Chapter 12: The Visitor
“Yes, it’s perfect. You have a good memory.”
“…what a waste of words.”
Several days have passed since I was taught letters by William-sama.
Since he frequently praises me, even for small things, I am desperately trying not to be swayed each time because I am not used to being praised.
At this time, the one-hour lesson on letters that I receive every day has become a pleasure for me.
“Hey, Will, I’m here to see you!”
However, this pleasantly embarrassing time was interrupted by a sudden visitor who burst into the room.
“I see. So this is William’s escort knight. He’s about the same age as us.”
The boy sitting in the chair turned his young grass-colored eyes towards me, standing by William-sama’s side.
“Finn, “this” would be disrespectful to Flores if you called him that.”
When William-sama spoke to the boy in a tone he seemed to enjoy, the boy narrowed his lips.
“Come on, I can speak in a casual language in front of William. After all, in the palace we have to speak in polite language that we’ll end up hating.”
The boy, who had a slightly sulky face, looked up at me and said with a hearty laugh,
“Hey, you there! Um, what was it again? I forget your name… Anyway, William’s knight! Nice to meet you!”
I know this boy.
He is Finlay, the crown prince, with his golden hair tied loosely at the back of his neck, shining grass-colored eyes like jewels.
In the story of the manga “You and The White Rose,” he appears as a carefree prince and falls in love with the protagonist, Charlotte.
His brilliant face is radiant and his expression is full of vitality.
At this moment, Finlay, the Crown Prince, is chatting brightly with William-sama.
“It’s no surprise that you come without notice, but what brings you here this time?”
William-sama asked Finlay as he elegantly tilted a cup of tea.
“Do I need a reason to meet a friend?”
Finlay asked, giving William-sama a mischievous smile. William-sama smiled back, looking both troubled and happy.
“Your Highness the Crown Prince must not have much free time…”
“Oh, no, I don’t. I’m busy every day and it’s making me dizzy. When I have a little free time, I’m crammed with knowledge, and the noblemen who try to take advantage of every opportunity are annoying.”
The way he drank his tea with a bitter expression was refined enough to be worthy of a prince.
“Well, it’s not exactly a reason, but if I had to say, one reason is that I wanted to come and see the guy there.”
Finlay, the Crown Prince, glanced at me as he said this.
William-sama heard this and looked stunned.
“I was wondering what kind of change of heart would make you accept someone you’ve rejected every other escort knight candidate before. I came here expecting to see what kind of knight had come, but…”
The Crown Prince exhaled a long breath and said,
“Surprisingly, he’s just an ordinary guy.”
“[Surprisingly ordinary]… What did you think Flores was?”
“Well… I was expecting something like a monstrous guy, a peerless handsome man, or even a superhuman with superpowers.”
As he said this, the Crown Prince chuckled.
William-sama looked at the Crown Prince, Finlay, with a surprised expression, but in the next moment, Finlay had a serious face, as if his previous laughter was just a lie.
“I’m just joking. I know the reason why William rejected escort knight candidates. Anyway, as far as I’m concerned, I’m glad William has an escort knight by his side… Hey, Will. Why did you decide to have him by your side?”
Finlay, who was staring intently at William-sama, was met with a beautiful smile from William-sama, who said,
“Fufufu… It’s a secret. —By the way, how is Her Highness Princess Sofia doing?”
As the pleasant conversation came to a pause, William-sama suddenly asked Finlay, the Crown Prince, as if he had just remembered something.
“Oh, she’s full of energy. She always follows me around, so it’s a bit annoying.”
Although he said it was annoying, the Crown Prince didn’t look very annoyed as he spoke affectionately about his sister, the princess.
“I think she’s four years old this year, right?”
“Yes. She seems to enjoy gardening and often gives me flowers she received from the gardener. Isn’t she cute?”
William-sama wore a gentle smile as he boasted about his sister, the princess.
“I haven’t visited the palace in a while, so I haven’t seen Princess Sofia either. At four years old, she must be very cute.”
“Yes. My father and mother, as well as the royal household staff, are all captivated by Sofia. Maybe Sofia has the power to attract people from birth.”
The Crown Prince Finlay is completely smitten with his sister princess but he seems to be perfectly calm about it.
William-sama was looking at the Crown Prince with a smile on his face, but suddenly his face turned melancholy.
A momentary glimmer of mistaken vision.
The next moment I recognised the fading, William-sama already had a smile on his face.
After the Crown Prince has left William-sama’s room.
The room was filled with silence, as if after a storm.
William-sama has been quietly flipping through the pages of a book.
I kept looking and hesitating as I tried to speak to him while looking at him.
A momentary shadow passed over William’s face.
I was unable to decide whether or not to ask him about it.
“What’s wrong with you?” a calm voice echoed in the room.
As I came to my senses, I saw William-sama smiling and looking at me.
“You open and close your mouth like a fish… did something happen?”
As I faced the smiling and silent William-sama, I swallowed my saliva with a gulp.
“Well… earlier, when you were talking about Princess Sofia…”
As I began to speak, William silently urged me to continue.
“I had the feeling that his Grace had a worried expression for a moment while he was talking about Her Royal Highness. Was something the matter?”
As I asked him this, William slightly widened his eyes.
We looked at each other for a short while, but eventually William narrowed his eyes comfortably.
In a soft voice, it was as if I was being warned not to step any further.
“I’m glad you were worried. Flores, thank you.”
While that voice seemed calm, it clearly rejected my question.
I stood there in silence for a while, then said,
“…I am honored to receive your words of gratitude.”
I bowed my head.
Until night fell and the sun set that day, the only sound in the room was the sound of pages turning.