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‘This church group selects its members by face.’
The man in his late twenties was dripping with a languid and gloomy energy. He was different from Ian, who had a sacredly ascetic and beautiful aura.
“I’m sorry. Did I surprise you?”
I closed the book as if nothing had happened. The man’s gaze shifted to the book I was holding, then back to me.
“The library is closed at this time, and I’m here to inform you that my Lady is the only one inside now.”
“Oh, is it break time?”
I turned my head and looked towards the librarian. There really was no one in the library.
‘The librarian… you greeted me so kindly, did you forget about me?’
There was a mysteriously dreary atmosphere in the quiet library. The blonde man smiled and said,
“I’ll take you to the entrance. It’s dangerous to have such a beautiful person alone, even if it’s in the Church.”
The man called me beautiful as if saying the weather is good. I scratched my cheek at the blatant compliment.
‘But, don’t you know who I am?’
Because I made my debut in the newspaper, most people in the Capital would recognize my face.
The blonde man continued.
“Did you get used to living in the Church? Lady Irene.”
As expected, he knew me. I nodded.
“Yes. Everyone is friendly and nice, so I got used to it easily.”
“That’s a relief. Can I give you some advice?”
I turned to the blonde man with round eyes. The blonde man said, while smiling with his beautiful eyes.
“As you know, attending Mass once a week is considered a virtue in Elunism.”
Something like that… was a virtue. True.
Now that I have discovered the knowledge in the original novel, I finally felt like I was part of it. I ended up listening to the blonde man, thinking about whether I should attend Mass tomorrow.
“But I only ask for you to be present, but it doesn’t matter to which mass it is. For example, the Mass that takes place tomorrow is a three-type triathlon also called Mass.”
My eyes nearly popped out when I heard the unexpected words. I turned to look at the blonde man, barely able to hide my surprise.
“Haha. There are many Masses that aren’t strenuous. For example, the Mass held on Monday is reciting prayers.”
No matter what, I will attend Mass on Monday. I looked at the blonde man with a determined expression on my face and eyes full of anticipation.
“I see. There is still a lot I don’t know about the Church, but thank you for your advice.”
“No. I’m only doing all I can to help the beautiful lady.”
The blonde said it flashing a bright smile.
“Come to think of it, this is my first time seeing my Lady, but I couldn’t even greet you properly. Would you please give me the honor of kissing the back of my Lady’s hand?”
The blonde man slightly bowed his back and held out his hand as if to ask for the back of my hand.
‘Are you really a priest?’
Of course, there was no gender solemnity in Elunism’s culture, but this person was a bit peculiar. I felt this man seemed to have seduced about a hundred women.
‘Umm, I have a fiancé. Can I give the back of my hand to a stranger?’
The blonde man tilted his head as I pondered.
“Ah. Would Lord Ian not like it? Does he have an exclusive right?”
After I heard that name, I stood tall.
In this country, the title ‘Lord’ is used to refer to someone of the same or lower rank. And now there are only two people in the whole empire who can call Ian like that.
Cardinal, the highest ranks of Eluneism…
I quickly glanced at the man. In the original story, this era’s Cardinal was a woman in her old age. I racked my brain hard and remembered the Emperor’s description in the original.
He was clearly described by the heroine as a handsome man in his late twenties with dazzling blonde hair. It was a description that exactly matched the man standing in front of me now.
I clenched my fist with tension.
‘The Emperor, why did you approach me like this?”
Come to think of it, it was understandable for the Emperor to be curious about me. However, this approach was unexpected.
I turned my head and looked around the entrance without saying a word. Dame Joan will be waiting for me outside the entrance door.
As I calmed down, the man smiled with a slight tilt of his head.
“You’re very quick-witted, Saintess.”
I gulped and swallowed my saliva. What should I do?
First, I should greet him politely. It was the moment I was about to bow my head.
“When did you come, Your Majesty?”
A gentle voice rang in my ears. I quickly turned my head. Ian was approaching from the entrance door.
“Ah. Younger brother.”
Blonde, no. The Emperor smiled softly.
“I was thinking of having a conversation with my brother’s fiancée, but how did you know I would be here?”
“Why did you come without sending a message to me? If you had told me beforehand, I would have made preparations.”
Ian quickly came to my side.
