23: Troubles and Reprimand
“……Ah.” Julius’ sword was repelled and flew out of his hand. He muttered to himself, surprised, as he watched his sword fly off.
The person standing in front of him had succeeded in disarming Julius. He stood with his sword in hand and didn’t even try to hide his astonishment.
His obviously looked dissatisfied even though he had finally obtained his desired victory.
“I won’t accept it.” The young man ── Prince Dudrick complained with displeasure still showing on his face.
“Julius Rosenberg. Are you making fun of me?”
“No, I didn’t intend to……”
Julius could only look down and try to defend himself since Dudrick sounded as if he was reproaching him.
Julius, himself, knew that he wasn’t in his normal condition today, so his words of rebuttal sounded weak.
“What’s with you?! You’re not in top form. If you had been in normal condition you should’ve been able to parry that attack with no problem. I had thought that maybe your skills had been dulled by your injuries but that doesn’t seem to be the case. You’re inattentive, it’s obvious that your mind is somewhere else right now.”
“…… I have nothing to reply to that.”
Julius had been attacked and injured by assassins, but he was young so he recovered quickly and was able to move around within a few days.
It was more difficult for Julius to deal with the presents that he kept receiving than to heal his injuries.
Writing “thank you” replies to all of the people who sent the gifts was torture.
The pain in his left shoulder had disappeared and he had gotten approval from the doctor to resume his daily training; but he was doing poorly for another reason.
Of course his physical strength had diminished some from lying in bed all day but the main cause of the issue was that he was worried about something and couldn’t concentrate at all.
His lack of concentration was the reason why Dudrick was finally able to defeat him.
“So? What the heck are you so worried about?”
“Nothing, it’s nothing for Your Highness to be bothered about……”
“It’s fine, I don’t mind so talk. It also affects me when you’re acting like that. If I don’t get you to return to your normal state, then I’ll never be able to surpass you.”
Dudrick tried to forcibly get information from Julius, but he was hesitant to answer. Dudrick didn’t accept that and urged him to talk.
“Is it because you won before that you won’t accept it?”
“Fool. I said I won’t accept it, didn’t I? I want to win against you when you’re at your full power. There’s no meaning to it if I win against this gutless you.”
Dudrick thought of Julius as his rival, but that didn’t mean he was satisfied with winning against a weakened Julius.
He wanted to surpass Julius, but that didn’t mean that he wanted to win against him.
He could only satisfy his pride by winning against a Julius at his best.
Therefore he wasn’t satisfied with winning against a Julius who was obviously not in the best condition.
“I understand. If you insist then I’ll talk about it, but I want you to keep it between us.”
“Stop beating around the bush and just tell me.”
Dudrick looked as if he wouldn’t give up if Julius didn’t talk, so Julius sighed. He gave into Dudrick’s demands and talked about what had been bothering him.
Julius was troubled that he hadn’t been able to meet with Emilinne since the attack.
Emilinne had gone out with him for a long ride, they were then attacked by assassins and Julius was injured. Julius’ life was saved because she had treated him and even went through the trouble of bringing him back to the Royal Capital.
He wanted to thank her for saving his life and apologise for getting her involved in something dangerous. Above all, he wanted to finish the proposal that he didn’t get to finish at the time.
Julius wanted to meet Emilinne so that he could talk to her, but she hadn’t visited once while he was unconscious.
At the time, Julius had been forced to write replies to all the people who had sent gifts so he hadn’t noticed. Considering it was Emilinne, he found it hard to imagine that she wouldn’t have visited at all. Normally she’d drop everything just to go visit him.
Afterwards, he sent a letter to the Verjus House requesting to meet her when he could move again. She had, however, locked herself in her room and her father, the Viscount, had sent a reply refusing.
“I see, so you’ve become addled since you couldn’t meet Lady Emilinne. Hrm, I see. Well, if you think about it normally……”
“Think about it normally?”
