Chapter 1: Prince, New Year Banquet, and Surprise Attack II
The one who stopped Herscherik was a male aristocrat with a medium build and shining, bald head. Herscherik didn’t recognize this man who had called his name and tilted his head.
(Huh? I feel like I’ve seen him before, but…?)
He had seen this man somewhere, but no name came to mind.
Besides, it was quite rare for an aristocrat to call him in such a way. People would either try to curry favor with the royal family, even if it meant lowering their heads towards the worthless prince, or live in fear after being threatened by Herscherik. Although there were also those friendly aristocrats, they were extremely rare.
But, the aristocrat in front of him didn’t seem like he would attempt to butter him up or tremble before him. But, he also didn’t seem to be one of the friendly aristocrats.
“You stand before His Highness. State your name.”
Oran stood in between the confused Herscherik and the man. He placed a hand on his sword’s hilt as if to draw it at any moment and glared at the man vigilantly. Kuro also immediately guarded Herscherik and ran his eyes across their surroundings. There was not a single person in this lively space who paid them any attention.
The man flinched when Oran stood in front of him but didn’t retreat and threw these words out instead.
“It’s Grimm, Your Highness!”
(That overweight and bald Grimm!?)
Herscherik opened his eyes wide. The man in front of him no longer had that jutting belly, which made him look like a completely different person. Although he was still bald, his shape had changed into a healthy one for his age; this gave off the opposite impression from before. In the past, he had had a cunning attitude and eyes glittering with ambition, but all that had been refreshingly swept away.
“Yes, it has been quite a while since our last encounter!”
When Herscherik confirmed with a suspicious tone, Grimm grinned broadly. The way he looked to be at death’s door the last time they met at Herscherik’s 5th birthday seemed almost like a dream.
“…I have changed greatly since then, yes.”
Herscherik looked at that smile and wondered what this man was planning. But, he knew there wasn’t any mention of corruption in the letters sent by Meria and the rest of the citizens on Grimm’s land. In fact, they were all full of good news, speaking about the gentle weather or their abundant harvest due to the fertile soil the local lord had imported for them from another country.
(I had thought that Count Grimm had used that fertilizer as some kind of appeal to me and the citizens in his land…)
But, what brought about this change? Truthfully, Herscherik was tempted to think that he must have been sick, but the man’s complexion was well and had a healthy tan.
“It’s no wonder that Your Highness was unable to believe it was me. My stomach has sunk in quite a bit, haha! My joints no longer hurt, and I can spend my days without my wife acting cruelly to me. If my hair were to grow back, that would be the best! Hahahaha!”
Count Grimm slapped his bald head. Then, he suddenly turned serious and surveyed their surroundings. He confirmed that there were no watching eyes before he opened his mouth.
“Your Highness Herscherik, please be careful. That side is acting a bit suspicious.”
Those words caused Herscherik to narrow his eyes. He considered that this might be a trap, but it was too straightforward to be one.
Grimm noticed Herscherik’s doubt so he immediately returned to his normal face and slapped his bald head.
“Your Highness has every right to doubt my words. That is why if you would treat what I’m about to say as gossip or rumors, that is quite alright by me!”
Herscherik felt a tinge of guilt.
“It appears that someone known as the Prince of Light is going around to various places and carrying out various tasks. I would warn them that there are most likely people who hold grudges, as well as shallow fellows who are too simplistic who are taking notice… just as I was in the past.”
Grimm said in self-deprecation. For just a moment, his expression turned dark, but as if to gloss that over, he gave his bald head another slap.
“I imagine Your Highness’ subordinates are excellent, but please listen to this warning just in case: Please keep in mind that the nations to our country’s east and west are also acting suspiciously.”
Grimm grinned broadly, but there was a shadow over his face.
“The things I have done will never be forgiven. If doing such a thing here could garner any of Your Highness’ trust or be in any way atonement for what I’ve done to my people and Count Luzeria…”
Herscherik interrupted Count Grimm. Then, he smiled.
“Thank you very much. I have received your caution… Please be careful of your surroundings as well.”
“…Thank you very much, Your Highness.”
At Herscherik’s words, Grimm swallowed back the rest of his words and lowered his head deeply. After bowing for five seconds, he looked at Herscherik once more, but this time, there was no darkness in his face.
“Then, I shall take my leave here. Ah, right. Madam Meria is getting married. She asked if I could convey this message for her, as it would be faster than writing a letter.”
“Thanks, Count. Please congratulate Meria for me and tell her that I will send a celebratory gift.”
“Yes. Then, I’ll be on my way.”
Watching Grimm bow his head, Herscherik let out a sigh when he left.
“Hersche, who was that?”
