Chapter 55: His Highness, Intrusion 1
「Oi, Carol, what’s wrong? 」
When I stopped walking, Zack wondered why and asked me so.
To be honest, I could only foresee a dim future. And so I was filled with feelings of not wanting to go home.
A carriage with the Royal emblem.
If it was His Majesty the King or Her Majesty the Queen, their visit should have been arranged. And if there was indeed such an arrangement, I should have been notified as well.
However, I was not informed of anything this morning. In other words, this was an unexpected visit.
For the Royal family to visit our home without prior notice—there could only be one person.
「Hn? Hey, you have a guest? 」
「Indeed, it seems to be that way」
Though it was truly unfortunate.
Aah, what should I do? I really did not want to go home.
Like I had a choice anyway.
Most probably, the visitor had a concern with me. It would have at least been fine had it been my elder brother who escorted me back, but it would be rude if I went in with Zack.
「Could you go back to the Order and call for my elder brother? 」
「……Eh? No, Albert-san should still have some work left」
How unfortunate. I could have lingered a little longer had my brother been available.
But I could not let him abandon his work at the Order on my account.
「Well then, Zack, until here is fine. I can go back on my own」
「……S-Sure. Is there trouble? 」
「Perhaps there is. Just, please pass these words to my elder brother, “An envoy of the royal family came to our house”」
Rather than an envoy, it was likely to be that person himself though.
Had it been an envoy, they would not have arrived in such a conspicuous carriage.
「Yeah, I got it」
「Well, Zack, until then」
With a rather subdued nod, Zack headed back to the Order.
Now then. If Father and Mother were home, I should receive the guest with them. But if they were both absent, I shall not meet with the guest.
Having made my decision, I entered the manor.
「W-Welcome back, Ojou-sama」
It was Richard who greeted me as soon as I entered.
I could understand his awfully flustered state. After all, if people from the royal family came without notice, this sort of reaction was only expected.
While I could most likely guess who came, I would still ask.
「Say, the guest is……」
「Yes. Which esteemed guest is here? 」
「That is……His Highness Rayford has come」
Was it as I thought?
Well, I expected as much. But what could he want from me at this point?
「Where is he now? 」
「In the drawing room, Oku-sama is entertaining him」
「What about Father? 」
「He left for a business affair. I believe he will be able to return soon, but……」
It seemed only my mother was around.
But if it was Mother, I could manage somehow. Since Mother was impeccable in a lot of ways.
「What did he come here for? 」
「……well, he insisted that Ojou-sama be brought to him. But I informed him of your absence」
Was it a concern with me after all?
I might not know his reason or his intention, and regard him with the utmost contempt in my heart, but he was still the eldest son of the royal family. I could not ignore him.
It was inevitable. I shall head towards the drawing room.
Of course, in case of something happening, I would have Natalia stand guard behind me.
Ascending the steps to the second floor, we arrived before the door to the drawing room.
Then I knocked.
Hearing my mother’s voice, I opened the door.
There, seated together on a loveseat before my mother was, of course, His Highness Rayford and…….
Umm, what was her name again? I forgot.
If I was not mistaken……umm, her name sounded a little sweet.
Lady Maple, was it?
Anyway, the person His Highness seemed to have found true love with sat beside him.
「Hmph. So you have finally returned, Carol. To keep me waiting for so long」
「And as I kept saying, if you do not want to wait, then please feel free to leave」
「Shut up. I will not have a mere duchess order me around」
He had the same arrogant attitude as before. It would seem nothing had changed.
Even my headache was present.
「Carol, come sit beside Mother」
Complying with my mother, I took a seat next to her.
Natalia stood behind where I was seated. And as a matter of course, behind His Highness Rayford stood two people who seemed to be his appointed guards.
「I heard you have some concern with me」
「Aah. Honestly, you1 are still as impudent as ever. Will you not even say a word of apology for making me wait? 」
Even if you say that, it was Your Highness who waited of your own accord.
I was only doing my obligation. There was absolutely no need for apology.
…was what I wanted to say. I had a feeling I would get angry if I were to express that, so I would not say anything.
If possible, I would like for them to leave soon.
「And so, what did you need? 」
「……Oh? Did you just ignore what I said? I told you to apologize」
Oh why. I could only heave a sigh.
I knew His Highness’s head was filled with air2, but I never thought it was this bad.
Nonetheless, I wanted to hurry up and get to the matter already.
Even if I did not know why I must apologize when I was not at fault.
「Oh, fine then……I am sorry to have kept you waiting」
「Hmph. For you to not offer an apology unless prompted, the Ambrose Ducal House is awfully lacking in education」
Bearing with it, I maintained my silence.
My mother quietly seethed beside me. Faced with someone who was nothing but rude thus far, it was only natural to grow furious.
「Oh well. I went to the trouble of coming here. Clearly, there is a proper matter to be discussed」
「What is this about? 」
「If you plead for it, I might allow you to be my betrothed once more. Since I am magnanimous」
To the inconceivable proposition, I answered without pause.
 Rayford uses 貴様 / kisama, a rude form of “you”, to address Carol…which says a lot about how much of a jerk he is. ↩
 The actual translation was something like “a flower field in full bloom (in the head/mind)”. What I got from watching anime was that it’s a Japanese insult for “a stupid/airheaded person” (like this). Hence, I settled with “filled with air”. I searched long and hard for some explanation around the internet, but alas. It’s either because of the keywords I used or it’s not a widely utilized phrase. Either way, I hope I got that across. ↩