Chapter 7: Idle Talk – King, His Butler, and His Favorite Mistress I
After Herscherik had left the room, the king of the Greisis Kingdom, Soleil, let out a deep sigh and sat down on the couch, his back sinking into it.
Despite being released from the tension that had plagued him since yesterday, he was assaulted by fatigue at the emergence of a new problem.
“That child really resembles her….”
Without thinking, the king grumbled a complaint. Standing in wait beside him was his butler, and childhood friend, shrugging his shoulders. He absolutely agreed with the king’s statement.
“Nah, rather than saying he resembles her, he exceeds her on that level, or even….”
Their memory of her was completely candid: the favorite mistress who was manlier than men. Of course, her manliness referred to her personality; her appearance was that of a lovely woman. It was just that whenever her masculine words and a boldness that would put any man to shame came flying out from that lovely appearance, it would make the two men’s brains stall.
“Hersche is, without a doubt, her child.”
Soleil placed a hand on his forehead and gave a strained laugh.
Herscherik’s appearance certainly did resemble hers, as well as his stubborn personality.
His disposition to never sway off the path he had decided and to never betray the his core goals even if he made different decisions was inherited from his mother.
“Leaving aside the matter of Hersche for later….Luke, you were careless this time. If you weren’t you, I would have immediately made you regret living.”
Luke felt that the room’s temperature had dropped numerous degrees. That was how cold Soleil’s voice sounded.
Luke knew. He knew that his childhood friend and king, Soleil, was equal in terms of swordsmanship to a knight of the Imperial Guard and magical prowess to a top-ranking magician.
But it was just his personality that insisted he not flaunt this power.
“I’m sorry. It’s not that you were careless, but who would’ve thought that Meria would be the one to do something so outrageous.”
“…..Very true. Meria had done something wrong.”
Soleil believed that the reason behind the 7th prince’s kidnapping was a blunder on his side.
Meria had come to petition to him about the suffering caused by the lord in her hometown. But Soleil couldn’t grant her wish because there wasn’t a single definitive proof in her words. He himself also wanted to strike a bargain with her, but there wasn’t enough time.
Meria’s overthinking led to the development of this incident.
He sympathized, but that didn’t mean he had to forgive her. Even before doing something like kidnapping a member of the royal family, such behavior would cause the country to waver and shake its very foundation. That was why the punishment for this was heavier than necessary.
(Even though this won’t change that man or what he does…)
That man towards whom the system was completely biased had taken Soleil’s daughter away from him in the past—the minister and the ringleader; what he was doing and what Meria had done were not that different. Rather, Meria would be forgiven after looking at her reason with a sentimental perspective.
(If only I could get a hold on some evidence; anything really….then we could’ve continued life without it turning like this…..!)
This time was like the last time—if he had only held on more tightly, then this situation could have been avoided. Soleil gritted his teeth, drowning in self-hatred at the numerous times he found himself powerless.
(Thanks to Hersche, this event can be closed without having to punish Meria. That’s the only positive.)
Despite being the victim who suffered the most in this incident, Herscherik didn’t confess a single detail, so it had been decided that this incident will close without having found the criminal.
Soleil had insistently asked, stating that it was Herscherik’s duty as a prince to inform the king of anything that happened, but the boy didn’t waver.
“……Soleil, to be honest. Prince Herscherik is not a normal child.”
As his master sat silent in self-directed anger, Luke opened his mouth to speak.
Luke had concluded this from his observations approximately two years ago, while he was secretly guarding Herscherik.
The first time he noticed was right after the banquet celebrating the prince’s 3rd birthday.
After Herscherik had proposed that he wanted to study, Luke arranged for teachers as per Soleil’s direction.
Herscherik had no magical power or physical prowess, but he excelled across the board in his language and arithmetic studies. And after half a year, he progressed up to the point where he could read technical books that would be difficult for even an adult.
He would read for a whole day whenever he had time. That was something unthinkable for any other young child of 3 years. The young prince sitting on the sofa and reading among a mountain of books looked bizarre to Luke.
Additionally, the prince would disappear in the middle of the night.
After Meria appeared in tears and he had reported this matter to Soleil, Luke would immediately search every nook and cranny of the inner palace. But as soon as he was at a loss at the prince’s disappearance, Herscherik would return to his bed with an innocent look.
On a different day, Luke decided to stealthily shadow the prince, watching him secretly head towards the royal castle and slip into various bureaus to read numerous documents. After the prince had left, Luke looked at the document Herscherik had been most interested in—an invoice for an abnormal payment.
