Story 2: Three Scenes Around Scrapbook Cards part 1

Rupert Issur Vem Ostrey Dale, age 22, was troubled.

As his family name suggests, he is the son of the prestigious Eastern Count Dale. His mother is also the daughter of the prestigious Eastern  Count Ostrey. He is the carefree third son born to two well-balanced families.

Since his two older brothers are already married and both have sons, it’s unlikely that the county’s governorship will be passed down to him.

There is no fiefdom to inherit, but there is no obligation either. He is in a very light position.

In order to make a living, his grandfather, who passed away, gave him a wealthy manor house, though not very large, so that he would have no trouble making a living. He also has a competent householder attached to him, so he doesn’t have to look after the estate himself, and he doesn’t have to get involved in politics and socializing, which was something he didn’t wish for.

Nevertheless, being a nobleman, one must still be a servant of society.

But he was neither smart enough to become a scholar, nor religious enough to become a clergyman. He knew that he could become a civilian after graduating from the Royal Academy, but he wasn’t particularly fond of learning, so by a process of elimination, Rupert enlisted in the national army.

Initially, he was assigned to the Eastern Division, but just recently he was transferred to the Kings Guard Division.

“What’s bothering you so much?”

“Ah, uh, my sisters asked for a card that you can only get in the Royal Capital.”

The Kings Guard Division is stationed in the Royal Capital, of course.

When the two sisters learned of Rupert’s assignment to the capital, they approached him with a twinkle in their eyes. The mission, called ‘sister begging,’ seems to be quite tough for him to carry out.

“Cards? Oh, a scrapbook card?”

“Yeah. They’re both crazy about it.”

Scrapbooks are one of the most popular hobbies for both men and women.

The popularity of scrapbooks is growing every year because they reflect the tastes and sense of the people who collect them, and they are easy to collect and can be enjoyed by everyone.

Scrapbooking is not so difficult to start, and there is at least one person around me who enjoys doing it.

For example, there are many people who collect only flower patterns, people who collect only animal objects, people who collect only foreign landscapes, and etc., who collect by theme.

In particular, the most popular things to collect are portraits of celebrities. The objects of collection are usually portrait cards, which are called scrapbook cards. Actresses, actors, famous minstrels, and etc. In Dardinia, the royal family is especially popular.

“When it comes to things that are only found in the royal capital…after all, it’s that, right?”


In recent years, a new technology called ‘photography’ has been developed, but it is not yet accessible to the average person, so all of these portraits are hand painted…miniature paintings by humans.

Even the same person is completely different depending on the style of the artist, and the connoisseurs enjoy the differences. Some say that girls around their age are competing to see how many different portraits of princes they can collect.



Rupert sighs.

The most popular ones among the girls are from the Blackberry Company, where the backs of the cards are uniformly illustrated with blackberries.

The Blackberry Company is a souvenir shop in the royal capital, and its biggest selling point is the wide variety of royal cards.

The shop is always crowded with customers every day, and up to 90% of them are all women.

“I don’t have the courage to go there alone.”

“Ah…I’m not a big fan of that, either.”

“Hey, Rael.”

“…I don’t want to go to…I’m not going with you.”

“Come on, man, just go…We’re childhood friends.”

“That’s a different story from this.”

“You love girls, don’t you?”

“I don’t go to places like that because I want to be normal and like girls. You know you can see their true nature in those kinds of places. I still want to dream about girls, you know?”


Rupert makes a pathetic voice.

Rumors have said that this childhood friend is a womanizer and codger, but he’s simply nice to girls. And actually, it’s not just to girls that he’s kind.

“It’s for the sake of my sisters~ So please.”

“If it’s asked by Catherine and Elaina, you just can’t say no… you siscon.”

“It can’t be helped. If they say, “Please, brother,” with a big smile on their faces, how could I say no?”

“Wow, they’re definitely going to think you’re a sloppy mess.”

“That’s okay. A little sister is a creature that should be given preferential treatment.”

“…It can’t be helped.”

One sigh. In the end, Rael is willing to go along for the ride, for whatever reason.

“…See, I’m going.”

He is basically kind to Rupert’s two sisters, partly because he cares about them.

And yet, that doesn’t mean he’s indecisive.

This guy has a lot of tolerance…

It may be said that the level is wide open.

“Thanks~ I have such a kind-hearted childhood friend.”

“Flattery won’t get you anywhere.”

“Haha, it’s not flattery.”

“…Rupert came to the Royal Capital because of my selfishness.”

‘I’m feel a little responsible,’ he whispered out. Then he turned away, embarrassed.

“Don’t worry about it…sister princess, right”

Rupert knows why Rael asked for the transfer.

“I can’t call her my sister. I’m different.”

