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Chapter 7 - First official duty


Translation & Editing: Thrax


I hear Shreegans voice coming from the yard.

“They are here!”

“Whaa!? It’s still too early!”

I nervously rush out of the room dressed in formal wear.

“Your highness! Watch your manners!”

I got reprimanded the head maid who caught me running.

I heard that Serea is already here!

“I’ll guide you to the reception room and announce you. Please wait a moment.”

“I don’t want to wait for that!”


Today is the day Serea has an audience with the king for the first time. Since she is my fiancée my whole family will be in attendance, that being my mother, the queen, by elder sister, my younger brother and my two younger sisters.

Conversely Serea came alone with her father, count Colette.

It seems like Serea *technically* did have a prior audience with the king, but she was a toddler at the time and because of that she has no recollection of it, so this is effectively her first official duty as the prince’s fiancée.

She must be feeling forlorn, so I have to be by her side now.


After exiting the hall, I run straight to the main gate, and Shreegan, the imperial guar, runs after me.

“Your highness! Hold on, hold on! Stop!”

“What!?”

I stop running and turn around then he grabs my arm.

“Your highness, ya can’t be runnin’ to welcome someone in this kind of situation. A man should stand firm in the hall without making any moves and wait. You got that? It’s just like dancing.”

“Yeah, I got it.”

I go back to the hall, pass the row of lined up maids, and stand next to the head butler, Parker, at the front steps of the Hall.

“Your highness, you are going to be greeting them personally?”

The head butler was looking at me while grinning.

“Yeah, my precious fiancée is coming after all, so I should be the first person she meets with when coming to the castle.”

“It would be great if this were to set a good precedent.”

As I straightened my back, a four wheeled carriage approached with the sound of clopping hooves.

After it pulled up next to us, the first one to get off of the carriage Is Duke Colette. Following that the second door of the four-person carriage opened, and after taking her fathers hand, a dress wearing Serea stepped out of the carriage.


She is wearing a white blouse, with a ribbon on the chest, a black coat and a black skirt. The elegant and tidy outfit, that had no trace of gaudiness, went extremely well with her long black hair.

Serea starts coming our way, while being escorted by the Duke.

“I am extremely delighted to have been invited today. I would like to thank you for giving my daughter the opportunity to meet with his majesty the King.”

“Thank you for going out of your way to meet us prince Shin. I am the first bour daughter of the Colette Duchy, Serea Colette. It is a great honour to be having an audience with his highness the King today. Please accept my best regards.

After she said that, she pinched the hems of her dress and did a curtsy.

“Thank you for accepting today’s invitation. Let’s make sure that this day is a good one. Well then, let me guide you.

I hit my fist against my chest and bow. Following that I hold my hand out, with my palm facing upwards.

Serea is looking at me with a quizzical look.

“(Sera, your hand, hand!)”

This is supposed to be an escort.

Flustered, Serea puts her hand on mine.


“I will show you the way.”

Parker leads the way downstairs with an outstretched hand.


“Huh? Wasn’t the reception supposed to be our first destination?”

“He is already waiting restlessly on the throne.”

I wonder. Everyone wants to meet her that much? Serea must be nervous.

I glance behind and see the Duke grinning and following us.

I guess there is no point in him being nervous now, since he is an old friend of my father, the King.


The guards opened the door, and we were ushered into the throne room.

We proceed towards the king, while stepping on a red carpet.

My father is unexpectedly wearing a simple suit, that’s not kingly whatsoever. It’s an outfit he normally wears while doing his usual duties. Standing next to the throne are my mother, elder sister and younger siblings aren’t dressed in their formal clothes either.

They are wearing clothes they usually wear at home among family. Its like they are saying that this isn’t a place where you should be nervous, and you don’t have to be overly careful of your words, you can see that they did this out of consideration.


I walk side by side with Serea who is squeezing my hand. It feels like she is nervous and stiff.

