𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟏𝟎: 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐂𝐫𝐨𝐰𝐧 𝐏𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐜𝐞 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐈
The usual spot behind the second school building.
As I expected, His Highness was there. His Highness, who was reading a book while sitting on a tree stump, looked up with a slightly surprised expression at my voice.
“. . .You.”
It seems His Highness understands.
That I can control my charm magic even towards those who like His Highness.
“You’ve accomplished it.”
“. . .Well done.”
His Highness puts the book he was reading on the stump, stands up, faces me, narrows his blue eyes, and smiles. At His Highness’s gentle voice, my cheeks involuntarily turn red, but I caution myself not to accidentally let my charm magic run wild.
I took a step closer to His Highness. Even as the distance closed, the area under His Highness’s cloak remained silent.
“. . .Your Highness. I. . . I like you.”
“. . .You. . .”
Looking straight into his eyes, I said it.
I worked hard to say these words.
“I wanted to tell you once I could fully control my charm magic. Otherwise, I would surely cast charm magic on you. . . I wanted to tell you, not with the power of charm magic, but properly.”
“. . .Ah, you’ve worked hard.”
His Highness has the Evil-Banishing Items, so he should never actually be affected by charm magic, but if I had been facing him with my charm magic running wild, by now the area under His Highness’s cloak would probably be like a fireworks display.
It’s very quiet when there’s no sound of His Highness’s Evil-Banishing Items exploding. I can clearly hear my own heartbeat.
“I won’t bother Your Highness anymore, right? Now, Your Highness can. . . progress in finding a bride.”
I looked up at His Highness’s face and smiled.
“Thank you for everything up until now! I will continue to do my best. From now on, I will aim for all ‘excellent’ grades with my own power! I will also try my best at free love!”
I felt refreshed.
I have no regrets now. I felt a sense of accomplishment for the first time in my life. I accomplished this to tell this person that I like him. Until now, I had been receiving false evaluations and favors due to my charm magic, and I had been taking advantage of that without realizing it. I was able to achieve my goal with my own power. I’m happy. There was even a sense of liberation. An indescribable refreshing feeling.
I laughed from the bottom of my heart and bowed to His Royal Highness.
His Highness should have no more worries. A troublesome person who could potentially threaten the country by unconsciously letting loose charm magic, which is a forbidden magic, and who might have to be confined in a solitary cell. He no longer has to look after such a person.
His Highness will concentrate on finding a bride, and I will work hard on my studies and free love, each of us accomplishing what we should do, and if we pass each other in the hallway, we will have a little chat. That’s the kind of relationship we will have from now on. Maybe we can even become more comfortable with each other than we are now.
Thinking about it makes me chuckle.
And then, the moment I turned on my heel to leave from behind this second school building.
“. . .Huh?”
A large hand was gripping my wrist.
When I turned around, His Highness’s large eyes were staring at me.
“Do you intend to run away after confessing, you?”
“Didn’t you persevere to the end because you wanted to be by my side?”
“Well, that. . . but, Your Highness is the crown prince, so you have to find a suitable queen. . .”
His Highness’s face, which was close to mine, twisted.
His well-shaped eyebrows rose, and deep wrinkles were etched between them. My heart jumped at the intensity of his blue eyes, and I swallowed.
“There’s no one but you.”
His low, hoarse voice hit my earlobe.
“No, but, I. . . I’m just the daughter of a humble commoner who made his fortune. I’m not fit to be a queen. . .”
“If status was necessary for a queen, I wouldn’t be looking for a bride at this academy. If that were the case, I would already be engaged to a girl chosen by the royal family based solely on her family background.”
I realized, belatedly, that His Highness had bent his tall back to meet my gaze. His large palms were resting on my shoulders.
“. . .Think about it. Why I’m looking for a bride at this Magic Academy, what that means.”
“Eh, huh. . .?”
“I don’t care about your social status. If you have a good character and decent magical power, and if I find you desirable, that’s enough.”
“. . .Huh?”
His face is close, very close.
“There is no one else who possesses such powerful magic and can control it as you do.”
“But, but. . .”
“I’d like to meet someone who can open the magic box sealed in the State Temple with their magical power, if there is such a person.”
“. . .But. . .”
“I want you, Claudia.”
I gasp for breath. I can only see His Highness’s beautiful blue eyes.
My brain was shaken by the impact of hearing my name called for the first time in his voice.
“Y, You’re not under a charm spell, are you?”
“There’s no way I could be.”
His Highness’s voice and gaze were serious.
I collapsed on the spot.
“I’m glad. . .”
The Crown Prince, who speaks sweet words that are too good to be true for me, made me think, “Could it be?”
His Highness looks at me, who is relieved, with a soft gaze.
“Can I really, really, like you, Your Highness?”
His Highness knelt down and reached out to me, who had collapsed on the ground.
His Highness had a wry smile on his face as he looked at me, who was alternating between looking at his palm and his face.
When I finally took His Highness’s hand hesitantly, His Highness slowly and gently, but firmly, lifted my body.
“Thank you, Albert-sama. . .”
His Highness, who was supporting my body, opened his eyes wide.
“. . .You, it’s the first time you’ve called me by my name.”
“Eh, is that so?”
His Highness narrowed his eyes at me, who was surprised.
“I thought you didn’t even know my name.”
“Ehehe, but, Your Highness feels like Your Highness.”
His Highness was laughing mischievously. There’s no way I wouldn’t know. It’s the name of the crown prince of this country.
Because His Highness is His Highness, I’ve always called him that. But now, I wanted to call him by his name.
Before I knew it, I was being held tightly by His Highness. The heartbeat I could hear from His Highness’s chest pressed against me was very fast. As fast as my own heartbeat.
“From now on, call my name more. . . because you’re going to be my queen.”
“Ye. . .yes. . .”
His Highness’s hand covered my cheek, which I had lowered in embarrassment.
“Hey, hang in there a little longer. Lift your face.”
When I obediently lifted my face, there was His Highness, making a face I had never seen before.
“I love you. . .Claudia.”
A voice that couldn’t form words leaked from my throat.
Then, a loud sound burst from under His Highness’s cloak. Then, a series of loud popping sounds echoed cheerfully.
“. . .”
“. . .Um. . .”
As if to represent our feelings, which couldn’t find a second phrase, the sound of the Evil-Banishing ItemS exploding with a bang was heard a little later.
“――It seems we still have some issues to address, don’t we? Claudia.”
“Le, let’s do our best, Albert-sama!”
Our bright future full of promise is still to come.