Armored Girl Monette Ch. 55

https://ncode.syosetu.com/n3986di/55/

 

The Troublesome King and the No Longer Cursed Prince

Before the full-length mirror with a jewel encrusted border, Alexis tightened up the chest area of the clothes he was slipping on. His dark brown hair went well with dark black clothing, but he felt that the same same colored buttons fastening the collar covering his neck and his cuffs was a little heavy.
He understood that both the design and the fabric were of fine quality, but they were made on the plainer side so as to avoid drawing eyes.
Finished buttoning everything up, Alexis showed his dissatisfaction with the outfit through his tired expression, and he let out a sigh while messing around with his cufflinks some more.

“Uncle, is this how it’s supposed to look? It’s hot.”
“Hot? When the audience is finished, you can soak in a bath. I know how much you think that cold water baths are better than hot ones.”
“That’s because of the curse!”
“Liar, even if it was because of the curse, you have yet to take a warm bath sixth months later. You expect me to believe that being cursed for a year would be enough to make you obsessed with cold baths?”
“……That’s because of my high adaptability, but it really was because of the curse….. Anyway, anybody who would be wearing these clothes would end up hot.”

Alexis looked at himself in the mirror once again while grumbling.
The clothes he was currently wearing were tailored made with a thicker black cloth, and it was tight around the neck and wrists. The pants were also black in color, sporting a monochrome appearance all the way down, until you finished off with some black leather boots. It’s no wonder he was hot this early in the morning.
Alexis continued to show off his dissatisfaction, but Ordo was taking his time sweeping from the left to the right to see Alexis from every angle. By the way, Ordo was wearing a gorgeous ensemble that was very dignified, yet cool at the same time.
Alexis may have hated the clothes he was wearing, but after he was done observing, Ordo gave Alexis a smile through the mirror.

“Isn’t it fine, you look nice. Besides, those clothes are popular right now.”
“Popular huh…….”

Alexis gave out another sigh, but he figured objecting any more after this was pointless. With a small droop in his shoulders, Alexis walked over and took a seat on the sofa while facing Ordo. Then he picked up a piece of paper lying on a nearby end table and read the what was written down.
It turned out to be a petition from the people. A written request concerning the taxes that had risen since Ordo took the throne and a direct appeal. Soon a person representing the citizenry would visit the palace for an audience, and he would talk with Ordo about the requests in this petition…..however it would end up the same as every other time they did this, and it made Alexis squeeze his eyes shut tight.
Every time. As in, this situation has become a common thing, and a representative is sent out about once a month.

“Since you’ll be standing behind me, your outfit can’t be so flashy as to draw the eye away from me.”
“Tyrant.”

Ordo’s smile strengthened all the more as Alexis waved off his words.
However, as Ordo said, the citizens who come to the palace to appeal tax increases and other policy changes all have to do so in front of Alexis as well. They had believed in the baseless rumors that had dogged the prince and had even shunned him for them, to come in and ask for things to stay the same for them while looking their sin in the face would be an incredibly difficult thing to do.
This feeling was only exacerbated by the fact that Alexis was always wearing heavy clothes during those audiences. The inky black color was a given, but it did have a dash of color to it–a blood red crest embroidered on the chest. This crest was the one that the Radoll family had originally used, but it now had a sword shoved into it. It was a terrible design with an on-the-nose meaning that was obviously designed by Ordo.
Alexis’s appearance of wearing all black with the new crest embroidered on his chest would probably have looked like he was in mourning to whoever saw him.

As a matter of fact, this was what Ordo was aiming for.
Alexis wearing all black while standing behind Ordo who would be doing business, moving around, and acting all jitter.
Face down, not saying anything, not meeting anyone’s gaze. Its an appearance that really can’t be described as anything besides someone mourning, and it gave him a thin presence as if he were a ghost.

Alexis, the good prince, was no longer there.
An unbelievable rumor had started when the curse was lifted, and it has continued to be whispered even now. That the good princeAlexis was actually killed during the uprising.
What was left behind was the mourning prince that could feel nothing but pain……..

“The stories these people come up with. It’s like they can’t help themselves.”
“People don’t like feeling guilty, so they find whatever excuse they can to make a problem not their fault.”
“That’s why I’m going to screw with them as much as I can. After all, I am a thick uncle who protected his foolish nephew even during a witch’s curse.”

