Chapter 11 Interlude – Erich Von Weimar’s Monolouge
I met the second prince, Augusto Ferdient von Meklenberg, twelve years ago.
I was fifteen years old at that time. Since I was just granted honors to be a full-fledged knight, I suspected my father had a hand in getting me chosen to serve the prince.
However, it didn’t turn out like how I thought it would.
The main reason I’d been appointed to the prince was not to guard him, but rather, to educate him.
“What in the world do you mean by educate?”, I asked my previous superior who’d assigned this to me. His Highness was eight years old and he should already have an excellent tutor with him.
I was told that I’ll see once I meet the person himself. Not comprehending, I ended up just inclining my head.
It can’t be helped since saying this or that regarding the royal family was prohibited, but I felt uneasy for what’s ahead.
In the room I was led to, I met with His Highness.
Prince Augusto was a black-haired, blue-eyed, high-strung boy.
For some reason, he was accompanied by one maid and without a single knight by his side.
It seems she was the daughter of Sir Plovak. From what I remember, her name was Keira. I feel she wasn’t that much different to me in age.
I remembered her since Sir Plovak was the superior of the unit that I was once attached to and he often boasted about his daughter. I also recalled him saying before that it had been decided that she was to serve the second prince.
When I greeted the prince, he sighed loudly and grumpily told me to withdraw.
When I told him that it was my job to stay by His Highness’s side, he told me 「I’m fine with just Keira with me」. With those few words, I could somehow guess the situation.
He was a troubled person that hates being involved with people and keeps the maid he likes by his side.
After that, His Higness’ battle with me began.
I somehow managed to drag him into a social gathering and tried to introduce him to children around his age. But the others withered because he was royalty and His Highness, being His Highness, declared 「This place is so boring」, so the atmosphere just kept getting worse.
Nevertheless, I mediated between His Highness and the boys to forge bonds.
The problem wasn’t just His Higness’ interpersonal skills.
The young boys liked things such as knights and adventure stories, but His Highness showed no signs of interest in those.
Now when I tried asking him what on earth was he interested in, he’d said 「technological innovations to procure foreign currencies」.
Hearing that, I just looked up at the ceiling.
His Highness’s way of thinking… from a fundamental point of view, was unlike that of an average child.
Under such circumstances, I don’t really know why His Highness only opened up to Keira Von Plovak. Well, there might have been a lot that happened between those two.
It seems she’s been serving His Highness for two years. A girl who works well and sympathizes with other’s circumstances. She waits upon him meekly as if she was His Highness’ shadow. Being gentle and filled with kindness, she was His Highness’ emotional support.
That was also one of the things that weren’t good about it.
I believe His Highness placed Keira Von Plovak close not out of trust, but rather, out of strong obsession.
He’s not even aware of the sentiments he’s mixed in there.
Two years have passed since I worked for His Highness but I couldn’t do anything about that point, so I had no choice but to inform my superior.
As a result, I was perplexed when my superior offered me Keira Von Plovak’s hand in marriage.
At that time, I was seventeen and she, eighteen.
Keira Von Plovak may be at a marriageable age but it was too soon for me.
What’s more, my family, an earl’s family, has a lot of troublesome associations that it demanded a lady that’s highly sociable as a partner. I doubt someone as unassuming as she would be a fit for it.
Furthermore, garnering His Highness’s resentment by marrying her would be quite troublesome as well.
Several months after that, it was decided that Keira Von Plovak would marry Viscount Weigand. Incidentally, we were away due to His Highness’s professional duties.
I didn’t think this would solve the problem but we had to do something.
Even then, His Highness went and did something outrageous.
When that mature personage learned about her marriage, he lost his temper in agitation.
Not taking his meals, he continued his fierce protest as he insisted that we 「bring Keira back」.
This continued on for three days, until at last, under the king’s command, things were returned to the way they were.
Keira von Weigand, nee Plovak, was reinstated as the second prince’s maid.
After that, I asked for Keira von Weigand’s help in His Highness’s training.
