It took me a while to settle on a character to do this, but of all the characters two came back to mind the most, the first was Mejojo, but whenever I try to write about him I start to sob and make a mess out of my thoughts since when it comes to him I can’t think straight yet, it’s all too fresh… Fortunately I have another bias just as strong who I have had more time to analyze and think about why I like him so much and makes me smile instead of sob… most of the time, Justin Roberuttey, from Crimson Empire.
This will have spoilers of Crimson Empire.
Now my approach to otome games is almost always about the heroine, so most of the time my favorite guy is the one I think makes the best couple with her, when I was done with Crimson Empire I was somewhat amazed because I could not do exactly this with Justin, I got the impression that the best guy Sheila could choose was Marshall as they were able to understand each other pretty easily, both being in pretty much the same position and knowing each other for the longest out of the love interest (save for Michael). When all was said and done Sheila would have had the easiest going relationship with him. However I’m making this about Justin and not Marshall for a reason.
Justin is the opposing party in the dispute for the throne, and while he is the older brother being the son of a concubine he has less claim to the throne, when Sheila approaches him she does so in a non threatening way to get close to him, mainly so Edvard could know about him from someone at a near distance, that’s because Edvard loves Justin as his only family and has been doing everything in his hand to protect him; Sheila knows this and because of that she tries to become some sort of bridge between the two (since Justin is probably the main treat to Edvard being the one who wants him dead the most).
Now you all would be questioning why would you need to feel for him if he is trying to kill the brother that loves him so much? Sheila establishes that in this country lying and deceiving are the best weapons someone could have, and Edvard is a master at those, not to say his love for Justin is fake, as it’s probably the only thing that is still good about him, even when it makes him do awful things, such as letting Justin’s mother die just so she won’t become a liability to him in the future. Of course the only thing Justin knows is that he was responsible for his mother’s death and feels betrayed by Edvard wanting him to pay with his own life.
Justin doesn’t think fair to be the only one to be recognized by the King while his mother remained hidden in the shadows until she died sick and lonely thanks to Edvard, now that he can no longer get justice he seeks revenge, publicly by trying to get in the way of Edvard’s way to the throne, and secretly by trying to get him killed. Justin just can’t believe or trust in any of the other nobles as he knows they only get near him for their own convenience, Justin however hates their false pretenses and is in turn probably the most honest person in the castle, this of course makes him an unlikely choice to be king since other nobles don’t think honesty is a virtue a king should have (at least not the way Justin has it), and thanks to his villain like looks the commoners won’t choose him either over the “perfect prince” Edvard. This doesn’t hinder him since he is a man of his own convictions which make him believe that if he needs to go down to Edvard’s level it isn’t worth it, making him hard to approach in a country full of liars.
That’s it until Sheila befriends him. Sheila is able to get over all of Justin’s defenses thanks to her ability to take him by surprise at every step, at first doing it purposefully but before noticing it herself, by being honest thanks to Justin breaking over her defenses as well. Sheila thinks highly of Justin from the get go, and as such has no problem approaching him especially whenever she thinks he needs help, it starts with silly things like making him use a proper disguise when going out (because his disguises suck and he won’t even bring guards with him) or getting him to be more open to other people, even if it’s for show only, and then it goes to believing in him regardless of circumstances, and due to his honesty and kindness she gets to understand what Edvard means when he says that Justin is an adorable person, and makes her want to protect him.
Justin in turn gets even by trusting in her (despite her being the last person he should trust) and teaching her to not put herself down, this takes Sheila by surprise as she was using words that he had used against her which makes him explain that whatever anyone says about her shouldn’t matter at all and the most important thing was what she thought of herself, for Justin a person is not measured by their past or by their lineage, but by their true nature and essence, and by this point Justin knows that Sheila is good at heart, so he is not bothered at all when Sheila would state clearly that she is just as capable to do awful things and he only sees a little part of her when they are together; this frankness just reassures Justin around her since she is the only person who will be honest to him in the castle, and the only person he could be totally honest to (as he still has to keep some level of distance with his own subordinates) naturally with these circumstances he could not help but to fall for her.
His confession is awkward as hell as he is just too straight forward about it but can’t help but be embarrassed (Sheila doesn’t help matters since she teases him a fair bit during it), Sheila has to at least try to make him realize that it’s a bad idea to fall for her and proposes that he doesn’t love her but just wants to mess with Edvard, Justin admits that it’s possible that’s true but his feelings for her are too and so he doesn’t give up. Sheila ends up falling for him when she realizes that Justin gets angry for her and would defend her and kill anyone who would wrong her (and since she was an assassin it makes so much sense that she would fall for a man for such reasons).
