Translated by Seraphic
A woman walked alone under the dusky glare of the setting sun. Her figure was clad in a dress of regal crimson; ornaments in the shape of small birds arranged her flaxen hair. Even if one could ignore her attire, her stately posture emanated dignity. Just by observing her gait, it was evident to all that she was a lady of noble stature.
However, this woman, Arue Aquila, Crown Princess of the Kingdom of Aquila, was headed to a place very much in contrast with her majestic bearing. In a forested corner of the royal palace ground stood a ramshackle stone structure. At the entrance was an aged gardener who, upon noticing the princess’ approach, ran up to her and paid his respects.
“Well, well, if it isn’t Lady Arue? To what do I owe the pleasure?”
“I had a little extra time, so I snuck out of the party preparations.”
Answering thusly, like a mischievous child, Arue stuck out her dainty pink tongue. Despite her position, she did not act haughtily towards the menial servants.
This was especially true for this gardener whom she had known since childhood. Seeing Arue act like a girl her age, the gardener’s wrinkled face warped into an even larger grin as he jokingly chided her.
“That ain’t right. They’re receiving a real big shot prince tonight. Seein’ as you’re our dear princess, shouldn’t you be in there?”
“I have no desire to be part of that pompous affair. In any case, if a princess needs to be there, isn’t there one other person missing?”
Hearing Arue’s slightly forceful reply, the gardener put on a troubled expression with his mouth hanging open speechlessly. This was an unmentionable matter. The only legitimate heirs of the Kingdom of Aquila were, at present, the Queen who ruled the country and her daughter Arue. At least, that was the official account.
“I’m sorry. It’s not my intention to criticize you. I just can’t enjoy myself in that splendor while she’s been locked up in this place, you know.”
“Lady Arue has a kind heart.”
“I’m not kind at all. Even if that were the case, kindness alone means nothing. The only thing I can do for that girl is console her.”
Murmuring those words, Arue lowered her beautiful face in self-derision.
“The sun has already set. Lady Selene should be waking from her rest.”
“Eh, don’t you worry. I won’t mention a word to your mother. I can do that much, at the very least.”
As Arue expressed her gratitude, the old man turned towards the stone building and unlocked the entrance. As the rusty iron door opened with a squeal, a musty, putrid odor permeated the air. It was an unpleasant smell no matter how many times Arue visited. She grimaced, but without pause she entered into a gloomy corridor and then walked upstairs to the second floor.
This building actually served as a storehouse for curios that had lost their value, broken items, and cleaning supplies for the servants. There were actually a fairly modest number of rooms, but as nothing of great value was stored within, little maintenance or cleaning was ever performed.
A place akin to the wasteyard of the royal palace.
However, within the innermost depths was a door clearly different from the others.
Unlike the decaying wooden doors elsewhere, this was a sturdy iron door with geometric patterns sketched over its surface. Arue stretched her hand out towards the patterns, whereupon they emitted a faint phosphorescence and the door unlocked with a dull thud.
On the door was a powerful sorcery that was used on state secrets and other matters of great import to prevent access by thieves and their ilk. It was a magical seal that could only be released by those carrying the bloodline of the royal family. Even after confirming the seal was released Arue did not immediately head inside, instead she lightly rapped upon the iron door.
“Selene, Selene, are you up yet?”
When Arue gently called out from the hall, a reply like angel’s song responded from within. Arue’s face loosened upon hearing the lovely voice, and she proceeded to open the door.
Beyond the door was tiny, truly tiny, square chamber. This room – or perhaps more accurately, this prison – contained a plain bed upon which were placed a minimal amount of living supplies, with a single small window providing illumination. In the middle of the room quietly stood a young girl dressed in ragged clothing.
Rubbing her sleepy eyes with her soft white hair in a tangled mess, it appeared she had just woken up. Arue made a bitter smile and straightened the messy bed hair, using her fingers as a comb.
The young girl’s name was Selene Aquila, the country’s second princess that was never to enter the public eye.
“Sister, today, busy. Fine?”
While struggling to string together words with poor pronunciation, Selene approached her elder sister and gazed at her with dark crimson pupils.