Rael is the bastard child of the Duke of Elzevert.

Although he is a bastard child, Rael’s mother is now the Duchess of Elzevert. He simply does not have the right to inherit the family fortune and goes by the name of Young Master Elzevert normally in the locality.

The Elzevert’s inheritance rights are held by the princess born to Princess Efinia, who was married from the royal family. The only illegitimate child of Duke Elzevert, and the half-sister of Rael, she has been in the royal palace since seven months of age due to circumstances known to everyone in the country.

“But she is still your sister. That’s why you bothered to transfer to the  Kings Guard.”

“……I was just worried about her. I mean, she was being targeted. I told my dad all that, and he just squashed it…That crash wasn’t an accident.”

“It couldn’t be helped. He was being suspected, the Duke…”

The other day, Her Royal Highness, who had returned home for the first time in over a decade, crashed from the veranda of her castle into a lake on a winter’s night.

Rael was on the lake at the time…He was on a boat in the lake with a girl who had come to the evening party that night…Luckily, he was able to save her.

The princess lost her memory, but she survived and returned safely to the capital. However, it was clear that her personal life was unsettled by the poisoning of her handmaidens during her stay.

And the shock of that memorable first meeting with his half-sister, which can only be said to be one-sided as it was just after an attempted assassination, had a great impact on Rael.

“After all, I didn’t get a good enough look at the one who did it.”


Rael had claimed that there was a small figure on the balcony which was later discovered to be where the Crown Princess had fallen from, and he had always insisted that it wasn’t an accident.

In the end, his father and brothers had told him to keep quiet, but he hadn’t been convinced for a long time.

After accompanying Her Royal Highness the Crown Princess on her return and delivering the gift offerings, he suddenly requested to be transferred to the military as soon as he returned from the royal capital.

The national army is divided into six armies, and Rael and Rupert belonged to the Eastern Division. It’s not surprising that many of the children of the Eastern lords are enrolled in the army, so the relationship between the national army and the lords are close.

Although he is an illegitmate child, as the son of the Eastern Duke Elzevert, Rael would be able to achieve a reasonable position without having to do anything as long as he stays with the Eastern Division.

But when it comes to the Kings Guard, the situation is completely different.

The Kings Guard are close to the private army of the royal family, and many of them are originally the children of high-ranking nobles. Being an illegitimate child is not a particular issue in the military, but Rael’s position and family situation can be extremely annoying to the royal family.

Therefore, Rael’s position is not very good in the Kings Guard which is very close to the Royal Family. It’s something close to bullying.

Still, this guy doesn’t say he’s going home…

It’s not just the fact that he was transferred to the Kings Guard, but also Rael’s circumstances.  It is impossible for him to be assigned to the side of the princess.

I kept telling him, but in the end, Rael didn’t listen to me.

Well, it’s been a long time since he’s said anything.

When something happens, Rael’s argument was that if he is close by, he may be able to help…and he didn’t listen to me when I told him there was nothing he could do simply by being close.

I was afraid of sending Rael to the capital alone, so in the end, I (Rupert) submitted a transfer request with him.

It was calculated that the duke would definitely push Rupert’s transfer along with Rael’s.

Some think of the him as a man without blood or tears, but the duke is a person who cares for children with great attention to detail. The transfer to the Kings Guard was granted surprisingly easily.

If you have been anointed as a knight and have no problems with your behavior, the transfer is not that difficult.

But even though it is was the Kings Guard, it was the security force of the main palace that was assigned here.

Rael, who is very close to the Duke, is not really behind the scenes as a guard.

Most of the guards at the main shrine do not meet with Her Royal Highness, who rarely leaves the Western Palace.

I never see her face, or even see her shadow, and I barely hear any gossip from time to time.

And yet, he doesn’t give up, does he?

Even so, he still guards the gates at the edge of the main palace without compalining, and I’m proud of him.

Rael is a man who’s been talked about a lot for his good looks, but he’s not bad inside either.

I wish either Catherine or Elena would be his wife…

Rupert buys into the man named Rael so much that he is confident that his sisters would be happy with someone like him.


“…It’s over there, Rupert.”


The shop is located in a corner of the capital where the land value is said to be the highest.

The white walls that mimic the architecture of the Unified Empire are repainted once a month to keep them white.

In front of the store, there is a line of women dressed in various shades of pink, light blue, yellow…it’s just like a backstage of a fashion show.

There are some girls who look like they’ve just come out of the country, and there are others who are dressed in the latest fashionable mermaid-line dresses.

Almost no one comes alone, usually in groups of several people, chattering away as they stand in line. Occasionally, there is a  man in the mix, like Rupert, who must have been asked by someone to bring them a souvenir.

“I’m a bit hesitant to rush in there…”

“That’s scarier than rushing towards an enemy.”

