Read at Watashi wa Sugoi Desu!
“You certainly have a beautiful face, but it’s the face of a gentleman, correct? I do think that the role of a crown consort is a heavy duty.”
In front of me stood a princess with black hair and black eyes. She looked somewhat similar to me, her almond-shaped eyes slanting even more as she looked me up and down.
While taking a nice walk, I felt rather unwell all of a sudden and decided to take a break in a garden chair. I was walking out from under the eaves to the garden, when I was stopped by the princess in front of me.
I heard that this princess was the daughter of the neighboring country’s Grand Duke,and one of the relatives of the Queen. She had been one of the candidates to be His Highness Willacliff’s queen, and even though she was no longer a candidate, it was said that she still studied at the guest house in the royal castle.
“Personally, I don’t mind even if there is a male consort, but I’m sure that everyone thinks that an official consort is needed in public.”
“That…that might be the case.”
“Oh, so it seems like you do understand. Then don’t you think you should talk about this with His Highness, the Crown Prince?”
“No, but I don’t have a say in the royal family affairs, of course—”
“Well, doesn’t that seem like you just don’t want to welcome a new consort? How despicable.”
“That’s not what I meant…”
In the first place, I wasn’t in a position to get involved with the internal affairs of the royal family.
While it was true that I carried the title of Crown Consort, I was of low birth from a poor aristocratic family that has almost no social status to speak of. It was unreasonable, perhaps even unforgivable, for someone of such a family to be so presumptuous towards a member of the royal family.
“Isn’t it because you are proud that His Highness Erlan approved of you? While it’s true that you have some backing from a great power, you shouldn’t take that much pride in it.”
“I would never do such a thing.”
“I really feel bad for the crown prince, you know. I don’t know what happened, but, no matter how pretty your face is, I feel bad that no one else will be chosen. How very pitiful.”
From a distance, the princess’s maids pleaded, “Princess,” in flustered voices.
This was a first for me.
When I first became the fiancé of the crown prince, those types of words were thrown at me left and right. Sometimes I’d hear it from afar, and other times I was surrounded by the queen candidates and their maids and they’d gossip to my face
I was prepared to accept the rumors and the words that were thrown at me. Since the beginning, I had never really minded that kind of thing.
However, I didn’t want His Highness to know that those kinds of rumors existed. It felt like His Highness was being spoken poorly of because of me, so I didn’t want him to know. That was why I started going out alone. If there were servants around me, I worried that these rumors would get back to him.
Though I sometimes heard terrible things, I also mostly thought the same thing as well. I was still wondering if it was a good idea to adopt the third prince. Every time I brought it up, though, Lady Lira just laughed and told me that there was nothing to worry about, just like what His Highness said.
Come to think of it, this feels a bit nostalgic.
The princess candidates had already left the castle without me noticing, and the number of people in the guest house that was near the crown prince’s location had decreased.
No one had told me anything about it directly. Because of that, I might’ve let my guard down. Maybe I wasn’t fit to be His Highness’s companion; I guess I started being pretentious.
Either way, the princess’s words about that subject bothered me.
“Anyways, I think that we should hurry and decide on having an official crown consort.”
I just kept listening to the princess’s words. That was the only thing I could do, but I started feeling sick again, making it hard for me to stand.
“Isn’t it bad manners for a noble lady to talk about the concerns of the royal family of another country?”
“Good day to you, Sir Ernis.”
The unexpected comment came from Lady Lira, whom I’d just met with three days ago. At that moment, I suddenly recalled that the garden nearby was one of her favorite spots.
“I came to see what all the ruckus was, but it seems like it’s just the young mistressof the Grand Duke’s house.”
“Oh my, Lady Lira. It seems like you have been well.”
“Well, I haven’t been too good.”
Lady Lira answered with a smile, though her voice sounded like it had a harder tone than usual.
“Even though you are the Grand Duke’s daughter, I do not think that you have a say in other countries’ affairs.”
“I didn’t mean for it to sound that way. Though, we only talked about how His Highness needs to have an official female crown consort. Besides, this person also agrees with me.”
“That is interfering. If it is about our country, the Crown Prince, and, of course, the crown consort, then these things are all His Majesty, the King’s, decision. Am I wrong?”
