Ezellot snow is red.

That was Nezar’s first impression when visiting Ezellot during the winter of the age of twelve.
The full moon the size of a bowl from afar, though was floating still at the celestial horizon, there was not a handful of moonlight fell upon the land of Ezellot.

Every step he took was surrounded by camellias and cyclamen, they popped out like blood sprinkled on the pure white snow.

The castle was cold but bright.
Nezar followed the servant and walked very slowly.
Lockherd, who was supposed to meet and greet him, could not be seen anywhere.

He knew it, it seemed his statement of only serving him and listening to his orders for the rest of his life was all empty words.
If not, that would be more of a problem.

“I shall leave for now.
If you have any inconvenience, please ring the bell at any time.”

“I don’t see Lockherd who invited me.”

“The second master has just returned to the castle.
He will be coming soon.”

“What made him so late?”

“He was enjoying horseback riding after the sunset.”

Even his hobby was ridiculous.
Nezar waved his hand, dismissing the servant, and walked over to the sofa.
The swaying lights filled the room with dozens of shadows.

Four days have passed since the first year of the academy ended and they entered the last month.
According to his initial plan, he would have to return to the Imperial Palace immediately, but he had to visit Ezellot first because of Lockherd, who was anxious about not being able to take him along for a few days.

No matter how he thought about it, Lockherd was an odd guy.

Nezar was born as an heir to the imperial family, so he unintentionally grew up facing various types of characters.

Amongst the nobles, there would usually be an aristocracy mindset, and they were usually on a similar level.
And although they were pretty much unpredictable, among them, Lockherd belonged to a particularly unusual category.

Lockherd Ezellot was a so-called genius of swordsmanship, and he was a comet in the swordsmanship world who entered the year in which Pancion Entera, who made the continent uproar, graduated from the Imperial Academy.

The best professors of the swordsmanship department were eager to become his teachers, and his birth as a noble along with his outstanding skills made him shine even more as an unrivaled young master.

But whether Lockherd was cutting mountains with his sword, the handsome second son of the Ezellot family, or a popular guy with a cool personality, Nezar couldn’t care less.

By the time his first semester was coming to an end, he was already feeling very tired of peers his age who were struggling in their adolescence.

Nobles had ranks, just like the ranks given to pigs, such as imperial delivery, hotel delivery, and market delivery.

It was always boring for Nezar to look down on his peers from the top.
Instead of promising to become a saint and lead the empire in its heyday, he sighed at the thought of using such fools to run the country.

Most of the arrogant punks’ grades were not as good as that of ordinary people who entered the academy after receiving a scholarship.
And those competing for the top ranks in the whole school were ostentatious bastards who lacked social skills.

This kind of expression would make Nezar himself seem like a disgruntled, pompous person, but not that it mattered to him.
It was because Nezar fully agreed with that fact.
In fact, at this rate, it would be right to say he was in the second phase of adolescence.

His aide, Ron, said he was in a very serious depression.
That was why he was fed up and hated everything, and just wanted to let go of it all.
Being a crown prince in depression, he felt like a disgrace to loyalty and just wanted to hang himself out of shame.

But fortunately, he didn’t actually have to hang himself.

‘Don’t you want to get at least one man to your side?’

‘… What are you talking about all of a sudden?’

‘Even though I may appear like this, I pride myself with great courage.
I am Lockherd Ezellot, the second son of Ezellot, who, after graduating from here, will become a knight of my family or join the Imperial Guard at best.
But, if possible, I want to use this so-called superior skill and brain more efficiently.
Do you understand what I mean?’

‘So what are you trying to say?’

‘Please accept me as your highness’ person.
I shall free myself from Ezellot’s shackles and risk my life to serve you.’

Lockherd’s eyes didn’t show a glint of enthusiasm for fame or an ambitious dream of the future.

That fact made Nezar’s long-dead heartbeat.
It was a somewhat creepy expression, but no matter how much he thought about it, it was the most correct way to put it.

From that day on, he often thought his academy life was quite okay.

Maybe I was lonely.
The position of the crown prince who had to endure pretending to be stubborn.
Like a child, I wanted someone to approach me first.

Nezar took off his coat, threw it on the bed, and headed to the window.
Snow falling from the sky was landing on the dark ground.

He enjoys horseback riding in this weather? However I look at it, it isn’t a normal hobby.

“… fire?”

In the garden of the castle far away with only snow and darkness, something was burning brightly.
Nezar’s eyes slightly widened as he pressed his forehead against the window.

He wasn’t mistaken.
A red and white light dot, seemingly a fire, was burning down there.

T/n: by now you must have realised this is the story back in the prologue but from Nezar’s POV

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