“Sir, you’re bad-mouthing a chef again, aren’t you?”
A familiar angry voice echoed through the office in the late afternoon.
The subordinate who was serving as my scribe ran away immediately before I could finish listening to it all.
He’s still the fastest runner in the world.
“Oh no, I’m not scaring him. He just messed up a little bit, that’s all.
“What divisional commander is better than the resident cook in the inn’s mess hall? Of course he’s going to run away in fear, that’s for sure.”
It’s a fine that we’re happy to eat good food, but you can’t be making meals every day, can you?
My lieutenant Aristian Vi Elzevert, Stan, grumbles with a sigh. (***Again, the names are difficult to translate, so this might not be 100% correct. This person might not be an Elzevert)
“Oh no, I’m fine with it.”
“It’s not good. You’ve got a job to do, right?”
“Why are you cooking like this for a hobby?”
“That’s because the best way to control your subordinates is to grab their stomachs.”
Well, even if you say so, I’m hungry, that’s all I’m saying.
But it’s not something to be taken lightly. If you feed them good food, they’ll encourage you to train and everything, guys.
“I know you’re a prince, but…”
“Oh. Yeah, a prince.”
Yes. I am still the prince of Dardinia.
I am often told that I don’t look like a prince.
My full name is Alfred Wilhelm Thea Dis Dardie.
My mother is the First Queen Yulia. My older brother is Nigel, the Crown Prince. My sister is Alienor, and my brother is Shion. Us siblings are extremely close.
In terms of the court rank, it is the fifth in line after the parents and our brother, the Crown Prince, and his wife.
In other words, if you count them from the top, we are the highest ranking royalty.
But when I tell people for the first time that I’m a prince, they don’t believe me.
It’s even more unbelievable when I see my older brother or younger siblings ahead of me, who is just like royalty. I’m not like my brothers and sisters at all.
It is said that I look like my paternal grandfather by some kind of hereditary inheritance, and indeed the portrait of the former king between the portraits is very similar to me, which is uncomfortable.
When I told him that, my brother said to me with a pitying look, “You look just like grandfather, Al.”. He’s such a cheeky little brother.
“He said he’s doing it properly.”
“…He’s contradicting himself by saying it’s proper and appropriate.”
“You don’t have to run away, do you? It’s just that for three days, we just cooked a regular meal together.”
But that cook ran away on the night on the fourth day.
“That’s because he knows you’re a prince and a division commander…”
“I ain’t gonna hurt someone just because I’m a prince.”
“You’re not even close to being a prince, you know. Well, that’s probably why you’re still letting me talk to you like this, isn’t it?”
Normally, it would be impolite to call the prince “you” said Stan. I told him it was weird for me to be called your highness, and he laughed, saying it was natural.
Actually, I don’t care what people call me. I don’t care what he calls me, as long as he knows he’s calling me.
And it’s not like he’s being rude and calling me me, it’s just that that’s normal for him. It’s not that there’s no respect.
He knows that, and it doesn’t bother him.
“I don’t care how you talk to me, as long as you change your tune in public.”
I’m not that good at it either. The old man who tutored me used to interrupt me every time I said a word, and at one point I didn’t say a word.
“I’m sure you’re fine with that…But I’m surprised you managed to make it in the palace.”
“…My older brother was there for me. He covered for me at every turn.”
When the etiquette teacher ratted out to my father for blowing off class, when I gave my mother’s maid a paper bag filled with grasshoppers, and when I raised tadpoles in the garden pond and created a horrible loud frog choir…my brother did a good job of handling it all.
The reason I broke out of class is because I was so bored with the old man’s class…and the grasshopper bag was a what I thought was a treasure to give away.
The same goes for the tadpoles. I didn’t know they could turn into frogs, so I collected them from ponds and fountains all over the place and hid them carefully. After they grew up, though, I had a horrible experience.
No, the scariest part was the way my brother dealt with those frogs…
My brother had thee frog choir taken in by a meat supplier in the Utoria area…as ingredients.