“Aren’t you being hated?”
“── Your Highness!”
Julius desparately didn’t want acknowledge this possibility but Dudrick had said it so callously. Julius left aside the fact that Dudrick was the crown prince and glared at him.
In fact, she was in danger just by being next to Julius since people were after his life. Emilinne hadn’t done anything wrong at that place, she had just been dragged into the situation..
If he thought about it like that then it was ineveitable that she’d want to distance herself from him. ── Julius didn’t want to think of this possiblity but he imagined it regardless.
However, Dudrick laughed at Julius’ grievance.
“I’m joking. I don’t think Lady Emilinne would give up on you just because of something like that.”
“It would be great if that were so.”
Dudrick saw how much Emilinne cared about Julius and didn’t think that she had given up on him from the start.
Even if Dudrick reassured him about Emilinee, it still made Julius anxious.
“If she doesn’t hate you, then it could be her father, Viscount Verjus’ doing. Leaving aside her will, it’s possible that as a parent he doesn’t want his daughter to get caught up in something dangerous, or something like that?”
“No, it didn’t feel like he had any intentions of doing something like that from the letter he sent.”
“Then, what if she’s sick?”
“If she was then the Viscount would inform me so.”
Dudrick came up with possible reasons and suggested them to Julius, but they were refuted each time.
The conclusion that they arrived at was the joke from earlier.
This was made all the more bothersome because it had been the short tempered Dudrick who had suggested it.
“So, she does hate you after all?”
“………… I’m also starting to feel like she does.”
It was a reversal of all the previous lines of reasoning but each had been struck down so it was the only conclusion they could come up with.
Julius had refused it before, but he couldn’t do that anymore and hung his head.
“Enough already. How about you force your way into the Verjus estate and meet her?”
“If I do that, then won’t she hate me even more?”
“The hell, even if Lady Emilinne did hate you then that won’t make much of a difference.”
Things had become troublesome and Dudrick became increasingly argumentative. Julius couldn’t stay quiet, either, and got angry.
To Dudrick, it was someone else’s problem, but to Julius it was a matter of life and death.
“Oh yes. It’s bad that you always hesitate at the crucial moments!”
“Don’t be unreasonable. If Lady Dearnet were to hate you Your Highness, then you would be suffering like I am right now, wouldn’t you?!”
Dudrick faltered at Julius’ counterattack.
It was common knowledge that Dudrick adored his fiancée, Lady Dearnet Ramagret.
If he was hated by her then he would definitely be the same as Julius is now, or he might be even more worried.
“W-we’re talking about you and Lady Emilinne now, aren’t we? Lady Dearnet and I have nothing to do with this!”
“That’s true. But if you can imagine something like that then it’ll be easier for you to understand my feelings.”
“Your feelings, I don’t know anything about that.”
After that short exchange, Julius and Dudrick resumed their heated argument. But, Julius’ feelings had calmed down during their talk and his sword skills were almost back to normal so he won their next sparring match.
Dudrick was mortified at having lost again, but he was somewhat relieved to see that Julius was returning to normal.
Julius received a violent pat on the back as encouragement from Dudrick. He returned to his room after training and once again read the reply from the Verjus House.
The letter mentioned that Emilinne had shut herself in her room and wouldn’t leave and that it would be difficult to visit right now.
The letters on the page were masculine and powerful, but there were parts where Viscount Verjus’ hand had shaken and Julius could tell how upset he had been when he had written this letter.
As he had told Dudrick earlier, it was hard to imagine that Viscount Varjus would be opposed to him meeting Emilinne.
If that were the case, did that mean that Emilinne had insisted that she didn’t want to meet him?
It was hard to think that she hated him because of the attack seeing as how she’d saved his life. He didn’t want to think about it.
However, it was true that he didn’t have any other clues.
“Lady Emilinne……” Julius muttered wistfully at his feelings of loneliness and longing for the person in his heart.