Read at Watashi wa Sugoi Desu!
“I’m not someone that will stand in front of people, Your Highness, so what I’m saying is that this kind of room is excessive.”
“Hmm, I’m troubled. Runa is my only companion, and this room is not that luxurious for someone of the royal family anyways.”
It was decided that I would move to the prince’s residence in the royal palace. “This will be Runa’s room,” His Highness had said. I was stunned by the luxurious room that I was guided to. It was filled with beautiful furniture that even someone like me knew was expensive. What surprised me the most, however, was that this was the Queen’s Room.
I was one of the crown consorts, certainly, but I would not be the primary or only partner of the crown prince. There was a room for secondary consorts,, and supposedly you could isolate yourself in that room quite easily. Being a man, I didn’t think I could face other consorts, so I thought that I would stay in a room like that.
Having said that, I didn’t imagine that they would guide me to the Queen’s Room…
“Even though it has already been a month since our engagement ceremony, you still can’t seem to get used to being Crown Consort, Runa. Well, that side of you is also adorable.”
“…Your Highness, um, can you not say something like that?”
“Why? Aren’t I just telling the truth?”
While His Highness was saying that, his slender fingers stroked my cheek.
If it were just the two of us back home in my mansion, then I would be able to stand it, but this was the royal palace. There were two guards watching over His Highness nearby, and there were also a few maids that were quietly preparing tea and opening the windows.
In a place like this, with so many eyes watching….
By officially becoming His Highness’s fiancé, it was expected that I would be prepared for this kind of environment. Even if something unpredictable were to happen, I thought to myself to always try to stay calm. If it was something that even someone like me could do, I was determined to do it.
Still, I couldn’t get used to these kinds of embarrassing words and actions.
I had never had such feelings with my former fiancé, His Highness Hartward, and I always wondered what to do as a fiancé at a time like this.
In the first place, His Highness Hartward never touched me like this.
His Highness Hartward and I had never held hands, not even once. However, ever since my engagement ceremony, His Highness Willacliff touching me became a frequent thing; on my head and cheeks, the back of my hand; and recently my shoulders and back, which made me nervous each time.
There were a lot of times that he would say that I was ‘adorable’ and ‘a good kid’, and the feelings of shame those words evoked only grew bigger.
I’ve never felt this embarrassed before…
My father seemed to realize that there had been a change in my heart.
I noticed that my father’s gaze, which had been slightly worried, changed quite gently. As it was the same look he had from when my mother was still alive and well, even our butler Gilberton seemed happy about it.
I remembered my father’s smiling face when I was able to move to the prince’s residence, as he said, “Now I can finally rest.” I felt a little lonely but also experienced a great sense of relief.
“I’ll say it time and time again. My only partner is Runa. If you don’t stay in this room, then won’t it just sit unused?”
“Besides, unlike Hart, I won’t have a change of heart. My Queen’s Room will forever belong to you and only you.”
“Um, I’m already fine with His Highness Hartward. It wasn’t His Highness’s fault, I think it was mine for being a boring person.”
His Highness Willacliff, who was sitting across from me, let out a big sigh.
“You aren’t boring at all. You’re the only one that can talk to me this much, and I’ve never seen anyone else this beautiful yet so humble and hardworking. And on top of you being so adorable, aren’t I completely entranced by Runa?”
“…Your Highness, like I said, please don’t say things like that. There are people around us.”
“Why? Aren’t I just praising my companion?”
His Highness smiled as though he had successfully teased me. It seemed that he was making fun of me. Surprisingly, His Highness was rather mischievous, as I only got to know after our engagement ceremony.
“It’s true that I won’t change my mind. From now on, my only companion is you.”
If His Highness were to say these things to anyone else, there was no doubt that any noble’s daughter would be happy. That being said, when it came to me, there was a small bud of doubt somewhere in my heart.
That’s because His Highness Hartward and I saw each other again earlier…no, that wasn’t it.