If I don’t recall the look of the frogs, they are quite popular as a foodstuff. And the foodstuffs were turned into jerky on my brother’s orders and placed in the army’s portable rations.
I didn’t know about it, so I ate it.
My brother could have eaten it even if he had known.
My other brother could not eat it because he knew.
…Me and my younger brother could never be a match for him.
No, we don’t have to be enemies. I thought to myself as a child that I should never make enemies with him alone.
That’s why I can’t lift my head to my older brother.
My younger brother Shion, who now holds the rank of archbishop in the State Church, and my sister Alienor, who became the consort of Duke Grachie’s heir apparent, are the same.
That older brother, who is only three years older than me, has always been the guardian of the younger siblings for all intents and purposes, rather than the irascible father-king, and the queen-mother, who only had a face of a queen.
I still think of it every time I see him. If it wasn’t for him, we wouldn’t have been able to grow up properly.
“The Crown Prince?”
“Yeah…He’s been going on the streets since he was a little guy. He’s smart, he talks a lot, he’s perfect on the outside!”
“Perfect on the outside…does he really have a bad character? His Royal Highness.
“Of course it’s bad. How can a first-rate politician have a good personality?”
“Well, that’s true. After all, he’s running the country’s government while dealing with a bunch of monsters from the sea and mountains…”
“A good politician has bad character, or, to put it another way, a person with a good character cannot be a good politician.”
This is my theory. I believe that a so-called ‘good person’ cannot be a good politician.
To give an extreme example, a good person cannot abandon one person in a situation where ‘leaving one behind will save a hundred more.’ In trying to save that one person, they end up sacrificing more than that.
In that sense, my brother is one of the worst characters in the country.
This is because he is very serious and never wavers in his judgments when it comes to emergencies.
I believe that a politician can only be a person who is able to balance the good and the bad, who can kill the small and keep the big alive.
It is only the idealists or the gamblers who try to keep both the small and the big alive. If he succeeds, he is a hero; if he fails, he is a villain.
“Do you remember? Last year’s fever.”
The best example of this is the treatment of the epidemic last winter.
“If my brother had just been a good-natured person, we wouldn’t have had such a strict quarantine.”
The first outbreak of this fever, known as “five-day fever,” was in the neighboring kingdom of Lesange.
At first there were symptoms of coughing and headache, followed by a high fever. The high fever persisted, making it impossible to eat or even drink water. And even if you can survive the five days of fever, this dreaded fever disease, which kills about half of the patients within five days of the fever, will not kill you. If you do get the disease, the best way to deal with it is to somehow get through those five days.
There are no known herbs or prescriptions for five-day fever, so much so that it is said that the best remedy is to be careful not to get the disease.
It is not known how the disease occurs, but it is said to be transmitted by living in close proximity to a person who has had the disease for a long time.
At the time, the details of the disease, which are now known through research, were not yet known, nor were the symptoms of the disease known at all, nor how it is transmitted.
However, upon learning of the outbreak of the disease in Lesange, my brother immediately declared the border with Lesange closed and a banned all movement in the area adjacent to the western border.
Adjacent to Lesange were the two cities of Neve, of the Duchy of Grachie, and Neisse, the crown prince’s realm.
Neisse was one of the Crown Prince’s domains. Hence, my brother’s proclamation was naturally thorough.
A tented village was built outside the gate, and travelers from Lesange were accommodated there. The gates were closed and no one was allowed to pass through them, not even an official flyer in a hurry, except for his papers.
Then my brother asked the university in the royal capital to send medical and pharmacological personnel to the university, and a medical unit was formed and sent to Neisse.
Sure enough, a five-day fever soon broke out in the tent city.
The medical unit assigned tents to quarantine people in order of the date they left Lesange, and those who became ill were further quarantined.
It was Neve who was unable to be thorough.
Neve, like Neisse, had also set up a tent village to deal with the people who had caught the fever.
Unfortunately for the townspeople, the arrival of the Duke of Grachie, who was not so concerned about the fever, was delayed because he did not facilitate the transport of a medical unit sent by my brother, and the duke’s family had come to the winter home of the Grachie family in Neve, where the Duke’s family had come.