After the prince had proceeded to various bureaus and read a great variety of documents, he would brood for a while then head back to his room and sleep. He was living such a life.
When Luke had reported this to Soleil, the king reflected on this for a bit before deciding to let the prince do as he pleased. However, the king requested from Luke that he guard the prince without being discovered.
The biggest shock to Luke was when an intruder appeared. He didn’t know what the intruder’s intention was, but he had come into contact with the prince.
As expected, Luke tried to go in for the rescue, but the prince had managed to avoid danger and even get along with him.
Afterwards, Luke investigated the intruder, learning that he was the famous ‘Shadow Fang’, well known in the underground guild. As expected, he quietly reported this to Soleil in hopes of stopping the prince, but his master selfishly refused to relent.
Days passed. Luke worked as the king’s close aide during the day and the prince’s guard during the night. By the time he became accustomed to the prince’s double life, the prince had managed to extend his range to the castle town.
(I might die one of these days from overworking…..)
No one could blame Luke for thinking so.
The prince displayed the same cleverness in the castle town, attracting the attention of a fruit seller couple, to whose store he would often go going there to play.
And it wasn’t just the couple.
As the months rolled on, the prince integrated into the community and even the castle town inhabitants accepted him.
But, the prince was not there to fool around. It appeared that the prince was moving around the castle town in order to verify what he had discovered in his nightly investigations.
And at this time, while Luke reported to Soleil after coming back from the castle town, was when the kidnapping incident occurred, according to Meria.
He had completely believed in Meria, but that went out the back door.
“Yeah, I know.”
Soleil smiled as he answered Luke.
“Hersche isn’t normal. But he is my and her child. Seeing that I’m this kind of person, there’s no way he could be normal.”
“Er, I believe so too, but that’s not really what I meant….”
Luke unintentionally agreed.
Soleil also understood that what Luke wanted to say wasn’t that.
Soleil’s adorable, and youngest, prince had no magical power or physical prowess, and compared to the other princes, his appearance was lacking in flowers.
However, Herscherik, with eyes brilliant like a kingfisher’s feathers and similar to Soleil’s own, saw everything without any obstructions. What the prince saw and how far the depths he reached, Soleil didn’t know.
“…..I had said to let Hersche be free.”
When Herscherik said he wanted to study, it seemed like he had chosen this of his own accord.
And as such, the prince acted with his own intentions in mind. As his father, Soleil had a vague feeling that it would surely be a thorny path. Naturally, he wanted to stop his son, and he should stop him, as the path his son had chosen probably had the highest probability of shortening the chooser’s life. But, Soleil couldn’t stop him.
As the son of, a women he knew so well, his own wife, Soleil knew that the prince would not sway from his determination. Nevertheless, he was worried, resulting in having Luke guard his son.
(But, that might have to end.)
Herscherik had started walking his own path.
Soleil felt that this was a little too fast; his son was trying to go places where his hand couldn’t reach the boy anymore. But his son had done what he had said: he freely chose to do this.
“But, what should we do about his primary butler?”
Soleil furrowed his brow.
He couldn’t count on any of the aristocrats. Practically all the ones he could trust had left the royal castle. No, actually, the minister forced them to leave. To bring them here may garner them some unexpected dangers.
“Isn’t there someone he’s close to who’s alright?”
Luke smiled broadly.
“On top of being clever, having high combative abilities, and being unwilling to betray due to knowing the crookedness of the aristocrats, isn’t there a pitiful black dog who has completely been captured by Prince Herscherik’s charm?
“Don’t talk about someone’s son like a wicked woman.”
“Nah, the prince’s actual personality is worse than a wicked woman.”
A wicked woman is calculating, but the prince’s actions were displayed upfront.
“To think that ‘Shadow Fang’, who seems more uncooperative than you or me, had fallen in a blink of an eye. It’s ominous, huh.”
Luke was similarly aware of the dangers.
He held his ground on account of being Soleil’s primary butler, but when he heard that the prince had been kidnapped, his vision blacked for a second as if he was suffering from a hallucination.
Soleil far exceeded the top of the list in beauty in the royal family. Even a top-rated artist would have trouble expressing it. As such, his looks were enough to attract people to him.
However, Herscherik did not have such an appearance. He had something else that attracted people; perhaps it should be called ‘charisma.’ Moreover, the person himself didn’t realize that he was naturally leaking it.
“At any rate, if the black dog is with him, it should be fine, right? I’ll make sure it works out well, so leave the rest to me.”
Luke bowed, turning to face the door as he planned to leave the room. But before he left the room, he turned around to look at Soleil.
It was a weak answer, but Luke heard it and left the room behind.