“That’s true. Therefore, this person should speak with His Highness, the Crown Prince, and after consulting with His Majesty, should ask for a new consort…”
“Please shut your mouth.”
Her unusually strong tone surprised me, and caused my body to stiffen a little.
I thought that the situation was getting worse, but even though I thought this, I didn’t know how to deal with it. All I could do was watch.
“The situation about the crown consort was decided a long time ago. I believe that His Highness, the Crown Prince, has directly addressed it with you.”
“I know you are only able to stay in this country because His Majesty has an understanding with the Grand Duke. I also happen to know that it was not just the queen, but also the crown prince who put in a word for you. Do you intend to disregard His Highness’s words?”
“That kind of thing…! I was only thinking of this country and His Highness the Crown Prince—”
“If you are truly thinking of His Highness, then please refrain from saying or doing anything that could be perceived as interfering with our domestic affairs. After all, though the Crown Prince of our country is kind, even he has his limits.”
“I was only…”
“Oh and you might have forgotten this, but I happen to be the third wife of His Majesty. Not to mention, the mother of the next Crown Prince.”
The princess paled at the sight of Lady Lira’s deep smile, and the maids who had been flustered earlier hurriedly left with her and returned to the guest house.
I was unable to bid them goodbye as they left; all I could do was keep my mouth shut. I wasn’t able to intervene between the two of them.
“Women really are terrifying. You should be more careful next time, Sir Ernis.”
“Um… yes. Thank you.”
“Well, His Highness has always been weak to women since way back, so there’s nothing we can do about that. And you are quite a kind person, but you’re also not very good at interacting with the other nobles, correct?”
“Fufufu,” she laughed, making it hard to reply.
It was just like Lady Lira said. I didn’t think my situation was going to work as it was, but I knew that socializing with others wasn’t something I could readily learn to do. I was reluctant to visit parties and events, what with my social status.
From now on, I’ll stop walking around inside the royal castle.
I had started taking walks, thinking that I wanted to quickly get used to this environment and that I should move my body even a little, but it seemed like it might cause trouble for His Highness someday. Then I had thought that it would be better to find something to do within the crown prince’s palace.
“Well, this will surely reach His Highness soon…but that aside, Sir Ernis, you’re looking a little pale. Are you perhaps feeling unwell?”
“Eh, there was nothing wrong with me this morning, but I do feel a little under the weather right now.”
“Well, I wonder if it could be food poisoning. Have you eaten anything out of the ordinary?”
“I don’t think that I ate anything unusual, but I did drink some fruit juice during my walk.”
“Fruit juice? During your walk?”
“Yes. I had found the perfect garden chair while I was out and about, so I went and took a break there while reading a book. The gardener there went out of his way to bring it to me.”
“Is that in the south garden perhaps?”
“No, it is a little bit to the west… where you can easily see the autumn roses.”
“The west side. That means it’s the garden that is beside the guest house… So how are you feeling?”
“I am alright. I’m sorry to worry you. The crown prince will be returning soon, so I will go back and rest.”
“Yes, that might be for the best. If Sir Ernis’s health declines, His Highness, the Crown Prince, will be upset.”
“That …is right. I will be careful.”
“Yes, be thoroughly careful. The state of your well-being can drastically affect that of the country’s.”
“I will ask a maid to go with you.”
“No, I will be alright even if you don’t do that much.”
“Please don’t hesitate. Ridnis is also looking forward to meeting you, Sir Ernis. That’s why I hope for your quick recovery.”
She smiled at me, which made it even harder for me to refuse.
After that, I returned to my room with Lady Lira’s maid. Kilt was more flustered than I expected, and Mary Anne told me to get bedrest immediately. Everything that happened earlier had already reached His Highness’s ears so quickly.
…As expected, I should really stop walking around the royal castle, I thought, determined to not cause any more trouble.
It had been 3 days since I was able to read a book while enjoying the scent of roses.
The feeling of discomfort that I had brushed off seemed to have been more persistent than I had expected. It made it difficult for me to eat supper that day, and I had lost my appetite up until dinner the next day. Though I had made His Highness, Mary Anne, and the others worried, I still had no clue what had caused it.
