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My Wolf Prince - Chapter 1

Published at 4th of June 2018 06:00:20 PM

Chapter 1

Chapter 1: The Wolf Prince and I are like Dogs and Monkeys 


 

Claudia Rosenheim checked her reflection in the mirror .

Her pale platinum hair was arranged half up and adorned with sapphire hair ornaments . Since she disliked gaudy accessories, these were only moderately sized but matched her eyes and were her favourite .
Claudia, who had finished carefully dressing up, finally practiced smiling in front of the mirror .

Today was the first time in about a fortnight she would be able to see her fiancé . She wanted to show him her best smile .

(Okay……!)

Suppressing her throbbing heart, Claudia left her room and headed towards the parlour .

After knocking and entering, she found her father, Theodore, already inside and sitting on the sofa .

「Ah, Claudia, there you are……」

Theodore’s facial expression stiffened as he examined Claudia’s appearance .  He is acting different than usual, Claudia thought and her feet unconsciously stopped moving .

「Please, sit down . 」

Her father urged her with a strained voice, and Claudia obeyed for the time being . She then looked at her father in confusion .

「……Father, what’s wrong?」

When asked, Theodore only muttered 「Ah」and 「Eh」, while avoiding Claudia’s gaze .

「Father . 」

Her voice was strong and tinged with reproach, and Theodore released a huge sigh as if in resignation . Theodore briefly glanced at Claudia to confirm her state before he gave a short announcement .

「……Alexis has…disappeared . 」

Claudia could not understand .

「……What did you just say?」

Theodore looked away as he continued to stroke his beard .

「……So, Alexis ―― your fiancé has… disappeared . 」
「…………」

After a long period of silence, Claudia finally understood the meaning of Theodore’s words . She stood petrified as the colour drained from her face .

「Alexis-sama’s body… What happened to it?」

Claudia’s voice trembled .

Her fiance, Alexis Kirsch, was on an expedition on a different continent, because of a mission given by this country .
The mission was dangerous, so Alexis could have disappeared due to any number of dangers involved .

(I have to go and look for him . )

Claudia decided in an instant, but immediately realized it was a mistake . Theodore’s eyes, filled with pity, watched Claudia intently .

「……Father?」

Claudia knit her brows .

「I didn’t mean that something happened at the expedition site . 」
「……Then, what was it?」
「…………」
「Please, explain it clearly!」

Claudia had run out of patience and raised her voice . Her father, once again, heaved a big sigh and told her more unbelievable things .

「Alexis was…with a woman . 」
「……Ha?」
「With a saint dispatched by the Cathedral…to accompany them on the expedition…their whereabouts are unknown . 」
「…………」

The room went silent again . Claudia then stood up violently from the sofa .

「……Haa!?」

A magical energy wave surged up from Claudia’s body the moment she raised her voice . A pale blue light accompanied by a loud sound rattled the room .

「W-wait, Claudia! Please calm down!」
「……So then that…what society commonly calls ‘eloping’…isn’t that it?」

Because she asked in a low voice, Theodore also rose from the sofa, nodding vigorously at Claudia while taking distance .

After confirming her thoughts, Claudia cast her eyes downwards . She attempted to suppress her worked up emotions by clenching her fists .

「Claudia . A-anyway, please calm down . 」

There was desperation in Theodore’s voice, and, after a while, the light that wrapped around Claudia weakened .


Theodore took a breath of relief and continued talking .

「Don’t worry . The engagement – it has been cancelled because of this . 」
「…………」

Claudia was desperately trying to hold back her tears which were about to spill over . Then, Theodore added the final straw .

「A new engagement has been arranged . 」

Theodore probably had good intentions .
Claudia looked up and her tears suddenly stopped, not because she was pleased, but because the news was just too surprising .

「Your new fiancé is – it’s Isaak . You also know him well, right?」

Theodore grinned and smiled as if he had presented a great idea .

(Now, who? Isaak? Isaak……)

For a moment, her thoughts stopped . Then, a figure came to mind, and Claudia began to raise her voice .

「Haa!?」

Sensing her anger, Theodore’s face froze . They were then interrupted by the sound of knocking that resounded throughout the room .

The door opened and Theodore felt gratitude towards the person being guided in .

「Greetings, Theodore-sama . 」
「Oh, oohh . Isaak! You’ve arrived just in time! I was just talking about you! Since I have already mentioned your engagement, I’ll let you two talk about it slowly . 」

As soon as he said that, Theodore hurriedly turned to leave while saying shameless things like「I remembered I had things to do . 」 .

「Father!」

Theodore, pretending to not have heard Claudia’s shout, disappeared beyond the door .

