Side Story 4
TL : Nesta
10 years ago.
Lart, who finds comfort in horseback riding, naturally headed to the hunting ground behind the royal villa that day. The line where the lawn met the forest was tinged with soft-blue, whereas the vast sky was perfectly blue.
Lart galloped off without a rest. As the horse galloped away, he could hear its hooves stepping on the grass. His father’s scornful gaze, and even Adelai, who treated him as inferior deep inside and kept hurling out harsh insults, flew away with the wind that brushed against his ears.
How far did I run?
Lart approached the tent after making four round trips through the entire hunting ground. He noticed two girls sitting on the forest border in the distance.
“What are they doing?”
Lart got off the horse, shaking the dirt from one of his boots, and asked, His attendant handed him a handkerchief and responded lightly.
“Princess Belinda and a maid from the royal villa. It seems like they were on a picnic.”
“A maid? Is Belinda getting a maid as well? My father must be very generous. Why on earth would he push a child from some noble family into the pit like this?”
(TL/N : The pit is a metaphor for ‘a difficult environment to escape from’. He was feeling sorry for the maid who had no choice but got stuck with Belinda.)
Lart was very hostile toward Belinda at the time, so he twisted the corner of his mouth and sneered at Belinda and Lucy.
“Which family is that maid from?”
“Haleb? Isn’t it another district in a very remote area?”
Haleb. It’s a name I’ve never heard before. Maybe their name is not powerful enough to become acquainted with me, or even if I met them, I simply erased their name from my memory because I didn’t think they were worth remembering.
“They used to have a name before, but they have been ousted from power…..”
By clearing his throat, the attendant left the end of his words as vague as possible, and added quietly.
“The stronger the tree, the easier it will collapse in a storm.”
Lucy’s father, Count Haleb, was as righteous as Lucy. A man with a gentle soul and high ethics. Such a person cannot survive in the midst of infigtings and a bunch of conformists.
Lart fixed his gaze at the brown-haired girl with a bright smile. Her clear and pure smile drew him in for an unknown reason. Lart, who was staring at Lucy with astonished expression, soon turned his head.
“It means she’s not worth my attention. As one might expect from someone who serves Belinda.”
He was an arrogant prince sitting at the pinnacle of power from the start. Lart had no interest in anything below him; he only remembered the names of powerful families, and treated everyone else as if they were dirt.
“What’s her personality like?”
Even if everyone treated him like a stupid prince, he couldn’t ignore what was going on in the imperial palace. He had to look into it first no matter how insignificant it may be. Usually, things start rotting from inside out.
“I heard that she took special care of Princess Belinda. A spoiled dessert was served to Princess Belinda, and the maid went to the kitchen to confront the chef in charge of the royal villa.”
Isn’t she also some kind of migratory bird that keeps drifting toward where the power is? Indeed, what does she hope to gain by taking special care of a half-breed who has been abandoned in the royal villa?
Most of the servants gained power by clinging to their owner’s power like a parasyte. In that sense, Lucy was in a position where she had no one to cling to within the palace.
Far from having power, Belinda was abandoned in the royal palace despite being a princess.
An abandoned princess and a daughter of a fallen noble.
“I guess birds of a feather flock together.”
Lart shook the dust off his clothes and got on the horse. A thick cloud of dust billowed behind the horse’s tail as it began galloping on the hunting ground.
Lart met Lucy for the second time in the garden near the royal villa.
He wandered aimlessly in a gloomy mood for quite some time after his mother, the empress, reprimanded him for his careless behavior. He had walked for a long time before arriving at the royal villa near the hunting grounds.
“How can a prince lose control of his emotions? How do you expect to carry the future of the empire on your back if you’re taking it so lightly?!”
Lart could only sigh inwardly as he remembered the Empress’ voice.
But he had no other choice. That bearded marquis kept getting on his nerves.
It was no secret that Lart struggled learning ancient languages. Why would that man brag about his son’s ancient language skill if not to make fun of Lart?
If he bragged without knowing it, he should apologize for being senseless, and if he did it with a malicious purpose, it was only right to scold him harshly. That’s why Lart became enraged and poured juice on him.
I would rather curse him out in public. What a cunning bastard. The insides of the nobles are as murky and filthy as a pond full of moss.
He felt frustrated again upon remembering the faces of some high-ranking nobles. He heard many people had been sticking to Adelai recently.
They’ve turned into dogs who suck up to powerful people.
