12. The Rotten Lady Rosa Wants to Watch Over Love from the Shadows
Chapter Twelve: Intermission
A cool autumn breeze shook a pair of curtains in the afternoon. A stunningly luxurious room with giant tapestries and lavish furniture came into focus. A young man was sleeping on the sofa with his arms dangling.
“Sir Leon. Sir Leon! Why are you still sleeping?!”
“H-H-Huh? Oh, it’s you Kamil. What is it?” After his attendant, the knight Kamil, shook him by the shoulders, Leon irritably opened his eyes. “Let me sleep just a bit more. just five or ten… rather, give me fifty minutes…”
“Don’t fall asleep after saying that! You should know that today is a busy day.” Kamil said as Leon was about to fall asleep once more. Leon finally raised his upper body after having his aid nag him.
He looked like a ferocious lion as he stretched with a yawn. The boy Leon was yet to reach twenty. Nonetheless, he, Leon von Bergwein, already possessed the skill and presence to subjugate others.
He was the prince of the Kingdom of Berg, and he was the successor to the throne. His hair was short and gleamed with a beautiful, almost blinding golden hue. He had a handsome face and a sturdy build. His golden pupils, on the other hand, were his most striking feature. The gods’ power resided within his body, as indicated by his blond hair and golden eyes. The color of his hair and pupils, in addition to indicating his aristocratic status, also indicated the strength of his magical power.
It was said that the brighter the color, the greater the magical power. In other words, the boy’s hair color and pupils signified that he had been abundantly blessed by the gods and demonstrated his supreme status.
“If you’re referring to the approvals, I’m already through with them. I’ve also gone over the protocol for the following five days and memorized it. That means the training skirmishes against the knights in the evening are the only thing left for me to do. Which gives me enough time to sleep.”
“Are you forgetting about the tea party at 2 P.M.? While paying a visit to your mother, the queen, you’re supposed to meet with some misses. Given that you’ve already completed your other tasks, I’m sure you won’t say no to a cup of tea, will you?”
“A cup of that aphrodisiac infused tea. Should I really?”
Kamil merely looked down as Leon said cynically.
“I’ll try to prevent that from happening this time. If I allow it to occur on a regular basis, the First Knight Order will lose face.”
“Well, as long as I have my magic, I can neutralize almost any poison. However, being constantly treated as a breeding horse is getting on my nerves.”
“It just goes to show how popular you are amongst the misses Sir Leon.”
“More like, it’s my magic power that’s popular, not me.” Leon said and softly stood up from the sofa.
Magical power was a luxury reserved for royalty and nobles. It was the source of their superiority and special status, as well as the thing that guaranteed it. Nobles invariably preferred blond hair and lighter eyes to flax hair and dark eyes.
The golden colored eyes, which were reported to be the same color as the kingdom’s forefathers, were something that every one of those nobles yearned for. After all, securing the bloodline would elevate their family’s standing. Which was why all the aristocratic ladies flocked to Leon.
“Even though it’s autumn, the days are still long. They’ll get quite thrilled if they look into my eyes while it’s this bright outside, which will cause quite a fuss.” Leon said while fixing his collar in front of the mirror… the more magic power one’s eyes contained, the more powerful they were at charming the person who stared into them, driving that person insane.
Powerful eyes, in particular, have the ability to strongly arouse a person and draw out their real desires and nature. As a result, Leon had frequently encountered scenarios in which a supposedly graceful lady would approach him like a fanatic, or gentlemen who appeared calm at first, would beat down others.
“I wish I could go back to the days when I still had brown hair and brown eyes.”
“Sir Leon…” Kamil said, saddened as he saw Leon move away from the mirror.
Only Kamil, Leon’s attendant, cousin, and best friend, was aware that the prince’s hair and eyes were not originally golden. Leon was born without any of the characteristics that would be associated with a member of the royal family. Because of her gorgeous blond hair and green eyes, Leon’s mother, Dorethea, had been chosen as the king’s wife from a vassal kingdom across the sea.
The king had only married her to have her assist him in preserving the royal family’s colors.
Dorothea had been looking forward to seeing what kind of hair and eyes her son would have, but Leon was born with brown hair and eyes, exactly like a commoner.
“It’s true that she scorned me and drove me out of the country as a result of it, but I was able to live comfortably because of it.” Fearing that she would be accused of being unfaithful, the queen kept Leon hidden for half a year after his birth, allowing only her best friend, a duchess, to see him, claiming that Leon had a weak constitution.