Had my sister Alienor been there, the story might have been quite different. But unfortunately, at this time, she was at the castle of Sadial, the home of the Grachie’s, for the birth of her first child.
Therefore, there was only the Duchess and her daughter’s family there.
They pitied the sick of the tent village in the cold weather. The duchess was especially distressed when she heard that the sick had children and offered her own villa as a temporary hospital.
The quarantine measure was taken because the disease had already been declared contagious and could be transmitted by air. However, the town doctor who was treating the patients was not convinced of this.
The 120 sick people and seventy or so travelers, who were in reserve, were moved to a villa, and the medical personnel who arrived there soon afterwards were stunned by the measure.
Fortunately, the travelers who entered Neve had no way to leave Neve because of the travel ban.
Two battalions from the Western Division were immediately dispatched to Neve to blockade the city itself. My brother did not even allow the Duke’s family to move out of the city.
In less than a week, the five-day fever had spread to the city of Neve.
It spread throughout the town from travelers stranded in Neve and from the Duke’s servants and their families in the villa that had been turned into a temporary hospital.
The final death toll in Neve was 526.
One of the Duke’s granddaughters, who was only five years old, was counted among them.
But considering the fact that more than 2,500 people had been sickened, the death toll was much lower as a percentage.
This was due to the efforts of the medical units.
This opened up new avenues of medical research in our universities, but that’s another story.
And in Neisse, where the isolation policy of the medical units was strictly enforced, the total number of sick people was about 300 out of the approximately 700 people kept in the tent cities on the border. The death toll was only 43.
The medical team’s report later concluded that this was primarily due to the fact that the tents were six-man tents and that the isolation of the tents, with their finely divided spaces, made it difficult for secondary infection to occur.
The tent city of Neisse was out of commission in less than a month, but for the next six months it was used as a medical camp for the sick with five-day fever to rush in from Lesange.
The five-day fever, which is said to have claimed 10 percent of Lesange’s population, ended up in Dardinia with only a small epidemic in parts of the west.
When he issued a border blockade and a travel ban, my brother was blamed for it.
Official envoys from the Kingdom of Lesange sent a formal protest, and greedy noblemen, poked and prodded by traders, asked my brother for consideration because of the effect it would have on their economic activities, but they were rebuffed once and for all.
Some of the nobles tried to sway father, but in the meantime, the devastation in Lesange was reported via the university, and the first deaths were reported in the tent cities on the border.
Then, this time, the situation changed dramatically.
The arguments for condemnation also changed.
Some thought that keeping the people at the border was too lenient, while others accused the government of sacrificing the isolated people for their own safety, and there was a great uproar in the social circles.
Some out-of-place debates took place at the evening parties. Perhaps the noisiest and most difficult to hear was at the evening party at which the Count of Erindula’s engagement was celebrated, when it was announced that the Duchess of Grachie had offered her villa at Neve.
During this time, my brother made no remark. Rumors would have been heard, and although he had no choice but to attend some of the evening banquets, brother hated parties, he silenced the discussions without a care in the world.
It’s not that my brother is stubborn or entrenched in his own ideas, but he doesn’t let the opinions of others sway him.
Basically, he doesn’t care what others think of him.
But as the five-day fever spread in Neve, the criticism became less and less, and soon enough, it was not heard at all.
The kindness of the Duchess of Grachie was genuine.
She couldn’t abandon the sick people who had been forced to camp out in tents for days in the cold weather…much less the young children who were the same age as her own grandchildren. No wonder she felt that way.
She is so compassionate towards children that she regularly makes special donations to the orphanage. It was never out of a desire for popularity with her fiefdoms or to pose for the world.
I also know that the old lady with the warm and gentle temperament is a completely good-natured person. Not at all like her husband, who has not one, but three or four things in his belly, or her bottom-feeding, ruthless son.
But it was an undeniable fact that her good intentions made an increase in unnecessary patients.
As a result, it was clear whose decision was the right one.
