type, which encapsulates both facial features and personality traits.
      I couldn’t find an English article about it (probably because it’s not exactly as exciting as Ketchup-faced men), but basically, a tanuki-faced woman would have a round face, big, round, saggy eyes, arched eyebrows, double eyelids, a soft rounded nose, a slightly big mouth with raised corners, and would typically put her hair up in a loose hairstyle.
      In addition to that entirely realistic and naturally-obtainable list of facial features, they are also stereotypically self-paced, gentle, and warm. They should have a solid personality yet be easily influenced by their emotions, do their best in their love life and place their lover over themselves, treat everyone equally, hate conflict, etc., etc.
      I got this bingo card of stereotypes from this (Japanese) article, if anyone’s interested.
    3. Another animal-inspired face is Joshua’s fox face. I won’t write as extensively about it since we’ve already got the salt-faced descriptor for him, but in short, a fox-faced person has long, thin, slanted eyes, thin lips and a small mouth, a straight nose, and occasionally a sharp facial outline.
      Here’s a (Japanese) article describing it and comparing it to the Tanuki face.

As proof that a tanuki-faced woman does, in fact, exist, the article names Ono Nonoka, a famous race queen with a particularly catchy name.

And here’s Kentarou Itou, a famous model and salt-face extraordinaire.


3 thoughts on “Chapter 5: The Villainess is in Love

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s