“Besides, I’ve never seen Your Highness formally engaging in a fight.”
“I don’t like being surrounded here and there.”
Bernard clicked his tongue lightly and shook his head. But even so, he had no intention of holding on to it any longer. He knew that there was some truth in Herietta’s words, since he had avoided sparring in public if possible after his coming-of-age ceremony.
‘Still, I don’t like letting you think of me as weak.’
Bernard stared at Herietta and thought.
‘Should I grab someone soon and invite them to sparring?’
As Bernard thought of this and that and other useless thoughts, Herietta, who was sitting across from him, cautiously called him.
“Where are……. They now?”
Herietta hesitated for a moment before asking. Bernard’s languid, relaxed expression hardened immediately.
He remembered what had happened at the meeting a few days ago. The eyes that looked straight at him, asking for a chance to prove his worth this time.
Bernard inhaled and exhaled slowly.
“Last news came that they were heading to the Butron region.”
Herietta’s words trailed off. When she looked at him, his complexion darkened noticeably.
Bernard clasped his hands together and leaned his upper body forward. Without even asking, he could guess what she was concerned about.
“Don’t worry. We won’t be sitting still.”
Bernard deliberately raised his voice and said so.
“In fact, my brother went out to Butron with 10,000 troops.”
“Crown Prince Siorn?”
Herietta was taken aback.
“But he obviously…….”
Herietta was confused.
Siorn. Designated as the successor of King Velicia, was a person with a kind and gentle image, unlike the passionate and free-spirited Bernard.
He seemed more suited to holding a pen than holding a sword. His public reputation was also the same. But to think that he personally led his troops to the battlefield. It was truly shocking news.
After getting to know Siorn, he might be a very talented person. As Herietta thought of all sorts of possibilities in her mind, Bernard spoke calmly.
“Brother is an exceptionally smart and insightful person. Also, those who assist Brother are all people with a reputation for being skilled and competent.”
“So, good news will come from Butron soon.”
He turned his head and looked toward the window. Through the wide open windows, he could see the endless blue sky. A clear sky without a single cloud.
But why is his heart so gloomy and anxious?
“It will be so.”
Bernard, who was quietly looking out the window, muttered like talking to himself. And that was not only to Herietta, but also to Bernard and himself.
* * *
Two days after that.
Late in the day, when the sun had already gone down. A messenger has arrived at Arrowfield. He came running, waving his flag as black as night, and immediately asked to see Bernard. Like the sky had collapsed, he was walking around with a very sad face. As soon as he saw Bernard wearing a robe, he immediately knelt down.
‘I have something to tell Your Highness.’
With trembling hands, the messenger took a letter from his chest and presented it to Bernard.
A black envelope embroidered with the royal family crest. And a black silk ribbon tied finely on it. What they meant, Bernard knew.
His straight, well-mannered face contorted in an instant.
* * *
Siorn Violetta Shane Passcourt.
The noble star who was designated as the 17th king of Velicia, the son of 16th king of Velicia, the eldest son of Roman Egilei Cenchilla Pascourt.
Hermann calendar Year 4732.
Spring in April, when spring flowers began to bloom.
While fighting against the enemy to prevent Butron Fortress from being occupied, he died a heroic death with his throat cut by the enemy’s sword.
The unfortunate Crown Prince, whom people had high expectations to be a competent monarch in the future.
Become a star in the eternal sky at the young age of twenty-seven.
― A History for the Forgotten, Excerpts from the Western Continent ―
* * *
The room was dark. All the curtains by the window were drawn, and it was dark as if night had come, as no candles had been lit, let alone lamplights. There was no sound except the occasional sound of the wind shaking the windows.
Lonely and desolate. There could be no better word to describe the atmosphere in the room.
With all passages leading to the outside world blocked, Bernard sat alone. He sat half-fallen on his chair, silently staring at nothing but empty space. His shiny black hair was disheveled, and his simple but neat dressing was visibly disheveled.
Two wide eyes. Pale skin. Chapped lips.
There was no more light to be found in the man’s eyes, which had always shone with a light.
Herietta slowly approached Bernard.
“Your Highness Bernard.”
He couldn’t hear even when he was called, and he didn’t seem to recognize even when she approached him.
Bernard sat half-fazed. Herietta clenched her fists at the sight of him who had changed 180 degrees overnight.
A regular sound of breathing.
Was he mourning the fate of his own flesh and blood who passed away too early? Or is he denying the reality by holding on to irreversible time now?
It was a sadness that Herietta had experienced before too. A shock as if she had been hit in the head with a blunt weapon. Pain as if a large hole had been punched in the middle of her chest. Even if she tried hard to understand it, she can’t understand it, and even if she tried hard to fill it in, it would be a hole that can’t be filled.
Herietta did not offer any vague words of consolation. Because she knew that nothing she said would comfort him now.
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