Chapter 16: Lessons need no mercy
The newly risen sun cast its light on the garden, covered in morning mist. In the faint haze, a man was running in the garden.
“One, two, one, two!”
He wasn’t alone. A small shadow was leading the way. Although he usually exercises moderately, the fast tempo set by the leader made him sweat slightly on his forehead.
He thought it was cold outside when he first came out, but now he even finds the chill of the morning mist pleasant. When he began to feel his limit, the leader clapped her hands.
“Ten laps completed! That’s it for today!”
He involuntarily put his hands on his knees and hung his head. He was frustrated that the leader, who had been running at the same pace, wasn’t even out of breath. He wasn’t even bad at exercising, so what was going on with her?
Then, a relaxed voice came from beyond the morning mist.
“Oh my, Yuri-sama. Giving up after ten laps. I guess you don’t have much stamina after all.”
A slight breeze blew, revealing the figure beyond the morning mist.
The first person was Anya, a maid sent from the Noel family. She was the guide who ran with him. She had a more cheerful impression than usual because she had her hair in a ponytail.
And then there was Margaery, sitting at the garden table, elegantly lifting her teacup. After savoring the fragrant tea, she smiled.
“The Noel family’s training has only just begun, you know?”
With a clink, Julius was infuriated. He wiped the sweat from his forehead and pointed his finger sternly.
“Don’t you dare say that, Margaery de Noel, after making the king run early in the morning and then having tea time alone!”
Margaery smiled gracefully at the angry king.
“Why did you go for an early morning run? Wasn’t your goal to reconcile with Serge?”
He seemed to have regained his composure. Julius grumbled discontentedly. When Anya delivered the message that read, “Let’s meet in the garden at dawn,” he responded happily, but this turn of events was unexpected.
On the other hand, Margaery nodded calmly.
“Yes, that’s the right approach.”
“How does that connect to running?”
“Well, warm-up exercises are necessary for everything… As they say, a sound mind resides in a sound body. I thought an early morning run would be perfect for Yuri-sama to rekindle his spirit.”
“Rekindle my spirit?”
Julius tilted his head. Margaery returned the cup to the saucer and elegantly stood up, crossing her arms.
“When I asked His Majesty to reconcile with His Highness Serge, what was his response?”
“…It’s impossible, right?”
“‘Serge probably doesn’t even want to talk to me’?”
With a snap, she pierced Julius with her blue eyes. She then approached the bewildered king and leaned in close.
Perhaps it was because she was looking up at him from such a close distance, but Julius’ cheeks turned slightly red. However, he didn’t look away and bravely said, “W-what?”
Margaery mercilessly poked his chest, which was covered in thin training clothes.
“Negative thinking! Pessimism! Delusions of persecution! Self-centeredness!”
At the sudden use of abusive language, even Julius couldn’t help but frown in irritation. However, Margaery didn’t back down and said firmly,
“Why do you think that? Serge-sama has never said anything like that, even once.”
Julius opened his narrow eyes and quickly averted his gaze.
‘Good. At least he seemed to be aware of it.’ She felt relieved about that.
——If you hadn’t been born, Serge would have inherited the power of the first king.
Julius, who had been subjected to the malice of the Empress and those around her since childhood, had very low self-esteem. In the novel, this fragility triggers a magical outburst.
A beautiful king who bears hidden wounds and suffers in silence. As a character in the story, he was delicate and charming.
But this was the real world. The avoidance of a death flag depended on whether Julius and Serge could reconcile. She couldn’t afford to have him mope around forever if she wanted Margaery to die peacefully.
(Julius-sama needs to stop being so negative!)
“What Yuri-sama lacks is confidence. The confidence to believe that he deserves to be here. The confidence to believe that he’s not wrong. Without that, he can’t truly face Serge-sama.”
The king’s eyes wavered, but there was no sense of aversion. He may have had some thoughts about not wanting to stay the same.
Margaery smiled and waved her hand.
“So, that’s it. Let’s continue our early morning runs to clear our minds. It feels great to run in the clear morning mist.”
“I don’t want to hear that from someone who was enjoying tea time.”
“By the way, running is just a warm-up. My role starts from here.”
She glimmered with excitement.
Margaery presented something to him with great anticipation.
He seemed to have a bad feeling about it. Julius nervously accepted the thick stack of papers, filled from top to bottom with writing. Margaery answered casually while pointing to it.
“This is a collection of hypothetical conversations for use with Serge-sama. It’s 100 pages long.”
“I’ve put together 300 different conversations to match various situations. If you memorize them, even a monkey…or a wolf can reconcile with Serge-sama.”
“Of course, I’ve already memorized them.” Margaery proudly declared, leaving Julius speechless as he looked down at the papers in front of him. He didn’t even have to memorize this much for his coronation speech.
“Do I really need to memorize all of this? Didn’t you say I needed “confidence” earlier?”
“Even more so. It would be troublesome if you couldn’t speak at the last minute due to nerves, wouldn’t it? The achievement of ‘having worked hard for this day’ is important. That’s the purpose of this training.
By the way, memorization is not the ultimate goal. I will supervise everything from facial expressions and tone of voice to even gestures to make it perfect.
However, the first step is crucial for everything. Memorization is most effective when you move your body. So today, let’s do a read-through while doing some footwork.
Do you have any questions?”
“Blah blah blah.” Margaery proudly continued.
The king was stunned and looked down at the conversation collection. ‘If I gave in a little, what she said made sense… but memorizing 100 pages was reckless.’
When Julius looked worriedly at Margaery, Anya shook her head quietly.
“The woman you fell in love with worked hard to make this for you. Please give up and do as she says.”
“Alright then. Let’s start with the beginner’s ‘One-word Conversation: Greetings.’ Okay, let’s begin!”
“…Hi. Good morning, Serge.”
“Your voice is too quiet!”
“H-Hi! Good morning, Serge!”
“HI!! GOOD MORNING!! SERGE!!!!”
After that, Margaery’s lesson continued with scolding and encouragement.