Younger Brother’s Anguish 2
No matter how many times I look at the clock, the agreed time has already long passed.
I let out a deep sigh thinking of my childhood friend who unsurprisingly didn’t appear on time.
The childhood friend I’m particularly close with, the heir of Vivoir Ducal House, Alexei.
He’s always displaying his overly free behavior.
However, I think this really isn’t the time to be doing as he pleases.
Today’s agreement is not something that should be easily ignored.
It’s important to hand over the work to Alex who returned to the capital after a year.
Although for this past year I’ve served as His Highness’s close aide in Alex’s stead, after all it didn’t go smoothly like his work.
I was relieved from the bottom of my heart I’d finally be relieved from my position.
Once again, I looked at the clock. One hour has easily passed since the agreed time.
The place is His Highness’s office. There are no signs of His Highness returning either.
Alex coming means his little sister, Princess Lidiana, also came.
In that case, I don’t expect His Highness to come here.
At any rate, he’s now completely crazy about Princess. It’s no surprise he’d shrink from his official duties.
His Highness’s fiancée and Alex’s little sister, Princess Lidiana, whom I met for the first time at the engagement ceremony last month, was a dignified beauty as befitting a princess of the ducal house.
She’s different from my tastes, but her slender limbs and beautiful straight long hair were eye-catching, her well-ordered features also left me wide-eyed.
This Princess is His Highness’s and Brother’s beloved, huh…
I secretly observed her with a strange feeling, but I won’t be fooled. Although her outwards appearance is that of a noble princess, she’s a tomboy princess with an outstanding ability to take action, who not wanting to marry His Highness concealed herself and attended a masquerade ball.
I felt strange that Brother and His Highness were swayed by such her, but what really surprised me was her evaluation of Brother as “taciturn and expressionless”.
… Just what kind of attitude did my Brother show to his beloved woman.
At least to be called taciturn, he must’ve been hardly able to speak.
… Older Brother, if you don’t make your advances known she won’t know!
As expected, never would I want that to be the punchline of his ten years at her side.
Women are creatures seeking words.
They won’t understand without being told.
I think it’s the same even for Princess Lidiana.
Feeling like I saw a part of why Brother’s love went unfulfilled, I couldn’t express it in any more refined fashion.
On the contrary, surprisingly His Highness seemed to instinctually understand this and that.
Before I even heard whose His Highness’s beloved is, he’s already marked her with decisive vigor unlike Brother’s, and just like that obtained her whom he yearned for.
Cut her off and eliminate escape routes, the skills he showed in making her his own were shockingly splendid, despite both being beginners in love they were astonishingly different.
His Highness and Brother. It goes without saying that Brother doesn’t pale in comparison to His Highness in terms of specs.
The eldest son of a ducal house, the Magician Division Commander. And undeniably, he continued loving her with all his heart. I couldn’t see Brother cheating, so that’s also a good point.
But even so, it’s the person who takes action that wins in love.
Based on that I’d thought it should go well, but while Brother was hesitating this Princess fell in love with His Highness and was splendidly swept away.
Brother’s chagrin can be easily guessed, but honestly, I think he’s reaping what he sowed.
“Oh, you’re still there. You’re as serious as ever”
“Alex, you’re slow”
While I was killing time lost in the stream of thoughts, finally I heard the voice of the person I’ve been waiting for.
Let’s check the time… Already two hours have passed.
“Soz! I had a tiny business to take care of. Or rather, good job waiting. I expected you to go home”
“… You coming several hours late is the everyday occurrence, isn’t it”
I got used to waiting.
As I pointed that out with scornful eyes, as if the person himself was unaware he tilted his head.
“Was that so? I thought I used to be relatively on time though”
… That’s why he’s oblivious to himself.
I could tell my temple twitched hearing Alex’s nonchalant objection.
Unconsciously I raised my voice.
“You・are! Why! Are you late! Only to me!! Understand, I’m sick of it, okay!? And? Why are you late this time?”
“Don’t yell, it’s annoying”
Yes, for some reason since old days Alex’s lateness was mostly limited to me.
But, no matter how late he is, he’s always come. If I wait, he’s sure to come.
Because I understand that, I end up waiting until he eventually comes.
“It’s not like I could just let it go. Well, it’s that. I was consoling a cutie who was crying over an unrequited love”
As he simply said if you’re a man, you can’t leave that alone, right? I thought not again.
Alex comes up with an excuse every single time. I’m impressed how he comes up with them one after another, but naturally I don’t believe them.
“Yes yes. I understand. Then it can’t be helped. I know we must act kindly to women. Then, start taking over. There’s no time”
Alex simply brushed it off and, perhaps not liking my way of speaking, knit his brows in displeasure.
“After all you don’t believe me. Of course, different from you, I’m not popular among wives of noblemen”
With a twitch, I responded to the ridicule of my relations with women.
“… I don’t want to be told that by you whose popularity extends from young noble ladies to harlots in the castle town”
“Ah? Is it about Swirl? That was just a little consultation. Nothing else happened”
“I wonder. It’s suspicious”
I tried getting my revenge by saying that, but it seems challenging Alex to information warfare was a mistake.