Together, we stop in front of the King, I get down on one knee and bow my head, while Serea pinches the hems of her skirt, and does a curtsy.

I guess I’ll start with my lines.

“Your highness, thank you for granting this audience today. I am his highnesses eldest son Shin. I have come today to ask for your permission to introduce my fiancée, Serea, the young lady of the Colette Duchy.”

Next its Serea’s turn.

“Thank you very much for today’s invitation. I am Serea the eldest daughter of the Colette family. It is a great honour to be having an audience with your highness today. Please accept my best regards.”

It’s the same greeting as the one she gave at the entrance hall huh.

“Very well, you may raise your heads.”

We both raise our heads.

“Miss Serea. You’ve grown up. The last time I saw you, you were still a baby.”

“Mister Hurst was so happy when he finally got a daughter that he came to show her to us. I even held you in my arms, though I don’t think you can remember that.

Both mother and father look happy.

“Back then, I jokingly said that you should be Shin’s wife, but I’m really happy that it’s happening for real now. From now on, you two should devote yourselves to each other, support each other, learn many things together, and prepare yourselves to one day inherit the throne.

“Your words are much appreciated, and I will take them to heart.”

“I’m deeply grateful for your kind words.”

We bow together.

“Good, now let me see your faces better.”


After saying that, father descended from the throne and came down to us.

He stood in front of Serea in a friendly manner, then knelt down and smiled.

As if on cue, my mother and siblings surrounded us.

“She is a real beauty. Good job Hurst!”

“I’m still a bit reluctant to marry her off, but if the prince is her partner, he shouldn’t be lacking, I guess there is nothing I can do about it. Hahahahaha!”

Are you not satisfied with my son?”

“No no no, I never said that.”

“Aren’t you?”

Saying that he starts laughing. They are very close aren’t they, my father and the Duke.


“She is so cute!”

My elder sister looks very happy too.

Looks like she sees Serea’s good points too.

“You are our big sis right?”

“Yeah, she feels more like a big sis, than an elder sister.” [1]

Looks like my little sisters are being cheeky. Probably because Serea is a lot closer to them in age compared to our elder sister. Serea on the other hand became bewildered and beet red.

“No need to be scared. We are already family. There is nothing for you to be nervous about miss Serea.”

“Exactly. It’s fine even if you make a mistake or are discourteous. I already see you as one of my own daughters.”

My mother gently dabs her eyes with a handkerchief.

“If lady Karen were still alive, how happy would she have been......”

“My wife left me our youngest daughter, if you treat her poorly I’ll start a rebellion to overthrow the royal family you know.

I get that you two are close Duke, but can you not say things like that, even if it is for a joke? I might end up breaking by engagement with Serea you know? It’s unreasonable for the country to fall because of my unfaithfulness.

“Don’t say such dangerous things Hurst. It’s Shin you should say that to, not me.”

Don’t push the responsibility to me so smoothly father.

“Let’s end all of this stiff talk here and lets all have some tea. Let’s go to the reception room... no better yet to the garden.

“Before that father.”

Yeah?”

Everyone came to a halt at my words.

“It’s something I have to say to his majesty the King.”

Speak.


Now then, this is something I have to say. It’s preparation I have to do for the sake of the future.

“We are still ten, our awareness as prince and princess consort and our resolve are shallow and I can’t honestly say that they are sufficient yet.”

“And?”

“And because of that, we would like to be the ones to decide when we will get married. We plan to talk about it between ourselves carefully, and when the time comes we will get married.”

“...... That is a given. For the royal family as well as the ducal family, just the fact that the engagement exists is enough to fulfil our goals. There is no reason to rush things. In accordance with the customs, it is your right to decide on when you will get married. I’ll leave it to the two of you.

“Thank you very much!”

Alright! I got his approval!


“However, both I and the Duke are parents and like any other parent we would like to see our grandchildren’s faces, so don’t make us wait too much alright?”

Of course we won’t.

