Chapter 24 - No other choice
Should I decline Rosie’s invitation, run away, and just come back for the princess? This will allow me to save Yume on time when her falsified judgment comes.
But my conscience will be badly damaged if my classmates and newly made friends went to the expedition, suffer, and worst die because of my intervention.
Or should I accept Rosie’s invitation, join their group, stop my classmates from joining the expedition, and save the princess on time.
But this might make the princess feel betrayed, and our newly formed relationship will be in naught. On the other hand, this might be a good opportunity to act as a spy on the treacherous couple’s team.
The fact I know for now is that I shouldn’t join this cold north expedition. Because this would surely take time. Since there are only six months left for the upcoming expedition for the senior students, which is the last event I was able to read in the novel. I need to make sure that I would be able to join this one. So I don’t actually have the time to go somewhere else.
“Go to the academy’s west wing second floor, there will be a sign that says ‘Royal Quarters’, we will be waiting there after lunch,” Rosie said, walking away in a good mood.
“What does the Lady mean, Ryu?” Blake said. Hearing about the possibility of canceling the arrangements made his eyes glimmered with hope.
“Yes, yes! Is it really possible to cancel our involvement?” Roy added.
“How can we avoid it?” Gavin urged.
To sum up, everyone who heard about Rosie’s proposal had their ears perked.
I closed my eyes for a bit and started to weigh the pros and cons of the aforementioned invitation. When the people beside me went silent, I slowly opened one eye and saw these people attentively watching me for my answer. In addition, their eyes looking like a puppy’s.
“Alright... I’ll ask Lady Rosie to exclude us from the expedition,” — Hooray! the crowd cheered — “but don’t expect too much.”
“Absolutely, our family wouldn’t need to hear such distressing news.”
“And we will have enough time to improve ourselves, then next time, we would at least be welcoming for an expedition ourselves.”
“Thank you so much Sir—I mean Ryu.”
Guilt. The emotion that is currently forming deep within my heart. I do not deserve these praises since it was me who made this happen in the first place. “Don’t thank me guys, it’s my fault in the first place,” I insisted.
“Yours or not, it doesn’t matter,” Roy said.
“We’re friends right?”
“...Yes,” I replied.
“Well, people make mistakes, what matters is how you want to fix them. So all is in good hands.”
“I see. But what if I declined and we all have to go to the expedition?”
“Ack!—T...Then, we... we will have to go together! Right? Gavin, Blake?”
“R-Right!” Gavin and Blake said while sweats starting to show up in their face. “We can do it!”
“Pffft... It’s fine guys, you don’t have to panic, and I already decided not to go on this expedition. I also have something important to do, I just hope the princess will be alright.”
“Oh, um, it’s nothing... Shall we go?”
We finished eating and brought our trays back, then left. “Then I’ll be on my way to the west wing.”
“Take care, see you later!” They waved their hands as we separated.
Rosie Xavier (Point Of View)
“Shin!” I said, opening up the door of the crown prince’s private quarters. “I have some good news—”
“Ahhhh!” Shin shouted. He was sitting on my favorite limited edition expensive couch from a renowned craftsman while his head was covered by his trembling hands.
“Shin, what happened?”
“R-Rosie?! Is that you?!”
“Yes, it’s me, my love...” I said, sitting beside him and tapping his back. It seems being the current crown prince is giving a toll on his mental state. But at least it helped me make things easier to be with him. “Are you alright? What happened? Tell me...”
“Yume! It’s Yume!”
“That girl again?!” I said, hugging him. “Tell me, my love, what did that scheming lady do to you?!”
“Yume this! Yume that! They always say she will be a great ruler! And not me, they don’t speak about me! I’m the heir to the throne! They should only speak about me!”
“What? Oh... Did you, again, had a bad dream?”
“It’s not a dream, Rosie! I can feel it... Everything! She took everything away from me!” he continued, looking at me while gritting his teeth. His eyes are red and he even began to scratch his face. “Everyone praised her! Even... Even my father, the King! He only looked at her!”
“Don’t hurt yourself, my love!” I tried my best to stop him from injuring himself. Just hearing about her name of course made me annoyed. What’s so special about that girl, why is she always the center of attention? Is it her family? But in terms of wealth, it is not like we are behind!
