“Your Highness Nagi! Um, thank you very much for showing us your precious magical plant earlier.”
“Ah, you’re Patriel, from the Faure Viscount family.”
“Ye-yes! You remembered someone like myself?!”
After the class was over, a man with a friendly atmosphere spoke to me.
It had been a long time since I had been spoken to by another person when I wasn’t with my brother.
I felt my heart skip a beat.
But for some reason, I felt Mika tense up.
I was inwardly surprised.
Is there some kind of problem with Viscount Faure? I thought about it, but I couldn’t think of any problems, including in the future.
Patriel is the eldest son of Viscount Faure.
He has a small stature and looks harmless.
I’m thinking of taking Magical Botany next semester.
If you’re going to take that class as well, please treat me well, Patriel.”
“Yes! I-I am very happy! My house has a forest in the territory, so I was thinking of studying it.
Thank you very much!”
“Your Highness Nagi, excuse me for interrupting your conversation.
I also would like to say a word of thanks.
It was a wonderful day for me to see with my own eyes the ultimate beauty of the skullcap plant.
I look forward to working with you next semester.”
It was Gislette who talked to me from the side.
She must have been the third daughter of the Count of Dupont.
I had only ever seen her reading books and thought she was a quiet student.
But to think she would go out of her way to talk to me, I learned that she was interested in magical botany, just like me.
In a quiet, matter-of-fact tone, she still conveyed her excitement, it made a feeling of warmth spread through my chest.
Perhaps, I could make friends with this.
Only two people spoke to me, but it was a miraculous morning for me, as I had never had a conversation with almost any of my classmates except for Mika.
I said goodbye to them.
With my heart full of happiness and a fuzzy feeling, my steps feel light.
I was already looking forward to the next semester, even though it would soon be summer break.
I think I might be able to do my best.”
But, when I heard his strangely firm tone of voice, I turned my head around, confused.
I was feeling fuzzy, but when I turned to Mika, I saw him tilting his head as if he was not quite sure what was going on.
I had thought he would praise me openly, but I wonder what happened.
When I questioned with my eyes, Mika stopped in his tracks while looking a bit troubled, and then said in a cold tone.
“I think Miss Gislette is okay.
But, I wouldn’t really recommend Patriel.”
“Hmm… I wonder.
Viscount Faure is neutral, but I guess it’s strange for him to go out of his way to talk to you.
I wonder why.”
Mika doesn’t seem to have a good reason either.
For that matter, Count Dupont is in the first prince faction, but I had never seen Gislette talk to anyone.
I think they were both just simply interested in the skullcap plant, but seeing the expression on Mika’s face, I decided to keep an eye out for it.
Mika had always had a strange intuition since he was little.
(What is it…?)
Although I was expecting him to praise me openly, now my high spirit has sunk a little bit.
But I’m sure this is just a small part of what I’m going to have to work on, so maybe it was all for the best.
I keep my mouth shut and walk down the hallway.
But then— I felt a weight on my right shoulder and realized that it was Mika’s arm.
I turned to Mika on my left and saw him with a slightly mischievous smile on his face, then he asked me.
“What, did you want me to praise you?”
“I didn’t say I want anything like that.”
“But, you still did great.”
“I told you, I don’t really want it.”
I shook off Mika’s arms as I said that, then I heard small shrieks from people around me.
What was that? I turned my head and saw that several female students were looking in our direction and making a commotion.
Never before have I been subjected to such stares as I’m walking down the hallway.
I wondered what on earth they were talking about and listened carefully as I passed by.
I heard them say, “Mika looked so happy to be His Highness Nagi’s knight,” “I didn’t know the two of them were so close,” “His smile is so cute!” I heard such words and giggles.
It was just a casual conversation, but there was something about the high tone of their voices, and I’m very surprised inside.
I couldn’t help but take a second look at the face of the man walking beside me.
Hm? I looked at this man’s face as he tilted his head, then I thought.
