THIS CHAPTER IS SO LONG, WHYYYY
Sorry if the editing is a little scuffed in this chapter. I, uh, am two weeks late because I partied really hard over the holidays, spent too long recovering from New Years, and completely failed to do any translating wahahaha, so I rushed to translate this one and then edited it sort of quickly. Also this chapter ended up being way longer than I realized. I was hitting like 3 hours of translation time 3 days a week just to get it out.
Updates to the schedule in 2023 at the end of the chapter.
Deeper in the greenery of the trees, as it advanced towards autumn, the season feels like it’s calming down.
However, as for the garden, the vivid flowers are blooming as if to tell a story of summer with their colors.
A round flower bed, where even the colors of the bellflowers on the outside are varied, in the gaps are yellow chrysanthemums, and on the inside where tall rainy mallows are blooming, a tower of flowers was made.
「The chrysanthemums are also an insect repellent, it seems. Even in Zack’s house, they hang them up by the windows.」
「Then, to calm down, you can also look at the flowers, can’t you?」
While looking through the glass door to the carden, Lydia and Roy talk while smiling. Certainly, she was thinking that for the turquoise bellflowers and rainy season mallows being made to shine were cute, and at Lydia’s thoughts, Roy pleasantly remembers.
Possibly, she seemed to be annoyed at him not even having an artistic point of view. At the start of her explanation, even during the season where there are a lot of insects it’s quiet, so Roy had asked the question.
With the story he heard from Lydia, Roy also understood that the occupation didn’t just think of the garden visually, they also took into account the functional aspect. Roy also found the practical applications interesting, and hearing her talk was fun. Again, it’s fine for the vision that sees even the castle garden to change.
「It’s better to have fun without thinking about that sort of thing.」
「You could say that, but……」
Lydia, who wants to widen her own viewpoint, is jealous of the vision Roy has. Because it’s unusual for her to appear bitter about this kind of point, Roy seems pleased. Whenever she makes this reaction, Roy had a feeling he gained a hard to come by friend.
「Which reminds me, even after we’re engaged, is it fine not to change the frequency of when we meet?」
「Is there a problem? We even meet during tea parties.」
「Yep. So, in that case, Miss Lydia.」
When Lydia responds that meeting once every two weeks and being accompanied to tea parties with her fiance is enough, Roy smiles, seeming satisfied.
Even at the step of being a fiance candidate, compared with the other girls who wanted to increase their meeting frequency, Roy was happy at the difference, but Lydia judged on the basis that he, as a prince, believes him to be already busy and didn’t feel it was a necessity to increase the amount of times they met, and measured the meaning of his smiling face.
「Lately, Eric’s mood has been softening.」
「That’s good. There’s only the girl on the opposite side of the door.」
Because Roy said it was convenient if it was only the two of them, her guard Emilia, was held back on the other side of the door with Mateus. When she turns to look in the direction of those honey colored eyes that look in the direction she would be, Lydia grips her fist a little bit. It seems the final barrier is going to be a hard fight.
The girl whose eyes are hard like steel, that is the impression Roy has of the girl who acts as a guard alone. Because Matteus forces a smile at the time she’s together with his own guard, she’s terribly upright and serious, he thinks. Winning her over is going to be difficult.
「I thought to have a proper discussion like with Eric, but I’m utterly helpless……」
Really, no matter how many times tried to have a conversation with her, Lydia always seems frustrated. Emilia is the type to hate talking about affairs outside of business. There is no gap to make conversation, no doubt.
「……As for being helpless, I’m the same.」
At Roy, who lets out a bitter smile as if letting out a sigh, Lydia worries. Seeing him with a bitter facial expression is considerably rare.
「Is Roy-sama also having trouble with someone?」
「While it’s embarrassing, it’s my younger brother.」
「His Highness, Klaus?」
She remembers Klaus, the younger brother of Roy who she greeted on occasion after becoming Roy’s fiance. Because she only greeted him, she doesn’t know him well.
「He’s someone who seems hard to please.」
Because his facial expression is always stiff whenever they meet, that was Lydia’s impression. However, Roy gently shakes his head.
「No, that attitude of Klaus’ is half because of nervousness at Lydia’s beauty and half my fault.」
Roy smiles as if to apologize, but at the first half of the explanation, Lydia unconsciously blushes. Lydia thinks that the explanation is unnecessary, but Roy praised her more, saying even during ordinary tea parties, because she was beautiful, there’s no helping being nervous, so she became greatly unable to bear it.
「In front of me, he stops smiling. So, I’m really sorry if his attitude towards you worsens.」
At Roy’s apologetic appearance, it wasn’t an awkward situation, so Lydia changed her mood.
「That is, as expected, it’s the succession of the throne……?」
「That’s right. Actually, Philly doesn’t hesitate to come in contact with him. She really is a sweet child.」
Lydia, with part of the queen’s education, was provided the opportunity to listen to a story from the first queen. In doing so, she met the third princess, Philine, but she merrily talks about her older brothers. Roy and Klaus, she talks about them equally. Because she’s a girl whose inheritance power is low and she has no intent to do so, even if she becomes close with her, no one would say anything.
