Read at Watashi wa Sugoi Desu!
“Hmm, this outfit doesn’t look good with Sir Ernis’ black hair. This one, oh— this one too! Seriously, I can’t apologize enough for having a younger brother who couldn’t choose a gift at all.”
“No, please don’t apologize.”
“I’ll take these all back. Instead, let me choose others to bring instead. Can you forgive me?”
“Eh? No, it’s true that His Highness had given me all of this, but…”
“Think of it as an apology for what my brother did. As an older brother, I want to sincerely apologize, Sir Ernis.”
I could no longer refuse when he smiled at me with those beautiful, green eyes that resembled His Highness Hartward’s.
The man accompanying the messenger, here to pick up the apparel and return it to His Highness Hartward, was the first prince, His Royal Highness Willacliff.
His Royal Highness’ visit to the mansion was so unexpected, that even our rarely flustered butler, Gilburton, greeted him hurriedly.
I was so shocked that I forgot to greet him properly, saying only, “Eh?”
Towards this disrespectful subject, His Highness smiled and replied, “I’m sorry to have come so suddenly” He added, “My brother probably won’t apologise properly. As his brother, I’ll apologize in his stead.”
After which, he had the guards carry out items that were too luxurious to be called mere love tokens.
Unable to grasp the situation, we entered the drawing room. Opening the box to be returned, he checked the contents. He frowned, muttering, “Hart’s sense is so bad.”
After hearing from Gilberton about His Highness’ visit, it seemed my father had collapsed from fright and couldn’t get out of his bedroom.
Not taking such rude behaviour to heart, His Highness smiled, saying, “In this, I have been no different from Hart. I apologize. I’ll send a messenger in advance next time.”
Just now, did he say next time?
“Your Highness, by ‘next time’ do you mean…”
“For now, I have decided to continue visiting you. It may be a nuisance, but I’d like you to accept this as an apology.”
“No, I can’t have His Highness do such a thing.”
“If I, as the First and Crown Prince, often stop by to apologize, won’t the wind against Sir Ernis be weakened?”
“I think it’s my role as an older brother to wipe the butt of my younger brother Hart. Also, this matter is giving my father, the King, a headache. Though he cannot come here directly, I sincerely want to help you with this in his stead.”
His Highness gave a smile.
To be honest, I didn’t mind if he did no such thing, but I couldn’t reject His Highness without an explanation. I was certain that my father wouldn’t refuse, and hence I quietly bowed, expressing my consent.
Since then, His Highness Willacliff came to the mansion once every five days. It seemed that my father, who was on the verge of collapse just from looking at him at first, became accustomed to His Highness’ friendly personality, and now they could even enjoy a little conversation together.
At first, His Highness and my father talked and greeted each other. But after a while, the task of dealing with His Highness was passed to me.
Having no prior experience talking to other aristocrats, I was troubled about how to speak to the Crown Prince. Thankfully, that feeling only lasted briefly.
We coincidentally touched on the topic of books, discussing what was popular in the city. After that, words flowed out naturally and we were exchanging exciting stories of rare books from foreign countries before I noticed.
“Sir Ernis is indeed a scholar.”
“That’s not true. I don’t think I could win against senior intellectuals from the Royal Palace with their knowledge of books from other countries. It’s definitely an overstatement. My family just always had the habit of collecting books…”
The word used to describe my great-grandfather’s generation was “scholarly.”
Despite being a nobleman, behind the scenes I was looked down on for collecting books. Because of that, I couldn’t always afford to do it. I learned that, when my father and mother had been newly married, the union was slandered with malicious gossip about “love between two different statuses” and “married for money.” I heard the echoes of this growing up..
In fact, my mother, who was of the same rank as the princess, had been married with a large dowry. But my father hadn’t chosen her because of that. Such gossip would not have bothered my parents, whose marriage was a genuine love match.
“It’s hard to master just a single path. It is okay to be proud that you have more knowledge than a scholar.”
“—Thank you for your compliment.”
The gentle green eyes in front of me stared at me calmly. Suddenly, I thought about the other Highness, who had the same green eyes. How did he look?
I couldn’t remember.
I had a vague impression of His Highness’ rich blonde hair pairing beautifully with green eyes, but I realized that I hadn’t seen enough of His Highness Hartweed’s face to remember.
It seems that it couldn’t be helped that the engagement was annulled.
Having this thought regarding my former fiancé perplexed me.
“Right, let me give you a book called The Stories of a Thousand Nights. My sister had just given it to me.”
“I can’t afford such an expensive book from a foreign country!”
“I asked for two books, so I have one left over. Wouldn’t the book be happy to have someone who cares for it to take it?”
“I cannot accept this priceless gift.”
“I think it’s suitable for you, who loves books even more than the elders of the Royal Palace. And this book has such beautiful illustrations. Would you like to see it? “
Beautiful illustrations… Books with illustrations were available only in the country where they were made. With limited numbers produced, I’d wanted to see the illustrations in The Stories of a Thousand Nights since I was little.
I want to see it; I want to see it at least once.
“Is it okay to just look at it?”
“Of course! Hmm… When it comes to books, Ernis is childlike.”
“I’m sorry for the trouble.”
“I’m not blaming you. It’s just that, your beautiful face flutters like a child’s, and I always admire how adorable it is.”
Adorable… I’d never been told that. No, I felt like my father had told me when I was little, but I thought it was embarrassing to say a 17-year-old man.
“To be called adorable is a little…”
“Sir Ernis is not only beautiful, but also very adorable with your desire for knowledge; you want to learn by finding the right way of looking at things. I am so grateful that I could meet someone who can make me forget the time while we have a fun conversation together.”
When I saw His Highness’ gentle smile, I had to close my mouth to stop my denial.
In this way, His Highness Willacliff’s apology pilgrimage continued. Before I knew it, the interval between visits that had been five days became three.