Chapter 13: The “Incompetent” and “Delinquent” Prince 1
Lute’s loud sighs echoed through the tent for guests. After that, Lute got up from the bed with very slow movements, moved around in the tent, and drank water from a pitcher on the desk. He pours the water directly into his mouth without even using a glass, as if he thought it was too much trouble to pour into a cup.
The scene is different in many ways. At first glance, it looks like a low-class citizen’s morning scene, but in reality, Lute’s position is that of royalty, even though he is an illegitimate child. Furthermore, he is a “private individual” who is given a tent for guests by the Imperial Army, one of the two largest military powers on the continent. Although he is an extremely important person, each of his actions is too vulgar. And yet, for some reason, it is so bizarre that it looks good and does not feel at all out of place, which makes it all the more unusual.
“… Phew. These are ideal days.”
However, the person in question is squinting his eyes with a fresh expression on his face, as if to say, “This is happiness”. It has been seven days since Lute had a discussion with his subordinates about the future, and he had spent most of that time without leaving his tent.
By the way, since Lute didn’t come out of his tent so much in the beginning, Klaus went out of his way to confirm his survival and if he had escaped about three days after the discussion. At that time, Lute was passing the time by processing magically created ice into sculptures. According to Lute, “Now that I don’t have to keep it a secret anymore, I can use magic to pass the time with impunity.”
For that reason, Lute spends his days in extreme laziness, greedily indulging as much as he can, and wasting his time with random leisure activities when he feels like it. This is something that not only Lute and his close subordinates, but also Klaus and others on the invasion force side were appalled by. Klaus even came to the strange conclusion that if he was always like this, he should naturally be called incompetent.
“…Lute-sama, are you awake?”
“Azure-dono. Ah, I just woke up.”
Today, just like other days, Lute was doing his no-good move of getting up when the sun was fully up. Then, a voice calls from outside the tent, perhaps noticing the noise.
“May I come in?”
“Now, if you’ll excuse me..”
The one who entered the tent with such a refusal was a woman with glossy red hair, or rather, a daughter who still had the innocence of a young girl.
Her name is Azure Mirch Rembrandt. She is a watchdog and caretaker assigned to Lute by the invasion forces in connection with this incident. Azure is the daughter of a prestigious noble family that has produced a number of talented military officers, and she is a talented woman who, despite being a woman, has demonstrated excellence that lives up to her prestigious name. In addition, she has acquired the skills of a maid in order to take care of the personal needs of princesses in positions of great importance, such as imperial princesses, when they are registered in the military.
Because of her high ability, Azure was appointed as the overseer and caretaker of Lute, the most important person in the royal family of another country and a magician of demi-god class. ……When Lute was first introduced to Azure, he was a bit nervous, thinking, “Did he just send a woman out of the blue?” But right after that, Klaus said in front of him, “You must report every movement of Lute-dono…. Even though Heinrich and the others had reported to me, those three days were too much for my heart”. I was reminded that the main purpose of the project was to increase surveillance on the imperial side, which made me think, ‘Oh, this is the guy to increase surveillance on the imperial side seriously”.
“It’s bad every time. Taking care of such a useless person.”
“No, this is a mission, so don’t worry about it.”
And perhaps because of such circumstances, Lute was unexpectedly comfortable with Azure. The reason is that as she is not ordered to do so, she does not try to take advantage of Lute as a “woman”. Instead, she treats him like a mere caretaker, and he is comfortable with Azure’s distance. In a sense, it is natural that Lute, who advocates laziness, likes Azure as a “servant” because she makes Lute’s life comfortable without making him feel any trouble at all.
“In addition, in the case of Lute-sama, the only thing that is unusual is his irregular waking hours and the fact that he hardly leaves his tent at all. Other than that, there are almost no problems, so it’s not particularly difficult for me. You can take care of most things by yourself, so it is not so much trouble for us to take care of you.”
“No, no, no, you usually do things like changing clothes and tidying up yourself.”
“That’s a common citizen’s way of thinking. Ordinary royals don’t do that kind of thing themselves.”
While saying that with a wry smile, Azure glanced around the tent. Just as Lute said, the inside of his tent was moderately clean. Of course, from the point of view of Azure, who can be said to be a semi-professional, there are still some lax areas, but considering that the royal family was accustomed to being taken care of, the inside of Lute’s tent is probably quite neat and tidy. At the very least, he has been in his tent for almost all of the seven days, and the only people who visit his tent are Lute’s men or Klaus. The only person who does any cleaning is Azure, who herself does not stay in the tent for long periods of time because Lute often sleeps. The fact that Lute keeps the place so clean under such circumstances suggests that Lute has a very high level of living ability.
“Well, it’s because I sneak out of the castle often. So I am like a commoner.”
“Heinrich-dono will be saddened.”
“It’s a little late for that.”
In fact, since that day when Lute revealed his true self, Heinrich was often seen sighing as if remembering. After all, Heinrich was in awe of Lute, but at the same time, he thought of him as his grandson. If such a person were to sneak out of the castle and appear at a brothel or a bar on the outskirts of town, it would be hard for a guard or a guardian to stop thinking about it.
Well, the person in question doesn’t care about that grief at all.