However, the first prince Roy and the second prince Klaus, even if they’re around the same age, their mothers differ, so it’s not possible. Even in their own castle, their surroundings have eyes, so even meeting with just themselves is difficult.
Particularly, the extent of Klaus’ mother’s vision. Lydia always feels that she’s looking to keep her, the fiance of the first prince, in check.
「I’ll try to greet him, but he seems prejudiced against me. I wonder if he thinks of you as a brother.」
「That’s right, huh……」
At Roy who smiles as if a bit lonely, Lydia lets her doubts spill.
「For some time now, you have only said words of support about His Highness, Klaus, so it appears that Roy-sama and Philly-sama are concerned about him the same. You both really think of him as a brother.」
When he goes along with the impressions Lydia felt, Roy honey-colored eyes go wide for a second, then he softly smiles.
「I’m glad you think that.」
「That is something that came out unexpectedly. Because it’s the same for me.」
Lydia smiles back. For herself, there was a time she worried about not being able to be an older sister-like person for Flora, but the boy who was a gardener’s apprentice taught her the view of the outside looking in.
She thought about when she heard about the examples given to her and she saw that a third party was able to easily understand. The odds and ends of words that were in consideration for a younger brother, and for Lydia, Roy as fully reflecting as older brother-like. In spite of being avoided, Lydia feels as if there isn’t a point he doesn’t consider him family.
Perhaps, when her own younger sister Flora has an attitude like this, she would be discouraged, perhaps, but would continue to reach out to her.
「I’ll guess what’s in Roy-sama’s heart……」
「Miss Lydia…… there’s no need to be sad for me. Furthermore, for something like Miss Flora disliking you, because that’s ridiculous, please relax.」
Guessing why she moved, Roy gently presented a handkerchief. Because Lydia’s eyes were only a little wet, there isn’t a need to wipe them, but seeing Roy’s facial expression soften, she meekly took it, said 「yes」, and nodded her head.
「At any rate, for each other, it’s necessary to prepare a place where somehow or another we can talk.」
Lydia thought it was strange to think of the discord between the brothers of the royal family on the same level as one of master and servant, so she had better not talk about it with lightness. Nodding at Lydia’s words, Roy said that was right, mumbling and showing behaviors of careful thought.
Then, Roy, who seemed to think of something, turned towards Lydia with a sparkling smile.
「Miss Lydia, could you be unreasonable and cause some trouble for me?」
At the abrupt request, Lydia’s thoughts came to a stop in an instant. How selfish was this causing trouble? The act of raising a request that doesn’t take into account the other party’s circumstances, for the already embarrassed Lydia, this doesn’t seem to be possible. Now, when she thinks about the acts of two years ago, seems to want to die of shame.
When Lydia weakens at the thought of a request where the difficulty level is too high, Roy smiles as if to relieve her.
「Or, could you let me say that?」
She doesn’t understand what Roy is intending, but because what the goal should be, Lydia nodded, wanting to help any little bit she could with reconciliation.
Earning Lydia’s approval, after Roy said his thanks, he sees the Nigera-like eyes that are glistening and wetter than normal and forces a smile.
「However, if he knows I made you cry, Isaac won’t stay silent.」
Lydia tilts her head in confusion. Without being prideful, there are a lot of people in her house that worry for her. Even with only the Ernest house’s employees, Katherine the maid and the guards seem to react to even trivial niceties. Although, why did Roy raise the name of the gardener’s apprentice first?
Roy just smiles back while never giving an answer. Instead, he turns around.
「I’m sorry. There’s a person I shouldn’t forget.」
When Lydia follows Roy’s line of sight, where the door opened was a man with loose golden hair. His eyes that are the same color as Lydia’s are open wide in shock.
What was so surprising about her father, Lydia thought, but realizing she was holding onto the handkerchief Roy gave her, understood the misunderstanding and got flustered.
「I, it isn’t……!」
「Miss Lydia, in all likelihood, that will have the opposite effect.」
「Your Highness, may I have a discussion with you?」
Although he’s all smiles, because her father has the atmosphere that there’s no ability to say yes or no, it was appropriately troublesome to clear the misunderstanding. Roy, the person in question who seemed to accept the misunderstanding, because he somehow seemingly was smiling in amusement, Lydia felt it was unfair only she worried about it.
The love of a girl’s father who never listened to his own words was interesting. It was amazing, as with only that, even Roy who could get through her father’s menacing look was already amazing, Lydia thought.
A few days afterwards, inside the Avenrot Kingdom’s castle, the two brothers met face to face.
「Claus, are you doing well?」
When Roy tries to greet his brother with a smile, his younger brother Claus directly averts his gaze and bluntly replies.
「Although we also met yesterday at practice, there’s no way that would change.」
「That also seems to be the case.」
Towards Roy who nods with a smile, Claus furrows his eyebrows. Both of them have metal colored hair, but differing from Roy who doesn’t have curls, Claus has them on the tips of his. Not just their facial expressions, but even their hair contrasts. Even their two attendants, the one near Roy who had on a slightly forced smile is different from Claus’ with a sharp look in their eye.
Claus immediately wanted to leave, and tries to leave with a slight bow. But, taking one step forward, Roy calls out.
