Life After a Broken Engagement 9

Life After a Broken Engagement 9

Life after a Broken Engagement

Translator: Amber.es

Editor: Xia

Read at Watashi wa Sugoi Desu!


NOTE: Hey, this is Geli. I’m the one who’s been posting for this translation. Sooo I kinda fucked up with the last chapter and posted the wrong version. It was noticed a couple hours after the fact, so it was awhile before it was updated to the correct version. I’m so sorry orz

But anyway, if you read it within like 6 hrs after posting, you might wanna check it out again. The flow of the story is still the same, but it reads a lot better than the first version that was posted. Sorry again, and thanks to Xia for noticing and correcting me. Thx, k, bye.


Chapter 5

The wedding ceremony was filled with tension.

Dressed in a formal outfit that I was not used to and exposed to many unfamiliar eyes, I was keenly aware of the position I was in. It scared me. I was filled with tension, and it felt like the ground I was standing on was trembling. 

At this important ceremony to announce the succession of the next king, I was so nervous I could not feel my feet. With His Highness’s help, though, I managed to survive past it. I could not remember what I did when I greeted His Majesty, the King.

The last thing I was waiting for was my own announcement and the party that followed. For me, this was the most difficult task. Till now, I hadn’t appeared in any social events. Even after learning the proper etiquette, it was not something I was confident of portraying.

Professor Reedbell gave his metaphorical seal of approval, and my father, who I finally met after a long while, told me, “You look just like your mother, a beautiful flower of high society.” Even so, I was still so worried whether I would behave appropriately.

“You seem nervous.” 

“Your Highness…”

“Ah, don’t cry. Your makeup will come off.” His Highness Willacliff’s fingers gently wiped the damp corners of my eyes.

Yes, I was wearing makeup today.

When I heard it from Mary Anne this morning, I was so surprised, my voice got stuck in my throat. Before today, I had no idea that a man could wear makeup until Kilt informed me, saying, “There are quite a few male aristocrats who wear makeup.”

If he hadn’t told me, I would have definitely stopped Mary Anne while she was applying makeup to my face.

Mary Anne followed up as she promised, “Makeup is just a little conditioning for the skin.” Nevertheless, I was relieved that she had only applied a thin layer of white powder to my face.

“You look especially beautiful today, Runa. Be confident.”

“His Highness, don’t make such a joke at this time…”

“No, my words were never a joke.” Having said that, the gently smiling Prince Willacliff grasped my gloved hands.

“Un, I’m glad I chose the gloves to have the same fabric as our wedding raiments. The chest and cuffs have a nice colour and the shoes are just about right. The bluish luster was the right choice.”

His gentle green eyes looked me up and down, from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet. My chest throbbed.

Among the twelve outfits available, this particular one was selected. It was a particular white suit that shone in a gentle blue sheen when the light hit it just right accented with a fabric embroidered with silver-blue thread. The shoes were made from an exotic leather that also looked faintly blue.

Until yesterday, there were many outfit changes and many adjustments made here and there, all with His Highness’s approval. Truly, I had only respect for the hours and effort spent on the wedding attire. 

Because of those efforts, even though I was so nervous, I didn’t feel uncomfortable, and there was no pain in my legs even after all that standing. 

His Highness Willacliff prepared everything for me. He was really kind, I thought, flustered.

The Highness standing in front of my eyes was wearing a formal suit dyed in the deep green and gentle white worn by the royal family at important ceremonies. The golden embroidery along the chest and hem elevated its elegance and beauty. He had a ceremonial sword slung on his waist, an accessory worn by royal men who had fought for the country and its people. The proof of its ceremonial purpose was the fact that the blade was dull, though it had a scabbard that was pure white, inlaid with gold, with beautifully shining jewels scattered along its length.

A large crimson jewel, which was also the symbol of the crown prince, adorned the Prince’s chest, and a deep blue gem was intimidatingly displayed on mine as the counterpart to his. 

Your Highness is indeed very beautiful…

Until now, I had never thought about the beauty or ugliness of men. However, the Highness standing in front of me was unquestionably strong and full of masculine beauty.

The more I thought about it, the faster my heart pounded. These days, whenever my gaze unconsciously turned towards His Highness, he would notice and simply smile back as soon as he caught my gaze. See, even now His Highness was laughing towards these feelings of mine.

“If you keep looking at me with such a heated gaze, I’ll have to skip the wedding reception that comes after.”

“I don’t think that would be good.”