「…………」

Claudia stood dumbfounded as the man who exchanged places with Theodore spoke with astonishment .

「You scared off your father . 」
「…………」
「In the meantime, control the huge leakage of your magical power . 」

Claudia glared at that man ―― Isaak Lambertz .

Ash grey hair and golden eyes that reminded one of the moon… The people around here say he looked like a wolf . He had heavy eyelids that made his eyes narrow and gaze sharp — these features added to the strong impression he gave people .
It could also be said that Isaak was a man who had a personality that didn’t betray his looks; he was ill-tempered and unkind, at least, towards Claudia .

「……That rough way of speaking… you haven’t changed, huh?」
「You as well; that look in your eyes hasn’t changed . Aren’t you being rude towards your fiancé?」
「My fiancé is Alexis-sama . 」
「You heard from Theodore-sama, right? The engagement between you and Alexis has been dissolved . Your fiancé, from now on, is me . 」
「Why is it Isaak!?」
「Hey, you! Why is there a ‘-sama’ attached to Alex’s name, but there’s no honorific for me?!」
「Because Alexis-sama is older!」
「Alex and I are both 19 and you are 17, ne? Somehow, you should understand, right?」
「Ah, enough! Shut up! What the heck is this?! This is all because Father ran away!」
「No, because the one who ran away was Alex . 」
「…………」

Scowling at Isaak with all her strength, Claudia threatened him .

「Stop saying meaningless things and explain this situation already . Didn’t you two go on the expedition together?」

Claudia closed the distance between her and Isaak and grabbed him by the collar . She saw herself reflected in Isaak’s eyes as she looked up at him .

「Calm down . Control your magical power . 」

Isaak took Claudia’s hands and gently removed them from himself . He then let out a sigh and muttered, ‘good grief’ .

「What kind of lady would grab someone’s collar? You’re really not cute . No wonder Alexis wanted to run away――」

Claudia paled when she realized what he was about to say and cut him off .

「Well, I’m sooo-rryyyy!!」

Claudia’s magical powers accidentally discharged and a violent roar echoed through the Rosenheim estate on that early afternoon .

「…… Have you calmed down now?」

Isaak said with exasperation after coughing and spitting out soot .

Isaak waved away the blue-faced servants who had been watching from behind the half-collapsed door .
While the furniture had been blasted in numerous directions and all the window panes broken, the building itself had not been fatally damaged . It was made quite robustly . Perhaps the architects had foreseen this kind of situation .


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「You… If it had been someone other than me, they would have died, you know?」

Isaak’s hair and clothes that had been subject to Claudia’s magic discharge at point-blank range and were singed here and there . If he had not immediately protected himself with a magic barrier, he definitely would have been done for .

Claudia weakly crouched while hanging her head in shame .

「…… I knew you wouldn’t die from just that much . 」
「Is that so…?」

Isaak replied awkwardly while scratching his head .

「That thing earlier… I didn’t mean it . My bad . 」
「…………」
「Are you listening?」
「…… For Isaak to apologize… A spear will surely fall tomorrow*, ne?」
「Are you looking for a fight?」
「Anyway, I’m not cute . 」
「That’s why I said, I’m sorry . 」

Haa, Isaak heaved a sigh and crouched down in front of Claudia . Even if he looked her way, Claudia would not raise her head .

「Are you alright?」

At the sound of his unexpectedly gentle voice, Claudia’s body wavered .
However, she kept silent, as his words continued to run through her mind .

「…… Does Alexis-sama… hate me?」

Once again, Isaak scratched his head awkwardly and replied with a “my, my” .

「I wouldn’t say, ‘hate’ . 」
「Then, why?」
「’Why’……」
「Who is the saint?」
「…………」
「You know, don’t you? Tell me . 」
「…………」
「Tell me . 」

Isaak took a small breath before speaking her name .

「Nina Ritz . 」
「…… Her… She’s very beautiful . 」
「I don’t know whether to call her beautiful or not, but, well, her recovery magic is first-class . 」
「I am weak at recovery magic… Terribly so . 」
「Weak, you say? It’s more like ‘almost unusable’, ne?」
「Was I not good enough for him because I couldn’t use it?」
「I’m saying that it’s not like that . 」
「Then――」

Isaak’s voice drowned out her “whys” .

「Alex thought of you as someone important . 」

Claudia unintentionally looked up .

As their eyes met, Isaak felt startled; Claudia looked more miserable than he had imagined .
Isaak took small shallow breaths . His currently calm appearance didn’t suit him .