Oran didn’t understand what just happened and tilted his head.
“This was your first time meeting him. He’s the count from two years ago I talked about. Right, Kuro?”
Although Kuro nodded, his face was stern.
“Hersche, do you think you can trust that thing?”
“I want to trust him.”
Herscherik answered immediately.
Two years ago, Herscherik made it so that Grimm had no choice left but to surrender to him. At that time, Herscherik thought that it would be difficult for this man to change, but looking at him now, he appeared to be slowly changing for the better.
(Maybe I’m naive for believing it. Still…)
“I want to believe that he’s moving forward, even just a little.”
He said and looked up at his aides with a smile.
What he desired was far out of his reach. He knew that not everything he was doing might be right and they might never produce the results he wanted. This wasn’t the fictional fantasy world that his past life had enjoyed in media. It was difficult to change the world and its people, but it was easier for him to change. He just didn’t know when he would change.
But, he strove to change people like how it seems he had done with Grimm. He was able to keep at it because he was dreaming of a world where everyone worked together for each other’s sake. If he could achieve that, his efforts wouldn’t be in vain.
After his conversation with Grimm, Herscherik thought about leaving for sure this time when he was stopped by another person.
Herscherik turned around.
There, he saw a boy with even, short, chartreuse hair and onyx-like eyes. Although, he was actually 15 years old, so it was difficult to really call him such. The term “little rascal” fit him perfectly, and so given his mental age, Herscherik saw him as a boy.
His name was Lenetto Greisis. He was Herscherik’s brother and the 4th prince of the Greisis Kingdom. As with the other members of the royal family, he was also a beauty. Given a modern-day reference, he was like the cool ace from the soccer club.
“What is the matter, Brother Lenetto? Is there something you need from me?”
Herscherik said as he took a step forward and looked up at Lenetto with a smile. Although Herscherik had grown, he was still smaller than the average, and there was quite a height difference between them.
(It’s rare for Brother Lenetto to come talk to me about something.)
Herscherik mentally tilted his head. He rarely talked with his brothers except during official gatherings. Of course, the exception to this was Marcus, but beyond that and since Herscherik was at least seven years apart from his brothers, there was little common ground between them.
Except for some siblings, they all either attended classes or went to work during the day, and Herscherik would also sneak out on his days off. They didn’t eat together, and after exchanging greetings in official gatherings, Herscherik would sneakily escape, so it must have been hard for any of the siblings to find anything to talk to him about.
Compared to the relationship he had with his sisters in his past life, this one was quite bland. But, he wasn’t particularly unsatisfied with that.
He understood the conflicted feelings his brothers must have, wondering how they could talk to a brother much younger than they were.
(The bigger the age gap, the less they feel like siblings and the more they feel like guardians…)
Herscherik deeply thought about the youngest sister who was nine years apart from Ryouko. He had memories of often fighting with the middle sister but had hardly any such memories with the youngest. If he had to say, he had more memories of scolding her for some mischief she got into.
Herscherik knew from those experiences that he wasn’t being ignored and noticed that his siblings were considerate and friendly to him in public spaces despite their infrequent contact. That was why Herscherik still thought of them as family.
Incidentally, since the drug incident, Marcus had been surprisingly involved with him.
(If I had to put words to it, Brother Mark started to dote on family.)
Herscherik brought his attention back to Lenetto. He was the youngest of the triplets born between the king and his third consort.
“Yeah, Father is calling for you, so I’ve come to pick you up.”
Lenetto said with a broad smile that somehow matched his image as a sportsman.
“Thank you very much. But, I don’t think that Brother Lenetto needed to come all the way…”
Usually, a maid or servant would be sent, so what did it mean when his brother, a member of the royal family, came instead? Lenetto saw how confused Herscherik was and waved his hands.
“It’s fine. It’s fine. I was free, plus Herscherik is good at escaping into the crowds, right?”
Those words made a wry smile appear on Herscherik’s face. The beauty of a member of the royal family would make them stand out among the crowds of common folk. But, it was different in Herscherik’s case.
In a place like this where several members of the royal family were gathered, his looks were barely noticed. Or more precisely, everyone’s eyes would be fixed on the other princes and princesses.
(Did they realize that I was casually avoiding bothersome things?)
From the start, Herscherik disliked standing out, so he tried to avoid appearing before others as much as possible.
“It’ll take time to get you through others, but if it’s us, it’ll be a cinch.”
Lenetto said and smiled.
Right when Herscherik questioned his brother’s use of the plural form, two people appeared from out of the crowd. They were a boy and girl who had roughly the same looks as Lenetto.
“Lenetto, I thought we said that once one of us finds Herscherik, we’ll contact the others!”
“Don’t shout in such a loud voice, Cecily.”
