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“Come to think of it, it’s been a while since I’ve talked about that.”
As soon as I got home, I ran straight to my mom. When asked if what Grand Duke Stan said was true, my mother nodded after thinking for a while.
“No, of course, that was a one-sided argument from them. Who dares to ask for my daughter now?”
I only breathed a sigh of relief at my mother’s firm words. So according to my mother, I played with Stan from when I was a baby who couldn’t talk to the age of four.
“Was it when you were five? You were really sick. You forgot all those memories.”
That’s when I entered Ciel’s body.
“I don’t remember anything about before that.”
“It can’t be helped. Ciel was too young back then. Every time I went to the Palace, Stan begged me for you to marry him whenever I saw him. It was years ago.”
I didn’t expect that to happen. In the original book, he was a boy who rarely showed his presence, so I didn’t consider him at all.
I went straight into investigating his background with keen attention to the dangers that came out of nowhere.
Prince Stan, son of Empress Lotte.
The same age as our brat, Louis, two years older than me.
He is also the owner of the Winterbaum Estate, which is the biggest source of income for the Imperial family.
Unlike Louis, who still hasn’t abandoned his temperament, he seemed quite decent and gentle.
Unlike his cousin Alex, he is a calm and docile person but he is far from the throne. There were only a few explanations from time to time, but he never appeared in the novel.
“Will it be all right?”
After identifying himself, Stan left a few dubious comments.
– I hope to see you again soon, lovely Ciel.
Every word he said sounded like that of a real Prince. There was a sense of compatibility, perhaps because he was a pretty handsome boy resembling Queen Lotte.
Maybe it was Stan, not Alex, who was my destiny? Somehow I was offended by the sudden love flag.
“My lovely baby sister! Ciel!”
Just in time, Isaac, who saw me from afar, came running. Like a radar, Isaac always found me, anytime, wherever I was.
Even if you hear something embarrassing for the first time, if you hear it every day, you will build some immunity.
Since there is no information about Stan yet, I began to dig up information by being patient with Isaac’s lovey-dovey attack.
“Brother, I have a question.”
“What are you curious about? I’ll let you know everything.”
“What kind of man is Duke Stan?”
As soon as the name Stan came out of my mouth, Isaac stopped moving. His expression was unusually cold. What’s wrong?
“Stan. You didn’t meet him, did you?”
“We met. Today at the Academy.”
“Let me see!”
As soon as my answer fell, Isaac began to search all over my body to see if I was hurt.
I didn’t eat people, I just said I met him. Isaac glared at the Imperial Palace, with an arrogant face.
“What’s wrong with you?”
“Don’t run into him again. He’s too dangerous for our fragile Ciel.”
Does my brother want to be attacked by petals? I may not be able to control my powers, but now I know how to use magic.
Moreover, compared to Alex, who leads the soldiers, Stan, who is a softie, looked less than a fistful.
“Brother, come on.”
No matter what I do, it seems that in my brother’s eyes, I’m still his small sister who needs protection. What should I do with my brother who seems to have come out of a fairy tale?
“If I’m in danger, then Brother can come to my rescue.”
“Well, of course! Our cute Ciel!”
I smiled broadly at Isaac, who was asking for it and visited Theo, the most objective and reliable source in my family.
“Theo, are you free for a second?”
“Come on in.”
With his glasses on, Theo was reading a book. Theo, who was already 21 years old and a young man, had grown up to be an intelligent and serious man, possibly because he resembled our father.
Unlike Isaac, who resembles our mother and has a gorgeous smile, Theo had a rich atmosphere, like melted dark chocolate.
PR/N: kinda simping for Theo now.
“I heard about it. Louis got a B.”
“I think he was very nervous. My comfort didn’t work at all.”
“But he recovered quite a bit. You did a good job.”
Unexpectedly, a compliment came out of my brother’s mouth. I can be certain that if words like that came out from Theo’s mouth, it’s a huge compliment.
Theo closed the book he was reading, put it aside, and approached me. Unlike my father and Isaac, who always stick to me when they see me, there is always a subtle gap between Theo and me.
The more generous the adults were to me, the more reasonable Theo tried to remain somehow.
Perhaps it is because of his responsibility as the eldest son. However, the way to target Theo was surprisingly simple.
“Today, Clara got a confession again.”
“Which house was it today?”
“He was Count Hammond’s second son. As always, she refused.”
Theo liked Clara.
I haven’t been able to say a word since childhood, but I am the only one who knows it.
