Hi all ^^
So sorry this chapter is one day late >_<
I was so into my paperwork I forgot about it……….
The good news is that I am mostly done and my project is the last thing left! ^^
Next chapter is in 2 week again xD (On Sunday~)
So enjoy! ❤
Chapter 2, Episode 8: The Widow’s Trap
(Why— did she show up now?)
He did expect her to come in contact with him eventually.
But not now. It should have been at a later time.
(Could it be that she’s that cornered right now? No, even if she were, it’s still too soon for her to come in contact with me.)
He doesn’t have time to think about it for too long. He can’t let her know that he’s analyzing the situation right now.
Even if she is Liz’s older sister, currently, she is the acting head of the Kelheit house.
It’s almost certain that she approached Hiro with the intention of using him.
The more he wavers, the more the situation will be in her favor.
He absolutely does not want to give her the initiative, so Hiro puts on a calm face and points his hand to the space beside him.
「Please. No one is sitting here, so go ahead.」
「Thank you. I appreciate that.」
Rosa was holding a glass in each hand. She placed one filled with a red liquid on the table before Hiro.
It’s likely wine or something similar, but because Hiro had never drunk alcohol before, he decided to decline the drink.
「Umm, I can’t drink alcohol…」
「Oh, I didn’t realize. Well, this one’s water, so don’t worry.」
She says as she switches the glass with the one filled with the clear liquid— the water.
As she sat down next to him, the fragrance of roses tickled his nose.
「What business might Liz’s sister have with me?」
「Well, my little sister wrote about you in a letter. You’ve done a lot for her and all, so I thought I should come greet you.」
「I see… Liz actually did a lot for me too, so it’s an honor to meet her sister.」
「Ahh, your Highness Hiro, there’s no need to be so formal. Let’s be comfortable with each other. Besides, you’re in a higher position than I am. You’re going to set a bad example for the others.」
「I understand— Yeah, alright. Is this okay?」
「Yeah, that’s good. You should understand your position a little better.」
She laughs cheerfully and takes a sip of her wine.
She drank her wine slowly to savor the taste. She then smiled broadly and tilted her glass.
「It’s tragic that you can’t drink such delicious wine.」
「I can’t do alcohol.」
Hiro shrugs his shoulders.
He can’t say that he’s underage— This is because you’re considered an adult at 15 in this world.
「What a waste. Considering the future, it would be beneficial in various ways for you to drink.」
「There are a lot of dangers lately, so I think it’s better that I can’t drink for now.」
「Heh, I can’t tell if you’re cautious or a coward. I wonder which you are.」
「It’s because I’m a coward.」
「I can’t imagine a man who was so dignified in the throne room would say that. Do you mind if I ask why?」
Hiro put on an indifferent expression towards the woman staring at the side of his face with great interest.
「I’m afraid of regretting. So— no matter how much my opponent screams or begs for their life, I get an urge to kill them.」
「Although the boundary for that “regret” is ambiguous.」
It’s unsure whether she looks befuddled because the young boy changed his expression, or because she became aware of the madness sleeping deep within him.
Rosa takes a gulp from her glass and empties it. She then calls for a server and requests another glass of wine.
She enjoyed the fragrance of the white wine brought by the server before speaking again.
「How old will you be this year?」
「Seventeen. Why do you ask?」
「You’re terribly twisted for your age. I would even call you haughty. Hehe, I’m curious about your past now.」
「My past isn’t anything special. I just survived a number of hellish battles.」
「Is that so? Then— if I happened to become your enemy here and now, what would happen?」
He doesn’t know what she’s trying to probe for, but Hiro decides to answer honestly.
「I wouldn’t do anything. I would draw a line though— If you crossed that line, I’d go after your head eventually.」
「You wouldn’t kill me right away?」
「If I did that, wouldn’t that just make me a savage? I’m not that thoughtless.」
「So you act after thinking things through.」
「If you lose your reason, you’re no different from a beast. That would only increase the number of your enemies and you would gain nothing. You would cause trouble for your allies too, and most of all, you would only be left with regrets.」
He speaks almost as if he’s saying this to himself.
There was an obscure color of regret in Hiro’s distant eyes, but it was only for a moment and it didn’t seem like Rosa noticed.
As if scrutinizing Hiro’s words, Rosa nods a number of times. She then crosses her arms, emphasizing her chest.
「Hmm. Do you mean like my brother, Schtobel?」
Hiro broods over Rosa’s words, but he couldn’t come up with a precise answer.