I, who had never gotten this sick up until that moment, still couldn’t pinpoint what had caused my brief bout of sickness.
While I was reading, I realized that I hadn’t seen the familiar face of the gardener I’d met.
He had first called out to me when I’d first noticed this garden chair. He was a kind man who had always given me fruit juice everyday ever since. We had talked a bit about plants while drinking juice, and we had ended up spending our time talking about many interesting topics.
And today will be the last. I wanted to give him my thanks for his kindness up until now….
As I glanced around, I saw Harris, Kilt’s husband, who also happened to be one of His Highness Hartward’s guards.
“Oh my. Sir Ernis, are you reading in a place like this?”
“I am just resting a bit after my stroll. But, I’m thinking of making this my last.”
“That might be for the best. His Highness, the Crown Prince, and everyone will feel more reassured if that is the case.”
That said, I was surprised when Harris suddenly kneeled on the ground, and I hurriedly urged him to sit on the bench.
“Please do not mind me. Also, if I sit next to Sir Ernis, I don’t know what kind of sarcasm I will hear from His Highness.”
“His Highness Willacliff’s sarcasm? No way.”
“Sir Ernis might not know this, but His Highness is quite glib with his words. It can be hard to listen to him.”
“His Highness’s can be that sarcastic…?”
I couldn’t imagine it from His Highness, who was usually so gentle and kind. Trying to do so made me shake my head a little.
“Rather, it seems like you were looking for someone.”
“Ah, yes. I just thought that I haven’t seen the gardener who I became acquainted with lately.”
“Gardener… Do you mean that man who gave you fruit juice?”
“Yes. Do you know him?”
Harris, who seemed to briefly mull over my words, opened his mouth and then said, “Oh well.”
“That man was disposed of three days ago by His Highness.”
I was surprised by his words, which were completely unexpected to me.
“By His Highness Willacliff?”
“Yes. He was accused of committing two crimes.”
I had thought of that person as someone who was easy to talk to. He’d reminded me of some of the people I could talk to informally back at school, which was why I was so shocked to hear that he committed a crime.
“Um, can you tell me what he did?”
“Please forgive me, but this information isn’t something that Sir Ernis should hear. Though, I have already incurred His Highness’s imperial wrath, which is something that shouldn’t ever be messed with.”
“What on earth…”
“It’s because not only did he get close to a jewel that shouldn’t ever be harmed, but he also pointed a blade at it. So it really couldn’t be helped. Well, because of this, the bothersome people will be quiet, so please rest assured.”
“Don’t tell me… is this about something that had to do with something that involved me?”
When I asked this, his slightly narrow eyes became even narrower. His sharp gaze made me jolt up, and the hand that I was holding a book with unconsciously gripped tighter.
“If my mouth slips up any further, I may get scolded by the captain and get called as another ‘talkative husband’. That’s right, Kilt is the type of man who also talks a lot. He isn’t causing Sir Ernis any trouble?”
“Eh? Oh, do you mean, Kilt? No, rather than him being too talkative for me, since I’m not so good at getting along with people, I’m very thankful to at least have Kilt to talk with.”
“Is that so? Then I am glad to hear it. No, I am more than happy to hear such praise coming from the master of my companion.”
He smiled up at me, which caused the strange tension I had been feeling earlier to lessen a bit. There was a subject that I still wanted to talk about, but just thinking of getting wrapped up in that same tension from earlier made it hard for me to speak on it.
“Well, it is time to return to the Crown Prince’s chamber. Oh look, Kilt’s younger brother is coming to pick you up.”
“Ohm it’s Harris. Sir Ernis, His Highness has been worried about you. Please return back.”
“I’m sorry, I was feeling a bit better, so I thought of getting some fresh air outside.”
“Hahaha, His Imperial Highness the Crown Prince seems to be worried as usual. This means that he hasn’t changed from before. It feels nostalgic, remembering how the two of us used to be quite as busy as we are right now.”
“Harris, this is no laughing matter. We might not be forgiven.”
“Sarius, don’t stare at me like that. Well then, Sir Ernis, I will excuse myself now.”
“My apologies, it seems like I have disturbed your duties.”
