I Don’t Care About Being Liked by the Capture Targets. I Will Be Myself and Free! – Chapter 5

Chapter 5: Spring at the Age of 11 (Part – 5)

Chloe, who was crouching in the shade of the hedge, suddenly felt someone’s presence and was startled.

If she secretly observes them, she can see Steed and his cousins coming towards her while chatting.

“Ugh, the private tutor gave us such a troublesome assignment. Observing roses, really?”

“Why isn’t the gardener here? He’s useless.”

When they arrive in front of the gazebo in the rose garden, they start to spread out their sketchbooks.

The accompanying servants quickly prepare tea and then step back.

(Doing homework while drinking tea is so elegant.)

The scent of tea and cake wafts over, and she can’t help but wrinkle her nose.

“Let’s finish the assignment quickly and relax. The red flowers were in full bloom. That’s it!”

“Hey, that’s not enough. . .Was it something like this?”

“You never change, do you?”

The boys are poking at the roses with an obviously unenthusiastic attitude while fooling around.

(They’re so childish.)

Why are boys like this?

But even among them, Steed feels a little different.

He watches his cousins fooling around with a wry smile and starts sketching the roses.

“Hey, hey, Prince Steed is serious, isn’t he?”

Gideon, one of his cousins, puts his arm around Steed and teases him with admiration.

Gideon is usually the one who takes the lead in mischief.

His easily carried away and frivolous nature is reflected in his face.

Chloe doesn’t particularly like Gideon.

Especially his slicked-back hair, imitating adults and looking forced, makes her feel uncomfortable.

Every time she sees him, she feels like messing up his hair.

But she won’t do it because her hands would get sticky.

While continuing to copy the drawing, Steed skillfully responds to Gideon’s teasing.

“It’s best to finish troublesome tasks quickly.”

“Haha, I wonder if even Steed finds it bothersome.”

“If you’re going to admire flowers anyway, violets are better than roses.”

For a moment, Chloe felt like Steed looked in her direction while saying that.

But he should be perfectly hidden, so it must be her imagination.

Chloe had completely forgotten that Steed often describes her eye color as “beautiful violet eyes.”

(Steed said that the infamous illegitimate child will come later.)

As she watches nervously to see if it will come true. . .

“Huh? It’s the Prime Minister.”

“How rare. What is he doing here?”

(He really came?!)

The boys tilt their heads as they see the Prime Minister coming from the entrance of the rose garden.

Their suspicious gaze is not only on the Prime Minister but also on the red-haired boy next to him.

“He’s with an unfamiliar guy. . .”

Chloe gasps involuntarily as she hears Gideon’s muttering.

(No way. . .)

Fiery red hair.

A challenging gaze.

Tightly pursed lips.

A slender face resembling that of the king.

Chloe forgets to breathe for a few seconds as she continues to stare at the boy over the hedge, just as Steed described.

“Your Highness Steed, everyone, this way.”

The boys called by the Prime Minister gather, tilting their heads in confusion.

All eyes are fixed on the red-haired boy.

“This is Roland-sama, the king’s illegitimate child.”

“What?!”

Steed’s cousins, the Duke’s sons, exclaim in surprise.

On this side of the hedge, Chloe is also shocked in a different way.

(Exactly as Steed explained it. . .!)

At Steed’s request, Chloe had written down the Prime Minister’s lines on a piece of paper and brought it with her.

The exchange, as if it were a script, continues to unfold.

(According to Steed, that boy will be next. . .)

Roland, the red-haired boy, looks around at Steed and the others with a tired expression, and a smirk appears on his face as if he’s making fun of them.

(This is the same!)

Roland’s provocative attitude is enough to freeze the already tense atmosphere.

Beside Gideon, who opens his eyes wide in surprise, Steed also pretends to be equally surprised.

Neither the Prime Minister nor Steed’s cousins seem to notice Steed’s acting.

Steed is good at hiding his emotions with a smile, so this kind of thing is probably a piece of cake for him.

(From my perspective, it’s pretty obvious. When he’s wearing a fake smile, it’s a little suspicious.)

Moreover, she knew Steed’s real smile, she would know that his forced smile is nothing compared to it. 

Rather, why doesn’t anyone notice it?

At that moment, the words Steed had once said vaguely came back to Chloe’s mind.

“No one who is interested in me really exists. Not even my father or mother, they don’t have much interest in me as a replaceable third prince. Neither do the people around me.”

Chloe doesn’t understand that.

Replaceable?

Why do you have such an idea?

Steed is Steed, and it’s impossible for anyone else to replace him.

He indulges Chloe’s whims, listens to her plans for mischief, is sometimes a little annoying, but talking to him is always fun.

At least for Chloe, there is no one who can replace Steed.

She remembers feeling a little frustrated and sulky.

Unconsciously puffing out her cheeks, she hears a chuckle from beside her. . .

“Don’t make that face, Chloe. If I can become a special existence for you, that’s enough for me. If only Chloe knows the real me, I don’t care about anyone else.”

The Prime Minister’s words brought Chloe’s mind back to reality.

“Regarding Steed-sama, His Majesty the King has a message for you, asking that you become close like other brothers. Since you are close in age, you should get along well. His Majesty also commands that all of your cousins become close as classmates from now on.”

“. . .I understand. Please convey my message to Father.”

Steed’s flawless smile shows a hint of confusion. . .mixed with a feigned expression.

On the other hand, Gideon couldn’t accept it so easily and didn’t hide his exclusive feelings.

“Even if they call us classmates. . .”

“This guy, a prince. . .?”

Even though they were speaking in a low voice, the whispering could be heard clearly.

The Prime Minister heard it but chose to ignore it.

His attitude showed that he had given up on trying to reconcile them from the beginning.

“I have work to do, so I’ll take my leave now.”

With that, the Prime Minister quickly left, with a face that said he had fulfilled his role.

Although they had heard about this development, they couldn’t help but be surprised when they actually saw it.

(Leaving this situation alone?!)

Because there was no way they could get along in this atmosphere.

(Indeed, even if the Prime Minister mediated, it wouldn’t make any difference. . .!)

She couldn’t help but think that the adult’s “let’s not make a fuss” policy was terrifying.

“Hey, what are we going to do. . .?”

“Even if you ask me. . .”

“Get along. . .even though he’s a prince, but with someone from the lower class. . .?”

“Hah. Well, it’s because I have commoner’s blood mixed in, right?”

A laugh that seemed to mock him broke out among his cousins.

You couldn’t help but think, “See, I told you so.”

In the midst of it all, Steed seemed to want to change the atmosphere.

He extended his right hand to shake hands with Roland.

“Nice to meet you, Roland. Let’s get along from now on.”

However, Roland let out an exaggerated sigh in response.

“I’m not planning on playing with princes or rich kids. It’s seriously annoying. Don’t bother with me.”

“W-What?!”

With a sharp gaze that didn’t seem like that of a child, Roland glared at the boys facing him.

The boys were overwhelmed by Roland’s overwhelming hostility and lost their words.

(That kid is amazing. . .)

He seems a bit like a villain.

(That look in his eyes is inspiring. I should practice it in front of the mirror when I get home. . .Wait, his words just now were the same as before, right?!)

Up until now, everything had gone exactly as Steed had explained.

“What should I do. . .Steed’s words were true after all.”

It had been proven right in front of her.

Even the lines each person spoke were the same as Steed had explained.

There was no doubt about it.

“But, no way. . .! Ah, I can’t keep up with my own thoughts!”

As she held her head in front of the hedge, she heard surprising words from beyond the greenery.


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