Redemption of the Blue Rose Princess - Chapter 9.6
“…This is unexpected, Alicia-sama. I never thought I’d see you here.”
“I was visiting the area, and I happened to see you standing by the river.”
The Princess took a glance at her aide and the carriage behind her. Clovis was there, clinging to Alicia as usual, but, unlike usual, Riddhe didn’t get annoyed by this scene.
…she’s doing her errands, huh…?
He didn’t even need to ask why, he knew that the Princess went out her way to leave the castle personally to persuade the Privy Council nobles. Just the other day, he had seen her carriage parked in front of the Ridley’s estate.
What bothered him was the fact that Alicia’s expression was brighter than the last time he saw her.
She’s a bold one, Riddhe thought.
Even though she was younger than him, she got over her sadness faster than he could ever do.
Riddhe was both dumbfounded and impressed at her. At the same time, he felt miserable because of how pathetic the current state he was in.
“…Then, allow me to leave–”
The Princess stopped Riddhe, who turned away from her because he was unable to bear the despair and self-loathe that occupied his heart. At her words, the young noble had no choice but to face Alicia again.
“Is there something I can do for you, Your Highness?”
“I want you to tell me…”
Immediately after hearing Riddhe’s reply, Alicia looked at the young noble’s eyes directly, making the young noble feel unusually uncomfortable.
“Let’s continue our discussion. Is it true that you personally acknowledge the importance of the Trading Company?”
Sutherland does not make empty promises. I will make sure to bury the proposal into the darkness.
Riddhe couldn’t help but avert his gaze as his father’s voice appeared in his mind even though he wanted to forget about it. Alicia, oblivious to this, leaned forward to see his expression.
“I need your help.”
“Help? The other day that guy over there swatted my hand away.”
He stated his refusal with his words while cynically smiling at the Princess. At this rudeness he showed, Albert gasped while Clovis slightly raised his eyebrows, Alicia herself didn’t mind it though, instead, she continued her appeal.
“The important thing is whether or not the Kingdom needs the Trading Company, right? If you think it is important, then there is no reason for us to be at odds.”
Riddhe shouted, interrupting the Princess.
“I am the heir of the Sutherland! And my way is Sutherland’s way, the way that father decided for me! I can’t keep chasing empty ideals like you all the time!”
When he looked up, he saw the Princess looking surprised. In the background, Clovis was squinting his eyes at him. Riddhe then pursed his lips tightly.
I am carrying father’s dark secret within me.
And I can’t even convince myself on whether his action is just or not.
Besides, carrying this means that I’m an accomplice, no?
As Riddhe struggled like this, he inadvertently turned his eyes toward the Elam River. For some reason, his profile looked like he was reminiscing something.
“As you say, sticking to your ideals might not be the right way. But who would know if your ideals are right or wrong? No one. You’ll only find out the answer if you see it through the end.”
“…That’s a strange thing to say… Have you ever experienced that before?”
“It’s a metaphor.”
When Riddhe asked that, Alicia showed him a troubled smile. She was obviously hiding something with that sloppy reply, but her atmosphere seemed different for a moment there.
“I will do my best to follow the path I believe is right, so that I will not regret it in the future.”
What about you?
The Princess sent a resolute gaze that roused Riddhe’s envy from the bottom of his heart.
* * *
The sound of wheels spinning echoed in the air. As the carriage he rode rocked around, Riddhe rested his head on his cheek and looked out the window.
What about you?
After that, the Princess turned around and walked away, leaving him to think of an answer by himself.
Ridiculous. Riddhe still had his pride as the heir of the Sutherland. To him, it should be a no-brainer that he should obey the current head’s orders more than anything.
Seriously, such a carefree princess. Well, she’s still a child after all.
It was neither ideal nor justice that moved the Privy Council, let alone the country.
Both the country and the Privy Council were moved by a more complex thing, multiple interests that were mixed in a way that it could be advantageous for everyone. As long as the people who ran both the country and Privy Council had their own interests, this fact will never change.
It was the head of the Sutherland that kept those interests in check, keeping them from going out of control and ruining the country. That was what the ‘order’ for the Sutherland mean.
It was always the case since the dawn of the Kingdom, and it was also the case today. Everything his father did was a measure to remove the seed of confusion that would arise when the Kingdom welcome Prince Fritz to its side. It was for the future of the Kingdom that his father sullied his hands like this. There was nothing for Riddhe to be ashamed of…
A man worthy of the Sutherland name, huh?
Remembering a distant memory, Riddhe closed his eyes.
If only he had not met Princess Alicia, he would have been able to dismiss the ideal he had as mere childhood dreams. In fact, when his father told him everything, Riddhe resolved himself to keep his feelings in check and to follow his father’s every step.
However, the sight of the Princess walking down the street without the slightest hint of doubt, believing that her path was the right one, disturbed Riddhe to a great extent. Riddhe felt envious of the Princess, who carried out her beliefs resolutely, and her aide, who gave her his full support.
But what about himself?
How close had he got to his own ideal?
Was his father still the same father that he admired?
Currently, is he really a man worthy of the Sutherland’s name?
“Stop! Stop the carriage!”
Riddhe pounded the carriage wall while shouting. The vibrations were carried all the way to the driver seat, causing Albert, who was seated there to turn back in surprise.
The young servant hurriedly pulled the carriage toward the side of the road and Riddhe immediately jumped from inside the carriage. He then ran up to the driver’s seat and grabbed the young servant by his collar with both his hands.
“You, you were there when father met that man, weren’t you? Even though you have only recently learned of their conspiracy, father still let you in, no?”
Riddhe’s eyes which were previously filled with gloom, now shone brightly as he stared intently at Albert.
When the servant eventually nodded, he put more strength in his grip, preventing his servant from escaping.
“What you saw and heard, tell me everything!”
“But, young master, our schedule–!”
“Ahh! Who cares about that crap now! If I was convinced to follow in father’s steps after hearing what you have to say, I will overwork myself to meet everyone in the Privy Council like my life depends on it!!”
He seemed impatient, but Riddhe’s voice now regained its usual vigor. Realizing this, Albert couldn’t help but feel touched and he actually restrained himself to not smile at his master’s current state.
“I am the heir of the Sutherland! I will choose my own path!”
—That happened three days before the second meeting of the Privy Council.
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