This handling of the five-day fever had further enhanced my brother’s reputation, but he didn’t seem to be moved by any of the accolades.
And he never opened his mouth on the matter again.
Even though I knew the actions were right, I would be unable to enforce it as thoroughly as my brother, and the result would have been to loosen the quarantine at some point and let the fever spread.
Strong faith and a strong heart…I will never be able to match my brother. But strangely enough, the reason I don’t find it palatable may be because we are on such different levels.
“But isn’t the crown prince always so calm and kind?”
“It’s one thing to be kind and another to have a bad character, Stan…I’m not denying that my brother is kind.”
My brother is always calm and smiling. Most people think of the “Crown Prince” as that kind of person.
It is often said that he is especially gentle to the people below.
Certainly, His Highness the Crown Prince is kind.
Protecting the people, caring for them, guiding them…because he knows it is his responsibility.
You might say that the subordinates you come into contact with in the course of your duties, or even the servants of the palace, are kind but also somewhat difficult to deal with.
He is not attached to most things, but when it comes to matters of particular importance, he is uncompromising.
For example, it could be keeping the palace quiet, or enjoying delicacies…tea and coffee.
My brother’s household member, Baron Fasalt, knows that it is his duty to keep the palace quiet, and he nervously forces his servants not to make a sound. It’s a good thing that all the servants are so skilled at killing the atmosphere that they could be agents.
Even if they serve close to the side on a regular basis, no one would doubt that His Royal Highness the Crown Prince is kind, compassionate and gentle.
My real older brother is not just a kind person.
If one only knows my older brother who is kind, it is because you are not recognized as an ‘individual.’ It is kindness because it is indifferent.
My true older brother is hard on others, and even harder on himself. And that is why he has kindness.
Yes. My brother is kind.
…Every time I repeat the phrase, the past comes back to life in my head, and I can’t help but want to cry.
“…The expression on your face betrays your words.”
Apparently my eyes were swimming.
“No, I don’t doubt he’s kind. It’s just that he’s all kinds of caustic…”
Most people would agree that it is an unlikely word to describe my brother.
But anyone who has been on the same battlefield would not be as skeptical.
I’ve noticed that my brother is much closer to his true self when he’s on the battlefield.
He is rather rude to people he perceives as ‘individuals,’ but that’s exactly what makes him special.
I’ll tell you one thing, Stan. Be careful when he’s smiling…My older brother rarely smiles.
A perfect exterior…iron-clad facade…Shion said a lot of things, but my real older brother is rather expressionless, although not as much as the doll princess.
When he’s smiling, he’s often in a bad mood, just before he cuts off.
We siblings know this so well that we don’t like it.
I’ll be honest with you.
I’m most afraid of my brother when he smiles.
The more grumpy he is, the more smiley he is…It’s so refreshing to look at.
But when I think of the anger simmering behind it…I’d rather be thrown out in front of a hibernating bear with bare hands.
“I wouldn’t be getting up close and personal with the Crown Prince, would I?”
“No…Now, if anything happens, it’s going to be us who gets moved.”
“What? Something happen?”
“…Well… it’s still uncertain.”
There are certain things I can’t talk about, even if I’m a deputy officer.
If I was just a divisional commander of the Central Division, there would be no problem, but I am a prince in a roundabout way, and as such, there is a lot of information available to me.
There are several sparks at home and abroad, but the biggest spark…no, that one is no longer a spark, but more like an explosion…is safe because it is in my brother’s hands.
The biggest spark…is a twelve-year-old girl who is the presumptive heir of Elzervert, the Crown Princess Arthirea.
She is the most closely guarded princess in the country. In a way, she is even more heavily guarded than my father, the king.
“I’m sure the fact that he doesn’t move his the shadow guards means that nobles are involved.”
“If the Crown Prince moves directly, is the cause the princess in the cage?”
That one’s not directly…no, I don’t know if it all comes down to that in the end…I don’t know.”
“Didn’t they slip up in Elzevert’s castle the other day? The men of the shadow guard.”