“Fufu, Runa’s a serious and proper child. Well, I’m glad that your tears have stopped. It’ll be fine, you’re perfect as my companion.”

“I’ve never been to social parties. Though I’ve learned, I haven’t put the etiquette lessons into practice yet…”

The moment the thought crossed my mind, I became anxious again.

In the first place, I was not adept at being in the spotlight, and I was not the best at interacting with people. 

This announcement was a grand event—countless aristocrats and royalty from across the country and from abroad had gathered here. Facing my first big social gathering, my legs trembled. 

“You’ll be fine. Everyone will forget me in the presence of your beauty. Right. If you’re still worried… Runa, what are you reading now?”

“Eh? As in a book?”

“Yes, what kind of book are you reading now?”

“Well, it’s about the story of mysterious creatures in the northern country, but–”

“Hmm, then what about this? If you’re nervous and stuck, imagine you’re inside the story. If someone talks to you, imagine you’re in front of the characters in the story. Imagine, then smile.”

“Smile, you say?”

I was not proud of my awkward smiling face. I didn’t know if I could smile as gently as His Highness.

Earlier, Kilt mentioned it to me, saying, “Even if you don’t force yourself to laugh, it’s enough to simply raise the edge of your lips a little.”

“You don’t have to give a forced laugh. Well, imagine that the person in front of you is a mysterious creature that appears in the story. If you smile the same way you do when you talk about a book, it should be effective enough.”

“Is that okay?”

“Yes, I guarantee it. Or is it that you don’t believe in my words?”

“There is absolutely no such thing!” I trusted His Highness’s words as much as my father’s. To His Highness who always placed me inside his thoughts, I would never lie.”

“Then there’s no need to worry. Let’s go.”

“Yes, Your Highness.”

His Highness’ hand extended towards me, offering a tender invitation to hold it. It created an illusion that I was a princess. It left me with a mysterious mixture of embarrassment and joy.

The reception began with the words of His Majesty the King before being passed to His Highness Willacliff. I simply stood by his side and bowed when prompted.

After that, it became a party where rank was placed aside, and aristocrats whose family name I had not remembered were smiling and talking to me.

At first, I was by His Highness’s side, but in a blink of an eye, His Highness was surrounded by royalty and aristocrats from other countries. I lost my place. 

Now it was my turn to receive greetings from the other nobles.

Initially, I desperately tried to match their family names to their faces, but it became more and more difficult as the numbers increased. In the end, as long as the correct respects were paid, and His Highness was not disgraced, it was enough.

I tried not to look tired or uncomfortable, but I could sense that I was anxious and my cheeks were a little tight. 

Don’t think about that, I’ve become His Highness Willacliff’s companion, so don’t do anything that would cause shame for His Highness…

Although I tried to prevent my face from looking exhausted and strained, my heart was still tense and anxious. Realising that, as His Highness Willacliff’s companion, I should not do anything that would cause shame for His Highness…those thoughts spun around in my mind.

If someone talks to you, imagine you’re in front of the characters in the story. Imagine, then smile.

I suddenly recalled His Highness’s words. Yes, His Highness told me that I should be okay with this.

With how much His Highness understood and cared for me…just thinking about that made my heart fluffy and warm.

Alright. I’ll listen to His Highness’s words.

I saw a man who was enthusiastically talking to me earlier.

His pale blonde hair was styled back, and his rimless glasses reminded me of a studious pupil rather than the harsh impression of Professor Reedbell. He must have been young, but I couldn’t be sure of his actual age… nevertheless, he looked full of wisdom, like an owl messenger spirit of the gods.

That spirit was always serious and trying hard, such that even outsiders would be hard-pressed to bother him when he was like this.

When I remembered the characters in the story, with the man in front of me looking like an owl, it turned out a little fun.

The person next to him had squeezed into his formal outfit. The bear and wolf cubs, the guardians of the forest, might have looked like this. When I thought about it, I smiled.

The person at the back was very hungry…ah, like a gluttonous kitchen spirit. 

That person over there, the other beside…as I wondered which characters they looked like, I realized that the noisy surroundings became quiet.

Looking closely, everyone else was opening their mouths and looking with their eyes, but no one was willing to talk to me.

Oh no. I must have done something wrong.

Blood drained from my face. No matter how much I likened the people to the characters in the story like His Highness advised, I must have shown an incredibly awkward smile.

Either that or I had forgotten to smile as I enthusiastically indulged in my fairy tales as if I were reading a book. I was unable to tell what face I’d shown to my audience, but this must have been a case of putting the cart before the horse.

