Arc 1: Your Kingdom
(2) After Obtaining the Spoils
After breakfast, the prince sat down on the sofa, away from the sun’s rays. He could see the pure white banister of the balcony from the tall window.
―Maybe he could leave from there.
He stared at the window with envious eyes but suddenly turned his head around to face the head maid Milly standing behind him.
“Hey, how much longer?”
“I was told by Master Fernand that you would be living here from now on.”
“Not that. I meant, how much longer are you planning on being in this room?”
There was no malice behind his words; it was just a pure question. The prince had believed it was normal for him to be left alone, so having someone else in the room was quite different. However, it appeared that Milly had a different interpretation of the prince’s words. She immediately lowered her head.
“I apologize for being disrespectful… In that case, I shall refrain for the time being. If there is anything you require, please ring this bell to summon me.”
She presented a beautifully ornate dinner bell, but the prince gave a slight frown. In the Maillard Castle, the prince was usually left alone in the room. Ichi showed up once a day, while the doctor showed up only once a week. There were several maids employed in the castle, but they only entered the room to deliver his meals. On top of that, they left as soon as their service was over.
“I don’t really mind you being in the room. After all, it’s pretty big.”
The prince hugged his knees on top of the sofa, curling up in the corner as he was deliberately frank with that statement. He actually felt comfortable being around people, but it felt a bit embarrassing to say so.
“As you wish. Master Fernand shall soon return, so please bear with me for only a little bit more.”
Milly announced with a smile, causing the prince to shake a little. The attendant Fernand he had just met left these words, “I shall appear before you later,” after he had finished assisting the prince with changing his clothes. He then quickly left in a rush. The only ones left in the room were the prince, Milly, and another maid. Although the prince was left in such an unfamiliar place, he was at least grateful that he wasn’t alone.
“Prince, would you like to enjoy some sweets?”
On top of the tea table beside the sofa was a line of various delicious sweets placed on silver dishes.
“No, I don’t want.”
The prince enjoyed looking at the array of snacks, imagining they were like jewels, but he had never imagined that he would partake. He was a bit hesitant to put unfamiliar food in his mouth.
Plus, he didn’t really have an appetite.
“Well then, I shall prepare some tea as yours has already cooled.”
The prince hugged a cushion and shook his head, “I don’t want.” This caused Milly to let out a troubled sigh.
“Prince, please eat something. Don’t you think that one spoonful of porridge and two sips of tea is much too little?”
“But, I don’t want to eat anymore.”
The prince raised his blank face from the cushion and hugged both of his knees again. Ichi had never forcibly told him to eat. Far from that, she had restricted the amount of food in his meals in order to prevent him from eating too much. It also wasn’t just the amount she had restricted. The contents of his meals were limited to only boiled vegetables, meat, and fish as well as raw fruits.
“Ichi said that if I ate too much, I would get sick.”
The prince couldn’t understand why Milly had such a sad look. At any rate, this room was too bright. The doctor had incessantly lectured him that light wasn’t very good for his body… As such, the prince used the cushion beside him as a shield to block the light as he huddled deeper into the corner of the sofa.
“Master Fernand said that he will certainly be together with you at noon.”
“Eh? Fernand is coming at noon?”
“Yes, although he is a busy man, he said that he would like to be together with you as much as possible.”
The prince showed a strained smile to Milly, and with a complicated, “Hum,” he buried his face in the cushion. Whenever Ichi said she was busy, it was common that she wouldn’t show up for several days. It was inconceivable for him to believe the busy Fernand would show his face twice in one day. The doctor, maids, and all the people around the prince had all claimed they were “busy,” so they were all unable to appear before him.
By the time noon rolled around and Fernand arrived in the prince’s room, he was asleep on the sofa. His sleeping appearance buried in the cushion was cute yet fleeting, like the prince would disappear at any moment. Thinking that the prince would continue to sleep if left alone, Fernand lightly touched the prince’s fragile and thin shoulders.
“Prince, it is noon.”
Surprisingly the prince’s sleep wasn’t that deep. He raised his face and began to rub his eyes with both hands. His long eyelashes repeated fluttered, possibly due to the dazzling light.
“Where…are we going?”
“We aren’t going anywhere. I’m just bringing you to the table.”
Fernand froze for a second and peered into the sleepy eyes of the prince sitting on the sofa.
“To have lunch, of course.”
“You have meals at noon as well? I already had breakfast, so why?”
“….That is…I would like the prince to get healthier.”
“But, Ichi and the doctor told me that if I eat too much, I’ll get sick.”
“It is true that eating too much is not good for your body, but it is safe for you to eat more.”
Was it really alright for him to eat more? The prince wondered as he was reluctantly led by the hand to the dining table.
Fernand watched as the unconvinced prince sat down by the table. He was enraged from the bottom of his heart at the prince’s wet nurse and doctor, but he managed to keep the feeling hidden.
Six months ago, the small country of Maillard to the east revolted against the large nation of Barthelemy to the west. Until that moment, it was revealed that Maillard had been secretly acquiring weapons from neighboring countries for several years. However, no matter if Maillard allied with the other surrounding smaller nations and planned a joint attack, the end result was as clear as day before Barthelemy, a nation that boasted the strongest military force in the continent.
The war lasted a mere six months, resulting in Maillard and its surrounding nations to be brought under the control of Barthelemy. The Maillard royal family and their blood relatives, who had monopolized the huge wealth amassed through arms dealing, were implicated in domestic corruption…with the exception of just one person. Only the 4th prince, labeled as deceased the moment he was born and raised in the silent depths of the castle.
When Fernand had discovered the prince in the basement, he was already in a state of suspended animation. From the moment Fernand laid eyes on the prince, he was charmed by his adorable features and mystical black hair despite the emaciated state of the body. He tried to question the wet nursed serving the prince, but according to her, the only one who knew of the 4th prince’s existence was the boy’s father, the king. All the other people inside the castle were oblivious. Incidentally, the prince’s mother had soon passed away after giving birth.
As this boy was the ‘deceased prince’ of a ‘deceased nation,’ Fernand decided to bring him back as a spoil of war.
After being taken to Barthelemy, the prince remained in a comatose state for several days, wavering between life and death. Due to the continuous administration of nutrients via infusion, signs of recovery were gradually becoming visible, and it was only today did the prince finally open his eyes.
The obsidian eyes behind his eyelids took hold of Fernand’s heart. He deemed them more beautiful than any other jewel he had ever seen.
“Once you have regain more of your health, I shall show you around the garden. Rose season is quickly approaching, so you may soon be able to enjoy the beautiful flowers.”
“I…I can go outside?”
Until this small face housing those beautifully glimmering eyes turn a delicious rosy color, Fernand shall take precious and diligent ‘care’ of him.
“Yes, of course.”
As the one who will pluck this rose will and shall be only him, Fernand smiled with his angelic face.
After I read this chapter, I narrowed my eyes in suspicion whenever I read/said Fernand’s name. Licht, our little cinnamon bun, must be protected!