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I. The Crown Prince of Weblin

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Lucian von Garibaldi. The crown prince of Weblin. The White Prince. That’s what the rest of the kingdom calls me, whether I like it or not. His Highness, my father, never calls me by my full name, though. With Him, it’s always “Luc” or “Luca”. He doesn’t seem to like my name very much, though He’s never said so out loud.

“Didn’t Mother give me that name?” I once asked when I was but a child.

“Yeah, I couldn’t really be bothered,” Father answered, absently fiddling with the end of his scarf. Despite His apathetic reply, however, I knew Father was listening intently. He’s made a career out of pretending to be careless, after all. Those who forget His true nature are promptly dispatched once they’ve outlived their usefulness. I didn’t expect Him to go on, but He did: “She said it meant ‘light’ or something. Well, my brother was pretty radiant in his heyday, so she was probably just thinking of him, as usual.”

Excited by the fact that our conversation was still going, I questioned Father further. “Do… Do you think my name suits me, Father?”

Auger von Garibaldi, King of Weblin, looked up from His scarf and fixed a pair of narrowed golden eyes on my face. For just a moment, I was filled with a terrible dread. I’d asked too much. I’d asked the wrong question. I’d annoyed Father with my inanity. Such thoughts began to race through my mind, but I’d never known Father to be bothered when I asked Him about Mother… I couldn’t understand why He’d be angry at me for asking, so perhaps He wasn’t angry? Was I imagining things? Finally, the tension dissipated. The look in His eyes didn’t change, but His lips curled into His signature radiant grin. “Hmm~ Your mother isn’t exactly the most intelligent person I’ve known. Why would you want her name to suit you, anyway?”

“I… Well… She is the person You love, isn’t she?”

“Well~ Who knows? Why, do you want me to love you, too?” I didn’t—couldn’t—answer. I just sat there trembling. Whether it was from fear or anticipation or just simple delight at having Father’s attention, I still probably can’t tell you. Thankfully, Father didn’t wait for a response. “If that’s what you want, you’ll have to be just a bit more interesting, Luca. Light? Peace? All of that stuff is just boring.”

I never asked Father about my name again. His warm smile didn’t mean that He loved me, only that He wouldn’t kill me just yet.