Seeing those eyes filled with concern always put Arue’s heart with ease. Selene was the only one who would treat Arue purely as a woman rather than as the princess. It was for that reason she so strongly resented the fact that her pure-hearted little sister was imprisoned in this place.
Selene appeared outwardly to be an unnatural existence. While Arue and her mother had blond hair and blue eyes, Selene’s whole body, from the ends of her hairs to the tips of her toes, was a nearly translucent white.
Her silky, snow white hair ended neatly at her shoulders and her skin was smooth like pearl. She possessed exceptional beauty as if blessed by the gods and her eyes glistened like inset rubies. At 8 years old, she was still a flower bud, but no one could predict just how magnificent the flower would be once fully bloomed.
Had Selene’s eccentric appearance been revealed to the world, rather than eerie, it would have been regarded as the descent of an angel. In that case, why had she instead been concealed? The cause was Selene’s behavior.
Selene was bizarrely mature for her age. From birth, not once had she ever cried or sought her mother’s attention. From the moment she came into the world, she had turned her gaze all around her as if ceaselessly observing her surroundings.
Without anyone teaching her, on her own she would fold her clothes, tidy up the dishes, clean her room beautifully, and she would never trouble the adults with her own concerns. On the whole, she had no semblance to a child whatsoever.
In contrast, however, she could barely speak. Most children, by the time they reach the age of three, could fluently converse to some extent. However, even at this point Selene could only communicate haltingly, as though she were a caveman yet to discover civilization.
With such mismatched behavior it was difficult not to see her as abnormal, strange, or even ominous. In consequence, Selene’s own birth mother, the Queen, viewed her to be an incomprehensible monster instead of a daughter and decided to erase her existence.
However, even if she was a grotesque beast in the eyes of the Queen, the Queen was a mother unable to bear killing a child whom she had birthed after the pain of pregnancy. The shared blood between mother and child, as well as the blood of the royal family flowing through her veins, were the thin lifeline that granted Selene her continued existence.
Once Selene reached five years of age, the Queen pushed her into this dark cage at the corner of the palace grounds and sealed away her name. And so, this cramped chamber became Selene’s entire world, the only place where her existence would be allowed. Whenever that thought came to Arue, she felt as though her body was being torn apart.
“Hey, Selene. Do you know the reason your sis is going to the ball?”
“Mm. Prince, meeting. For me.”
When Arue spoke slowly to make it easy for Selene to understand, Selene swiftly interjected her response. Because Selene couldn’t speak skillfully, she was branded as having problems with her intelligence, however Arue knew that wasn’t the case. It would have been impossible for Arue to figure out the situation so quickly when she was Selene’s age.
“You want to go to the ball, right? ….I’m sorry. I can’t bring you out of here with my current authority.”
While biting her lip, Arue placed her hands on Selene’s shoulders and ruefully apologized. Gently placing her hands on Arue’s, Selene shook her head, telling her not to worry about it.
“Don’t want to go. I, here, suits me.”
Hearing her say that, Arue’s chest tightened further. Certainly, the ball in the castle was a rigid, formal affair, but attending such a magnificent event was every girl’s dream.
Although she was still very young, Selene was a girl as well. There was no way she wouldn’t want to go. However, she understood her position and gave Arue an excuse. Or rather, she understood Arue’s feelings and tried to comfort her.
“Please listen carefully, Selene.”
Arue’s face grew more somber. Putting more force into her grip on Selene’s shoulders, she chose her words carefully before opening her mouth.
“The prince that’s visiting our country tonight has been traveling around the continent searching for a marriage partner. He’s the prince of a large country, you know. If I’m chosen by him, we’ll be able to receive them as our backer. In other words, I’m the main product on display today. Do you understand?”
Selene nodded wordlessly. It was a difficult concept for an eight year old to grasp, but Arue knew from past interactions that Selene would be fine with this level of complexity, so she continued.
“Her Majesty the Queen — your mother imprisoned you here, and I have no means to oppose her order. However, if I become the wife of the prince, with his assistance I should be able to do it. For that purpose, I will do my best!”
Saying that, Arue tried to grant Selene hope. However, Selene merely scrunched up her forehead, not looking happy in the slightest.
