29. I Caught a Cold… (3)
—25 days remaining.
“I heard—did you turn down my brother?”
Did the rumors already spread throughout the academy?
Instead of answering, I only glared at the person. I was in a bad mood. It was nice of the person to visit me—
—but do forgive me.
My body felt sluggish, and my fever had yet to disappear.
As of the present, I didn’t have the energy to face him.
His Highness Zafield—also known as the ‘Silver Prince’, showed off his womanizing smile once again that day.
“Could it be… you’ve fallen for me?”
“I’m not in the mood to joke around.”
He laughed at me and quick denial, saying “How terrible.”
…What’s so terrible about it?
In the first place, for such rumors to spread—isn’t it your fault?
Had you not manipulated Ms. Lumiere from behind the scenes, would everything have even turned out like this?
“Hey, what’s that?”
As I sighed, His Highness Zafield turned to gaze at me.
What I was playing with was a small, white, stuffed animal. Well, calling it a stuffed animal was a stretch. It was truly worn out. While it should had been a rabbit, the face was beyond ugly. The felt fabric was probably pink in color. Not to mention, its vertically elongated ears were barely long.
The strange stuffed animal that a child would’ve made had been re-sewn with a new thread. Although, the sewing was clumsy—well, I’m not in a position to say anything about that. Of course, I practiced a lot, but my skill was less than average.
While immersing myself in the memories of sticking thread into a needle, I proceeded to answer His Highness Zafield’s question.
“His Highness Sazanjill forgot to take this home yesterday. Would you please return it to him?”
“I never knew my brother has such a hobby.”
“Fufu, as it’s a great hobby, it’s no wonder he doesn’t make it public.”
For the future king who’d soon turn 18-years-old to still be carrying a dirty stuffed animal… it would bring rise to a bunch of nasty rumors. Even so, for him to carry it around everywhere… I was certain it was important to him.
However, when I tried to return it, His Highness Zafield only waved his hand.
“I’m sorry, but I’ll have to reject that. I don’t want to talk to my brother.”
“Oh my, what’s the reason?”
It should go without saying that the two lived together in the royal castle. The academy was about half an hour away from the royal castle, so the two would usually head straight to the royal castle instead of the dormitory.
“Yesterday, we had a fight.”
It was probably a quarrel. As it was the day after they fought, there was no injury to be found on His Highness Zafield. Perhaps because I was tilting my head, His Highness Zafield continued.
“Oh, of course, it was my complete victory. My brother did hit me, but the moment I retaliated, he was defeated in one shot. I still feel guilty about that.”
“…As the ace of the swordsmanship club, don’t you lack awareness, teacher?”
“I don’t know what to think about being Lelouche’s teacher.”
His Highness, who deliberately shrugged, cupped his cheek as he crossed his legs. He stroked his slender neck with his fingertips. I was sure that there’d be many female students who’d swoon just by looking at that figure.
I merely averted my gaze.
“So, what was the reason behind the fight?”
“Eh? You’re curious about that?”
“Do not tease me.”
Although, he had already done so.
Afterwards, His Highness Zafield spoke.
“…My brother suddenly rushed me, saying ‘What did you do to my Lelouche?!’ So, I fought back. Rest assured, as of the present, I’m the only one who knows about your annulment.”
His Highness Zafield smiled bitterly while lamenting about how foolish his brother was.
I replied, “You aren’t wrong.”
The two of us paid no heed to the presents piled up within the room. They all arrived that morning. When the maids inspected the contents, we discovered it consisted of bedding, nightwear, life-sized teddy bears, and also books… I had ordered for the fruits and other ingredients to be sent to the kitchen. Even so, there was nothing I could do about the gifts that filled the room.
“Then, at my funeral, can you be more spartan than this?”
“Huh? If it’s a joke, then it’s in bad taste. Let’s not incite any kind of misfortune, so don’t talk like that?”
“Don’t get mad.”
The response was colder than I expected, so I laughed.
His Highness sighed at me and presented a classic sympathy bouquet. An orange rose that impressed anyone who saw it.
His Highness Zafield then said,
“After receiving such gifts, I think this one inferior.”
“That’s not the case. Even though there are so many gifts, none of them are flowers.”
“Well, my brother is that kind of person after all…”
His Highness Zafield spoke in fake astonishment that might as well be serious.
“Honesty and kindness are indeed virtues. However, for those who stand on top, are they truly necessary?”
“Oh, my. Hence you think you’re more suitable to become king—because you’re sly and wise.”
“…I’ve indeed thought about that many times, so I tried to turn my hand a little.”
Probably, to him, bullying Lumiere was part of an experiment.
I stared at His Highness Zafield, the man who had planned to ensnare another’s fiancée. After successfully making her into a tragic heroine, what was he going do next? Would His Highness cut her off and subsequently turn her into the villain? —Or, protect her?
I wasn’t familiar with his thought pattern.
“Are you still harassing Ms. Lumiere?”
“Nope. You caught me, after all. It doesn’t make much sense to continue anymore. Of course, if you think I’m more suitable to become king, I’ll do my best to crush her.”
“That’s such a fussy joke.”
I snorted, and His Highness Zafield proceeded to stand up while tidying up his outfit.
“I’m glad that you’re feeling better than I expected.”
“Thank you for your concern. I’m planning on retunring to the academy next week, so please teach me again.”
“You’re still going to train!?”
“…Truly, despite her appearance, Lelouche is fearless.”
“Oh, is that a compliment?”
“Just leave me be.”
While waving his hand, he went towards the door. Nevertheless, he didn’t open the door.
“What is it?”
“Who do you like the most, Lelouche?”
I just smiled while gazing at his lapis lazuli eyes.
Then, he sighed once again, before going out of the room while saying, “Take care.”
The door was closed, and I looked at the bouquet I had just received.
Orange roses—in the language of flowers, they meant ‘bond.’
So… he was saying that he wanted our bond to not change? Or, did he mean to give it to his brother with whom he had quarreled with? There was also a possibility that His Highness simply didn’t know the language of flowers.
“If I indeed had loved you, that might’ve been a happy future.”
While thinking about such an impossible future, I put the worn-out stuffed animal and the beautiful bouquet on the side table. Then, I laid down and closed my eyes.
—25 days remaining.
The time I had left was about to be cut down to a quarter.
***T/N: I feel like we’re in for an a n g s t
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