Can Someone Please Explain What’s Going On?! ~A Sign-on-the-Line Wedding Story~, Vol. 4

By Tsuredurebana and Rin Hagiwara. Released in Japan as “Dareka Kono Joukyou wo Setsumei Shite Kudasai! ~Keiyaku Kara Hajimaru Wedding~” by ArianRose. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by Mattias Hirsch.

Despite the fact that we’re only at Vol. 4 of 9, it is sometimes difficult to remember how far Cersis has come since the start of the series. Let’s recall the premise: he asks Viola to become his wife on paper so he can continue to fool around with a dancing girl. It’s hardly a surprise that, having fallen in love with Viola instead, she does not really believe he’s all that serious. (Viola’s amazing self-worth issues don’t help, though thankfully there’s far less of that in this particular book.) That said, we’ve slowly seen him grow and change, both as a commander and as a somewhat clueless husband. It should therefore not come as too much of a surprise when, towards the end of this new volume, he admits to his past faults and is resolving to become the best duke he can be, everyone is staring with their jaw dropping. Including Viola. He now has to prove that he means it.

the first half of the book wraps up the war storyline, with our gallant soldiers returning home victorious, and Viola forced to go to the palace to have the King welcome everyone back. (Which he does. At length.) The King gives all the soldiers a two-week vacation, and Cersis decides to use the time to take Viola on a tour of his duchy, starting with the manor that his parents normally stay in when they aren’t doting over Viola. Everyone and their brother are calling this the honeymoon that she and Cersis never actually had, and are expecting them to spend most of it trying to conceive some children. Everyone except Viola, of course, who is far more interested in the town scenery and the local shops. Fortunately, Cersis by now has sort of figured out how much of a job he has ahead of him, and just rolls with it. Unfortunately, the duchy, thanks to the war, is in more dire straits than expected…

I’m going to be honest, I was among the people who were boggling at Cersis’s change of heart at the end of the book. I was expecting that the conflict in the Town that he got into was arranged by him for Viola’s sake… though perhaps not the kidnapping attempt. But credit to him, he is trying hard, taking note of the issues that lead to the unrest, and taking Viola’s suggestions on how to handle things based on what she did in her much poorer Earldom, where they can’t afford a constant fleet of guards to keep the peace. It is also very in character of the series so far that, even after directly confessing his love to her – again – Viola’s response is still “sorry, I’m still just not really that into you”. Romance is a foreign nation to her. That said, this is going to change, and now that Cersis is no longer the bumbling doofus husband (much), I look forward to seeing how he wins her over. I will warn, though, there’s one scene where where Viola narrates a fight between her would-be kidnappers and Cersis, and there is a repeated use of the word “fatso” which, while I’m sure was also bad in the Japanese, might have been replaced with something else.

This is one of those shoujo light novels that feels the most like a Western romance, with a definite lack of magic, past lives, or villainesses. Even Calendula, the dancer and former beau of Cersis who kicked this all off, is a relatively nuanced and sympathetic woman. Definitely checking out more.

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