「That’s right. I’m visiting my fiance later, but will Claus also come?」
At the astounding contents of the invitation, Claus unconsciously replied without concealing his suspicions. Even when he looks at his brother’s face at his excessive surprise, there’s only a dazzling smile.
「Why shou…… why me?」 [T/N: Claus starts off about to use ‘ore’ which is rougher than when he uses “watashi” as a correction, so I tried to convey this with a harsher ‘why’ first.]
「Miss Lydia says she would like to try talking with Claus. If you don’t mind only making an appearance, would you think about helping your brother and coming with me?」
Roy shrugs his shoulders as if he was weakened. Was Roy excited about going that far for his fiance, or was his fiance taking a shameless attitude towards Roy, he doesn’t understand, but it doesn’t change that it’s trouble for him.
「I’m sorry, but today is busy……」
「Oh. Today, none of the tutors are coming, right?」
At the language that understood his schedule, Claus made a bitter facial expression.
「My mother is calling me.」
「Simone-sama went to Marquiss Leimbacher’s tea party, though.」
「Philly, at this time, is with the etiquette teacher.」
Roy ended up suppressing all of his excuses, and Claus only ended up letting out a 「guh」. He finally realized Roy invited him knowing he had no plans.
At Claus’ reluctant acceptance, Roy thanks him with a smiling face.
His attendant tried to propose accompanying them, but Roy cut him off, saying his own attendant Matteus would be enough.
Matteus is a Royal Knight directly appointed by Roy, for the purpose of recognizing that exceptional skill that dueled ten other Royal Knights and won all of them. Claus’ attendant was one of the losers in those Royal Knights, so he couldn’t push it any further.
With his state of isolation, Claus got on the carriage with Roy.
Claus looks at his brother as if cautious, but he couldn’t read the motivations in that smiling face of his. Somehow he felt he had an ulterior motive. Something like meeting with the fiance of the other person who was currently disputing the succession of the throne, he felt he was being looked down upon. Even though his brother had found a fiance around his age, he himself didn’t have one yet, but because his mother, the second queen, was still searching for someone better than his brother’s fiance. [T/N: gonna laugh if this ends up being the Otome Heroine somehow]
In the shaking carriage, even with only the possibility he is being looked down on, Claus tightly grasps his hands into fist on top of his knees.
When they arrive at the Ernest estate, Roy’s fiance, Lydia, greets them with an impeccable curtsy. After finishing greetings, they were guided to a garden where tea had been prepared.
「At any rate, I am very glad you were able to join us for tea today.」
Lydia smiles as she talks, and after seeing that, Claus, who was coming to his senses, clears his throat and turns his head away to look at the garden, not looking her in the eyes.
「It is I who should say that. It is an honor to be invited for tea.」
「I have wanted to talk with His Highness, Claus. So, I ended up being unreasonable to Roy-sama.」
Seeing the sweetness of Lydia, who was giggling, he ended up accepting the reason his brother would end up listening to her request.
Although the duke’s house held blood of the royal family, wanting to simply meet with royalty is a self-indulgent thing, perhaps. However, because it was the fiance of Prince Roy, it doesn’t feel very unreasonable. Her selfishness was because he gave only the bare minimum for greetings, so Claus felt obliged.
「Because Miss Lydia is beautiful, so even if you are my younger brother, I’m hesitant to introduce her to another man.」
「If it’s Roy-sama, that is only a joke.」
At the conversation that seemed to be like speaking proudly of one’s love affairs, Claus’ feeling of obligation faded. Naturally, from the outset, he has a feeling of glazed over eyes. Having this intimate situation shown to him, the answer to why there’s a need for him to be here is lost.
Even while feeling a sense of irritation, Claus, who is careful not to let it show in his voice as much as possible, drinks his tea in one gulp and leaves his seat.
「My older brother has a lot to talk about with his fiance, right? I will go take a small look at the garden.」
Not minding about Lydia’s voice calling out to try and stop him, Claus leaves in the direction of the promenade.
Bringing down the hand that was reaching out to him, Lydia’s eyebrows drop.
「Although I was already planning to leave my seat with the excuse of preparing the tea……」
「Maybe you were a little too fiance-like?」
Different from Lydia who was in low spirits at how her plan was a failure, rather than troubled, Roy cheerfully shrugged his shoulders. At Roy’s appearance, Lydia narrows her eyes.
「Roy-sama……why do you seem to be pleased?」
「Well, I’m happy at Claus’ unexpected response.」
「Is… that so……?」
At Claus’ harsh attitude, Lydia couldn’t possibly think that, but Roy smiled happily with the feeling he seemed to sense.
「Since he can’t run away, he’ll calm down and come back.」
「Being that optimistic……」
At Roy who relaxedly drank his tea, Lydia is shocked. Even though his own plan was already ended up being set back, Roy who was calm as if not appearing to regret it, is quite collected. Lydia ended up more worried about the current situation.
「If you chase him, he’ll run away. Let’s wait close from the other side.」
「……His Highness, Claus, isn’t a wild animal.」
From Roy’s standpoint, with the situation of not intervening with the second prince, just being together with his little brother this long is sufficient. Because he understands Claus’ vigilance and how it isn’t easily dropped, he isn’t thinking he can shorten the distance in one go. From the outset, he intended to draw this out.