It’s true that the location is the castle of Elzevert, and there’s no way to stick the guards as limpidly as in the royal palace.
They lost track of the target of their guard, and when they found her, it was after she had fallen into the lake in winter.
The only reason why the princess was saved was because she was lucky.
It’s also almost miraculous that she was so lucky.
If the princess had died, it would have been a straight line to a messy civil war…
I’m not very smart, but even I know that.
There’s not a chance in hell that it was an accident. That doll princess knows better than anyone else that she’s been targeted since she was a child. It is obvious that such a child would have been kidnapped and pushed down, as it is impossible for such a child to escape by herself.
At that time, my brother was really scary.
Well, that’s not surprising.
At that time, the shadow guards used the princess as bait. It was a trap to make it appear that she was less protected than in the palace.
But that trap was easily bitten off and the target of the guard and she was put in mortal danger.
…I don’t know what the princess’s guards would have been left to if they hadn’t dedicated their swords to the princess.
“Doesn’t she have no memory of it? The Princess.”
“…Apparently. That’s why my brother told me she looked like a completely different person.”
Come to think of it, I think my brother had some kind of strange look on his face when he said that.
It was a ticklish…somewhat strange expression.
I’ve never seen my brother’s face like that…
“Stan, you’re in the know.”
Maybe I know more about this than I thought, having heard it from my brother himself.
“Information is sometimes more of a blade to protect your life than a sword…Well, that’s not really your concern at all.”
“I’m sorry, but I don’t know anything about that. I’ll leave that to you.”
No matter how many ideas I have in my head, I will never surpass him. Then, the questions should be asked to my brother about my doubts.
This doesn’t mean that I’m giving up on thinking. It’s just a division of labor and trust in him.
“You are…and what do you do when you get betrayed? Human beings are creatures that lie, deceive, and only speak the facts that are convenient to them.”
“If my brother does it, it’s for a reason. So it’s perfectly fine.”
“What is that’s blind faith?”
Stan turns with a fuming look on his face.
“I wonder if it’s because…we younger siblings were raised by my brother, I guess.
Each of us had a nanny, but it my your brother who filled in the parts that could only be filled by our immediate family.
“You and the Crown Prince are only about three years apart in age.”
“Oh, because me and my brother’s three years old are very different from me and Shion’s three years!”
“What, are you trying to get off there?”
We wouldn’t be where we are today without that man’s care, love, and guidance for me, Shion and Alienor.
That’s why I’ve made up my mind.
If Shion controls the darkness of God’s kingdom and helps that man, then I will be his sword on the battlefield.
I’m going to slaughter his enemies, fight for him, and one day die for him—be his sword.
“My brother is my greatest pride.”
Stan sighed deeply as I made such a clear statement.
“So lets go back to the beginning…what do you want me to do about the chef?”
“Well, why don’t we just take turns making a meal like we did in camp?”
“If I had the time, I’d be cleaning up a pile of paperwork and making sure one of my guys got it.”
‘That’s why we have our own personal cook in the barracks!’ Stan gives a disappointed look.
“Then why don’t you just recruit another one? You’re the cook of the Central Division’s quarters, it’s not a bad salary, so you’ll get plenty of applications.”
“Our quarters are feared by the cooks, who call it the ‘dragon’s pit.’”
I say with a snarl.
“What?’ That? Are you hooking up to the banner of the gang?”
The emblem of the Dardinian royal family is a two-headed dragon. Hence, the six divisions of the national army carry the dragon’s crest.
“You probably don’t know this, but the Dragon’s Pit is from a popular novel called ‘Pride of the Dragon’, it’s a training school for martial arts students that trains gladiators in the most grueling form of training in hell.”
“Why is that our dormitory?”
The first dormitory of the Central Division of the National Army is a place where fierce people, including the Central Division’s officers, live as a modest home. However, only those above the knightly rank are allowed to move in. Ordinary soldiers are assigned to the second quarters.
“It’s your fault. It’s your fault, that you’re such a stickler for flavor! You make them rework it over and over again, and then they say that’s training for hell! They say it’s the ‘dragon’s pit’ of the culinary world!”
