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“No one can ensure Clara’s survival unless I enter the palace myself.”
In the original novel, Princess Lotte did everything she could to harm the Valentine family and even the Crown Prince.
Clara, who was actually quite good at identifying poisons, got caught up in the Princess’ schemes and narrowly escaped death several times.
Ironically, the one who saved Clara was also the one who had been harassing her, her younger sister Ciel.
It isn’t an exaggeration to say that Clara received most of her protagonist buffs under Ciel’s protection, although it was for the ridiculous reason that Ciel had hated seeing her suffer under the Princess’ hand rather than her own.
“Shouldn’t we just withdraw our support for the Crown Prince?”
I let out an involuntary sigh at Louis’ blunt words. He never looks at the big picture.
We have to make the male lead feel indebted to us so that we can reap the benefits when he’s successful later. I don’t know if it’s because he is still young, but Louis is always a bit careless in whatever he does.
“The Princess is an enemy of our family.”
“That’s right. If Grand Duke Winterbaum ascends the throne, he’ll use his power to try to take Ciel away by any means possible, so our family is better off supporting His Highness Alex.”
Isaac, who has hated Grand Duke Winterbaum since long ago, was the first to bring up a reason to support the Crown Prince.
I’ve had an inkling since that time he was staring at me, but looking at the way that Isaac, a human radar, is acting, I can tell how much Stan must like me.
“I don’t understand why he likes our little idiot.”
Despite saying that, Louis accepted what Isaac said.
“I’ll return home once I’ve ensured that our sister’s position is stable.”
I don’t know when that will be, but I feel a sense of responsibility towards Clara as if I were her guardian.
I’ve put in so much effort up to this point to raise my sister to be this bright and innocent. Since I’ve come this far acting as if I was playing a daughter raising game, I’ll only feel relieved once she reaches the ending safely.
“After seeing Clara safely married, I think I’ll be able to breathe easy.”
As long as my head remains attached to my neck until my sister is married, then the game will end happily. What a perfect plan this is.
“Are you Clara’s mom or something?”
Seeing the way I was acting, Louis was needlessly sarcastic. I have a lot to say about the way he acts as well.
“Then, are you saying you want to see Clara get conned by some strange guy again?”
Louis really couldn’t see the big picture at all. Clara is a little absent minded, but her talent, which allows even finicky herbal drugs to flourish, is definitely a potential moneymaker. Moreover, it would be extremely valuable to the wrong kinds of people.
If Princess Lotte gets a hold of her, she might really become a drug dealer’s slave and end up toiling away for the rest of her life.
And it wouldn’t end in tragedy for just my sister. If something like drugs really did start circulating around the marketplace, this country would be thrown into chaos in an instant.
I just want to be able to peacefully enjoy this golden spoon* life for a long time.  In order to accomplish that, I have to completely eliminate anything that poses even the slightest threat to my happiness.
After all, you only live once, so you should live selfishly. Even when I do things for Clara, it’s actually mostly for myself.
“So I need your help, Louis. If you see some strange activity outside of the palace, let me know through Isaac.”
“Why do I have to do something so annoying?”
“If there’s no Valentine family, then there’s no Louis either. Isn’t that right, Isaac?”
“We’re all in the same boat and we share the same fate.”
Louis always runs off and messes around on his own. For his sake, I decided to provide him with some early education.
How could I do all of this work myself? If I was trapped within the palace, I would need someone who would listen to my requests and investigate what’s going on outside the palace.
He is incredibly impudent, but even so, my bratty youngest brother is the one best suited to that role.
My accomplice, Isaac, sat Louis down in front of him and started brainwashing him.
“If the Valentine family goes under, you won’t be safe either. You’ll definitely become a wanted man and you’ll be chased for the rest of your life.”
“Why? I didn’t do anything wrong!”
“If you think it’s unfair, then you should blame yourself for being born as our brother. Clara might be safe because she isn’t really related to us, but we’re brothers who share the same blood.”
There’s no point in being disgraceful and trying to run away. Louis, whose mind has yet to fully develop, was easily persuaded by Isaac’s sincere words.
“All I have to do is watch the Princess’ movements?”
“No. If you’re going to focus on something, focus on all of the people here.”
In order to prepare for the events to come, I decided to thoroughly take advantage of Louis. Seeing the voluminous list, Louis gave me an incredulous look.
“How am I supposed to look into all of this by myself?”
“Who told you to do it alone? You have a lot of friends, don’t you?”
Did he really think I didn’t know that he controls the Dark Network? Louis, whose weakness had been grasped, studied my face, his pupils shaking in bewilderment.
“Theo said that he’d take care of your expenses. So don’t worry about making money and just focus on this.”
After hearing my commands, which seemed to see right through him, Louis lost his ability to argue back.
And thus we succeeded in bringing Louis around by using the carrot and stick approach.  Having persuaded that absolutely obstinate brat, Isaac looked at me with sparkling eyes.
“Then what should I do?”
His bright eyes were begging me to order him to do something. Well anyway, he is pretty reliable.
I immediately lifted my hand up and patted Isaac on the shoulder.
“Naturally, your job is to protect me at all times, no matter where I am.”
He’ll need to use physical force and occasionally his looks. Isaac can manage the work of ten people by himself.
It would take more than three days to get to the villa, but time flew by as we discussed our future plans during our operational meeting.