When Roy encourages Lydia by telling her that the tea will get cold, Lydia also reluctantly returns to her seat. It’s the tea Katherine made, so with how it is properly delicious, she wants to drink it.
「They’re making fun of me!」
Claus was walking in the garden, feeling irritated. Because there aren’t any people in the garden, even if he uses abrasive language, it’s fine.
The first prince, Roy, who was regularly all smiles, is a person without any outstanding chinks in their armor. With the extent to which that person works, he’s ahead by a margin.
Normally, he was told to surpass Roy by the second queen, Simone, and throws words comparing Klaus to his older brother about every single thing. With an inferiority complex that took root, towards Roy, he became abject.
Even today, he should have noticed it more quickly. In the middle of the education for governing, something like gathering intelligence before moving onto his actions and the important of laying the groundwork were discussed by the tutor, but he had thought this was only for wartime and not everyday application. Shown a different viewpoint, he was made aware of the difference in their natures.
As far as Claus is concerned, the estate of his older brother’s fiance is enemy territory. Even the situation of being in that kind of place fostered irritation.
Claus stopped walking, hearing a sigh. [T/N: Literally just ‘Sigh, Claus stopped walking’, but done for clarity.]
Because he was walking while irritated, a forest filled with many trees had sprung up, and it was a place without any roads. Because the sun softened and it seemed to become cloudy, when he looks up, overhead, he’s covered by the shade of a tree. If it’s the promenade, if he follows the way back, there’s a way to return, but with the similar trees and shrubbery surrounding him, in this place, even his sense of direction is doubtful.
Patiently looking at his surroundings, from which direction he came from, he isn’t sure, and he doesn’t know the way back to the estate.
After hesitating, when Claus tries to look for the way back, he takes a step forward.
Immediately afterwards, from near the shrubs, something like a human face appeared right in front of Claus.
All of a sudden, a figure of a person appeared from the trees, and with surprise, Claus thought his heart leapt out in shock.
「Huh? Who are you?」
「You, just who are you!!」
The pair of copper colored eyes that reflect Claus in them seem to curiously ask. Understanding the figure of this person is a boy similar in age, Claus instantly felt relieved and afterwards, his astonishment faded and anger welled up.
「I’m the apprentice gardener of this place.」
「It’s good for a gardener not to surprise guests, isn’t it!」
「Eh, it’s rare that people come here, though.」
The boy who seems to be a gardener’s apprentice says this is on the opposite side of the boundaries where guests usually visit. He seems to have a grasp on the situation inside the garden of the Ernest estate.
「Don’t make excuses, it isn’t enough just to apologize! Guide me back to the estate!」
「What, are you a lost child?」 [T/N: Give me strength not to translate this as ‘Who is this sassy lost child’]
After immediately yelling a denial of treating him like a lost child, Claus realized he hadn’t thought of any excuses. Becoming embarrassed, he turns his gaze away.
「……it’s just, because I didn’t look at my surroundings, I only don’t know the way back.」
「Is that so?」
At the appearance of Claus who doesn’t realize he is just making an excuse, the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice held down the words on the tip of his tongue, only nodding.
Claus, as if to change the subject, points a finger towards the gardener’s apprentice, blaming him.
「In, in the first place, you should know your position! I am this country’s second prince, Claus Wolfgang von Rosenheim!」
「Leo also had a younger brother, huh?」
When Klaus thought he’d immediately fall prostrate, with how his eyes only went wide, Claus was shaken. With how his response is beyond his expectations, he can’t even figure out the appropriate words to say.
「Can’t you understand by looking at my face!?」
「Common people don’t know the faces of the royalty, you know.」
「What about a portrait……」
「That kind of thing is expensive, so it’s not even on display in the neighborhood church, right?」
Until now, it was natural to know the face even without giving the name, as he thought all the people of the country knew the image of the royalty. The power of the royal family, even to the common people, he believed is something well-known. At the truth there is a person who doesn’t know he’s royalty, he’s shocked.
「……in any case, because you know I’m the prince, you should change your attitude!」
「I’m absolutely sorry. For my rudeness so far, please give me your pardon, I humbly ask of you.」
「Y…… As long as you understand, it’s fine.」
At the moment he heard Claus’ words, the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice, no sooner than when they changed their facial expression to a quiet one as if becoming a different person and giving their apologies, was Claus taken aback.
With his behavior that is disproportionate to his clothes suited for garden work, his politeness was at the level he felt out of place. The gardener’s at the royal palace, because he only looked at their work from a distance, he couldn’t judge the boy’s politeness.
I will guide you to the estate, he said while taking several steps in the previous direction, after confirming Claus was behind him, he matches Claus’ pace and guides him.
Not wasting his breath, when he looks at the back of the quiet boy ahead of him, Claus feels as if his presence is weak. He doesn’t seem any different than the servants he’s only seen inside the castle. The impression when the two met is too different, so somehow it’s boring.
「Why aren’t you saying anything?」
「Even if I do so, the unrefined talk of a gardener is a nuisance, isn’t it?」
His language that is smoothly returned is too typical, so Claus frowns.
