Chapter 31 His Royal Highness Prince Cedric’s Visit
From outside the Anderson’s window came the sound of the rattle of carriages.
“A customer?” I looked out the window and saw a gold griffon crest on a black carriage body. Isn’t that the coat of arms of the Ashbury royal family?
“Master Clark, it seems that a high-ranking person is visiting, so it would be better to meet them.”
I spoke to him and the three of us headed for the entrance hall of the Anderson family home.
A slender, blond-haired young man stepped out of the carriage in front of the open door.
(The person from that time)
The hair color was different, but I noticed because of his gait. That means he is the second prince. His Highness walked briskly and approached me.
“Hi, Miss Sellers, it has been a long time.”
‘It’s been a while’ you say. I laughed wryly.
His Highness the Second Prince spoke to me cheerfully as if he had never broken his ribs. It would be strange to say ‘Nice to meet you’ or ‘Thank you for that time’, so I bowed in silence.
“I heard from the former Countess Haynes where you were. Do you have some time?”
“Yes, Your Highness.”
“Ah, Mrs. Anderson, I’ve only come to talk for a few minutes. I’ll be returning soon, so you don’t have to make tea. Lady Victoria, can we have a minute together?”
“Yes. Your Highness.”
After entering the reception room guided by Mrs. Eva, the knights quickly left after checking the interior. Nonna was staring from the door before Master Clark pulled her hand and dragged her away. However, along the way, Nonna stopped and turned to glare at the Prince, but was ultimately dragged away by Master Clark.
Why did she glare?
“Actually, I came to apologize to you today. Your animosity and actions were warranted given I approached a woman in that manner.”
I waited in silence for him to continue.
“I became interested in you when I heard that a woman who looked like you defeated a man at that evening party.”
“Unfortunately that was not me.”
“Fufufu. I see. But you were definitely strong when I faced you.”
“I heard from the Second Knight Order Commander that Your Highness injured yourself in a fall.”
His Highness Cedric smiled wryly.
“Don’t say such mean words. I came to apologize today with a sincere heart. I’m sorry.”
His Highness stood up and bowed deeply.
“Your Highness, please stop. I am in insignificant commoner from another country. In any case, please raise your head.”
“Will you forgive me?”
“Yes, of course.”
“Good! Jeffrey didn’t even let me approach you. Please keep it a secret that I was here? I believed that I should face you directly and apologize.”
I guess he isn’t a bad person, just as Commander said. I’m glad I didn’t break the bones in both his arms and legs. No, I really wasn’t going to do that unless something happened again.
“And so, I have a request for you. Can you teach me some of your martial skills? Of course, I’ll pay you proper remuneration.”
“… That was a quick refusal. Why not? Didn’t you forgive me?”
Let’s be honest here.
“Other people will be interested in me if they find out that I am training Your Highness in martial arts. I’m sure there will be a lot of people who come to challenge saying, ‘Let me see how skillful you are’ once they know I am a woman in her twenties. I am currently employed and taking care of that child. I don’t have any other free time.”
“In that case, I’ll take care of it so that people won’t notice. Once a week, just for an hour is fine. Please.”
I guess he really likes to train.
“In Your Highness’ position, wouldn’t it be better to have someone with good skills nearby instead of polishing your skills?”
“Then will you stay by my side?”
“I absolutely hate it. I refuse.”
I couldn’t help but laugh out loud. His reply caught me off-guard.
I kept refusing, but he said, “Okay, I’ll come back when you’re about to change your mind!” and left with a refreshing smile. What an optimistic person. He seems to like training very much.
Mrs. Eva asked me a lot of questions, but I returned home with a vague answer of ‘It was about Commander…’. I wasn’t lying. I repeated the same words to Mrs. Yorana. The truth would be too scary.
After dinner there was a knock on the door.
“Yes. Who is it?”
“It’s me, Jeffrey.”
“Vicky! It’s Jeff!”
Nonna looked very happy. Unable to wait for me to open the door, Nonna opened the door and the Commander in uniform was standing there. I always thought that uniform makes him appear 60% cooler.
