25. The Rotten Lady Rosa Wants to Watch Over Love from the Shadows
Chapter Twenty Five: Rosa Seeks to Encourage Paganism (III)
“What are you reading with such zeal?”
Bernardo was reading a book in the shade of a tree during a break in the knights’ training when he unexpectedly looked up at the person who spoke to him.
Prince Leon and his attendant, Kamil, were the two men standing there. Princess Chris was also there, gazing at Bernando as if she was embarrassed for some reason. When Bernardo saw the unexpected visitors, he leaped to his feet.
“Please accept my apologies. I never expected that Your Highnesses would be here today…”
“Relax. You’re free to do whatever you want during your break. Besides, I’m not a stickler about etiquette. Neither are my sister or Kamil. If you’d choose, you may even speak to me casually.” Bernardo, who had no interest in men, tensed even more as Leon spoke with a lovely smile.
Bernando felt as if his submissive character, which he had been accustomed to exhibiting, was being stripped away from him in front of Leon’s golden gaze, and his tongue was slipping carelessly.
This was undoubtedly due to Leon’s magic power. Bernando despised the idea of being driven to expose his actual self.
“I cannot. I’m afraid I simply cannot afford to act in a disrespectful manner in front of Your Highnesses and my senior.” Bernando was taken aback and responded with courtesy. On the other hand, Leon amusedly raised the ends of his mouth into a smile.
“I see. So, what are you reading? Is this a language textbook?”
“Yes. This… Writing is still a challenge for me. That is why Dear Sister assigns homework to me every week.”
Bernando replied with a slightly furrowed brow. He was afraid to show his deficiencies, which stemmed from his upbringing in a downtown area, in front of the prince of a kingdom, a man who was becoming quite interested in Rosa. Leon’s focus, on the other hand, was drawn elsewhere.
“Oh. So, Rosa is also teaching you to read and write?”
“Yes. Dear Sister is fluent in several languages and is also an excellent teacher. She even taught people to write for free in Langheim. Now that she’s come to the royal palace, she still corrects their letters by writing them back.”
“Amazing.” Not just Leon but also Kamil and Chris in the background were stunned. Bernardo was overjoyed and proudly told them about his sister’s other achievements.
“Dear Sister often says, ‘Imagination is the finest asset of all.’ Recognizing letters allows one to read books, which broadens one’s horizons. She doesn’t boast about her good deeds, and she even expresses constraint in front of me, her younger brother.”
“Perhaps it’s because she’s afraid about overdoing it because she’s a woman. My Dear Sister is a noblewoman among noblewomen, with a sense of modesty, despite the fact that our family is a greedy one.”
Bernando’s voice was full of genuine respect, which was uncharacteristic given the cynical man he was. Rosa’s face would have surely stiffened if she had heard him.
After all, she hadn’t taught their people to read and write with such lofty ideals in mind. She had taken crafty steps to avoid being chastised by Bernardo, with the long-term goal of one day having the residents of her region become readers of the Rose Book.
In fact, the character Ber in Rosa’s dictations was based on Bernardo. All of the extended reading comprehension was created to encourage deep reading and teach people how to appreciate fictional characters.
“I see… She certainly does have a certain level of integrity, or, to put it another way, a heart that exclusively looks out for others.” Kamil, who had been listening in the background, passionately praised Rosa in a calm manner. He then gave Leon a teasing smile as he looked at him. “Regardless of how hard Prince Leon tries to ‘seduce’ her, all she talks about is her brother.”
“Quiet,” Leon responded dejectedly.
Leon had been attempting to get close to Rosa, who had started attending the library on a regular basis, but no matter how much he gazed at her with his golden eyes or invited her to tea parties, she would always ask, “By the way, what do you think of Bernardo?” or “Can Bernando accompany us?” and reject his advances in an innocent manner.
“When confronted with these eyes, I’m sure most people can’t help but reveal their inner avarice… If all she speaks about is her brother, then does she truly have no desire to stand out or be loved I wonder?” With his brow furrowed, Leon spoke, still unwilling to believe Rosa. At the same time, one could tell that he was strangely captivated by her.
Bernardo inquired carefully, his guard up. “Thank you for your kind words. …So, what is it that prompted you to reach out to me?” Despite the prince’s reputation for being friendly, Bernando couldn’t understand why he would approach him, a lowly knight. Furthermore, why would he do it with the princess at his side?
If he’s about to ask me how to win over my Dear Sister, I’ll gladly teach him a way that will undoubtedly make her despise him.
Bernardo’s wicked ideas raced in his head underneath the nervous expression he was portraying. However, he was then left speechless by Leon’s next sentence.
“We wanted to offer some advice, or rather, request Rosa’s assistance.”
“What?” Bernando exclaimed in shock, and Kamil took over to explain.
