Agedilus’s career after graduating the Academy of Magic was decided to be serving as part of the royal palace’s excellent Black Lotus Court where the magicians would gather. One can say his palace work was rather favorable in itself. Although the king and his aides were definitely shocked at his black hair, they didn’t avoid him. In fact, they were the kind of people who’d smile evilly, saying, 「You’ll be a good threat to the other kingdoms.」
But on the other hand, his marriage with Filmina was delayed in the end due to his favorable work. While there was the simple reason that he was busy with his palace duties and unable to relax, it wasn’t like that was the most important reason.
One part of the higher ups had voiced objections to his having black hair and marrying a girl from the Adina family. There were those that had noticed the potential and value of the power in his black hair despite fearing it, and wanted him to marry one of their daughters. On the other hand, there were those that were against the very concept of him marrying and having a child, saying they wouldn’t let an even bigger menace be brought into the world.
While he hadn’t thought he’d be able to get married so simply considering his social position, he still got angry. And then, he got impatient. He’d already kept her waiting for more than 7 years. As a matter of fact, it seemed like she’d received several marriage proposals while he was at the Academy of Magic. It would’ve been fine if they were all simpletons just charmed by the Adina family name, but they were men of valor that said they didn’t mind her wound from a spirit either, charmed by her peculiar calmness.
Her father, head of the Adina family, had turned them all down without informing her. But he was still afraid that someday, she might say herself that she wanted to break off her engagement with Agedilus.
But she didn’t say anything. She didn’t wish for anything. When she didn’t urge him to get married, she didn’t try breaking the engagement off either. She just always smiled, greeted him and saw him off as he’d come and go from the Adina Estate, unable to do anything but making the most of their time together, whenever he has his spare moments to visit her.
There were times he felt irrationally angry because of it. In fact, he’d expressed his irritation about it. But she still smiled. In a troubled way, as if to say ‘It can’t be helped,’ as if she didn’t wish for anything. She just smiled.
Although he was fond of her smile, he just couldn’t grow to like her fake smile. Even though he was supposed to have obtained the position of fiance. It made him think, ‘Is this still not enough?’
Because he didn’t want to make her wait any longer, he himself became unable to wait any longer. He wanted to move up from the vague position of fiance—to the unshakable, firm position of husband.
‘How should I deal with my marriage with Filmina?’ As he thought about that once, it immediately came into mind. That it’d be fine if he just stood in a suitable position. That plain and simple answer. It’d be fine if he had enough authority that no one could complain to him. For example, if he was the head magician of the royal palace.
Basically, there was a common opinion that people employed as magicians weren’t bound to authority, holding a special position, but in reality there were many magicians that didn’t turn out as well. While that may be because there were many magicians, they couldn’t easily come into contact with their counterparts from large aristocrat families. Even among fellow magicians, the treatment of a magician from an aristocrat family was different from the one a magician from a commoner family received.
But if he became the head magician, his position would become very much superior. To silence the people that interfered with his marriage with Filmina, Agedilus recklessly threw himself into his studies, perfecting new magic theories one by one, and then finally progressed to inherit the position of the previous head magician.
‘Finally,’ he thought. ‘I can go visit her this time for sure, without anyone bothering me.’ Putting the crest, proof of being the head magician onto his chest, he visited the Adina Estate. When he did, Filmina initially looked astounded, but immediately afterwards said, 「Congratulations!」 so full of joy for him as if she was the one that had become the grand magician. It made him proud, certainly happy.
And yet. Having ascended to the head magician’s seat, he found it even more impossible to marry Filmina. People meddled with him just like before, saying, 「Why are you in such a hurry? There are so many things you still have to do before.」
Just one step closer, one more step, he kept telling himself, but people bothered him, annoying him even as he tried to take that step. There was no way he could’ve stayed calm then. There was nothing he had to do more than marry her, who he’d kept waiting for so many years. How many times did he just want to shout and yell at everyone? Allthough that, he was made to take on a disciple. Once, he seriously thought about resigning from his palace job.
The one fortunate thing in all this misfortune was that the boy that had turned out to be his disciple was rather like his father, not just his hair but in personality too, kind and gentle. He managed to bear it if he thought, ‘Well, he’s a nice maid.’ Though if the disciple ever heard that, he’d burst out crying, 「Master, that’s too harsh!」 Anyway, for now it can be said that the disciple, who is over sensitive like that sometimes, wasn’t that bad in the end.
He once introduced his cute, handy top disciple to Filmina.
His disciple, originally a commoner, was scared at meeting a noblewoman for the first time. But he sensed her calm nature quick, and immediately got attached to her. ……She had always been the type that children or those younger than her would get attached to her, but wouldn’t it be fine if she didn’t show that nature of hers in front of even his disciple? On the way home, his disciple said, 「She’s a wonderful person, isn’t she?」 as he blushed. He swore internally that he’d never let them meet again.
That was when that happened. After a long while, he returned from his laboratory in the royal palace to his own room in the Lancent Estate, meeting his father who told him this.
「Agedilus, how have things been with Miss Filmina since then?」
「What do you mean, how have things been?」
「Would you please stop glaring at me like that? I mean, have you made any progress with her? It’s been quite a while since you returned from the Academy of Magic.」 His father smiled. 「Any progress, anything?」
Just that once, Agedilus instinctively gritted his teeth, even though his father was his ally.
The higher-ups kept interfering somehow or another as usual, so Filmina hadn’t said anything either. With her being like that, he didn’t say anything either – in the end, nothing changed except the passage of time.
That was when he was invited to the princess’s tea ceremony.
