53. Red Eye (5)
The season went around several times.
Last week, I was twelve years old.
“Your Highness Arthur, good morning.”
Violet, carrying a cup of black tea, made me smile as usual.
Since then, I hadn’t tried to force any interactions with her. Instead, I tried to nurture our master and servant relationship. Thanks to that, there was a clear boundary in our relationship as Prince and a maid. Two years ago, she was but an apprentice, but now, she was no longer.
“Good morning, Violet. What a nice weather we have today.”
The sunlight faintly came through the window that was opened by Violet. It spread through the room, giving a whitish luminance.
Violet calmly gave me the cup of tea. I received it while leaning on the bed. Then, I slowly brought the cup to my lip.
—delicious. It has the taste of the tea Violet usually brews for me.
After seeing me exhale, Violet opened her mouth.
“Today is Arthur’s twelfth birthday party.”
“That’s right. I’m not very good at partying.”
Every aristocrats’ daughter and son from all over the kingdom would participate in my birthday party. Their ages would range from eight to fifteenth years, just below adulthood. The boys from this kingdom’s aristocratic family enter boarding school at the age of thirteenth—so it would double as my announcement.
Aah… this does sound good…
I felt very comfortable living inside the castle and didn’t know much about the outside world. I had no personal connection with the noble sons I had met when I was seven years old. It was even more so because I kept freaking out.
At my melancholic sigh, Violet chuckled.
“Fufu. It’s going to be okay, Your Highness Arthur. You probably won’t need to do anything besides sitting on a chair.”
“The Prime Minister will also attend. That person usually only says things that other want to hear.”
“That’s certainly true.”
Violet looked a little awkward due to my words. That expression made me ponder—
—Violet wouldn’t like me if I was gloomy.
“Yes, it’ll be alright. After all, I’m twelve years old, already. I can attend one or two parties just fine, and I’ll make sure to take it easy.”
I said that and laughed.
That was when Violet smiled.
“Fufu, I’m so excited, Your Highness Arthur.”
Her voice was like a little bird chirping under the bright sun—a very pleasant voice for me.
Oh, how happy I am.
The spring breeze carried the scent of flowers—as if celebrating our future. Giving us a blessing of a happy future.
At that time, I never imagined—
—how fragile my peaceful days were; how easy it was for it to collapse.
My birthday party started at noon, and currently went on.
The boring as always party was held in the castle’s garden. Hence, it was a little more relaxing than usual.
At the very beginning, I had to deal with the nobility introducing their daughters and sons. After about two hours, it was finally over. Soon, I was hungry. I wanted to eat something.
Looking around the garden, the center was wide open and long desk were lined up on the left and right, where dishes were arranged. In addition to meat and fish dishes, various exotic, tropical, fruits were also there.
Since it was a party intended for children, sweets, cakes, and chocolates were a must.
—how hungry I am.
May I leave my seat? I stared at my father, but he didn’t seem to be aware of my gaze. Of course, my mother who sat next to him even less so.
In the first place, since she was my mother, we had gradually begun talking normally again. However, I was still a bit awkward and couldn’t clearly express what I wanted to say.
Violet was both my maid and the Baron’s adopted daughter. But, she declined the invitation, because it would mean that her foster father would also attend.
I was mainly free.
The moment I tried to get up, my body fell forward—
I grabbed the armrest. I felt dizzy—no, more like, nauseated…
Cold sweat drenched my back—even though today was supposed to be warm, I felt chilly.
At the same time, for the first time since forever, another’s person voice reverberated—
—the voice of another me.
“Switch places with me, Arthur.”
I was surprised. I was never requested to switch places before. He only came out when I was at the brink of desperation. But why did he appear now?
Even though nothing seemed amiss about my current situation.
His tone was as usual—however, it made me anxious this time. I didn’t know the reason why, but.
“Tch. Arthur, look at the table at the far right. That man clad in black.”
My eyes frantically went towards said direction.
Yes, there he was—
—a boy with an expressionless face. A little older than me, maybe as old as Violet. He had dark hair and eyes—both were rare in this kingdom.
My line of sight collided with the boy’s. He noticed my gaze in an instant.
The moment he screamed, my right eye burned. It felt hot and painful. If it wasn’t for the purple lens, the cursed, glowing, red color would certainly be revealed right there and then.
I couldn’t read a person’s heart from this distance. But he could. He forcibly took control of my body. I had no choice but to watch.
He observed the boy. But the boy only laughed, uncaring.
He, no, cold sweat erupted from my entire body. Was it because of fear? Awe? Excitement?
The feeling that got transferred into my mind was complete and utter hatred. Such was the boy’s feelings. I understood everything that happened.
That boy was deflecting my power.
It would be an impossible feat for an ordinary person. But this boy probably didn’t fall under such a category—who is he?
The boy then took a sip of his drink. I could only stare at him in silence. I tried to conceal my surprise under a calm façade and thought of what could have possibly happened.
“Arthur, who is that boy?”
He stuttered in awe. There was no way for me to answer that question—he might be aware of that. However, if he didn’t receive an immediate answer, it seemed that he would only became more distraught.
Then I noticed the boy was no longer there.
He had vanished, as if he wasn’t there since the beginning. He had completely and naturally erased his presence.
He stared bitterly at the place where the boy was.
“That boy was probably the same as us.”
The same? Did that mean he also has mysterious power like us?
“That’s right. But I feel like that isn’t all.”
It was the first time for me to hear his voice tremble like this.
“I feel like something bad will happen.”
I swallowed. He then disappeared—what? Had he gone back to sleep? Or was it because of that boy?
I thought about it, but it wasn’t like there was anything I could do. I couldn’t make sure of it.
My cold sweat, too, had completely dried, as if it was a lie.
A spring breeze stroked my cheeks. They naturally would feel comfortable.
But now, to my once drenched in sweat body, they felt like piercing thorns. The sensation which clung on my body, probably wouldn’t leave anytime soon.
***T/N: So this is how Arthur and Lewis first met …does that add anything to the story….? Me don’t think so. Man some prince he was. My love for him is now buried deep underground.
E/N: I just want to take this time to point out that the title of “Red Eye” has been making me think of a certain black dragon this whole time.