Chapter Ten: After the Misunderstanding
Ahhh! I don’t get it. I don’t get you at all Queen Catherine!
“Queen Catherine, what do you mean when you say that His Majesty doesn’t need to study because he already has the qualifications of a king?”
“The qualifications of a king is not something you can learn. Of course, I believe Zeke should develop proper leadership skills, but now is not the time. His Highness is still a child. He can only be a child for so long. It is unnecessary to force him to study during this period.”
Her gaze fixed on Alice, Queen Catherine said.
“The study you mention is essentially pushing subjects on him. You can’t learn if you’re forced to. Nothing good will come out of instilling in His Highness the preoccupation that he must become king at all costs and forcing him to study.”
Um… Well, I suppose it’s true that one becomes good at what one enjoys, and I agree with that, but…
“What is it, Alice?”
“Do you recall His Highness saying that he had read this book?”
“I do. It was when Zeke was still five.”
“And you had told him at the time that something like this is only natural…”
“Well it is. Zeke, after all, is exceptional. It’s only natural for him to be able to do something like that. I have great faith in Zeke’s abilities.”
“And you’re also aware that not just any five-year-old could do it?”
“Of course I am. It only proved the point that Zeke was exceptional. There was no room to doubt it anymore.”
In a boastful tone, Queen Catherine stated.
“You should tell His Highness those things…”
“However, because His Highness did not express a desire for me to praise him, I simply told him that it was natural, and he agreed.”
His Highness… Well I guess it couldn’t be helped… He undoubtedly wanted to be praised, but given his relations with Queen Catherine, it would have been difficult for him to say so.
“However, didn’t you oppose His Highness when he requested to study on his own initiative…”
“I did. However, I did that because Zeke is clever.”
“You forbade him from studying because His Highness is clever?”
“Correct. Zeke is clever. He’s clever enough to be able to read that book at the age of five. That’s why I couldn’t just appoint any tutor.”
“You were afraid that they wouldn’t be able to teach His Highness anything?”
“It would have been fine if that had been the case. Zeke’s tutor and classmates will almost definitely grow close to him. The current state of affairs in the royal palace is complex. There are those that want to bring Alen up as the king. And there are also those who want to bring Zeke up as king. His Highness, Zeke, is still a child. He doesn’t have nearly enough support to be put between the two sides.”
“To be honest, I wanted to be Zeke’s shield, but my position is also pretty difficult.”
Well that’s normal. After all, Queen Catherine, you’re the driving force behind it all.
“That is why, Zeke doesn’t need to study just yet. To be precise, he does not yet need to build a following of tutors and classmates. Zeke would have definitely needed to be educated if he hadn’t been intelligent. That is, after all, something that every king must go through. Zeke, on the other hand, began studying willingly. Isn’t it the same as playing if you do something you enjoy?”
I get it… I finally get it. I get it but…
“Uhm… Can I ask you a simple question, Queen Catherine?”
“What is it, Alice?”
“How should I put this… Queen Catherine, do you love His Highness?”
“Of course I do. I consider him to be my other child.”
“However, I’m aware that Zeke does not share my feelings. In his eyes, I’m likely just a fox who succeeded his mother, Queen Liliana, after she died. I’m a wicked woman who endangers his position.”
With saddened eyes, Queen Catherine said.
“However, I have not once harbored ill feelings towards Zeke. I truly love him.”
“Queen Catherine, you should say such things…”
“Of course! His Highness won’t know unless you tell him!”
“But Zeke is clever.”
“Even if His Highness is smart, he is just seven years old.”
“That seven-year-old child is putting in a lot of effort, all by himself, without the help of one of his parents. That’s how it appears to me, at least…”
He read that book when he was five. Not only that, he even memorized it. It must have definitely been tough for him. There were most likely a lot of tough words and a lot of places he didn’t comprehend…
“And he even came to tell you, Queen Catherine. He came to tell you that he’d read it and that he’d done his best…”
“He had to have wanted to be appreciated. At least, that’s how I see it.”
“His Highness, did you?”
“You may regard me, the king-to-be, as weak for saying this, but…”
His Highness stated as he lowered his head.
“…I wanted to be praised. I wanted to be told that I’m amazing and that I did great. I simply desired to be praised openly and wholeheartedly.”
“I-Is it truly okay for me to praise His Highness…”
“In fact, why shouldn’t it be Queen Catherine?”
“Because he never called me Mother…”
“As I already stated, I am a wicked woman who stole Zeke’s father away from him. That’s why I didn’t believe I deserved to be called Mother by Zeke. That praising him would be inappropriate…”
“That’s not true!!! After His Highness’ mother passed away, you, Queen Catherine, were the one who saved His Majesty from his sadness! His Highness was most likely grateful to you, rather than loathing you!!!”
Queen Catherine said, turning her gaze to His Highness.
“He never called me Mother…”
Alice said, her gaze falling on His Highness, whose face was flushed and he was fumbling around aimlessly. His Highness finally looked at Queen Catherine, as if he’d made up his mind.
“Please accept my apologies, Queen Catherine; but to me, my mother is the one who carried me in her womb and gave birth to me after a long struggle. That is why Queen Liliana is the only person I refer to as Mother.”
“H-However… If you don’t mind, Queen Catherine… Would it be okay if I called you Mother from now on…”
“My mother, Queen Liliana, gave birth to me. However, you, Queen Catherine, are the mother who raised me. So, if at all feasible, please keep doing so.”
“What should I do? I’m so happy right now.”
“There’s only one thing you can do.”
“Your beloved child is quite uncomfortable at the moment. The most you can do, if you’re really his mother, is embrace him and make sure no one else sees his embarrassed expression. He is, after all, a seven-year-old child, and a boy at that. He probably doesn’t want anyone to see him in that state. Most boys are like that.”
Queen Catherine simply smiled after Alice said that, and…
“Huh? Queen Catherine?! What are you?!!!”
“Alice, thank you. Now, Zeke, come here.”
“Ah, this is extreme…”
As she watched Queen Catherine, with tears of delight and a benevolent smile on her face, embrace the wailing Zeke, holding him in her chest, Alice thought to herself.
That smile is against the rules! There’s no way His Majesty wouldn’t fall for that. Argh! Waku Academy!!! These are the kinds of things you should show! Don’t let such a captivating character go unnoticed!
“For the time being, it appears that everything went well.”
After that, Alice read the mood and fled the room, leaving just the two of them inside, most likely because she could figure out that His Highness wouldn’t want anyone to witness his tears, even though she thought it was a bit cruel not to say anything to them.