Chapter 29.1: Theodore’s Story from Roland’s Perspective (Part One)
It’s the day of Esterize’s and Theodore’s wedding. The ceremony and parade have already ended, and now they are in the midst of a standing party. As a young knight, I should be on guard duty, but the captain and others pushed me to attend as a noble celebrating with Theodore, who is close to me.
In other countries, it seems to be common to change into a different dress for the party after the wedding ceremony, but here in Acardi, it is customary to wear an over-skirt in the groom’s color over the wedding dress as a symbol of protecting the bride. Esterize is wearing a pure white dress without a long train, and an aqua-green over-skirt that closely resembles Theodore’s eye color. With the addition of a white face veil that is different from her usual style, she looks like a saint. If I were to say that to her, I can imagine her modestly saying, “I’m just a descendant.”
Theodore, who is also beautifully dressed, stands beside Esterize as if to support her. When I think back to how they were over a year ago, my eyes become hot with emotion. As I watch the two of them greet the guests as the hosts, Esterize notices me and calls out to me.
“Your Highness. Congratulations on your marriage once again. I sincerely congratulate you.”
“Hehe, thank you very much. Roland, you have been through a lot of trouble, haven’t you?”
“Not at all. Besides. . .seeing you both so happy like this is the greatest joy. Congratulations to Theodore too.”
“Thank you. I also worried you quite a bit, didn’t I?”
“I won’t deny that.”
If I answered firmly and promptly, Theodore would laugh as if it were a joke.
In reality, I was really, really worried about the two of them.
At first, I thought Theodore was an annoying guy I couldn’t stand.
Since I was a child, I had been burdened with heavy expectations from my father, who was a knight commander in the Duke Oberti family. Although my father had the ability to serve as a knight commander, he was unable to become the king’s consort and missed the opportunity. Although I now love my father, I still feel my father’s regret and humiliation, and he had been trying to make up for it by making me, his son, the king’s consort.
However, regardless of my father’s thoughts, I had set my goal to become the king’s consort of my own will. I had received harsh training that made my blood boil, so it was natural for me to want to be recognized and rewarded, to become the strongest and the king’s consort, which was proof of being the strongest.
“I don’t want to become the king’s consort.”
Despite saying such a thing, Theodore Kieza was always at the top of his class in the knight school, unbeatable in both swordsmanship and magic. He was a natural-born genius who couldn’t even slack off if he really didn’t want to become the king’s consort. No matter how hard I tried, he was always out of reach.
Every time I missed the top spot, my father would let out a deep sigh of disappointment, and the training would become even more severe, saying that I lacked practice. But even so, I endured it with gritted teeth and kept up with it. If it weren’t for Theodore, I could confidently say that I would be the strongest among my peers.
Yet. . .even so, I could never make Theodore kneel even once. He, who didn’t even want to become the next king, couldn’t possibly be putting in as much effort as I was. It’s frustrating, frustrating, frustrating.
One day, after accumulating such resentment, I finally made a mistake.
“Hey, I heard you’re now the most likely candidate for the next king consort.”
At the school-wide swordsmanship tournament, regardless of age, Theodore easily won despite being a junior. He had the strength to fight on par with adults, yet for some reason, he seemed to lack confidence. Irritated by this, I spoke up.
“. . .I think it would be great if you became the next king consort.”
He responded with a confused expression, saying such nonsense, so I lost my temper.
“You’re kidding me. . .!!”
Even though violence was prohibited outside of training at school, I pushed Theodore with all my might. With his skills, he could have easily dodged it. However, for some reason, he didn’t dodge or even take a defensive stance and fell backwards.
“If you really think that way, then you should go easy on me! Is it really that difficult to pretend to be weak?!”
“That’s because. . .when a sword is pointed at me, my body just. . .”
“Hmph. You’re weaker than I thought if your body just moves on its own.”
“No, that’s not what I meant──.”
“Shut up! You’re just a member of the Count family, don’t talk back to me!”
No matter what he said, it only further irritated me, wielding my power and authority. By doing so, Theodore was forced into silence. Seeing his submissive behavior, someone who could never be my equal… I felt a surge of exhilaration.
I see. No matter how much they claim there is no distinction of status within the school, it’s clear that even someone as incomparable as him in terms of ability cannot surpass those in power.
This was the only way I could make Theodore kneel before me. Even though it was just a hollow victory, I couldn’t help but take pleasure in it and release my pent-up frustration.