Thinking more about this, I only need to do something about Yume and everything would be fine afterward, the same things as what I did to those who eyed the position of the crown princess. All I need to do is to shut them up. As long as it would make my relationship with the crown prince secured, then it’s worth it. What’s wrong with my method? In the end, those who remained victorious would have the right to speak.
“People are cheering for her! She is laughing at me! Her eyes! Her eyes always laugh at me every time she bested me in everything!”
“Ouch! Shin, don’t squeeze my arms, it hurts!”
“Rosie! You, you’ll help me right?! You’ll always be with me and not mock me right?”
“If you want to, I’ll even do anything for you.”
“Really?! T...T-Then, would you, h-help me get r-rid of her?”
Shin started to breathe heavily. “Haaaa... If you don’t help me, she will be the crown princess and the future queen! Do you want that?!”
Now he even wants to use her to threaten me? If you want to play like this then, “...If you want to marry her, then I will let you go. Since your happiness is what’s important.”
“No! You are my future queen, Rosie! At least you are not greedy like them!”
“Because I only want to be with you, and I don’t need anything else,” I said, tightening my embrace. “So please calm down, my love. I still have good news for you.”
Knock! Knock! Knock!
“Pardon me, Your Highness,” the butler said, “Sir Ryu Astre is here to see you.”
“Is this the good news?” Shin said, looking at me with a slight confusion on his face.
“Yes, my love. But your face is still a mess. Try to relax.” I got up and rummage through the drawers. “I found it! Here you go, wear this mask first, you should not look weak in front of anyone.”
“Alright. Phew...” Shin took the mask on my hand and wore it. A black masquerade mask with golden carvings that was used for social events. “Is this better?”
“Better than nothing.”
“Let him in, Max.”
“Welcome Sir Ryu,” I said, “would you like to take a seat?”
“No,” Ryu said.
“If you need something with me, hurry up and say it.”
“Rosie, is this good news you are talking about? But it seems—”
Even I was shocked, this is not what I expect him to behave. “No no no no... It seems there is a misunderstanding. Hahaha. Why don’t you take a seat first and relax?”
Ryu’s eyes narrowed.
I can feel the sweats starting to form in my forehead. “Alright alright, you can stay standing.”
“Let me handle this, Rosie, it seems our ‘guest’ is a little disturbed today,” Shin said, standing up. He walked around the couch and leaned on its frame, crossed his feet on the floor, and arms around his chest. “I’ll get to the point then... I want you to join my team in the upcoming expedition in six months.”
“Why?” Ryu said.
“Why you say?”
“Why should I join you?”
“Oh... Then how about 1,000 gold coins?”
“10,000 gold coins? This will be enough to feed your family for generations!”
“Is this really the best you can do?”
“Don’t test my patience, Sir Ryu...! It seems you didn’t know who you are messing with, isn’t the reason you are here is to beg for canceling your class’s expedition?”
“So you did all that just for this?”
“Why not? It’s so simple to ruin you if I want to. Then, why are you even declining my offer? Wouldn’t this be good for the cooperation between the Xan and the Zen Kingdom? I am the crown prince of this nation, and I will be the future King. Do you get what I’m saying?”
“So, you’re saying that if I don’t cooperate, then the Zen Kingdom will suppress us?”
“It’s you who said that.”
“Then let me ask you a question. What do you want me to do in the expedition?”
“Now we’re talking... It’s simple, I want you to help me be the winner of the expedition.”
“And how exactly, can you be the winner of the expedition?”
“I want you to accidentally injure someone, and only you, who have the skill to defeat me can do that.”
“And that someone is?”
“It’s... It’s Lady Yume, my fiancee,” Shin said, “but please know that she is evil! She always hurt Rosie. She is greedy to be my queen. So we need to stop her.”
Ryu started to clench his fist, it seems he is also taking the bait of pitying me, he said, “Really?! Then if I agree, would you leave us alone?”
“O-Of course! I am a prince, so I don’t go back on my words.”
“—Excuse me, Your Highness,” Max interrupted, “Lady Yume Valenz is here to see you.”