Chapter 25.2 — Please forget it. (どうか忘れて下さい。)
In the past, all of Violette’s words pointed towards Claudia were coated with a thousand different intentions.
They were not only favors, but also selfishness, jealousy, and slight hope. All of it was wrapped in love, but her transparent mixed feelings weren’t pretty by any standards.
To be honest, Violette was fed up with it. She felt so disgusted to the point of wanting to vomit.
While she acted like she was expressing her love, she herself wasn’t reflected in those eyes at all. In Claudia’s eyes, Violette who was satisfying her own emotions with only the vessel of love in her hands was ridiculous and uncanny. The Violette who was wilful and egotistically frank was only like a strange monster to Claudia.
Even when Claudia didn’t see Violette, he was suspicious of her to the point that he couldn’t feel safe as a rule of thumb, a kind of prejudice. For Claudia, Violette was an opponent that he had no choice but to be vigilant with.
She was his opponent, and yet.
“I didn’t see your figure and you didn’t come to talk to me, so I thought you were planning something. After that… I learned of the Vahan family’s matter.”
After Violette lost her mother, the Duke’s second wife and her half-sister appeared in no time.
Claudia understood that Violette was affected with those event, and she didn’t have any time to mind him. And although this was imprudent, Claudia was wondering if she would lose interest in him as it was.
Meanwhile, that day, Claudia was disappointed in an instant after looking only at that scene. He thought that in the end, Violette’s nature hadn’t changed at all.
What happened as a result was… he didn’t even need to say it.
“I was interpreting the situation to my own convenience. I decided that such were the facts… and I blamed you.”
Claudia could justify what he did as rule of thumb, but it was something that he shouldn’t have done on the spot. He was free to have whatever impression he had from the sidelines, but once he decided to get involved, he should have been fair. At the very least, he should have looked at the condition objectively, not subjectively.
Even if Claudia wanted to protect the victim with his power as a prince, he must understand the reason why the perpetrator was being convicted.
“In the end, I acted with prejudice, framed you, and even got arrogant with it… The me at that time wasn’t qualified to talk about justice.”
Claudia stood up, and Violette’s line of sight naturally rose. What she should see was Claudia’s white skin and golden eyes.
Not the whirl of golden hair hanging down on the back of his head.
“I’m sorry… I really feel apologetic for that.”
“W-what are you…”
Violette couldn’t understand what was happening for a moment, and it was too late when she returned to her senses. The first thing she felt when she saw the person in front of her bowing down his head to her was tremendous panic.
Violette believed that a prince should hold his head high, to the point that they shouldn’t say a word of apology.
“Please lift your head… If somebody saw you do this at this kind of place, I…!”
Originally, royal family wasn’t allowed to apologize to the people with lower social status than them. People who were full of benevolence and equality would frown on this theory, but in fact, the apology of the royal family member in question had a lot of hidden value.
To think that the existence that should be at the top was admitting their wrong to the people they guided…
Not admitting their fault was kind of their pride, and it was a very important principle of political power. The king’s legitimacy must be preserved so that everyone would comply with the law.
If, for example, the prince’s apology right now was known to the public… The one who would be punished was “the side who made him express” the apology. In other words, Violette.
Claudia also should be aware of that. No matter how narrow-minded his justice was, did he understand the worth of his own head? If he didn’t even know that, he shouldn’t be the king.
“You can rest assured. What happened here will never leak outside.”
“That… might be the case, but…”
This place was a part of school where nobles mostly enrolled to, and only the ones who were standing on the top could use this place. The simplicity of its utilization and the security of its inside wouldn’t be proportional. The butler who was the only outsider worthy to step on this place was already outside, and the soundproofing of this room should work accordingly.
Now, only Violette knew Claudia’s conduct.
“When we leave this room, you can forget my speech and conduct… In the first place, I didn’t do it because I wanted to be forgiven. If you want to leave this matter as it is, I will also comply.”
What was the meaning of his action if he let her forget it? What was the value of his apology if he didn’t ask for forgiveness?
Even though they were contradictory, and had similar reasons as child’s excuse, Claudia was serious with all of his heart.
Violette didn’t have to forgive him. She could just forget it. They could just leave things as they were.
What he wanted to convey was neither reflection, regret, or guilt.
“But, I just… know that I can solve the misunderstandings at that day.”
Claudia couldn’t erase what had happened, or apologize publicly. Even if he could make use of the lesson taught by Yulan’s anger in the future, this would make no difference to Violette’s situation.
When Yulan pointed out that Claudia couldn’t do anything, and he realized that he made an unforgivable mistake… Claudia started to think of a way to make Violette’s mind lighter, even if just a little bit.
Claudia thought about not doing anything and waiting for some time to pass. Perhaps that might have been the best choice, but it didn’t make his hesitation disappear completely.
The reason why he still apologized was surely because the misunderstanding engulfed Claudia’s heart more than what others thought.
Even if Violette was someone who was accused, her innocence became her shield for a moment. Even so, when the masses had reached their own conclusions they wouldn’t hold back, regardless of the light and shade of the cause. In truth, her innocence could serve as a sin as well.
“Please only know that I knew that I was wrong that day.”
Perhaps, he was doing something stupid. Perhaps, he would rouse Yulan’s anger again.
Still, there was a result that Claudia wouldn’t yield to. There was a belief that Claudia never submitted to.
He had to make sure that he wouldn’t hurt Violette by accident again.
(Even though the person who wasn’t looking at all was me…)
Violette didn’t try to know. She also didn’t try to understand.
She just kept pushing herself to Claudia, and didn’t try to share. She just wished to heal her pain, and didn’t bother to look at his discomfort.
Compared those many noble ladies who desired for Claudia’s appearance and title, Violette who forced herself at Claudia in reality just because it was convenient was much more vicious.
A dreaming maiden could be considered adorable, but she was just rampaging if she crossed over the border of dreams. She had gone beyond escaping from reality.
It started with Violette.
Violette planted her impression to Claudia from her dream and fanaticism. That made him see Violette as an evil person. It was true that he falsely accused Violette, but it didn’t mean that she was innocent.
Still, Claudia bowed his head. He apologized.
He admitted his own error from the bottom of his heart, and was worried about Violette’s pain more than receiving forgiveness.
Claudia was a sincere person, no matter how you looked at it. He was serious, sincere, and perhaps stupid. He was the perfect prince in every dream, despite, or maybe because of his countless deficiencies and excesses.
The person who was called Claudia was a very frank person. There would surely be a day when his heart would be broken. Even though Claudia would resist, his tactless belief would only hurt him and the country as the one who stood on the top of the country.
Violette could no longer see the perfect future she had pushed on him.
Her feelings were impure, calculating, and full of lies. She wanted the happiness that surrounded Claudia, and tried to use that love as her stepping stone.
It was all just as Claudia said. What he was seeing was exactly the true nature of Violette, and there was only one meaning to it.
It was a love too ugly to call passion. A love too impure to call admiration.
Yet, even though this feeling didn’t have a tint of purity in it,
(I… used to like that kind of you.)
The ridiculous, foolish, and crude prince who was gentle, honest, straightforward, and carried out justice.
This feeling was not admiration. It was also not passion.
Still, Claudia was certainly the first person Violette had come to like.
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