What a blunder on the first day…

What should I do? I had only caused more trouble to His Highness. What should I do to make amends… The more I thought about it, the more bewildered I felt.

Just when I felt that my feet were shaking, I heard a familiar voice saying, “Crown Consort, you seem a little tired.”

The voice sounded a little similar to His Highness Willacliff, but it was a little lower and had a velvety timbre. Hearing a voice so similar to my favorite one made me feel so much more relieved.

“I understand that you want to greet the crown consort for the first time, but I don’t think it’s necessary to hurry. If you make the crown consort tired, you might earn a scowl  from my brother. After all, he’s my brother’s cherished consort.”

His Highness Hartward’s voice interrupted the scene. The aristocrats, who seemed to have been jolted by his words, greeted His Highness Hartward and I before leaving one by one in a hurry.

As I wondered what happened for them to leave so quickly as I looked at their backs, I heard a voice saying, “It seems you-” and hurriedly turned to face His Highness Hartward.

“Thank you very much.”

“No, I just felt uncomfortable with so many people treating you like a spectacle. Well, it was worse when it was my consort.”

I heard from His Highness Willacliff that the wedding ceremony between His Highness Hartward and Lady Beata was held in secret, partly because Lady Beata was pregnant. I didn’t attend because I thought that was for the best.

Still, it was the wedding ceremony of the second prince. The major aristocrats and royalty in the country must have attended. I could not imagine what happened there.

“I think it was unusual for someone like me to be the consort of the crown prince.”

“At the start, it might have been that case. However, recently they have seen much change and improvement, likely making them want to approach you.”

“Approach me?”

“The people who saw the couple before the wedding ceremony were all excited and talking about it. With such talks, being curious and waiting for the consort’s announcement, all the men gathered closely to the consort whose beauty surpassed rumors, drawn together like a magnet. That’s why. “

“…?”

I couldn’t understand what His Highness Hartward was saying. I shook my head a little. I noticed His Highness’ eyes widened as he looked at me.

It was the first time I’d seen His Highness Hartward’s eyes properly… Looking at it in this way, they looked a lot like His Highness Willacliff’s. However, His Highness Willacliff’s eyes had a slightly lighter and gentler atmosphere, with a fresh green color like young leaves.

Whenever those eyes turned my way, my head turned into a daze, and even though I knew it was disrespectful, I just stared back.

… Oh, I’ve done it again

Even though one should never stare with a disrespectful gaze at the royal family, I did it to His Highness Hartward. His Highness Willacliff would laugh and forgive my disrespect. However, even though he was my former fiancé, His Highness Hartward must have been uncomfortable.

I hurriedly looked away, thanked him, and tried to leave.

“It seems you have changed.”

“Eh…?”

His words stopped me.

“The atmosphere around you is different now. That’s why you feel different.”

“How so?”

“I’ve always thought you were beautiful, but now it’s like a beauty with more warmth …”

“Your Highness?”

His Highness Hartward stared at me. The sight of his green eyes that I had never seen, even when I was a fiancé, caused my skin to break into goosebumps.

“Is there something wrong?” I called out with an indescribable feeling.

His Highness didn’t respond. Instead, his hand stretched out and approached my cheek without hesitation.

“Hart. What are you doing?”

My heart which was beating fast, relaxed when I heard His Highness Willacliff’s voice. My body immediately turned to the voice.

“Runa, I’m sorry that I had to leave you alone. Are you alright?”

“Yes, I was doing exactly what His Highness taught me. His Highness Hartward also helped.”

“Oh, was that so? Hart, thank you for helping my precious fiancé.”

“Ah, no issue…”

His Highness Willacliff took my hand and asked, “Are you tired?” My heart thumped. I was so happy to have him always caring for me. My cheeks were slightly hot.

His Highness, naturally aware of my feelings, chuckled and turned his gaze to His Highness Hartward. “Speaking of which, is Her Highness Beata currently resting?”

“Yes. Due to her current condition, she is absent tonight.”

“I see. That’s good. I was concerned about whether this place was suitable for her or not. It’ll be hard on her as her belly becomes heavier and heavier. Hmm, has Hart finally learned to consider another person’s feelings?”

“Brother…”

“No need to be shy. As a person and as royalty, this is important. I’m glad that Hart has grown up, you know?”

Towards His Highness Willacliff, who seemed quite pleased, His Highness Hartward looked a little embarrassed.

