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25 Jealousy Jealousy

Father crossed to the chairs and took a seat next to mother. Marie served him tea. Just then the door, burst open and a tall man with black hair entered.

Father and Mother rose from their seats. Father bowed low and mother curtsied low. Marie, who stood at attention in the corner, curtsied as well.

Just behind the man was the servant who pushed us into the room.

‘Prince Stephan, you can’t just do this. If you’re going to have an audience you have to call…’



The Prince did not respond to his words but came up to me, menacingly,

‘You!’ he said.

I am being scolded. Didn't something similar happen recently?

I’m not happy about this. Was this really the Prince?

Did someone fill the Prince’s head with those vicious rumours about me?

But, I was called because of General Brennan.

So, the Prince’s hostility to me…No, it can’t be? General Brennan must be very popular. Wow! (Zuben: Oh Fredericka…)

‘Respectfully, your highness, had my daughter been rude in some way?’

‘This is the bad lady who tempted Brennan!’

Bad lady?!

I suppose if the Prince is in love with Brennan, he would see any lady who was dating his beloved general as bad.

‘Look at me.’

He grasped my shoulder and tilted my head up to look at him.

‘Gyip!’ I’m sorry mother; why didn’t you raise me to make cute sounds?

Here I was; eye to eye with the Prince.

The Prince, though he trained daily, was not a heavily muscled man, but rather, he looked lithe. He had a beautiful figure. His eyes were slanting and lashes were long. They had a very direct blue gaze.

Could he be the same age as I was? Was he guarded by the General? Did they have a teacher-student like relationship that had developed during his training? Hmm, close but different. I feel like our distance is shortened a bit. (Zuben: thoughts go here, there and back again)

‘I don’t know what kind of methods you used,’ he said, ‘but you had better stop the plot against Brennan.’ He said as he drew closer to me.

Although you’re the Crown Prince, could you not come so close? He’s very close, isn’t he?

‘As, that…um’

Just then the door was burst open nearly off its hinges. The Prince jumped.

In the open doorway, were General Brennan and Oliver behind him. Oh, Oliver went to get the General.

‘Stefan! Fre-Fredericka!’

To my surprise and the Prince’s, it looked like; General Brennan ran towards us and caught me in his arms and turned me away as if to hide me from the Prince. He hugged me tightly. I was relieved by the scent of dense forest and sweat for a brief period, and then I realised he was holding me too tightly and I could barely breathe.

Ge-general, please loosen your arms! (Zuben: Volker, don’t kill your wife before you marry her)

‘Stefan, what is this about?’ his voice reverberated through his body to my ears. Though I could not see him, I could tell he sounded angry. But could he talk that way to the Crown Prince? This wasn’t good!

On no, please the strength of your arms…gufu~

‘You know Fredericka is my dear person…’

Oh General said something embarrassing. It is also pleasing. But…

‘Oh no! Miss Fredericka…!’

I heard Marie’s voice call out in alarm from a distance. I’ve been saved, but Marie, you should have helped a little earlier.

*

When I came to, I was lying in a sofa with Marie sitting on a chair fanning me. General Brennan was pacing behind a flustered Marie, making his eyebrows look like a character.

I caught his eye, and smiled and mouthed a hello to let him know I was alright, but general’s expression turned into one that looked like he wanted to cry.

‘Brennan,’ the Prince called. He was still not convinced. As the general ascertained I was alright, he returned my smile. His eyes twinkled brightly. How is the General so pretty?

‘I don’t know how Stefan heard of those baseless rumours. But is not a speck of sordidness to my love for Fredericka. I have not been forced, nor is it pity. I simply love her.’ (Zuben: Swoon)

『Bu u fu! 』(Zuben: Honestly, Japanese and the sound effects)

Ge-General Brennan! The Prince, as well as father and mother were wondering why?! My cheeks were dyed red. Marie also blushed and gave a small excited squeal. (Zuben: we’re with you Marie: squee!)

This is going to be fun for a while.

‘Brennan, you have never talked about marriage, you haven’t even been seeing anyone recently. Now, you’re suddenly getting married!'

