BBYW Vol. 1 Chapter 1
Chapter 1 – Engagements are Broken so Suddenly
“Dyngir Maxwell!! I hereby declare your engagement to Selena void!!”
It all started one afternoon.
I was in the royal academy located in Sairhun, capital of the Lamperouge kingdom. More precisely, I was walking through the academy’s garden, when suddenly I heard a voice from behind me. I turned around to look at the source of the voice and found a young man with flowing golden locks and a familiar face.
“…oh my, to be honored by the presence of Your Highness Prince Sullivan. How may I be of service?”
The abrupt declaration had come from none other than the first prince of the Lamperouge kingdom, Sullivan Lamperouge.
Basically, the heir to the throne of Lamperouge kingdom.
Standing behind Sullivan, as if trying to hide from me, I saw my fiancee, Selena Nommes.
My petite, lovely fiancee was acting just like a small frightened animal: she looked at me with fear in her eyes, while almost hugging Sullivan’s back.
“Your Highness, if I may be so bold, are you not standing a bit too close to my fiancee? I believe it is against the gentleman’s code of conduct to be in such close contact with a woman engaged to another man.”
“You fool!! How dare you still speak of Selena as if she was your fiancee!! Did you not hear what I said!?”
Sullivan started shouting, irritated by my attitude. The prince’s handsome features — very much unlike his character — were twisted beyond recognition.
Since lunch break was not over yet, many of the academy’s students were still in the garden.
Some were sitting on a bench eating, others chatting with their friends: the commotion caused by the prince, however, attracted the curiosity of many of them.
I looked around, concerned by the attention we were drawing, then sighed, making sure Sullivan didn’t notice.
“By ‘what I said’, Your Highness is referring to my engagement with Selena being voided?”
“So you did hear!! Do not make me repeat myself again!!”
“…my apologies, it was all so abrupt, I could not help it.”
My shoulders dropped.
Breaking up an engagement was a very delicate matter, something that should be dealt with privately, but if it was handled openly like this, with witnesses everywhere, it would be impossible to hide.
“My engagement with Selena was formed between the house of Margrave Maxwell and the house of Baron Nommes. Thus, I cannot accept its cancellation by my own accord. I also believe that a member of the royal family, which has no relation to this engagement, has no power to change it, or am I wrong?”
“What did you say!? I have no relation to Selena!?”
Sullivan pulled Selena closer to himself and put his arm around her back.
The crown prince’s sudden action caused the students around us to start whispering.
(..is this guy for real…?)
I felt my facial muscles tense up because of the unbelievable sight before me.
Regardless of whether I accepted the cancellation of the engagement or not, Selena was still my fiancee at the moment.
To embrace someone else’s fiancee so casually was beyond sanity in my eyes.
“Selena and I are in a relationship and will be married soon!! A promise made with some countryside noble like you means nothing before true love!! Just accept that your engagement is no more!”
The provinces ruled by the Maxwell house are located near the eastern borders of the kingdom, that was true. The crown prince was born and raised in the capital, so I probably was a country bumpkin in his eyes.
The Maxwell house had been assigned such territories because of the trust it earned from the royal family: it was charged with defending the borders, so it had the military power to protect the kingdom from foreign enemies.
The soldiers stationed around the capital might be greater in number, but in terms of individual ability and battle experience, the knights of the Maxwell house were without a doubt superior.
The royal family had nothing to gain by picking a fight with the Maxwell house.
Selena’s house Nommes was a vassal of house Maxwell. Their territories were also close, so if I was a countryside noble, then Selena was too…did he realize it?
“Hmm…for now, I shall pretend I have not heard the slander to my house. Rather, Your Highness, you have said you and Selena are in a relationship?”
“Hmph! That is indeed what I said! It’s time for you to accept reality and withdraw!”
He really admitted it. In public, with so many people around us.
Did Sullivan understand what it actually meant for a crown prince to lay his hands on someone else’s fiancee?
