(Image to be Updated)
Where Theodore get an unexpected answer from Tara.
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Episode 145. About 10 months (22)
Frowning deeply, the Duke of Toulouse sighed heavily.
If these words ever reached the Emperor's ears, he wouldn't tolerate this arrogant remark.
The 1st Prince would most likely be held accountable.
“That’s it. Your Majesty our Crown Prince, ah… Try it. These are the grapes I got in the middle of winter.”
“Ha… Oh dear!”
The high-pitched voices that stood out were probably from the maids sent by the families supporting the 1st Prince… who had been drinking alcohol since he returned from the hunting grounds.
At first, he had trembled in fear.
Now, a few days later, alcohol was instilling arrogance beyond overconfidence.
The Duke of Toulouse had been contemplating for a moment what to do with this situation. Feeling stinging gazes coming from the side, he turned his head.
Two of the 1st Prince's exclusive escorts glanced at the Duke of Toulouse, then withdrew their gazes again.
The Duke ordered quietly in a voice that was as calm as possible.
“Today’s work was routine. If it leaks out of here, it's not going to be good for the two of you."
“Wait outside the drawing room.”
The knights who looked into each other's eyes and nodded in agreement, then bowed their heads and went out of the drawing room at the Duke's command.
"Oh! ... Great, good! If the Commander-in-Chief can't even manage the hunting grounds, he’s out! Tut-tut-tut! Is this guy competing for the Crown Prince position because he has so-called potential? No, it’s because the Emperor is now a toothless tiger.”
"Oh! Fufu. After all, His Majesty is very old. The 1st Prince's should be the ruler! Oh, ah!”
The Duke could no longer stand this.
If these words reached the Emperor's ears, the First Prince might never be able to set foot in the Imperial Palace again.
“When I ascend to the throne, I will choose you as Empress…!”
"Oh my! Hey!"
Even though the maids were surprised, they hastily covered their half-naked bodies with their dresses and hid behind the First Prince.
The room was a sight to behold. Food was strewn all over the sheets with spilled wine glasses and bottles scattered around, clear evidence of the First Prince’s activities and current state.
The Duke’s expression hardened even more.
Dedicated to impress and entice envy, this mansion was the historic residence of the Duke's family.
However, the First Prince had instantly turned this elegant palace into a cheap tavern.
"Huh…? Oh. Uncle. Come in. Join me. I’ll send for someone to come for you. Yes?"
“Everyone out! Now!"
The maids left the 1st Prince's bedroom without even thinking of tidying up themselves, the room even less.
"Huh! Don't go... Play with me more, ah... My willy… Ma...”*
The First Prince fell back on the pillows, asleep in a drunken stupor.
The Duke of Toulouse looked at him for a long time then took a deep breath and turned around.
"Ha. No matter how frightening this first assassination attempt has been...”
The Duke of Toulouse looked at the First Prince, who lately had been doing a lot of things that were offensive in His Majesty's eyes. Apprehension filled him.
“It didn't happen up to this point, but it was bound to happen someday… You must have been surprised.”
The duke clicked his tongue and moved to the door.
"It must have been the 2nd Prince’s doing...!"
Right after the arrow flew towards the First Prince, he immediately thought of the Second Prince.
After all, he was in charge of the Hunting Ground’s general guard, so it presented a good opportunity.
The Duke would have done the same, were he in that position. So, what won’t they do now that the Crown Prince selection was underway?
The Duke of Toulouse stopped at the sudden thought.
'Would he have these kind of thoughts...?'
The answer came immediately.
'No. This isn’t the Second Prince's way.'
The Second Prince he knew didn't use such methods. If he needed the Military or a Military budget, he asked for it openly.
After the war, he was the first to move, and he never once tried to use underhanded methods to convince the nobles.
And the nobility’s demands were unconditionally accepted or rejected in public.
'A person like that, organizing thing behind the scenes?'
Of course, he had a history of organizing affairs for the Emperor and there was the Talent Training system, but those were also political maneuvers.
He didn’t play both ways.
'Even so… If you are blinded by the throne...'
As a Duke who'd seen countless people throughout his life be blinded by greed and betray their beliefs, he couldn't come up with any words to refute his own conclusion.
Then he thought.
“What if it isn’t the Second Prince?”
The Duke felt as if he had been hit over the head by a hammer.
"Why am I thinking of this only now? …!”
He left the 1st Prince's chambers at a leisurely pace and went straight to the 3rd Prince's place.
'… Indeed. Only the 3rd Prince would benefit from this... Yes… Then in that case I will…’
Tandra Mansion winter garden.
Theodore, raised his teacup, looked at me and grinned.
What was it with this bastard?
I should've been pretty disgusted by it, but I wasn't.