「First, stop talking like that. It feels unpleasant.」
That’s right, it feels unpleasant. Although it’s just a small interval, after he knew his original style of talking, he could only feel a sense of discomfort. The conversation with his state now, he doesn’t seem to be talking to anyone. His words were obviously only for outward appearance, is he feigning ignorance?
Indicating he’s taking back his words from a short while ago, the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice doesn’t immediately agree.
「It’s fine, just go back.」
「……only inside the garden, if you can look the other way.」 [T/N: Literally ‘close your eyes’ but I translated it this way as it fits more contextually.]
「I understand. I’ll permit it.」
When Claus accepts the terms, the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice momentarily stops walking, looks over his shoulder, and laughs.
「Since I’m not good at formal stuff, I’m saved. I’m Isaac.」
He was a guy whose reply was unexpected, the boy said, praising Claus. Not being praised as a prince, that tickled Claus’ heart. At the words that were returned to their original way of speaking, because he was speaking directly to himself, the bad feeling wasn’t there anymore.
In the beginning he felt indignation at his irreverence, but he thinks if it’s only this much, he’s easy to talk to. While following the guidance of the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice, Claus raises a question.
「Considering that you’re bad with it, you’re surprisingly adept at speaking.」
「It was only in the short-term, but I practiced as a pinch hitter.」
「Your older brother, until his fiance was decided, refused to dance with anyone.」
Now that he mentioned it, that was for the sake of being fair, as until his older brother’s fiance had been officially decided, even with the fiance candidates, he didn’t dance with them. Being in the position to be able to choose, his mother had criticized him for his apparent haughtiness, but Claus hadn’t taken into account the potential it would cause trouble for the girl’s side.
「Being a dance partner is part of a gardener’s work?」
「Don’t say things like Leo does.」
There’s no helping that much, the boy who was a gardner’s apprentice says with a complex voice, but he said he had substituted as a dance partner before. Claus glares at his back, thinking that since he doesn’t know the contents of garden work, he would be at fault for making a misunderstanding.
「Isaac-or-something, calling someone who has given their name ‘you’ is rude.」
When he points out what he had noticed for some time, the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice smoothly returns an apology.
「Sorry. Ummmmm… Kla………… what was it?」
However, he didn’t properly remember his name. Claus unconsciously became irritated.
「Claus Wolfgang von Rosenheim.」
「Kla… Woo?? For noble and royalty, why are your names so long?」
「Are you stupid!?」
At the boy who honestly recognizes his ability to remember, Claus becomes exhausted. If it’s only his age, Claus is younger, he guesses, but is he not frustrated over being looked down on? Or, is this what commoners who don’t have the education to the degree nobles do are like? No, he has the feeling towards him that it’s very probable he only lacks something like pride.
「……if that’s the case, just Wolf is fine.」
In any case, he’s the person to talk to in this place. With the case of making call him by name, in the distant future, this weak-headed guy will carelessly call him without a title and then being blamed for rudeness would become troublesome. Thinking that, Claus thought to use an abbreviation of his middle name to evade it.
The boy who is a gardener’s apprentice who doesn’t realize he’s being worried about over his slowness says that if that’s the case, he can remember it, returning a smile in his voice.
「That reminds me, how did you come to this kind of place? Were you training? You’ve got a lot of endurance.」
「I was taught fencing. Because I practice often, this much is no deal.」
He returns with a voice of admiration. The boy, because he’s unaware of the royalty, naturally does so, but praise that doesn’t compare him to his older brother Roy is unusual for Claus, and again something happy.
Speaking of the matter of fencing, Claus recalled something from yesterday and frowned.
「But, I still can’t win against my older brother.」
Even if they only simply exchanged strikes, everything was brushed aside, and he ended up forfeiting. He was frustrated over not being able to land even a single blow.
「How much older is he than you?」
「We’re only different by half a year. If we enter school, we’ll be in the same year.」
Even with how many years prior it is to doing so, if they enter school and are in the same year, furthermore they’ll be compared. An unpleasant emotion surges up.
For some reason, the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice stops in his tracks and looks back.
「Hey, put out your hand.」
Because he spreads out his right hand, while thinking what this is for, Claus reflexively brought his left hand near.
「Here, mine is big, right?」
「It is, so what?」
When they put their wrists together, his hand is one size larger than Claus’. He’s saying something natural, so Claus became puzzled.
「Am I taller than your older brother?」
「That seems so.」
Because he has the point of view that even his older brother isn’t taller than him, he’s taller. So, Claus confirmed it.
「But, that is, I’m older than Wolf’s brother. Half a year right now is big, but after a few years, the way Wolf is practicing, he’ll become strong, right?」
As a child, one year is big. Because he has a superior physique, he shouldn’t mind it, is that it?
Even from here, he was thinking the difference would only widen, but he hadn’t been thinking that there is a possibility that the difference of half a year could shrink. At this unexpected thought, Klaus’ eyes opened wide.
「Well, because I don’t take sword lessons, I’d also lose to the Wolf right now, huh?」
At the appearance of him thoughtlessly laughing, he certainly looks unreliable.
