7 Years Old – K of Hearts
I have no confidence in myself. And, I hate myself.
Because of my position as the prince, everybody around me serves me as though it’s natural, but in the end, am I somebody worth doing that for?
From when I was small up until now, I’ve had my life targetted. Up until I was five, I almost never left the inner palace.
There were a lot of dangers outside, after all. Ojisan was targetting my life after all… Those were the reasons.
My world was a closed one.
The first friend I made in that small world of mine was my servant Colette.
She passed away before my eyes… Because of the poison that was in the snacks suddenly brought in by a maid.
The next friend I made was my guard Adolphe.
He also died before my eyes… When somebody tried to assassinate me, he covered me.
The third friend I made was my tutor Émile.
He tried to betray me and kill me, and was instead killed by my guard.
If I didn’t exist, none of them would have died…
After that, I decided to try my best to have as few people close with me as possible.
I was afraid of my heart hurting from the people close to me becoming sacrifices.
In order to kill me, in order to protect me, from now on many more people would be sacrificed, and before long my heart wouldn’t hurt as much.
I thought that that was fine.
Because I avoided creating friends that I could relax around, naturally I had nobody of my age around me.
I was different to Raiga.
My butler was desperate to have me quickly make friends of the same age in order to protect myself, and the children of the King Faction nobles were brought to meet me but… I couldn’t get into it. I did think that I needed allies, but… I couldn’t take action. I didn’t have the courage to move, nor did I think I wanted to move.
Because of the suspicion of being betrayed again, and the fear of losing somebody again.
Even if Raiga’s followers weren’t aiming for my life, they diligently picked on me.
On that day too, I was surrounded by Raiga’s followers.
In the inner palace, even when they pushed me, and tried to get on top of me, I didn’t even resist.
It was always the same, and after a while, they would probably get tired of it. Each time, they wouldn’t do anything too cruel. If it stayed at the level of children messing about, the guards wouldn’t move.
If I endured, for just a little…
But the hit I anticipated didn’t come.
“Heyy! Stop thaat!”
Suddenly came a voice from above my head.
At the same time that I heard the voice, the boy that tried to mount me was sent flying.
What descended from the sky was a pink haired girl and a caramel brown haired boy.
I stared wide-eyed at their bizarre entrance.
“Can you stand?”
The boy helped me up.
The girl was holding back Raiga’s followers. In spite the fact that there were overwhelmingly more of them.
What she used to protect herself was a carefully created, beautiful barrier magic. I had never seen somebody of that age use that.
The two of them sat me down on the broom, and brought me to the Magic Building. I was overwhelmed from seeing the view from the sky for the first time.
They were children who were beyond expectations in every way, and being with them was fun. It was the first time I felt that way.
I was at a loss about these feelings in my heart that I felt for the first time since I was born.
At the same time, I felt that I want to try talking to them a little, try getting to know them a little.
It had been a long time since I had heard a friendly voice talking to me that energetically. …Even though I should have already decided that I wouldn’t get deeply involved with others anymore.
If it was them, would it be okay for them to stay beside me? Would they become the first allies of my age?
My stupid expectations raised it’s neck.
A sly person like me thought to use political power to capture them… with my status as the first prince.
The days I spent with them were exciting, and filled my heart with warmth. That’s why I had forgotten.
And a regretful incident occurred.
That day, I invited Achille and Camille to come with me to tour the castle town.
It was because I simply thought that it would be more fun with a lot of people.
Along with the guards prepared for me, I headed to the market in high spirits.
…No matter how much I regret it, it still wouldn’t be enough. Amongst those guards was an assassin.
Achille and Camille tried to get me to escape.
Camille prepared a broom with magic, and told me to escape. But I couldn’t move.
Wouldn’t I lose the two of them? Like the guard who had covered for me in the past… Thinking that, I became afraid. I couldn’t leave there.
In the end, Camille was injured.
With the last of her strength, she killed an assassin, and protected me. Even whilst blood was streaming from her stomach.
The knife that had stabbed her had melted and dropped onto the floor.
While trembling, I propped her up.
Achille applied emergency aid with the healing magic he learnt, but it was all he could do to stop the bleeding and treat the burn. As for me, I couldn’t use magic at all.
I cursed myself for being useless.
I’m always, always protected by others. Just how many people have to be sacrificed for me before I’m satisfied? I’m… so pathetic.
I was disgusted with myself for being unable to live without sacrificing others. Even though I was supposed to have understood, before I knew it, I had become spoilt from the comfortable environment.
I didn’t plan on this happening. As I thought, it would be better if I didn’t exist.
The two of them might part from me, but when that happened, I had to resolutely let go of them for their sake, I thought.
Seeing their two injured forms was more painful than I had imagined. As long as they were by my side, the two of them couldn’t live peaceful lives.
Camille who was in a good mood was frolicking about me. Even though she had gone through something like that, she followed me around even more.
A cute, but dependable older sisterly or maybe young sisterly… important person to me.
Her good will towards me was open to see, but not even a little amorous, romantic feeling could be see. That’s why I could associate with her without putting any distance between us.
“Camille, isn’t it bad for you to follow around Royce-sama that much? Like that, Royce-sama can’t move about, you know.”
Said Achille, nonchalantly parting Camille from me. He isn’t conscious of it, but he holds “good will” towards Camille… is what I think.
Up until now, he’s been thoroughly looking after her.
I secretly think it would be nice if the two of them paired up with each other.
The only one who can take off Achille’s poker face is Camille after all, and the only one who can stop Camille’s rampages is Achille after all.
Right now Camille is working at the castle as a “Red” magician, and Achille is working there as an apprentice in things related to the government.
Far from leaving me, the two of them even became apprenticeships in jobs for my future.
I’m no match for these two.
…I felt that it wouldn’t do to stay this way.
I have to graduate from holding these feelings of inferiority about my father the king, and about my cousin, and stop wallowing about in feelings of guilt about existing.
So that from now on, I’ll be a lord worthy of these two.