Read at Watashi wa Sugoi Desu!
News of His Highness Willacliff’s engagement announcement was immediately passed on to his father, the king, and once again, my father lay in bed groaning for the whole day.
In the first place, though homosexual marriages were accepted to an extent, it was still extraordinary for the first prince — the crown prince — to propose to a man who was previously the second prince’s fiancé. Even someone as far removed from society as myself understood that this was an unprecedented situation.
His Highness’s proposal three days ago was surely in jest, yet, against my expectations, his first words the next time he saw me were, “Did you think about our engagement?”
Upon hearing this, my father collapsed once more and had to be supported out of the room by the butler Gilberton.
When His Highness saw my flustered face, he smiled, saying, “That kind of expression is also very cute,” as if it were normal to utter such words.
Seeing the look on His Highness’s face, I made up my mind to talk to him properly.
After this, malicious gossip about me would surely spread again. While I didn’t mind it personally, I didn’t want to cause trouble for His Highness.
Yes. I’d hate it if that happened.
Even though I had heard various rumors about myself in the past, I’d never thought about hating it before.
Those words from the nobles whom I’d never met before felt distant, leaving no impression on me. Even if someone said something to my face while I was at school, it didn’t matter. I didn’t care.
But this time was different.
His Highness treated the boring me kindly. In this strange house filled with books, he was neither disdainful nor surprised. On the contrary, he showed me a lot of rare books. Despite being eight years my elder, His Highness felt like a close classmate.
I was unwilling to hurt this kind-hearted prince. Hearing His Highness say, “I look forward to the future,” I realized that I couldn’t afford to ruin his reputation.
“Your Highness is the crown prince. Without a crown consort, getting engaged to a man like myself will only cause problems.”
“Even if I am the crown prince, can’t I decide who I want to marry? I don’t plan on marrying anyone other than you.”
Seeing him say those words with a smile made my heart flutter, but it also made me more worried for his duties as the crown prince .
“Your Highness, I’m afraid that I can’t accept that. As the crown prince and future king, won’t you need a successor? For the country and its people, it is your duty to raise one, and as a man, it is not possible for me to give you one.”
Even though what I was saying was very important, His Highness only looked at me with a grin. For some reason, it felt like he was teasing me.
“Oh, I’m sorry. It’s just, seeing Sir Ernis this worked up is so unusual that I can’t help but be fascinated.”
“Your Highness, please don’t joke around…”
The future of this country depended on our conversation, so why was His Highness, the person responsible for it, so…relaxed?
Up until now, I hadn’t been the type of person to tell someone what to do. That was why it was so hard to make them understand what I wanted to say.
Nevertheless, I had to make him understand. I couldn’t give up, for His Highness’s sake.
“I can’t accept your request.”
As expected, I couldn’t reach him with my words. He laughed again as though he found all this very amusing.
“Haa, I’m troubled. If you ask me in such an adorably desperate way, I might just accept your request.”
“Your Highness, please stop joking around.”
“Well, I’m not joking, and I’m also not making fun of you.”
I felt a bit frustrated by the fact that our discussion wasn’t going anywhere. I’d never felt this way before, even with His Highness the second prince.
“When you were to be engaged with Hartward, did you ever refuse it this desperately?”
“You didn’t, right? You’ve never thought about your relationship with Hartward that seriously. Am I wrong?”
“Even though you were like that with Hartward, when it comes to me you’re desperately pleading for my sake. Just that makes me so happy that it feels like I’m in heaven.”
“It’s proof of just how important I am to you. You’re different from how you were with Hartward. You think of me and care for me”
His Highness softly hugged me, saying, “Of course I’d want you to think of me and only me.” His words surprised me.
“I know that what you’re saying is the right thing to do,” he said, patting my back lightly and prompting me to sit down on the sofa.
“Then let’s go through this problem and fix it.”
Beside me, His Highness’s eyes seemed to glint with amusement.
“Like I said earlier, I’m the one who will decide who I marry. I’ve already convinced His Majesty about this matter. Of course, I’ve also discussed with His Majesty that I want you to be my partner and received his approval.
“Regarding the succession, His Majesty welcomed a new child to the royal family just two months ago. Ah, that is to say, I’ve gotten a younger half-brother. I’m intending to adopt that child and make him my successor. He will become your foster son, but you don’t have to be the one to raise him if you don’t want to. Of course, if you want to do so, that’s fine too.
“Don’t worry. His Majesty, my mother, and the birth mother – the third wife – are all on board. It’s not like I’m banning them from seeing the child either. If you have any other concerns, though, you can let me know. “
I couldn’t even muster a smile in response. My cognitive skills stopped as my mind buzzed from information overload.
“Hey, there’s no need to worry about any of this. Since we’ve gotten everything settled, would you feel at ease with being my companion?”
His Highness’s beaming face stunned me. What I had just heard was so unexpected that I had no idea how to respond.
Should I leave this to my father … no, I would just be repeating the situation with His Highness Hartward.
Also, I still felt guilty leaving my father to negotiate with the royal family on his own back then. With each day that the messengers came, my father’s face became more and more troubled. I felt useless.
In the end, I gave my ambiguous consent, not reflecting the true feelings of my father and me. It was unconvincing to say the least.
I wondered how this time around would compare.
To be fair, compared to His Highness Hartward who I knew nothing of beyond his name and face, I was able to converse far more with His Highness Willacliff, and I knew more of his personality and preferences. Unlike with the other prince, we were like close classmates, almost brothers even, not to mention that my father also seemed to prefer him.
His Highness is also taking all my concerns into consideration.
I was surprised that he cared so much for me that he would make a move to get engaged with me. For that, I was greatly honoured. I couldn’t just ignore His Highness’s feelings, but…
Being His Highness the Crown Prince’s companion is impossible for me.
Being His Highness the Crown Prince’s companion meant being the crown consort. The fact that I was a man made it impossible for me to be the future queen, but it didn’t change the fact that I’d be one of the crown prince’s consorts.
It’s not possible for me to be the crown consort. To be honest, I’m scared of being in that position.
I didn’t think I had the confidence to survive in that kind of environment. And if I thought that the education for being His Highness Hartward’s partner was hard, I couldn’t even imagine how it would be as the crown consort.
In the first place, the idea of me, someone known for being ”boring”, being the crown consort was absurd. I’d only cause trouble for His Highness.
“…As I thought, I can’t accept your proposal.”
I was surprised by how weak my voice sounded. No, when I considered how His Highness would feel from how cold my response was, it was only natural for my voice to tremble.
“Yes, just the response that I expected.”
“…I’m truly sorry.”
“Don’t apologize. The one who needs to apologize is me.”
“I knew that you would refuse. Still, I won’t give up. I’ve already put a lot of effort into preparing for this, so I hope you will look at me as your fiancé from now on. If you still don’t like the idea, you are free to refuse. I won’t stop you.”
Visibly happy, yet a sense of seriousness around him. Seeing him like that made it hard for me to disagree with him.
Afterwards, His Highness successfully persuaded my father, and it was announced that we were officially engaged. I thought that this would stir up talk within the nobility, but as far as my father heard, that didn’t seem to be the case. Surely His Highness had done something to stop it.
Why would you go that far for me….
Rather than feeling hatred towards the engagement, I instead felt confused. This was different to when I was engaged to His Highness Hartward. My heart churned with bewilderment and other emotions I could not identify.
Because of that, I was unable to properly tell my father how I felt and ask him to stop the engagement.
That’s how, two months after the annulment of my engagement with His Highness Hartward, his brother the crown prince and I got engaged.
Hasr: Sorry for the delay, got stuck with some irl issues yesterday