Alexis shook his head and called his uncle a tyrant once more. What is today’s number……? Since the day he took the throne, Ordo has made it a habit to remind Alexis of how he beat the odds and claimed victory despite a witch’s curse at least four times a day.
Nevertheless, Alexis wanted to take his clothes off and started fanning himself with some nearby cloth to try and cool himself off if only a little.
That figure lazing on the couch did not appear to be mourning, and obviously it was nothing like a ghost. Anyone who saw him would agree that what was sitting there was a young man who was getting tired of constantly being made to wear black.
In the first place, Alexis never said a single word whenever he was in the meeting room. So the mourning prince aside, he wanted to know how the ‘him who could feel nothing but pain’, portion of the rumor ended up getting started.

But truthfully, it did not matter.
On occasion while everyone else was conducting business Alexis would watch Concetta rolling around at his feet while playing with Robertson. Every once in awhile taking the opportunity to pet him with his feet.
…….And sometimes falling asleep.

“I always feel so embarrassed when I wake up and realized that I’m sleeping through these discussions, but does nobody notice?”
“Ah, that. ‘Just being in our presence causes him harm, and it is all he can do to just be here’, was what the people had to say about their sleeping mourning prince.”
“Everyone sure does have a rich imagination.”

Even the man responsible for creating the rumors Ordo couldn’t help but shake his head at the citizen’s non-existent short-term memory about the dangers of unsubstantiated rumors, and he and Alexis both shrugged their shoulders.
The reason why Alexis held no interest in correcting these numerous misunderstandings had by the people was because, honestly, he felt sick whenever he saw the guilty looks on their faces whenever he saw them.
They knew that all of the problems over that year that they believed were caused by him was in fact a misunderstanding due to the effects of a witch’s curse. And now they were fighting tooth and nail for additional tax cuts. If he were to see their frowning faces when they entered the room, he would feel a little better.

In the first place, the tax imposed by Ordo was not something heavy to the point that it needed to be denounced. As long as you worked properly, then the slight tax increase was something easily payable, and the citizens could still go about their lives with no changes.
Then, this petition was actually just a grand demonstration for the citizens to show off their power to the new king. There would be no rebellions or riots so long as Ordo did nothing wrong.
In a way, actions like these just went to show off how peaceful this country is and the citizen’s cozy attitude. There is no way that seeing something like this would make Alexis happy.

“I hate it. I wonder if I’ve turned into a person similar to……”
“Yeah, you’ve become just like me. There, there Alexis.”

Leaving the materials he had on hand at his desk, Ordo called out to Alexis.
In any case, his dark brown eyes locked together with Alexis’s. Unlike the playful atmosphere that had persisted until now, the seriousness of the current situation would have been felt to anyone who would have been in that room.
Looking back at him and wondering what he was thinking, Alexis mewled over it for awhile before he was asked,……..

“You, would you let me adopt you?”

Alexis had to take a second to make sure he heard Ordo’s words right before his eyes inevitably went wide in surprise.

“Adopted by Uncle…….?”
“Yes, you already take track of me.”
“……What are you planning this time?”
“I like that personality.”

Alexis expressed some extreme doubt towards what he was hearing, and Ordo started laughing as soon as he had voiced it.
Ordo talked about how until now he had yet to gain an heir to the throne. There was the possibility that his urge to acquire the throne would have been replaced by fatherly love if he had a child…..and,

“Besides, having a son while I am trying to overthrow my family, who is to say he wouldn’t do the same? Blood is often washed with blood.”
“That’s surely……maybe. Surely if it’s Uncle’s son they would be dream big.”
“In order to not be scratched out by my son, and to avoid having to scratch him out; my options are limited if I wish to avoid conflict.”

Ordo was speaking in a light-hearted tone, but it was a fact that he had taken no companions and fathered no children. It’s natural for someone in his position to have one or two women, but he had yet to choose an official partner.
He thought that it was completely unnecessary for his ambition. Or maybe he thought that it would be wrong of him to get someone wrapped up in his ambition?
In any case, the current Ordo had no successor. He would either have to work on making one, or choose to adopt……and he was now calling on Alexis for that very reason.

“However there would be some conditions to the adoption.”
“Conditions?”
“Yes, there are just two. The first is that you must wait to take the throne until I decide to hand it down. No visiting me in my sleep.”

Alexis shrugged his shoulders and shook his head as Ordo started talking as if he were dealing with himself. Alexis had never even thought about being adopted in the first place, so even if he were to tell him to wait a moment, he had no idea what he should say. Even if he had, visiting someone while they were sleeping like that was something he could barely comprehend, let alone have the stomach to go through with.
Even so, Ordo continued listing off his second condition as if the first one wasn’t a joke.

