Chapter 7: Evening Party, Rose Prince, and Trap II
Ignatz turned to the person who interrupted him, only to see a young boy, whose features were more feminine than masculine. Ignatz knew the child was a boy from his coat and pants, but he would have just as easily thought him to be a girl if he had instead been wearing a woman’s dress. His feminine features included silky pale blonde hair, kingfisher-colored eyes, a delicate face, and smooth white skin. The dark green outfit he wore complimented his blonde hair, and was itself complemented by the golden and silver threads woven into it.
“Prince, an acquaintance…”
“Is that so? I want you to introduce him to me.”
The boy met Ignatz’s eyes with a smile, but Ignatz already knew who this child was from the first look.
(This is the 7th prince, Herscherik…)
He should be 5 this year. It was rumored that he wasn’t as glamorous as his older siblings.
Ignatz also agreed that his features did not hold a candle to the 1st prince’s. However, Herscherik was still the rumored young prince with everlasting beauty despite being a male. There was a clear line between this child’s beauty and the rest of the world.
Although he was a prince born of high nobility, the boy was still only five years old. He looked up at Ignatz, anxiously holding onto Octavian’s sleeve, possibly due to his inexperience with social gatherings.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Your Highness Herscherik. I am Ignatz Navy, the eldest son of the Baron Navy. Although the Navy Family possesses the rank of baron, our household is also involved in a wide range of business endeavors. I’m pleased to make your acquaintance.”
Ignatz said as he bowed his head with an amicable smile.
(I remember hearing that the 7th prince is the king’s favorite. There’s no disadvantage in leaving a good impression on him.)
This was his calculative nature in action.
“I’m Herscherik Greisis. Are you Oranju’s…um, Octavian’s acquaintance?”
The young prince asked as he tilted his head.
The prince had called Octavian by a nickname, “Oranju.” This was proof that Octavian had already earned the prince’s trust. Seeing that the man had gained the trust of the royal family relit the flames of envy in Ignatz; however, he wouldn’t allow himself to let them show.
“Yes, since our time in the Academy. Around that time, I had the opportunity to speak on numerous occasions with him and your older brother, His Highness Marcus.”
“Is that so?”
Herscherik looked over at Marcus surrounded by noble ladies and made a surprised expression. Then, he suddenly turned back to Ignatz with a serious look. There was a lot of meaning in his face.
“…Prince, shall I bring you some food?”
Octavian said, seeming uncomfortable with where the prince’s attention was aimed, but Herscherik only nodded.
The man’s state made Ignatz grin broadly. It felt wonderful that the prince gave his words preference him over those of his own knight. After the knight left, Herscherik opened his mouth slowly, as if to say some difficult words.
“Please, Your Highness, address me simply as ‘Ignatz’.”
Ignatz put on a friendly smile, and the prince’s expression softened.
“Ignatz, I want to ask for your advice since you’re an old friend of Oran.”
The prince spoke in a serious tone and indicated that they should head over to a disregarded shadow of a pillar. Then, the prince began his tale in a low voice, to prevent others from hearing.
“Recently, Brother Marcus hasn’t been well.”
Herscherik began to speak in a sorrowful tone.
After graduating from the Academy, his half-brother, the 1st prince Marcus, became affiliated with the Order of Knights. However, he had been in low spirits these past few days. Herscherik looked over at his older brother, worriedly. Ignatz followed the prince’s line of sight to see Marcus still surrounded by ladies, but this time noticing a sort of darkness.
There had been a rumor going around the social gatherings as of late that the first prince was somewhat crestfallen. But he was the Rose Prince of the social gatherings. He was so magnificent that Ignatz had believed them to be only rumors…
“I heard him grumble…that he felt the heavy weight of being my father’s heir now as an adult…That’s why I pleaded with him that I wanted to go to tonight’s evening party. I thought that if he went to a flashy place like this, he would feel better…”
Herscherik hung his head as he continued to speak.
“If not, Brother would surely continue to mope…”
Hersherick’s face looked to be on the verge of tears as he spun this tale. He was the very image of brotherly love.
“But, that’s just a boy’s childish thoughts. In the end, Brother was only going along with my selfishness… Ignatz, do you have any insight on anything that could make Brother feel the slightest bit at ease?”
Ignatz feigned deep thought. But in actuality, he was elated.
(What a great chance!)
This was a big chance for him. If he could expertly charm the prince, the one who would become the king of the country, now, his dreams wouldn’t remain dreams anymore… Even the position of minister would not be out of reach.