“Arian, you’re too puny. You’re older than Lenetto, so properly act like you are!”
“Ah…the annoying ones came.”
Lenetto looked at the two with a fed-up face.
(By ‘us’, he meant that the triplets were looking for me.)
The one named Cecily was the princess and the eldest of the triplets. She gave off the appearance of an unyielding spirit, with slightly wavy, dark green hair and almond-shaped eyes. She was wearing a yellow dress now, but if she wore a sailor uniform, she would be a perfect copy of a spunky class president trope.
Arian was the 3rd prince. His green hair was cut shorter than shoulder-length, and he seemed timid. It was no wonder that he would develop such a personality, being sandwiched between an unyielding older sister and a rowdy younger brother.
They all had brown onyx-like eyes, and you would only be able to distinguish among the three if you were familiar with them. There was a height difference, but if they were to wear wigs and similar clothing, it would be difficult to tell them apart.
“In the first place, you say that I was born last, but there isn’t really that much of a time difference. Just because you were born first doesn’t mean you have to go acting like an older sister.”
“Then, don’t make me act like one. Think about the trouble Arian and I have to go through to clean up your messes! Even that time…”
“Wow, girls always act like this. How annoying.”
Herscherik watched the quarrel break out between the two and didn’t know what he should do. He didn’t think there was anything wrong with their quarrel. This was common among siblings. But, the problem laid elsewhere.
(Do I not need to go to Father anymore? Also, we’re drawing attention. Rather a lot of it, in fact.)
The two started their quarrel unconcerned by the attention they were drawing. As you’d already expected, the triples were quite the beauties. With the three of them together, their effect wasn’t of addition but of multiplication. Herscherik was also garnering attention, so he couldn’t escape and had to stand there with a wry smile.
“Herscherik’s on my side, right!”
Herscherik had been paying attention to his surroundings when he was grabbed from behind. At the same time, he heard Lenetto’s voice.
Before he knew it, he was flipped from behind and was forced to face Cecily. Even though the face in front of him was of the beauty Cecily, her eyes squinted even further in annoyance.
“Lenetto, don’t drag Herscherik into this! You’re clearly troubling him!”
Cecily stole Herscherik from Lenetto and held him.
(Her chest is modest…No, not now! Isn’t this different from normal!?)
This unusually high amount of contact he was having with his siblings flustered Herscherik. He usually wouldn’t be this involved with them. In fact, there would usually be no contact.
“You don’t get it because you’re not a man!”
Lenetto pulled Herscherik’s arms and brought the boy into his chest.
“Man? Herscherik’s still a child!”
Herscherik was pulled back into Cecily’s chest.
“Girls wouldn’t get it!”
“What do you mean!”
“Stop it, you two. You’re troubling Herscherik!”
Watching the child being pulled here and there, Arian finally grabbed and hid Herscherik behind him, giving the boy a chance to catch his breath.
From the side, Herscherik felt like a stuffed animal being fought over by children.
(I’m not a toy… And, why won’t Kuro and Oran save me?)
When he looked over to his aides, they averted their gazes as if this had nothing to do with them. They clearly had no intention of rescuing the prince.
Herscherik swore to punch them later as punishment. Abuse of power, you say? What’s that? Does it taste good?
“What are you guys doing…?”
A half-astonished voice echoed. The ladies surrounding the owner of this voice shrieked, and the crowd opened the way for him.
Herscherik threw an imploring look at his savior in the opened path in the crowd. With fluttering red hair like burning fire and shining eyes like polished rubies, he was the 1st prince, Marcus Greisis.
He was also one of the few people who understood Herscherik and was one of his collaborators.
“Why are the ones who were sent to fetch Herscherik holding him up?”
The three apologized at the same time. As expected of triplets, they even spoke in unison.
“Sheesh. Sorry, Hersche. I know that you were about to head to bed, but do you think you can come with me?”
(This really means that my behavioral pattern was completely seen through.)
It was true that he spent only the barest minimum of his time in these kinds of places and then he would casually exit the room. His older brother had seen through all of this.
“There won’t be a lot of people, so relax.”
It seemed that his brother had read everything off his face, so Herscherik wryly smiled. Marcus gently patted Herscherik’s head. Then, his face turned serious.
“If anything happens, talk to me. Got it?”
Herscherik sensed something in his brother’s emotions. It appeared that he wouldn’t be able to go back to his room easily today.
Herscherik followed his brother. Following him were the triplets and Kuro and Oran behind them.
(A lot of eyes are gathered on us…)
With a business smile on his face, Herscherik held back his desire to escape.
Standing out was the thing that made him the most uncomfortable. It was a given with Marcus walking in front of him, but even the triplets behind him held themselves appropriately as the faces of the royal family.