“Do not worry about it. Frankly speaking, this is also one of my duties.”
After seeing off Harris, who left with a smile, Sarius, Kilt’s younger brother who had come to pick me up, returned with me to the crown prince’s palace. I also asked Sarius about the gardener on the way back, but like Harris, he only told me that the gardener got disposed of by His Highness.
Then, I wonder if Kilt knows. With that in mind, I decided to try asking him about it during my bath time.
“The gardener? Oh, that.”
“Do you know something?”
“I don’t know all the details about it, but I did hear a little about it from my husband.”
“I heard that His Highness directly disposed of him.”
“It seems so. Well, if anyone tried to get close to you, regardless of whether they’re a gardener or even a noble, they would promptly be disposed of.”
“And, it seems like Lady Latina had manipulated that man. I heard that the fruit juice was a deciding factor.”
“Lady Latina? The fruit juice? What does that—kyah!”
“Starting tonight, I will be bathing you in this earthen pot. Apparently, this is a method used overseas. If you put herbs in it and soak yourself in it up to your shoulders, it’ll expel the toxins in your body.”
“What do you mean by toxins—uwahh!”
“The earthen pot, the herbs, and these flowers were all prepared by His Highness for Sir Ernis. Haa, aren’t you well loved.”
A large earthen pot was currently embedded in the floor of the bathroom. The top part of it was uncovered, revealing plenty of hot water, medical herbs that I had never seen before, and colorful flowers. None of these things had been here before I was recuperating, so it must have been prepared during the last three days.
Kilt lifted me up, and then I was suddenly placed into the pot, feet first. This surprised me and I tried to stand up, but then I was firmly pushed down until my shoulders were submerged in the pot. The earthen pot was really large, and the water inside it wasn’t too hot, but…
I feel like I’m being used as a soup ingredient…
Thinking about it, it was written in a foreign book that there was a bathing method in some countries where you were supposed to soak your body in hot water. Maybe that was the case here?
To do this much, just because I got sick?
Knowing that His Highness prepared all of this within three days, made me feel like my body was flushing.
I was sure this wasn’t because I was soaking in hot water—my heart suddenly quickening, and my mouth slackening, it definitely wasn’t because of the special hot water that I was in.
“I hope you will be in perfect condition as soon as possible. Both my husband and my brothers were worried.”
“Oh right. I had Sarius accompany me back… Besides, Harris seemed to be in the middle of his duties, it seems like I had him accompany me for a bit.”
“Ahaha, my husband likes to wander around, so it’s alright. My brother, Sarius, is also on duty. Those two have been assigned to the same duty for a long time, so they often interact with each other.”
Come to think of it, Harris did mention that the two of them were doing the same duty.
“The two of them have the same duty? Eh? But isn’t Harris one of His Highness Hartward’s guards?”
“For a short while, before he became His Highness Hartward’s guard, my husband was in the same knight duties for the crown prince as my brother, Sarius. That was why he was in charge of guarding, or rather monitoring, Sir Ernis. His Higness has become a real worrywart since the accident.”
“Accident, no, what do you mean by my guard—”
“Yes, yes, please make sure to soak your shoulders. No matter how much they had to guard you, I think that it was still a nuisance for the people around the school to see the two of them going in and out of the building with their hulking figures.”
“Eh? Do you mean that the two of them came to the school building?”
“Yes. Since Sir Ernis doesn’t seem to be that aware of your surroundings, you might not have realized it. Well, you also probably didn’t notice because they would only prohibit people who approached you carelessly. No, no one would’ve even tried to get close with those two glaring daggers at them.”
“What do you mean by—uwahh!”
When I tried to open my mouth to ask more questions, he put his hands under my armpits and lifted me up. While I was trying to process the events we had just talked about, he patted me dry with a soft cloth and quickly dressed me in my nightwear.
How to say this… While it was true that Kilt has a big body frame, being treated as a child was a little…
While I was thinking that, Mary Anne started to take care of me, and Kilt left the room soon after.
I will ask Kilt about it again later.
With that in mind, I grabbed the book that His Highness had gotten for me about the desert country. As I was fascinated by it, I suddenly got sleepy, so I went to sleep on the bed without waiting for His Highness to return.