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Chapter 05: The Aide’s Secret Troubles
Author’s Note: This is from the world-weary Silas’ POV.
Lord Edward’s attachment to “Lia” was intense.
As a child, Lord Edward looked down on people. Considering his temperament, I had known this would happen, but…even as his childhood friend, I thought of him as a detestable person.
When he was given a private tutor, he surpassed them within a week and ended up reducing them to tears when he indirectly asked, “You can’t even understand this?” When he was taught swordsmanship, he jumped to the level of a knight in the blink of an eye. When nobles attempted to curry favor with him, he used his unparalleled beauty and glib tongue while inwardly ridiculing them… Lord Edward performed at the highest level and was overwhelmingly adept at everything he did.
However, no matter how broad his skillset was, his mentality remained childish. He grew to look down on others. This was especially apparent whenever he dealt with nobles who were blinded by greed or the young ladies who were only after his beauty and status. He scorned them in his mind and sneered at these ignorant people from behind his mask of a kind and gentle prince. He really wasn’t a cute child.
Despite his exceptional talent, his personality was twisted. This worried me and Lord Edward’s sister, Princess Shelly, and we struggled to figure out how to remedy this. Every attempt had ended in failure. Lord Edward mocked our futile struggle, causing Princess Shelly to shout, in a tone very unbecoming for a princess, “That stupid younger brother is—argh! Getting carried away!!! Someone, knock him down a peg or two!!!”
When Lord Edward turned fourteen, I had almost given up all hope of fixing his personality…then, one day, he suddenly disappeared. The castle was in an uproar, involving even the king (which was probably Lord Edward’s intention). A search party was promptly formed and dispatched. The castle knights discovered him in the evening, disguised as a commoner in the castle town.
I was relieved to see Lord Edward uninjured, but this lasted for only a moment.
Upon hearing Lord Edward genuinely apologize, not only I but also the king, Queen Dahlia, Princess Shelly, and everyone else present shook in terror. Pandemonium erupted with everyone thinking that this was someone else or that the prince had been drugged with something. Even I, forgetting to speak formally and reverting to how I had spoken in the past, said, “Edward has gone mad.” At this point, Lord Edward ended up needing to describe his daily habits to prove his identity.
After everyone finally recognized him as the real Lord Edward, the king personally questioned the boy. The focus of the conversation wasn’t “Why did you sneak out of the castle?” but “Why did you obediently apologize?”
The reason he snuck out was as daring as everyone had expected: “I wanted to make everyone panic and to see how the commoners lived.” The more important reason why he apologized was…something that should shock all.
“I was told by the lady who bested me that I have to genuinely apologize to all those I have specifically troubled.”
The gifted, black-hearted, pompous Prince Edward lost?! And to a lady?! This news could certainly be described as “jaw-dropping.” While everyone was overcome with shock, Queen Dahlia recovered the fastest and asked Lord Edward.
“Who is that lady? Answer us, Edward.”
Her dignified tone refused everything but a straight answer, and the king and the other shocked people bobbed their heads up and down in agreement.
“The lady…or rather, Mother, she was a girl. Her name is ‘Lia.’ She’s eleven years old and is the daughter of an innkeeper operating in the capital. Her personality is somewhat of a dreamer and a tomboy… Well, she was like any girl her age. Although, everything seemed like a lie.”
“A lie… What do you mean by that?”
As someone who loved all that was upright and pure, Lady Dahlia’s lip curled in disgust as the word “lie” crossed her lips.
“Up until the moment the knights caught me, she was a simple and unimpressive girl, but before we separated, she returned to her true self for a moment and said, ‘Playtime is over, Second Prince. You’re causing everyone trouble, so make sure you at least apologize to the ones you’re troubling the most, okay?’ She knew everything from the very beginning. She pretended to play along with me until the knights who were searching for me arrived. All while keeping me in the dark.”
That was indeed astounding. Lord Edward easily handled veteran nobles, but this girl kept the boy in the dark…and she was only eleven.
“I have lost, Mother. The law of the world states that the loser must obey the winner, so I am genuinely apologizing from the bottom of my heart to Silas, the one I caused the most trouble for.”
“Please wait a moment, Edward. Why are you apologizing to Silas and not me?”
Even though this was beginning to look like a nice heart-to-heart session, Lady Shelly spoke up with a dissatisfied look on her face. She had been terribly manipulated by Lord Edward. While I understood her sentiment, I wished that she would have read the mood just for a bit.
“Why must I apologize to you?”
Upon seeing Lord Edward looking honestly confused, Lady Shelly leapt up and spat curses you wouldn’t believe had come from a princess. I rushed to hold her back, pacifying her by saying, “Please calm down. Don’t lose yourself, Lady Shelly.” Sighing at this debacle, Lady Dahlia turned back to Lord Edward and said, “We must promptly search for this ‘Lia.’ Someone who possesses such skill in acting… I’m concerned about her true identity, but since she protected the second prince, we must thank your savior.”
His Royal Majesty, finally coming back to his senses, spoke up then.
“This is a royal decree. You must immediately find this ‘Lia’—”
“That won’t be necessary.”
It was none other than Lord Edward who interrupted the king. This was originally something unpardonable, and Lord Edward should have been well-aware of that. When he stepped before the king, Lord Edward went down on his knees and genuflected before him.
“Father, I have burdened everyone too much up until now. Because I performed a little better than other people, I ended up looking down on others. This is inexcusable. I deeply regret what I have done. Even though there are many out there who are superior to me… Oh, how foolish my behavior must have been. I will reflect on it. As the prince who will support the country in the future, I will not sit on my laurels, but will work to polish my skills. And I will search for ‘Lia’ using my own means.”
No one could hide their excitement at those words. Lady Shelly and I spontaneously broke out into tears as Lord Edward’s rebellious phase finally ended. Even that dignified and proud Lady Dahlia had tears in her eyes.
“Edward… As both the king and your father, I’m happy for your growth. I’ll leave the search for ‘Lia’ in your hands.”
“Yes! I will certainly find her. I have no intention of remaining the loser. Without a doubt, I will surpass ‘Lia,’ have her kneel before me, and make her mine.”
The booming declaration Lord Edward made caused the area to freeze for a moment. The personality of the Rowlands’ second prince, His Highness Edward, was set forever at that very moment.
His personality was irredeemable; rather, it was even worse than before. Lady Shelly and I recalled our struggle and comforted each other, staring into the distance and holding back tears.
Several years later, Lord Edward had become even more unnecessarily talented and was known as the “Ideal Prince.” Those who knew his true character called him the “Pompous Prince” and “Barbarian Demon King” from the shadows.
He poured his energy into searching for ‘Lia,’ but seven years later, he still had not found her. For this unnecessarily talented prince to not find her even with his brains, connections, and authority… How amazing of a person the girl must have been. I even considered that she might have been a type of illusion or ghost. The prince was probably getting impatient. Since he couldn’t find her, he had recently become more indiscriminate with his searches. This ended up creating the rumor of the prince searching for a candidate to be his bride. When I heard Lord Edward mutter, “If I can’t find her among the women, then next is among the men…,” I sincerely appealed to him, “Do you want to kill me?” It was already bothersome right now, so just thinking about dealing with the aftermath of rumors of the “homosexual second prince” made me want to vomit blood.
Can someone please put a stop to this idiotic prince?!!!