Read at Watashi wa Sugoi Desu!
Being His Highness’s fiancé meant that I would once again receive the education for those marrying into royalty, though this time as the future Crown Consort. The title of Crown Consort still made me uneasy, but I’d already come this far, so I had to just get used to it.
Maybe it was because His Highness always said, “I want you to think of me as me and not as the Crown Prince,” but instead of “His Highness the Crown Prince’s fiancé”, “His Highness Willacliff’s fiancé” left a stronger impression on me.
And today, the tutor that would handle and His Highness Willacliff’s and my education came. It was the same person who had taught His Highness Hartward and me.
“It has been a while, milord. It is a pleasure to be able to work with you again.”
“It is my pleasure to be able to work with you as well.”
Being taught again by the same person who did so for my now-annulled engagement to His Highness Hartward gave me somewhat of a strange feeling. I wasn’t sure if he cared or not about the affairs of a student he had only met a few times, but he wore the same stoic face as before.
“Professor Reedbell is not only an expert on courtly etiquette, but he is also well-versed in our country’s history and diplomacy. It is only natural for him to be the one to instruct the Crown Consort. You might start remembering your time with Hart, but please endure it for just a little while.”
After His Highness said that, I was unable to refuse, and so, it was decided that the education for the crown consort would be taught by Professor Reedbell.
“Above all else, I’m glad to see that you haven’t forgotten how to dance.”
I was thankful to hear that I hadn’t forgotten the carefully prepared dance after two months, but it seemed like I got easily tired these days from how quickly I ran out of breath, gasping pitifully.
“Are your feet alright?”
“Yes, they’re my usual shoes so…”
When dancing with His Highness Hartward, I needed to wear women’s shoes to match my more feminine clothing. Thankfully, His Highness Willacliff said that I didn’t have to go to such lengths, so I was able to wear my usual shoes. When I first started learning how to dance, my shoes were so painful that my feet bled on a daily basis. Those memories seemed almost nostalgic now.
“Etiquette and dancing: it’s a relief that you still remember them.”
“Fortunately, I’ve always had a talent for memorizing things.”
Even though my bodily coordination was well below average, I could get the hang of most things thanks to my passion for studying and learning new things.
Having said that, I started thinking that we should proceed to the next lesson. I’d been considering it for a while, but I was unsure as to when I should bring it up, so I decided to wait and observe our lesson today first.
“Um, may I have a minute?”
“What is it?”
“I believe that I still remember most of what you have taught me before.”
“Yes, and I think that it is very excellent that you do.”
Professor Reedbell’s glasses seemed to glint in the light for a second. He looked younger than my father, with his neatly bundled golden hair, but I didn’t know his actual age.
“So, I think…it is better if we already proceed to our Crown Consort lessons, don’t you think?”
Our lesson stopped. The professor’s silence was deafening. As expected, it was still too early for me.
I couldn’t say that I was completely unprepared to become the crown consort, but I was more worried that I might not be able to memorize what I needed. I didn’t have much time between the upcoming engagement and wedding, and if I didn’t perfect the manners expected of the crown consort by then, I would shame His Highness. Feelings of anxiety started to bubble up in my chest.
It was my first time feeling this way, so perhaps I had gotten ahead of myself. I started getting nervous.
“Ah, please excuse my behavior. I just had something on my mind.”
The Professor pushed his rimless glasses up and took a long look at me.
“Sir Ernis, you have already received the education planned for the crown consort. That is why I think it will be enough for us to just check if you remember it or not.”
“The lessons that I taught you before are no different from the ones you need as Crown Consort. There are more things you will need to study, of course, but I don’t imagine that that will be a problem for you.”
I wondered what he meant by that. I thought that the instruction I received was in preparation for being His Highness Hartward’s partner. Was it also for being Crown Consort?
That explained the difficulty of the instruction, but I wondered why I was given the education intended for the crown consort.
I don’t know if he read something from my expression, but he continued talking.
“In the first place, there isn’t much of a difference between the two courses. Even if the younger prince were born first, there would always be two successors to the throne.”
If it was just in case something happened, then I could understand.
“And…it was already decided that you would eventually have to undergo the education needed for the position of Crown Consort. His Highness had already consulted me in advance.”
“Let us review diplomacy next. The books that I gave you before, do you still have them?”
“Yes, I kept all of them.”
“Then, please bring them next time. We will be studying our kingdom’s diplomatic relationships and policies from over the last ten years, so make sure to familiarize yourself with the topic in advance.”
