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Translated by Momo. Unedited.
Terriol Hagen was a twenty-five-year-old military officer in the Kingdom of Lucott. Since he arrived at the Royal Palace, he has been assigned an important position as the personal knight who reported directly to the Crown Prince. Though there were other heirs to the throne, the only direct descendant of His Majesty was Henry, a rare happening in the royal family, so the task of protecting him was a heavy responsibility. Still, since the current domestic and world affairs were at peace, his most important role was to accompany the free-spirited Henry.
Terriol was chosen as his knight because it was a direct request from the self-centered Crown Prince, so at the beginning, there was a lot of people who were envious of him. But due to the hardships of accompanying Henry and the goodness of Terriol's character, almost immediately, the envious stares turned into pitying looks.
Working as a royal knight, his days went by too busily, and work simply became the sole focus of his life. However, he was already 25 years old. The number of married people in his surroundings has increased, and it had come to the age when he became aware and worried about marriage.
He always dreamed of romance. Born as the second son of the Hagen household, a well-known military aristocrat family, and blessed with good looks, he could have enjoyed love affairs with any woman he fancied. But until a person he really loved appeared, he decided not to involve himself with anyone else.
It was because of the bitter memories of first love.
Terriol was a late bloomer, and his first love happened when he was seventeen. It was probably because he had been raised in a strict military family since his childhood and could not afford to be distracted by love. And there was also his quiet and calm personality.
His family seemed to think that Terriol's quiet personality wasn't very fit as a military officer, but because Henry was quite fond of him as it was, the Hagen family just let it be in the end.
Alas, about his first love story. The seventeen-year-old Terriol had reached the age when he had already grown up and begun to enjoy the company of other adults. He was already at a age in this kingdom that it wouldn't be strange to start looking for a marriage partner. Until then, he had flirted with women before, but since he wanted to be completely sincere towards them, he decided that he could only have a love affair after he had properly grown up and could take responsibility for it.
Terriol held marriage as an ideal.
He wished to meet someone who he would really love from the bottom of his heart. And so adorable (not as their appearance, but as their whole personality) that he would want to protect forever. He wanted a gentle romance, taking all the steps properly, to finally marry and create a happy family. That was pretty much it. First and foremost, he wanted to meet a woman and fall in love. Since knights were very popular, many of his friends seemed to have quite a lot of gossip over their love affairs, but Terriol really just wanted an honest relationship.
Apart from that, he didn't feel like it was necessary to have that much experience with other women. He just wished he could meet that only one person for him.
As he held that kind of thought, one day, he met a woman who he thought was wonderful for the first time. She was two years older than Terriol, a beautiful, intelligent, and friendly girl, from a noble household that was comparable to the Hagen family.
For the first time, he met a woman that moved his heart, and she was the one who called out to him, so that made him even more fascinated. At that time, he thought it was amazing how the way they talked about things and their personalities matched. But thinking about it now, it was just more like a mature woman trying to purposely match and accompany his own rhythm.
Terriol started seeing her with the clear intention to get married. He thought it was something natural to consider if one started to date. So he didn't realize that the other person didn't have the same feelings at all. Perhaps she became troubled because Terriol was so innocent and told him seriously "Terry, you know this is just a fling, right? As a noble, you should learn to enjoy your love life a little more."
He felt attacked by a sudden emptiness when he heard those words from her since he felt like he was the one who had been played around. But due to his mild temper, he simply silently accepted her advice. He was seriously thinking about getting married. For him, it was in a serious and deep relationship, and he was happy every time he met her.
His older brother laughed at him and teased, "I think you got yourself a good baptism. Just go play around with more women and gain some life experience." that only made the seventeen-year-old youth more depressed.
The current Terriol could understand what that girl had meant at that time. Certainly, his younger self was too pure for love. It should have been obvious that she was calling him out to play around. But it was his first experience having a lover, and so, as he asked himself if he really loved her, he became doubtful. Although he wanted to find the one and only for him, at that time he didn't even try to understand the feelings of the other person.
From then on, he didn't play according to her or his brother's advice since his work as a royal knight got busier and he had no time to spare. That was how his love experience ended up in a pitiful manner.
Since that time, he spent a few years really busy as Henry's knight, so he left relationships aside. Even if he didn't obtain any romance experience, he probably gained more life experience than anyone else by accompanying the always active Crown Prince. Though he was young, people would often tell him he had a good-natured and mature semblance. Henry, his master, was good at seeing through people and being next to him at all times, Terriol somehow also started to become better at judging people's character.
After some time passed, he was still busy, but as he became able to have a little more leeway on his mind and heart, he noticed that his peers were getting married. Originally, he had a strong desire to marry. Although he still had those bitter memories of his first love, the desire to meet and marry his destined beloved had been firmly rooted during his childhood. He wanted to get married and build his own warm family.
