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The Hero Proposed to Me
Even though his joyous holiday had already begun, Isaac Valentine was very uncomfortable.
His fierce eyes turned towards Crown Prince Alex, who was essentially an uninvited guest. The atmosphere around him was terrible because of what had happened in the morning.
“Well then, would you mind helping me, Your Highness?”
Clara stepped in to mediate between the two, but Isaac couldn’t hide his resentful, childish glare.
‘How did it turn out like this?’
He had definitely fallen asleep holding his cute Ciel, so he had been certain that everything would be the same in the morning.
The shock of finding Louis, not Ciel, asleep in his arms was still vivid.
He had been in a foul mood because two uninvited wolves had crawled into the villa yesterday. Then his cute little sister, who was smaller than a rabbit, had disappeared and his mind had started racing.
Feeling his blood run cold, Isaac made a huge commotion as he burst out of the bedroom.
“Ciel, where are you?”
“Miss is in the dining room.”
Fortunately she hadn’t gone missing nor had she been kidnapped. He tried to force himself to calm down, but the person having breakfast with Ciel was none other than the Crown Prince.
“Brother, did you sleep well?”
“Why did you get up so early?”
“Isaac, you just overslept.”
Ciel was the law and what she said was the truth. He tried to accept that it was his fault for oversleeping, but he found the Crown Prince, who was sitting across from Ciel, especially irritating today.
“Young Master, shall I bring you some breakfast?”
“I’ll have the same thing as Ciel.”
While his breakfast was being prepared, Isaac watched Ciel and Alex, who seemed to be getting along quite well.
“Why have you two been together since this morning?”
“His Highness also woke up early and we bumped into each other by chance.”
She said that it had simply been a coincidence, but he just couldn’t believe it.
“Miss woke up early and went for a walk. And then, after some time, His Highness showed up, right?”
Meryl followed Ciel like a shadow. But even after hearing what she said, it was hard to dispel his doubts.
Ciel was taking a sip of her warm soup when a shriek suddenly came from outside of the dining room.
“I said, Ciel’s chastity is in danger!”
Isaac sprang to his feet at the unpleasant noise.
As if he had eaten something dubious, Grand Duke Winterbaum had been spouting nonsense about Ciel and Prince Alex sleeping in the same bed since the early morning. 
“Is that true?”
“There’s no chance. I definitely saw Miss go out for a walk.”
The servant who had seen Ciel earlier that morning firmly denied what Stan said. Clara, who had woken up late, walked over to them with Theo and checked on Stan’s condition.
“You must have dreamt it because of the strong smell of the medicinal herbs.”
There were eyewitnesses, so he knew Stan’s words were just crap, but Isaac still felt somewhat uneasy.
Something was definitely off. After breakfast, Theo took Ciel and Louis to practice magic.
“Then Clara, please take care of the residence.”
“Yes, Brother. Have a safe trip.”
Clara straighted Theo’s messy cravat and left their younger siblings in his care. As ever, Isaac was disappointed to see her go, but nevertheless, Ciel flew far off into the sky in Theo’s arms.
While Ciel went to learn magic from Theo, Clara took Isaac and Alex to gather medicinal herbs.
“Grand Duke Winterbaum is unwell, so we need more medicine. You two, please harvest some herbs.”
“Do we have to?”
“They can’t be harvested by ordinary people.”
The bark of the ketop vine, which was said to be a miraculously effective treatment for Stan’s leg wound, was so hard that a regular sword couldn’t even leave a scratch on it. As a result, a sword infused with aura was needed to cut through it.
Isaac wasn’t able to utilize his aura at will, but Alex was slicing through the ketop vines with ease.
Isaac became upset as he remembered what Ciel said about never fighting with Alex. Unlike Isaac, who had been gradually accumulating experience fighting while in the capital, Alex had been tossed onto the battlefield and had gained actual combat experience.
Despite being despised by his aunt, the Imperial Princess, Alex had cleaned up the border and returned to the capital safely.
Isaac felt a sense of rivalry for the first time in his life when he looked at Alex, who boasted both good looks and a sturdy physique as well as the position of crown prince of the Empire.
But more than that, he was bothered by the unusual amount of interest Ciel showed towards Alex and the way she treated him kindly.
It wasn’t pleasant to see his younger sister’s attention focused on anyone else. Furthermore, Isaac hadn’t expected him to come this far, so he didn’t bother to hide his displeasure.
‘This is a bit awkward.’
Looking over at the two boys, who were overly conscious of each other, Clara struggled to endure the uncomfortable atmosphere.
If Theo had been there everything would have been fine, but unfortunately, he had taken Ciel and Louis off somewhere for a lesson in magic.
‘If the situation between those two remains the same even after she enters the palace, then Ciel will definitely be in trouble.’
An older sister should be reliable at times like this. Clara, who was normally rather timid, decided to use her head.
Clara was well aware of the one subject of conversation that they both liked, the one which, when brought up, would ensure that everything would work out somehow.
“Our Ciel is so adorable.”
In fact, more than half of the conversation that she had had with her adopted mother, the Duchess, in the carriage had been about Ciel.
Ciel’s existence had become a big source of support for Clara. Clara felt somewhat guilty. No matter how nice her family was, they weren’t related to her by blood, so they weren’t truly family.