It seemed like Prince Stefan thought that this was a plot by Frederick Castley to trap General Brennan to capture the military.

Hmm, I don’t think father has the time to drop his business and grasp the military. It’s more like having a good relationship with a business partner. (Zuben: Aww, all of daddy’s innocent manoeuvres) It’s more like that.

But I couldn’t really tell everyone that what connected us was my lost underwear. I really don’t want the story of my underwear tearing in the middle of the ball while I was getting my engagement cancelled to get out there. Mother, Marie, don’t you be laughing secretly. I can see your shoulders shaking!

‘Brennan! You said you will be with me until I became independent.’

This Prince really has a strong devotion to General Brennan. He looked up at the general with a gentle extremely devoted expression.  Fuwa?!

‘Stefan, you are already a splendid man. In politics and in fencing you have excelled. You do not need me escorting you about.’ Brennan said as he patted the young man’s head.

Did he just call the Prince by name just now?

The Crown Prince got all choked up and clung to the General.

‘But Uncle!’

What?!!

Did I hear that right? Did anyone hear this news?

(Zuben: Upgrade! From Duke to Prince!)

26 Jealousy Jealousy

An explanation was given.

In his youth, Volker Brennan abdicated. So he usually forgets that he is a member of the royal family. Even the General agreed with his rueful expression that it was a bit off.

The Prince was hugging him all the while.

Most people in Father’s generation knew about it but it was not spoken about. It wouldn’t do any good. And if it was spoken of, it is regarded as treason because it was seen as maligning the royal family.

He was the illegitimate son of the previous king.

Volker’s mother worked the Palace at the time, and became lover to the King. She gave birth to Brennan, but because she was of lowly status was not allowed to take position of Queen by the House of Lords. (Zuben: Stuffy old goats)

His mother eventually died of complications of her weak heart. (Zuben: Don’t they all have weak hearts)

He was adopted by his aunt and her husband and abdicated. From then on the Prince Volker became plain old Volker Brennan.

The Brennan family were a renowned line of warriors. Each generation produced a solder or knight. His adopted father was even stricter in training the general.

There were so many things I didn’t know about him…

General Brennan was the younger brother of the current king.

What is happening? More and more, there was a tremendous feeling of imbalance. A Prince (Former) and a disgraced Viscount’s daughter… Even though the General asked me, how well do I suit being his wife? Is it okay to do it? This isn’t good, is it? (Zuben: Freddie don’t get in a tiswas)

Come to think of it what does General Brennan like about me? He asked me to marry him, but I didn’t specifically ask. I haven’t heard him say anything. I don’t remember doing anything particularly special in front of him. (Zuben: The sight of your forest green eyes seared his soul)

I started to feel uneasy.

‘I never planned on joining the Royal Guard…’

While I was lost in my maudlin thoughts, the General looked in my direction and pulled the pried the Prince’s hands off his waist. (Zuben: The prince is cute too. They are all cute!)

‘Please stop hugging me I have not forgiven you yet,’ he said to Prince Stefan coldly. ‘There was joint training of the Western Army, which I belonged to and the Royal Army. It was then I was forced into taking over the training of Prince Stefan.’

I was surprised that the General could speak coldly like that.

‘But Uncle…?’ Stephan was also surprised; he seemed he had no idea why his beloved uncle was angry with him.

‘Firstly, I asked you to see me as your vassal at all times. I am also your teacher, calling me 'uncle' without restraint is not allowed. Secondly, you intimidated and touched my Fredericka.’

The Prince’s eyebrows rose dramatically as he recalled his earlier actions. He had been behaving childishly with the General. Calling me ‘his’ made me feel glad, but my embarrassment over shadows it ne~

‘Very well, I admit there was a misunderstanding. But there is an imbalance between your levels…she doesn’t suit you.’ Stefan said. (Zuben: Who dares say that? Let them come out and let me beat them.)

Well that is true. The Military and Aristocracy are inviolable. But if there was to be intermarriage between a high ranking military person and an aristocrat, the noble house should be of good standing, especially when the person is a General. Someone like General Brennan should be marrying a high noble.

