26. Your Majesty, the Voice of Your Heart is Leaking! (3)
—Gaizel’s mother was a kind person.
She was a princess from one of the kingdoms destroyed by the late Emperor Dilph. Her beautiful silver hair and well-groomed appearance reminded one of a lily.
However, even when she became royalty, her stature and heart were too weak. After giving birth to Gaizel, due to her sickly conditions, she was confined to bed.
“You didn’t cry. Good job, Gaizel.”
On the day he came home after getting injured in a quarrel during sword practice, his mother said with a smile.
Because of his mother’s words, Gaizel felt proud—he was sure he had a very strong heart.
—I am strong. I will never cry. I can do anything by myself.
Gaizel, despite being the youngest amongst his brothers, put tremendous effort in anything he did—even more than his brothers.
Especially in regard of fighting. He mayhap had a natural talent in it—said talent only continued to develop because of his effort. It was around that time when he first met Van, whom introduced himself as a knight.
Regardless, Gaizel’s brothers disliked him. He was harassed every time.
Moreover, his brothers’ supporters—all those nobles and their children alike—also bullied him. Gaizel began to find life in the palace suffocating.
Still, he went to visit his mother every day.
When Gaizel visited, his mother always hugged him and said ‘I love you.’
Depending solely on those words, Gaizel continued to survive each day.
But one winter, his mother suddenly died.
He vaguely remembered what the doctor had said—it was because of the cold.
His mother’s funeral, due to her being a consort, was very modest.
‘Had her son been a bit higher in the line of the succession, it would’ve been different.’—such heartless words were said. But nothing entered Gaizel’s ears.
While sending off his mother, who was resting inside the coffin, and reading the parting words, Gaizel didn’t shed any tears.
Contrary to expectations, he knew everything about funeral arrangements and the proper courtesy. He performed his duty so well, it was hard to think of him as an ordinary boy.
“—Did you see the face of the Third Prince?”
“—His gaze was so cold, was he even sad?”
Gaizel’s attitude may have seemed bizarre to the adults. Although they refrained from saying it directly, inside, they agreed and ridiculed Gaizel—‘—what a terrifying boy.’
Gaizel could sense their thoughts—
—however, towards himself, Gaizel was unforgiving.
I’m strong. I can live without relying on anyone else.
Holding on to his late mother’s words, Gaizel desperately moved forward. Even when the funeral concluded and he was alone in front of his mother’s tomb—Gaizel didn’t cry.
He just couldn’t allow himself to cry.
After the loss of his mother, Gaizel’s position in the royal palace was further compromised.
Suddenly, an order was issued for Gaizel to leave the royal palace and live with the local duke’s family. Behind the scenes, perhaps his brothers also played a hand in said decision.
Gaizel, who understood that he couldn’t refuse, accepted with a double-meaning reply.
Unfortunately, however, due to the suddenness, the preparations by the duke’s family couldn’t be completed in time—as such, Gaizel momentarily lost his place.
While waiting for the duke to finish the preparations, Gaizel decided to follow Van—his childhood friend—to a neighboring kingdom in the South, one named Lacie.
At the end of the long journey, Gaizel discovered that Lacie was the opposite of Verscia. Whilst Verscia constantly fought a cold climate, Lacie was a kingdom of mid-summer humidity and warmth.
He remembered that the majority of Lacie’s population had fiery red hair—it was a very strange sight considering Verscia was a home to people of various hair colors.
For a time being, Gaizel lived in the house of Van’s relatives. Their confusion as to how to treat Gaizel, who was a prince, was obvious.
Gaizel didn’t behave like kids his age. He was a calm and quiet child, which resulted in both other children and servants alike keeping their distance from him.
Gaizel knew he was alienated—despite so, he didn’t let it show on his face.
However, his discomfort gradually accumulated, and one day, Gaizel, who had had enough, slipped out of the house.
It should be fine if I return by evening…
Then, Gaizel headed towards the city alone, absorbing the unknown, foreign, land.
A market lined with brightly colored fruits and fish he had never seen. A lively port. At the end of the street was what appeared to be the royal palace of Lacie—two huge towers could be seen.
Due to the complexity of Lacie’s embroideries, and also the foreign language its residents exchanged, Gaizel gradually lost the concept of time. Before the freedom and openness he had finally obtained, there was no doubt he had gotten a little careless.
By the time he realized it, Gaizel had completely lost his way.
Looking around, there were too many people to identify his original direction. Gaizel was attacked by wave of anxiety.
What do I do…
Fear started to spread when all the roads appeared the same to him. He didn’t know how to return home. Despite so, even if he decided to sit still, no one would come.
Gaizel desperately tried to retrace his memories.
Then, one tower wall caught his eyes. It was one of the towers on the left and right of the royal palace. If he went to one of the towers, he might be able to return to the main street.
I’ll go. Better than staying here doing nothing.
Gaizel immediately took action.
He often looked up to the sky and aimed for the tower. The distance was farther than he thought. After running a little, he was able to reach a narrow road that lead to the tower.
“…I still can’t see the main street… maybe I have to get to the center first.”
Although it was near the royal palace, there were only a few people in the surroundings. He progressed through the thick wooded area, scratched by tree branches—how long had it been since he left the house?
Gulping, Gaizel desperately controlled his fear.
Either way, I can’t go back.
He was alone in that foreign land.
At that rate, if no one managed to find him, what would happen to him?
I see, that’s right, I’m …alone.
Hyuu, hyuu—dried breath leaked from him.
His visibility was blurred by sweat.
After vowing to have a strong heart, realization that he was all alone finally came in full swing.
He didn’t have his mother anymore. His father also never cared about him.
His brothers only ever saw him as an obstacle.
I have, no one…—
—I only have, myself—
Eventually, the path of darkness ended. It seemed that Gaizel had lost his way and reached a garden. Although it was near the royal palace, no soldiers or guards could be seen.
Is this truly how it’s going to end?
Am I going to die without anyone ever finding me?
The terrified Gaizel saw something amidst the swaying shadow of the leaves.
What appeared was a girl.
She seemed to be a little younger than Gaizel. Her blue eyes were both round and cute. Because she was surprised by Gaizel’s sudden appearance, her eyes went wide.
What impressed him the most was her hair—her hair was a shade of silver he had yet to see in Lacie.
***T/N: shooootaaaa gaizel, must TARGET, LOCATE, AND PROTEEECCCCC