Chapter 4: Two Princes, Suspicion, and Two Years Ago I
Time passed, leading the Kingdom of Greisis into a hot summer.
The heat even affected the royal castle. Even with the air-conditioning, the temperatures rose for the people passing through the hallways because of the blazing sun.
Herscherik, accompanied by his butler and knight as they headed for the training grounds, was getting tired of the oppressive heat.
“…..It’s hot. I want to eat something cold.”
“You can have something after you finish your training. When you’re done, I’ll make you something in the kitchen.”
Currently, Herscherik was heading to the training grounds for his swordsmanship and horsemanship lessons.
Herscherik had groaned reflexively because of the heat but his eyes twinkled at Kuro’s pacifying reply.
Surprisingly, Kuro was capable of cooking. Of all the dishes he could prepare, his repertoire of desserts was plentiful. But whenever Herscherik asked him where he learned his cooking skills from, Kuro would only respond vaguely, saying he learned them because of his former occupation.
(He can cook on top of all the other appealing aspects of him…Just how high are this man’s specs?)
He already had the maids squealing when he faced off the candidates for the prince’s personal knight, but with this, he’ll be even more popular.
Herscherik took a peek behind him at the other person with him.
His personal knight Oran had also received a sudden boost in his popularity with the maids since the mock battle.
He was a different kind of hunk from Kuro. An Adonis with wavy sunset-colored hair and droopy, gentle blue eyes, he gave off the air of a refined aristocrat.
Furthermore, despite those gentle features, he possessed such superb sword skills that he managed to best Kuro, who had defeated all the other candidates participating in the interview, one after another. As expected of the third son of the Ordis family, the distinguished family of Knights. Herscherik had no complaints about this promising group.
However, the prince remembered his last training sessions where, at the end of it, he would be patted on the head and looked down upon with eyes full of pity. Herscherik was doing his very best so it felt very disheartening.
(The world is truly an unfair place……)
Herscherik had experienced this bitter taste numerous times since he was 3 years old.
He possessed neither a praiseworthy physical strength and motor skills, nor immense magical ability, or extensive knowledge. The only thing that could be mentioned was his beauty, but when compared to his father, and siblings, he would be completely overshadowed. The one and only true advantage he held was the experience he remembered from his past life and the skills he had then cultivated as an office worker.
But it was difficult to say that he felt envious; he felt it would be pointless to feel such an emotion. He was himself and they were themselves. Strangers had their own matters while he had his own. He had told himself these two lines numerous times. With his past life’s memories, Herscherik knew how to dispel envy from his mind. It was a skill he naturally obtained when he passed 30.
Herscherik stopped and looked up. Oran looked like he had swallowed bitter medicine as he looked ahead.
Herscherik followed Oran’s line of sight. There, walking on the other side of the hallway was a familiar face.
“It’s been a while, Herscherik. How are you?”
“I’m fine. It seems you’re also doing well, Marcus.”
His hair was a beautiful red like a high-class ruby had dissolved into it. That, along with his eyes, which also resembled polished rubies, gave him an elegant beauty. He was slightly shorter than Kuro or Oran, but his stature was well balanced because of his trained body. Even the way he raised his hand to wave at Herscherik was refined.
This was Marcus Greisis, the 1st Prince of Greisis Kingdom.
(His princely aura is amazing…)
To Herscherik, he looked like a large, red rose. If this was a shoujo manga, the screen tone behind him would definitely be of blooming roses.
“Brother, are you on your way back from training with the Order of Knights? How was work?”
Herscherik recalled that, after Marcus had graduated from the Academy earlier this year, he had joined the Order of Knights in the Military Bureau.
Whether you were royalty or not, as an adult you had to get a job. In most cases, you could go to the bureau of your choice, but if you were talented enough, the bureaus would themselves solicit you to join.
Marcus specialized in fire-based offensive magic, but he was apparently quite skilled with the sword as well.
Herscherik’s training took place on the training grounds when the knights were on break and the field was open. As such, it was very likely that his older brother had probably just finished his own training at the Military Bureau.
“Yeah, I just finished a moment ago. It’s been taking some time for me to adjust to my job, as well as the training.”
Marcus smiled wryly. Even that expression deserved to be preserved as a portrait.
“It must be difficult.”
Hercherik continued the conversation. The first year after graduation was difficult for anyone. Marcus probably received more pressure than the other newcomers because he was royalty.
(I also had a difficult first year back then……)
In his past life, Ryouko survived quite the aggressive first year after graduation.
Originally, it was company policy that new recruits were to be assigned to branch offices. However, due to a staff member of the main office suddenly retiring, Ryouko, who had the closest commute to the main office, was assigned there despite the policy.
When she entered the company, her predecessor, the senior who retired soon after taking the position, had left behind nothing but a useless manual and mountains of work.
Even when she went to ask another senior from the same department for help, the answer she received was a simple, “I don’t know.” This was how her first year as a lost new recruit went. Looking back, that year was, without a doubt, hell. She patted herself on the back for being able to make it through.
(Because the first year was so intense, I was able to cope with the rest of my time there.)
