4 (2) – 14
Even as the sun dipped below the horizon, the greenhouse was illuminated as if it still hung at its apex.
In the centre of the greenhouse where a field of white flowers bloomed, Camilla sat alone, hunched over amongst them.
Klaus had said that this was his ‘secret hideaway’. So, she hoped that other than Klaus, no one would think to come here. That man, rude as he was, did have a strange sensibility about him. He probably wouldn’t be so thoughtless as to bother Camilla as she was right now.
At her feet, untouched bundles of beautiful white flowers bloomed around her. Looking at their lovely form, Camilla sighed. Maybe if she had been like these flowers, things may have turned out differently. Perhaps Prince Julian and her parents would have looked at her differently as well.
Even if she envied them now, it wouldn’t help anything. Camilla wanted to believe in her own pride. Yet still, she felt a pang of jealousy. Frustrating. Frustrating. Frustrating. She hated it all. Reaching out to a flower by her feet, she ran a finger over its petals. That flower she hesitated to crush in her palm, if only she could be like it… What a pathetic and miserable thing to think. Frustrating. She couldn’t think straight anymore.
Why did Prince Julian never look Camilla’s way?
Suddenly, a gust of cold wind rustled the flowers of the greenhouse.
The air was disturbed. She didn’t need to look, it was obvious that someone had entered.
Camilla, half buried amongst the flowers with her back to the entrance, heard a hesitant voice. Then, anxious footsteps slowly approached her, one careful step after another.
Suddenly, those footsteps stopped just behind Camilla’s back. Just what could they say to each other? After a moment of silence, the person behind her opened their mouth.
“If you’re here to comfort me, please don’t. Even I know it already.”
Interrupting the words she didn’t want to hear, Camilla said that bluntly. If she had to endure being comforted by someone on top of all this, her misery would overflow.
“I already know that my love was shattered a long time ago. I should have moved on. Clinging to it like this, I’m a fool.”
Being comforted was miserable, but continuing the pursuit of an impossible love was heart-wrenching all the same. It’s no wonder that Camilla was ridiculed for never accepting her place. She was a girl who wallowed in a sad delusion, pinning all her hopes on being noticed by a Prince who wanted nothing to do with her.
Camilla looked darkly at the flowers covering the ground, like a blanket of snow.
“If I could move on and forget about it so easily, I would have never loved him in the first place.”
She felt something move next to her. The person behind Camilla must have sat down as they watched her. Camilla didn’t look to see, she simply stared at the flower between her fingers that she was toying with.
She stroked the petals, one by one, as softly as if she were patting a child’s head. Even if she stared at the flowers, the only thing that Camilla could see was a vision of the past.
“I was only seven when I first met Prince Julian. When I visited the royal palace with my father and mother, I was in an awful mood.”
It was also the first time Camilla had been to the royal palace. The reason they had gone to the royal palace… It was for the funeral service of the Second Queen. An occasion where nobles and notaries from all over the country would gather to pay their final respects. Of course, there was another reason to gather as well. With so many nobles gathered in one place, there were many deals both virtuous and illicit to be struck as well.
The reason for Camilla’s bad mood was because she had earned her parent’s ire. But no matter how much they had scolded her, she still threw a tantrum. She remembered the reason why she had gotten on their bad side that day. It was because of the cookies that she had secretly hidden inside the sleeve of her dress.
“The day before, Diana… My lady’s maid, Diana, helped me bake sweets for the first time. That was the first time I had ever made anything myself. I was really happy about it, so I wanted father and mother to try some. But…”
In most of the Kingdom of Sonnenlicht, cooking was not seen as a fit pastime for nobles. Her father glared at the misshapen biscuits that she offered him, whilst her mother had thrown away the one Camilla offered her, chiding her with the words ‘how vulgar’. So, she was angry.
The reason she had made them in the first place had come to nothing, but she still held onto them. She carried that trash in her dress like she was hiding away some treasure. She didn’t remember exactly why she carried it like that. Perhaps she was going to throw it away somewhere where her parents couldn’t see.
“That was when I met Prince Julian. I ran away from father and mother because I was upset, and whilst walking I saw a boy who was sitting in a shady part of the courtyard, all alone.”
A wind had whistled through the courtyard. She still remembered the cold feeling of winter that lingered in the breeze. Thinking back now, it had been a cold day. Unlike Mohnton, it didn’t snow in the capital, but the leaves and flowers on the trees had withered away in the chill all the same.
“The first time I met him, I never realized he was Prince Julian. That was because his eyes were not red and his hair was brown, he looked like an ordinary boy. He only wore a single piece of finery… his funeral garb.”
Prince Julian had been born with immense magical power. Just with his eyes alone, he could charm the people around him.
So his mother, the Second Queen, had used magic to alter and fake his appearance. Using magic, she would change the colour of his eyes, the features of his face, and even the shape of his body. By blanketing Prince Julian in her own magical power, she prevented his own magical power from leaking. It had become a famous tale across all of Sonnenlicht.
“If I had known it was His Highness, I would never have been able to call out to him the way I had. But since he looked like a normal boy, I called out. ‘What’s wrong?’, I asked, since he didn’t seem well. ‘Would you like to eat a cookie?’, I said after that. Thinking back on it now, I was quite pushy.”
