10.5.1 What I can do For Alisa (Aleksandr Nikolaevič Goduno’s POV)
- T/N: In the title, Alexander’s name is written in Cyrillic. Александр Николаевич Годуно́в
There were kings, there were nobles, and there were commoners.
It was a matter of course in the Kingdom of Rusie, an underdeveloped country in the Northeast. For hundreds of years, such was the tradition.
For me, the first prince, that wasn’t a question.
However, when I was 10-years-old, something changed my mind. It was when I first heard of my younger brother, Mikhail.
Despite being my younger brother, Mikhail was of the same age as me. He came from a different mother. Our appearances weren’t similar to each other. He was good looking, had silver hair, and a pair of jade-colored eyes.
All the noble ladies were fond of Mikhail. It could be said that his good-look aroused insanity.
For me, Mikhail was an object of admiration. I, who was sheltered inside the royal palace, was made aware of the world that I didn’t know by Mikhail.
At that time, I was going to Mikhail’s room to play.
“Alex, look at this.”
Mikhail smiled and called me by my nickname.
I also referred to Mikhail as ‘Misha.’ Mikhail was the only person I could refer to with such a nickname.
When we were 10-years-old, we were on good terms.
Because we were princes, there were few that could equal us. Thus, I thought of Mikhail as the only person suitable to be my friend.
I would later become aware of my misconception—but that was a story for another time.
Mikhail spread a brightly colored world map on his desk.
The surprisingly gorgeously decorated map was very detailed, it was mesmerizing to look at.
“Where did you get this?”
“It’s a secret.”
Mikhail smiled and held his finger before his mouth.
Mikhail then pointed at the country next to Rusie with his small index finger.
“In the neighboring Republic of Ninorsk, aristocrats form a parliament to rule the country. They don’t have a king.”
Mikhail then pointed to the other side of the map.
“But in the Great Empire of the East, there is only the emperor and the people. There are no aristocrats. The emperor has a tremendous amount of power, and the people who pass the exam become officials and help the emperor.”
At that time, I hadn’t learned history or geography from the royal tutor, so Mikhail’s story was enlightening.
No, even if I had studied, I might have still been surprised at Mikhail’s story.
I then said to Mikhail.
“Then, it’s unnatural for us to be princes.”
“If the time changes and so does the land, there’ll be no king or prince. Hence, it’s unnatural. Why are we princes? Why were we born as them?”
Mikhail stared at the map and pointed to Novgorod, the royal capital of the Kingdom of Rusie. The location was certainly… far from the center when viewed from across the continent, a remote area.
“We… are responsible for making Rusie a kingdom as powerful as the Orleans Empire, or the United Kingdom of Sterling.”
I was overwhelmed by Mikhail’s words and couldn’t comprehend anything at all.
I realized that Mikhail was far ahead of me, and that he was thinking of something much bigger.
From that time on, Mikhail kept contemplating over how to turn Rusie into a powerful kingdom, and how to make the people happy.
Around the same time, I began to realize that I couldn’t compete against Mikhail.
Mikhail was so good at studying that he was called a child prodigy. His swordsmanship and equestrian skills were so good that even experts would heap praise on him.
Above all, Mikhail had a unique charm that drew people to him.
The ladies-in-waiting and my sisters, the princesses, had no choice but to adore Mikhail. My younger cousins also preferred Mikhail instead of me.
Not only was he popular with women, but the scholars, bureaucrats, and servants who served the court also seemed to be fascinated by Mikhail.
Regardless, I was the crown prince. Based on the custom of Ruthenians, the firstborn was to succeed the throne.
Therefore, I gave my damnedest to become a good king.
As Mikhail said, I, the future king, was obliged to do my best for the kingdom.
It was strange to say it myself, but I believed no other crown princes in history had put in as much effort as me in my academic studies and martial arts.
However, my efforts bore no fruits. Certainly, in my own way, I had become excellent. But instead of catching up with Mikhail, I only prolonged the distance between us.
I could achieve rank tenth at best, while Mikhail was the top at the academy.
Frustrations and a feeling of defeat afflicted me. The eyes around me always compared me with Mikhail.
The position of the crown prince was nothing more than a burden to me.
Still, I was to be the next king, and I truly believed Mikhail was on my side.
However, after the death of my maternal grandfather, the great aristocrats began to grow suspicious.
My grandfather was a nobleman who emphasized Rusie’s customs.
However, the kingdom was moving forward towards incorporating the culture and sophistication of Western countries—such as the Orleans Empire.
Under those circumstances, Mikhail was closer to the cultural civilization of Orleans since his mother was the daughter of an Orlean Empire’s nobleman.
Judging from individual ability, Mikhail was overwhelmingly better than me. The bureaucrats agreed that there was no reason to stick to Rusie’s tradition since the kingdom had welcomed change.
I was deprived of my status as the crown prince. His Majesty the King, the aristocrats, and the bureaucrats were all looking at me with pity. At the same time, their gazes said it all—that I was unnecessary.
Thus, my sole reason for existing—my title as the crown prince—was lost.
All that was left was an empty man with no reason for living.
My efforts so far were meaningless.
The rank of Margrave of Arkhangelsk might be high, but I had been reduced to a nobleman with a poor territory. I was someone who no longer had a place in the royal capital.
It’d be a lie if I said I didn’t feel any pain, regret, or sorrow. But more than that, I felt relieved.
There was no need for me to put in effort a as crown prince anymore. I didn’t have to try to surpass Mikhail anymore.
When I realized what I was thinking, I fell into despair.
I had nothing to lose. I had nothing to be afraid of.
But there was one thing that I was afraid of losing.
It was …my fiancée, Alisa.
If I was no longer the crown prince, Alisa might abandon me.
No, I was convinced of it.
After all, Alisa’s father, the Duke of Tchaikovsky, favored Mikhail. He intended to have his daughter marry Mikhail.
I couldn’t fathom the idea of Alisa being robbed by Mikhail—
—for I loved Alisa.
I was sure Alisa didn’t know that. She didn’t know that I always had loved her because of my own selfish, unreasonable, and ugly reasons.
I didn’t have the courage to tell Alisa about it. Because even if I didn’t tell her, Alisa would still become my wife.
But things had changed.
At that rate, I’d lose everything.
Thus, without thinking—
—at the graduation party, I knelt in front of Alisa, clung to her, and begged for her not to annul our engagement.
***T/N: Your Highness, that name is really hot.