5. The Battle for the Title of Crown Prince
Unexpectedly, Lydian wasn’t the crown prince.
Although he was the sole male heir of the king and queen of Llahendia, the king’s half-brother stood in his path.
As the current Queen Dowager was the second wife of the former king, she unsurprisingly tried to make her son the next king.
Buffeg only discovered it a year into Lydian’s engagement. Before, he always pondered, “By the way, why is he only a prince? When will he become a crown prince?” Then, one of the maids at the tea party complained, “The queen dowager was hysterical, and everyone who served her palace had to suffer the brunt.” Eventually, Buffeg learned more about her.
Thus, he hurriedly checked with Lydian.
…But Lydian casually dismissed it with a laugh.
“Huh? You only find out about the crown prince dispute recently? Although I’m the first in line to inherit the throne, since I’m not an adult, my odds are low.”
“Why are you so casual about it!? As we’re speaking, the queen dowager faction is expanding? In the unlikely event that the throne falls into their hands, what will happen to Your Highness!?”
Buffeg was still human.
He’d known Lydian for about two years, and his heart ached at the thought of a young lad living an unfortunate life.
Lydian’s eyes widened at Buffeg’s gloomy expression.
“What a surprise. Are you worried about me?”
“Well, o-of course…”
At his awkward reply, Lydian burst out laughing like a mischievous child.
“Ahahaha—! Oh, my bad. I never thought that you’d be worried. But it’s all right, if things get out of hand, I’ll crush them.”
Such a resolute answer. It didn’t sound like a joke, either, because Lydian was able to follow-through.
As the Lydian faction was basking in wholesomeness, the queen dowager, Engelberga, was blowing her top off.
“—Since when did Lydian join hands with the daughter of Duke Bazestilma…!? For some reason, my aristocratic supporters are leaving me…! There’s no way a mere 10-years-old can surpass my dear sons…!?”
The queen dowager, who’d originally laid down an ironclad foundation to make her beloved sons crown princes, didn’t even consider the 10-years-old Lydian a threat.
However, with Lydian’s recent engagement, she was made aware of his existence. Even more so when he was steadily gaining more support from the aristocrats.
Unaware of what happened behind the scenes (the fire dragon summoning incident), the queen dowager stomped her feet, yelling.
“—Why can’t I hire an assassin!?”
Her words were by no means comforting, but such was the fight for the throne, where power play was involved.
Engelberga felt threatened as her influence was becoming weaker day by day, and made connections with the mafias all over the country.
Nevertheless, when she asked them to assassinate Lydian, she was stonewalled because all mafias no longer accepted assassination request (Lydian’s order). She also couldn’t kidnap the prince (all the assassins had gone missing), or order poison (the wholesaler refused to sell it to her). Moreover, since the contacted mafias were at the behest of Lydian, all of the queen dowager’s actions were basically transparent at this point.
In spite of that, the queen dowager still did her best for her sons, but she was now playing in Hard Mode.
“—Queen Dowager, this is an emergency!”
Her confidant stormed into the room.
“You’re so noisy! I’m already pissed as it is! What!? Don’t you dare mention that Lydian got praised by the principal, or that he built an orphanage again!”
The queen dowager shouted.
In response, the man went pale and shook his head.
“—It’s worse! His Highness Gridlen… has decided to unilaterally annul his engagement with Lady Vanessa!”
At the man’s words, the queen dowager frothed at the mouth, before fainting while half-crying.
Vanessa was a charming, intelligent, and graceful daughter who was prepared to support Gridlen. The queen dowager worked desperately to secure this engagement. Yet, her years’ worth of efforts met a swift end at the hands of her own son.
The news that the queen dowager had collapsed spread quickly.
When Buffeg received this news, he said, “At last, His Highness got the motivation.”
As his aide, he went to Lydian’s room to hear the details, but to his surprise, Lydian didn’t do anything.
“That’s too much of a hassle. Even so, I have to admit that Lady Vanessa is talented. My uncle would be hard-pressed to let her go so easily. Don’t you think so, too?”