Even if I made fun of him about other things, I never said anything about that.
I just quietly cheered for his poor love. Today, Theo nodded after hearing the information he had asked.
In exchange for reporting Clara’s daily routine, Theo gives me the information I’m curious about. Our relationship was actually more like allies than a brother and sister.
“So, what are you curious about today?”
“I met Grand Duke Stan in the academy garden earlier. He said he was my childhood friend, but I don’t remember anything.”
“Duke Stan. If Isaac finds out, he’ll go crazy.”
Theo seemed to know everything about what happened. I managed to sort out the whole story by adding little by little.
“He did go crazy. That’s why I’m here to ask you, Brother.”
After learning the general situation, Theo told me what he knew in exchange for Clara’s information.
“Ciel, you might remember that mother and Queen Lotte have been close since childhood.”
“Yes, I remember. But then Queen Lotte hit me, so we’re not close anymore, are we?”
It was thanks to my mom that my dad supported Alex. Mom, who didn’t like Alex very much at first, started to side with him after the last incident.
Of course, that’s how it is for now.
When I was a child, my mother said she was very, very close to Queen Lotte.
“Grand Duke Stan is the only child of Queen Lotte.”
The Queen, who returned to the Palace after her husband died, could not tolerate the fact that there was an unknown woman next to her brother.
It was really an unfortunate fate. She was a person who existed but everyone ignored her. When I thought of Alex’s treatment inside the Palace, I had a rough idea of the situation.
“Princess Lotte invited the ladies and their children, including our mother, into the Palace.”
“She invited them to the Palace?”
“She wanted to show off her power.”
What if we put together a handful of noble ladies, including the wife of Duke Valentine, the most powerful woman of the Empire, and their children?
Actually, children who will be responsible for the future of the Empire will grow up as acquaintances under the pretext of childhood friends.
Perhaps the story about Stan and I’s marriage was likely something deliberately said by Queen Lotte. If I became Stan’s wife, it’ll be easier to push Alex, a Prince only in name, away.
And maybe because my mother didn’t allow it, such a nasty trick didn’t work.
“Did Stan do anything wrong to me?”
This is the only conclusion I reach from Isaac’s reaction. It was unusual to show outright hostility to the Grand Duke, telling me to never be alone with him.
“He did a bad thing. Really bad.”
“What did he do?”
When I asked, Theo dodged my gaze with a troubled face. Did Stan do something so bad that it was hard to say? But if Theo doesn’t tell me, there’s really no way to find out.
“Tell me, if I see him again, I have to be careful.”
“He tried to kiss you forcibly. I didn’t see it myself, I heard it from our mother.”
What? A kiss? Since a 6-year-old did it to a 4-year-old, I think they could’ve just let it slide by saying it was cute.
I’m afraid it’s not the same for the Valentine’s. It does not matter that it was just a children’s act. They won’t let it slide.
“Anyway, the important thing is, Ciel, you were only four years old. Even though you refused, Grand Duke Stan forced you to do it.”
Brother, your face is going to explode. What does it matter if you’re a 21-year-old capable and smart guy when you look like this?
Unable to put the word “kiss” in his mouth, Theo continued, choosing the words as carefully as possible.
“Whoever it is, it’s not good to touch your body recklessly. Father emphasized that many times.”
The conclusion is too simple to beat around the bush.
“I mean, I’m so cute that you had to teach me to say no when someone tries to kiss me?”
“It has nothing to do with you being cute. If someone forces you to do something you don’t like, you have the right to refuse.”
PR/N: Our best bro here.
“The right to refuse?”
“Yes. No one has the right to force others to do what they don’t like.”
At any rate, Theo has a bad habit of beating around the bush.
Because I’m cute, and because he liked me, I wouldn’t mind if you told me to let it slide, but honestly, I’d be a little hurt.
But Brother Theo didn’t do that. I can tell just by looking at these things. In fact, I’m sure he loves me as much as any other member of the family; but as the eldest, he doesn’t express it because of his responsibility to remain neutral.
I gently leaned my head on Theo’s shoulder and closed my eyes.
“Thank you, always. I love you, brother.”
“What did I do? And, Ciel, you can’t just say ‘I love you’ so recklessly like that.”
He’s so cute. While speaking bluntly, a smile spread over his face. Theo’s love is always this quiet.
 I think this is a pun
 Not as dangerous or not as difficult to handle
 Talking about Alex’s mom