Read at Watashi wa Sugoi Desu!
“Are you sure that it’s appropriate for you to come to the city so often?”
“It’s alright. It doubles up as a breather for me. I think it’s also a good opportunity to see people’s lives directly from the carriage.”
Once you become a Crown Prince, there will be tiresome situations and hardships to follow. With it being like a job, it would be nice to have a partner to help out… I thought to myself as I turned my eyes to the cover of the beautiful book.
This was a foreign book from across the sea with a very rare three-dimensional embroidery on the cover. I have a book with the same embroidery, but it was so old that the embroidery had worn out. The original colour could not be discerned.
After I talked about it, he said that there should have been a similar book in the collection, and that he brought it along today.
The cover was said to be the face of a book. With such beautiful embroidery, this book must be good.
I hurriedly looked toward His Highness. I was too absorbed by the beautiful binding. My seniors often pointed out my bad habit of ignoring everything when I focused on my thoughts. I’m always careful, but when I saw my favorite book in front of me, I couldn’t control it.
I sometimes zoned out, yet His Highness Willacliff never blamed me or showed impatience. He always let me do what I liked. Although I was committed to stopping this habit, I made the same mistake again today.
“It’s nothing to be worried about. In any case, I heard you usually feel unwell when you ride carriages? Then it’s for the best I came here.”
My mother’s image came to mind. After what happened, I was no longer good with horses or carriages.
Those gentle green eyes looked at me as my chest ached. I was reminded of my mother’s light and fluffy chestnut-coloured hair.
I shook off those thoughts. Where did I stop at… Oh yes, I was talking about a visit to the mansion.
“Still, it must be troublesome to come so often… And my father is afraid of troubling you.”
Ever since His Highness said, “Since I arrive for my convenience, there is no need for a greeting,” I’ve been the one welcoming him.
That day, with my mother, we were heading to the villa of my mother’s birthplace. Due to the heavy downpour the day before, the ground was very muddy. The horse carriage had stopped many times along the way. But even so, we proceeded to the villa without turning back to visit my aunt, who was on good terms with my mother.
At the point when we passed through the cliff road, a landslide occurred. There, the carriage overturned and fell off the cliff. I was held tightly in my mother’s arms as she took her final breath.
I was the only one who survived the accident. I was five years old then.
Perhaps because of that accident, I forgot most of my memories of my beloved mother. But, horses and carriages have never failed to remind me of that accident.
Slowly, I stopped going out, and heading to the royal castle or joining parties where it was common to visit by horse-drawn carriages, slowly became a thing of the past.
Even with my favourite hobby of learning, I chose a nearby school building that was at a walking distance. It was a school with more commoners than nobles. Still, there was no such thing as a noble travelling by foot. As an anomaly, I was shunned, and there were no classmates who wanted to get close to me.
My only pleasure was reading the many books in the mansion. You could learn about the distant world without riding a horse or a carriage. Above all, every story was exciting. I could never get tired of it.
Many people knew about the accident, but it shouldn’t be known that I wasn’t good with horses and carriages. The rumors said that my father was overprotective or that I was too shy. No one knew of the real reason. So how would His Highness Willacliff know of something that even my fiancé Hartward didn’t?
“Your Highness, how do you know about it?”
“It might happen when one is involved in a big accident. Plus, I have never heard of you heading out with Hart at all. He does like to go out a lot.”
“So that is how…”
“I think Hart needs to remember to be a little more considerate of the other person. As the youngest child, he seems to have grown up spoiled. In that sense, I feel apologetic for my younger brother. “
“That’s fine! I don’t need an apology. Besides, I think there might have been something lacking on my side…”
“There’s nothing that you are lacking. In the first place, having a beautiful, adorable, and thoughtful fiancé seems wasted on Hart.”
“I think you are overestimating me…”
With such flattery, I was at a loss. I’ve heard from my father that compliments and flattery were common among aristocrats, but I’ve never encountered such circumstances. I did not know how to deal with it.
Furthermore, the other party was His Highness the Crown Prince. I could not give a thoughtless reply. It was a problem if His Highness Willacliff thought that His Highness Hartward was spoiled. It would be dreadful if the brothers fought because of this misunderstanding. I had no unpleasant feelings towards His Highness Hartward at all.
“His Highness Hartward has always taken care of me. I had delicious tea every time, and even received many outfits from him. For our engagement to result in this might be due to my failure.”
“Hart has been giving gifts for a long time. He just does what he wants to do. There will be no improvement like this. Well, to have someone who is okay with this… You are really too good for Hart, but… I’m still really sorry.”
“Please stop apologizing, Your Highness.”
The engagement was annulled. February has since passed. Yet His Highness Willacliff still frequently visited the mansion to talk to me, no matter how boring it might be.
According to my father, it was widely known that His Highness Hartward had caused a lot of trouble for His Majesty and His Highness Willacliff. At first, there was some gossip about my father and me, but thanks to His Royal Highness Willacliff’s zeal in visiting our house, the rumors soon dissipated.
The first plan that His Royal Highness talked about came true. It meant that the need for the busy Crown Prince to visit the mansion so frequently was no longer needed.
As the Crown Prince, it was inappropriate to have him always visiting a lowly noble. Despite it being for the good of the younger Highness, Prince Hartward. It was better to put this to an end.
“Your Highness, there is no need to come anymore. I’ve heard from my father that the malicious rumors have disappeared. As the Crown Prince, if your Highness continues to visit such places, you will be the next target for the rumors.”
“I’ll be fine. And I’m here because I like it. His Majesty knows about it… most nobles know about it too.”
“What do you mean?”
His Highness laughed softly. I was enraptured by him, and like a fool, my gaze remained straight.
To stare at His Highness rudely…
Even though we were familiar with each other, as a lowly noble myself, I should not stare at His Highness directly. The education I received while preparing to marry His Highness Hartward should have been etched in my memory. To let my guard down and stare at his eyes…
Come to think of it… I never gazed at His Highness Hartward’s face before.
As I was thinking about it, I suddenly heard ridiculous words coming from His Highness.
“Would you like to be engaged to me, Sir Ernis?” 1
At that moment, I couldn’t understand what was being said.
The captivating person in front of me robbed me of my senses and thoughts. Those words that I seemed to hear were far and distant.