“Hey, Chris. It’s almost time for the Foundation Festival.”
It was the day before, and I was talking with Charles in my room. It was just the two of us now. I invited him here and we were talking about nothing in particular. That was all it was, but recently I have been looking forward to talking with Charles much more than I had before. I could feel myself growing happier when the day of his planned visits drew nearer. I think it was due to Mishuli’s advice that we were able to take this step to become closer.
And on this long-awaited day of his visit, we began to talk about the festival that was around the corner.
“Speaking of the Foundation Festival, won’t you have certain duties as part of the royal family?”
The Foundation Festival was an annual celebration of this country. As they would be a part of the ceremonies, the royal family -who were representatives of the country- should have the busiest schedule. The intricacies of it all could not compare to anything I did, as I was still a ways off from having any public duties.
In fact, Charles nodded at my words.
“Yes. It is such a hassle.”
“Charles. It’s good that you are honest, but sometimes I worry about what that means for your future.”
I laughed wryly at Charles, who already had a glowering expression over the things he would need to do. It was likely that he acted this way in the palace as well. This was why he was being made to marry into a duke’s house in spite of being in line for the throne.
Well, Charles did not seem to care about that loss, and I didn’t hate this side of him either.
He now had the most sullen face as if he was thinking about whatever rehearsals he had undergone for the festival.
“But I can’t help it if it’s so very, very bothersome. Hey, Chris. Listen. You have to memorize so much in just one day, you know? And I have to change my clothes five times a day? And I have to move around to different places? And they want me to do all of this with a smile! It is completely wrong and bothersome.”
“It is not wrong or bothersome. It is the proper thing to do.”
What he had just said about how good manners were strange or wrong was, if anything, something a commoner would think. While I was a genius who had knowledge from a past life, it was most odd that someone like Charles, who was young and never really left his palace cage, could hold such a free idea.
“Well, isn’t it strange to spend time on things that don’t matter?”
“It does matter. At least, it will leave an impression on someone. Do you not understand that these events and customs may look stupid, but they are actually really important?”
Even more so when they were for the country. Charles must observe them as part of the royal family.
However, this was not the kind of argument that would satisfy the heart of a seven-year-old boy.
“…I don’t know.”
“I see. You don’t know.”
I had a lot of pride in my status as a noble, so I had no objections to fulfilling any of my duties. After all, I was noble. Even if I was going along with the flow of what had been decided and what was asked of me, I believed that doing it with pride was the way a noble should live.
Yet Charles would find such a small responsibility as this to be bothersome. Indeed, he was not very suitable to be part of the royal family. But he was born into it and it could not be changed. And perhaps this was Charles’ great misfortune.
If that were the case, then there was only one thing that I could do.
“Well, for now, just do your best. Charles.”
I can’t help you, but you better put some effort into it. There was cynicism in those words. It might look a little thoughtless compared to my previous attempt to persuade him. But I did put all of my heart into those words of encouragement.
Charles looked taken aback for a second but then smiled.
“…Okay. If you say so, I’ll try to do my best.”
Charles had suddenly become enthusiastic over just a little encouragement. I smiled.
Even if he did have such aspects that were not fit for royalty, his honesty was a good thing, and it was just those aspects that I liked about him.
“By the way Chris, what are you going to do on the day of the festival?”
Here we go.
I was secretly wishing for this question to be asked ever since the subject of the festival had been brought up. A corner of my mouth lifted in a smirk.
“Fu, fufufu. Do you want to know? So you want to hear, do you? Charles!”
“…Ah. Nevermind then.”
“Hey, now. Just ask me already.”
Charles begrudgingly mumbled the question, and so I forced him to say it again. He raised his voice in protest, but I happen to hate it when things do not go my way. Charles knew this, so he finally agreed with a solemn face and asked me yet again.
“Hhh. …So? What are you going to do?”
“Fufufufu. You must promise to keep this a secret. It will be a most troublesome affair if a word were to spread about this.”
‘Yes, yes. It’s a secret, it’s a secret. And?”
I felt like he was being a little condescending and indifferent, but I decided to let it pass. It was still I who was in control of this conversation. I was leading and it was flowing in the way that I desired, it would be wrong to complain.
And so I say to him in a grave voice:
“On that day, I shall execute my plan to become independent from my sister.”
“Huh? Independent? You? With Mishuli? …I don’t believe it.”
Charles was at first surprised, then quite happy, then adeptly went into a suspicious stare.
“I’m not lying.”
“It’s not impossible.”
Nothing was impossible for me. In fact, there were no factors in my plan at all that could lead me to failure.
“Well then, what exactly are you going to do?”
After a series of useless words, he finally asked the important question. I proudly puffed out my chest and made this declaration:
“I’m going to escape from the mansion with Mishuli and go to the downtown market!”
Tomorrow, on the day of the festival. I would lead Mishuli by the hand and we would go and see the market downtown. It should be fun. It would be fun without a doubt. I was looking forward to it so much that I could barely contain myself.
My expression was lively and brilliant, yet Charles had mumbled with a face that clearly wanted to say, ‘Well, you’ll never change.’
“…So, what about that is separating from your sister?”
“The whole thing is.”
I quickly drove the point home, as Charles tried to criticize my plan for independence.