“Good evening Commander.”
“Victoria, I heard from a royal guard at the royal castle that His Highness Cedric came to see you?”
(The Commander already knows, Your Highness.) I almost laughed.
“Yes. He asked to teach him martial skills.”
“What did you say in response?”
“Even though I warned him that much. I’ll make doubly sure he knows tomorrow. I’ve known His Highness since he was three years old, but he’s always been undeterred. Even though he’s already 20 years old, he’s still troubling others. Probably because those around him turn a blind eye because he’s only interested in the martial arts field.”
I brewed tea in silence and cut up the butter cake with walnuts stored in a wooden box and served it to the table. It was baked the day before yesterday, and today it was moist and ready to eat.
“Commander is a knight of the Kingdom. I can’t ask you to do such a thing for me.”
If I ask such a thing, one day I might cause this person and his family a lot of trouble. I don’t want to inconvenience him. And what if he distances himself after that? My chest hurt just imagining it.
“There is a limit to what I can ask of Commander. I would be heartbroken if I depend on you and get spoiled by you and be abandoned someday. I’ll refuse him myself, so it’s okay.”
Commander stood up. He approached me while I was standing and looked at my face with concern.
“I won’t let you go.”
“I’ll take care of myself. Until now, I’ve had a lot of help from Commander, but I wish to try to do something myself. That’s why you don’t have to worry about His Highness.”
“Vicky, are you upset about something?”
“I’m not angry with anyone. It’s okay, Nonna.”
I thought I was speaking calmly, but it seemed that there was something lurking in my voice that scared her. Nonna had teary eyes.
When I was stroking Nonna’s head with a smile, the Commander lifted Nonna up with his left arm and then pulled me closer with his right arm.
“I understand. So don’t laugh with such a sad face. Can you tell me what you’re afraid of?”
Without answering, I comforted the teary-eyed Nonna and put her to sleep on the bed. The Commander waited for me until I returned.
“Commander, I can’t tell you what I’m afraid of. I’m sorry.”
“I see… I’m sorry I forced my feelings on you even though you have your own circumstances.”
“No, I’m sorry. Um, would you like a glass of wine?”
“Oh, by all means.”
Red wine and walnut butter cake goes well together.
The two of us ate the cake with walnuts and drank quietly. Biting into the crispy toasted walnuts reminded me of the walnut cake my mother used to bake. Even though my memories of my mother’s face and voice, whom I only lived with for eight years, were already quite blurred, I still remember the taste of my mother’s cake.
“In the past, I couldn’t get my fiancée to rely on me when it mattered. Maybe my feelings of wanting to protect someone important to me are too strong.”
“You have … a fiancée? Is it okay? You coming here.”
“She is no longer in this world. 10 years ago she took … I couldn’t do anything up until the end.”
“Is that… was that so… something like that happened.”
For someone with such a sense of responsibility and desire to protect, it must have been really hard for him. Was that the reason why it was the first time in ten years he attended an evening party?
“I’m sorry for making you recount something painful.”
“It’s in the past. You don’t need to worry.”
I wanted to change the subject. I had to change it.
“Speaking of which, I was told recently that I don’t understand the exchange of conversations. I guess there are still many things I don’t know.”
“Who told you that?”
“He’s someone you don’t know. He’s the owner of a bar I frequent.”
The Commander made a surprised face.
“You visit such places?”
“Yes. Only when Nonna sleeps at the main house. It’s funny, but I go where there are other people when I want to be alone.”
I was worried that the conversation would cut off so I kept talking.
“May I go to that shop with you next time?”
“It’s a place where a person can drink two or three drinks alone and then go home, so if it’s the two of us, let’s go to another store.”
I don’t think I can let Zaharro, who knows a lot about me, meet Commander.
“If you want to train in physical arts, I can be your partner. I’m stronger than His Highness.”
“I wouldn’t want that.”
“Training that will cause my hair to be disheveled, body to be sweaty, and probably train until my eyes roll back? I don’t want to show you that.”
“Then, is it okay for me to think that you are a little conscious of me as a man?”
I want you to realize that without asking, Commander.