Sullivan was basically using the authority of the royal family to steal a vassal’s fiance.
Did he not realize that such an action would severely damage the trust of the nobles towards the royal family?
“Your Highness, if I may ask, does lady Marianne know of this?”
The name I mentioned was Sullivan’s fiancee.
Marianne Rosais, daughter of Duke Rosais the chancellor of the kingdom of Lamperouge. The noblest young lady in all of the kingdom, she was praised as a lady among ladies in high society.
Sullivan, who had been talking arrogantly from the start, mumbled for the first time.
It was a rather obvious change: Marianne was a proud woman, who valued loyalty very highly.
She would definitely never forgive Sullivan’s unfaithfulness or the treacherous act of stealing a vassal’s fiancee.
“Could it be that Your Highness is planning to take Selena as a concubine?”
Marianne as a royal wife and Selena as a concubine. It was still more understandable.
Polygamy was not officially recognized in the kingdom, but it was not rare for royalty or certain nobles to take in concubines or mistresses, in order to ensure the birth of an heir. Whether Lady Marianne would approve of this or not was a whole nother story, of course.
The first reaction to my words came not from Prince Sullivan, but my fiancee Selena.
Selena looked at Sullivan like she couldn’t believe her eyes, so he hurriedly started explaining himself.
“N-no!! You are the only one I love, Selena!!”
“Thus Your Highness will also cancel the engagement with Lady Marianne? Sire, I trust you know what such a thing would imply?”
Local powers tended to have considerable power in this kingdom: not even the royal house had absolute authority.
The Lamperouge royal house was, ultimately, a representative of all noble families, a sort of delegate. The king was closer to the leader of an alliance than an absolute monarch.
To cut ties with Duke Rosais, the most powerful noble family in the central region of the kingdom, signified the loss of a major supporter for crown prince Sullivan to become king.
“N-naturally!! I hereby announce that my engagement with Marianne is void and that I shall marry Selena! She will be the next queen of the Lamperouge kingdom!”
Sullivan turned out to be much more of a moron than I imagined.
Somehow, he still thinks he’s going to be king, even without Duke Rosais backing him up.
“…are you serious, Sir Sullivan?”
I dropped “Crown Prince” or “Your Highness” on purpose, and Sullivan became even more heated up.
“I’ve never liked that woman in the first place!! Always full of opinions, always telling me to fix this and that, to behave like a proper crown prince…always arrogant, always aggravating!! To a member of the royal family!! How dare the mere daughter of a duke order the crown prince around!?”
Taking advantage of the fact that Marianne wasn’t here, Sullivan started saying whatever he wanted.
While Marianne wasn’t here in person, our “audience” contained several people with ties to house Rosais. Sullivan’s words were definitely going to be delivered to Marianne and Duke Rosais.
“What a fine mess this has turned into…”
So I whispered to myself, making sure Sullivan couldn’t hear.
I thought the crown prince would be a bit smarter than this, but evidently I was wrong. Until now, he probably managed to uphold the least authority as crown prince only thanks to Lady Marianne being at his side.
I wondered what fate awaited a man who swore to discard an engagement to Lady Marianne for the sake of “true love”.
I called Selena’s name and she started trembling as she hid behind Sullivan’s back.
She had always been like that: always timid and clumsy, never voicing her opinion. Every time I approached her, she would run away frightened.
She was indeed the complete opposite type from Lady Marianne, thus perfectly suiting Sullivan’s tastes.
“Is this really okay with you? Do you truly wish for this?”
I tried giving Selena one final chance.
Was she going to ruin herself together with this fool, or would she come back to me? The decision was up to her.
Selena looked confused, glancing left and right, then Sullivan encouraged her.
“Say it, Selena! Don’t worry, I’m with you! I will protect you, no matter what that man may do!!”
Pushed forward by Sullivan, Selena raised her voice and stated her decision.
Her beautiful green eyes looked straight at me. I thought it had been a rather long time since our eyes met like this.