I’d rather make them rework it then talk about it, and then I’ll make them put their hands in it… it’s hell every day for the cooks!
Realize it! He sniffs out
No, even if I’m told that…
“It’s not that I’m not demanding a great taste. I’m not looking for a thick sauce or herb infusion to cover up rotting meat, I’m looking for something that brings out the true taste of the ingredients.”
I’m not looking for a novel taste. I just want to eat normal, good food.
I’m not looking for the taste of a top chef at a royal dinner party. I’ll get bored of that in three days.
“Ah, didn’t His Royal Highness teach you that it’s not knightly to complain about the taste?”
“You can’t talk to that man about food. He’s not a taste fanatic, as long as he thinks it’s edible. He’s…too busy to eat properly.”
My brother is the biggest motivator for me, but I don’t think I can just name him in everything.
“He doesn’t eat well unless it’s an official dinner party. He just takes a ration bar, pours it down with water, and calls it a meal.”
The military’s portable rations are basically a pack of five biscuit bars with some kind of meat jerky, dried vegetables, mostly dried potatoes, and a nutritious cereal in a single meal.
The jerky is a great snack. Dried vegetables and the like are great for kids.
The biscuits have cereal grains in them to make them more hungry, which makes them a little dry.
They aren’t bad, but they aren’t good either. At the very least, it’s not something you’d want to eat as your normal diet.
“Isn’t the prince eating better food?”
“He can have all the luxuries he wants, but he doesn’t care about that…Eating is purely nutritional for him. That’s why he can live on portable rations for all three meals for a week and be fine with it…I would absolutely hate it.”
“…I wouldn’t want to eat it for all three meals at either.”
I’m not going to eat such a tasteless meal unless I’m on the battlefield.
However, my brother doesn’t care about that.
In the places where I don’t expect, I get a glimmer of something strange about my brother. It’s frustrating that I don’t really know what it is.
He are a good person. Sometimes even his enemies praise him.
But something also seems to be sorely lacking.
Shion, my third younger brother, is smarter than me, so I’ve talked to him about it, but about three days later he looked like he was going to cry and said he didn’t think we could do anything about it.
Well, shortly after that, that guy gave up his status as a prince and entered the seminary.
“The bottom drawer of my brother’s office desk is crammed full of portable rations from all over the place, seriously.”
Replenishing this is the first job my brother’s lowest-ranking secretary learns.
By the way, I’m the one providing about half of it.
“I don’t want to see that, you know.”
“I don’t want to see that either. You can only eat a certain number of times in your life. I wouldn’t want to waste it on bad food.”
I’m just asserting my rights.
“If you’re a man, you shouldn’t be complaining about what you eat.”
“Fools, all a soldier does for fun is eat. If they don’t motivate themselves if it’s bad.”
For a soldier immersed in training, there are not many things to look forward to.
Cards among your buddies, booze provided by the liquor store…and, after all, three meals. That’s what it’s all about.
Now that I’m in a certain position, I can’t do much about it, but since I was hiding my identity when I first joined, I usually mixed in with everyone and played cards and dice gambling, and also went to the downtown brothel. However, I ate the same pot with a general soldier and made a noise with the same barrel of beer.
I don’t care that they called me a knight, after all, if the food was good, most of the complaints would go away.
When I was a battalion commander or a company commander, I used to give them a bottle of liver paste or beef, one of the portable rations for officers, to keep them from complaining. The power of the barley wine and wine tickets from the liquor store is immense.
Grabbing the stomach really big because it’s directly related to your life.
“For now, let’s just let a servant from my mansion do it until we decide on the next one.”
“Don’t you have a chef in the residence?”
“I do, but it’s a very old lady.”
Our barracks are forbidden to women. Basically, women are not allowed to come in and out of the barracks. Otherwise, there would be some fools who would come to the barracks to pick up women.
There is no reason why a woman cannot become a knight or a soldier, but in the national army, they exist only in the Kingsguard.
“Well, for now, let’s go outside for today.”
