|Author: Sasaki Ichiro||Original Source: Syosetu|
|Translator: Mab||English Source: Re:Library|
“So anyway, guess what my beloved fiancée told me? ‘Perhaps you should avoid the opera and reading strange books too often.’ Her exact words. …how should I put it, isn’t it typically women who love to fantasize? She even told me, ‘Our engagement has long been decided, and if our marriage goes as planned, both our families will prosper with minimal disruption. What’s there to complain about?’ Imagine how I felt.”
Suppressing a snicker at the pitiful look on Daniel’s face, one that was as exaggerated as it was inappropriate, Luke finally let a chuckle escape.
“She seems like a very dependable woman. I imagine the Marquis values her precisely for her level-headedness. Of course, he would consider your feelings as well if you genuinely believe that Lady Celestine isn’t suitable for you. But you don’t really hate her, do you?”
“I mean, I don’t hate her. It’s just that our relationship doesn’t exactly set my heart aflame with passion. If anything, I can’t stand how she often dampens my enthusiasm with her pragmatism.”
“Is that so?”
“That’s how it is. But I suppose it’s the same for you too, huh?”
That last comment drew a puzzled look from Luke.
“What do you mean why? You’re engaged too, aren’t you? And to that Livitium’s Ragweed Princess of all people. How could that be anything but unfortunate?”
Finally understanding the reason behind the sympathetic remark, Luke nodded.
“Ah, that one. I thought you were referring to Jill.”
“What other one? Your engagement to the Ragweed Princess is the gossip of every noble lady these days. You wouldn’t believe how many have approached me at salons and soirees to inquire about…”
Daniel’s words trailed off, and a look of shock spread across his face.
“Wait a moment! Jill who? From which family? When did you meet someone by that name? No wonder you seem so content with your engagement; you must have a woman on the side!”
A familiar feeling of exasperation welled in Luke’s chest as Daniel grabbed him by the collar. But before he could tell the older boy to release him, the instructor’s angry shout rang out.
“You two—Lucas, Daniel, stop horsing around! Drop and give me 100 push-ups!!”
“…that was hell.”
Daniel’s forlorn laugh emerged from his lips, his legs wobbling as if on the verge of collapse. Luke, walking beside him, shot a glare in his direction.
“And whose fault is that?”
In the end, the instructor decided that since they’d completed 100 push-ups with apparent ease, they could be pushed further, to the point where their legs shook like newborn fawns.
“Well, if you ask me, then it’s the fault of poor timing. I wasn’t slacking off, that’s certain. If casual conversation is a punishable offense, then you’re as much to blame as I am.”
Astonished by his so-called “friend’s” ability to fabricate excuses without a shred of guilt, Luke considered reevaluating their relationship as he trudged back toward his villa.
“Well, I have a study session after this.”
“Yeah, see you later. Fill me in on your beloved ‘Lady Jill’ next time. Considering that this fair maiden has captured the heart of such a blockhead of a prince, she must be quite beautiful.”
“She is… but that’s beside the point. Also, don’t breathe a word about Jill to anyone. If even a whisper of her name reaches my ears, our friendship is over.”
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Luke’s voice bore a clear tone of annoyance as he issued the warning. Behind him, Daniel’s shouts of “Traitor!” and “I hope you get kicked by a horse!” rang out, but Luke ignored them, quickening his pace.
After a while, he glanced back and saw Daniel also leaving the training ground, still tottering. With a sigh of relief, thoughts of the girl in question filled Luke’s mind.
(Fair maiden, huh? Indeed, finding someone to match her beauty would be a tall order.)
In truth, Luke wasn’t overly concerned with appearances. While he appreciated beauty, it meant nothing without an equally beautiful soul.
Given the choice, he’d prefer a plain or even unattractive girl with a heart of gold over a stunning beauty with a corrupt core. This is why he never really minded being engaged to Princess Syltianna, or the Ragweed Princess, as she was commonly known.
Yet, his attempts to engage her in conversation often failed, leaving him unable to discern who Syltianna truly was. He couldn’t consider her a love interest for that reason.
(Well, I’m sure she has her own merits, but…)
Luke saw no reason to actively seek out Syltianna’s positive attributes. After all, his heart already belonged to another. His affection might have begun as love at first sight, and the most he could articulate about what drew him to her was her “beauty.”
But to Luke, beauty didn’t mean mere appearance. It was her strong heart, her kindness, and her intrinsic allure that were evident at a single glance.
The unwavering courage in Jill’s eyes as she leaped to save a child slave was captivating, and all Luke could do was follow her. Such a truly beautiful woman was rare, and by some divine providence, Luke had encountered her in his life. He vowed to honor his feelings and face them head-on.
And one day, once he had become a man he could be proud of, he would confess his feelings to her.
With this renewed promise, he smiled at the distant sky, the face of his loved one forever etched in his mind.