“Well. Azure-dono, let’s have breakfast …… or is it already lunch? Anyway, can you prepare some food for me?”
“Sure. Do you have any requests?”
“Only dried fruit is fine”
“…Lute-sama. As I always say, I cannot serve you, our honored guest, such a crude meal.”
“I think it’s delicious in its own way.”
Lute shrugged as he said that, while Azure had an indescribable expression on her face, she felt a strong sympathy for Heinrich in her heart.
“Why is this man so un-royal?” Azure has no idea how many times she has wondered this question in the short time he has been here. He is not only a man who takes care of his own personal affairs, but he is also not very particular about what he eats. Even if they were on the march, royalty would normally demand a more decent meal, and in the first place, “only dried fruit” is less than a low-ranking soldier’s meal. It would be understandable if the supply lines were cut off, but there is no point in going to the trouble of choosing such a meal under the current circumstances.
“I personally like it because I can eat it quickly.”
“If you could be a little more picky about your meals…”
“No, it’s not like I’m not picky about it….Ah.”
Lute, who was smiling wryly at Azure’s words, suddenly sounded as if he had just thought of something.
Azure braced herself for a moment at the sight of Lute. Although they have only known each other for a short time, Azure already had some idea of Lute’s personality. He is a man who thinks rationally and cool-headedly to the point of being frightening, but in everyday life he is extremely lazy and uninhibited.
He is also a man of bad behavior, which makes Heinrich and his subordinates embarrassed, and he comes up with random ideas to pass the time. In conclusion, Lute is very “cat-like”. He is a fearsome hunter only when he brings down his prey, but otherwise he is free and self-indulgent. “A troublesome stray cat accustomed to people” was Azure’s secret impression of Lute.
It is only natural that Azure would be wary that such a stray cat had come up with something, “I’m sure he’ll be swinging around for something out of the ordinary again.” And as a matter of fact, the prediction was right.
“Then I’ll make us some food today.”
“… if you’re going to have a meal, can I prepare it here?”
“No, I feel like making it myself. Don’t worry, I won’t do anything weird.”
Azure said in a roundabout way, “I want you to stop,” but unfortunately it didn’t get across to Lute. The correct answer is that even if the implications were conveyed, they were ignored.
And if this happens, there is no way for Azure, who is only a caretaker, to stop Lute. Since Lute is overwhelmingly superior to Azure in terms of position, there is nothing Azure can do unless he does something that could be detrimental to the invasion force. Alas, the difference in status is impermanent.
For that reason, Lute went outside the tent after a long time. The destination was not the tent where the invading army’s cooking team was located, but the tent of Lute’s subordinates.
“… Umm, Lute-sama? If you want to cook, you’ll have to go to the tent over there.”
“I’m not that fancy when it comes to cooking. For now, Azure-dono, just bring firewood and salt.”
“Why only firewood and salt? What about tableware? What about ingredients?” Azure was inwardly questioning herself, but she had to act as a caretaker as long as she was instructed to do so. She was anxious to keep an eye on Lute under the current circumstances, but she forced herself to be convinced that nothing terrible would happen, since Lute’s subordinates, led by Heinrich, have a lot of common sense, and she headed for the firewood.
Lute, unaware of Azure’s conflict, entered the tent of his men as if he owned the place.
“Huh? Isn’t it His Highness? It’s rare to see you outside.”
“What did you come up with this time? Are you going to make a giant ice sculpture?”
When Lute suddenly entered the tent, his subordinates, who were chatting inside, rolled their eyes and asked him the reason for his visit. The fact that such words were thrown at him just for showing up at a nearby tent shows the level of evaluation that his subordinates have for Lute.
“The statue is next time. I’m going to cook a meal now.”
“A meal? Are you going to ask Azure-dono to cook it for you?”
“No, I’ll make it myself”
“…Huh? Can His Highness cook meals?”
“I was once a soldier so it’s natural.”
“No, indeed, if you’re a soldier, you’ll be taught a set of cooking skills as part of your food supply, but…”
“Was it the same for the royal family…?”
At Lute’s words, his subordinates all tilted their heads, puzzled. Food” is a critical element directly related to life, so it is essential for soldiers to have the skills and knowledge to make at least “edible food” in any place. Therefore, Lute’s words are not wrong. But his subordinates, many of whom have fought many battles in the past, can’t help but wonder, “Did our military train even the royalty that thoroughly?” They couldn’t help but twist their necks. It feels like it’s infinitely different, but unfortunately there was no one there who knew the teaching curriculum for the sons of high-ranking nobles, including royalty, so they couldn’t conclude. ……In addition, if Heinrich, a former high-ranking military official, was here, he would say, “No, there is no such educational requirement!? You must have learned by going in and out of strange places, Your Highness!!” He would have been raising his voice. Unfortunately, Heinrich went out with some of his subordinates and was doing self-training in order to keep his body from dulling.
“Well, that’s why. Those of you with experience can help out. As expected, I don’t have a lot of experience, so I’d like some advice.”
“I see…? Then everyone here has a set of cooking skills.”
“No, I can cook to some extent, and I can live on my own, so that’s not a problem. I’d rather have someone with hunting experience. I’ll handle the birds.”