A person’s life is a fleeting thing. Neither my life, nor the Dukes life will last forever. It’s something that can end even today or tomorrow. Needless to say, from this moment on, always remember your resolve to take the throne or your responsibility to the people.

“I will.”

“Miss Serea, a princess consort is one who, just like the prince, has to have the resolve to be the next queen and has the same responsibilities accompanying her. Forgive me for placing this responsibility on you when you are still so young. I hope, from the bottom of my heart, that you will be with Shin, support him, admonish him when he is wrong and become his strength.

“...... I’m not worthy of such words but I will humbly accept them.”


The area was tense for a little bit, but then everyone laughed and headed to the garden.

At the outside table we were peacefully having tea, but Serea still looked like she was on edge.

When I asked her about it in a later conversation she said ‘I didn’t feel like living’.

Yeah, I mean we don’t usually eat together because everyone just gets bored.

-border

In the afternoon we had lunch with my mother and elder sister.

From there the head maid guided us to various places, to the classroom where the queen education will be held, we were then guided to meet the teacher, after that we went to the training hall that became a dance hall, and finally to the room Serea will be given.

After I leave to get married I’ll have no more use for this room, so you can use it as you see fit. I’m giving It all to you Serea!

It’s my elder sister’s room. It’s got everything you need there.

Aaaaaah! I thought I was going to get it!”

To my complaining younger sister, my elder sister said, ‘She is your big sister too, be patient.’, rebuking her. Since my little sisters have their own rooms with exclusive maids she wont let them be that spoiled.

When Serea comes to the castle, she will be resting in this room, changing clothes in there, and maybe even staying overnight?

It’s right next to my room.

“I’m giving it to you because you will be coming here all the time from now on.”

“Yes, thank you very much.”

As if awed by her Serea nervously bows her head.

She has been bowing her head ever since she came to the castle. She must be tired of it by now.

And now, I’m once again lined up at the entrance hall with the head butler, this time to see her off.

She and the Duke went back home in a carriage.

The first audience safely passed, and I’m finally relieved.


“Your highness.”

The butler smiles at me.

“You did well.”

“I wasn’t the one who made the decision. My father and the duke decided it between themselves, It’s not my doing.”

“No no, that’s not what I meant......”

I’m a kid, I’m not gonna understand what you mean if you say it so cryptically.

Say it in a way that’s easier to understand......



One week later, the day of my elder sister’s wedding came.

The entire royal palace came to see her off.

Serea, as my fiancée, came as well. This is her second official duty. Yesterday’s farewell party was a great success, and a lot of people who know her came. I came to realize how vast my elder sister’s connections are. Because she was the star of the party, the rest of us stayed quietly in a corner, as not to stand out, and quickly fell asleep.

After a long night, in the morning carriages from the kingdom of Halfa lined up in front of the entrance hall.


“Serea, I’m leaving Shin to you, ok? If he does anything bad, just give him a good kick.”

Don’t teach her unnecessary things elder sister......

She hugs Serea and tears start streaming down her face.

With that everyone from the family started to cry, including me.

“Shin, you have to protect Serea. Whatever happens, don’t make her sad. Promise me.”

“Of course, I give you my word. And elder sister, stay well.”

“Well then, I’m off!”


Quietly, and solemnly the row of carriages sets off, and we waited there to see her off until they disappeared from sight.


Elder sister is already gone.

As the prince, from today on I’m the one in charge in the castle.

All of the official duties my sister was in charge of will, from now on, be given to me.

Will I be able to take her place? No, I have to.

I look at Serea.

From now on I have to protect this girl, who has to bear the same responsibility as me.

I feel the weight of my responsibilities anew.


“Even if it was for one week, lady Saran became my big sister. I will never forget her.


I wish you a happy life elder sister.

I know it’s still a bit cheeky of me tell you to leave everything to me, but I’ll do my best.



[1] Kind of hard to translate to English, but basically meaning they feel kind of close to her, not as reserved.


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