From here on Justin is just such a considerate lover, he can’t handle sweets but would take Sheila to eat them (and he doesn’t seem to be bothered to taste them from her lips later), he would let her see his insecure side and everything that he was hiding from her. He even apologizes for not understanding her (to a point that he is even willing to praise Edvard for being able to), even when Sheila thinks that it can’t be helped as they are indeed very different people, but that is exactly what allows them to learn totally new things. They can complement each other quite nicely also as Sheila is too careless about herself but careful about other things and Justin is too careless about things that don’t concern him but really careful about the things that do, this way they can cover for each other; this way Sheila can cover for Justin’s image whenever given the chance and Justin will make sure that Sheila takes proper care of herself or take matters in his own hands.
Justin loves Sheila so much that even when he knows that she would kill him if ordered to, he isn’t discouraged by it, so much that if he were to discover that he was just being deceived by her, he would happily let himself kept being deceived even if he were called a fool because of that; however this doesn’t mean that he would impose his will to be together over hers if she were to decide that she doesn’t want to keep the relationship going, and he would confirm this several times (mainly out of fear that she isn’t that much into him as he is into her). Sheila excuses to him her wish to keep going the relationship as not wanting to let go of a “secret relationship with a prince charming”, yes despite his villain like looks and his sullen attitude, for Sheila Justin is a prince charming, he even gave her an answer fit for a villain telling her that ravaging the woman of the enemy, her, was a great thing in itself (she answered that she was glad she could make him happy in a joking manner), since Justin is too tsun tsun he will tell Sheila that she isn’t cute or she lacks seductiveness but will take those back given the right moment , she becomes cute when she is with him and since she made him fall for her she must have impressive seductive skills (but he warns to only use them on him XD) is the conclusion Justin arrives at; Sheila on her part concludes that the cute one in their relationship is him.
Justin is such a great guy that he goes to the orphanage to teach the kids, and they love him and even tease him and Sheila and will call him demon whenever he gives them more homework, and he is so cute that he even gets depressed for being told he is scary (to be fair he can be scary and he knows this, as Sheila is “nice” enough to point to him several times, since she finds funny that he takes it to heart). Probably thanks to this contact with kids they both get to talk about their childhoods and family.
Sheila even mentions that since Justin is a prince he needs to have many kids, and he warns that his kids will probably be all quiet kids (since Sheila mentioned that quiet kids were kind of eerie) and she says that they might be like their mother, and he worries that then they will be kids that laugh at everything and will be rude or will space out a lot, but he will love any child that is like her… and then it dawns on Sheila how seriously Justin is taking their relationship, the thing is since Sheila is a servant she was considering that she was something like a mistress to Justin, it never crossed her mind that Justin, a prince, would actually think of their affair seriously enough to consider making her his legitimate wife and have a family with her (he is even willing to ask Edvard for a work absence for her if she is still working by then).
Since Justin is the son of a mistress himself is not hard to guess that he would never put any woman in the same position as his mother was, and as such he wouldn’t take mistresses, the woman he chooses is the only one he will love and allow to be by his side and Sheila is that woman. And so Justin fights with Edvard to settle things down with him, after winning he tells him to become king and that he will stop getting in the way, in exchange he asks for Sheila.
Sheila says that she won’t stop working for Edvard and that what he did had no meaning, however for Justin it had a meaning even if they both think that hating each other would be more easy they are so in love that they think that it would also be more painful so Justin faces Edvard this time to FORGIVE HIM for everything!! Yes Justin loves Sheila so much that he will even love the things she does, even the guy that he hates so much that he wants him dead, he even says that he can forgive Sheila, now Edvard and Sheila are so far gone that neither thinks they deserve forgiveness but Justin being able to forgive them makes they think that maybe they can forgive themselves.
Sheila thinks she can become a better person if she is with Justin, and Justin feels the same way. And this is one of the best things about their relation, unlike her other relations in this game where the guys say that they are or can be just as bad as Sheila is (in some cases even worse than she is), is in her relationship with Justin where she thinks she could be a better person where she can strive for a better future, something that Curtis mentions in Arabians Lost is that just that is the sign that one should quit being an assassin as assassins don’t think of the future, Sheila got over one of the darkest parts of herself without noticing and is only with Justin that this happens.
And thanks to Sheila Justin is able if only a little to get over his hate for Edvard, and fulfill his promises with his mother, Sheila made his life brighter too, they will not drown in darkness together they will advance to a better future together. And just if you are wondering in his bad ending (he is the only one that gets a real bad ending) he even saves Sheila’s life and is willing to let her live hating him as long as she keeps on living so he is just as capable to go to the other extreme with her.
Justin is a big ball of tsundere moeness, he is not without his faults but his route is all about becoming a better person, forgiving past mistakes and learning new things, and no matter how many times I play his route I’m always amazed at how many new facets to him and his relation with Sheila I’m able to discover. And that’s why I love him.