Chapter 8: The Second Prince's Hardship (Garret POV)
On the day of the graduation ceremony, I was on my way to the girls' dormitory with the usual student council members.
I was going to escort my fiancée, Rebecca.
Rebecca and I got engaged when we were 14 years old, just before we entered the academy.
My older brother Ethan, who is three years older than me and is the Crown Prince, is engaged to a princess of the Kingdom of Shium.
Rebecca's engagement to me was also political in nature.
Rebecca is the eldest daughter of the family of Marquis Howard, who have been loyal to the country since its founding.
The Howard family has produced queens many times over its long history.
In addition to political marriages, they have also had many passionate love stories with princes and princesses.
Despite being one of the most prestigious aristocracies in the country, or perhaps because of it, they seem to have little interest in power struggles at court and tend to avoid holding important positions in the country.
The current head of the family, Marquis Howard, is also a member of the diplomatic staff, but mostly stays in the country to manage his estate.
It was a well-known fact that the Howard family had a princess, but unlike other aristocrats, the Marquis of Howard did not come to sell his daughter as a way to please the royal family.
Therefore, when it was discovered that the “child” that Marquis Howard frequently took to various countries was not his son David, but Rebecca, and that she had steadily built up her diplomatic skills and personal connections, the shock was tremendous.
Rebecca, the future Marquess, was known for her loveliness and cleverness through various foreign dignitaries (this is also sad).
After that, my father and mother, who exchanged words with Rebecca in person, liked her very much and were eager to have her as my wife! I looked at her bleakly.
However, Marquis Howard was not so keen.
It is well known that he loves his daughter very much, and there is even a rumor that he even said, “If I marry her off to the royal family, I won't be able to see her often.”
In fact, when I invited her to the royal palace to meet my brother and I, she was unable to do so, saying, “I'm sorry, but my daughter is not feeling well.”
Then, when I tried to arrange a visit to the Marquis's estate, he said, “My sister is ill, and we are away from home to visit her.”
I was almost certain that he had intentionally prevented us from meeting.
My father continued to try to persuade the Marquis not to give such a great daughter to another family or another country, and my mother embraced her good friend, the Marquess.
At that time, my brother, the Crown Prince, was engaged to be married to a princess from the neighboring Kingdom of Shium, and when that engagement came to fruition, we managed to get him to compromise for the position of second prince.
As a result, I ended up with a fiancé whose face I didn't even know.
Rebecca, whom I met for the first time, was a beautiful girl beyond my expectations.
Her beautiful hair shone like silver thread.
Her purple eyes, which made even the finest amethysts look hazy, oozed with an intelligence that could not be hidden.
No matter how beautiful she looked, and even though it was our country's and my parents' decision, I honestly didn't enjoy the fact that I, as royalty, was being looked down upon.
However, Rebecca's sincere look and polite response soon made me feel ashamed of my behavior.
We were 14 years old at the time.
We knew very well that it was a political engagement.
Although we had mutual affection for each other, it was more like friendship, affection like siblings (though not real siblings), or trust like comrades-in-arms.
In the end, it was not “love” as it is called in the world, but on the contrary, it was a cold relationship for a man and a woman, as if that was fine with them.
Standing in front of the girls' dormitory, Evan and Brandon were in a visibly good mood.
They, too, would be escorting their fiancee, Miss Samantha, and his lover, Miss Sophie, respectively.
The only one who was unhappy was David, who was forced to take Miss Charlotte.
As soon as we passed through the entrance, I was stopped by a shout, “Your Highness Garrett!”
—Miss Charlotte? Why are you here?
“I couldn't wait to meet Your Highness Garrett, so I came all the way here! It's an honor to be escorted by His Highness!”
Honestly, I thought, here we go again.
Just as Rebecca had warned her and advised her, I had also complained to her, albeit in a roundabout way, but wording it so that it would not be misunderstood.
And yet, for some reason, Miss Charlotte took it in her own convenient way.
Perhaps the simple fact that I would escort Rebecca was also converted into “I really want to escort you.”
I think my face was contorted, but there were other students at the entrance.
I didn't want to cause a scene on my graduation day.
I had no choice but to leave Rebecca's escort to David.
He loves his sister and is currently in the throes of puberty.
He tried his best to keep a mysterious expression on his face, but to be honest, the look of secret joy on his face made me feel a little uncomfortable.
Afterwards, I apologized to Rebecca for the escort, but she was still very mature and forgave me with a soft smile.
The graduation ceremony went off without a hitch and the dance began.
As expected, Miss Charlotte gave priority to the graduates, and remained quiet after I finished dancing with Rebecca.
That's why I was so careless, thinking that she wouldn't do anything strange in front of His Majesty the King.
When her turn came around, I was fed up with her aggressiveness and managed to complete a dance.
Just as I was about to let go of her hand, she grabbed my sleeve with tremendous force and begged me for one more dance.
“Continuous dances is a privilege for engaged couples.
Do you understand?”
— So let go of my hand.
Nevertheless, Miss Charlotte buried her face in my chest with her cheeks flushed.
Wait a minute, what's going on and how did this happen!
Marquis Howard was present, keeping a close eye on me and any blunder I made to try to get his daughter back.
I had been under strict orders from not only my parents but also my brother to never let Marquess Howard escape.
Up to this point, I hadn't made any major mistakes that would give them an excuse to break off our engagement.
I tried to pull her off, but while I was struggling with the foolishness of a woman, the next song started.
What followed was another nightmare.
Rebecca's goodwill, which she had extended to me in an attempt to make things easier, was cruelly trampled upon, and Miss Charlotte continued to make accusations that had no basis in fact.
I was about to open my mouth to condemn Miss Charlotte for her actions, but Rebecca was quicker to strike back.
As a result, Miss Charlotte's accusations were all crushed by Rebecca, and it became a topical comedy.
Miss Charlotte's comment about breaking off the engagement was just a deception, but she was actually right on target.
I was in the middle of laying the groundwork behind the scenes to break off the engagement in a year or so.
For a moment, that thought flashed through my mind, and I couldn't say no immediately.
That moment was fatal.
Perhaps that's when Rebecca gave up on the idea of being my queen.
At the climax of the comedy, a terrible line came out.
“I'm not sure I'm fit to be a princess.”
His Royal Highness, the wise Garrett, saw it coming … I take it very seriously that there was no denial regarding the annulment.”
I accept the annulment with modesty and intend to live quietly in my father's estate.
The guests, who at first were looking at the princess candidate's seat unfavorably when it became vacant, let out a sigh of admiration at Rebecca's quick response and graceful exit.
At the same time, they wondered if their own daughters would be able to take her place.
On the other hand, other parents with sons were gleaming with anticipation, and there was even a hint that they were watching out for who would go talk to Marquis Howard.
It will still take some time before we are ready and actually break off the engagement.
Even if I were to regret not denying it immediately, it would be too late.
Marquis Howard is excellent at wasting time.
He will definitely get his daughter back from the royal family.
And this year, Rebecca will make her debut in society … without a fiancé.
“Father and mother will hit me upside the head … Brother will probably kill me …… Haha.”
I can see myself being chastised by my parents and (physically) hung up by my brother, whose beautiful face will be twisted like a demon.
I know that my brother would not want to kill or injure me in front of the gods.
I couldn't help but wonder where the nearest temple was, and for a while I was immersed in escaping reality.
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