Chapter 30.1: Theodore’s Story from Roland’s Perspective (Part Two)
Four years had passed since their engagement.
“Hey, be careful! Theodore, focus. Are you trying to kill me?!”
During their sparring session one day, Theodore, who usually took it seriously, was distracted and almost dealt a fatal blow. When asked what was wrong, he looked like it was the end of the world and said something unexpected.
“Lately, Ester has been avoiding me.”
“. . .Huh?”
“I wonder if she hates me. I have no idea what I did wrong or what to do about it. . .”
I pondered on how to console Theodore, who was about to burst into tears with his head down.
“Well… just calm down. Maybe the Princess is busy? She’s already twelve years old and has started taking on official duties.”
“Is that so. . .I hope that’s the case.”
“Of course. Her Highness couldn’t possibly hate you.”
Theodore weakly smiled at my words. If he was actually hated, I would be the one to receive his wrath next. It was karma, but if I were to be on the receiving end of his current strength, my life would be in danger.
However, it was clear to anyone that they both had feelings for each other, so the words of comfort I gave him were not just empty words, but my true feelings. Even if it was just a childish fight, I was optimistic that they would eventually return to their normal selves.
However, gradually, it became clear that Theodore’s concerns were not unfounded, but rather, they were true.
Firstly, His Highness’s way of addressing Theodore has returned to a polite one. Previously, Theodore had said,”Ester speaks that way because she cares about her dignified image. I don’t think it’s necessary, but… She speaks in a more casual manner to only me and our family, and it makes me feel special,” while gushing about her.
Moreover, Her Highness used to visit Count Kieza’s mansion frequently to see Theodore, but suddenly stopped. Even when invitations were sent, they were declined due to being too busy.
Above all, they used to exchange hugs and have lighthearted conversations whenever they met, but now Her Highness barely even looks at Theodore. Their conversations are minimal, and there is no room for catching up on each other’s lives.
“. . .Are you okay?”
“How could I be okay?”
When I called out to Theodore, who was lying face down on the desk in the school cafeteria without taking a single bite, he replied in a sulky voice.
I couldn’t find any comforting words, and the evidence of the situation was piling up. Without saying anything more, I sat across from him and started eating.
“Are you Senior Theodore Kieza?”
A boy who could be identified as a junior from his armband approached us. He resembled our classmate, Legro Narvaez, in facial features, hair, and eye color, so he might be his younger brother.
Without raising his upper body, Theodore lazily turned his face towards the boy and replied.
“Yes, but. . .”
“I heard a rumor that you are disliked by Princess Esterize. If that’s true, wouldn’t it be better to withdraw from the engagement?”
“Hey, I don’t know who you are, but it’s none of your business.”
It’s amazing how people can say anything when they first meet. . .No, there are good and bad things to say to Theodore now. Without hesitation, he interrupted the rude underclassman, and although he didn’t seem apologetic, he slightly bowed his head.
“I apologize. I am Fabio of the Marquis Narvaez family. And although you said it’s none of my business, if the princess doesn’t want a senior, I would like to be wanted.”
. . .There are occasionally people like this who don’t know their place. They are often younger people who don’t understand Theodore’s strength or older people who can’t admit their own defeat. Even so, once they have a match with Theodore, their hope is shattered,But now, it seems that Theodore’s own spirit is on the verge of breaking.
I wonder if he’ll be okay. I watch his movements nervously, thinking that now is the time to use the Duke family’s power.
“It’s up to you how you think, but I won’t yield to a man weaker than me.”
“Well. . .I’m losing now, but if we were the same age”
“If you really want to be Ester’s protector, don’t use your age as an excuse. I was already beating seniors like you when I was your age. . .But I still think I’m not good enough to stand beside her.”
Finally, Theodore stood up and looked straight at Fabio as he spoke. It was like the day he declared war on me.
No matter how depressed he was, he still wanted to protect Her Highness himself – that feeling seemed unshakable. While feeling relieved about that, I added a supplement to the boy who seemed to not believe Theodore’s words.
“It’s true. When you were around his age, there was no one else besides the teachers who could fight you on equal terms.”
“Really. . .”
The boy named Fabio took a step back and showed a look of despair. If he had won some kind of school tournament, I would remember his face. But the fact that I didn’t recognize him meant. . .that’s what it was.
“If you become stronger than me, I’ll be happy to withdraw.”
Happy? That’s a lie. While refuting that in my mind, I chuckled, thinking that the condition of becoming stronger than Theodore was equivalent to saying “I will never give up.” Even though he’s so down to the point where he can’t even eat, he continues his training with the determination to become stronger than anyone else, so there’s no way he can catch up.
After watching Fabio slump his shoulders and leave, Theodore let out a long sigh and muttered.
“I said some pretty arrogant things, even though Ester might think that he’s better. . .”
It’s true that His Highness avoids Theodore. . .but I don’t think she hates him. Even though I, who used to hate him so much, says this, Theodore is not the kind of man especially to women who is disliked, and Her Highness is not the kind of person who hates someone for no reason. If Theodore did something to make himself disliked, he would have some idea of what it was.
“I want Ester to fall in love with me again. I’ll do anything for that. But. . .maybe it’s just annoying to be pursued by someone you dislike.”
Saying that, Theodore started eating, more like stuffing food into his mouth while feeling down. Although he wanted to do something, all he could do was hope that they would return to their former selves as soon as possible.
. . .That’s why, since the incident in Verde, I was relieved and genuinely happy to see the two of them reconcile as if I were one of the parties involved.