She then handed Leon to her native country, saying that he would be treated well there. Because of her acts, only a few people in the entire Kingdom of Berg were aware of Leon’s past. Leon’s existence had been mostly secret even in his mother’s homeland, and he had not received the treatment that a prince deserved.
Fortunately for Leon, unlike the kingdom itself, his mother’s vassal nation did not place such a high value on magic power. He hadn’t been treated like a prince, but he hadn’t been oppressed either. As a result, he had a wonderful childhood, playing with his pals in the city’s low-lying areas, living at a merchant’s home to learn how to make money, and studying swordsmanship from the guards.
He still had royal blood streaming through his veins, despite his odd hair and eye color. Thanks to that Leon had been able to display various talents.
That all changed three years ago, when Leon was fifteen years old.
His mother’s subordinates had decided to attack Leon because they were terrified that his existence would be discovered.
Leon had been to awaken his magical power when surrounded and his life in danger. A ferocious flame, a roaring wave, wind, thunder, earth, and light had exploded at the time. He had practically all the elements on display. To put it in context, a high-ranking noble would be lauded if he or she possessed just two or three.
He had not only demonstrated a wide range of elements, but they were also all quite forceful. His hair and pupils had changed hue at that point. In other words, his brown color had been caused by the condensation of too much magic power up to that point.
When his mother had found out, she had promptly changed her mind about him. She’d started pushing Leon into Berg with a frantic attitude, driving the first princess, who had been the successor at the time, away.
Leon had rebelled at the time, but oddly, he had been highly qualified as a king because of his tough background, which forced him to engage with various sectors of society. And that’s how he ended up where he is now. Living as the ideal prince, admired by all, inside the royal palace, entirely covering his past and original pigmentation.
“Well don’t think too much of it. It was merely a joke, Kamil. Despite my flaws, I was nonetheless born a prince. So, I should at the very least carry out the responsibilities that come with it. And I must live up to your expectations as well.” Leon said with a smile.
Three years ago, while Princess Christine was still first in line for the throne, there were plans to marry her to Kamil, the eldest son of a Duke family and the son of the chancellor. However, due to Leon’s awakening all those plans had gone down the drain.
And because the chancellor hadn’t given his eldest son any lessons on how to inherit the family because he intended to marry him off, Kamil’s future had suddenly become very uncertain.
Fortunately, Kamil’s aptitude in healing magic had attracted the attention of the First Knight Order, and he had been able to secure his position as the prince’s aide and a company commander of the knights.
And, despite having been flung around by adults his entire life, Kamil didn’t appear to mind. Rather, he was actively caring for the selfish queen who had fallen ill a few years before.
Looking at Kamil, Leon felt obligated to fulfill his job as a successor and become king after pushing out the other successor, albeit against his will. At the very least he had to see it to the end so that he could reward Kamil.
“I’m aware that Sir Leon is more powerful and brilliant than any other, therefore I never doubted your ability. I estimated that you would need not more than three days to go over these documents when I handed them to you.”
“So, you’re the one responsible for these, Kamil…” With half-closed eyes, Leon said. He then took the stack of paperwork and handed them over to Kamil.
“Nonetheless, there was an interesting case this time, so I had fun while reading.”
“Oh, do you mean the Langheim case?”
“That’s right. That case involving the count’s daughter, nicknamed the Rose Angel, who, along with her father’s illegitimate kid, managed to identify and expose her father’s illegal slave trade. Apparently, the count was sent to a monastery after a quick trial within their territory. After that, the girl and her brother accepted responsibility for their father’s crimes and offered to give up a portion of their land, but the residents of the area started a petition and even gathered signatures. It all seems like something out of a fairytale.” Leon said, explaining the case to Kamil, who was looking at the document with his eyes wide open.
“What? In the end, His Majesty decided to let them keep their land. Hm. Bernando, it appears, is expected to join the First Knight Order for three years until he is old enough to inherit the family… I see. Since he is still young, they are actually trying to make him faithful to the king.” Leon brought up another issue while Kamil was reading and nodding.
“Take a look at this part. It says that the sister, Rosa, is to work in the royal villa as a discussion companion for Chris during the same time.”
“Oh my! The sister is coming as well. Was it the queen who instigated it? After all, she’s been eager to fix the princess’ character for quite some time.”
