“I heard from Henry that he told you that I killed two people,” Duke-Sama explains after seeing my expression.
“Ah, I see.
So that’s how you knew.“
“……Do you dislike me speaking formally to you that much“
I don’t like it,” Duke-Sama admits frankly.
….I really can’t understand his character at all.
The only thing I know for sure about him is that he has a devilish, mean side that likes to tease me to no end.
The fact that he’s being so easily open with me right now….
I never imagined that he’d take my words the other day so seriously.
“That was all you wanted to know”
“No, there’s a couple other things….
but before that, what did you mean when you said you didn’t kill anyone”
Duke-Sama smiles at my words and it’s like I’m looking at the devil himself.
At the same time, sunlight from the window catches on the jade and azure colored magic stones in his ear and they shine radiantly.
My instinct is telling me that he is not someone that I should ever mess with.
Every fiber of my being is screaming at me to run away from him.
“…..I just spread a rumor that I killed them.”
His words aren’t inherently frightening, but they still send goosebumps breaking out all over my flesh.
Maybe it’s his eyes that do it.
I get the feeling that his beautifully clear blue eyes swirl with traces of darkness from deep within their depths.
“What did you actually do to them”
“Nothing much, just had them drop out of school,” Duke-Sama tells me expressionlessly.
His face remained calm, but I somehow get the feeling that the temperature in the room dropped by a couple degrees as he spoke.
…..Ahh, my head feels like it’s a mess right now.
I need to calm down and think about this carefully.
First of all, I know from the game that Duke-Sama had a weighty backstory.
And, as of right now, instead of going down the heroine’s route and falling for her, he’s currently in love with me…..
which means that the dark side of his personality, those shadows within his heart, aren’t being healed.
Which in turn means that even now he’s still carrying that darkness around with him.
That’s why I so easily believed that he could have killed two people merely because they’d been speaking ill of me.
But as it turns out, that was false information.
what exactly is going on Is he actually carrying around a heavy weight on his shoulders Or is he not I mean, he did have them expelled.
I suppose that’s not something a happy, well-adjusted person does.
But it’s nowhere near as bad as it could have been.
Ugh, I just don’t get it.
The one thing I do know is that his current personality is nothing like it was in the game.
It seems that merely the act of loving someone else can change a person to an unimaginable degree.
Love truly can and does affect you in a multitude of ways.
“I was so certain that you had to be some sort of lunatic to kill someone over something so small,” I say, laughing a bit awkwardly.
“Never thought you’d be the one to say that.
Talk about the pot calling the kettle black,” Duke-Sama says, his lips lapsing into a lax grin.
I’m a man of common sense.
I just convinced everyone else to think otherwise.”
“But for what purpose Why did you even need to do that“
At my question, a sharp glint seems to shine in Duke-Sama’s eyes.
“Cause I completely agree with what you said back in the dining hall.
Humans evaluate others using every trivial little detail.
They watch your every move, constantly measuring your actions and words against some arbitrary scale and use that to calculate your worth.
I was just utilizing that fact.
I wanted them to view me as a deranged prince.
Then they won’t be able to have any expectations for me.
I’ll be free to live as I want.”
“What kind of freedom are you looking for What’s holding you back”
Duke-Sama’s expression darkens.
“You know, I also wanted to visit the impoverished village once.
Even before you started going.”
From that one statement, I already understood.
As long as Duke-Sama remains as this country’s prince, he won’t ever have the freedom that he so desires.
Even more so than the rest of us, everything he does, every minute detail of his actions and conduct, everything is under constant review.
What might be just a harmless visit won’t necessarily look that way to outsiders.
He can’t just show up at places as he pleases to have a look around.
Especially not the impoverished village.
Deep political meaning could be fabricated from such an appearance.
Possibly, if he had been the second prince, some of these restrictions wouldn’t have mattered as much.
But he’s not…..
He’s the first prince.
The crown prince.
The next leader of this country.
“No matter how smart or magically talented I am, if I’m seen as a lunatic, they can’t possibly have any expectations for me….”
“I don’t really think that’s how it works….”
“Well, having such an image ought to be a bit more freeing than being seen as an outstanding, perfect prince at least.”
…..What a startling strategist he is.
He quite possibly might be the most calculative person that I’ve encountered to date.
The Duke-Sama from the game hadn’t been nearly so cunning and shrewd as this.
But this man, he’s a cut above me as a schemer at the very least.
And this unbelievable, extraordinary person likes me…..
Honestly, I still don’t even know what that really means.
I don’t know what it feels like to love another person like that, nor do I understand any of the other emotions that go along with it.
“That and I thought that if rumors that I had killed someone got around, then even you might hear about it….
but that plan appears to have failed miserably,” Duke-Sama continues nonchalantly.
Ahh! Don’t just throw out those sorts of words so easily….
My love experience is practically zero, you know…
“……Duke-Sama, what is it that you like about me”
A bit flustered, my mouth ends up speaking my thoughts aloud before I even have time to think.