I didn’t have any special feelings towards His Highness Hartward, even before the annulment of our engagement. Even so, I felt my chest tighten. Maybe it was because there was a princess by his side.
The princess, who wore a dress that was slightly loose on the belly, was pretty in the way that fresh-faced young girls were. She had an expressive face and manner of speech, and she was the exact opposite of me.
No…that isn’t it either.
There was a feeling of intimacy between His Highness Hartward and the princess, but I didn’t feel jealous. However, the expression that the princess made when she looked at His Highness Willacliff made me nervous.
It looks like she wants to say something.
I didn’t know if it was because I hadn’t been close to anyone outside my family, but I was quite insensitive to the subtleties of human emotions. Yet, even I noticed the expression that the princess wore.
…I wonder if she is an acquaintance of His Highness.
If she was a princess that was going to be married to His Highness Hartward, then His Highness Willacliff probably knew her. His Highness Willacliff wore the same face as always, but the princess, on the other hand, kept on glancing at him.
“Are you tired?”
“Your face shows that your mind is not here right now…as expected, it seems like meeting Hart was a bad idea. I didn’t put too much thought into it when you said that you didn’t mind. I should’ve thought about it thoroughly. I’m sorry.”
“Your Highness, please don’t apologize to me. Your Highness is the Crown Prince, so …”
“You are my fiancé. It’s only natural to apologize when something unpleasant occurs, and it’s only natural to be worried about my companion.”
“Moreover, this will be your home starting from today. I want my companion to live comfortably here. If you have any worries, please tell Mary Anne.”
The maid behind His Highness promptly bowed her head. His Highness continued, “Mary Anne is an excellent maid, so she should be able to do most of the things you ask of her.”
That was right. Starting today I would be living in His Highness’s palace. It wouldn’t do for the crown prince’s fiancé, who was about to get married, to live in a small mansion in the city forever. It would look bad in the eyes of other people. My father was really worried because of that, which pushed me to move, hopefully ending any rumors before they began.
“My name is Mary Anne, Crown Consort.”
“Um, I’ll be in your care.”
Crown Consort…it was true that I would be called that from now on, but as expected, there was a resistance by being called like that as a man. I supposed I would try to ask her to call me by my name.
I wasn’t satisfied by the greetings I gave out of nervousness, not being used to this environment, but Mary Anne, who was thirty years my elder, only gave me a smile.
In the morning, Mary Anne woke me up and I had breakfast in my room. That day, I had a lesson with Professor Reedbell, and after that, the wife of the tailor came. In my free time, I spent my time reading books. As a part of the royal family, there were supposed to be certain responsibilities for me to fulfill, but perhaps because of His Highness, I was told that such a role would not be necessary until after the wedding ceremony.
Perhaps, in my current state, I was useless… I needed to study more. At the very least, I was determined to be useful behind the scenes.
And today, I spent my time as if I were in my own mansion. A young man named Kilt, an apprentice chamberlain, would be helping out with the evening bathing. As expected, it would be embarrassing if I were seen by a woman like Mary Anne, so I was grateful for Kilt’s assistance.
It seemed that Kilt, who was two years older than me, came from a knight’s family. He told me that he had two older brothers who were His Highness Willacliff’s guards. Apparently, the eldest brother would be reassigned soon, but the second eldest would remain as a guard of His Highness. It was possible that I might meet him someday.
There were a few other handmaidens and servants around, but I hadn’t talked to anyone yet besides Mary Anne and Kilt. That didn’t mean that I felt lonely though, since they always prepared things for me whenever I was in the room. For someone like me, who wasn’t very good at interacting with people, this was more than enough consideration.
I’m sure that His Highness was the one behind that.
I wondered how kind a person could be. I lifted my gaze from my book as I was thinking that, and at that moment, I heard a knocking on the door before Kilt entered the room.
