Chapter 21: The Garden of White Roses
The refreshing morning sun is pouring down on the red leaves of the tree-lined streets.
Standing by the gate of the luxurious and stylish student dormitory, I was watching the people coming and going.
Noble children in white uniforms came out from behind the gate and headed towards the school with what seemed to be their servants.
As I glanced at the scene casually, a voice called out from behind me.
“Leah, thanks for waiting.”
Turning to the voice, I saw my beloved Lord.
The contrast between the new white uniform and the glossy chestnut hair is beautiful. In this past year, his height has grown significantly and now exceeds the average height of men, and his appearance is graceful and elegant. His white skin is still smooth, and his drooping, sapphire-colored eyes are calm like a calm sea today.
“Well then, shall we go to the auditorium where the entrance ceremony will be held?”
He smiled at me and said in a low, calm voice that had changed over the past year. I nodded and followed him as he walked towards the school.
Luke Royal Academy is located in the capital, a place close to the palace where noble children gather.
This prestigious and traditional academy was established by King Luke Martinez, and nobles are required to attend this academy from the ages of 15 to 18.
Despite its age, the academy is well maintained and consists of a series of luxurious buildings, including the school, student dormitories, servant dormitories, and numerous research institutes. Its facilities are varied.
In addition, the faculty is said to have gathered members who are well-known in various academic societies, making it a truly worthy place to be called the peak of learning in the country.
Of course, William-sama, who turned 15, also had to attend the academy.
William-sama, who has become completely healthy, generously demonstrates his compassion to the servants, and even the servants who initially approached him for self-preservation gradually came to respect him from the bottom of their hearts.
As he actively descends into the city to get to know the people and listens to them as Duke William Moore, rather than disguised as a commoner, the people are gradually opening their hearts to William-sama.
The warm farewell from the servants when departing for the academy and the cheerful cheers from the people in the domain are still fresh in my memory.
When William-sama ordered me, “Come to the academy with me,” when the entrance to the academy was approaching, I was overwhelmed with joy.
The number of servants who can be taken to Luke The Royal Academy, no matter how high their status, is only one.
It is hard to express how much being chosen as that one person lifted my spirits up.
After sending William-sama to the entrance of the auditorium, I returned to the secluded place where the servants were waiting.
At the academy, students are required to act separately from the servants in certain situations such as gatherings in the auditorium or during class. This is said to be to promote interaction among the students. However, it is whispered that it is actually a rule established to prevent lazy noble children who rely too much on their servants from appearing.
I lined up with the other servants and straightened my posture.
After a while, the ceremony began and the principal of the academy began a formal speech.
After greeting His Majesty the King and Her Majesty the Queen as guests, Prince Finlay, the representative of the new students, went up to the podium.
He has grown to the same height as William-sama and has become more and more handsome as he has gotten older. His low ponytail of golden hair sparkles, and his young grass-colored eyes shine with the vitality of spring buds.
He made a beautiful bow that was worthy of being called a prince, and gave a dignified greeting in response to the congratulations. It seems that His Majesty the King and Her Majesty the Queen sitting in the guest seats are looking proud.
The principal went up to the podium again and gave the final words, and the ceremony was over.
“Sigh, it’s over, it’s over.”
“Finn, good work. That was a dignified speech.”
“Right? You could at least compliment me for it.”
“It really was. I think it was a greeting that only Finn could make.”
“…it’s embarrassing when you actually say it.”
William-sama smiled at Prince Finlay, who blushed slightly and scratched his cheek in embarrassment.
Although Prince Finlay looked embarrassed, after a while he straightened his posture.
“By the way, are you free today? Do you want to explore the academy?”
“Explore the academy? Can we just walk around on our own…?”
Prince Finlay gave William-sama a mischievous smile as he hesitated.
“It is not prohibited for new students to walk around the campus. Right, Edward?”
The tall man with tanned hair who was spoken to by Prince Finlay nodded silently to the prince’s words.
Edward, as he was called, was a servant brought to this campus as a knight protector of Prince Finlay. He was a quiet man with tanned hair and dark skin.
“See, even Edward, who is knowledgeable in protocol as a royal knight protector, is nodding.”
“Right… well, then let’s go.”
As William-sama said this with a smile, Prince Finlay laughed and said,
“You have to come with us!!”
As Prince Finlay bravely tried to walk forward, he furrowed his brows upon seeing the entrance to the lecture hall.
“Oh, this is terrible. There are people waiting in ambush.”
William-sama muttered in surprise.
When I looked at the entrance to the lecture hall, I saw that noble girls were loitering there.
“Remember what I said earlier about those people who want to get close to Finn? Finn must be having a hard time.”
Upon hearing this from William-sama, Prince Finlay opened his eyes wide in surprise.
“Don’t you realize? You are being targeted too, y-o-u too!!”
Prince Finlay shrugged his shoulders in disbelief as he looked at the wide-eyed William-sama.
“As the heir to a ducal house, you may have been viewed as weak and doubted to be able to succeed. However, upon closer examination, you have proven to be a promising future prince. Look, see how their gazes are fixed on you.”
Upon hearing this, I could see that they were indeed staring at William-sama with lecherous eyes.
“We won’t be able to escape through that entrance… hahaha, I did some research on other exits just in case something like this happened. Let’s sneak out through there.”
Saying this, Prince Finlay smiled and winked as he led William-sama by the hand.
The place we escaped to was a beautiful rose garden filled with white roses in full bloom.
The sweet and fragrant scent of roses filled the air.
“As far as the eye can see, it’s just roses… the white rose hedge is beautiful.”
As William-sama peered at the white roses blooming in the hedge, Prince Finlay nodded as if in amazement.
“The royal rose garden is also splendid, but this is the first time I’ve seen a rose garden with nothing but white roses.”
As they walked through the rose garden, William-sama and Prince Finlay said this.
At that moment, I suddenly felt as if I heard a faint laughter of a young girl and stopped in my tracks.
“…? …What’s wrong, Leah?”
William-sama asked with a curious expression, so I shook my head and said,
“No, it’s nothing.”
However, at the same time, Prince Finlay, who was walking in front of me, also stopped.
“…Will, can you hear something?”
William-sama sharpened his ears upon hearing this.
“…a woman’s voice?”
Prince Finlay shook his head.
“Yes. It’s coming from over there.”
Prince Finlay chuckled and said,
“Maybe it’s someone else who’s escaped like us. Let’s go see who it is.”
He walked quietly in the direction of the voice, taking care to make no noise with his footsteps.
“It might be a student who came to the rose garden to relax. I don’t want to be a bother if we’re disturbing them…”
William-sama followed Prince Finlay with a worried expression on his face.
“It’s over there.”
Upon arriving at that place, Prince Finlay peered into the hedge.
Upon seeing the puzzled expression on Prince Finlay’s face, William-sama also peered into the hedge from the other side.
Prince Finlay murmured.
“Who is it…? I’ve never seen a noble like this… surrounded by animals…”
Upon hearing this, I was shocked.
The white rose garden… the voice of a young girl… surrounded by animals…
Upon considering all of this, I peered into the hedge from the other side.
“Ahaha! That tickles!! …It’s no use pushing, I don’t have anything for you guys to eat today.
The girl had long, wavy chestnut hair, wheat-colored skin tanned by the sun, and a face with a thin layer of freckles.
“I’m just in the mood for a chat today. Come on, tell me about yourselves.”
She was surrounded by birds, deer, and foxes, and had gray eyes.
I knew her.
She was Charlotte Michelle.
The protagonist of “You and the White Rose.”