04: Best Friend
A pair of lovers were dancing in the middle of the dance floor while attracting the gaze of spectators.
The two’s appearance was dazzling and there was a person staring at them painfully.
That person was Julius’s best friend, Maxián, who was chatting with him a moment ago.
“Oh, Julius. You are……”
To be precise, what he was staring at wasn’t [the figure of the two], he was only staring at Julius.
Of course, Emilinne’s figure also entered his line of sight, but he was unaware of her.
Even so, Maxián didn’t hate Emilinne. It was just that his feelings for Julius were greater than that.
“You’re still as beautiful as ever……”
Maxián has held feelings for Julius since long ago.
He held these feelings ever since he was introduced to Julius at a young age in order to become friends because of their family prestige and their close age.
Julius used to have short hair unlike now, and even Maxián thought that he was a boy when he saw him from the distance. As he approached him, he quickly noticed the charm that Julius couldn’t hide just by dressing up like a boy.
Or rather, that aspect of him appeared so vividly because he was dressed up as a boy.
Julius’s appearance back then was the most beautiful existence in the world to him.
Maxián was captivated by Julius instantly and became infatuated.
However, he realised that Julius was behaving like a man while they were conversing. He also noticed that Julius was intelligent beyond his years.
[She] wished to be seen as a man, and if Maxián didn’t go along with that, then it wouldn’t be able to stay by [her] side.
Therefore, even though he held feelings for Julius, he acted as a male friend to him while concealing his own feelings.
Maxián secretly made an oath inside of his mind while nurturing his friendship with Julius, who was conducting himself as man.
That was an oath to rescue [her], who was bound by tragedy and forced to live life as a man.
However, he pretended that he didn’t know the truth even though he wished to save [her]. If he didn’t treat [her] like a man then he wouldn’t be able to stay by her side. Maxián hesitated to act assertively.
He continued to be a close friend to Julius’s while being torn between his oath and reality.
“Someday…… I’ll surely release you from this curse someday.”
Despite his worries and hesitation, he dreamt of the day that he would save Julius.
And there would be no greater joy to him than standing by [her] side, when [she] regains [her] life as a woman.
Maxián muttered in a small voice inaudible to anyone as if to reaffirm his oath.
…… Julius, who was actually a man, had no need for Maxián’s wish.
Julius was originally male, so it didn’t matter if someone forced him to live as a man or not. There was no such thing as [regaining] his life as a woman, and he never imaged such a thing.
Of course, Julius couldn’t imagine that his best friend, Maxián, had such thoughts, not even in his wildest dreams.
To him, Maxián was a precious friend, who treated him as a proper male regardless of how other people thought he was a man.
If Julius knew that Maxián thought of him as a woman just like everyone else and that he had thoughts of [returning her to being a woman], the friendship between them would surely crack.
Therefore, Maxián was right to think that he wouldn’t be able to stay by Julius’s side anymore if he didn’t hide his feelings.
Maxián mistakenly made various assumptions and he wouldn’t be helping Julius at all.
Someone called out to Maxián, who was standing by the wall.
The person who called out to him was a young lady with emerald green hair that reached her back.
Her name was Lillyshia Servan. She was the only daughter of Baron Servan and Emilinne’s close friend. She was also close with Julius and Maxián through Emilinne.
Lillyshia and Emilinne are the same age, both of whom are two years younger than Julius and Maxián. However, she was often seen as older because of her calm and mature demeanour. Therefore, she looked like she was the same age as Maxián or older when she talked with him like this.
Although they looked different from each other, there were many who thought Lillyshia and Emilinne looked like sisters when they stood side by side because Emilinne looked innocent for her age.
“Oh, it’s you Lady Lillyshia. You came with Lady Emilinne, didn’t you?”
“Yes, she ran off as soon and left me behind as she saw Julius-sama.”
“It’s because Lady Emilinne really loves Julius.”
“Yes, she really does.”
She informed him with a wryly smile. She was also one of the ladies who adored Julius.
However, she was also cheering for her close friend Emilinne from the bottom of her heart. She was watching over them from the sidelines.
“Can I stand next to you?”
“Ah, of course.”
“Well then, excuse me.”
Lillyshia stood beside Maxián and looked in the same direction as he did.
They stayed silent for a while as they watched Julius and Emilinne’s dancing figures in the middle of the banquet hall.
The people around them had stopped dancing and those two became the leading dancers of the floor.
Julius was next to Emilinne.
Emilinne was next to Julius.
Julius was smiling like he always was, but Maxián, who knew him for a long time, knew that it wasn’t a fake smile that he normally showed to other people. It was a genuine smile from the bottom of his heart.
Emilinne was smiling wholeheartedly. He could tell that it was a genuine smile even from here.
The two who were dancing happily, looked sparkling to Maxián and Lillyshia.
They were well-matched as lovers and there was no space left for anyone else to enter.
“Those two are……”
Maxián, who was watching the two, muttered to himself.
Lillyshia, who was facing the same direction as him, was a little surprised by his words and turned to face him. However, he continued to look at Julius and Emilinne, he didn’t turn to face Lillyshia.
“Do you think that it’s fine for those two to stay like this……?”
Lillyshia immediately understood what he meant because she had thought about herself many times over.
── The two were convinced that── Julius and Emilinne were a female-female couple. Even though this hasn’t been a problem thus far, they were worried about the two’s futures because it was easy for them to imagine that the two, who had chosen this path, would lead a rocky life.
Lillyshia once again turned her eyes to the centre of the banquet hall.
“At least, Emilinne is thinking of Julius-sama earnestly. Besides, as far as I can see, Julius-sama is probably……”
“…… It appears so.” Maxián replied painfully to Lillyshia, who was watching the two.
Maxián, who wished that Julius would return to being a woman and love him, didn’t want to admit the fact that the two were seriously thinking of each other. However, he also wanted to cheer for them when he saw how happy they looked.
I love you so I want you to be with me, I love you so I want you to be happy, his heart squeezed at these two conflicting feelings.
He had answered her with a mixed expression because of the flood of emotions that were coursing through him.
The two once again fell into silence.
The mood around them had became heavy because of their previous conversation. Maxián didn’t like this and tried to change the mood by joking lightly with Lillyshia.
He might have also done this to deceive the pain in his heart.
“By the way, won’t you join me for a song……? Is what I want to say, but please forgive me, Lady Lillyshia. As expected, I don’t have the courage to interrupt the mood.”
“Yes, I would be delighted to be your dance partner, but even I find it impossible to interrupt their mood. We would be given the cold shoulder by everyone and it’s too much pressure to be compared to them. Only those with confidence in themselves can do such a thing……”
Lillyshia trailed off, she had noticed something and turned to look in that direction. Her expression changed into one of amazement.
“…… Or if you don’t care about how others are looking at you.”
Maxián, who saw Lillyshia’s behaviour, also looked towards the same direction and he realised why she was acting that way. In the direction that they were looking at, a man and a woman were walking towards the middle of the dance floor.
“For example, like that person.”
“Oh my! The Prince has made his appearance.”