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Chapter 168 – Dear Tenma, I Realized How Disappointing I Was IV
The demotion of the second prince into a vassal was something that happened suddenly.
Although it was done after the king and the queen gave their permission, it wasn’t told to the vassals beforehand, thus it felt like a lightning strike on a clear day. It was done around the time Sophie was granted the purple star. Moreover, even Ferio wasn’t informed about that sudden demotion.
As turmoil ensued when the king gave such a surprise, Remiel suddenly stood up and cut his own hair then presented it to the dumbfounded Ferio. Originally, neither the act of cutting his own hair nor presenting it to the first prince was necessary.
However, Remiel cut off his long silver hair at his own discretion.
Sophie couldn’t close her mouth as she heard what Gerald told her.
Too much information overloaded her mind and slowed down the process, making any words refuse to come out.
I thought he was a strange man, but he easily went beyond the scale I imagined…
As Sophie turned pale at a terrifying speed, Gerald asked,
“Did Sophie-sama really not know? Information regarding Remiel-sama should have been included in His Highness Ferio’s letter. Did Sophie-sama not read it?”
“It should have passed to Sophie-sama when Sophie-sama came here from the girls’ academy… Did Sophie-sama not receive it?”
“…I did not.”
Even when Sophie searched her memory, she hadn’t received such a letter.
In the first place, Sophie’s interaction with Ferio ended before Sophie left the girls’ academy. She hadn’t even been in touch with him since she thought there wasn’t any need for further contact at the moment.
It seemed Gerald didn’t expect Sophie to not receive the letter, which made his breathing slightly disturbed.
The one who broke such an indescribable atmosphere was Remiel yet again.
He took out a white envelope from his pocket and passed it to Sophie, saying, “It’s right here.”
Sophie checked the royal seal.
But the letter was already opened and the seal didn’t do its supposed duty.
“…Remiel-sama, why do you have that letter?”
“Of course it’s because I intercepted that letter. Why do you need to confirm something that could easily be understood without asking?”
Gerald’s mouth twitched as he heard that, but Remiel seemed just as annoyed by his question and didn’t seem to care about the confusion he caused.
I’m getting a headache…
As expected, not even Sophie could process an incomprehensible amount of data in an instant.
She held her throbbing head and took out the sheepskin paper from the envelope.
According to the contents of the letter, the second prince was demoted into a duke’s family and the designated family was the queen’s original home, the Karlfeldt duke family. Then the second prince was enrolled in “The King’s Sword” as a student of the silver star.
And at the end, it was also written that he wanted Remiel to participate in the project.
This is certainly Ferio’s penmanship, but…
There was no doubt it was Ferio himself who wrote the letter. However,
“Her Highness the Queen did?”
Sophie muttered and realized.
Rather than realization, it was more of an unpleasant premonition from her sixth sense.
Sophie really didn’t want to confirm it, but she still turned to Gerald and asked,
“Gerald-sama, the order you just mentioned, is it perhaps――”
“……To request Remiel-sama’s participation in the project.”
After a few seconds of silence, Gerald told Sophie.
Sophie hoped that wasn’t the case, but her premonition hit the mark and she suffered even more headaches.
However, it made Sophie a bit convinced. The reason Gerald couldn’t fulfill the command was because the other party was Remiel.
It wasn’t that he had the worst compatibility like with Sophie, but because Remiel had no intention to listen to Gerald’s words to begin with. Remiel had judged it was something he didn’t even need to listen to, thus making the mission impossible to complete.
“Remiel-sama even went into hiding, so I had a hard time even finding him. Though……”
Sophie was also expecting that somehow. After they met at the book storehouse, Remiel suddenly disappeared from inside a locked room.
After that, Sophie took a closer look at the structure of the interior of the book storehouse and the exterior of the library.
The structure of the building was unnatural from the beginning. Such was the doubt that came to her mind. That library should have a secret passage that was precisely made to not be noticed by common sense―
Its exterior was certainly beautiful, but despite its size, there were only a few windows and a single entrance. That circular structure that overlooked 360 degrees was reminiscent of a fortress. Sophie had heard that the library was an old building even within “The King’s Sword.” In that case, it wouldn’t be weird if it was actually used as a fortress in the past.
