SETP Vol. 1 Chapter 18

Chapter 18 – That is Despair

More than a week had passed after the final turmoil in the Afillis kingdom. My slothful self realized even more how precious peace was. In my usual lifestyle, whenever I slept I had very nostalgic dreams.

So nostalgic that I felt a little lonely every time I woke up.

I usually woke up in the late afternoon. Soon after I did, Ratifah would come up to tell me that dinner was ready, and I would eat together with my family.

My seat was next to my elder brother, Grerial. I wasn’t on good terms with my other siblings, or rather, I never even spoke with them, so thanks to Grerial’s kindness, my seat position was changed. In exchange, so to speak, I took care of the occasional morsels of seafood Grerial detested, careful not to let father notice. 

After dinner, I routinely took a bath. After that, to the garden. Whenever the stars were visible, I always lay down in the garden to look at the sky and then go to sleep at about eleven. There were small differences sometimes, but that was my daily routine.

Ah, the wonders of a life of sloth. How I wished I could have lived like this all my life. Who cares about the sword? That was how I wanted to live. Maybe…no, definitely, I’m definitely going to smile as I die if I lived like this.

Yes, no regrets. So, for one more day…no, one more week! No no, one more month!! Wait, no, one more year…or if possible, 10 more years…

“…you’re finally here, Fay.”

While thinking such things and dragging my feet, I arrived before the presence of the king. Precisely speaking, I was dragged by the head maid, Feli von Yugstine.

After a brief vacation, she had returned livelier than ever. She planned to use her liveliness to reform me, so I started regretting ever suggesting that she take time off. 

It all happened a few minutes prior.

.

<<His Majesty and His Highness prince Grerial have a request for you, Your Highness. You are to head immediately to the audience room and…>>

I had a nasty feeling about it. I felt like something was going to happen soon. So I…!

I threw my blanket to blind Feli — the messenger — and leaped towards the window.

<<You foolish wench!! I will not let anything get in the way of my vacation! I shall take my leave now!!>>

I always learned from my mistakes. I would never do the same one twice. I personally modified the window’s lock: last time it was changed to prevent me from escaping, and I fell for it.

So I had the bold idea to remove the lock altogether.

Besides, Ratifah the traitor — who pinned me into submission last time — was not present. I was confident that victory was in my hands.

After making my escape, I’ll go to the garden to resume my slumber…

Or so I was thinking.

<<Hey…wait…this can’t be!?!>>

I tried to open the window, only to make loud rattling noises. It was like someone was holding it closed from the other side, so I looked up.

<<………>>

<<……….>>

Our eyes met. Mine and a brown-haired maid’s. More precisely, Ratifah’s eyes.

<<…what are you doing there?>>

I couldn’t help but to feel a killing intent towards the maid desperately keeping the window closed.

<<Er, ehm, this is, a new form of stretching..tee hee.>>

You’re definitely going to pay one day. So I swore quietly in my heart.

<<As I was saying.>>

Even as Feli firmly grabbed me…

<<Let’s go, Your Highness.>>

You’ll pay for this…pay for this…pay..pay…pay…

I continued muttering curses under my breath.

.

And that’s how I was dragged to the king’s audience room.

“I believe that if humans forget to struggle, they are destined for ruin.”

“Why is such passion directed at me…?”

My father covered his face with his hands, exasperated.

“…Grerial, explain.”

Father probably realized that no matter what he said, there would be little to no effect, so he prompted Grerial to speak. Grerial, who enjoyed the sight of me being dragged in with a smile, started talking.

“You probably know that my fiancee is the princess of Rinchelle, the kingdom of water.”

“Yes, of course.”

I know little about my other siblings, but I am aware of most things concerning Grerial.

“The third prince of that country will celebrate his birthday next month.”

I started getting a hint of what they were going to say.

“You have received a communication from the party and you have to participate, yes?”

“Exactly. I can’t disrespect my fiancee’s family, after all. My participation is set in stone, but…”

Grerial glances at me meaningfully.

……..

“You don’t mean for me to substitute you, elder brother…?”

“Do you think I would?”

Grerial flashed a terrifying grin.

“…you’re asking me to accompany you.”

“You should have said that from the start.”

“Why me, though?”

“Let’s say it’s a brother’s affection. I suggested this to father, saying that it might provide a good stimulus for you. And Father graciously approved.”

That was a nasty way of putting it. I had no way to escape. It made me lose all my intentions of refusing too. Had he put it more ambiguously, with words such as escort or similar, I could have some wiggle room, but there was none if he requested it like that.

“…if I accompany you, a larger escort will become necessary.” 

“I already obtained permission from Feli about that. She will accompany us as your escort.”

“….I see.”

Complete, utter defeat. All my moves were sealed.

“We will leave in one week at the latest. I have all sorts of business to take care of in Rinchelle, so expect a stay of about two weeks.”

“Understood.”

I thought the conversation was over and stood up, to return to my room.

“Hey, Fay.”

Grerial called my name, implying he still had something to say. I looked over my shoulder and found his usual smile.

“We won’t be exactly by ourselves, but it’s the first time we go together. And this is my first trip in a while. I’m really looking forward to it.”

Also because of the “Trash Prince” business, until now I used to reject all invitations, even Grerial’s, so he stopped trying to invite me. 

Yes, until now. I didn’t know if there were other reasons, but every time I spoke with him, I thought of one thing.

“Then, when you have the time, please tell me. Let’s do something together there.”

“Yes, you’re right.”

I decided that I liked Grerial Hanse Diestburg as a person. And so I opened my heart to him.

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