In Kilt’s hand sat a beautifully patterned box. While I was thinking to myself that the color of the box was fitting for a lady, Kilt interrupted my thoughts, saying, “This is from Her Imperial Highness Princess Beata-” Strangely, he clamped his mouth shut.
I hadn’t seen Miss Beata, who was His Highness Hartward’s companion, after our greetings when I first arrived here.
“That’s from Miss Beata?”
I had received various things from His Highness’s mother, the queen, but this was the first time I had received anything from Miss Beata.
His Highness Willacliff had told me, “Can you consider it as one of your responsibilities to receive the gifts that are from my mother?” Even though there was a slight fear in that thought, I always received her gifts with gratitude. It seemed like the Queen loved my mother very much, so she felt a sense of familiarity with the me who resembled my mother. She even burst into tears when we first met. At that time, I was greatly troubled because I didn’t know what to do.
His Highness had also warned me, saying, “You’re not allowed to receive any gifts from Hart. Even if we are brothers, we are still of royal blood, and it would be troublesome if bad rumours were to spread.” I didn’t mind it, but it was His Highness Hartward who annulled the engagement, so I didn’t think that he would send any gifts.
It seemed that I was correct, seeing how I hadn’t received any gifts from His Highness Hartward yet.
I wonder what I should do with Miss Beata’s gift.
I hadn’t heard anything from His Highness yet, so I decided to wait until I heard from him before deciding what to do next. While waiting, I saw that Mary Anne had returned.
“Kilt, who is that from?”
“This is from Her Imperial Highness Princess Beata…”
It felt like Mary Anne’s eyes hardened as she heard Kilt’s reply.
“Please leave this one to me.”
“Of course. Ah, please excuse me.”
Kilt apologized to Mary Anne, whose voice had been unusually stern.
“Mary Anne, that’s-”
“Sir Ernis, please do not mind it. I will visit His Highness later.”
“Ah, that’s fine and all, but…I’m wondering if Miss Beata said something…”
“No, milord, I haven’t heard anything.”
I wonder… I think something happened.
I had changed. It was to the point that, if he saw me, my father would cry tears of joy and say “Even that Runa who wasn’t interested in his surroundings!” I had also started to care about my surroundings.
That’s why I knew that there was a slight difference from how Mary Anne and Kilt usually acted. I thought that it had to do with the gift that Miss Beata sent.
“If you have something to say, please don’t hide it and let me know.”
“It is nothing.”
“That’s right, everyone who lives in the palace who knows Sir Ernis loves him! And, His Highness Willacliff is only that kind of person with Sir Ernis, everyone knows about it. Well, maybe that’s why Her Imperial Highness Princess Beata is worried…”
“Ah…ehem, this–I’ll bring this over there.”
Kilt left the room after saying that. Mary Anne, who was able to stop Kilt from talking, had the same unchanging expression as usual. I couldn’t help but think that they were hiding something from me.
I couldn’t help but be curious, so I decided that after dinner that I would tell His Highness about the gift that Miss Beata gave me.
“I’ve heard from Mary Anne. It seems that the contents were sweets that are popular among young girls, but you aren’t so good with sweets, are you? I thanked Miss Beata on your behalf, so you don’t have to worry about it anymore.”
“Is that so. Then, those sweets…”
When asked about the whereabouts of the sweets, His Highness just smiled softly.
“Runa, from now on the only gift that you’re allowed to receive is the gift that my mother gives. You won’t accept gifts from Miss Beata, and of course, from Hart. That includes other nobility as well, alright? If you receive a gift from someone so easily, it might lead to unnecessary misunderstandings and political disputes.”
I was also taught by Professor Reedbell that as Crown Consort, I needed to be careful about that.
To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to do with the gifts that I received…
I was a little worried that I might be bothering His Highness who was busy.
The fact that his first consort was a man must have caused His Highness to suffer and worry. Also, I’d been worried about Miss Beata since the first time I met her.