Every time she thought about giving up and writing a resignation letter, the thought of her greater struggles during her first year stopped her. Humans who have faced hardships will turn the pain into experience. However, if you told her that she might have to experience that first year after graduation one more time, she would very gladly and most certainly decline.
“By the way, is he your personal knight?”
Herscherik was lost in his past memories but was brought back when Marcus spoke.
Herscherik thought his brother’s gaze looked slightly rigid, but Herscherik looked over at Oran. Oran had his gaze averted, unwilling to meet eyes with Marcus.
“Yes, he’s Oran….I mean, Octavian.”
“Just as I’d thought……Octa!”
His older brother’s sharp gaze and raised voice caused Herscherik’s shoulders to jolt.
He had only met Marcus on a handful of occasions since he was reborn, but this was the first time he had heard such a voice coming from the man.
Marcus however, ignored Herscherik’s reaction and instead drew closer to Oran.
“What are you doing being Herscherik’s knight?!”
“……It has been a while, Your Highness Marcus.”
This was also the first time Herscherik heard such a tone from Oran. Deeper than usual, it stood in contrast to Marcus’.
“I’m elated to see you such in wonderful health.”
“Why are you speaking so formally? You weren’t like that before!”
Marcus raised his eyebrows. “Even his angered expression is beautiful. As expected of a prince,” the thought floating through Herscherik’s mind, completely off topic.
“I thought you promised me that you would be my knight! So why……!”
“Was that not merely a promise between two children, Your Highness?”
“! ……Don’t call me ‘Your Highness’!”
In contrast to Marcus’ frustration, Oran looked on with a cold gaze. Even though Herscherik had commented on his brother’s beauty, Oran was still pretty handsome; a picturesque combination.
(No, rather, what exactly is this situation…?)
Judging from the conversation, Oran and his brother were acquainted, which reminded him that they were the same age. It was possible that they were even classmates in the Academy.
“You were important to me….!”
Herscherik reached a conclusion when he saw Marcus’ face distorted in sadness.
(Since this was a fantasy world, it was possible for that!)
Herscherik was convinced. He nodded and looked up at the two.
As Oran’s boss, it was his duty to recognize his subordinate’s feelings.
“Um, Marcus, Oran!”
Herscherik shyly cut into their conversation.
After confirming that the two were now facing him, Herscherik took a deep breath before opening his mouth.
“I, um…If you two……have that kind of relationship, I won’t stop you!”
Kuro stifled a laugh while Oran and Marcus stiffened, but Herscherik continued speaking.
Herscherik remembered Oran’s lack of interest in the red-light district when he and Oran went out to the castle town; this must have been the reason!
“I’m not really bothered by stuff like that. And, you know, you’re free to love whoever you want.”
(Marcus is more beautiful than any woman, and Oran is handsome as well. No way? Did I possibly steal away the knight smitten by my brother from him…)
Herscherik had realized that he was practically committing adultery.
In his past life as Ryouko, she enjoyed the occasional bromance, but whether it be 2D or 3D, she didn’t particularly like to deal with BL. However, there are various people with various tastes in the world.
They vary from people who only show affection to those of the same sex to people who won’t have an inch of desire for their partner unless they were at least half their age1.
Herscherik didn’t want to be a narrow-minded person who would reject or deny these people their love.
“You are my knight, but I believe that work and private life should be separate….”
As Herscherik was saying all of this, Kuro watched from the shadows in the back, probably aware of how the young prince was struggling.
Kuro’s shoulders were silently shaking, but Herscherik’s concentration was fully focused on the two in front of him so he didn’t notice.
The two shouted at the same time, causing Herscherik to avert his gaze. That gesture made it seem like the boy had seen something that he shouldn’t have.
“That’s why…um, I wish for happiness in your married life?”
Herscherik didn’t know what to say in the end, so he instead came upon the idea that he should congratulate them.
Kuro nearly burst out in laughter. If anyone else was around, they would have seen him banging on the wall beside him with his fist.
“Prince, aren’t you misunderstanding something!?”
Oran panicked. Incidentally, the shock of this declaration from his little brother had frozen Marcus stiff.
“It’s fine. Really. I’m okay with it!”
(That’s right. It’ll be bad if this was made public.)
Although he said that, Herscherik had retreated behind Kuro. While he didn’t want to deny the two their love, he was instinctively backing away from the situation.
“Why are you hiding!? You really are misunderstanding this! I don’t particularly…”
“Master Hersche, it is almost time for your training.”
Oran was trying to clear up the misunderstanding when Kuro interrupted. To be fair, a considerable amount of time had passed, so even if they hurried, they would be late.
“Ah, you’re right. Marcus, I shall be taking my leave now.”
Herscherik emerged from behind Kuro, and after a quick bow, he hurried off. Kuro followed after but not before looking at Oran’s face one last time and laughing. He found the entire situation very amusing.
“You black dog!”
(He’s definitely enjoying this misunderstanding!)
Oran started to chase after them, knowing that he had to clear up this situation as soon as possible. Seeing Oran bolting away unfroze Marcus, who bitterly threw out these words.
“……Was the reason you left me that incident two years ago?”
Oran didn’t respond as he continued to chase after the other two.
Author’s note: Warning ※This is not a BL novel (mentioned just in case)