“Eh?! W, why? You could get out of this prison!”
“Don’t wanna. That’s, Arue, not, product.”
Upon hearing those words, Arue felt shocked. Her sister, stuck in such a miserable environment, was still showing her such care at a time when everyone else merely viewed her as a political tool to be sold away. Tears nearly spilled, unbidden, from her eyes, but Arue resisted them. However, even more shocking words soon came from Selene’s mouth.
“I, will marry big sis Arue. So, marrying the prince, no good, definitely!”
Arue’s train of thought was derailed by the unexpected remarks, and after a long pause she managed a flustered pout.
“Hey, you know, we’re sisters and we’re both girls, aren’t we? A girl and a girl can’t love one another, can they?”
“We can. Because I like yuri.”
“Lilies (yuri)? Selene really likes flowers, huh?
“Lilies, different, yuri, like.”
Arue tilted her head in confusion. Selene occasionally spouted something incomprehensible, but what did she mean when she said she likes lilies? Although she couldn’t grasp its meaning, she understood that Selene liked her, and that was enough.
Even in such pitiable circumstances, her sister didn’t resent Arue’s favored treatment, instead even feeling concerned for Arue. Realizing that, Arue became even more determined to work hard for her sister.
“Wait a little while, Selene. It may be painful for a little while, but I’ll definitely bring you out into the light of day once more. At that time you won’t have to stay alone in this place any longer.”
“I’m, not alone though?”
Seeing her little sister seemingly disregard the circumstances, Arue hugged her tightly. Selene was a clever, kind-hearted child. She could see that Arue had not fallen in love, nor did she want to marry yet. That’s why Selene told her to not to rush to sell herself to the prince.
Thinking of her sister’s kindness, Arue felt her determination burn even more ardently. Even if she had to temporarily put aside her own desires, she would act without regrets if it was for Selene.
“Alright! Your older sister is going to do her very best, you hear? I’ll make that prince fall head over heels for me and then I’ll definitely have you released!”
Arue got hyped up all by herself. Kissing Arue on the forehead, she left the room muttering something about not knowing how to perform a honey trap.
Once Arue left, the patterns on the door shone once more and the room was again locked and sealed. As the sun’s light completely faded beyond the horizon, all that was left was Selene with her hand on her forehead — or not.
[To think that she’d say Lady Selene was alone when a skillful steward such as myself is by her side.]
Abruptly, a sonorous, baritone voice echoed out by Selene’s head. Without any particular sign of surprise, she turned her gaze towards the voice. From underneath her bed, a small shadow about the size of her palm nimbly sprung out in front of her.
“Always, thanks, Butler.”
[Your word is my command! To receive the princess’ favor, this Butler would even be willing to give up his life!]
“Don’t want, life. Butler, I want, do as usual.”
[Heading to Paradise, is it? Understood.]
The shadow called Butler bowed graciously to Selene. Seeing his behavior, a faint smile floated upon Selene’s face. Unbeknownst to anyone but her, this exchange had been performed many times before.
In a room dominated by moonlight and silence, it should have been a night like any other. However, it was on this very night that a tale began to be spun, a tale of the one later known as the Emissary of Peace — the Moonlight Princess Selene Aquila.
 アルエ＝アークイラ. First name is trisyllabic, pronounced ah-roo-ae in Japanese. The Romanization of “Aquila” was a fairly easy choice given it’s a Latin word meaning “eagle” that still sees some use as a name even today. “Arue” on the other hand…the closest Romanization to a name I could find was Aleu, which seemed unlikely in both provenance and pronunciation, so I just went with the most direct transliteration.
 Strictly speaking, the name Selene as pronounced by most English speakers would be セリーン, however, the セレネ used is almost definitely a reference to the Greek goddess of the moon. So I guess look up the Greek pronunciation for Selene if you’re really into saying it “correctly”.
 Translating puns…..((((￢￣▽￣)￢*runs away*
 So…This name is the word “Butler” in katakana (バトラー). I’m gonna translate 執事 as “steward” to avoid the confusion of Butler the butler. Having read the Umineko VN, I was really tempted to call him Battler instead, but I think it’s pretty clear which way this was supposed to go.