Chapter 21 Cedric’s Engagement
After being treated by a doctor, Second Prince Cedric unintentionally let out a groan.
“All you have to do is rest and wait for your bones to heal. Please make sure to rest.”
“Yes, I heard you the first time. Thank you.”
The elderly doctor bowed and left. A man standing in the corner of the room nodded to him and saw him off. That large man is Terry Garrett, Commander of the First Knight Order. Due to Cedric’s incognito outing and injury, he had been busy reporting to various offices.
“Even if the Commander of the Royal Guard isn’t here to watch me, I won’t be able to go out in this condition.”
“You’ve said that before, in town.”
“Because it’s true this time.”
It hurt when he breathes in and his chest expands. It hurts to speak or move. It’s the first time he’s broken a bone, but now he can think ‘So this is how it feels’. He’s heard that soldiers in war keep fighting even after breaking major bones, so he could empathize with how terrible it would be now that he felt this way with just a minor fracture.
Before long, Terry Garrett, the commander of the First Knight Order was called by his subordinates and reluctantly left the room.
Yesterday, when he was about to sneak back to the castle and go to his room, unfortunately his brother found him. A short conversation with him was enough for him to discover that he was injured. His brother was furious when he decided to be honest and explained the circumstances of his injury.
“I made a promise with Jeff. I said, ‘I’ll leave it to you. I’ll withdraw the order to investigate her.’ But you went and did this, which would make him think that I’ve broken my promise.”
He was right, so Cedric could only bow his head.
“I’m very sorry.”
“Tell the people around you that you fell and injured yourself. And apologize to her when you see her.”
“I don’t want to lose Jeff’s trust over this. I need him for my future.”
“Yes. I’m sorry.”
His brother ordered him not to leave the room for a while, and several guards were stationed. He didn’t expect his brother, who was always so mild-mannered, to reprimand him that much. Jeffrey probably pressed his brother in a rather forceful manner about the tailing.
He grabbed the golden chain from the desk drawer and pulled it out, taking out a thin locket and opening the lid. He couldn’t bear to dispose of the things he received when he was engaged, so he just stored them there.
It contained a small portrait of his ex-fiancé, Beatrice. A picture of a faintly smiling Beatrice sat inside the locket.
“Your Highness is strong.”
“I admire Your Highness’ strength.”
“How beautifully you wield a sword.”
Beatrice always praised Cedric for his strength.
She was bedridden for the entire five years of their engagement.
She didn’t seem that frail when she was young, but she suddenly became prone to illness around the time they got engaged. If she caught a cold, she would get pneumonia and inflammation of the middle ear. She gets food poisoning even if she eats the same food as others. Once sick, it was difficult for her to recover.
According to the doctor’s opinion, it was anxiety.
If you constantly feel burdened, you are more likely to fall sick and get worse. For Beatrice, her burden would be her engagement. With her overly kind personality, she would not have been able to retort even if another noble daughter said something to her.
Both the fiancée of the second prince and the future duchess positions were a burden to her.
Beatrice didn’t look gorgeous, but she was a kind and gentle girl. Moved by her lovely appearance, he begged his father to marry her. He was going to protect her.
“If they say anything, let me know. I will protect you.”
“No. I don’t wish to burden Your Highness with every sarcasm and backbiting. Conflicts between women last a lifetime. I’ll just laugh it off and let it go.”
That’s what she said, but Beatrice probably didn’t let it go and kept it in her heart. Her lady attendant once told him that she was called ‘a plain girl from a Count family without any notable achievements’ and ‘she pretends to be meek to snuggle up to His Highness’.
What other unpleasant things were said to Beatrice? She wouldn’t have heard such things if she hadn’t been engaged to him.
When he was fifteen and she was fourteen.
He went to visit Beatrice who had a high fever. His fiancé was breathing painfully with a bright red face and closed eyes. She was hot to the touch, as he held her hand and stared at her face for a moment. During these five years, she had scant moments of good health.
(Her lifespan is being cut short because I want her to be my wife.)
With that thought in his head, he paused to stare at his fiancé who was suffering, then gently let go of her hand and stood up. He stubbornly endured his tears.
That night, he scolded himself for his trembling voice as he asked his father to cancel the engagement.
“Please cancel the engagement in a way that will not be disadvantageous to her in the future. I beseech you.”
His father just said ‘Yes’ with a look that sympathize with Cedric’s words and did as he asked without asking anything. Perhaps his father knew about the cause of her illness.
After breaking off the engagement, Beatrice seemed to have lived in tears for a while, but he heard that she gradually regained her original healthy body.
He thought (I’m glad I did this), and out of consideration for her, he didn’t go to places where he was likely to see her as much as possible.
After that, his older brother got married and two boys were born in quick succession.
He was in a comfortable position, but his days continued as though there was a hole in his chest.
He had been honing his skill with the sword, but there was no sign of war in the Ashbury Kingdom. No country seemed willing to go to war with their country if it meant cutting off their business with the Kingdom. It’s a joyous thing, but then what was his path in life? Someday he will be converted to a citizen and become a duke, but after that?
The fief destined for him has long had a highly skilled steward who showed bountiful results. Will there be room for him to work?
The incident at the night party happened when he couldn’t find his path.
There was a very skilled woman.
He desperately wanted to know how good she was. It’s still a mystery why she knocked the man unconscious, but Cedric was more interested in her skill than the reason.
The result was a fracture.
She came at him like a human-sized cat. Her efficient movements were astonishingly fast, and the thought (I’ll be killed at this rate) crossed his mind when she pulled out her knife. It was the first time in his life that he felt the fear of death.
“I admire His Highness’s strength.”
He was bound by the words of his beloved.
Of course, she was purely just praising him, and it was his selfishness that he found a reason to live there.
When he closed his eyes, the figure of that woman who held a knife in a low posture revived behind his eyelids.
In retrospect, she may have been single-mindedly thinking of protecting that girl. He had totally disregarded that girl, but the woman had repeatedly warned him to go away. Her ferocity resembled that of a mother cat guarding her kittens. Even before comparing techniques, he was completely defeated by her spirit.
(Could I receive physical training from her like how that girl did?)
He smiled wryly at himself for thinking about such a thing. Just then, a jolt of pain came from his bones and Cedric winced.