「Hmm? You look just like the rumors say, like a doll.」
Agedilus was suspicious of being invited so suddenly, and he was ushered into the royal palace’s courtyard. In that garden alcove, right as they met she told him that sentence he hadn’t even expected. Although he knew it was impolite of him, he couldn’t help furrowing his brows. It looked like he was saying, ‘Aren’t we the same in that way?’
The young lady with her amber eyes and gentle, wavy silver hair – Clementine, whose beauty was the pride of the kingdom, certainly had ambitions beyond her lovely, beautiful appearance, and she certainly reigned over them.
It’s not like the stories say, he internally thought. And at the same time, he couldn’t help understanding, that of course, this is the king’s daughter. If she had been raised being called a butterfly, a flower, she wouldn’t have turned out like this. She was a girl that made you think she’d shaken off her cuteness from herself.
While he didn’t say ‘what a shrew this is!’ outright, it was written clearly on his face. As he tried to turn away to hide it, the princess didn’t reproach him, saying, 「Please have a seat,」 as she pointed out the chair in front of hers with a dainty hand. With a composed smile, she nodded as if satisfied at him listening to her obediently. A smile completely different from Filmina’s.
「I don’t like beating around the bush, so I’ll get straight to the point. I’m looking for a marriage partner.」
「For this body, the firstborn successor to the throne. With the added value of the goddesses’ kind divine protection too, huh? Taking the current situation into consideration, I can’t awkwardly choose a husband from another country so I’m calling for suitable candidates within the country and choosing at my own discretion.」
Her slight tilt of the head as she said, 「I hope you understand…?」 was cute for her age. But the words she was saying didn’t have the slightest fragments of cuteness in them.
The princess certainly was at a marriageable age. And on top of that, she had divine protection from the goddesses. There were many royals that begged to have her, both inside and outside the country. For the time being, the king had pushed aside every proposal, but every aristocrat knew that it wasn’t going to stay like that forever. And the commoners also looked forward to finding out who’d be the one to get their living jewel.
That princess was searching for a partner voluntarily, and had invited him to a tea ceremony. She’d told him all that without hiding any of it, and Agedilus wasn’t dense enough to not realize what she meant.
「With all due respect, princess, I already have a fiancée.」
「My my, I know that much. It’s common for nobles to investigate about someone who might be their future partner, right? Even more so for me, as I’m royalty.」
In other words, that meant the same as ‘it doesn’t matter if you have a fiancée or not’.
……It took a lot of willpower not to get up from his seat right there. That was no joke. Even as he gave the princess younger than him a not-very mature glare, she smiled with no fear as if it didn’t matter to her at all. Instead, the maids and knights waiting nearby were the ones that looked from him to the princess, comparing them as if panicking.
He knew this wasn’t something he could settle off with a joke if he made things worse now. But he still couldn’t allow something like this.
「I have no intentions of marrying anyone but her.」
「I know, right?」
He knew his words invited animosity, but the princess nodded very readily. Her silver hair sparkled as it basked in the sun. She seemed like she was fooling around, looking at Agedilus as he stiffened in surprise. The person who’d inherit the king’s position was looking straight at him with her amber eyes, as if drops of honey. There was no attachment or anything in her vision. She just seemed to look fascinated, as if a child envying a treasured item she didn’t have.
「Haha, have I rubbed you the wrong way I wonder? I wanted to see you, you know. The black-haired magician with extraordinary magical power. You, who holds so much power and still chooses just one person.」
Her amber eyes turned away. Her voice, as if yearning for someone. That pained expression, as if it wanted to say that it actually had a lover. But that expression disappeared as soon as it came, and the princess returned to her neutral face, which was a smile.
‘——That reminds me.’
‘Yes,’ he suddenly thought. He realized now after so long that although she and he had completely different positions, they were awfully similar in reality. The princess had silver hair, a sign that she was blessed by the goddesses that everyone loved, while he had black hair, a sign of immense magical power that everyone shunned. A sign that neither of them was normal. That because of their power, they were kept at a distance by everyone for better or for worse.
And how had things turned out for him in the middle of all this? He had a meaningless existence even in his family, his life neglected in those days. But even so, he was saved by his foster father. And then he met Filmina. The one who told him she liked him even though they weren’t connected by blood or anything. Well then, what about the princess?
She was drinking the tea her maid had poured in a cup for her, smiling her expressionless smile still, in her late teens – the so-called prime of life. Agedilus didn’t know the meaning of the light in her eyes, reflected in the surface of the tea. He couldn’t possibly know.
「Even I want to dream about marriage. Especially when I see my father and mother. Marriage with you would be no good; it’s not a joke where we can just lick each other’s wounds.」
Yes, she continued, 「You can leave now,」 with her voice as lovely as the chirping of a songbird. He was unable to think something like, ‘She’s so selfish.’ He couldn’t think that because he understood that loneliness.
If he hadn’t met Filmina. He couldn’t even think of that. It was impossible. 『Lick each other’s wounds.』 There would truly be no other way but things turning out like that.
And then, as a noble, he bowed to her as she was royalty, and then turned on his heels. The princess called out to his back.
「Ah, but that’s right. I wonder, could I have a moment?」
「……What is it?」
He asked, with his expression unintentionally showing he meant ‘do you still have more to say?’ But the princess didn’t take any offense, simply giggling.
「Women really are such creatures that desire a single action more than a thousand words. But at the same time, they are such creatures that also desire just a single word too. You seem like you’re bad with words, so that’s some advice for you.」
As he watched the princess wave her dainty hand elegantly, he thought she really did help a lot.