1. The Annulment of our Engagement… I won’t do it!
It was within the hall where the graduation party of the royal academy was being held. In that venue, many chandeliers shone. Many graduates and current students danced, chatted, and overall contributed to the gorgeous atmosphere.
I was surprised when my name was called.
The one standing in front of me was none other than the crown prince of the Kingdom of Rusie.
His Highness Alexander stared at me with his beautiful, blue, eyes, which were akin to sapphires. His face was terrifyingly handsome—that, when combined with his beautiful golden hair, created a very gorgeous atmosphere.
Blond hair and blue eyes were rare in the Kingdom of Rusie. As such, he stood out even more.
I, Alisa Tchaikovsky, was an 18-year-old mediocre girl. I was of the same age as the crown prince. However, unlike His Highness, I had a plain appearance. My hair was a dull brown, while my eyes were a pale gray. I was petite and not very noticeable.
Since I was chosen as the fiancée of the crown prince, I could be considered a beauty—however, a subpar one.
In that academy, there were many ladies more beautiful than me.
However, as of that day, both the crown prince and I would be graduating from that academy. As long as nothing happened, His Highness Alexander and I would become newlyweds—
—yes, as long as nothing happened.
I was anxious. I didn’t consider my relationship with His Highness as romantic, per say. Save for formalities, he didn’t speak much to me.
After all, it was but a political marriage. The purpose was to strengthen the relationship between the royal family and the Duke of Tchaikovsky. That was my only reason for being married to His Highness. To be more precise, such was the reason I was born.
What did His Highness think about me?
I wasn’t confident in myself.
I had no outstanding talents. I wasn’t an exceptional beauty. I was also not extremely smart.
I didn’t have many friends at school. Most of my time was spent reading books on my lonesome.
I… was merely born to be an instrument for a political marriage.
I didn’t think I was fit to be a queen.
The royal family annulling our engagement because of all I was wouldn’t have been strange.
If so, this might be my last chance.
“I have something important to discuss with you.”
His Highness Alexander spoke to me with a serious expression. My anxiety only grew.
What was it that he wanted to talk about? Something important?
As I thought, will our engagement be annulled…?
We hadn’t even danced a single song, yet.
I nervously waited for His Highness Alexander’s next words.
On the floor of the hall, His Highness Alexander suddenly bowed and knelt—
—…is he, kneeling?
Then, His Highness pressed his head on the ground.
…the so-called, ‘dogeza’?
“Alisa, please don’t abandon our engagement!”
I couldn’t believe the sight in front of me, His Highness’ words even more so. For some reason, he thought that I was the one who’d break off our engagement.
The atmosphere in the dance hall, which was gorgeous until a while ago, was frozen.
The prince of the kingdom was kneeling before his fiancée, begging for her to not cancel their engagement.
Receiving a cold gaze from the surroundings, I suddenly regained myself.
“Y, Your Highness?! Raise your face and stand up, please!?”
“I won’t! I will keep kneeling until you say that you won’t break our engagement!”
“I won’t break our engagement!”
When I shouted that, the crown prince stood up and smiled.
We had attracted attention—and of course, in a bad way.
Anyway, I pulled His Highness Alexander to the corridor outside the hall.
What is he thinking?
With that in mind, I realized I didn’t know much about His Highness in general.
That was only natural—after all, our marriage was merely an arranged one.
In the corridor, I confronted His Highness. Seen from the front, His Highness was exceedingly beautiful.
Blue eyes that could cause euphoria, transparent skin like that of a woman’s, a slender and tall figure—
—everything about him seemed perfect.
Why did His Highness beg me not to break off our engagement? I didn’t understand it at all. I didn’t think anyone would understand at all.
The opposite would have surely made more sense. I should be the one who begged His Highness to not break off our engagement.
What made His Highness think that I’d break off our engagement?
“Your Highness… in the first place, our engagement is the result of the agreement between both our houses.”
“So, I can’t possibly annul it on my own. It might be possible for a crown prince, but not for me. I’m merely a duke’s daughter.”
“If it were possible, what would you do?”
Towards the unexpected question, I became speechless.
His Highness Alexander’s blue eyes wavered with anxiety.
What I said was certainly fact, but…
I, myself, what would I do…?
In the 1805 liturgical year, marriages based on love weren’t only common among commoners, but also within the aristocracy and the royal family.
My close cousin, Mary, surprised everyone by getting engaged with her childhood friend, the butler, who was a commoner. That was an extreme example, but it caused a big uproar. However, Mary and her partner seemed to be rejoicing.
But… I never thought about such a question.
From the time I was born, I had been raised as a tool to marry someone in the royal family.
I didn’t have any value beyond that.
His Highness repeated his question.
“If I were no longer the crown prince, would you still want to be my fiancée?”
“…I don’t know.”
When I answered frankly, His Highness became speechless. He was immediately in tears.
I immediately added. I never meant to cause him any pain.
“I, I’ve been raised as the fiancée of His Highness, and to be the future queen! So, I never considered anything else! I didn’t have the freedom to do that—I, I just… don’t know…”
“I see. That’s how it is. Until yesterday, I, too, only envisioned a future where I’d be the king, and you’d be the queen.”
His Highness Alexander was the crown prince. He was the future king. That couldn’t change.
When I said that, His Highness showed a self-depreciating smile and shook his head.
“The next king, the new crown prince, it has been decided the second prince—Mikhail, will assume that role. I’m now but a man whose throne was robbed by his own younger brother.”