「When I fight you, Isaac, I’ll take it easy.」
「Thanks for that.」
When he deliberately says it arrogantly, the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice laughs as if something is funny.
Claus, for the first time, became aware he could do small talk. Until here, because there wasn’t a partner to do this kind of exchange with, he didn’t know. Things like talking about an impossible condition, because it’s this place, it’s possible, isn’t it?
「Isaac is a strange person.」
「Is that so?」
He tilts his head as if vexed, but he hadn’t met a person that even after knowing Claus is a prince, if Claus doesn’t tell them to, he won’t treat him like a prince.
「Although you’re someone of the Ernest house, you haven’t asked about my brother.」
「Why would I have to do that?」
He returns an answer that seems genuinely uninterested.
Even though he’s working for the house of the girl who’s the fiance, doesn’t he have any interest? Even the family status of the other person has influence on the house, so he thought the servants would have a considerable interest.
Finding the lack of interest strange, Claus smiled a little.
「Having worried about it, I’m an idiot.」
That is to say, the house of his older brother’s fiance, he thought he would be in the middle of a group who liked his brother.
「I don’t really understand, but what was your intention when asking?」
「I want to know his true nature.」
Because his older brother’s outward appearance is good, he can’t believe it, perhaps, but Claus decided to try hearing praise about his older brother.
The boy who is a gardener’s apprentice strangely tilts his head to the side.
「That’s right. My older brother is arrogant and malicious.」
「Well…… he’s a good person.」
Claus, who interpreted the mumblings of the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice as consent, becomes happy and talkative.
「I suppose. He’s the kind of person who, even as he slyly kicks someone down, is calm!」
Even if Claus emphasizes it, the boy who seems to be a gardener replies with a response that’s only uninterested.
「Although, the guys who don’t know that say that my brother will be the next king, even though I’m more appropriate as one!」
「Wolf, will you become king?」
「Why do you want to become king?」
「My mother wishes for me to become king.」
You should become king, don’t lose to your older brother, how many times had his mother told him these things? He must do as his mother says.
The boy who is a gardener’s apprentice, because he looks with blank eyes, Claus stares back.
「I, although I heard you say you want to, why did it become about your mother?」
「Why, you say……」
Beyond that point, his words don’t continue.
Until now, he felt there were no suspicions in that foundation. Don’t think about it, and alarm bells echo in his mind. However, the copper eyes that are waiting for his words, because they are right in front of him, he can’t stop thinking.
Why did he want to become king?
Did he himself want to become king?
The doubts invoke disorder and the answer is lost. As if withstanding the whirlpool of doubts, Claus clenched a fist.
「……y, you then, for your trade, why are you a gardener, huh!?」
「Huh? It’s because I want to. My mother and my father didn’t ask me to become a gardener.」
When he desperately retorted back with the same question, he quickly received a reply. In addition to that, he has a clear idea of what he wants to become, unlike Claus.
He was envious of that, he thought.
Claus tightly bit his lips. Seeing that situation, the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice asks as if curious.
「Somehow, your complaints about your brother are weightless. Is Wolf saying what he’s thinking?」
「But, my mother……」
Although he realizes that his mother’s words came out again, Wolf’s words stagnate. The guy who couldn’t seem to even properly remember his own name was trying to ask his own opinion. So, dodging it would be ineffective.
Claus understands that he’s waiting for his own words. However, when he tries to express himself in a refined way, at that moment he ends up tripping on his words. When he tries to talk in a way that doesn’t borrow the words of someone like his mother, in that way, he becomes unsure.
The name he told him is called out, and when he lifts his head, his head is patted.
「My mother said it. Because after she gave birth, her stomach hurt, so she could love me as part of her, but if she forgets I’m a separate person, it’s no good.」
Because he hadn’t ever been able to read his mother’s thoughts, the boy blankly says in front of his eyes he has the same opinion. Although Claus and his mother should have the same stated opinion, it was his words.
Claus’ eyes opened wide.
It was the first time he was told even if he has a different opinion than his mother, it’s fine. For that reason, it was like a crash.
When surrounded by people, he nods at his mother’s words, wanting something similar. So, he thought he should act in a way like how his mother thinks. Too aware of their blood relationship, she naturally forgot he was a different person.
When he became self-aware, his tangled-up words little by little, started to form an answer.
「……for me, I don’t like the kingcraft classes because they’re difficult. It’s frustrating I can’t win against my older brother, but swordsmanship practice is fun. Philly…… because my younger sister is happy, I also like playing the violin.」
Because he’s talking while fumbling around his heart, it’s like a monologue, but the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice certainly listens to Claus’ words.
Things he likes, things he hates, those feelings he hadn’t settled took form. When he wanted the praise of his mother, he did his best, but now the thing that made him the most happy is the smiling face of his sister even when he shoddily played a piece he remembered.
「My father, even in front of me, because he’s the king…… is a little frightening.」
His father, even in front of children, was the king all the same. Because he unconsciously was tense in the face of the ruler, he doesn’t understand if that’s respectful. Rather, he respected the bravery of his sister who protested that she wants to eat a meal with the whole family.