Since she had joined the Valentines, she had never once forgotten that she was the only outsider within the family.
But despite not being related to them by blood, thanks to Ciel she was able to bond with her new family.
What would have happened if Ciel had hated Clara and had rejected her because she was adopted? It would have been miserable beyond imagination.
She had probably realized by now that Clara wasn’t her biological sister, but Ciel had continued to like her and follow her around.
So she couldn’t hate her. To Clara, Ciel had become more precious than anything else, perhaps even more beloved than her blood-related younger sister.
“What do you two like about Ciel so much?”
“I think ‘beautiful’ is more fitting than ‘cute’.”
“That’s probably why His Highness Stan likes Ciel as well.”
Clara had spoken without thinking, but the boys started working faster at the mention of Stan.
“He likes her so much that it’s a problem.”
He was a dangerous person. They didn’t know what he would do if he were left to his own devices. It was better to get rid of him quickly.
The two boys removed the bark from the vines and several servants extracted the liquid from them. They resumed their discussion, digging up vines at an incredible pace so that they could heal Stan and send him back as quickly as possible.
“The way she blinks her eyes when she’s curious about something is cute.”
Hearing Alex’s praise, Isaac, a self-proclaimed ‘Ciel maniac’, started to ramble.
“The shape of her eyes when she yawns is cuter. And when she stretches she has a habit of extending her right hand out.”
“Ah, that’s right. She does.”
Isaac smoothly recounted a habit that even Clara, who was always with Ciel, hadn’t noticed.
Before he knew it, Alex stopped arguing with Isaac and started paying close attention to what he said.
“And what else?”
“Ciel actually prefers clothing with ribbons over clothing with buttons. I guess you were unaware.”
Isaac was Isaac after all. He didn’t miss a chance to be petty. But Alex listened to his words carefully, committing them to memory one by one and muttering to himself as he ruminated on them.
“Ciel drinks herbal tea every night before bed.”
“Herbal tea, huh…”
The pair, who had been looking at each other like a dog watching a chicken just a few minutes earlier, were now conversing amicably. 
“Her pillow must be made from Merino wool. Ciel likes it because it’s soft.”
“You’re incredible. I’ve still got a lot to learn.”
Alex, who was quite shrewd, only said things that he knew Isaac would like. As soon as Alex gave Isaac permission to stay with Ciel once she had entered the palace, Isaac’s attitude quickly changed and he began to be cooperative.
“Well, those are the basics.”
“By the way, I’m pretty worried. If Grand Duke Winterbaum continues to refuse to give up on Ciel, then there could be problems in the future.”
Clara, who was bad at reading the room, chucked a stone at the friendly atmosphere.
“I have something else in mind for that.”
Alex cut through the last vine and shook his sword to clean it off.
Isaac was dubious, but Alex did everything he could to win him over.
“Everyone will learn of my relationship with Ciel through the announcement about her entrance into the palace.”
“Still, I have something I’d like to ask. What are your plans for Ciel, Your Highness?”
Despite being his younger sister’s request, the matter of deceiving the public would inevitably require Alex’s support.
Even though he wanted to protect Clara and Ciel, Isaac was suspicious of Alex’s purpose in accepting this offer.
“If I continue to hold my ground, the Princess will not be able to target Ciel.”
“As long as I’m Ciel’s lover, even the Princess can’t recklessly pair Ciel and Stan together. I can protect my position as crown prince and Ciel can avoid Stan.”
Alex was firm, this was solely for their mutual benefit.
It was a neat answer that didn’t show any emotion. Extremely happy with the Crown Prince’s reply, Isaac let out a hearty laugh and patted him on the shoulder.
“I thought you two liked each other.”
“Ciel is kind. I’m just leaning on her goodwill.”
He said that they didn’t like each other. Isaac was exceedingly satisfied with the reply that he was only cooperating for the sake of their political interests.
“If that’s the case, I’m willing to cooperate as well. I apologize for my past rudeness.”
Unlike the harmonious pair, Clara tilted her head in confusion. She had been sure that Alex liked Ciel, but she must have been mistaken.
Then all of a sudden, she made eye contact with Alex. Alex looked at Clara and smiled wickedly.
His first marriage proposal had been rejected by Duke Valentine on the grounds that they were still too young to bring up talks of marriage.
The two had happily become friends instead. Even if the two had officially pledged to get married, there was still quite a lot of time before Ciel officially made her debut in high society.
Perhaps he was bringing Ciel into his palace to keep other men from eyeing her in the meantime. The fear of Grand Duke Winterbaum reaching his evil hands out to her was especially concerning.
The more aggressive Stan was, the better it was for Alex. Clara had a flash of deductive brilliance. As Clara opened her mouth to say something, Alex put his finger to his lips and shushed her.
It was a silent signal to not to say anything since she had figured everything out.
But even if she remained quiet, when Isaac learned the truth later, it would definitely be a big problem. Clara was anxious. When Isaac wasn’t looking she whispered to Alex.
“Your Highness, how are you planning on dealing with him finding out later…”
 In other words, he was acting like he had eaten something weird/rotten and it made him crazy.
 It means the manner in which two people look at each other with indifference.