Read at Watashi wa Sugoi Desu!
Ch 1: I picked up the prince
It was in a lonely section of the downtown area, a short distance away from the prosperous city that was the Lant Kingdom.
The empty street was lined with brick houses. It was raining heavily that day, making the footing and visibility difficult.
A lone man was walking through one of the back alleys while holding an umbrella. He had shoulder-length hair and was dressed in a black coat. Suddenly, he heard the sound of several footsteps splashing through the rain-soaked ground, as well as several shouts that sounded like orders coming from the main road.
What’s going on?
When the man discreetly checked the main road, he could see several armored soldiers coming and going.
Although it was the royal capital, it was unusual to mobilize and transfer this many soldiers to the downtown area, which was a considerable distance away from where aristocrats lived.
It was rare for soldiers to come and go downtown unless they had a significant reason to. Unless it was something to do with the state, such a thing was just unlikely.
The man turned the corner of the back alley, and wondered if he should investigate what was going on afterwards.
While he was distracted by this thought, something caught his leg. A moment later, he heard a weak groan coming from below and looked down.
A blond-haired young boy, whose beauty would be breathtaking even to men, was lying there on the street.
However, the boy was roughed up in many places and his arm was bleeding, likely from an injury.
He was clearly not the kind of boy who frequented the back alleys. Then there was the strange presence of several soldiers, patrolling the street.
The man sighed heavily. He had a bad feeling about this.
I guess I won the lottery.
But the man couldn’t bring himself to just leave the boy there, so he gently lifted the boy up and brought him to the house where he lived.
The coals were still burning in the fireplace.
The boy was roused to consciousness by the sound of them burning and crackling. He was still a bit dazed. Also, based on the soft, warm sensation on his skin, it seemed that he had fallen asleep on a bed.
It was strange. He was sure that before he passed out, he had fallen on the side of a road. Both the cold from the rain and the wounds he received during his escape had exhausted him so much that, eventually, he was no longer able to move or stay conscious.
While he was slowly gathering his thoughts, he felt a weight on the left side of his body and a warmth that was not his own. This woke him up at once. The boy’s blue eyes widened and he quickly jumped out from under the quilt and moved towards the head of the bed. He realized that a black-haired stranger had been sleeping beside him this whole time.
“What! ??? Who? Eh…??”
While he was still struggling to grasp the situation, the boy got even more confused when he realized that he was naked as he got up.
The dark-haired man grunted softly as some of the weight that he’d placed on the boy sank into the bed.
The boy shivered for a moment and wondered if the man would wake up while he was still disconcerted. He didn’t know what to do. When he moved his arm, he realized from the pain that it was slightly injured, and that it had also been bandaged. He took a closer look at his whole body and found that compresses and other medicines had been applied to his small scratches and bruises.
Apparently, this dark-haired man had taken care of him.
He began to calm down.
Maybe he wasn’t a bad person in any way. As the boy thought that, the black-haired man shifted once in his sleep then slowly got up. He ran a hand through his long black hair and then turned to the boy.
He was still young, but he was clearly older than the boy; his calm demeanor and somewhat cold dark eyes gave the impression of someone in his late 20s.
“… You’re awake?”
The man wasn’t fully conscious yet, and his words were a bit slurred.
“Are you… ? Is this… ? What happened to your clothes? “
The boy noticed that the man was also naked, though only his upper body was exposed, and glared at him.
The man didn’t pay any mind to him or his questions. He took out a cigarette that was placed nearby and lit it. He took a puff and calmly blew out the smoke.
“I’m sure you’ll be pleased to hear that I’ve saved your life… Prince Alan?”
The man smiled wryly.
At his words, the boy started to panic.
“How do you know my name?”
At that moment, the man coughed and then quickly stifled his laughter.
The boy realized that he had been tricked and his face turned red with anger.
Did he do it on purpose? At these words, the man said he was sorry, but that Alan still looked a little funny.
“I only guessed based on the situation. Even I’ve seen the prince from a distance, so I just said it as speculation.”
This boy was the prince of this runt country. Alan frowned.
“I’m not sure who you are, but you’ve got a lot of nerve stripping me and then lying in bed with me when you are aware I am a prince. Give me my clothes now.”
The man realized he had teased Alan too much, and handed him a shirt from the shelf without saying anything more.