「So, as for wanting to become the king, I don’t know.」
Becoming someone like his father, he doesn’t have that kind of yearning feeling. Furthermore, if becoming king meant being so impartial that consequently even towards family you couldn’t show emotion, then he doesn’t want to become that.
Lastly, after the discovered feeling left his mouth, Claus realizes it. The person in front of him, he already found what he wanted to become. Isn’t it ridiculous that compared to that other person, he doesn’t know what he wants to be?
「It’s fine, right?」
Claus, who was blushing with shame, was let down at not being told a denial.
「For my age, the people who have found their dream are small. I’m just one of the lucky ones.」
When Claus was ordinarily replied to, he doesn’t know what kind of reply would be good.
It’s the first time he used his own words. For himself, when had he given up on communicating his own feelings? In the beginning, he just wanted his mother to be happy.
Because realizing he was speaking his own words for the first time in a long time, it was scary, but accepting it, he was happy he seems to cry. But, he’ll withstand it. A guy crying isn’t cool.
「Is that so?」
Claus nodded. When he notices it, naturally he smiles.
「Ah, already, in a little bit, we’ll enter the promenade path.」
When he looks in the direction that the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice points towards, he saw the flower bed he remembered was on the other side of the trees.
After entering the promenade in between the gaps of the trees, he feels the light is strong, and Claus unconsciously closes his eyes.
When he waits for his eyes to get used to the light and opens his eyes, he saw the vivid colors of the flower bed coloring the sides of the path. A short while ago, until here, it felt like the vivid colors weren’t visible.
They’re lovely, Claus quietly mumbled.
When he realizes that it’s quiet and looks at the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice, he saw the face of a boy who had become engrossed in something.
「……what is it?」
When he asks, puzzled, the copper eyes shine in the sunlight.
「Wolf’s eyes, the metal in them has an amazing shine! Your hair is also platinum!」
「Metal……? Isn’t it silver……」
With his unexpected words, Wolf was attacked at an unguarded moment.
Often, his older brother Roy is called the golden prince, while Claus is called the silver prince.
It’s because their appearance where his older brother has golden hair and himself silver, but it was also used as a metaphor to indirectly call him inferior to his older brother. With Claus’ green eyes, he also doesn’t have the classic gold of the royalty.
It isn’t always true that the royalty has golden eyes, and even if in his head he understands that, that he might be inferior was a worry that followed him.
And yet, the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice calls him a metal. Even though his hair is called silver, it was the first time he was compared to platinum.
At Claus’ question, the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice tilts his head in confusion.
「If it’s platinum, it reflects like a mirror, right? It’s that soft shine of platinum, isn’t it?」
Because it’s rare that a commoner has seen platinum, it’s incredible, but certainly he was able to distinguish between metals.
「Wolf’s metal is a tender color, so it’s fine, you know?」
Somehow the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice delightfully smiles.
「……w, what is it, you!!」
「Hey, what is it, all of a sudden?」
Not knowing what to do with the sudden rising emotions, Claus pushed the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice. Receiving it, though the degree isn’t to the point it hurts, the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice can only protest with words saying he doesn’t understand. When Claus vents his frustration with his hands, he seems to let his guard down.
「Thank you for your guidance.」
When Claus exaggeratedly thanks him after calming down and venting his anger for some time, the boy who is a gardener’s apprentice nods and says he should get back to work.
Claus also heads back to the path of the promenade they arrived at and takes a step forward, but for a moment looks back, and yells to the back of the person trying to return to the trees.
「Isaac, see you again!」
「Don’t get lost next time, okay?」
The boy who is a gardener’s apprentice only turned his head back, but he waved his hand and let a small smile spill through. Confirming that the back of that guy was buried in the trees again, Claus also turned back and began walking. Without knowing why, he had said that.
The promenade had shepherd’s purses vividly blooming. If his sister saw them, he had a feeling she would call them sweet and would be happy. He ended up thinking it was funny that he realizes he has more time to look at the flowers than he thought.
When he walks for a while, he heads towards the other side where his older brother Roy and his fiance Lydia are. Lydia, when she notices Claus, has a relieved smile and quickly arrives to where he is.
「Your Highness, I’m glad. Because you weren’t returning, I was very worried.」
「See, I told you he’d be fine.」
When Roy cheerfully points out that she’s unexpectedly worried, Lydia says back that it’s only that Roy is too carefree. Even though a short while ago, the exchange that frustrated him before can now be taken as just friendly.
At his change of heart, Claus forces a smile. It was something like having money on hand.
「I am very sorry. Because on my walk, the colors changed, I ended up walking to the interior of the garden. It’s a very good garden, isn’t it? I’d like to show my younger sister.」
「Yes, it’s very lovely, right? Because of our pride in the garden, it would make me happy if she enjoys it as she wishes.」
At Lydia’s facial expression that seems to become happy, Claus, only a little, returns a smile. At her sweet response, a smile was drawn out from him.
When he feels someone’s gaze on him and looks, his older brother Roy was looking at him curiously with his honey colored eyes. Him making that kind of facial expression was unexpected to Claus.