Camilla giggled slightly as she remembered that day. The boy had looked at Camilla in complete surprise. It was as if he couldn’t believe that she had called out to him like that, much less offered him a cookie.
“Prince Julian still took the cookie and ate it quietly. As for me, I simply watched him from the side. I had wanted to make something delicious, but it hadn’t gone well at all. In fact, tears had started welling up in His Highness’ eyes.”
At the time, she didn’t know why he was on the verge of tears. But, she knew now.
He was mourning the death of his mother.
“I was a little surprised, so I asked him, ‘Did they taste bad?’. But His Highness, even though he was crying, told me they were ‘delicious’. It’s a strange thing to say, but that crying face of his was so beautiful…”
The hand that was busy stroking the white petals of the flower came to a stop. Camilla’s shoulders trembled.
The person sitting down beside her listened in silence.
“I just kept staring at Julian, as he kept crying and eating my cookies at the same time. And as I watched Julian cry, so did I… I wonder why I cried then? Father and mother had always taught me to never cry. Ever since I can remember, I had never ever cried.” 
Camilla’s parents had forbade her from crying or whining. ‘There is always someone else who has it worse than you’ or ‘You are blessed to still have both a mother and a father, there are many less fortunate children out there’, they would say things such as that to her.
In truth, Camilla had been blessed. She had grown up used to acting selfishly, living in the lap of luxury. Despite that, tears were the one thing forbidden to her. She had grown up taught to be strong.
“I spent some time sitting next to Julian, crying like that. We hardly said a word to each other, but in its own way, that was fine.”
Trying to hide the quivering in her voice, Camilla let go of the breath she had been holding as if to stop something inside her from overflowing. She shook her head firmly as she blinked away the warmth pooling behind her eyes.
Then, she raised her head, looking at the face of the kind man who sat next to her.
“My apologies, Lord Alois. Even now I’m still just talking about Prince Julian.”
Alois waved aside Camilla’s apology with a small smile. There was something so sincere in his gaze that she felt humbled.
“I don’t mind at all. Please go on… No.”
Alois said that, then shook his head slightly, that honest expression never leaving his face. He never took his eyes off Camilla. His silver hair, a hallmark of the royal family, shone even amongst that field of white flowers… It was beautiful.
“Please tell me all about your love.”
Camilla felt a deep pain as those kind eyes looked at her.
“I want to know all about you.”
Camilla’s breath stopped in her throat. It was suffocating. She had to break away from Alois’ gaze, her eyes moving towards the ground.
The heat returned to her eyes. The breath between her lips also felt hot. The white flowers were still so beautiful. The feelings that she hadn’t been honest with were violently trying to make themselves heard.
“I… I still love cooking.”
As Camilla squeezed those words out, Alois answered her gently. Her words were barely louder than the whispered rustling of the flowers.
“The only reason I could still love it back then was because of Julian. If it weren’t for Julian, I would have thrown those cookies away and never made anything again.”
If both her father and mother had turned their noses up at it and there was no one to appreciate her cooking, she would have come to hate cooking. It was after that day, the day that she met Prince Julian, that she truly came to love cooking.
“The reason I didn’t want to make any more sweets is that I only wanted Julian to taste them. I wanted the taste to stay the same as when we were children. I thought that if I made it again, maybe the taste would change. So, I decided I’d never make them again, except for Julian’s sake.”
“I see,” Alois chimed in. She hadn’t expected him to say anything, but she felt a little relieved when she saw Alois nod like that.
“But Julian completely forgot about it. It was just one day when we were children, after all. It was only natural to forget. It felt a little lonely, but I didn’t let it get to me.”
“Despite that, I remembered it well. It was the day I fell in love with Julian, after all. Even if he forgot, even if he looked at me coldly, even if he despised me, I still loved him.”
Alois nodded. His eyes reflected Camilla sat amongst a field of white flowers. The blooming flowers were beautiful. Alois’ eyes shone brilliantly as well.
“Even if he loved someone else, even if he sent me away, no matter what he did, I still loved him. I always loved him.”
Even though he joined hands with Liselotte and banished Camilla from the capital, she still loved him. She chased after the ideal that never turned to look back at her. Yet, although he never turned around to look at her, she kept chasing in the hopes that one day he would.
But, even she already realized it. Prince Julian never looked her way. Camilla’s love never came true. Nor would it ever.
“I loved Julian.”
She whispered. The whites of the flowers blurred in her vision. The tears finally formed in the corners of her eyes.
“I really loved him.”
Tears ran down her cheek. If they spilt to the ground, she knew that she wouldn’t be able to stop. Alois looked at her, neither laughing nor pitying.
“I loved… I loved you, Julian. I loved you. I loved you. I always loved you.”
A sob choked out from her throat. Coughing on her exhaled breath, Camilla tried to wipe away the tears with her hand. But as much as she wiped, they kept coming.
Her tears stained the field below, the drops of water landing on those white petals. In that white winter garden, Alois and Camilla were all alone.
“Julian, I always, always loved you…!”
In the midst of the flowers, Camilla cried out in anguish.
 From this point on, Camilla refers to Julian as ‘Julian-sama’, when she typically uses the Japanese for Prince Julian or His Highness.
End of Part 4 (2)
Edited by: ApoPie