「He treasured you . 」

(I was important to him… That I understood . Alexis-sama always, always, treated me kindly . )

「…… Alexis-sama cherished me, but I wasn’t the only woman he treated that way . 」
「…… That’s right . 」
「But he only fell in love with Nina-san . 」
「…… That’s right . 」

Claudia once again hung her head dejectedly and her hands trembled .

「But… I loved him……」

Claudia began to picture Alexis as she uttered those words .
He was like the warm spring sunlight with his glistening golden hair and dazzling gentle smile; Claudia would always have to squint to shield herself from his brilliance .

(Well, I won’t be able to meet him anymore, ne? Suddenly… Like this . )

「…… I wanted to, at the very least, say goodbye . 」

Claudia lamented, her voice trembling . Isaak remained unusually silent . Before long, he began to stroke Claudia’s head .

「……!?」


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Claudia’s eyes widened . She shook off his hand .

「S-stop!」

Claudia glared at Isaak and bit her lip to prevent her tears from spilling forth .

「Yeah, yeah . You aren’t cute after all . 」

Even though he told me that again, I won’t discharge my magic power . Claudia’s gaze fell and she muttered,
「…… Go home for today . 」
「You don’t have to tell me . 」

Isaak stood up . Just as she thought he was leaving, words came from above .

「Don’t feel down . You didn’t do anything wrong . Until now and from now on, you should just be you . 」

Claudia’s tears began to overflow . Claudia became flustered as she tried to hide her tears .

(What! Even though it’s just I-Isaak!)

「Hurry up and leave!」
「Yeah, yeah . 」

Behind him, he thought he heard Claudia let out a small voice .

「…… Isaak . Sorry . 」

Claudia was still looking down at the floor when Isaak turned to look at her .

「Idiot . It should be ‘thanks’, right?」

 

「Are you alright, Claudia?」

Her third eldest brother, Ralph, visited Claudia after she had returned to her room .

Claudia has three older brothers . Among them, she was closest to Ralph, as they were close in age .
Ralph was also close to Alexis and Isaak because they were the same age .

「I’m fine . I have already calmed down . 」

After crying alone for a while, Claudia regained her composure . She took a seat on the couch and had just finished drinking her chamomile tea when a servant let Ralph in .

「Anyways, onii-sama, you already know all about it, right? Including details that I don’t know . 」
「Well, perhaps . 」

While smiling, Ralph sat down on a chair in front of Claudia .

「The parlour is in a terrible state, as expected, but is Isaak alright?」
「There didn’t seem to be any problems . His hair was just singed a bit . 」

It was obvious that Claudia was hiding something . As Claudia turned away sullenly, Ralph’s face brightened up .

「As expected of Isaak . There is no other man who could stop your magic power . 」
「Don’t joke around with me . 」

Even as she glared at him, Ralph was completely unperturbed .

「I do think that Isaak is perfect for you . 」
「……Are you trying to say that Alexis-sama and I weren’t suited for each other?」

Claudia hissed, and, in response, Ralph gave a wry smile .

「That’s not what I meant . It’s because Alex thought of you as a younger sister, since you’ve been together for so long . 」

Claudia averted her eyes and sighed .

「I have never seen Alexis-sama in the same way as I do my brothers . Alexis-sama was never mean like my brothers and always treated me kindly . 」
「What are you saying? Am I not always kind?」
「Hiding my precious books, surprising me with magic, ostracizing me, and persistently teasing me; Alexis-sama never did such childish things . 」
「……It’s also a problem that your memory is too good, sister . 」
「It was always Alexis-sama who came to comfort me whenever I cried . 」

Claudia closed her eyes as she once again thought of Alexis .

She took a deep breath . She had shed enough tears… At least, that is what she told herself . Besides, even Isaak had said so: she should just be herself .

「But that is enough . 」

When Claudia opened her eyes, Ralph felt that she looked somewhat refreshed .

「People’s feelings… They can’t be helped . 」

Ralph stared in surprise, and his expression softened into a smile .


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「That’s great, Claudia . As expected of my sister . 」
「……It is truly regrettable that we will not be able to meet anymore . Onii-sama feels the same way, right?」
「That’s right . However, he isn’t dead so there is surely a chance that you will meet again . 」
「……That’s right . 」
「Although there will be numerous difficulties, it is the path Alex chose . Let us support him from afar . Though… I can’t say that I forgive him for making you cry . Everything will be alright . After all, you have Isaak and me . 」

Claudia agreed, and, though she still felt some unease, her mouth loosened a bit at the seams .  It’ll be alright . She repeated it once more in her mind .

Then, Claudia decided to ask a question that had been on her mind .