As he approached the mid-twenties, he got more and more fixated on it, and every time someone else got married, he felt really envious. Whenever those thoughts spilled out as he sighed deeply, Henry, who spent most of his day together with him, laughed and said, "If you're looking for an engagement proposal, aren't there a lot of them ready for you already?" Henry, who has been around him for a long time, would also joke around since he knew his friend had some different standards.
Terriol knew he was still fantasizing about love. If he wished to be engaged, there were several good proposes, he had even taken a look at the matchmaking files that had been prepared by his family . Still, he couldn't feel any enthusiasm towards it. He didn't feel anything towards those women. He wondered if he was too idealist and obstinate by wishing to encounter his destined person.
If he could meet a woman that he really liked, this time he would respect the other person's feelings and carefully groom their relationship, so it could evolve into a deep love, and they could marry at the most appropriate timing. Since he was Henry's royal escort, he would be busy with work, but he also decided that he would take good care of his future spouse and maintain a happy family.
And then, suddenly, he had a surprising encounter. He met the one. It was just like destiny.
That girl--remembering about Yuina, Terriol's cheeks would relax into a smile and he had to put a lot of effort to make his expression serious again.
Henry, who was really perceptive, teased him and commented, "Did something good happen to you lately?" It seems that his infatuated feelings had been clearly transmitted to the surroundings.
However, Terriol was still not willing to tell about that miracle to the Crown Prince, whom he loved and respected more than anyone else and decided to serve for his entire life. It had been only a few days since he met her, and he knew that Henry would be teasing him without stop as soon as he told him anything. However, even though they had a hierarchical relationship, they were also like family to each other, so of course, he would report after his relationship with Yuina had progressed smoothly. He was certain that his lord would make fun of him, but he would also congratulate them.
Terriol was fascinated by her from the first glance. Until that moment, he never judged women by their appearance. When he saw a pretty person, he was honestly impressed by their beauty, but it wasn't something that had led him to love them. He always thought that people's personality were more important than their looks, and he still felt that was true.
However, when he thought about Yuina, he couldn't control his heartbeat rate. She was a charming girl. Terriol, who did not intend to be particular about looks, could only think that she was "impossibly cute" when he saw her. It was the first time he understood exactly how a woman would look like if she was to be the complete embodiment of his preferences.
A petite body with fluffy and light coloured blonde hair. Large green eyes that reminded him of young tree leaves. Perhaps because of her white skin, the redness of her cheeks and her small lips were pretty conspicuous. She looked like she had a shy personality and when she hesitantly looked at him with her big and moist eyes, he couldn't say anything because of how shocked he became.
"So cute. How can such a cute girl exist? She looks like an angel."
Terriol realized that he fell in love instantly but the miracle was not limited to this fortunate encounter. It wasn't just Terriol who fell in love, but she also reciprocated the feeling.
The two were convinced that they fell in love with each other. When he touched her for the first time, to wipe her tears, he became dizzy from the soft sensation of her skin on his fingers.
And the two became lovers with almost no exchange of words.
He felt happy just by remembering what happened a few days ago. When Yuina's cute face popped in his mind, it was like his feet were floating up in the air.
He had always wanted to meet his destined lover, and it had happened all of a sudden.
Terriol made the decision the moment they met each other. He would definitely marry her. He wondered how joyous his life would become after that. That girl would be forever at his side. She would be the one to welcome him every time he went home.
Was it really possible to attain such happiness?
He knew it was too early to discuss that since they met just for the first time a few days ago. Moreover, it was only on that day, and because they both had work to do, they had to immediately split up after that.
In the beginning, he was stunned by Yuina's cuteness and had disgracefully solidified in front of her, but he couldn't lose his honour there and he definitely didn't want to let her get away, so he made sure to set up the next opportunity to meet her.
And that next time was today. He asked her to meet this afternoon at the same place as last time and even if it sounded a bit rushed and forced at that time, Yuina nodded happily, so it seemed like everything was going well. They only talked a little bit, but Yuina said she was eighteen, so she was seven years below him. She also said that she was a servant and a commoner. She seemed a bit concerned about their different status, so he should be the one to make sure that things would go smoothly on that end.
He didn't care about her status at all and he also didn't want her to feel inferior to him in any aspect. She was his destined partner. He would probably never meet someone like her ever again. He definitely could not miss this opportunity. For him, she was the one.
Terriol was not the legitimate heir of his family and as a knight, he only reported directly to Henry, so his rank had a clear distinction from people in high ranking leading positions. At home, he could do as he wished since he was only the second son. His commitment was already to serve the Royal family rather than his household, so they would not interfere with Terriol's marriage partner affairs unless they posed a serious threat towards royalty.
Above all, he had the Crown Prince on his side. If Henry says “It's good,” most of the time, everyone in this kingdom will follow him. It might look inappropriate to borrow the authority of his lord, His Royal Highness, but at such times, it was really encouraging that he was his support.
Although busy at work, Terriol was very enthusiastic about trying to make time to develop their bond as lovers and evolve their relationship to marriage discussion as soon as possible.