“Seeing that her disease isn’t healing, she suddenly became concerned for her children’s future. She’s most certainly intending on marrying me and making that girl a friend of my younger sister.” The queen had been able to constantly gather foolish aristocratic ladies who would come to the palace to serve as her chatting partners by setting out the trap of marriage with prince Leon.
Leon breathed a sigh of relief just thinking about it.
The queen’s condition had not improved in three years, despite the efforts of the royal doctors, which included Kamil and many other healers.
Rough skin, hair loss, vomiting, and general weakness were among her symptoms. She had days when she felt energetic, but she also had days when she couldn’t get out of bed.
Last year, the king, unable to endure the sight of his wife in such a state, went to the effort of conquering a heretic clan known for its healing techniques and abducted some of their members. Even that, though, had been futile. The queen’s death was becoming increasingly apparent, and this had an impact on the atmosphere throughout the palace.
Rosa’s visit this time was most likely orchestrated by the queen, who had noticed that her power was waning as her illness progressed. Her endeavor to select a marriage for her son and a friend for her daughter was almost certainly an attempt to interfere and exert power.
“In the end, all of this has resulted in increased fights between the royal palace and heretics, my sister being served friends, and me being poisoned with aphrodisiac. My mother is just like Pandora’s box.” Leon said coldly. Leon was particularly upset that he had become entangled in the Apt Village invasion because of his status as a prince.
He had opened Apt Village’s gates with his enormous magic power to try to decrease the bloodshed as much as possible. He had also forbidden the church from burning the Apt people’s writings and had placed some Apt cultural objects in the royal palace library to protect them. Regardless of Leon’s actions, the Apt village residents’ hatred for the palace could not be prevented.
Leon eventually became tired of dealing with the problems caused by his mother.
“It appears that Ladu, the Apt healer who has been staying at the palace, has recently become very frustrated. According to the Knight Order, he oversees the aphrodisiac that the misses carry. It seems like he’s trying to create stir around me. I’m hoping that the girl who will be arriving this time, Lady Rosa, will not fall into his traps.”
“To be frank, Sir Leon, I believe that you’re free to be a bit stricter with that healer. After all, he’s probably looking down on you Sir Leon, because you refuse to get involved with him.” Kamil worriedly pointed out, then looked down at the documents once more. “But I believe this time might be okay, Sir Leon. Despite her ailing condition, this Rose Angel appears to be a very humble and well-received woman. Maybe this means she’ll have a reserved demeanor. She shouldn’t, at the very least, cause as many difficulties as those barbaric misses.”
“Humble and well-received huh…” Leon mumbled.
He then leaned down again and instructed Kamil to read a different section. It was the section that was concerned with the signatures that the residents of Langheim had submitted in order to keep their land.
“Approximately 3000 signatures… This has been signed by every single adult in the territory. What incredible loyalty.”
“Don’t you think their literacy rate is quite incredible as well? It piqued my interest, so I did some research and discovered that this Rose Angel has been teaching the residents how to write for several years. Although at the moment they can at most write their names.”
“That’s…” Kamil was shocked upon hearing the news.
Leon then placed the documents on the table and walked over to a chess board, where he picked up a piece. “The quality of Langheim’s wheat has been improving gradually starting about five years ago. Rumor has it that this Rose Angel, Rose Angel von Langheim, has been utilizing magic power to create leaf mould and distribute it throughout the territory. An increase in both literacy rate and crop quality. If this is accurate, it is commendable for a young lady of her age.”
“You have a point, Sir Leon…” Kamil said. If the stories were true, it would indicate that this lady possessed exceptional brains and courage. “If she really is this amazing, Sir Leon, she might even be able to resist your eyes’ temptation.”
“I doubt that.” Leon stated as he placed the piece he was holding back onto the board.
“In the end, even the most intellectual and virtuous person is bound to disclose their hideous character in front of these eyes. The only difference is the sheer ugliness of nature.” Picking up the white and black queens in each hand, Leon said. He then glanced down and smirked ironically.
“You said that Langheim’s Rose Angel would be a timid one, did you not? I, on the other hand, dare call her a greedy and sly young lady. After all, she’ll be dealing with that stubborn princess. She’s bound to show her true colors sooner or later.” Dropping both queens to the board, Leon declared. Both queens began to roll around on the board, ultimately falling off.
“However, I suppose it will be somewhat interesting to see how it all plays out.” Leon’s eyes didn’t look to be filled with excitement despite what he stated. His pleasant low voice carried just dry feelings, as if he wasn’t expecting anything.