He’s also part of the Royal Guard and the son of a prominent military family. It is only natural he marries someone more suited.

The General came to where I sat and knelt before me,

‘I am just a soldier. Before that I am just a human. If you say Fredericka does not suit me because I am a General of the Royal Guard, then I will resign.’ (Zuben: Well said. *Minor swoon)

He looked at me like a beast looking at his prey, causing a frisson of awareness to trace along my skin. I nodded to him.

I am so embarrassed, but I also like the General and want to be with him. Please forgive me for not being able to declare it like you do. I really don’t have the courage to say it. Even if the was just immediate family and the Prince. (Zuben: Well he’s family too)

‘Good I am relieved.’ He said with a smile and carried me in one smooth move.

‘Come, Stefan.’

He guided Stefan to sit on the other side of father and I was placed on his lap…as though it was a matter of course.

General! What are you doing in front of everyone?!

27 Jealousy Jealousy

The Prince’s eyes widened in surprise at General Brennan’s actions. Father sputtered. Mother laughed with her hand over her mouth. Marie squealed. Oliver continued to serve tea. (Zuben: Is that an “always full teapot” you’ve got there, Ollie) The chamberlain froze.

I could not hold my head up. I hid my face with my hands and hid my red face.

‘General Brennan, please put me down…’ I said timidly.

‘Do you find it distasteful?’

Is this the only choice for him? He said the same thing at the theatre last night. But that’s not it, I’m embarrassed not disgusted! But maybe embarrassment I feel here is a little different. I kept trying to think of a way to solve this with my brain that had short circuited.

‘You can put my on your knees….when we are alone…’I whispered to him.

A little while after, General Brennan’s deputy came to get him for some urgent meeting, so he had to go.

After he left, an awkward atmosphere filled the room.

It was Stephan-sama that broke the awkward silence, ‘It’s the first time I’ve seen Brennan so tame. He’s usually as ferocious as a tiger.’

With a loud sigh, he sat back into his chair. The “I must convict the bad woman” aura was gone. He was now partaking in Oliver’s excellently brewed tea.

‘This time…it seemed I jumped to conclusions. I hope I didn’t shock you?’ the prince said looking at me with a tired face.

‘No, it’s alright.’ I replied. I did not care for his earlier attitude but the Prince seems like a good person. Even if I had been shocked, I could not tell the Prince.

‘It’s because Brennan is one of the people I trust the most, and blood rushed to my head when I heard a woman was trying to get him. It has happened before. To make amends, you can ask for anything of me.’

But, it seems that the Prince is not one to properly apologise, I am surprised. I was about to decline when he said,

‘I’m still not alright with it. For Brennan to care about a woman enough to put her on his knee in front of everyone, it was unpleasant to see. Just say one thing,’

Looking at his glittering eyes I was a bit troubled. He seemed to have a forceful personality. He didn’t want to owe me anything. I didn’t want him to owe me anything either, but I don’t think he would understand. As I thought about it, an idea came to me.

‘Well, I don’t really want anything, but Prince Stefan may I ask a favour? Can we be friends?’

‘What?’ Prince Stefan had a shocked look on his face. Father cringed in his seat. Mother held her fan over her face.

‘Well, as you know, my family is not well liked therefore I don’t have any friends. And you know a lot about Brennan and I want you to tell me about him, so I thought the best thing is to be friends.’

I want to know the stories that Brennan wouldn’t tell me.

‘…but, as expected, it’s not possible.’ I said to no one in particular. It would be bad if a Viscount’s daughter was hanging around the Crown Prince. It would look as if I had an ulterior motive and would create misunderstandings.

I was hoping we could have a 'General Brennan Love' party. I really wanted to have one. I gave a laugh trying to hide my sadness and embarrassment.

The chamberlain rushed in, he was in a hurry it seemed, ‘Stefan-sama?!’

But the Prince held his hand up to stop him.

‘That sounds like a fun idea. Let’s be friends from now on, okay. You must call me Stefan.’

I stared at him in surprise. Was my face a little red? I turned to father; he looked like he’d eaten something bitter. My mother hid her face with her fan and fell back in seeming agony.

Er…?


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