As a step towards that, today would be their first date.
"Your Highness, I'll see you again after the meeting is adjourned."
"Hmm. It's going to be a long one today too, so just come back at will."
After lunch, Terriol, who accompanied his lord to the meeting room, bowed his head and Henry waved his hand. Cleatt, one of the civil officers who had been preparing in the meeting room earlier, said, in a cool and a bit prickly tone "If Your Highness was easily satisfied, it wouldn't take such a long time."
The thirty-three-year-old Cleatt Brody, who has been working as a vice-minister, one of the most important civilian positions in the kingdom, was a little older than Henry, who's twenty-seven years old, and Terriol who's twenty-five years old. Terriol deeply respected and admired him.
Cleatt's name was famous even before he entered the Royal Palace. His household, the Brody family, was a military family on par with the Hagen family, so Terriol and his brother were constantly compared to him when they were children. "It seems that boy Cleatt of the Brody family is excellent. You can't lag behind as a Hagen!" was something that their family and relatives would often tell them. In the meantime, Cleatt became a civilian instead of a military officer, and the whole Hagen family was taken aback. It seemed like they considered he made a silly choice and was considered a "weakling" from thereon.
However, from Terriol's perspective, who was only about ten years old at that time, it was really impressive that he could casually choose the civilian path being a part of the Brody family, since he had the same strict military education as the Hagen family. Moreover, he was the heir. He thought it was amazing. And he was very envious. Cleatt just did was he wished, opposing to his family's traditions. Cleatt's actions revealed to Terriol that he could choose another path, even if they both came from military families.
He actually didn't think he had the right disposition to become a military officer nor did he have any outstanding talent for martial arts. "Maybe there's another path for me too..." -- as he seemed to become enticed by that way of thinking, it looked like his parents also realized it. Since then, they put even more efforts and importance into their education as soldiers than ever before. So both him and his older brother had a bit of a grudge against Cleatt.
Still, over time, Cleatt's reputation as a civilian reached his ears, and Terriol understood how different he was from himself. Cleatt was talented. He became a civil officer because he was confident about his own abilities and ignored his noisy surroundings. It was something Terriol haven't found.
By the time Terriol entered the Royal Palace as a knight, Cleatt had already a stable and evolving career as a civilian. While observing him with admiration, he also felt frustrated at his own envy. That feeling still persisted a little.
He was also certain that Henry considered Cleatt to be someone very special. When they were young, they often talked about him together. A man who was older than them, but young and proudly producing results. For Henry, Cleatt might become the right arm of the domestic affairs, and would be one of the main people supporting the heavy responsibility of leading the kingdom in the future. At the same time, the rivalry of not wanting to lose to him would appear suddenly, and he had complex feelings over it. It couldn't be helped since they were in totally different positions, but Cleatt's presence seemed out of reach for him and admiring him for being extremely reliable also made Terriol a bit jealous.
But it was just like that. Every person had their own role.
And when Henry becomes the King, they would all work together to maintain a peaceful kingdom.
"Let's do our best so that it doesn't extend too much. If you work late every day, your recently married wife will fall out of love with you."
"Don't worry, that won't happen."
"Now you're just boasting about your relationship."
"Because it's a fact."
As Henry got disappointed, Cleatt just bantered back with a cool expression.
"Aah, it must be nice..." Terriol couldn't help but get envious again. It is also because of Cleatt that his desire to marry grew stronger. The recently married Cleatt was very calm and excelled at work. It conveyed the atmosphere of a happy relationship. Still, Cleatt's marriage made Terriol hopeful too, since he always seemed to be busier than himself but also had time to get married. Moreover, it wasn't an arranged marriage, but they had casually met at work. "Maybe one day, I could also..." and in the middle of his wishful thinking, he did had a fateful encounter, and it made him realize how life could be surprising.
While immersed in his remarkable good luck, Terriol left the conference room after listening briefly to the conversation that was being exchanged.
To the people working in the Royal Palace, it might look like following around the always active Crown Prince took all of his time, but it wasn't like he didn't have any room for himself. When Henry suddenly roamed around (which was often the case), he would always be at his side, but sometimes he step out during a meeting that took place on a fixed date and time. They weren't together all day long. In the beginning, he couldn't distinguish and manage the time tables well so he ended up always following behind Henry. But nowadays, sometimes he can leave without reserve and Henry also permitted it. Otherwise, he wouldn't be able to do all sorts of tasks, train to maintain his skill as a knight, and he wouldn't have had the opportunity to meet Yuina.
This meeting has been scheduled for a long time and it would last for several hours. This period was in fact, "free time" for Terriol, and Henry would only call him back with a "bird" if necessary.
The "calling bird" was a tool invented by the Magic Division of the Lucott Kingdom, and it could send a letter directly towards a previously assigned person.
"Oh yeah, a calling bird! Before meeting Yuina, I need to stop by that place."
Terriol rushed to that place while suppressing his restlessness.
 ICYMI The ML in this novel!
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