Read at Watashi wa Sugoi Desu!
That day, I was invited to tea by His Majesty’s third wife. I had heard about her from His Highness Willacliff, who had said, “The third wife is a good person. You don’t have to worry when you meet her.” Though nervous, I headed for the spacious garden in the royal castle that was a little further away with Mary Anne.
Originally, the visit should have occurred in her suite.
Even so, no matter how long it had been since I became Prince Consort, the fact that I was male meant that I was barred from the quarters of His Majesty’s harem.
Hence, we met in the garden, her favourite location.
“Well! As per the rumors, no, in reality, you’re even more beautiful!”
The excited lady sitting there who was clapping her hands enthusiastically studied my face. “Please, do call me Lira,” she said.
“What happiness it is to have such a beautiful person become the parent of my son!”
Yes. The prince born to Lady Lira would be adopted by His Highness Willacliff, and in turn become my adopted son. The prince, whose full name was Lidonis, was still an infant. It had been decided that he would be raised by Lira until he reached the age of three.
“…Are you sure that it is alright?”
“Are you asking about Lidonis?”
“Yes. Isn’t it lonely for you to have him be adopted by His Highness and be separated from him?”
This was something I’d been worried about since I heard about the adoption from His Highness.
I lost my mother at the age of five, and I had missed my mother very much during that time. Everyone in the mansion, including the servants, the butler Gilberton, and my father, watched over me warmly, but even that couldn’t fill the void she left behind.
If I were a woman, I would possibly be able to give this young prince some motherly warmth, but no matter how I looked at it, I was a man and being a mother was impossible for me.
I felt it would be hard for any mother to not be able to raise her child born from her body.
“As I heard from His Highness, it seems that Sir Ernis is not only beautiful but also kind.”
“No, that sort of thing…I’ve always been told by people that I’m a boring person.”
“Well! That’s the fault of the people around you for not seeing — that Highness Willacliff was enthusiastic and busying himself going back and forth about having a consort. Do be more confident.”
When I was told what His Highness said, I found it hard to deny her words.
“Does Sir Ernis blame yourself for the fact that you are taking away my son from me?”
“…Yes. I didn’t think this would happen when I married His Highness.”
“See. You are kind indeed.”
That wasn’t true. The truly kind person was probably His Highness, or the one listening to me now, Lady Lira.
“This is an embarrassing story, but-” Lady Lira’s voice became a little softer.
“My birth family was very poor. Our family was an old one, but the head was a spendthrift and our house became destitute. Let alone myself, even my mother had to sell her dresses. It was terrible, really.”
“…My house’s situation is similar to yours.”
“Were you not collecting books? My grandfather was just spending on his mistress. He really was a pathetic man.”
“My grandfather passed away eventually, but by then, the rest of us that he had left behind were really in trouble. Hence, I thought I should take the plunge and enter His Majesty’s harem.”
“Do you think less of me for that?”
“Truly, I am of the same mind. Aiming for His Majesty’s favor simply for money is not something aristocratic daughters do.”
Lady Lira was laughing a lot, but honestly, I was at a loss as to how to react.
“That’s why I had a lot of help. But in the end, the person who wound up helping me the most was His Majesty Willacliff. He also talked to his mother, the Queen, and persuaded her to let me in. Thanks to that, I became the third wife, restored my house to glory, and even had a son. My future brightened.”
To speak so openly so far, Lady Lira must have been the only one who bared her true self to me. Even while having a prince, she was not interested in power. Perhaps it was because of this reason that His Highness said, “It’s fine to allow a meeting.”
His Highness, who worried about the me who didn’t even know how to search for an aristocrat’s true motives, was a little aware that he needed to research in advance who I should meet.
“Did you ever think that the third prince, my child, would be the future Crown Prince? Well, it’s better to have His Imperial Highness Willacliff adopt him and become the Crown Prince than to be a no-name prince with only my backing. I think this is best for that child. A prince with a weak mother has no future. “
Ah, that’s right. Lady Lirawas trying to protect the prince in her own way. His Highness Willacliff might have considered the same thing before agreeing to the adoption.
His Highness and Lira-sama are kind people.
Just as I thought that, Lady Lira surprised me with her high voice. “Also!”
“Beautiful people are really easy on the eyes. His Highness Willacliff is as breathtaking as a prince should be, and Sir Ernis resembles a goddess in your beauty. The appearance of you two lined up together is an incredible sight. It’s captured my soul!”
“As the Queen said, Lidonis is just like His Highness Willacliff was when he was little. That means he will grow up to be a beautiful prince too. Two beautiful princes in a beautiful family of princes. Don’t you think it’s the most wonderful sight? “
“I do think His Highness is a beautiful person, but I don’t think that I myself am…”
“Well, as His Highness said, you do like to underestimate yourself. You shouldn’t do that. In the past, I went to a good number of parties looking for a rich marriage partner, but I’ve never encountered a beauty like yours. It’s such a compelling beauty that even His Highness Willacliff pales before you.
“Pales…that’s too much of an overstatement…and I think His Highness Hartward is much more beautiful than I am.”