“Don’t treat me as a child forever. I’m already an adult.”

“Ah, that’s true. It’s just that despite maturing, my younger brother hasn’t left my mind. Well, you did get married before me. In that sense, you’ve grown up well.”

“Somehow, you sound sarcastic.”

“That’s not the case. I’m relieved that my dearest younger brother had a love match with Lady Beata. I’m really happy.”

His Highness Willacliff smiled and placed his hand lightly on His Highness Hartward’s shoulder and held his face.

“I’m really happy that you grew up to be the younger brother I expected.”

The words uttered by His Highness resembled a father’s words, and I wondered if this was how an older brother might speak if they had such an age gap. 

Perhaps being the one taking care of His Highness Hartward since he was young was the reason why His Highness Willacliff took care of me so well.

I was unsure because I didn’t have a brother, but I thought that if I had a brother like His Highness Willacliff, I would have been happy and proud.

While thinking so, when I looked back at His Imperial Highness Hartward, a little frown between my eyebrows appeared. 

“Runa, can you spend a little time with me?”

“Alright. “

“I’m glad. In fact, my eldest sister is here and she wants to see you.”

“Eh?”

“My eldest sister arrived just now, despite her husband, the crown prince, insisting otherwise. Even though her baby was just born last year, she would rather choose meeting you over taking care of her own body. A troublesome elder sister.” 

“Ah, is that the princess who my mother spent time with?”

“Yes, she’s the one. I’m sure she would have liked to talk to your mother. I’m sorry, but can you go and receive my sister?”

I nodded with gusto, replying yes.

I’d always wanted to ask about my mother before she got married, but it was impossible to do so. My father was still traumatised.

In the past, my chest would hurt just from thinking about my mother. However, now my curiosity to know more about her was stronger. 

Learning about my mother’s past, remembering her even a little, could allow me to remember that day… the day in my childhood when His Highness Willacliff requested my hand in marriage.

The more I thought about it, the quicker I wanted to know more about my mother in her youth.

Of course, I didn’t know that His Highness Hartward was looking at me with a complicated expression as I excitedly followed His Highness Willacliff.


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Life After a Broken Engagement 9

Life After a Broken Engagement 5

Life after a Broken Engagement

Translator: Aeipathy

Editor: Xia

Read at Watashi wa Sugoi Desu!

Chapter 5

“See, I think this is the flower you were talking about, Runa.”

“…”

“Am I wrong?”

“No, I think you’re right…”

“Is that so? I’m glad,” said His Highness laughingly, his voice close enough to make me shiver. That reaction was only natural, though, seeing as His Highness was sitting right next to me. It was probably because he wanted to look at the illustrated encyclopedia of foreign herbs on my lap with me. Since earlier, our arms had touched several times, and our faces often came close to each other. Each time that happened, I smelled a nice, soothing scent and, for some reason, became nervous, making it hard to keep up the conversation with him. 

Only a short while ago, we had been sitting facing each other and chatting while drinking tea. “Since we’re engaged now,” he had said, and before I realized it, the two of us were sitting side by side on the sofa, close enough that it seemed like our bodies would touch.

“Runa?”

“…”

Also, he has started to call me ‘Runa.’

When I was young, my mother used to call me that, but now it was a childhood nickname only my father, who missed my mother, used. For some reason, His Highness seemed to know of the nickname, saying, “Because we are engaged, I want to use a special nickname,” with a smile.

“Ah, Your Highness?”

“Yes?”

“How do you know my childhood nickname?”

“…I see. So you don’t remember.” 

“Your Highness?”

When I raised my head to his quiet voice, I saw that His Highness seemed rather lonely all of a sudden. 

“You were three years old, almost four. At that time, you would sometimes come to visit my older sister’s rooms.”
“I did?”
“You were brought along by your mother, and I heard her calling you that.”

It was my first time hearing of this. I knew that Mother was close to the princess, who was later married off to a neighboring country, but I heard she had stopped going to the royal castle when she got married to my father.

“It was around the time my sister was discussing engagement. At the request of my sister, who was worried about various things, your mother visited the castle many times. At that time, you were young, so you came along too. You and I met in the garden three times.”

“Is that so…I’m sorry. I can’t remember much about my mother ever since the accident.”
“Well, then–no, it can’t be helped. It was such a terrible accident. It’s already a miracle that you’re alive.”

It felt like His Highness’s face brightened just a little.

“Actually, Runa, I asked to marry you the first time we met.”

“Eh…?”