“Be more selfish. If you go back to being that good prince honor student, I will prevent you from taking the throne even if it means crushing this country.”

Once again, Alexis was left speechless at Ordo’s unexpected condition and could do little more than stare at him in mute amazement.
He had always tried to be a good prince until now because he thought that doing so would make him a good king. He was hoping for that, and he had also felt those expectations from his surroundings. That is why he was unsure of how to react when he was told to do the exact opposite of that.
But Ordo showed little concern for Alexis’s dilemma and proceeded to tell him his own invented theory.

“As long as you provide the people with food, clothing, and shelter, a person who wants to be happy will be able to make themselves happy. No matter if you are a king, you have no responsibility to look after every small thing for the people. Postponing your own happiness to make everyone else happy, that type of idea will just burn you out.”
“……As usual I’m not sure what you mean.”
“In the first place, even with this current situation you were led along by your nose, suffered, and no good for the citizenry came out of it. If there is no noticeable negative feelings, then fight back against all who would seek to do you harm. Find the person who is spreading all those nasty rumors about you and kill them. That’s what I’d do with no hesitation.”

Ordo was looking a little unhappy as he reminisced about something in the past.
But didn’t he have a point? Alexis was a little surprised, but he started to think about it seriously.
Certainly, while nothing but evil had been tossed at him, all he had done was desperately beg for his surroundings to understand him. He despaired when he realized that such a hope was impossible, and he eventually escaped the royal palace with Percival’s help.
However, if Ordo was in the same position, he would have discovered the source of the rumors and punished them. If you believe that those around you will not support you, then retreat and return waving a different flag. Even if it was a witch behind the incident, this man would have done and accomplished much more.
That was why Ordo made Alexis being more selfish as a requirement for handing over the throne.

Following that, Alexis put that matter to the side for now………,

“Tentatively, on hold,”

and answered like that.
With this reply, it was now Ordo’s turn to open his eyes wide in surprise. It was a rare expression for a guy who usually spends his time talking down on others while wearing a mischievous smile.

“On hold?”
“Yes, on hold. Succeeding Uncle doesn’t sound bad, but there is something I still need to do.”
“What could possibly hold priority over the throne? What must you do?”
“A variety of things. I want to go meet other witches, but I want to spend some time searching for other witch slayers as well.”
“How would you find witch slayers?”
“Gina and Monette will cast a spell to make everyone sneeze. Then Percival and I, wearing Robertson on my head, will run around and try to find someone who isn’t sneezing.”
“What a terrible carpet bombing method. Give me more details, I want to come too.”
“You have a job Uncle.”

Ordo became excited at the interesting sounding task Alexis had given himself, but he was instantly shut down when he expressed his urge to attend.
The trip would be a long one as they had already decided to procure a fine carriage and take things slowly. Of course, they would stay at only the very best rooms of the very best rooms, and obviously they would be ordering room service. That time they had all drawn cats together was fun, so it might be interesting to take the time to learn how to properly draw something praiseworthy up.
As a test Alexis jokingly said, “Perhaps it would be fine to go ahead and become a familiar for Gina and Monette.” Ordo coldly replied with, “A man your size following them around like that would just be annoying.” It would be. Alexis was convinced of this with little argument.
However whatever the future held there would be plenty to do, but there would be plenty of time to be the prince heir afterwards. If he was going to live for himself, then it’s only natural that he should postpone his decision. And the tyrant sitting in front of him would surely sit on the throne for a long time, so there would be plenty of time for decision making.
So Alexis argued, and Ordo was left with a small nod and a bitter smile.

“I see, try living as you like. Finish doing what you must, and your future will be waiting for you here.”
“I will do just that.”

The two men both shared a bitter smile before simultaneously turning to look at the clock.
It was about time for the audience to begin. Alexis started massaging his cheeks since it was going to be necessary for him to stick with the same facial expression for awhile now. Pretending to be sad all the time was painful on the cheeks.

“After we finish up with this audience we’ll be meeting with a representative from a neighboring country, so I’d like Gina and Monette to attend if possible.”

Ordo had had several meetings with neighboring countries since his rise to the thrown. Part of it could be said to be casual greetings between kings, but it was far more likely them trying to gauge the ability of the king who had taken the throne with the help of two witches. Ordo was aware of that fact even now, but as he opened the door and left into the hallway, Alexis overheard him call out, “Speak of the devil.”
Alexis got up off his seat on the couch and peered at the end of the hallway over Ordo’s shoulder. As if she had been summoned, there was the witch Ordo had just asked for.

