1-2. Now, let’s begin the experiment
“Huh… you choose me?”
“Y-yo-you too! What’s up with that weird pledge?! You probably didn’t think about it beforehand!”
“Huh, well, but-”
I could only assume so.
After the ceremony, my brother laughed at me with his hand holding his stomach and said, “Ahaha, I thought you were going to get married there~” Even the hard-headed Oswald said, “I thought I had mistakenly come to a wedding” And now, we were walking down the hallway of the royal castle toward my office, while arguing with each other.
As I stepped on the blue carpet in long strides, I thought.
(I ended up choosing a big fool. Why am I choosing a guy like that to be my knight…?!)
When I think about where I could have gone wrong in my first life, I thought of choosing Mika, who always complained to me, as my knight. Mika was also a person who would properly convey his opinions to me.
For that reason, I decided to choose Mika this time… I think. Maybe.
“I see, so it’s not Machina…”
As I heard Mika say that in a tone like speaking to himself, I thought about it.
Indeed, in my first life, five years ago, I chose Machina.
Machina, the second son of a marquis, was a bit frivolous, but he was sociable, conducted himself well, and helped me a lot in my previous life as I wasn’t good at social gatherings. He’s of higher family rank than Mika, who’s the third son of a count. He also didn’t make a fuss like Mika, and the people around me had recommended him.
I remembered Machina, who always walked around with a relaxed smile on his face. In battle, he would tie his light brown hair hanging down on his shoulders into a single braid so that it wouldn’t get in the way when he fought. Mika must have heard rumors that Machina was the most likely candidate.
And then, I suddenly realized.
“I wonder why I didn’t choose Machina…”
The feeling that I had done something wrong spread within me.
Somehow, I was bothered by the fact that Mika glared at me in my final moments and said “idiot” to me with those eyes, so I ended up choosing him. Even though I had returned to five years ago, only within hours of starting over my life, I might have made a wrong choice with my life at stake.
“Nagi… Stop making a face as if you’re thinking if you can change knights now.”
“I wonder if I can’t change knights now.”
“You’re saying it out loud!”
Seeing Mika making an irritated face, I also kept my mouth shut.
However, when I thought that I would always be together with Mika from now on, a feeling of irritability arose within me, causing me to quicken my pace even more. But I accidentally let my feet get tangled up, and then my vision tilted.
For a moment, a chill ran down my spine.
—However, instead of the impact that was supposed to come, an arm was wrapped around my stomach from behind.
As I put my weight on that arm, the embarrassment grew even stronger. But when I looked behind me, I was met with Mika’s serious face.
My heart thumped rapidly.
I placed my hand on Mika’s arm and thought that it was just what you would expect from a knight. Even if they looked slender, his arms were still that of a knight, unlike mine. I had a better physique than him when we were little, but before I realized it his body had become so well-trained.
I desperately tried to hold back the heat that was about to gather in my face from the embarrassment of almost falling down, and then positioned myself.
However, I felt that Mika’s hand, which was still wrapped around me from the back, began to stroke my stomach as if to make sure. Startled, I furrowed my eyebrow and turned around to him. Mika was expressionless for a while, but then with a face that looked as if bursting with joy, he said,
“It’s nice to have you close where I can reach you, Nagi.”
Even though Mika was angry just earlier, now he was smiling softly as if relishing his happiness. Seeing him like that made me feel like running away. I let out a small cough and started walking down the hallway to the office again.
In any case, now that I have chosen him, I had no choice but to look for Mika’s good qualities.
Mika opened the door of the office, walked straight inside, and sat down on the sofa vigorously. For some reason, he sat next to me with his legs spread wide open. As I thought to myself “You should sit across from me…”, I tried thinking of his strengths.
He’s a skilled person. That’s right, Mika always ranked in third place in the swordsmanship competition every year. In this country, only wealthy commoners and nobles could attend the royal academy for six years. But ever since Mika went into the academy in the same grade as me, he was always in third place every year. Honestly, I think he had the skill to win the first place.
(Perhaps it’s because the first and second place are forced to help with the work of the knight order in addition to their schoolwork, so he avoided it…?)
It was like a heaven-sent, great networking opportunity for students who wanted to join the knight order after graduation. But I’m thinking that perhaps Mika didn’t want to be a knight. And so, he didn’t try his best in those things… that was my impression after having watched the swordsmanship competition four times.
And also, this red-haired man still has bed hair that poked out all over the place. But for someone whose head looked like a bird’s nest, I thought he would have a small brain like that of a bird, but that wasn’t true.
Surprisingly, he wasn’t that bad at studying. He wasn’t someone who took first or second place, but his name was always in the top ranks. If so, a career as a civil servant is not impossible for him.
And then, he was also a complainer, who has complained to me at every given chance since I was a little.
He had no respect for me as the prince. I noticed him treating my brother and other nobles with proper etiquette, but he was abnormally nagging only at me. When I wondered what he didn’t like about me and started to distance myself from him, he complained even about the smallest thing to me, as if nitpicking. I was rather particular about things like that, so that habit of his made me feel irritated and wonder why he was nagging only at me.
He’s just plainly an annoying person.
I thought to myself, “Why did I end up choosing him?” I was already slowly starting to regret it.
I wonder when did I start thinking like a monk who meditates under the waterfall to cultivate a strong mind, that I would want to have this nagging man by my side?
The fact that Mika’s strange pledge caused my brother to laugh at me also brought me discomfort, as if I were being kneaded in the stomach.
However, how to put this? Mika is a person who’s good at getting things done.
A while ago, after my brother laughed at me while holding his stomach, he quickly returned to his serious face and said, “Still, that pledge— Mika sure knows well the position of the lord he is supposed to protect. You have chosen a great knight, Nagi”. This didn’t happen in my first life five years ago.
I still didn’t understand what my brother meant by the position of the lord, which was referring to me. But, I must admit that I felt a little upset when my brother praised Mika.
But then, at that moment, —as I was sitting down, curled up and holding my head in my hands, I felt the sensation of a firm hand touching mine.
My hand was moved away, intertwined with his fingers, and was brought near his lips.
I thought, “Huh?” and looked up.
“But, I have made a pledge. You’re— already mine, Nagi.”
My heart skipped a beat.
He looked straight at me and asked, “What’s wrong?” It reminded me of his knight pledge from earlier. I felt Mika’s hot breath on my palm. His atmosphere felt different from the Mika in my first life who was always angry, it made me feel confused inside.
My fingertips were twitching.
But, what Mika said was fundamentally wrong. I furrowed my eyebrows deeply.
“No. —You are the one who’s mine.”
“Ah, I see.”
Mika blinked his eyes repeatedly. However, when I thought he was looking at me intently, he suddenly brought his lips closer while still holding my hand, and placed a kiss on my palm.
Unlike the kiss of knight’s pledge that was done on the back of the hand, I think he was just messing around.
And yet, even though I thought so, I shuddered because I didn’t want him to notice the sound of my heart pounding so loudly. Since we were little, Mika was very intense in physical intimacy until I distanced myself from him. So, this kind of thing wasn’t a big deal for him. I tried not to think about it, but I hate that my heart was still thumping so loudly.
(No. It’s definitely not something like that. No way.)
I should have known from my first life, what was it that I didn’t want to think about, and what was the thing that I didn’t want to admit. I tried to somehow hold on to my eyebrows, which were about to droop.
Instead, I furrowed my brows and turned my gaze to Mika. He was smiling innocently, as if his little prank had been found out, just like what he used to do when I hadn’t distanced myself from him yet.
“That also doesn’t sound too bad.”