「Is something wrong?」
「No…… it’s because I saw something I thought would take a year.」
He was only surprised, Roy says, seeming to become happy. Rather than his usual unreadable expression, Claus is surprised at his brother’s easy-to-read facial expression. Then, realizing the cause for his laughter, he became huffy.
「That’s rude. Even I smile.」
Claus, who doesn’t remember glaring at his laughing brother, tilts his head wondering why.
He lets his guard down and smiles in front of his younger sister. When it comes to her, only at that time, it’s possible. Because of his brother’s words, at the truth his brother saw something without him knowing it, he’s embarrassed. With how he only thought he was jealous, Claus thought his brother didn’t care about him.
Claus was at a loss for words, and turns away from his brother.
Even if he turns away, a sign of his older brother’s happiness was transmitted, and because a feeling of wanting to complain didn’t come to mind, Claus cleared his throat and asked.
「Does my older brother want to become the king?」
He thought it was abrupt, but he wanted to take this chance. If they went back to the castle, his mother will be there. At that time, will he be able to have his own words, or will Claus’ self confidence vanish?
Roy instantly gazed at him, and while looking into Claus’ eyes, smiles.
「Yes. Because I love this country.」
When he hears his brother desires to become king, it’s as Claus expected. Rather than talent and so on, their outlook on their studies feels slightly different.
「Well, then my older brother is also lucky, huh?」
「Is that so? I am lucky.」
At the way Claus phrases it, Lydia feels a sense of discomfort, but Roy only sincerely smiles. [T/N: She already has the Zack senses]
「I… first of all, because it’s frustrating to lose to my older brother, I’m going to keep persisting at fencing.」
Putting aside the aims to the throne, with the education they receive, they should do their best where they can do their best.
「Then, I’ll have to do my best too, huh? I can’t show my younger brother my unappealing side.」
「Do you care about that kind of thing……?」
「What about that sort of thing?」
At Roy who responded with a serious face, Claus was taken aback. He thought his older brother did everything with ease.
「If you say you won’t win if you don’t work hard, it won’t look good.」
Becoming amused, Claus unconsciously made a sound with his throat. Perhaps he already knew his brother wasn’t perfect, that an unintentional tone broke out.
「Miss Lydia, you did it! Claus dropped his guard!」
「I’m happy for you, Roy-sama.」
At Roy, who showed the most dazzling smile today and seemed very happy, Lydia, who didn’t seem to be hampering him, was silent, not pointing out that he was treating him like a wild animal. Lydia realizes that Roy’s expectations this time were very low. Since he was being avoided, there’s no helping that.
Claus was embarrassed at having his every move be reacted to. Since he’s reporting it to his fiance, it’s excessive.
「It’s the most important thing to me.」
There’s no way to change his wording now, and with the tone of voice, Claus protests, but Roy doesn’t seem to be holding back how happy his face is.
「Your Highness Claus, if it’s okay with you, could you come with Philly-sama?」
「It’s fine not to use ‘Your Highness’. At any rate, you’ll be my older sister in law.」
At Claus’ words, not only Lydia, but Roy’s eyes went wide. Then, they looked at each other as if to signal to each other they remember something.
Claus tilts his head in confusion at the two of them. He didn’t think he said something strange.
「Then, Claus-sama, is that fine with you?」
Though she hesitates a little to call him by name, when Claus nods, Lydia shows a smile of relief.
Roy happily addresses Claus.
「When the courtesans and flower towers are in bloom, let’s come again, the three of us.」
「Next time we come, I’ll show them to you.」
「Aside from that, even though Philly and I are two……」
「Although it’s my fiance’s house, ostracizing you would be cruel, you know.」
「……I’ll think about it.」
Lydia looks pleasantly at the two siblings having an exchange with open hearts. From the beginning, she thought about how it could happen, but hearing Claus’ talking, she became happy.
However, the obstinance of his attitude, with only one lap around the promenade, how much it mellowed out is amazing. Did looking at the flowers of the garden calm him down? If that’s the case, she should thank Dennis for making such a lovely garden.
She also wanted to look at the flowers with Emilia.
Katherine and Petra, with everyone, if they could pass time in the peaceful garden, that would be nice. Looking at the two brothers, she felt a little envious.
Following Roy’s example, she’ll also try her best, she says in her heart, encouraging herself.
THIS CHAPTER IS SO LONG DEAR GOD. It’s *21* pages in my Google doc and this one had a ton of huge-ass paragraphs.
Right, update schedule. I might have to drop back to 3 weeks per update. House hunting, work, and real life have collided and while translating is fun, I need to focus on that as this is a hobby and practice for Japanese. I really hate having to do that, especially after we made it through 2022 with updates roughly every 2 weeks. If a chapter can go up earlier than 3 weeks it will, but I’m going to need to reduce the cadence for a while, at least until things settle down.
Not a whole lot else other than that, though. Hopefully you all had a good New Years. See you next update.
2 thoughts on “37. Gold”
I feel like i read this chapter before? I think Zack was trying to say that Wolf has platinum hair as opposed to silver.
Thanks for the chapter
Yeah it was one of those tricky translations where I just had to take a shot on if it was silver hair or platinum hair, but that might’ve been something I caught if I wasn’t in such a rush. I’ll review it and maybe edit it if I think that’s the correct one.