After all, Gridlen was the sole cause for the annulment. Perhaps, he enjoyed his illicit affair with a certain baroness he met at the academy a tad too much.
Apparently, they professed their love to each other in the classroom after school, incurring the wrath of the principal.
“How dare you taint the academy building—a sacred place for studying—with your vulgar act!! Even if you’re royalty, I won’t hesitate to suspend you!”
Despite wanting to protect his younger brother, Elberon—the eldest—could only watch as Gridlen took his brazenness to the next level. Not only did Gridlen welcome Parnetta to the royal palace, he also strictly ordered her to be treated as his mistress.
“One of these days, he should stop screwing himself.”
Even Buffeg felt bad for him.
The story didn’t end there.
Gridlen had a poster made of himself, where it was written, ‘I won’t give up on the throne. I, who know the true meaning of love, is worthy of becoming king!’ Next to his self-portrait. He mass-produced it, before pasting them all over the country.
Whether due to his efforts or simply because he was good-looking, there were those who supported him, saying, “I admire his tenacity for love!” and “I’m also having a difficult time due to a political marriage!” Thus, his faction changed name into [Kingdom of Parnetta] and declared independence.
Elberon confirmed the truth to the messenger who brought the proclamation not once, but twice. Afterwards, he awkwardly bowed his head, saying, “I thought he was stupid, but I didn’t think he was this stupid.”
He was a caring older brother. Elberon only fought against Gridlen when the latter attempted to seize the throne, but he was fond of his younger brother in his own way.
—But thanks to Gridlen, his reputation also took a hit. Perfect.
Up until that point, Lydian was laughing at Gridlen’s idiocy. Or at least, until Gridlen made a careless remark a few days later.
‘Heed me! Letting a power-hungry woman become the nation’s mother, akin to what Elberon and Lydian are trying to do, is an act of treason!’
—Such were the flyers that he printed and scattered around the capital.
In response to that, Elberon was stunned, “How can he, a member of the royal family, be so ignorant?” Lydian, on the other hand, snapped. Certainly, what he had wasn’t a love marriage, but he was still engaged.
By the way, when Eleonora found out about the flier, she felt a jolt of pain running through her chest, as if she’d been stabbed by a spear. After all, originally, she did try to approach the prince in hopes of becoming the queen.
Of course, things were different now that she was in love with Lydian, so her motive was 100% pure… Well, not really, but close enough. Eleonora was anxious about what’d happen if Lydian found out about her former ambitions.
First, she thought of purging the people in the mansion to forever silence them, but because there were just too many of them, she came up with an alternative. Eleonora told her father to triple their salary and gave them a special allowance, while also threatening them along the way. “If you spread bad words about me, I’ll make sure you regret it!”
By the way, Lydian knew of Eleonora’s plan to turn the prince into a puppet all along.
When he was working as a clerk at the illegal store, he’d overheard her saying, “Ohohohoho! I’ll marry Prince Lydian and become the queen! Eventually, I’ll take the reins and become the supreme leader.”
Lydian didn’t think it was a bad idea at all. If he was in her shoes, he’d have done the same.
—Hence why, he was drawn to Eleonora’s single-minded affection towards him.
“Your Highness! The roses were so beautiful, so I plucked them!”
Outstretched hands, full of scars, presented a bouquet to him.
“Your Highness! I baked some cookies!”
A carefully wrapped baked confectionery.
Each one brought about a fluffy feeling to Lydian’s heart.
Spending time with her is fun, he thought.
At first, his curiosity was just piqued because his magic didn’t work on her, but before he knew it, he was smitten by her.
“Somehow, when Gridlen badmouthed Eleonora, heat welled within me. I’ve never gotten angry for someone’s sake before. Surely, this is what love is about.”
Lydian remarked bashfully.
His embarrassed expression was a thing of beauty, but when Buffeg thought about the future, he could only picture the great king of terror.
Thus, Buffeg prayed in his heart, “May I be spared from the wrath to come.”
They just destroyed each other without Lydian needing to do a thing…
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