「I can’t say for sure. But… I think he’s more twisted than I am.」
「Hehe, that’s correct. Though, he was once a man with a soul befitting an emperor.」
「Schtobel earned the favor of 「Mjölnir」 when he was 18. That’s when he started to change. He became unable to think about the feelings of the weak. He seriously thinks that the strong are just and the weak are wicked. That’s why he’s extremely afraid of someone stronger than himself appearing.」
「… He really is twisted.」
「There are no bounds to the desires of man. If one obtained a mighty power, that would make them needlessly stand out. It even changes your personality. You should be careful, too.」
「I’ll keep that in mind.」
After hearing Hiro’s reply, Rosa nodded as if satisfied, then spoke once more.
「—I’m running short on time. I guess I’ll cut to the chase now.」
She licks her lips and her mouth forms into a smile.
(So, this is where we really get started…)
Unless he prepares himself, this leopardess will likely take his head.
He doesn’t want to allow her the initiative. He wants to take this in a direction that is advantageous for him.
(There’s no need for us to probe each other.)
After collecting his thoughts, Hiro decides to boldly cut in to make the first move.
「Did you come to talk to me because the Kelheit house is backed into a corner right now?」
Her eyes became frighteningly sharp for a moment in response to Hiro’s words.
「So you realized… How diligent of you. No, maybe it’s because my abilities are lacking.」
「I probably wouldn’t have noticed if the eastern nobles were united though.」
「I guess there’s no need to hide the fact if you already know that much. As you’ve guessed, the eastern nobles are on the brink of splitting. In an age where men have the power, there are a lot of small inconveniences to being a female acting head.」
「Well, the Grantz Grand Empire is set up to have male successors. So even the Five Great Nobles can’t exist without heirs.」
「That’s right. Which is why I have the problem of a number of men courting me.」
「Well, it’s the perfect chance to raise their family name. They would gain all the reputation the Kelheit house has built up until now.」
Rosa nodded in response, as if satisfied with Hiro’s words.
「You sure know your stuff. However, I don’t want to take in any dreg-like second sons from other houses.」
「I’m sure there are fine men among them, too.」
「There probably are if I looked. But I need someone without any ties.」
「… But even if you take me as your husband for that purpose, you won’t get the result you’re hoping for.」
Rosa shakes her head and refutes Hiro’s words.
「I won’t tell you to be my groom. I doubt you have such intentions anyway.」
「Then do you plan to use the position of the Fourth Imperial Prince? I’m sorry, but as I am now, I don’t have the right to meddle in the matters of your house.」
「… You’re right. But there is one way to solve this problem.」
「Before I get to that, is it okay if I take that water?」
Perhaps it was because she drank too much, but the flushed Rosa pointed at the glass in front of Hiro.
Although Rosa placed it there for Hiro, he didn’t drink it because of the possibility of something being mixed into it.
As Rosa holds the water in her mouth, she grabs Hiro’s collar.
He looks at her puzzled while she has a devilish smile on her face.
「What are you doing all of a— mmgh?!」
Hiro’s mouth was closed shut by her soft lips.
He’s confused by this sudden move.
Her tongue pries his mouth open and then slides in.
Hiro grabbed Rosa’s shoulders and tried to pushed her away.
However, refusing to be separated, she wraps her arms around Hiro’s neck and glues her body even closer to him.
His mouth fills with a lukewarm liquid, and it eventually travels down his throat.
A man who had just become an Imperial Prince, and a young widow who gave off a unique allure, together.
As if a beehive were being jostled, the hall is engulfed in a clamor from the bold act occurring before everyone’s watching eyes.
Hiro moved his arms to Rosa’s hips and stood up, finally managing to tear her off.
「Gah… wh-what are you…」
After letting Hiro go, Rosa took in a mouthful of wine from the other glass, rinsed her mouth out, then took out a cloth to spit it out.
「Sorry, I took the liberty of being a bit forceful.」
He realized what she meant when his body became unsteady.
「Don’t worry. It’s not poison.」
「What did you…」
Hiro stumbled a few steps, but he put his strength into his legs and refused to fall.
Seeing this, Rosa’s eyes were wide with disbelief.
「I’m surprised… The average person can’t even stay standing.」
Hiro glares at Rosa.
(It’s my fault for letting my guard down… But what goal does she have in mind to do something like this?)
Hiro felt an urge to vomit from the sensation of his feet floating off the ground, but he held it back as he spoke.
「Drugging someone in front of all these watching eyes… I think this is just going to make your position worse.」
「I simple have a drunk in front of me. How would that make my position worse?」
Rosa clapped her hands.
「Can someone come over here? It seems his Highness Hiro is drunk. I’m going to have him rest in my mansion, so someone come give me a hand.」
Two ladies and three male nobles responded to her.
They approach without hesitation, as if they talked this out beforehand.
There’s no doubt that they’re under Rosa’s influence.
「Come quietly with us. This is for the sake of your future, too.」
Rosa whispers into Hiro’s ears as he was restrained by the men.