When she’s the one asking, His Highness would thankfully do anything.
‘What on earth were my efforts till now for?’, I thought, finding it hard to swallow, but I can’t afford to relax.
The king expressed his desire for His Highness to be a diplomat in the future.
He had an abundance of knowledge and he even had the language skills to match. What’s lacking was his interpersonal skills.
He chatted with Keira von Weigand well enough.
And he even turned complicated words into plain language when they talked so that it would be easy for her to understand.
But he wasn’t as kind towards others.
I began a certain activity to increase His Highness’s sociability.
That was… interactions with ladies.
I went for social gatherings and invited ladies over for tea.
His Highness should’ve been waiting at the transfer point but he’d suddenly vanish.
He’d apparently escaped.
But then, I can’t afford to be discouraged over one failure.
This was an extremely important tactic as well.
This was also aimed to shift His Highness’s sights from Keira von Weigand to other ladies.
He probably didn’t know any other lovely ladies.
That… had been what I thought then.
One day, I was summoned by my father and he commented about how terrifying it was that my face was now stuck in a permanent smile.
It was the side-effect of trying my best to keep a smiling face in front of His Highness. It was a kind of occupational disease so I asked him to just leave it be.
Once I told him that, my father ended up commenting that I must be exhausted.
“Why not get married and be healed by your wife”, he suggested.
It was an attractive topic but I rejected his offer saying I had no time for that right now.
After that, through Keira Von Weigand’s help, we succeeded in holding a tea party with noble ladies and His Highness. But, it wasn’t lively at all.
The ladies were in the company of royalty so they were shrinking back in fear and His Highness, looking displeased, didn’t bother to say a word either.
Thinking it will be useless if this goes on, I decided to join the party and mediate between them.
One wouldn’t be able to talk well if they knew the person was royalty, so I had His Highness dressed in disguise.
Furthermore, in order to increase the chance of encounter, I invited around three to four ladies.
There was no pause in the conversations, but His Highness, as usual, was not enthusiastic about the topics.
The ladies that had attended the parties even complained that he was a bore, unaware that it was His Highness in disguise.
As we kept repeating such activities, rumours that I was the number one playboy in high society spread.
I’d forgotten to mind public perception as I ran about for His Highness’s sake.
I probably appeared as nothing but a frivolous man who invited girls indiscriminately to people who didn’t know the situation.
This matter had His Highness in the middle of it so there was no room for an explanation.
I could do nothing but leave it be.
After we continued doing such things for several years, I noticed His Highness’s interpersonal skills had turned for the better.
At that time, His Highness was sixteen, and I, twenty-three.
I felt a sense of accomplishment thinking that the day had finally come.
Afterwards, I went to and from foreign lands, accompanying the diplomat.
When I found the time, I’d continued having tea parties with the noble ladies and His Highness, but the results weren’t very good. No matter how many years have passed, Keira von Weigand was the only one in His Highness’s heart.
That had become a long-standing cause of annoyance, but since I exhausted all possible means to fix that problem, I decided to just start with supporting His Highness’ work.
A year and a half after that, it reached a point where I could leave His Highness to do his diplomatic work independently and the situation had become what one could call “smooth-sailing”.
After so long, the discussion about marriage popped up again, but after seeing who would be my partner, I had my reservations.
That was because… she was a lady with royalty in her veins.
Her name was Hermina von Reutlingen. She was a noble lady of a ducal family and I’ve seen her a couple of times at evening parties.
She was incredibly beautiful but her presence wasn’t that of an ordinary person.
She spoke clearly for a woman and had a regal air around her that made you feel as if you’re bowing before a queen.
She’d been excluded when I was finding a woman that could be His Highness’s discussion partner. The reason being was that she was the polar opposite of Keira von Weigand.
I also had a suspicion that she might’ve realized who His Highness was under the disguise given that they were relatives.
The reason I refused the marriage was because I didn’t want to have anything further to do with royalty than this.
Seeing her, I could vividly imagine myself getting wrapped around her little finger.