They would bow their heads and flatter me in front of everyone, but I knew they were mocking me with their heads down the whole time. Those rotten bastards!!
“So what if I was born with a foul temper, huh?”
Lart kicked a pebble nearby. At the same time, a girl’s solemn voice could be heard from within the rose garden.
“I heard you wanted to leave the royal villa.”
It was Lucy’s voice. Lart stopped walking without realizing it. As a prince, he was the owner of the palace, and he was free to appear confidently whether they were in the middle of conversation or not. But his legs stopped for some reason.
Lucy’s voice was heard again.
“Are you feeling uncomfortable here?”
The other person remained silent. Judging by the situation, the person who spoke to Lucy appeared to be Belinda’s servant. And it seemed like she would leave the royal villa and go somewhere else.
Lart could figure out the situation roughly without having to listen for a long time.
‘Isn’t this what power can do to people?’
The servants’ hierarchy was determined by who they served. That made everyone who served Belinda wanted to leave the royal villa. They must cling to power like a parasite and try to pick up crumbs of that power no matter how small it is.
It was nothing out of the ordinary. It really was….but he felt bad for an unknown reason. Moreover, this problem belonged to Belinda, the person that he never cared about.
‘Whether nobles or servants, their eyes turned red just to fill up their stomach. Even they will abandon their own master who is not useful to them. Ugh, disgusting people!’
Fine. I’m going to do it even if it means venting my anger on her. I’ll expose that maid and slap her across the face!
Just when he thought about it and was about to jump in, Lucy’s elegant voice caught his ankle.
“Vilte. The Princess has always been nice to you, right? Did you forget that the Princess did not rebuke you for breaking her precious glass? Didn’t she always tell you to bring home snacks for your little sister?”
The maid named Vilte could not answer.
“The Princess will be upset to hear about you. It’s easy to know why you left. Instead of blaming you, she’ll blame herself for being a bad owner.”
“Will you still leave?”
Lart, hiding in the bushes as he was eavesdropping, shook his head instead of Vilte.
It’s useless, girl. A faithful person won’t even think of leaving in the first place. I don’t think that maid is listening to you right now.
“I’m sorry. I won’t change my mind.” Vilte answered quietly, and she sounded a little annoyed. As if she were saying that such talk was unnecessary.
Lart walked away with a sad look on his face. He didn’t want to do things like jump in front of them or interfere with them anymore. That feeling subsided for some reason.
Lart, who left the Royal Villa, recalled Lucy’s voice that he heard earlier. She was still a young girl, but her voice was solemn and dignified. Her speech was gentle but firm at the same time.
‘Do you think everyone is like you? Why are you trying to persuade her with such a fanciful story? You’re the weird one. You’re really weird.’
Lart kicked the pebbles as he was lost in thought.
….By the way, Is the maid’s name Rosie?
A poor noble.
The daughter of the fallen Haleb family.
The maid of an abandoned princess.
Not Rosie, but Lucy. Lucy Haleb.
Lart muttered Lucy’s name as he lay in bed.
For a long time, the boy was not aware that a girl named Lucy had pulled the string in his heart,
In fact, he never met her properly.
He made countless excuses, saying he needed to get some fresh air from the forest, but he had been snooping around the royal villa and peeking at her face from afar. Even when the royals were dining with Belinda. Lart only glanced at Lucy, who was following Belinda, and secretly observed her.
Calm gestures. Lips that always form a gentle smile. Eyelashes which always slightly lowered whenever she faced the royal family. Lucy Haleb.
Lart turned over and buried his face in the pillow.
He knew how he felt. He wanted to turn a blind eye, but he knew it for sure.
He fell in love like a fool to a maid who had nothing but an upright personality and pretty face. And he was deeply in love, too!
‘No way. No!’
Lart punched the pillow for no reason.
‘I shouldn’t date someone like that!’
He was choked up.
That child. I shouldn’t have liked that kind of child. Adelai is already threatening my position, shouldn’t I find a good wife who can be beneficial for me? Just like how His Majesty took mother as his wife.
I need to meet a lady who is like my mother; elegant, powerful, and coming from a strong family. So I could rule the empire peacefully after inheriting the throne from my father.
Nothing threatens an empire more than a powerless emperor. Sincerity, love or genuine feelings were unnecessary in this situation.
Even for a royal, marriage is just part of negotiation. Liking Lucy is like playing a losing game.