I wondered why I hadn’t known the Emperor’s identity before, after seeing the brothers standing next to each other. The two were quite similar. In particular, their eyes were the same shade of blue. But there were a lot of other things as well. From hair color, posture, to facial expression.
It was as if the Emperor was a cold frost in flowing water. A courteous smile came to mind with that cold face.
“I’ll take you to my office.”
A terrifyingly beautiful, inhuman smile. Even though he was smiling, my spine seemed to freeze. This was because I know the ugly side of the Emperor and Ian’s hatred. But the Emperor did not have much reaction towards that smile, unlike me.
He just shrugged his shoulders.
“More than that, the Lady must have been surprised by your sudden appearance, brother.”
“…I see, Your Majesty the Emperor.”
I quickly bowed with my right hand on my left chest.
“Look at this.”
The Emperor clicked his tongue.
“We were talking in a more relaxed atmosphere.”
The man changed into a different person as soon as I found out that he was the Emperor. The man who had smiled gently at me and called me ‘Lady’ disappeared in an instant, and a man with arrogance and irreverence appeared.
Ian slightly raised the corners of his lips and said,
“My fiancée is a shy person. If you have something to tell her, please say it to me.”
“Not exactly, but I just wanted to get along. Aren’t you my special brother’s first lover? You… Hmmm. So this type was your type.”
The Emperor’s gaze moved up and down, slowly scanning me. I felt like a piece of meat hanging from a butcher shop for a brief moment. As if each part is being thoroughly assessed. Discomfort ran through my body, but I tried not to show it.
At that time.
Ian gently grabbed my shoulder.
“Come this way a little bit more. Aren’t you too close to a man who is more of a stranger than I am?”
“Oh, hmm. Yes…?”
With a puzzled look on my face, I was dragged behind Ian’s back.
Soon Ian’s broad back blocked my view. It wasn’t that I couldn’t see the Emperor at all; it was just that I could only see his face.
I blinked my eyes quickly. It was like, Ian covered me up.
The Emperor chuckled as if it was a funny statement.
“How can the fiancée of my younger brother be a stranger?”
“Everyone aside from me are outsiders.Therefore, even if it’s my own brother, he’s considered an outsider.”
“For some reason, you want to completely monopolise your fiancée.”
The Emperor raised one eyebrow. His aura was similar to Ian’s, however his seemed colder.
“I wasn’t greedy in the least. Neither for mother’s affection nor father’s recognition, was I?”
I clenched my fists behind Ian. It was because of that person that Ian did not get enough affection from the previous Empress and the recognition of the previous Emperor.
Ian Esteban. A second Prince who can do anything. He possesses a brilliant intellect, a rare talent for swordsmanship, and a straightforward demeanor. Ian was a threat to the next Crown Prince’s position.
Many believed that Ian would be appointed as Crown Prince for the Empire’s future while the previous Emperor was still alive.
‘Rashid probably didn’t know that.’
When Rashid heard someone praising Ian, he became even more sensitive. Rashid was hysterical even if his mother stroked Ian’s hair once or if his father gave him his one and only compliment.
When the Emperor passed his sword to Ian, his hysteria reached a pinnacle.
Rashid might have tried to assassinate Ian if Ian hadn’t implicitly stated that he had no intention of aiming for the throne when he joined the Holy Knights.
‘Maybe he’s tried a few times already.’
Despite his appearance, Rashid was an unscrupulous person who would deal with anyone for the sake of his own safety.
Even in the original, the embattled Rashid made the worst decision.
‘He tried to submerge the entire Capital that Ian seized by opening the dam.’
It was a crazy plan to annihilate not only Ian, but also many other people of the Empire. I tried not to show my contempt in front of Rashid. Ian’s voice was unpretentious and cool, in contrast to mine, which was filled with conflicting emotions.
“Your Majesty, isn’t there no reason to be greedy for things that are not mine?”
His voice was calm, he said this as if it were natural for neither his mother’s affection nor his father’s recognition to be his.
How long have you been repressing your emotions and putting on such a poker face?
“But this one is different.”
Ian tightened his arm around my shoulder.
“I found her and I chose her, she’s mine.”
…I was so embarrassed that I just muttered under my breath. No matter how much we are acting now, I never thought I’d hear such a line full of obsession from Ian’s mouth.
‘It’s poisonous. It’s poisonous.’