Lady Lira smiled at my words.
“That’s right. As expected of being brothers, they look similar, and they are beautiful, but His Highness Hartward is like a fairytale prince.”
“What do you mean by that?”
“Without the character to back it up, beauty like yours, Sir Ernis, while still intoxicating, makes one no different from a storybook character. That’s why someone like His Highness Hartward strayed from you and decided to let go. However, in the first place, no one could have won against His Highness Willacliff. Sooner or later, the outcome would have been the same.”
“Sir Ernis is deeply loved by His Royal Highness Willacliff,” Lady Lira said, chuckling deeply.
I was unsure about her last words, but like His Highness mentioned, I understood that Lady Lira was a good person. Perhaps it was because she thought it would be good to get along well with the person who would take care of the little prince. The heavy feeling that was weighing me down finally disappeared.
“The wedding’s finally tomorrow.”
The soft cloth Kilt was holding created paths of bubbly foam as it moved across my back. Tomorrow was the day of my wedding ceremony. That’s why there were more bubbles than usual as Kilt cleaned my body up with extra care.
Tomorrow, I would marry His Highness Willacliff and officially become Crown Consort.
“Please close your eyes a little. I’m going to use a special hair treatment today.” After the foam on my body was washed off, a thin and soft cloth was laid onto me. Once I tilted my head back and rested it on the soft backrest, water drenched my hair and a floral-smelling liquid dripped down onto my head.
It was just like how a woman would be treated, but seeing as I was preparing to become a consort, this was standard procedure regardless of gender.
“It looks like you’re finally getting used to this kind of bathing.”
“Rather than getting used to it, it feels like I’ve given up…”
“Ahaha, it was indeed difficult to get used to at first.”
While laughing, Kilt gently washed my head and carefully combed my hair to prevent tangles.
Truthfully, though he was only an apprentice, I imagined he was an apprentice chamberlain who served the royal family. His delicate treatment didn’t match his large physique.
Since my family was considered as one of the lower noble houses, I’d never asked my maid or servant to help me take a bath. Originally, aristocrats would leave the care of their surroundings to their servants, but there was no such custom in my home. It appeared that my mother, who had married in, had brought a maid to assist her with bathing and such.
Ever since I was ten years old, I had been in charge of taking care of myself. Hence, when I moved into the palace, I was amazed that someone was appointed to bathe me. In the beginning, I rejected Kilt so much that when I thought back now, it made me feel rather apologetic about it.
“Even though I didn’t have much experience, to have troubled Kilt so much…”
Although it was Kilt’s job to take care of me, it must have been a lot of trouble regardless.
“No, it’s okay. I’d heard from His Highness Willacliff that you might be confused at first.”
“I’m grateful for you thinking that way but….if this were Mary Anne, I think I would’ve still refuse till now.”
Indeed, having a woman be in charge of my bathing would be too embarrassing to imagine.
“Ah, but I don’t think that would have happened.”
“It seems that His Highness knew that a female attendant would make you quite embarrassed, milord..”
How was His Highness aware of the things I was ashamed of? Honestly, it felt like His Highness really knew everything about me.
“Well, I was chosen because my brothers were the guards of His Highness and they were well-established. But honestly, this saved me.”
“My family has produced guards for generations, but I’ve never aspired towards that path. Also, I’ve never liked swords. Not to mention,I’ve heard that guards are bound by overly serious rules, which clashes with my personality too.”
Truly, it was rare to see an apprentice royal chamberlain speak in such a fashion
“I’m glad you’re like this, Kilt. You see, I’m a little different from a normal aristocrat.”
“Ah, that’s right. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, don’t you think? It’s really unusual for a beautiful person to have no arrogance at all.”
“Well, to say I’m a beautiful person is a little…”
“Yes, yes. There’s no need to be humble. When I met you, though, I understood why it took so much time to choose a maid or a servant. Miss Mary Anne has been serving His Highness since he was a boy, so she must have given much thought in appointing a servant for you. “
“…I think His Highness knew that I would refuse.”
“That may be true, but you see, if something went wrong, it would be a big incident.”
“If something went wrong?”
“With Sir Ernis being so good looking, any man would go crazy. Well, I’m devoted to my husband, so no matter how beautiful Sir Ernis is, you don’t have to be awkward with me. “
I was taken aback by Kilt’s words. No, I had a lot to say, but I didn’t know what to start with.
“Um, I didn’t realise you were married, Kilt.”
For the time being, I said what surprised me most.
“It was a while before Sir Ernis met the Crown Prince. I had been officially dating my husband for three years. My brothers knew about it, so I guess His Highness learned about it from them. Also, my husband was the guard of His Highness Hartward. So when I received notice that His Highness Willacliff had asked for me, I decided to come.”
“Kilt’s other half is one of His Highness Hartward’s guards?”
“Yes. He’s a childhood friend who’s seven years older than me, and he’s been a guard of His Highness Hartward for a long time. Didn’t you hear that when they went to your mansion?”
I was a little surprised that we had such a close connection.