The lack of a dining hall in the quarters doesn’t mean there aren’t places to eat nearby.
One step outside the barracks is the so-called downtown district of Utoria. There is no shortage of shops that cater to the national army’s soldiers, and there is no shortage of cheap eateries.
The dining room of the second dormitory is closer, but the second is the dormitory of ordinary soldiers who can not be knights, so it makes a fuss when we go. They also probably want to eat at least one meal at a place where their superiors aren’t around.
Generally, 80% of the superiors and aristocrats don’t like the topic at the time of meal.
That’s how they relieve their stress, so we shouldn’t interrupt them.
“Ah, Your Highness.”
“What’s wit that? Don’t call me that!”
It makes me feel faint and my spine tingle when Stan calls me that.
“Excuse me, Commander…that.”
He looked terribly dumbfounded.
I look in the direction of Stan’s gaze.
“…Is that my brother?”
It was my brother in a simple cloak.
It’s not that unusual to see my brother out and about. I know that sometimes I go down to the city to look around and see things, and I know that I sometimes step into the flower district.
The unusual thing is that someone small, probably a child, is lodged in his arms.
“Is that…an illegitimate child?”
“Don’t even say that…My brother would never mess up like that.”
When the child whispered something in my brother’s ear, he gave a small laugh.
It just spilled out unexpectedly…a small smile unintentionally appeared on his face.
It was only for a moment.
The child in his arms probably didn’t notice, and my brother himself may not have noticed.
When I saw that, my mind went blank for a moment.
“Then, who is that?”
“I don’t know.”
What should I have said about the feelings that were bubbling up in my body?
Shion might be able to say it well, but I didn’t know the right word to describe it.
If I had to choose a word that most closely resembles it, it would be ‘Joy.’
Joy… an overflowing joy.
A joy so strong I don’t know how to describe it.
Oh, I see…
I was happy that my brother had found something special.
I was happy he had someone to make him laugh at like that.
I’ll tell Shion and Alienor about it.
They’ll be happy to hear that. Or maybe they’ll be jealous.
But we’ll be grateful to the kid.
A big thank you for bringing a smile to our brother’s face.
Suddenly, the child meets our gaze. She says something to my brother.
“Eh, um, yeah, he’s coming this way, Commander.”
I make sure that my brother has more than one shadow guard, and I turn my head in that direction as well. It looks like my brother doesn’t have a bodyguard, but he does. No matter what kind of stealth it is, it’s thorough.
“…Why are you here?”
My cook ran out of the kitchen and went to get a bite to eat. What about you, brother?”
“…It’s a picnic…that’s what it’s called, right?”
My brother checked with the child in his arms.
The head of the hood shook with a chuckle.
“It’s about going out for a simple meal.”
“A simple meal? There are plenty of food shops out here, but…”
“No. You bring the meal, too.”
The child’s hand fumbled and took a stash of portable ration cans from the cloak.
Me and Stan looked at it in silence.
It looked like the portable sustenance provided by me for all intents and purposes.
“Oh, brother, I’m not sure that’s a good idea…”
“That’s certainly what your brother’s dinner is…”
“Luthia seemed to like it.”
“I don’t like it. But it was better than I thought it would be!”
This is the kind of voice that might be called ringing bell-toned voice.
A thin high-pitched sound that never sounds jarring.
The hooded head nods.
Why? At the same time, I thought it wasn’t strange because she was the princess, but I also thought that the princess could barely open her mouth, or that she had lost her memory and had changed, or any number of other things went round and round in my head.
“Have you eaten your dinner yet?”
“Yes. In the park over there.”
“…If we could’ve met a little sooner, I would have introduced you to a good diner…”
“Fool, there’s no way Luthia and I could go in the store with you.”
Human portraits of the royal family are popping up all over the city. This is because they are sold as souvenirs of the city, including portrait cards and reproductions, as well as plates and cups with pictures.
The appearance of the royal family members is known to the general public through these products. There are many things on the market that don’t look exactly like them, so I don’t mind so much that they are on the market.