Indeed, Mika’s almond-shaped eyes are well-defined.
The jade-green color of his eyes is beautiful, like the color of a lake in the sun.
His shapely nose gives a masculine feeling, and the sight of him smiling with his big mouth open is invigorating.
His sharp eyebrows give a sense of willpower, and his sticking-out, messy red hair can’t help but be taken as a good thing.
His body is well-built since he’s a knight, and he also has a decent height.
He is strong.
He has brains.
Although he’s the third son of a count, he was chosen to be my knight, so his future is secure.
Hmm, I walked with my hand on my chin.
Once outside in the courtyard, there was already the sweltering summer air that made me imagine the heat of the afternoon.
I could hear the chirping of insects.
I stopped walking.
“Could it be that… you’re popular?”
In my first life, five years ago, I never had such an impression of him, perhaps because all I had seen him do was get angry.
It was hard to believe that any woman would fall for a man who complained so much.
In fact, it had never occurred to me, putting aside the fact that I had inadvertently bonded with him.
(That’s right… I wonder what happened to Mika after I died.)
I only have memories up to five years later, but I wonder if Mika married someone after that.
I’m not certain what state the country was in after that, but I wonder if he could still find someone he loved in that situation.
This man who knows how to swim with the tide would surely be the man to turn to when the state of the country went bad.
I put my own feelings first and thought about it, but if by chance I get executed as the evil prince again in five years, Mika might possibly have to die a terrible death, just like Oswald in my first life.
I thought that much, then I realized.
(That’s right… Although I might end up being the evil prince again, I ended up involving Mika this time.)
No, —it’s different.
I have decided that I’ll try my best to avoid becoming the evil prince again.
I didn’t necessarily decide to drag him into this.
But, that’s right, it means I might have taken away Mika’s future, which could have existed more than five years from now.
It made me become more and more afraid.
I might be unable to conduct myself properly and lose my brother again.
Or perhaps I will do something wrong from now on and face that future again.
And what if I get Mika involved in that? I wondered, only now realizing the severity of what I had done.
Right now, Mika said that he was happy, but still.
—What about in the future?
My eyes met with the jade-green eyes that were staring intently at mine.
Just like that, he straightly asked me a question.
“Why do you look like you’re about to cry?”
That’s right, I’m a man so I won’t cry over such a thing.
However, Mika grabbed me firmly by the hand and started walking.
We passed the side of the school building, then beyond it, and continued onward at a steady pace toward the forest owned by the research building adjacent to it.
I called out, “Hey!” to Mika, but he wouldn’t stop, and when I realized it we were already deep in the forest.
He held both of my hands tightly, at the place where no one could see us.
“Don’t tell me… are you jealous?!”
“Of course not.”
Nagi is jealous…!”
“I told you I’m not.”
Strangely, I was annoyed when he asked me with a beaming and happy face.
What Mika said was totally off the mark.
What I’m worried about is not something on the level of jealousy.
It was about something that might cost his life.
“Oh man, I’m so happy,” Mika said, and I looked at him with a blank stare.
Suddenly, he hugged me tightly.
It was so sudden that my body flinched.
I thought about pulling away, but I was so grateful for his warmth now that I just couldn’t move.
In my ear, I heard Mika’s small voice saying, “It’s okay.” Then he said to me,
That knight’s pledge I made that day, —is my everything.”
Those words which have a little bit of sweetness, fell into me.
Mika misunderstood that I was jealous and said so.
I guess he thought I was still lonely, like when I was little.
But those words soaked in deep, deep down for me.
I remembered the words of Mika’s pledge.
I hoped, just a little, that it would be nice if things would always stay that way.
I pulled myself together and realized that I had to be careful not to become the evil prince again.
And then, I also thought that I have to protect Mika’s future.
As I breathed a sigh of relief in Mika’s arms, there was no way I could have realized that there was someone in the trees.
So His Highness Nagi and Mika… have that kind of relationship?”
Of course, I also wasn’t aware of that small murmur.
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