“12-year-old me fell in love with you at first sight, and by the third time I wanted us to get married.”

“That–”

“Fufu, are you surprised?”

I really was surprised. I didn’t have any memory of that nor had I ever heard of it from my father. 

“I met you in a garden near my older sister’s chambers, so no one else knew about it. Well, even if the adults knew, they would probably have only viewed it as the whims of a child.” 

“That’s right…but I’m surprised. Um, I really don’t remember.”

“I understand why you don’t remember, so don’t worry about it.”

His Highness’s hand gently stroked my drooping head. He was probably being considerate of all the things I had forgotten after the accident. 

His Highness is really kind. He is a person that would be wasted on me.

“Even so, it seems like fate that I would ask to marry you again more than 10 years later.”

“Fate?”

“That’s right. Perhaps, since that moment, Runa and I have been bound together by fate.”

“I wonder if that’s so…”

I was engaged to His Highness the Second Prince, and after that engagement was broken I was immediately engaged to His Highness Willacliff. From the outside, it might have seemed like fate. Otherwise, I, a low-ranking noble and a man, would never have caught the eye of His Highness. 

“Was it fate?”

“Yes, I’m sure it’s fate.”

The hand stroking my head was so kind that I thought I might grow to subconsciously depend on it. It’d been a while since I last felt this way, perhaps not since my mother’s death. 

“…Well, fate is something you make yourself though.”

“Your Highness?”

“Now, let’s take a look at the herbs on the next page.”

I couldn’t properly hear the last words of His Highness, but when I raised my head in confusion, His Highness was gently smiling. The small thump my heart made upon seeing his expression surprised me, and I quickly shifted my gaze back to the encyclopedia on my lap in panic.

Although I could feel His Highness’s stare, I felt that it would be best to  pretend to not notice it. I could only stare at the pictures of herbs drawn in the encyclopedia. 


His Highness did not come today, but a single guard was sent to the mansion to deliver a book from him. The book was a collection of stories that my mother had read to me as bedtime stories when I was little, but I had lost my copy some time ago. When I told His Highness about it the other day he had said, “If I find it in my collection, I’ll bring it to you.” He even took the trouble of sending it over.

“I’m sorry to make you go out of your way.”

“No, no, this is a part of my job.” 

I’d seen the man’s face somewhere before, but he didn’t seem to be one of the guards who were always escorting His Highness Willacliff. Even so, I could tell from his appearance that he was a guard. Was he stationed in the royal castle? 

I had always been uncomfortable around knights, with their intimidating statures and swords, so it was a relief that the person in front of me had a gentler voice and calmer atmosphere than I expected.

“I’m sorry for making you do something like this even when you have other duties as a guard. Um, there isn’t anything that needs to be done particularly quickly, so please tell His Highness you don’t have to bother with delivering things in the future.”  

I thought that if I left it like this there would undoubtedly be a similar case in the future, so I asked the guard to pass my message on to His Highness. His crinkled eyes widened by a fraction, then his expression turned into a friendly smile. 

“Um…?”

“I apologize. I was just thinking that you’re exactly as I expected.”

“As you expected?”

Hearing his words, I raised my head to his still smiling face.

“His Highness would like you to remember him even when he cannot be present. He intends for this book to be the reminder, so there is no reason for Sir Ernis to be reserved.”

“Remember, is it.”

Even if you didn’t see someone for a day or two, there was no way you would forget them that quickly. And now that we were engaged, it would be impossible for me to forget His Highness so easily. 

“I don’t think it’s possible to forget His Highness, though.”

“…How do I say this? I understand why His Highness worries over you.” 

“Um…?”

“Ah, just talking to myself. The word ‘remember’ wasn’t quite right. His exact words were, ‘I want you to always think of me’ .”

“Always…”

“I have watched over His Royal Highness for many years. I think he is a little excited to finally be able to express his feelings openly. The huge collection of books that His Highness Willacliff has amassed would be worthless if he could not use them this way.” 

“What do you mean?”

“In the end, His Highness Willacliff is just a man, so I request that you accept His Highness’s feelings.”

“Erm–”

“His Highness is coming tomorrow afternoon. Please give him your thanks in person then. I’m sure he would be pleased with that. Now, please excuse me.” 

The large guard left without even entering the drawing room, keeping a friendly smile until the end. As for me, though I heard things that concerned me, I was unable to confirm anything. That afternoon, I ended up absorbing myself in the book and forgot all about the guard and the things I had heard.

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