By Yuka Tachibana and Yasuyuki Syuri. Released in Japan as “Seijo no Maryoku wa Bannou desu” by Kadokawa Books. Released in North America by Seven Seas. Translated by Julie Goniwich.
Let’s face it, as much as we love the slow burn romance between Sei and Albert as a fictional couple, in real life things are not that simple. Sei is a hot commodity, and her age does not seem to be holding people back. As such, we are starting to see her have to deal with the world outside of her little research and monster hunting bubble, and make contacts with important families while fending off families who might merely want to use her fame and power to advance their own position. This is a problem with Sei, who has a certain amount of social anxiety, something that we may have forgotten about given how good the kingdom is about keeping her surrounded by people she trusts. That said, if you DO like Sei and Albert, the last quarter of the book has some tasty romance for you. And if you’re reading this book but hate the romance (???), I feel I should inform you that there is a giant zombie dragon.
The ball starts rolling with Liz telling us something that I’ve been expecting to happen since Volume 1: her engagement to Prince Kyle has been called off. Because this was due to his own issues (he’s being exiled to China), she does not suffer the reputation hit that you might expect from a villainess novel, and in fact will soon have suitors beating down her door. And so will Sei, who doesn’t have to get married but does actually have to poke her head out and wave on occasion. She manages to get past the first tea party, with Liz’s mother and other “safe” noble women, and from that comes up with the idea of showing off the regional foods of all the noble territories by having what amounts to a food festival. Which ends up being a much bigger deal than she was expecting…
First of all, in case you are wondering about Ten’yuu from the previous volume, there is an extended interstitial story here giving his backstory and also reassuring us that Sei’s medicine saved the day. The bulk of the book is dedicated to Sei having to try hard to be outgoing and friendly despite the fact that public events exhaust her, and she ends up doing a pretty good job of it. She also goes on an expedition with the First Corps of Royal Knights, the only ones not to go monster hunting with her, though this ends up being an excuse for them to fawn over her. Honestly, the best reward in the book (which hasn’t happened yet) is the discovery that in the domain of Albert’s family, which is Switzerland in all but name, they have… hot springs! Which can even have healing properties, something that startles the family when she mentions this. And, of course, there is Sei and Albert. Who get their cutest moment when Sei pulls a Katarina and falls through the wall of a cave.
This is never going to be exciting and heart-pounding, but it’s always going to be relaxing and nice. I enjoy it.