Alan took it a little roughly from him and put his arm through the shirt, which probably belonged to the man.
“My name’s Danis. I’m sorry, but you were wet and dirty, and I threw away your clothes. I don’t know what happened, but a prince being chased by soldiers isn’t exactly something that just happens, isn’t it? Instead, I’m going to have to make you look a little more plain, if only for a while You’ll have to put up with that for a bit.”
Alan twitched at his words.
This dark-haired man, Danis, said that he had only guessed the person he had helped was the prince. He also seemed a little surprised at the fact that Alan, the prince, was being hunted.
Normally, if the prince was in such an area and civilians realized that the soldiers were chasing him, they would have already reported his location to the soldiers. Whatever their reasons, they would think nothing of handing him over to the soldiers and sending him back to the castle. If they were noblemen, they would be looking for a way to impress their superiors; and if they were civilians, they would be looking for a reward.
But Danis didn’t do any of that. He said that he knew Alan was being hunted but it didn’t seem like he reported it to the soldiers.
“No, I was rude to the person who helped me too. Thank you… I should be more patient.”
Danis gave a surprised look at the prince, who suddenly felt embarrassed. Maybe he thought that Alan acted more haughty than that. It was a bit rude to say, but not long ago, it’s likely that Alan would have taken it for granted that he was being helped.
Danis poured some coffee into two cups and handed one to Alan. Alan took a sip of the coffee and was finally able to regain more calm.
Danis pressed his cigarette against the ashtray on the desk near his bed to put it out. He sat down on the chair, sipped his coffee, and then turned to Alan.
“So, what is the prince going to do now?”
As Danis was speaking, they suddenly heard a heavy knock at the front door.
Alan glanced at the door in surprise, and suddenly had a bad premonition.
Danis calmly placed his coffee cup on the desk and stood up; his face instantly turned grim.
“National Guards, come out now!”
Alan’s premonition had come true.
He turned pale and froze.
Danis quickly took out a pistol from one of the drawers in this room. He checked the ammunition in the pistol with a practiced hand and tucked it in his pants’ waistband at the small of his back. He took out a long brown wig from the closet and threw it at Alan.
Alan, who was stunned by the turn of events, swiftly caught it. He glanced questioningly at Danis, unsure of what it was for.
Danis looked back at him and said, “Take off your shirt, put the wig on, and get under the covers. And whatever you do, don’t face here.”
These instructions were rapidly whispered to him, but Alan was too stunned to keep up with the suddenness of the situation, so Danis urged him in a slightly stronger tone, “Faster!” He hurriedly put on the wig and crawled into the bed.
In the meantime, they continued to hear heavy knocks on the front door.
“I can hear you, sir.”
Danis opened the front door, sounding somewhat annoyed.
Alan gulped and swallowed at the situation. He felt as if his heart was about to stop.
”What can I do for you?” said Danis to the soldiers.
The soldiers were surprised but, as if reading the atmosphere, they responded in a more subdued tone.
“Excuse me, we’re looking for a blonde-haired, blue-eyed boy of about 16. I’ve been informed that you’ve seen him in the area. Do you know him?”
Danis deliberately pretended to think about it. The soldiers were quickly interested in having a possible lead.
“If that’s the case, he woke up a while ago and had immediately left.”
“Which way did he go?”
“He went that way, and then to the right.”
“Thank you for your cooperation!”
“No, make sure to be careful with your footing.”
After that, the soldiers saluted and Danis was about to close the door when one soldier called out to stop him.
Danis readied his right hand to quickly grab for the pistol on his back.
Alan, who was listening in as the situation unfolded, swallowed the saliva that had accumulated due to his tension, and felt his limbs go cold from sweat.
“Have I met you somewhere before?”
Upon hearing that, Danis surreptitiously relaxed his stance and laughed.
“Meet someone like me, who lives downtown? Maybe you’re imagining things?”
The soldier gazed intently at Danis, then nodded and ran down the road Danis mentioned in his lie.
Danis finally closed the front door. He let out a quiet sigh and then snickered.
“They should have at least checked the rooms.”
”Like I’d that happen!” Alan jumped up from the bed. It seemed that he finally realized that he had been tricked into posing as a woman using the wig and was angry about it. Danis just shrugged his shoulders.