“I was really worried in the beginning. My husband would have been better as a watchman. He’s on good terms with my brothers and is trusted by His Imperial Highness Willacliff, though.”
“I think it’s surveillance, or something like that. Well, I think that’s why I was asked to be your chamberlain, milord. My body resembles a wall, doesn’t it? Though I didn’t become a knight, I still look like one.”
“Yes, Kilt has done many things well, but–.”
“Alright! You’re completely clean! Please come here. I’ll wipe you down quickly.”
Although I still had questions, Kilt kept me too busy for me to continue my words.
“Ah! If you have any problems with men, don’t hesitate to ask me. I’ve been with my husband for quite a while, so I’m familiar with how they do it and so on.”
Kilt’s words suddenly made me feel uneasy. Tomorrow was the day I would officially become Crown Consort. Such acts would be commonplace from then onwards.
In the end, I was worried whether it would be really okay without bedroom lessons first. It would be useful if there were at least a guidebook to read for such things, but I couldn’t ask anyone nor would I be able to read it.
It left me uneasy that I was to challenge such important matters without gaining any knowledge in advance.
“Don’t worry. There is no need to be so nervous. His Highness takes great care of Sir Ernis. I can assure you that you won’t be doing anything unreasonable. Well, to be fair, you should get used to it with a dildo first, but His Highness won’t allow it. “
“Aha. It’s really okay! It’s not a must to prepare in advance.”
“That’s true, but…”
“Don’t worry. His Highness thinks of Sir Ernis more than anyone else. He’s been overseeing and ordering people here and there. He’ll do anything for you, milord. That’s why Her Highness Beata stuck closely to His Highness Hartward. “
“Your hair is fully dried now! Mary Anne will finish caring for you. Let’s head to the bedroom!”
“Kilt, what did you mean by that?”
“Now, please get your night clothes on as soon as possible! It would be terrible if you got a chill!”
Prompted by Kilt, whose quick movements belied his large frame, I donned the nightwear and entered the bedroom. Mary Anne was waiting there to care for my skin and hair. In the end, I couldn’t get Kilt to elaborate further.
Following Kilt’s actions, Mary Anne was even more careful with me on every part of my body.
Before, I had resisted such maintenance. However, ever since His Highness praised the faint scent from my body, calling it “a good aroma”, I would stay still quietly.
“Mary Anne, thank you for always doing this.”
“Is anything the matter?”
“I heard from Kilt. It seems that it’s been tough on you to serve me…”
Mary Anne was the one who brought together the maids and servants who would take care of me. She must have had a hard time, being so involved in selecting them.
“I heard it took quite a while to choose my servants.”
“That boy said something extra, didn’t he?”
At the sound of Mary Anne’s surprised voice, I quickly added, “I’ve heard from a few others.”
“I have been serving His Royal Highness Willacliff for a long time, so I am very pleased to be able to serve Sir Ernis, who will become his crown consort.”
“But I’m a man.”
“Sir Ernis is the one His Highness has been thinking about for many years. Don’t worry about your gender and please be more confident in yourself.”
“How long have you known?”
His Highness had said that no adults knew that when he was young, he had already proposed marriage.
“I haven’t heard it directly from His Highness still, but I have known for a long time Since the first time he met you, Sir Ernis, His Highness has been smitten with you.”
“Is that so…”
“I heard that he couldn’t meet Sir Ernis and soon after that, I heard you had been in a serious accident. His Highness was so worried that he fell ill. Him being able to marry you without any incidents is a heavy burden lifted off my shoulders.”
Mary Anne, who had been serving His Highness since she was born, must have only felt relief from the bottom of her heart. I wondered if she treated His Highness like her own child. She must have really wanted to welcome the consort as early as possible.
“I don’t think I will be able to be of any use.”
“You’re doing your best, Sir Ernis. His Highness has complimented you quite a bit and Professor Reedbell was impressed with you.”
Mary Anne’s words made my face a little hot. If my mother were alive, would she have spoken these words to me?
“His Highness Willacliff has strived to be a good crown prince. I think that his efforts have paid off and that he has become a magnificent crown prince loved by the people. You were chosen by such a man, so please be more confident.”
“That’s precisely why I think it was a waste to choose me…”
At that point, Mary Anne, who was trimming my nails, paused.
“It must be because of Sir Ernis that His Highness made such a herculean effort and was so attentive to his duties.”
“Because of me?”
“Please, spend many years living with His Highness. That is the best thing for Sir Ernis and, by extension, for this country.”
I tried to ask about the meaning of her words, but Mary Anne’s petite palm came to lay on my cheek. I was accustomed to this manner of grooming my face by now, so I reluctantly closed my eyes and exhaled.
In this manner, my whole body was meticulously groomed. As soon as I went to bed, a drowsiness came rapidly over me, and I fell asleep in a blink of an eye.
It was after I woke up the next morning that I learned that the reason I sank into sleep so quickly was because His Highness, who was worried that I would not be able to fall asleep before the wedding, had entrusted Mary Anne with a medicine for a good night’s sleep.
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