Herscherik admired them but revised his thinking when he remembered that this was normal for them. They were exposed to this kind of environment since birth, so attracting and dealing with attention was an everyday occurrence.
But, Herscherik was different. To Herscherik who possessed memories from his past life, drawing attention meant making a spectacle of himself.
(Well, it can’t be helped since I’m a member of the royal family…)
He knew it was his job to be bathed in their gazes and become a spectacle for them. But embarrassing things were still embarrassing.
Even the triplets who were having such a juvenile fight before now acted like dignified royalty.
You might even confuse them for different people.
“Father, I have brought Herscherik to you.”
Since he was feeling depressed, he hadn’t realized that they had arrived at the king’s seat of honor and that Marcus had prompted him to approach their father, the king of the Greisis Kingdom.
His silver hair looked like the light from the moon. His eyes were like Hersherik’s, green like polished jade. This king whom everyone rated as a beauty went to greet his children. Although he looked to be in his 20s, he was well past his 40s.
“Marcus, sorry for taking up your time. Thank you too, Cecily, Arian, Lenetto.”
Soleil said with a smile. At those words, each of the triplets blushed with a wide grin.
“Herscherik, I apologize since you must be tired.”
“It’s fine. What is the matter, Father?”
Herscherik said as he observed his father.
(Isn’t he a bit pale?)
His father always had pale and thin skin. Its elasticity and shine were enough to make any girl envious. But, while it may be because of the lighting, there was a darkness to this beauty. Then, Herscherik realized there was a person besides his father, one he should be wary.
(Ah, right, this was a battlefield.)
Brandishing his weapon of a smile across his face, he spoke to that person.
“It has been a while, Minster Barbasse.”
“Your Highness Herscherik, I’m most pleased that you’ve grown so soundly.”
A man in his prime with an elegant mustache replied. When the two had first met, Herscherik thought this man had a large presence. Unfortunately, that feeling didn’t change despite his growth.
Minister Barbasse—the one who led the aristocrats in this country, the one who controlled the country by threatening the king.
Even though Herscherik had been investigating this man since he was three, he still couldn’t even grab the man’s tail.
Although the prince looked gentle from the outside, those who knew the situation could see the sparks flying in the air. Oran and Kuro casually moved to stand behind Herscherik. Their expressions didn’t change, but Oran placed his hand on his sword’s hilt and Kuro positioned his hands in a way that would allow him to draw his weapon at a moment’s notice. They probably wouldn’t actually draw their weapons, but this was to be a deterrent, actions saying that if the man intended to harm Herscherik, they would separate his head from his neck.
Sensing what his aides were doing behind him, Herscherik brightly answered the Minister.
“Thank you very much. Father, is the matter you called me for with the minister?”
Herscherik said without dropping his smile. Even though his face was smiling, the light in his eyes was as sharp as the tip of a blade.
His father hesitantly opened his mouth. But, Barbasse took over and stepped forward.
“Your Majesty, would you allow me to say this with my own mouth?”
He appeared to be asking for permission, but the answer was already decided. After confirming the king’s nod, Barbasse approached Herscherik. The two people behind Herscherik were about to move, but with a signal Herscherik gave from behind his back, the two stopped.
(Don’t start something in front of everyone. I wouldn’t have any trouble with this kind of opponent.)
But, Herscherik couldn’t let his guard down. His opponent was the shadow leader of this country.
“Your Highness Herscherik turns seven this year, yes?”
“Yes, that is correct.”
(Why is he asking about my age here?)
Herscherik thought as he nodded.
“My daughter will also be seven this year. She’s the same age as Your Highness.”
The minister smiled sweetly.
“I would greatly appreciate it if you could take my daughter as your betrothed.”
Herscherik couldn’t understand what was just said to him. No, he comprehended the words. “Betrothed.” In other words, the one he’ll marry in the future.
(But, what did this man say? Who? Whose daughter?)
The thoughts in his mind looped around, unable to make anything of what he had just heard.
This was all that could come out of his mouth after thinking for that long.
Hey~ Caelum here!
Some of you have already heard the news but Herscherik is getting licensed by J-Novel Club, so our translation ends here. It’s a shame that we just touched the surface of Volume 3, but it’s not the end of us. SimoB and I are looking for a new novel to translate on the site, so if you have any suggestions, please leave them here or drop me a message on our Discord server. We were also thinking about putting out summaries for the continuing volumes after I get a chance to read them. Let me know what you think.
Also, some other news: The Herscherik manga is coming back with a new mangaka! It appears to tell the story in Volume 2, so maybe we’ll see plenty of rose petals flying between our red and orange boys~