I’ve been growing my beard for half a month now, and it’s enough to make me invisible to most people on the street.
But the portrait of my brother and the princess is the No. 1 selling portrait in the country.
They’re a perfect combination, except for the fact that the princess is a bit young.
I have no doubt that they are more widely known than I am.
“Yeah, you may be right.”
“…Then the next step would be a food stall. There was a food stall in the park earlier.”
“We buy from a food stall and eat at that park.”
The voice was bouncing.
It was hard to see her expression because of the hood and the darkness, but we could still tell that the princess looked happy.
“Can you bring me again?”
A hint of a soft laugh.
My brother nods.
The princess clung tightly to my brother’s neck.
It was a very cute gesture that had nothing to do with sex appeal or flirtation.
My brother seemed satisfied and slid his hand down her back.
Is it just me, or is it more embarrassing than a bad love scene?
No, it’s not like I’m thinking anything bad.
But, this cringe tingling feeling…
“Let’s go back.”
…They’re a nice couple, aren’t they?
Occasionally, I remember my 15 year old brother who attended a temporary wedding with his not-even-one-years-old bride in his arms.
It wasn’t very nice, but I didn’t think they could build such a decent relationship.
In the first place, my brother’s marriage to the princess was nothing more than a perfect political ploy by my father.
But…the two in front of me looked close enough.
“Tomorrow, I’ll send the chef of my palace to you.”
Stopping for a moment, my brother turned around.
“Huh…? In our quarters?”
“Yeah. I want to do a little work on your place.”
“…That’s fine, but…”
It’s a dragon’s pit!
If that’s what he’s saying, I might as well do a little serious squeezing.
“…Please don’t do that with Cyril and Ney.”
“It’s those workers. My oven workers…Without those two, I wouldn’t be able to bake my morning snacks.”
Morning snacks? Jeez, that’s…
“Hmm. Then you can make those two your chefs.”
My brother didn’t turn around anymore.
The princess gave us a light bow, and then a small wave.
When the figures disappeared into the hustle and bustle, Stan let out a breath.
“What, were you nervous?”
“Yes, well…He’s the crown prince, you know. A lot has been said about him, but aren’t they close, those two?”
“I think it’s not so bad.”
“It was kind of…natural, wasn’t it?”
It was natural for them to be together.
It was not particularly stiff, or vain, or particularly nervous.
It was completely natural…and a vaguely sweet atmosphere.
“…I thought there were a lot of people for my brother’s escort, but if half of them are the princess’ escort, it makes sense.
“The shadow guards. Are their that many?”
“There are only two for my brother. The rest are for the princess.”
“Isn’t that too much?”
“Too much is just fine…In the worst case, we have a replacement for my father the King, but there is no replacement for the princess.”
“That’s a tough one.”
The throne has my father and older brother. There are me and Shion, too.
But there is no other successor to Elzevert.
“………Well, let’s get started.”
I turned to Stan.
He looks at me curiously.
“Of course, to find out what the stalls taste like.”
In three days, we could eat out all the stalls.
It’s not every day that me and my brother get the chance to leave the castle, so I can narrow down the list of restaurants I’ll be able to recommend before the next time.
“……….How much of a bro-con are you?”
Stan says, holding his forehead and making a snarling sound.
“What do you mean? And when you do eat something else every now and then, it’s only natural that you’d want to make sure you get something good to eat.”
“…Yes, yes, yes, I understand. I’ll go out with you.”
I don’t even know what the guy is trying to say.
A week later, I delivered a map of the Utoria area to my brother, and the Princess was very pleased with it.
The princess’ handmade walnut and almond sweets with a sweet caramel-like flavor that she had made as a thank you, were very delicious.
It was only on the afternoon of the third day after I had devoured them all that I noticed that there was a card with a note that said, ‘Please eat within a month.’
T/N: Ngl, Alfred is me with potato chips.
|♡| Table of Contents |♡| Support me! |♡|
One thought on “Side Story: The Prince and His Lieutenant”
Yikes, this hits different when reading during the COVID era…
LikeLiked by 1 person