There was something that was bothering me, but as the conversation led on, I wasn’t able to ask about it.
Thus, the education for being Crown Consort turned out to be just a review of what I had already learned, my worrying turned out to be needless anxiety, and without further delay we went on to our next lesson.
One day, when neither His Highness nor the professor were present, the tailor that His Highness arranged for arrived immediately after lunch. The tailor that came was the same one who worked on the clothes that I received from His Highness Hartward, so I felt a little awkward, but as she was a royal attendant and headed a well-known boutique, I didn’t think she would bring that topic up. Indeed, she just prepared the fabric quickly.
“Next, I will prepare a light blue-gray fabric that matches your eyes. After that, a white set of formal attire that has some purple in it, which is another design covered in embroidery. I was also told to make another set of formal clothing, so we’ll use that fabric for that.”
I had just received three ornate pieces of clothing the other day, but I was getting three more now…moreover, the second piece was going to be formalwear. I heard that she would arrange that piece in a pale red and white, but did she still need to make it?
“Um, I was informed by His Highness that the formalwear had already been prepared.”
A buxom lady who was ordering the servants — seamstresses, I supposed — answered me.
“Yes, that is correct.”
“So, what do you mean by a second set of formalwear…?”
“A few more pieces have yet to be made. I was asked to prepare them in various colors, but I haven’t received all the fabric yet, so I’ll come again soon.”
I was shocked to hear that they still needed to make more formalwear. Even though I was His Highness the Crown Prince’s fiancé, I didn’t think I needed that much formalwear, especially since most of them would just go to waste.
“I don’t think I’ll need that many.”
“We were informed that whichever version that fits you best will be chosen, so tell us every fabric that comes to mind and we will make it, if you please. And I think reworking our earlier pieces will make them look cuter. All of those clothes that you don’t need anymore will be fashioned into clothes that can be worn daily.”
That meant the number of gifts would increase by the amount of formalwear alone. Wouldn’t that just be a waste of money?
In the first place, I didn’t enjoy dressing up like young ladies did. Even if I was His Highness’s companion, as a man I didn’t think I would appear in public all that much, so I didn’t think I’d need this much royal attire.
Huh?… Can they remake it?
The presents I received from His Highness Hartward were all from the same tailor who was here today. Didn’t that mean it would be alright to just alter those ones? It would save both time and money compared to making pieces from scratch.
“Um, wouldn’t it save more time if you just alter the garments that I received from His Highness Hartward?”
The madam stopped her movements when she heard my question. She peered at me for a bit and chuckled.
“Those are words that tell me you don’t know a man’s heart. No man, commoner or noble, wants their lover to wear clothes given to them by another man. Even if those clothes were totally reworked, I can’t imagine that His Highness would like it.”
“Is that how it is?”
“Yes it is, milord.”
I didn’t quite understand what she meant by that, but if a tailor from a long-established store said it, it must be so. However, that didn’t change the fact that such extravagance would be wasted on me.
“It will take time to gather the fabric, but it is an honor to be able to work with such high-quality materials. In particular, the bridal gown will showcase all my skills as a tailor, so my seamstresses and I are looking forward to it.”
“A bridal gown?”
“You will be Crown Consort, so even though the bridal wear is for a man, we will do our best to make it into something befitting of a bride.”
That’s right, this time the bridal outfit would be tailored without any frills and ruffles. With His Highness Hartward, there always was a feminine element included to the point where just thinking about wearing those clothes gave me a headache.
Perhaps it was because he knew how I felt, but His Highness Willacliff decided to make the bridal raiments more suited to a man. When I remembered his tender face when he said, “Your beauty shines through no matter what you wear,” it still made my heart flutter.
“And since the fabric has already been decided a long time ago, it will arrive on time even if it has to be imported.”
What did she mean by a long time ago?
“Come, the only thing left is the shoes. I’ll have them brought to you by a shoemaker that I’ve worked with for a long time, so all we need to do is match the molding and leather.”
“Huh? Um, do even the shoes need to be tailored?”
“Of course, milord. I was told by His Highness that he wanted the shoes to match the rest of the set.”
I looked at the fabric draped over me. I bet that the leather used for the shoes would be as expensive as the fabric. This was really shaping up to be a waste of money…
After that, I told His Highness that I wouldn’t be needing any more clothes and shoes, but he said, “Can’t I also look forward to this?”, and once again I found myself unable to refuse him.