Momo had never voiced any desire to join Leddorio’s observation assembly thus far, which is mostly thanks to the prince assuring her to leave all the matters regarding Chloe to them alone and focus on her saintess duties.
However, because she now insists on joining, seemingly intent on making certain of Chloe’s recent behaviors, the prince saw no reason to decline her further.
“Goodness, your royal highness, Prince Leddorio. You should have told us beforehand if you wished to visit…, presently, my husband and son are both not here to welcome your presence.”
“I don’t need the formalities. Where is Darck?”
“He has been practice-swinging in the garden, highness. We have received a request from Duke Sereknight to reform his son through discipline.”
Leaving the General’s wife who was bewildered by his sudden arrival, Prince Leddorio hurriedly went towards the garden. There he saw Darck, earnestly swinging his sword, seemingly freed from his own thoughts.
Noticing the prince’s presence, the young duke brought down his sword, but before he was able to greet him, the prince immediately threw his fist to his face.
“Gaa.. your highness? What on earth?”
“Nothing comes to mind, Darck? Color me surprised, I never would have expected you to change your allegiance to the 2nd prince.”
“I don’t follow you, sire.”
Darck was puzzled by Leddorio’s actions, but because the prince had his sword drawn and seemingly ready to use it, the young ducal heir reassumed his stance to block his oncoming strike.
The sound of blades clashing reverberated in the garden.
“Because of your folly of breaking your engagement, the duke didn’t proceed with Momo’s adoption, handing the crown prince’s seat to Keith, who had a fiancée. What should I think of this, Darck? You made me believe that you truly welcomed the idea of having Momo as your sister. You had me completely fooled.”
“This is a misunderstanding, sire! Indeed, I have decided to just watch over her as her older brother if Miss Momo truly desires to be with his highness. That is exactly why I asked her myself to confirm if she truly loves Prince Leddorio with all her heart. However, she merely told me that she cannot choose yet until she fulfills her duty. That’s why I, too, had decided to postpone things until everything is over. It is not certain whether she chooses you or not, sire. That’s why I told Margrave Whyte to not expect anything from me until then.”
Darck’s excuse was exactly as he had heard during the conference. The prince brushed off Darck’s strike and pointed his blade at him with a scornful smile.
“You seem awfully confident of yourself. Do you really think that Momo would cast me aside and choose someone like you instead? The older brother of the woman who caused her harm?”
As the prince brought Chloe’s subject to the table, Darck’s glare seemingly flared in anger. Leddorio thought that although only half, this behavior truly makes him Chloe’s older brother. The thought of that made him unconsciously strengthen his grip on his sword even more.
“This does not relate to my younger sister! What about you, sire? You allowed your foster brother, Sei to break his own engagement. Are you only willing to concede your beloved to those close enough to be your sibling?”
“Don’t misunderstand. The one who will choose is Momo herself. If she takes the hand of Sei instead, I will accept that… but you Darck, you are different. You were on board to my plan concerning the adoption, right? She was supposed to be accepted to your family in order to shield the House Sereknight from accountability, while consequently engaging herself to me to keep my position firm. You agreed to all of that.”
As Darck lowered his sword, the prince seized him by the shoulder, bringing his face right next to ducal heir’s ears.
“Do not forget that the day we all became aware of our feelings to Momo, all of us became farers of the same boat. Throwing a fit like this just like your sister, can you still keep your face knowing it will bring Momo to shame?”
Hatred towards his younger sister, yearning towards Momo, and his faltering loyalty. As these feelings made the ducal heir’s face sour, his arm lost the strength to hold his hilt, making him drop the sword to the ground.