Because it’s over 90% female customers, there’s something obviously out of place about it.”

The male customers look uncomfortable.

“…But do they even have a card for female royalty?”

“Blackberry doesn’t carry cards for female royalty, actresses or…‘so-called men.’ They leave those to the sister store, Berry Berry.”

“…I don’t know, but I have an inkling that they’re good at what they do. But, for example, where do you get cards that have His Majesty the King and Her Majesty the Queen together?”

“It could be either. It doesn’t matter…When you become a maniac, you have a blackberry version and a berry berry version with the same picture.”

“It doesn’t matter if it’s the same picture or not!”

“The paints for the coloring are a little different. That’s why the texture of the skin is different…”

Rael explained with somewhat distant eyes.

Rupert silently listened to the words of his childhood friend, who seemed to have looked into another world for some reason. The trick to making a friendship last is to not go into it too deeply at times like these.

As they dismounted from their horses, a child came up to them from somewhere.

“Horse, I’ll keep your horse, one copper for half an hour”.

From the looks of it, he’s around ten years old. What he was wearing was also cozy, so he could be a child living in the neighborhood or something.

“Two hours, two horses, six copper sheets. If we extend it, we’ll get one piece each for 30 minutes.”

“Okay, I’ll move my hand. Should I give water?”

I’m used to seeing them negotiate with each other.

“Then, I’ll add an extra piece for water for two.”

“All right. Leave it to me.”

The kid nodded with a twinkle in his eye. He was happy to see that the price cut was smaller than I expected and that a water fee was added.

These places had space to park carriages and horses, but they didn’t have professional stablemen.

So it is usually these neighborhood kids who guard the horses and earn some change.

The market rate is one copper coin per hour. The amount of money that Rael spoke of is slightly higher than the market price.

“…Kind, Rael.”

“It’s not like that.”

“Because it won’t take two hours.”

“Rupert, you’ve got to be kidding me with that line.”

“…What? Is it that long?”

“By the looks of it, it will take us a little over an hour to get inside. Then I’d say it will take about half an hour to get everything you want once inside.

Rael’s profile was grim.

For now, we decided to get in line at the end of the line. But even after we’ve lined up, there’s still another group of women trying to get out of a carriage.

“Is it really going to take that long?”

“Oh…So whose are you going to buy? Let’s split up.”

“…… His Royal Highness the Crown Prince, His Majesty the Archbishop, and the Duke of Wheelito of the Kings Guard.”

“Oh, it’s the most common ones…”

Crumpling, Rael ruffled his hair.

“Is that so?”

“Of course. See those looks?”

“No, but they’re married, right?”

“What’s that got to do with admiration?…It’s not like they can meet separately and do anything about it.”

“Well, sure.”

With his status, it’s not impossible to meet the Crown Prince face to face. Rael himself has a good deal of acquaintance with him, as he often goes to deliver offerings to the Crown Princess.

If a girl comes from a noble enough family to make her debut in society, she is sure to be seen at least once. This is because the girl who makes her debut in society is sure to be invited to the Founding Festival Party hosted by His Majesty the King the following year to celebrate the founding of the country.

However, even then, the position of Crown Prince is still special. Perhaps it is because both of them have met each other before, that they feel this way even more so.

“…So what kind of stuff do you want to buy?”

“What do you mean?”

“Don’t you have an opinion for painting, or an artist, or…?”

“Oh. I want as many as possible…What? Are there that many?”

“There are. You’ll go bankrupt if you buy them all.”

“What, really?”

Blackberry cardd costs two copper coins for a regular one. Despite being extremely inexpensive, many people buy them in bulk because they are known as a souvenir of the Royal Capital.

“Seriously. The old ones can be expensive at a premium, and they also have special editions.”

“What’s a special edition?”

“The color of the card is high-class, even gold and silver leaf is used.

“………What’s with that?”

“Come on…Business is good here.”

By releasing new cards one after the other, they are always trying to keep collectors interested in them. They are also good at encouraging a competitive spirit by releasing “limited edition” and “special edition” premium cards.

“Oh, so what should I buy?”

“I think for beginners, the Blue Line series of cards with blue borders is good. It’s popular, and there are many portraits that girls would like. If it’s hard to choose, you can buy a set.”

“A set?”

“Yes, that’s right. The exotic set is a series in which His Highness wears various ethnic costumes from other countries, and the flower set is a series in which he wears a variety of flowers on his back.”

As I stepped forward to join the ever-advancing queue, I could see the various cards on display in the show window, enlarged and displayed.


“If you rush in, you’ll lose, Rupert.”

“…Yeah. I feel like that too.”

If I pretend I don’t see it, I won’t feel like I’ve already lost.

