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Since I was only allowed to bring one personal maid into the Imperial Palace, I decided to bring Meryl.
“Miss Meryl, please come this way.”
“Lady Ciel, I’ll see you later.”
It would be difficult for them to bully Meryl because she was a rolling stone. Per my orders, she was obligated to follow and stand by me through thick and thin.
“Miss Burnett. Please look after her so she can get along with her friends.”
“Please feel free to talk casually.”
After I had said goodbye to Meryl, I went straight to talk to my dad. My father put some beautifully crafted chess pieces in my room.
“What is this?”
“This is a barrier.”
“I took precautions to ensure that no one could peek into your room. Only dad can see my adorable daughter sleeping alone.”
You bring up the dangers of wiretapping and hidden cameras. After seeing all the preparations up to this point, I assumed that a big thing was a big deal.
“I believe this should be enough.”
My mother gave us the all-clear sign.
“Then please take care of our Ciel.”
My parents left after we said our goodbyes. I’m really starting to feel like I’m living in someone else’s house now.
While Theo went to see Clara, I looked around for no reason and felt uneasy.
Everything is fine. Actually, there’s no major issue, but I’m still thinking about something.
“Did anything make you feel uncomfortable?”
Alex, who is known for his quick wit, picked up on my peculiarity. I paused for a few moments before speaking cautiously.
“Yes, your highness. May I ask you one favor?”
“Of course, as much as you want.”
“Because the room is too big. Can my sister and I share a room?”
Alex’s eyes trembled fiercely in response to my unexpected question. Although this room is nice, it’s too spacious. When I’m in my room alone at night, I keep having this weird feeling that a ghost will appear.
I should have brought a doll with me. It looks fine right now because it’s bright, but I imagine how terrifying it will be after night falls and the room is empty.
“It’s a bit difficult.”
Alex, who seemed to be listening to everything at first, expressed his displeasure. How can you be so mean to me?
“I think I’d be too scared to sleep alone in this room.”
Please let me sleep with my sister, Clara. Alex considered it for a bit, not realizing that I was planning something evil, and then Burnett handed him a key.
“If you are, then there is nothing I can do.”
Alex then moved in the direction of the mysterious door in the room.
I was curious where the door would lead, but when it opened, there was a large bedroom on the other side that was similar in size to mine. It felt clean and sophisticated, unlike my cute room over there.
“If you get scared at night, call me. This door will always be open for you.”
Oh, no way. Alex’s defense against the threat of assassination.
Since I am his precious guest, he seems to protect me in an emergency. I am reliable too. Although it is not a basic solution, I have earned his trust by putting it that way. I beam as I give Alex a hearty pat on his back.
“Yes. If you have a nightmare, I will protect you.”
People would think we’re dating. I was about to say something cheesy, but seeing Burnett and the other maids’ eyes changed my mind.
A yearning looks as if seeing the future crown prince. To keep Stan at bay, I’m acting like I’m dating the crown prince.
We would both be embarrassed if we denied it outright, so I smiled and took Alex’s outstretched hand in mine.
“Your Highness is very reliable to protect me.”
If I leave, I’ll blow it all away with magic. Surely the princess will try to assassinate me, so then I have to catch the assassin first.
Alex smiled as if pleased with my response with a single glance.
In this way, we’re in the same boat.
* * *
The formal entrance ceremony got underway.
“Ciel Valentine, Greetings to Your Majesty.”
“Welcome, Ciel. I thought I was losing my voice while waiting.”
I didn’t even change my look when I smiled in front of the impudent emperor. I may comfortably greet him now that the pronunciation is not warped like it was previously.
Perhaps the emperor could no longer prank me because of my mature demeanor.
“Did you prepare well?”
“Everything is ready to go without a hitch.”
I’ll be out in just a few months. He said over a hundred autumn dresses were prepared for me and that new winter dresses would arrive soon.
A sacred place for luxury and pleasure does not exist. The emperor, who had obviously neglected to teach him proper etiquette, sneaked up behind me and delightedly patted my head.
“Is there anything else you need?”
“Your Highness Alex took good care of me, so I’m fine.”
“A beautiful pearl arrived just in time from Arden Island. Bring it to the master.”
Even though I have a lot of stuff just like this already, there is no reason for me to turn down anything that is presented to me. I decided to keep the gift from the emperor as a safety net in case I ran out of cash.
“Your Majesty, the Grand Duke has arrived.”
“Let him in.”
Reminding me of the way Stan had been clinging to me of not entering the palace, I unconsciously moved closer to Alex’s side.