“I, er, I…Lord Dyngir, I am afraid of you. Because you have killed so many people…”
You killed so many people. I see, so that’s the reason.
House Maxwell, the kingdom’s guardian, has always protected it against invaders from the east.
I was thirteen when I participated in my first battle, five years ago. Since then, I have fought in many battles and have ended the lives of many soldiers with my hands.
“I became your fiancee because I couldn’t disobey father, but I cannot endure it anymore. Lord Dyngir…I do not want to be with you one second if I can help it…I beg of you, please let me be free.”
“Do you finally understand? It is simply appalling for a murderer like you to be engaged to lovely Selena. Your bloody hands have no right to embrace her. Go back to your province already, you murderous lunatic!”
Murderous lunatic. Sullivan’s words caused me to shake in anger.
I fought on the battlefield ever since I was a child. I fought to protect my household, my province, the kingdom.
I was proud of my bloody hands: not once did I feel any shame in them.
(And this man…dares call them the hands of a murderous lunatic!! A man who has been protected by the nobles fighting on the frontier his whole life…! A moron who has lived with a silver spoon in his mouth, who has never even seen a battlefield…!)
“…the cancellation of the engagement is accepted, for the time being. We shall contact the royal house officially in the near future.”
I desperately held back from reaching for the sword at my waist and uttered only those words.
I turned my back to Sullivan and Selena and walked away. The students who came to see the commotion opened a path for me, scared by the killing intent I couldn’t keep from leaking out.
(I have to endure it, there’s no point in killing him here, I’d turn into the aggressor. Besides…that man is going to ruin himself on his own soon.)
The house of Duke Rosais and the house of Margrave Maxwell. There was no way he could make an enemy of two of the most powerful noble houses in the kingdom and get away with it.
I cannot draw my sword here. If I did, I would bear the name of a traitor…
“Lord Dyngir! May I have a word with you?”
I was walking away silently when a student approached me.
He was a bit shorter than me. The color of the badge on his uniform indicated he was enrolled in a grade below mine. I had seen his flaming red hair and the fierce light in his eyes somewhere, though.
“You are…the second son of the Efreeta house, aren’t you?”
“My name is Luc, Luc Efreeta. It is an honor to speak with you!!”
“I see, so you’re Ladd’s younger brother. What business do you have with me?”
Luc looked around, then continued talking in a hushed tone of voice.
“If you will start a campaign to defend the honor of the eastern provinces, please let me, Luc Efreeta, stand on the frontlines. I swear on the name of house Efreeta that I shall present you the head of that foolish prince, my lord.”
The house of Viscount Efreeta was well known among the vassals of house Maxwell, especially for its military power.
I was moved by his dedication but had to reprimand my hot-blooded junior nonetheless.
“Your loyalty is well appreciated. I have no intention to start a campaign, though…not yet, at least. That fool is going to self-destruct anyway.”
“Understood…but if that time ever comes, please do summon me, Lord Dyngir. May I ask what you plan to do?”
I reflected on Luc’s words for a bit, then replied.
“I must return to my house’s territory first. I have to present a formal protest to the royal house via my father, after all. If the king handles the matter with integrity, then everything is solved. If he tries to cover for the moron, however…you will have plenty of chances to prove your worth.”
“I am at your service, my lord! I shall report to you everything that happens in the academy. Please rest easy on your way to your home province!”
“You have my trust. It is a joy to have such able vassals.”
When one door closes, another one opens. I had lost my fiancee but gained a trustworthy retainer.
I tapped Luc’s shoulder and he blushed fiercely.
“Y-your words honor me!! I heard from my brother about your battle against the empire five years ago, so I always admired your prowess in battle…my lord!”
I ended up being showered with Luc’s praise all the way to the gate leading out of the academy.
That day I learned how both words filled with malice and words filled with respect can wear you down if they continue excessively.
I was feeling fatigued in more ways than one, as I sighed, packed my luggage, and departed from the royal capital.