I was even more exhausted than I thought.
After that, two years later, another outrageous incident occurred.
They said Keira von Weigand, that lady who hadn’t shown signs of pregnancy after marriage, was pregnant.
When I visited the viscount’s residence and interrogated her, she said the father was His Highness.
For the first time in my life, I shouted at another person.
I knew that I was venting my anger but I couldn’t curb my rage.
I strictly forbade her from speaking about this matter.
The sky was blue, and yet, I ended up finding even that repulsive.
I’d felt betrayed and disappointed by His Highness.
Had these twelve years been for nothing? That was the only thing on my mind.
I left the viscount residence and headed to the palace to report.
I wanted to a walk a little to change my mood so I ordered the carriage to return home without me.
It was broad daylight so there wasn’t a lot of activity in the neighborhood.
In that situation, I spotted a certain lady.
Walking with her arms linked to a tall lady was the duke’s daughter, Hermina von Reutlingen.
Thinking I might’ve just seen wrongly, I did a double take.
The reason was because her overbearing demeanor that made her look like a queen that I saw in high society was nowhere to be seen.
She’d hugged the lady（who I was certain was her older sister） by the arm and looked up at her with a beaming smile.
When her older sister handed her the roses she bought in a flower shop along the way, her cheeks flushed a rosy red.
Looking deeply moved, she flung her arms around her older sister.
I was seeing a surprising side of Hermina von Reutlingen right before my eyes.
When I took a closer look, the older sister she was with was actually the one who married the prime minister, Elke von Laeout. She had the reputation of being a cold, expressionless wife, but it looks like she’s incredibly affectionate and doting towards her little sister.
Well, it probably can’t be helped that she turned out so cute if someone’s been lavishing her with that much affection.
Before I realized it, I’d been staring at the sequence of events in a daze. I can’t afford to be taking my time like this any further. Thinking I had to hurry back, I got on a carriage along the way and headed to the palace.
It was decided that Keira von Weigand’s pregnancy will be concealed. Of course, from His Highness as well.
However, those around her noticed the strange occurrence as she continued working as usual.
Her morning sickness was severe after all.
It seems His Highness didn’t realize his part in it so he allowed her to take rest on grounds of “poor health”.
However, rumours spread within the servants.
‘Whose child was Keira von Weigand, who had been unable to make a child with her husband for ten years, pregnant with?’, they asked.
The fact that she and His Highness had an intimate relationship was common knowledge only to those close to them.
Since there is no way the problems of royalty can be allowed to leak to the outside world, it was decided that I would shoulder the blame for this as well.
After all, this incident occurred because of my failure to supervise.
And so, the rumour that Keira von Weigand had the child with me spread.
Since I already had the label of a playboy in the first place, everyone was convinced.
Now that this is what it’s come to, I couldn’t bring myself to care about what others thought anymore.
‘Just do whatever you all please’, I thought in resignation.
Several months after that.
I received a surprising offer from His Majesty the King.
‘Won’t you marry Hermina von Reutlingen?’, he asked.
She was twenty years old, just like Prince Augusto.
“Due to various circumstances, she hasn’t gotten married till now”, he says.
I could sort of guess what the 『various circumstances』 were that made Hermina von Reutlingen unable to marry.
His Royal Majesty the King had said, 「Hermina looks fierce, but she’s a cute and gentle girl」.
Just once, I, too, saw her like how he described.
If it’s her, there also won’t be a problem with the earl family’s associations.
Besides, if as my wife, she greets me as sweetly as how she’d acted in the neighborhood, I doubt I’d ever get enough of it.
Once I accepted the proposal, discussions on the marriage proceeded without a hitch.
And thus, Hermina von Reutlingen and I became husband and wife.
She was a really interesting lady and did a lot of things for me.
But coming from me who watched His Highness’s antics, these were all incredibly cute and pleasant.
She hasn’t shown me her true self yet, but I’d be ecstatic if she depends on me someday.
Firi: Might be good to go back and reread the chapters. Chapter 5 for example…