Those with good intuition would notice something was weird, but the students and librarian who came every day would miss it since they were made that subtle. But since Remiel was a member of the royal family, perhaps he had heard of that existence from someone else.
He was cuter when I thought he was just a ghost…
Sophie sighed for the xth time that day.
“I want to confirm one thing: why do they want Remiel-sama to participate in the project that much?”
It was obviously on purpose that Sophie used “-sama.” Sophie had no intention of using honorifics or respecting Remiel at all after all this time, but she did that since it would be troublesome otherwise.
However, Remiel seemed dissatisfied with that and complained the moment Sophie said so, saying, “Why do you call a best friend with –sama?”
“If you don’t want to be called with honorifics, shut up for a little while. I’m asking Gerald-sama at the moment.”
“I could answer that question in his stead. It was Hahaue’s command to make me participate in the project. If I helped the project of the purple star appointed by Aniue, it would serve as proof that I was really demoted as a vassal. I guess that should be the aim.”
Instead of Gerald, Remiel casually revealed an order and the person who issued it that Sophie didn’t even ask.
Her Highness the Queen made Ferio write the letter and even directly made such a command to Gerald… but isn’t that a little too ruthless to her real son?
Not only was her son demoted to a vassal, but he was also asked to show his loyalty by working as one. Perhaps that was the case.
However, Remiel even went to the point of cutting his own hair, which was the symbol of authority. Asking more than that, even toward a bizarre man, would seem cruel to Remiel.
Sophie checked the thick sheepskin paper once again and slowly shifted her gaze to Remiel.
“Is there any need to do things that thoroughly?”
“That person likes to be perfect in everything.”
Looking at Remiel casually saying that smoothly without a shred of anguish, Sophie decided to ask a little more.
“……Are you fine with being demoted to a vassal? Do you really have no lingering attachment to the throne?”
It was a dangerous question to ask, but contrary to the surrounding people who swallowed their breath, Remiel didn’t even change his expression and asked back instead,
“Do I look like a man that could be a good ruler to you?”
“Nope, nay, not at all!”
As Sophie asserted so without hesitation, the people around her made a buzz.
Why didn’t that girl correct her attitude even after realizing Remiel’s background?
Perhaps because these two really established their friendship?
That thought couldn’t help but spread, seeing Remiel was indifferent to Sophie’s rant. Not only did he not show any unpleasant expressions, he instead nodded convincingly. It was as if he was saying, “As expected of my best friend.”
“I’m the one who knows best how lacking I am as a ruler. It is because my perspective differs from Aniue’s. I look at ‘individuals’ while Aniue looks at ‘groups.’ He also has the ability to listen to others to make up for what he lacks. People who wished for me to sit on the throne were either great fools or those who sought their own benefits. I have no intention of making those people my pawns.”
Remiel must have meant that. It didn’t sound like he was lying.
Although Remiel’s voice was always plain and lacked intonation, when he talked about Ferio, it was filled with enthusiasm and respect for his half-brother.
I certainly didn’t hear anything about the relationship between these two brothers being bad when I asked Ferio about it.
When they reunited, Sophie also asked in a roundabout way if he had a feud with the second prince once, but Ferio just laughed vaguely.
[“――If only I were more capable, perhaps I would be considerate about my little brother’s feelings.”]
Ferio didn’t mention they had any conflict. There was no such atmosphere at all. If anything, Ferio seemed ashamed of his lack of ability.
“Do you like His Highness Ferio?”
When Sophie looked straight at Remiel and asked, Remiel tilted his head as if he couldn’t understand why he was suddenly asked such a question.
“He’s my Aniue, so of course I do.”
He answered as if it was the most obvious thing, which made Sophie think,
Maybe this guy――is a brocon?
The word that came to her mind for a moment was something that anyone would complain about if they could read her mind.3
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