He simply returned a broad grin.
“I don’t want to be told that by you who made moves on the countess. Madamkiller Glenn. Rather than playing with fire, follow Will’s example a little”
Hearing that name, I unconsciously spurt out.
I kept back my urge to question him about why he knows the matter from mere few days ago.
But, I don’t want my preferences to be found faults with.
“… With the ladies’ consent we’re only enjoying temporary pseudo-romances. Everybody is lonely. Is there something wrong with showing them a dream for a while?”
“No, well. You’re good at lighting fire, but you’re even better at putting it out. I ain’t worried”
“Then there’s no problem, right. Please leave it alone”
Although as one could expect I’m angry at Alex for not trying to hide amazement on his face, the next words left me speechless.
“No, I remembered a little. It was you who instigated Freed to embrace women”
He hit the nerve. My irritation was blown of in an instant, instead unpleasant sweat flowed. I can’t match Alex’s frigid eyes fixedly staring at me.
“You too knew of his misogyny and yet. You shamelessly told him to embrace women. Last time I didn’t question you because Freed was there. I haven’t forgiven you though… Do you have any excuse?”
“I do not. Regarding that matter I am also reflecting on it. It wasn’t my intention for him to make such a face”
I fully admit I was wrong. Seeing His Highness haggard look whenever he embraced a woman, I immediately realize I made a terrible mistake. I can’t think of His Highness as the same as myself.
Even if I regret it, it’s too late to take it back.
“… Tch. At any rate Freed doesn’t blame you. Then I also can’t say more”
“It’s good since Lidi doesn’t seem to mind at all, but if she was a purist woman, it’d at least become a source of fights, you know? You should be careful when wishing for Freed’s happiness”
I had no words to return.
As I hung my head, Alex snatched documents from my hands and started flipping through them.
“These are hand-over documents, huh… They barely changed since the year ago. Did you really work? Honestly, like that the hand-over doesn’t matter”
“… Because I’m a military officer”
“The second son of a duke shouldn’t run away with such words”
It seems Alex will explain himself away to the end today.
Strange. Alex was supposed to be two hours late, and yet before I noticed he seized the initiative and I got caught in his pace.
“… Come to think of it, have you met Older Brother yet?”
As Alex continued reading the documents in silence, I calmly asked what has been on my mind all this time.
Alex raised his eyes and briefly answered.
“Um… How was he? Was Older Brother perhaps terribly depressed?”
“If you’re so concerned, check on him yourself. Honestly, even with your flashy appearance, regarding Will you’re unexpectedly timid. Yes, you”
“Don’t bring looks into it”
I share the hair and eye color with Brother. But, it’s often said we give off completely different feelings.
Contrary to Brother who gives off a fastidious and cold vibe, I seem to give off a gaudy impression.
“Actually, that difference. Right, it’s that, the gap moe that’s currently in fashion”
“Gap… what is that?”
Hearing an unfamiliar word, I raised an eyebrow.
“It’s popular in the castle town. When one’s impression is different from expected after opening mouth – and that causes throbbing, that’s what’s called gap moe”
“… Are you stupid?”
At my frank reaction, Alex snorted.
“Ah, you’re the same as ever. And that’s how you’re seducing madams one after another. Despite the cheerful flashy impression, when you talk you tickle their maternal instinct appearing unexpectedly sensitive. I see”
I sent cold gaze to Alex who’s nodding with a grin.
I knew it had no effect, sill I couldn’t let him go.
“Really, you only say unnecessary things”
“Ah right, that Will fell into an awful state seeing Freed and Lidi show off”
I thought my breath would stop at this abrupt change of topic.
“! You tell me to check on him myself, and then you drop a bomb like that as you please, you really are!”
“Well, it was a sight worth seeing. The two of them were hugging in front of the too pitiful Will, even I felt a little bad for him”
He’s too pitiful. He must’ve received a shock.
Considering his feelings, I quietly cast my eyes down.
But Alex cackled at me being like that.
“It’s okay. Don’t make such a tragic face”
“What makes you say that”
“I wonder. How about you trust Will a little?”
“I want to trust him, but I know about Older Brother’s feelings for Princess… More importantly, how can you be so optimistic?”
I wonder if he didn’t manage one way or the other, he declared easily, I couldn’t help but sigh at this childhood friend of mine saying whatever he wants.
Why is this man always like this.
The society that’s calling him excellent is completely mistaken.
“Honestly, when it comes to you… Haa… His Highness will have to endure hardships”
“No, as long as he has Lidi I believe I won’t be a bother at all”
As Alex immediately denied with a serious look, I recalled His Highness’s state when Princess was involved, and just a little thought that he might be right.
His Highness with his unchanging calm and gentle smile, as soon as he got involved with Princess turned into a man going mad with love.
I think it’s a good change for His Highness who until then hasn’t showed any attachments, but the disconnect from the usual is too much to keep up with.
Then I remembered the words I heard from Alex just now.
“Ah… I see. That’s what gap moe is”
When I understandingly nodded, Alex corrected me posthaste.
“Yup, I don’t know what you thought, but I can assert that it absolutely is something different”