“…So what kind of things do you think would please them?”

“For now, why don’t we go with the orthodox White Horse Prince set? Because it’s a set of more normal-looking things…See, like that. Neither of you have ever bought anything like that before, have you?”

“Yeah…because I can’t get it in rural areas.”

“I hear that catalogs are also available for some of the best customers.”


“Well, since our specialty is souvenirs from the royal capital, we don’t seem to be thinking about branching out into the countryside. Oh…that’s the most popular white horse prince set.”

Rael pointed with his eyes.

“……………………What can I say, His Royal Highness must have a hard time, being forced to dress in all sorts of embarrassing ways like this.”

His Highness riding a white horse with a refreshing smile on his face.

His Highness smiling, posing with a garden in the background.

His Highness leafing through a book in his study.

…It’s certainly picturesque, but if such a person were to be around in real life, I’d be very reluctant to go there.

I’d avoid eye contact with such a person with a rose in the background, and I wouldn’t want to make their acquaintance if possible.

“It’s not a fame tax. Oh, there’s the Duke of Wheelito.”

Rael, who was flipping through a thick booklet at the storefront, made a note of something.

“What’s that?”

“Product numbers. The only ones on display are the most popular or new ones. You have to write down the product number here to take them out.”


“…Also, what else would you you do with all the stuff here that is only from when the Archbishop was a prince as a child?”

“What? Why?”

“Since his ordination, they’ve only sold them in a souvenir shop near the cathedral, with the permission of the church. There’s a branch here, of course.”

“………Uh, can you keep me company?”

“………For the next vacation.”

As expected, I can’t stand in line for this twice in one day.


“No, you know too much about this…”

“I’ve had girlfriends begging me to buy them a couple of times.”

“That’s sweet.”

“It’s just being an errand boy.”

A wry smile comes to my mouth.

“…………What kind of girlfriend?”

“Viscount Nidiard’s daughter.”

“I see.”

That’s the name of a selfish young lady famous in the social world.

“Why are you doing what that selfish young lady says?”

“There’s something cute about being alone with that one. Besides, it’s give and take for both of us, so it’s okay.”

“Give and take? What are you taking?”

“Her half-sister is married to a representative of the Easel Company.”

“Is the Easel Company…a bookstore?”

“Yes. I’m also a publisher of entertainment books. Like Rupert’s favorite, Pride of the Dragon, and I’m also releasing a series called Eyes in the Sky, which is a favorite of Her Royal Highness.”

“Oh…did I mention that I love books?”

“Yeah. So, I’m doing all kinds of favors for you.”

I was given a new edition of the book as soon as possible, and I was also given an extra edition that doesn’t have many copies in print. Rael laughs.

“I see……”

“Unfortunately, the author of the ‘Eyes in the Sky’ series has passed away, so I don’t know what the rest of the story will be after the current manuscript is published.”

“It’s hard to do a series. Sometimes they change writers and become more popular, and sometimes the opposite happens and they become less popular…”

Manuscript fees for this type of entertainment book are extremely low. And because of the buy-out system, it has little to do with the author, regardless of how many copies are printed.

Unless you are a trendy author, you cannot make a living as a full-time writer, so many of them have to wear two hats.

The “Dragon’s Pride” series is said to have originated with two brothers who kept failing their university entrance exams and wrote to make ends meet.

Based on their original idea, several authors have written stories derived from the world of Dragon’s Pride, and each series has its own fan base with a different protagonist.

The Francine version, a series of stories featuring a heroine dressed as a man, has been performed as an opera by an all-female revue, while the Quinn version, in which a boy orphaned in the most orthodox war grows up to be a first-rate swordsman, is often featured as a standard play in playhouses.

“Sometimes the continuation never gets published.”

“But hey, wouldn’t you rather have an unfinished story than have some strange writer write a sequel without your permission and get it published?”

“That’s true. There’s a lot of sequels that fans wouldn’t want to see. But don’t you think a story needs to have an END mark to be appreciated?”

“All’s well that ends well, right?”

“That’s true. Well, for my part, I hope that a good writer will continue to write the story. Her Royal Highness would be very disappointed if it ended like this.”


The one word that cannot be spoken.

However, Rupert wishes he could one day say it to his face.

This stupid little sister!

You can’t change the past. But you can make a new beginning.

Not as siblings, but as strangers who are related to each other by blood. It would be nice if you could start with a “nice to meet you” or a “hello” and move up a little by little, for the sake of this kind-hearted childhood friend of mine.

Then I’ll do my best to return the words I’ve been told.

Rupert wishes.

Someday, I’m sure…

He keeps praying and wishing.


T/N: It’s nice to see more of a perspective from Arthirea’s brother! I’m with Rupert, I hope they can get along well soon!

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