Over the mountains and across the water, the carriage we rode raced towards the distant villa.
* * *
I remember learning about it during a geography lesson. Nescal, an enormous lake near the Plum Mountains, was said to be a dangerous area where magic beasts appeared.
“So our summer villa is in a place like this… Dad, are you okay?”
Shortly before arriving at the villa, my dad, who was suffering from symptoms of daughter withdrawal, finally came over to our carriage.
“Wouldn’t anyone get restless just sitting in a carriage?”
Dad seems to be in quite a petulant mood. Isaac, who had monopolized the seat next to me for two days, had decided to ride a horse along with Louis, who was tiptoeing around our dad.
Well, I don’t really get the chance to have long conversations with my dad outside of times like this. I held my dad’s hand tightly as if we were on a date and listened attentively to what he was saying.
“This place used to be dangerous because of the barrier stone that attracted magic beasts to it.”
I don’t know who set them up, but the barrier stones, which seem to be ancient relics, still remain dotted throughout the continent. They used to be used to attract magic beasts and cause trouble.
But with the emergence of powerful mages like my dad, the magic beasts have gradually begun to lose ground.
Moreover, two of the most skilled sword masters in history have already appeared in our generation, Alex and Isaac.
Now people have slowly begun venturing into areas once plagued by magic beasts.
“Not long ago, a meteorite struck the barrier stone and smashed it to pieces, scattering the magic beasts that were here.”
“So there are no more magic beasts?”
“They’re not completely gone yet, but they live hidden within the forests, so they shouldn’t be dangerous unless we provoke them first.”
As the magic beasts disappeared, this area would naturally become prized territory.
Quickly grasping the situation, my dad bought all of the land in this area for dirt cheap. Those who recognized the value of this place belatedly would be filled with bitter regrets as they watched the price of the land skyrocket.
“You should be able to practice magic to your heart’s content in a place like this, Ciel.”
I still lack the ability to control it, but my latent magical power is vast enough to surpass the average mage’s.
“Then, I’m the reason you bought everything here?”
“Of course. This much space is needed in order to allow our cute Ciel to practice magic comfortably.”
If the size of that mountain over there is just a single dot on a map, then, no matter how you look at it, this place must be about 30 times the size of Yeouido. 
No one actually knows how much magical power my dad, who is called an archmage, has, nor how powerful he truly is.
Despite his power, my dad never acts arrogantly.
He’s even extremely polite to the Emperor, his close friend, whenever they’re in front of others.
“Power should only be used when it’s absolutely necessary. Overuse of magical power can become toxic to you.”
His tremendous power was matched by his admirable character. Seeing my dad like that made me want to hurry up and become a wonderful mage like him.
I’ve somewhat managed to learn how to use magic, but I still can’t use it freely and easily like my dad. My dad placed me, someone unable to control their overflowing magical power, in front of him and happily patted my head.
“Actually, even your dad wasn’t able to use magic freely in the beginning.”
I can’t believe my dad had such a past. I thought he was talented from the moment he was born.
“Ordinary people are frightened by the power we have. Sometimes I’m misunderstood unfairly and there are even times when I’m criticized for something that wasn’t my fault.”
He had customized his explanation for a child, but I understood what he meant. What would happen if my tremendously powerful dad used his magic recklessly?
Fearful of my dad’s formidable power, those who were prone to being suspicious would definitely put pressure on the Emperor by saying that my dad was eyeing the throne.
“We shouldn’t stir up unnecessary suspicions.”
My dad patted me on the head, perhaps because he was proud of how quickly I had understood.
“When you enter the Imperial Palace, some people may hate you irrationally.”
“Because I’m the daughter of the Valentine family?”
Naturally, negative emotions such as jealousy and envy exist wherever people are.
“Who do you get your exceptional intelligence from? Our little Ciel understands things so quickly.”
I was easily able to respond in depth when my dad said something. He nodded, looking pleased.
My entrance into the palace is truly just around the corner now. Even without him saying anything, I know that my dad is anxious because Princess Lotte is grinding her teeth in frustration over the whole situation.
But I’m not that weak. Taking advantage of the privileges of being the youngest in the family, I placed my hand on my worried dad’s head.
“If they want to hate me, then they can go ahead and hate me. They don’t scare me at all.”
“Our little princess sure is brave.”
“Of course. Whose daughter do you think I am? No matter how I may look, I’m the one who has inherited the most magical power from the world’s strongest archmage, Christopher Valentine.”
I was deliberately blustering, but the effect was amazing. My dad laughed heartily while hugging me as hard as he could.
“I guess your dad was worried for no reason.”
“No. It’s nice to have a date with Dad like this.”
My dad was concerned that I might run into some difficulties due to my lack of skill at controlling my magical power. He was being highly attentive and I was grateful for my dad’s kindness.
“I’ll do so well when I get there that you won’t have to worry, Dad.”
“Don’t overdo it. Remember that your dad will always be by your side, Ciel.”
“Yes, I will…”
I have such a loving dad. If worst comes to worst, I can always tell my dad everything and ask him for help.
 Having a ‘golden spoon’ refers to being affluent.
 The carrot and stick approach refers to a method of persuasion that utilizes a combination of reward (carrot) and punishment (stick).
 Yeouido is an island on the Han River in Seoul. It is sometimes used as a base unit for comparison when describing the size of a city or large area (ie: City A is x times the size of Yeouido).