“Your Highness, there’s something that I want to ask of you.”
“Yes? What is it?”
“Have you been acquainted with Miss Beata for a long time?”
“Ah, I heard that Kilt accidentally said something unnecessary.”
“No, since the first time I met Miss Beata she was looking at Your Highness, so I thought that you two knew each other before.”
“You…you have gotten better at reading people. I think that it is a good thing, but don’t overdo yourself, alright?”
When I saw His Highness’s furrowed brows, I understood that he was worried about me. I won’t get tired from this much…, I thought, but when he stroked my head it made my chest feel warm.
“Well, there’s no point in hiding it now. It wouldn’t be good if you heard it from someone else and misunderstood.”
“You see, Miss Beata was one of my princess candidates.”
I was surprised to hear the words “princess candidate”. His Highness being the crown prince, it wasn’t a surprise that he had some princess candidates, so I wondered why I felt so surprised…
“Even if you say princess candidate, it was only decided by how the circumstances were. I didn’t like the idea that was surrounding it, so at an early stage I told my father that I wanted to be the one to choose my marriage partner. That’s why, even if they were called candidates, I didn’t think of them as such. And when I was twelve, I had already applied to be Runa’s marriage partner.”
“Your Highness, that story is already…”
“Hehe, and the part of you that gets embarrassed is also lovely.”
His Highness’s hand that was stroking my head stretched out and combed the side of my hair and tucked it behind my ear.
My black hair, which used to be a little over my ears, was now long enough in the front to reach my chin. This was because His Highness praised me by saying, “Your black hair is very beautiful,” yet the back side was shorter because His Highness praised me again by saying, “Runa’s nape is very pretty.”
“Miss Beata likes gorgeous things and I don’t. I’m particular about quality, but I don’t like flashy appearances. To point it out, Hart is also flashy, and he also likes gorgeous things. Maybe that’s why she was attracted to Hart. Besides, I’m an unexpectedly boring man.”
“That’s not true. Your Highness is kind, and you have been really good to me. Calling you boring would just be false.”
“You’re the only one who told me that, Runa. I’m sure that I’m a terrible man.”
There was no one who would call His Highness a terrible man.
You are so kind and talented, and I heard that not only the young ladies but also men look up to you.
There were probably a lot of women who yearned for His Highness—maybe even men. I was sure that there were many.
That’s right, there’s no one that doesn’t yearn for His Highness. That’s why, those eyes that wanted to say something, I’m curious about those eyes that Miss Beata showed…
“As a result, I was rejected by Miss Beata. I think she was worried that someone like me wouldn’t accept any consorts. That’s why I think that she was happy and was welcoming Runa by giving you sweets…I’m such a pathetic man, is it okay for you even if I’m like this?
His Highness gave a weak laugh and said, “I will be in trouble if I’m not good enough.” I felt my chest tighten.
His Highness was not a pathetic man. He was the one who told someone as boring as me that I wasn’t. It was all thanks to that that I was able to change to the point of making my father happy.
I don’t think anyone would hate His Highness, including me.
“Your Highness is not a pathetic man. It’s a waste for someone like me.”
His Highness’s chest felt warm when he hugged me, it was calming. When I closed my eyes, I felt the same sweet scent.
“I wanted to apologize to you for being hurt by Hart. I wanted you to cheer up. But, I was so attracted to you that I started remembering my feelings that I had when I was twelve years old. I think that you’re the one who is wasted on me.”
“Your Highness….your words are too much.”
I heard the beating sound that His Highness’s heart was making. But I realized that mine was a little faster than his.
Why is that…hmm, this is definitely…
“…I’m glad that Hart is a fool.”
“Come, it’s already late. It’s better if we go to sleep soon.”
He separated himself from me. The newly created space between us made me feel lonely, but His Highness gave me a goodnight kiss, making a quiet kissing sound as he pecked my cheeks.
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