Mattheus and Brunilda were greeted by Roland and Vincent by the time they arrived back at the Crown residence within the Capital.
"I hope your trip went well, my lord," Roland greeted as the two male servants bowed.
The youngest Crown nodded in response to their bows, unable to not acknowledge it thanks to manners learned from another life. His smile was a bit strained as he replied, "It was certainly eventful, I would say. Thank you, Vincent."
His valet took the suitcase he had taken back out from his Inventory to maintain appearances.
"Dinner will be taken in fifteen minutes, Young Master. Do you wish to attend the meal with the Master and Madam?"
He barely contemplated before agreeing. It would be nice to see the Crown couple after the past few days he had at Noll's Hill. The idea that the Crowns were a functional and had a healthy family dynamic was still rather quaint to him.
"That sounds good, Roland. Just let me freshen up a bit before meeting Mother."
"I want rabbit with a raw egg on top," the cat piped in her order, mewing aloud.
"Brue will have ground rabbit with a raw egg on top."
"I will inform the chef, Young Master."
Considering he had switched his suit out during the train ride back, all Mattheus needed to do was tidy up his hair and wash his hands to be presentable.
It wasn't as if the Crown couple would judge. Especially considering his father had a mane of hair that reminded Mattheus of another Albert from his old world that was a rather famous physicist. But the original Mattheus Crown had taken after the meticulousness of Honoria Crown and Theo himself had been rather organized.
Considering he was now technically someone who could heal others, Mattheus thought it was a good habit to cultivate a neat appearance. He'd known medical doctors in his old world before and they all seemed to have a standard for maintaining a professional appearance. It was taught during intern years, over how a messy appearance would convey unreliability toward a patient.
It never hurt to be clean, after all. And it wasn't as if it were difficult, considering he was still coming out of over a year of habits obtained from quarantine because of a pandemic.
(He was still having Brunilda pick out his outfits though. It would just be too annoying for him to keep track of fashion trends when he already had more important things to learn.)
"Mattheus, darling, you could have just come here instead of the Palace when you arrived back at the Capital," his mother greeted as they met in the hallway to the private dining room.
"Mother, it is good to see you well."
Honoria fluttered her fan. "What am I to do when my baby is now wielding proper etiquette against me," she said woefully though her eyes were crinkled in good cheer. "If only your brother had half as much charm as you. He would have a fiancee by now, if not a wife."
He laughed awkwardly. "As for why I didn't come straight back, there was a bit of trouble and I wanted to reassure the General I healed his daughter. If I could have seen him."
"Such work ethic, Mattheus. Lady Nina Grant is well, I presume?"
His mother hummed a bit.
Knowing what she wanted, he asked, "Is there something on your mind, Mother?"
"It's just Edgar being a bachelor." She sighed before giving him a side-glance, "At this rate, you are more likely to have a lover before him."
"Hahaha!" Brunilda laughed at him for being in such an awkward situation.
Mattheus's expression was somewhat frozen because he couldn't exactly react to Brunilda's laughter at his expense.
Countess Crown continued. "But you must be careful, darling. With your new position at court, others might want to manipulate you. You are a young man, so love would be an easy method they will attempt."
The corner of his lips twitched a little at the scenario Honoria was painting. "I am aware of this, Mother. Do not worry, for I understand the… hazards of my position. I am not interested in romance either. Let Edgar get a wife and heir first."
Honoria sniffed. "If he ever stops with his chivalry and sword-fighting enough to find a Viscountess."
Mattheus told himself he was not going to laugh. He was definitely not going to laugh over Edgar being comically harassed over his lack of girlfriend.
The nineteen-year-old managed to maintain a placid expression as he held out the chair for his mother before sitting across from her, considering Edgar was still at the castle.
"Father, I hope you've been well."
Albert sat at the head of the table, immediately unfolding the serviette and placing it on his lap. As the staff members are quite used to the head of house's habits, they started serving the food as soon as the earl sat down. Albert Crown just wasn't the type that held to time-wasting social etiquette if he didn't have to.
At least, the earl being like this made it easier for Mattheus. Even he found conversations about the weather annoying.
"Did you get to see General Grant yet?" Albert asked.