“I understand. Normally, these products would only be dispensed to select customers. However, I’ve been deeply moved by Your Highness Herscherik’s kindness and brotherly love. As such, I shall grant you the privilege.”
Ignatz said, putting on airs, while Herscherik beamed with genuine gratitude. Ignatz smiled back in response, but it was completely different from the emotions behind Herscherik’s.
“I have one condition. I would like you and His Highness Marcus to wait in a specific room.”
Herscherik suddenly had an uneasy look, so Ignatz softened his expression to reassure the prince.
“Yes. This is a very unique circumstance after all.”
A beat after confirming the prince’s nod of agreement, Ignatz established the time and location. Herscherik took out the disproportionately sized pocket watch from his pocket to check the time and nodded.
Octavian’s voice called out for Hersherik all of a sudden, and the prince turned around in response. The knight had a cake in his hand, one that would delight any child.
“Well, Ignatz, until then!”
Herscherik’s tone completely changed into that of a happy one, and he turned his back.
Ignatz saw the prince off before turning on his heel. He needed to go see to the host of the party to borrow a room. The host and owner of the mansion had already obtained their money so borrowing a room should be easy. All he needed left was to ask for the people to be cleared out.
(My luck is turning…!)
Inwardly, he clenched his fist while outwardly, he hurried with light footsteps.
Meanwhile, Herscherik accepted the mountain of cake from Octavian… er, Oran and found a random seat. He brought a sizeable piece of the cake to his mouth. While it would be a sizeable bite for the average person, it was about three for a 5-year-old like Herscherik. Although they would lose to the desserts made by Kuro, they were still quite delicious.
“Sheesh, don’t go forgetting the plan, okay?”
Herscherik glared at the remorseful Oran while continuing to stuff the cake into his cheeks.
The mindful Oran gave the prince a cup of black tea. Thankful, Herscherik drained the contents and caught his breath.
(If I didn’t grab his sleeve, he probably would’ve slashed the man in the heat of the moment.)
Recalling it now, Herscherik sighed. According to the plan, Herscherik was to appear a bit later. Oran was supposed to lead the target around a bit more before tempting him. However, when confronted by him, Oran had instead placed his hand on the sword, albeit at an angle out of sight.
(I really panicked…)
Oran probably despised Ignatz as he likely drove his fiancée into a corner considering his arm was trembling slightly when Herscherik grabbed it. This just showed how much of an effect this woman had on Oran.
However, Herscherik believed that Oran would be able to control himself. Through the short time frame they’ve been together, Herscherik knew that his knight was capable of restraining his emotions and remaining reasonable.
However, his actions still had the possibility of arousing suspicion which is why Herscherik improvised and made his appearance earlier than planned.
“…The black dog isn’t back?”
Oran asked Herscherik in a whisper, referring to Kuro.
Kuro would conversely address Oran as ‘delinquent knight.’ Herscherik thought that they were on bad terms, but they were actually close enough to insult each other as a joke. He wasn’t sure if this was good or bad. He considered asking Oran why he wouldn’t call Kuro by his name while answering the question.
“Not yet, I think.”
Kuro was currently infiltrating the Envie House, Ignatz’s home. This was, of course, to search for any evidence of the House’s connection to the drug. This was insurance in case the target didn’t play along with their plan, but looking at the current state of affairs, it seemed that it wouldn’t be necessary.
(All that’s left is how should we handle this…)
After stuffing the last piece of cake into his mouth, Herscherik stood up. On the other side of the room was his brother Marcus, still surrounded by flowers and butterflies. As expected of the eldest. While he did hold the position and responsibility of being the 1st prince, he was also genuinely enjoying his conversations with the young nobles and ladies. He might be a natural-born lady killer. He was, incidentally, known as the ‘Rose Prince’ or the ‘Lord of Roses’ in conversations he wasn’t aware of. Herscherik wanted to see what kind of reaction he would have if he found out.
By the way, the reason Marcus hadn’t attended these social gatherings recently was simply that he was busy. The first year out of university for any fresh, new blood would be full of work. Regardless, it was about time for Hersche to pull his brother away from his enjoyment of this social gathering.
As such, Herscherik put on the mask of an innocent child, and took Oran with him as he entered the flower garden, or rather, female battlefield that surrounded Marcus. ‘Why Oran?’ you may ask. As you might suspect, Herscherik knew the horror that would unfold if he were to tread into this spark-filled battlefield without a shield.
Because he was a woman in his past life, he knew that there was nothing more mentally scarring than the fights between women.