39. A Night at the Royal Palace
We were escorted to a very beautiful room.
Each piece of furnishing was a finely crafted luxury item. Nevertheless, they were of gentle colors to avoid being imposing.
I was sure they weren’t new.
Nevertheless, the antiquity reassured me.
I refused when they offered me something to eat. Instead, I asked them to lend me some casual garments and indoor shoes.
Once I had taken off my dress, removed my makeup, and sat in the empty room, I realized how late it was. Despite that, I could still hear the music from the other side of the courtyard. The ball seemed as though it would continue all night long.
Then, I heard a quiet knocking sound.
“…Lucia, are you awake?”
From the other side of the door, I could hear Alves’ voice.
For a moment, my mind blanked. But when I once more heard the knocking, I decided to stand up.
When I opened the door, a gentle and nice scent greeted me.
Alves looked relieved when he saw me, and he immediately smiled.
“I had some drinks and a light meal prepared. Would you like to join me?”
My brother entered the room with a tray after I held the door open for him.
While I closed the door, he placed the tray on top of a small table and prepared a chair for me.
When I approached, my brother offered me a seat.
“Have a drink first. Then, let’s talk a little…”
I nodded and received the steaming cup.
The scent was nice—it appeared to be an herbal tea.
When I gently took a sip, my cold body slowly began to warm. I hadn’t realized how thirsty I was. When I took another sip, my tense body relaxed a little.
My brother looked around the room and procured a stool that was in the corner.
I felt that it was too small for him, but it seemed to be stronger than it appeared. It didn’t even squeak when he decided to put his weight on it.
“…Thank you, brother. This is very good.”
“That’s a relief.”
Alves smiled. However, I noticed that his gaze was kind of full. I decided to speak.
“I’m sorry about a while ago… I realize that I overreacted a bit.”
“You shouldn’t be apologizing. It’s only natural that you’d react like that.”
The smile disappeared from my brother’s face.
“It’s my fault for keeping it a secret from you. He didn’t want any special treatment, and I gave priority to that desire of his.”
“It can’t be helped… After all, Phil—His Highness Philaude—always seemed very relaxed at our home.”
“Around me, you may refer to him as ‘Phil.’”
Alves suddenly turned towards the ceiling.
“He’s been anxious for a long time. His brother is the king, yet as his younger brother, he’s both strong and good at martial arts. He fears he’s threatening his brother’s position.”
With a slightly bitter smile, my brother appeared to have recalled something.
“He tried pretending to be a foolish prince with a dull mind. However, after being punished by the corps commander, his antics stopped. Despite how he acted, he was once the crown prince.”
My brother was subtly gloomy.
Judging from his expression, it didn’t sound like he was praising him.
Suddenly, I recalled what happened after Gorman’s wedding.
Count Orfels had infuriated Phil with his remark. At that moment, I saw another side of Phil.
Did the dismay in my heart appear on my face?
As if troubled, Alves cleared his throat.
“To tell you the truth, he didn’t seem to be enjoying himself at all? Ever since being transferred to the Third Army, it seems he has been serious devoting himself as a member of the military. He had a change of heart, and I think that side of him suits him best.”
“…It’s difficult for me to think of them as the same person.”
When I unintentionally muttered that, Alves’ expression became firm.
He looked at the ceiling, thought a little, and then nodded.
“Well, he’s like a different person because such is his intention. He’s always careful and worried that he’ll be found out someday. Thus, I brought him to the Ragulen territory… and as you know, he likes it there.”
***T/N: Doesn’t matter, what’s in the way IS the way, MARRY ALL THE WAY!!
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