Mattheus looked away from making sure Brunilda got her small plate of food (she wasn't allowed at the table during dinner but having her in the dining room was probably already very lenient).
"I haven't the chance since they were restricting unnecessary guests entering the Palace."
"Hm. You're not a guest."
He blinked. "Ah, well, I was only given the Royal Appointment before almost immediately heading to Noll's Hill. Nothing has been arranged as far as I know…?"
"The Chamberlain told me to have you meet him when you came back to the Capital to make such arrangements. You can head there tomorrow."
The conversation turned to other things through several courses. It was only during the end of the meal, when Mattheus was savoring a glass of dessert wine, that the subject of his new title was broached again.
"Mattheus, what are your plans now that you are Court Healer?" his father asked.
Two sets of pale eyes locked with the other.
"It's a completely new position so I'm not even completely sure what my responsibilities are at the Palace, if any. I am aware I must answer to any orders from the King as Court Healer and that I am in a position that… makes politicking almost impossible to avoid."
"I discussed with his Majesty about your position before, when he called me to ask about your abilities. Considering your age and lack of experience compared to the royal physicians, it's very unlikely you would be bogged down by regular duties at the Palace."
"I see…" Mattheus looked contemplative.
"Is it going to be similar to the Court Magician's work, dear?" Honoria asked.
The next morning, he was informed by Vincent that the message they sent to the Chamberlain had a response requesting to meet in the late morning if possible.
As it was an opportunity to reassure himself the talks were going to happen unhindered, Mattheus didn't hesitate to take a carriage to the Palace again.
This time, he got onto the grounds with minimal fuss, having been expected, and was soon escorted to a waiting room.
Brunilda, of course, accompanied him. It was getting to the point Mattheus was used to ignoring the reactions she got.
Though it wasn't like he could get her to not follow him when she was his self-proclaimed bodyguard.
Mattheus was surprised by General Grant popping in while he waited for his meeting to deal with the details of his new title.
"General," he said as he stood up after seeing the older man enter the room.
"Please excuse me, Doctor Crown. Your older brother passed on your message from last night. I apologize for being unable to meet you the previous evening."
"No, it's perfectly understandable. You are busy with preparing as a mediator for the talks and security should be high considering the circumstances."
"You are generous in your understanding, Doctor Crown. I heard that you would come to the castle for a meeting dealing with your new position as Court Healer, so took the opportunity to meet you."
"Ah. Right." Mattheus started explaining Nina Grant's issues, completely avoiding the irrelevant details and focusing on the medical. He tried to be as careful with his words as he could when he brought up the fact he couldn't find any physical signs of a mood disorder from the General's daughter.
The youngest Crown wasn't sure if the General truly understood before the pair were interrupted by a man coming in. The twenty-something looked a bit surprised at the presence of the General behind his round spectacles.
"I'll excuse myself so you can have your meeting," the General said. He nodded at the both of them before leaving.
Mattheus looked at the newcomer. He was too young to be the Chamberlain, so he supposed this man was a subordinate. As the Chamberlain was also partially in charge of arrangements dealing with the foreign diplomats and alliance talks, Mattheus wasn't surprised he would be talking to a subordinate instead.
Thankfully, Lord Blake was mild-mannered and pleasant. The meeting itself went by smoothly and Mattheus was soon following the other nobleman to his new office.
Mattheus had been glancing to make sure Brunilda was following along when he heard, "Greetings, your Highness!"
He faced forward again and saw the blond-haired and dark-eyed Crown Prince.
The memories immediately hit him and he almost gasped at the surprising amount of information and scenes that imprinted themselves in his mind.
Rather, the negative emotions that bled through from the Original.
Artorius Morgaine looked at the two of them after Mattheus somehow managed to murmur the correct greeting for the Prince.
"Blake. You are showing the… new Court Healer to his office? You can go back. I will take Mattheus there."
The Prince smiled. "Go on. It's been a while since I could catch up with my old friend."
Mattheus stood stiffly.
He just found out why the original Mattheus Crown willfully committed treason. And it was all thanks to Prince Artorius Morgaine standing in front of him.
The Crown Prince whose smile never reached those dark eyes.