「……At any rate, since when did you learn the truth about Alexis-sama? The schedule of return was supposed to be today, and you can’t have found out about it today, otherwise you would not have been able to arrange my new engagement, right?」

Aah, Ralph said, grimacing .

「I knew since three days ago . It was hidden from you, but it caused quite the uproar, not only in our family, but in the other royal families as well . 」

There are nine kings in this Kingdom of Roenburg . Claudia and Ralph’s father was the lord of Rosenheim, Alexis’ father was the lord of Kirsch, and Isaak’s father was the lord of Lambertz .

「……Good grief, I didn’t notice at all . It was hidden well, ne? I went to the academy as usual, but nobody told me anything . 」
「It’s a good thing that you only have a few friends . 」

Hahaha, Ralph chortled . Claudia’s gaze chilled before she threw the most important question at him .

「So, then, why Isaak? Were there no others?」
「Of course there were talks about other candidates . Naturally, every house desired your magical power . 」

In this country, human beings that possessed magical power were mostly nobility, and, among them, those who were members of the royal families greatly surpassed the others in power . The reason why the royal families could maintain their stable position in the hierarchy was because magical power provided many benefits to the country .
It was for this reason that marriage generally occurred among members of the royal families, although marriage to a high-ranking noble was also common . The power of the house was directly related to the strength of the magical power preserved in its lineage .

However, occasionally, people like in Alexis’s case will appear . People with magical power may be born amongst the common people . Most of them end up working for nobility or serving at the cathedral, and, depending on the strength of their magical power, some may even be deemed “saints” .

「As family, I did not want you to marry into someone else’s house . 」

Since Claudia had lost her mother around the age of seven and was the only girl amongst the male members of their family, she was heavily doted on . Isn’t it commonplace for the bride to marry into another family? However, Claudia’s father and brothers wished for a son-in-law that would allow Claudia to continue to live at the Rosenheim residence even after marriage .

「To marry into our family — was the only one able to fulfill the conditions Isaak?」
「No, there were others . Specifically Lord Kirsch — that is to say, Alexis’ younger brother came to apologize to you . 」

Claudia frowned as she recalled the brother who was nearly the spitting image of Alexis .

「Isn’t he only six years old? To have a fiancé who is more than ten years his senior would be truly pitiful……」
「Of course, father refused . Their feelings of remorse were already properly understood, ne? This matter was a particularly hard blow for Lord Kirsch, what with the engagement being annulled and his spirit broken . 」

Although Alexis wasn’t the eldest son, a precious son was lost in this situation . The Kirsch family probably received a greater shock than Claudia .

「So, while father and our other brothers continued to deliberate on what to do, I recommended Isaak . 」
「For what reason? Isaak is the eldest, right?」
「The Lambertz family has decided that Isaak’s younger brother would succeed the throne . That guy’s complex situation… You know about it too, right?」
「……Un . 」

From his appearance and behavior, Isaak gave off the impression of being wolf-like . In fact, he was often called the 「Wolf Prince」  .

「That guy’s in a rough spot . He is hard to understand because he isn’t honest, but he is a good person . He will surely cherish you . 」
「But… Hasn’t Isaak been asserting that he won’t get married? That’s why he has never had a fiancé before, right? He wasn’t pressured into this, was he?」
「Until now, that guy would refuse whatever he found unpleasant, but he accepted this time because it isn’t so . Isn’t that good?」
「…………」

As far as Claudia was concerned, Ralph’s words were surprising .

(So… I wasn’t disliked, you mean?)

What came as a surprise also gave rise to many questions .

「What’s wrong? Why are you making such a face?」
「……Because… Onii-sama knows, right? Isaak and I are like dogs and monkeys* . 」
「In your case, doesn’t quarrelling mean you two are close?」
「How in the world could you see it that way!? Isaak has always had a cold attitude towards me, and, on the rare occasion that we talk, he only has cruel things to say . 」
「Haven’t you been arguing back just so you won’t lose?」
「That’s right, and, as a result, the people around me have been saying that I’m intimidating or obstinate……」
「They’re not wrong . 」

Ralph’s jovial, yet insulting, response incited a glare from Claudia . Her face contorted in displeasure .

「First and foremost, I have not forgiven Isaak . 」
「Forgive? Did something happen?」
「……I won’t say . It’s not something I would tell other people . 」

Claudia’s scowl deepened as she recalled her youth .

(I shouldn’t care about the past . It’s useless, but… But that……)

「Whenever I remember, it makes me angry . 」

Even her magical power started to seep out with her emotions . Soon, Claudia’s hair began to stand on end and crackle prompting Ralph to rush out of the room .

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