“Sir Bernando, do you know what the physician’s role is at the royal palace?”
“To some degree. The physician is one of the Apts, who are famed for their medical expertise but are not accepted inside the royal palace due to their lack of magical power.”
“Correct. It’s an unpleasant situation, but overcoming the disparities in appearance and morals will take a lot of effort on both sides. I make every effort to be accommodating, but Ladu al Aptan is a difficult person to deal with.”
According to Kamil, Ladu was the sixth prince of the Apts who possessed exceptional medical talents. He had been summoned to the royal court in return for his abilities and the preservation of Apt’s autonomy.
On the other hand, Ladu was unconcerned with his situation as a hypothetical hostage and maintained an arrogant attitude. Even if it was unavoidable, he did not use honorifics even with the highest nobility because he was a foreigner. He did not carry out his given responsibilities and spent his time slacking.
Not only that, but he had been so enraged by the attack on his people that he rebelled against the royal family and the knights, causing them nothing but problems.
“He has been abusing his expertise to modify medication, for example, by providing aphrodisiac to the ladies who wish to seduce Prince Leon. This morning, we discovered another case of it.”
Kamil, like Rosa, couldn’t be healed with magic due to his healing magic, so when he went to Ladu with an injury, Ladu refused to treat him, but he had also given Kamil a wrong prescription worsening his wound.
Furthermore, he had shied away from responsibility by saying that he was merely administering the necessary medication.
How despicable. Bernardo frowned. Following that, Chris, who had been silently listening to the conversation, leaned closer.
“I went to see my brother today to talk about Arina’s treatment when I overheard Kamil talking about the same issue and remembered that the physician had also given a prescription for Arina. He is extremely cruel if he offers not just aphrodisiacs but also medications that promote aggressiveness.” Chris had come to tell Rosa, who was being treated by the physician, about his drugs.
“I know that this is my responsibility to take, but Rosa, who has access to the main palace and is associated with my sister and me, may appear as a tempting target to Ladu. In addition, this weekend marks the one-year anniversary of the Apts attack. Ladu’s piety has been developing; thus, I assume he will ultimately become more violent. I’ll personally warn Rosa, but, if possible, I’d prefer you, her brother, to keep an eye out as well.” Leon said in conclusion.
Bernardo then locked his gaze on Leon’s fearless face.
“I sincerely appreciate the thoughtfulness you have shown for my sister. However…” Bernando expressed his gratitude for the sake of appearances, but he couldn’t help but add, “…it is somewhat surprising. I was left with the impression that Your Highness was distrustful of my dear sister, no?”
Bernando stated that to keep Leon under control and to confirm his actual motives. Bernardo didn’t like how Leon treated his saintly sister with caution and suspicion at times.
Bernando was aware that Leon was constantly chased by women due to his standing as a prince and his excellent looks, but he wanted to warn him not to redirect his mistrust of women to his delicate sister.
Bernando had anticipated Leon to make an unpleasant expression or try to gloss over the question, but Leon merely smiled at him. It was a somewhat menacing yet endearing smile that even someone of the same gender could appreciate.
“Your impression is correct. However, regardless of whether she has a strong or noble attitude. A girl who does not shrink in front of these eyes intrigues me greatly.” Then, just like a predator, he narrowed his gaze. “And I don’t like it when other people mess with my prey,” Leon stated arrogantly.
Bernardo clenched his teeth, sensing that he had been made aware of the difference in their positions. At the very least, this haughty prince was more elegant than Bernando, who had snagged a spot next to Rosa by posing as her lovely younger brother.
“So it’s like that… But, Your Highness, can’t such a dangerous individual be quickly dispatched at your discretion? Rather than leisurely waiting. Protecting my dear sister, I believe it would be preferable to discourage the opponent’s desire to fight as soon as feasible.”
People became violent when irritated.
When Bernardo grumbled as he averted his gaze, Leon shrugged his shoulders and said, “You sound exactly like Kamil. Because he is in a position where he can easily go in and out of our kingdom, I have certain plans for him that will benefit the kingdom. We did attack their village, but I want to preserve their dignity to the best of my ability until they publicly exhibit their hostility.”
Leon’s sarcastic words implied that he was aware of the childishness and arrogance of his own statements. Bernardo had no right to push the prince any further if this was the case. Furthermore, Bernando didn’t care what happened to the physician as long as Rosa was safe.
I have to keep an eye on my sister since she is prone to getting into problems and is quick to sacrifice herself for others… Bernando thought, making up his mind. But, at the same time…
When they heard a woman’s piercing scream coming from the direction of the library, they all glanced up in shock.
“DEAR SISTER!” Bernardo could not possibly have mistaken his cherished sister’s voice.
When Leon and the others noticed Bernardo’s expression shift, they exchanged quick glances before sprinting to the library.