“Gina, what are you doing in a place like this?”
“Oh Alexis, good day.”

When Alexis walked forward and called out to her, Gina replied with an elegant smile and a greeting. In front of his eyes……Concetta was sleeping with a very fluffy hairstyle while floating in mid-air.
Alexis blinked a couple times to get himself used to the sight. However, the realization that Concetta was actually sleeping on a floating cushion did little to abate his surprise. The same could be said for Ordo who was standing right next to his nephew with equally rounded eyes. This fact did not go unnoticed by Gina who started laughing at the two while saying, “you look exactly the same!” In her hands, a fine lace fan was pulled out and covered her jubilant laughing face.

“Since I found Concetta sleeping in the corridor, I decided to carry him along on a cushion.”
“Carrying…….with the fan?”
“That’s right. I am carrying the fluffy Concetta on top of a fluffy cushion by fanning him.”

While Gina explained what she was doing as if it were the most obvious thing in the world, she started waving her fan towards Concetta. Concetta’s cushion was hit by the incoming wind, and the sleeping Concetta started moving through the air. However, the movement speed was so slow that saying he was flying would seem inaccurate, and it was unknown just how long it would take them to reach the next room over.
But Gina seemed to be having fun with that slowness as she continued to fan Concetta with a smile on her face. That’s when Ordo called out her name.

“Gina, sorry to bother you, but this afternoon there is a dinner with a representative from one of the neighboring countries.”
“I don’t want to be bothered with that, and I am busy watching Concetta sleep as well.”
“Don’t say that.”
“Gina, let me just say that we will be having some delicious wine during the meal to celebrate the occasion.”

How about that? When Alexis forced his way into the conversation and came out with his own suggestion, Gina’s face lit up at the mention of wine. It was clear proof that whenever she heard the words, “delicious wine,” her heart would tremble.
She then looked at Concetta with a bit of a worried look on her face. Guessing that she would need another push, Alexis came in close and whispered into her ear, “Cheese and crackers will be served as well.”

“I guess it can’t be helped. Concetta, let’s switch directions here.”

Nodding her head, Concetta turned around and started fanning Concetta the way they came.
She had apparently accepted the invitation, but she had not changed the way she would move there. Still, so long as she was heading straight for the dining room she would be there in time, so Alexis and Ordo said nothing else to her besides a, “Then we will see you later.”
While walking away like that, the only thing the two of them heard from her was a, “The headwind is making this tough Concetta.”

“Do you really think she will make it in time?”
“Probably, but she will definitely come in her own way. Everyone will surely be surprised if a witch comes in while carrying a cat in mid-air.”
“Well regardless of whether you are a witch or not, something that could beat a ride like that is beyond human knowledge.”

Ordo nodded his head while thinking about what it must feel like to float in the air. And then he started muttering, “I wonder if Monette would……” while a sinister smile played across his lips. Seeing that smile, Alexis grabbed his uncle by the shoulder and started to drag him further down the hall saying, “Let’s just leave that alone.”

Then when they had both made it to the audience room, Alexis started to slap both his cheeks with his hands. The purpose of this was of course to tighten his facial muscles so that he could better play the ‘prince with no emotions other than pain’ during the meeting.
At Alexis’s feet, three balls of fluff were rolling around. A large smile spread across Alexis’s face upon seeing it, but Ordo watched them move with a strange look on his face.

“What is that?”
“Concetta’s hairballs. Gina sometimes controls them remotely with her magic. Perhaps she sent them here for me to play with during the audience.”
“During the people’s desperate appeal, the prince of tragedy is secretly playing with some hairballs.”
“I’ll still hear about half of what they’re………No, about half of half of what they’re saying.”

Alexis made a small apology for his future lack of attention, but all it did was make Ordo laugh once again.
Then when Alexis tried pushing one of the balls with his toe, it ended up moving away from him unexpectedly. The movement brought an even larger smile to Alexis’s face as he murmured, “These ones are quite fiery.” He tried nudging another one with his foot, but that one ended up jumping over his foot and landing  on the opposite side of him. Alexis was starting to think that he might not be able to listen to anything the representative said if the hairball’s game was going to be this challenging.

“The people are counting on you to reel me in. They really have some bad luck.”

So Ordo mused, and Alexis responded with his own grin.
It was a malevolent smile that the good prince would have never made before. Then he delightfully narrowed his eyes,

“So? They have a little bad luck, but that doesn’t matter.”

and then tightened his collar around his neck.

Chapter 54

Chapter 56

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