To the others, it looks like they’re helping out a drunk.
(If I scream for help right now… I would give off a bad impression.)
If Hiro started screaming, it would just turn into a drunk causing a scene.
That could become a problem in the future, and would also be seen as weakness.
「So, shall we go?」
Said Rosa, but someone called out to their group as they tried to leave.
Rosa looks back, and there stood Aura.
「Well, well… If it isn’t the famous Countess Branadara. What can I do for you?」
「I will not allow you to take him with you.」
「I’m sorry, but… I’ll have a leisurely talk with you at a future time.」
As Rosa snaps her fingers, three ladies surround Aura.
「Now, now, let us chat over there.」
「L-Let me go.」
「You mustn’t struggle.」
Without the possession of her spirit weapon, she was easily taken away by the ladies.
「Let’s head for my mansion before the drug’s effects wear off.」
Her beautiful fingertips slid down Hiro’s eyepatch.
Hiro was taken out from the hall and tossed into Rosa’s mansion on the Imperial palace grounds.
The two are alone in a room where the moon’s light is shining in.
Rosa was sitting on a chair with fine ornaments, and Hiro was lying down on a bed large enough to fit five adults.
「Sorry for all this rough treatment.」
「I don’t mind that, but I want you to explain.」
「I know. But now that we’ve come to this point, you should understand by now, right?」
「… More or less.」
Not only did they kiss in public, but a widow was looking after a drunk Imperial prince and disappeared with him to her mansion.
At this point, anyone would come to the conclusion that they would end up becoming more than just acquaintances.
「I’m sure other houses will think twice before bringing a marriage proposal to a mistress of an Imperial prince.」
「You’re probably right, but this is so rash. This won’t resolve anything.」
「Is that really true? Why do you think that?」
「In the end, this will only buy you time. Eventually, you’ll take in a husband from another house.」
「That’s only if this was just to buy time, right?」
The light from the moon floating in the dark night sky shines through a window, illuminating the gorgeous woman, making her even more alluring.
「I wonder what would happen— if I conceived your child in this body of mine.」
「I was brooding over how to escape from the evil influence of the Krone house, and the conclusion I came to— was to become your lover. The Fourth Imperial Prince, descendant of the Second Emperor. Using that title, I’ll unite the eastern nobles. Then, I will receive your offspring and make that child the head of the Kelheit house. I told you— I need someone who isn’t under anyone’s influence.」
「You’re so innocent. Did you not think that far ahead?」
「But… the people of the Kelheit house won’t accept that. If you gave birth to my child, it would be like the Kelheit house was taken over.」
「They’ll have no choice but to accept it. His Majesty the Second Emperor’s blood will enter the Kelheit house.」
「I’m trying to tell you, that’s—」
Hiro couldn’t finish his sentence. This was because he saw Rosa’s smug face.
「There’s no need to worry about the bloodline being cut off. I’ll supply a girl from an extended family of the Kelheit house for the child that’s born. The blood of the Kelheit house will continue on, and we will obtain the blood of his Majesty the Second Emperor. Who could complain about that?」
「Your reward is huge, too. You can have your way with my body, and the eastern nobles will become your allies. I think it’s a good deal.」
It’s true. Considering the future, this isn’t a bad deal. What Hiro lacks right now, is connections and capital.
The Kelheit house could probably resolve both these problems.
The only downside is having a child.
Rosa throws out a lifeline to the conflicted Hiro.
「It’s not like I want a child right away. Despite all that I’ve done, it’s not like I don’t have my integrity. I’d be grateful if you could give me just a bit of time. But that’s only because of my own convenience and has nothing to do with you. So if you want, I don’t mind having one now.」
She asks what he wants to do, but he’s troubled by her response.
「I don’t mind joining forces with you, but… the child issue is a bit…」
「Hehe, you really are innocent. But I don’t mind that for now. I’m sure you have to consider Liz’s standpoint, too.」
She stands up and climbs onto the bed.
She causes the bed to creak as she slowly closes the distance between them.
「That takes care of that. It’s late into the night, so let’s go to sleep for today.」
「I don’t think there’s really a need for us to sleep together in the same bed… If you want to sleep here, I’ll sleep on the sofa.」
「That would make this meaningless. Even if we don’t have intercouse, I want it to be true that we slept together.」
She smiles a sinister smile, moves next to Hiro and holds him.
「I don’t have such intentions, but if you can’t control yourself and try to have your way with me, I don’t mind. I won’t resist.」
「Can’t we sleep apart from each other?」
「You fall asleep so quickly, just like your little sister.」
Hiro falls into a deep sleep as he thinks about how he experienced the same thing once before.
Hiro’s breathing slows as he falls deeper into his slumber with his body wrapped in the warm sensation you can only get from a woman.