Stan, with his eyes full of resentment, looked towards me and strode forward and knelt in front of the emperor.
“Yes, did you go hunting well?”
“Yes. I caught a bighorn deer as a present for Your Majesty.”
“Is that so? It’s not easy to find, so I’m proud of you.”
The emperor appeared to think highly of his accomplishments because he kicked his chair and even got up. What does he find so captivating?
Oh, I see now why he enjoyed it. The emperor received a delivery of a stuffed deer head with horns the width of an adult man’s arms.
Given that you can sense the vitality of being alive at any time, it must be a priceless treasure.
The emperor, who appeared moved, praised Stan.
“You are indeed the son of the mercenary king. It’s incredible how much better Stan is getting every day.”
“I’m flattered, Your Majesty.”
I didn’t know Stan had such a talent. Stan quietly glanced at me and spoke his words, carrying the Emperor’s favour on his back.
“Ciel. It’s been a while.”
“Your Grace, I’m glad to see you again.”
Stan nor I expressed uncomfortable feelings and laid an iron plate on our faces to read the emperor’s face.
“I heard that you came to the Imperial Palace to learn manners this time. My mom is also looking forward to it.”
“Yes. You should learn a lot when you think about what’s going to happen.”
I was about to ask why the story was written that way, but I had nothing to say when the emperor appeared.
“We have prepared a gift to welcome Ciel. Please take it.”
Stan brought the present in front of the Emperor, from human-sized teddy bears to antique teacups.
Stan brought out a small miniature rabbit ornament for the last time and the ornaments that could be set in a vast room.
It was a Sylvanian Rabbit, an animal friend figure I’d been collecting since I was a baby, and an assembly toy like Lego.
The animal figures range from the first family set to the rare grandmother rabbit. I can’t honestly dislike a gift like that.
“How did you get this?”
“I asked the production company directly. You liked that toy since you were a child.”
I can’t believe you remember the childhood toys that I didn’t even know.
For the first time in a long time, seeing a toy of memories reminded me of my childhood.
“Thank you. Oh no, I’m so happy.”
“If Lady Ciel is happy. I can do anything for you.”
I lost my reason for a moment because the gift blinded me. When I came to my senses and turned around, Alex stared coldly at Stan, his lips stiff.
Did I like it so much? I smiled and crossed my arms carefully around Alex’s.
“Then I’m thinking about going to see your Highness Alex at the palace, but is it okay if I leave?”
“I’d love to show you around with me.”
Before I could finish my sentence, Stan interrupted.
“That’s right. Stan and Alex, the two of you, accompany Ciel to the imperial palace.”
I tried to put out the fire, but I didn’t know that the tactless emperor would pour oil. Subordinates carried away the presents, and I went out to see the imperial palace while caught between two men.
“Ciel, the floor is bumpy, so be careful.”
“Yes, Your Highness.”
I can understand the original Ciel’s mind. The person who came to have a crush is his fiancé’s rigid, who is implicitly set, and also a man who loves my sister.
Even if Alex is kind to me, it will be for political reasons. Despite this, Alex was attractive enough for me to fall in love with.
It is no wonder that the original Ciel was swayed. Honestly, I’m helping Alex right now because I don’t want to waste my life.
‘I hope this kid goes well.’
It appealed to me. It’s not an exaggeration to say that I want to be right next to you because I’m greedy. I naturally moved closer to Alex as Stan approached.
“I’d like to show you my palace. Shouldn’t you greet your mother as well?”
“Ciel said that because she had recently visited the palace, she will greet her at the Lily Palace tomorrow. She has contacted me in advance.”
Huh. I’m becoming exhausted now. I might fall out from tiredness if I proceed to the Lily palace, where the princess is.
All I wanted to do then was return to my room, show my sister a rabbit figure, and put together the Lego I had received earlier.
“Where is my sister now?”
“We can call it a day. Shall we go see her?”
“Your Highness, my leg hurts.”
When will I treat myself again if not now? I cast a quick glance at Alex. Perhaps he noticed the signal because as soon as I collapsed, Alex knelt in front of me.
Stan would have no choice but to act if rumours circulated that the crown prince was carrying me around.
“I can also give you a piggyback ride.”
As I expected, Stan came out in a huff. Stan seemed somewhat frail, in contrast to Alex who got taller.
That’s why it’s difficult to say anything openly, so I tried to set a good example.
“I feel so worn out today. Thank you very much for inviting me. I’ll take you for a walk next time I see you, Your Excellency Stan.”