Instead, he looked pretty handsome, so I thought: ‘Why is he even here?’
I wondered whether there were many more handsome boys around. I would have been able to enjoy this world, if it hadn’t been for my family’s predestined demise.
I slowly sat back down.
I should calm down. It was true that the current situation wasn't a difficult one, but that didn't mean I should lose focus.
I swore to myself, took a deep breath and tried to understand the intentions of this handsome child.
“Viscount, you say you are doing your duty. What is the exact meaning of those words?”
“My grandmother ordered me to meet with the Lady three times, and I will faithfully carry out these meetings, which may be of help to my family. As I have been enjoying the benefits of said family, in an arranged marriage, the will of our families, the Eliases and the Stuarts, is more important than our own.”
“If there should be a bond, I will gladly follow my family's orders. Of course, I would like to ask you to defer the period by one year."
A dark veil fell in front of my eyes. I was about to lose it.
My dead stare pierced that innocent and weak facade.
"You seem to be misunderstanding something, didn't you hear about the bet I made with Lady Helen? We didn't meet to get married."
"I know. But aren’t three official meetings the cornerstone for an arranged marriage? A man and a woman have an official meeting in the name of their family, but who would consider it just a simple meeting?"
A white mist filled my mind. My grip on reality was fading following his statement.
I… Go far, oh, oh...
'Argh! Don't lose your mind! No! Calm down!'
It was said that even if you entered a tigers’ den, you could survive if you stayed alert!
But this wasn't a tiger's den….
An ominous feeling told me it was going to happen soon.
So, I slowly drank my tea and thought.
“Then, is the Viscount’s opinion of no consequence to the family in the once-in-a-lifetime event of an arranged marriage?”
“It is of consequence. I can postpone our engagement. Isn't it the same with you?"
“Unfortunately, it is similar. However, I try not to be led astray, and do my best so that the family does not disregard my wishes to achieve my desired results.”
Wondering if my will would look weak, I clenched my fists and spoke in harsh articulate tones.
The young man tilted his head and frowned slightly.
“You have unusual opinions. It’s… a little bit…”
“It's inappropriate. Each status and gender have their own responsibilities and obligations. Wouldn't it be even more the case if you're an aristocrat? No matter how the upper members of the Elias family manage and generously widen the strict nobility frame, if they deviate from it too much, it can be seen as them forgetting their role and responsibilities as noblemen who maintain the social order.”
What was with this bastard? … Ah... What I thought about this handsome blond was cancelled. He was young, naïve and had no clue. Or maybe it was me. Was his view the norm is this society?
I felt truly disappointed as I faced this wall of stereotypes and social order.
But interestingly, it cleared my head. It felt like something was definitely established.
I smiled slowly. My eyes probably shining very bright as I was about to give him a piece of my mind.
“I surmised that the Viscount would be like Lady Helen. For a second, I thought I might be wrong…”
“No. I was right.”
“What are you supposedly right about?”
“The Viscount. No, the second son of the Stuart family is not an interesting prospect."
"I beg your pardon?"
“We will proceed with the remaining two meetings as planned. You may think that the purpose of this meeting is to be an arranged marriage, but there is something that Lady Helen didn’t explain correctly to the Viscount...”
“‘I will not mention marriage between you and the Viscount' is what she said. Therefore, this meeting is not for the purpose of marriage.”
“I told you before…”
I raised my palms to stop him from speaking.
“As per the bet I made with Lady Helen, it was agreed that we would meet three times. Naturally, if rumours of this meeting ran rampant, she hoped that we would get betrothed…”
“It’s all about the spirit of the words…”
I stretched out one index finger in front of his face and shook it slowly in tandem with my head.
“Nuh uh. No. No. Betting is legally binding. You can’t break it… Perhaps Lady Helen thought that if I met with the Viscount three times, I would fall in love with him. But here's the thing, from the impressions that you gave me today, I can say with certainty that the Viscount isn’t worthy of me or my family.”
"No. This doesn’t make sense…"
“So, tell Lady Helen this. And I dare say this even though I know it is rude. Even a hedgehog can't help but say that his cub is pretty, but nonetheless, it’s still a hedgehog. Lady, you overestimated your grandson.”
One of Theodore's eyebrows rose to the heavens.
"Perhaps the next meeting will be held in the capital. It seems like a waste of my time to stay here, I’ll just leave.”
I headed towards the entrance of the garden without looking back. It was pretty rude, but I didn’t care.
I thought I heard him laughing. I found it ridiculous.
As the door was about to close, I thought he said something, but I didn't hear it. I didn't even care.
* About “my willy”, in the MTL he says my eggplant, which is a term commonly used in manwha to refer to male genitals. Since he is a pathetic Prince and totally drunk, I chose the word willy. If you have any better suggestions, please feels free to let me know!