“The reason should be obvious. Mikhail is clearly better than me. You probably already know about this.”
Honestly, from the perspective of the mediocre me, His Highness Alexander was also excellent enough. Even before graduating, he had many accomplishments. His grades were also excellent.
However, His Highness Alexander and His Highness Mikhail were siblings of the same age. For siblings with different mothers to be compared throughout their lives—it was nothing new.
Generally speaking, His Highness Mikhail was certainly more prominent. In terms of grades, His Highness Alexander was always ranked 10th from the top, while His Highness Mikhail was almost always ranked 1st.
The one whom was made to be the chief for the graduation ceremony before the party was also His Highness Mikhail.
Moreover, His Highness Mikhail was also very talented at sports. His tennis skill was among the best in the kingdom. During his school holidays, he also served in the military, where his accomplishments were praised.
Above all, His Highness Mikhail was also popular. His charisma made him popular with both men and women. He didn’t only have the mysterious aura as a member of a royal family, but also a unique friendliness.
It was the same regardless if he were at the school or at court. Because His Highness Mikhail had no fiancée, many girls both inside and outside the academy aimed for him. He was also well received by the court bureaucrats.
With that in mind, I stared at His Highness Alexander in the face. He nodded sadly.
“I don’t want to say this to my fiancée, but… frankly, I can’t beat Mikhail.”
“Don’t you think the same?”
I was silent. While His Highness Alexander was certainly polite, smart, and cool, when compared to His Highness Mikhail, he was… normal.
His Highness Alexander sighed.
“Not to mention, both my mother and maternal grandfather are dead. I have no backing. Meanwhile, Mikhail’s mother is the daughter of a nobleman of the Orleans Empire. She has connections with the empire.”
Certainly, His Highness Alexander stood no chance.
That was why, upon his graduation from school, His Highness Alexander was abandoned and replaced with His Highness Mikhail.
However, His Highness Alexander still had a trump card.
It was none other than me, his fiancée. No, of course, I myself was worth nothing.
However, my father, Duke Tchaikovsky, was a senior vassal of the Kingdom of Rusie. It should had been quite encouraging to have his support.
“Since the support of the Duke of Tchaikovsky is necessary to His Highness to win the throne, is that the reason why you ask me not to break off our engagement?”
His Highness was rendered speechless at my words. Then, he immediately shook his head.
“I have no intention of taking advantage of you. I’ve already decided to step down from the position of the crown prince. As a result, I will be sent away to the North of the kingdom as a margrave. Your father, Duke of Tchaikovsky, too, wouldn’t think of putting me on the throne.”
“If so, why…?”
“It’s because, uh…”
His Highness Alexander became awkward all of a sudden. Then, he lowered his face which had become bright red.
What happened to him?
He looked truly embarrassed.
His Highness said to me in a low voice.
“…I don’t want to lose you.”
“I want you to remain as my fiancée.”
I couldn’t understand anything at all. I stiffened.
Why would His Highness want me as his fiancée? Did I offer him some sort of benefit?
His Highness quietly held my right hand. Due to the warmness seeping from his hands, I was amazed.
But… to me, for some reason… His Highness’ hands felt comfortable.
“I want you to stay with me, despite the fact that I no longer have the right to the throne, or the fact that I’m being sent to the frontier… Mikhail wants to have the daughter of the Duke of the Tchaikovsky as his wife, and the duke agrees… but, for you to also be robbed from me—that alone I can’t forgive.”
“I’ve always loved you.”
Stunned, I stared at His Highness Alexander’s face.
His Highness Alexander turned his bright red face towards me. His beautiful blue eyes also bore into me.
“I need you.”
I never thought that His Highness favored me. I knew he didn’t hate me, but for him to think of me as a proper fiancée…
…I wanted to ask for the reason, but finally decided against it.
Instead, I contemplated His Highness’ words once again.
His Highness said that he loved me—
—that he needed me.
It was the first time I was told such a thing.
I was a mediocre girl, I was nothing more than a duke’s tool. I thought myself worthless.
But for His Highness, it was different. I didn’t know the reason.
But for some reason, I noticed something warm in my chest. My cheeks were getting hot.
Anxiously, His Highness stared at me with his blue eyes.
I smiled bashfully.
“Is that a proposal?”
“Perhaps… I think so.”
“You don’t sound too convinced.”
“I, it’s a proposal!”
His Highness hurriedly spoke with a scarlet face. His embarrassed expression seemed so adorable.
“Even if you don’t propose to me, aren’t we already engaged to each other?”
“Does that mean you agree to remain as my fiancée?”
His Highness Alexander’s eyes widened. His expression shone with happiness as he leaned forward.
I never knew he was that expressive.
Or maybe, I just didn’t know much about him in general.
However, one thing was certain—
—he needed me.
“Yes, I will remain by Your Highness’ side.”
I made a clear statement and smiled.
Until now, I was always being formal. Raised as a tool, I was supposed to get married and become the queen.
But my current words were different. I chose them myself.
It seemed that father was trying to make me the fiancée of His Highness Mikhail. If I were to be engaged to him and become queen, that would probably make father happy.
However, I simply didn’t find it appealing.
It might be narrowminded of me, but I was glad when His Highness told me he needed me.
“Will you follow me?”
“I will accompany you wherever you go. Let’s talk to my father first, and if that doesn’t work, let’s elope.”
When I jokingly said that, His Highness nodded happily.
***T/N: Proper, healthy, communication in my wn shoujo?!!?!?!? What is this?!?! I already need insulin from the ch1 !!!!!