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Stan’s gaze lingered as he observed my amiable attitude. Stan asked me repeatedly, despite the fact that I was pushing him away.
“Promise me. It’s a must.”
“Then excuse me.”
There’s no way he wouldn’t notice if I were deliberately being mean. Stan showed no ill will toward me. He would be furious if I acted so harshly, but why does Stan like me so much?
I can’t understand what’s going on in that kid’s head. By the time we had sent Stan away and arrived at the prince’s palace, Alex had spoken first.
“Are you serious about going to Stan’s palace?”
“I’ll consider it.”
“Why? Are you jealous?”
As Alex rubbed the back of his neck, his ears turned red. Don’t be shy.
Still, it seemed that it was because they were friends that he would not cut his throat recklessly thinking about their friendship.
As the prince returned to the palace, I saw my older sister from afar.
“Ciel, did you have a good trip?”
I got off Alex’s back and ran towards my sister. I missed my sister more as I saw my cousin, who was not on good terms with her.
“Then get some rest.”
“Thank you, Your Highness.”
He told me I couldn’t sleep with her, but Alex was willing to give up on me to Clara. Isaac then came back from his shift and raced directly to my room.
“How’s your work? Are people treating you well?”
“Yes. Everyone is so kind and nice. I already made friends.”
Although she had come to an unfamiliar place, my sister seemed bright. Isaac continued after that.
“I will be in charge of escorting Ciel tomorrow. I heard you’re going to pay a visit to the Lily Palace?”
“Yes. I should say thank you to Your Highness, The Prince.”
My sister takes care of my difficulties while her work is going smoothly. I am in a good mood because I received a ton of presents as well.
Even while I chatted excitedly with my sister and brother, the silence outside the securely closed door on one side of my bedroom was deafening. Alex might be thinking about something right now.
“It’s time for you to rest.”
The Crown Prince’s Palace has its own rules. After listening to the maid, Burnett, my sister and my brother had to leave their seats with regret behind.
If Clara had entered the palace alone on her first day, she might have come under fire and been bullied. But when I entered the palace, all eyes were on me.
There were still unopened presents in the corner of the room, but I couldn’t bring myself to open them.
I’m feeling lonely. Louis must have come up at the right time to pick a fight when we were at home.
By now, I’ve already run to Theo and reported on what Clara did today, and Isaac attacked me.
Every day around this time, I used to chat with my sister about her new herbal tea every day.
“Ciel. I brought some herbal tea.”
As I was immersed in my memories, the lady-in-waiting, Jean Burnett, brought tea. But somehow, the tea smelled familiar.
“What is this?”
“His Highness told me.”
It is claimed to make you have good dreams, so it has become a habit for me to drink a special herbal tea my sister prepares every night before going to bed.
I never thought I could drink it here too. I didn’t know you would take care of such a small thing.
“Would Burnett like to join me for a drink? I’m so lonely by myself.”
“If you don’t mind me, I’ll be glad to serve you.”
I heard that becoming a maid of honour at the crown prince’s palace had to be a certain level of an aristocrat. We drank tea and talked about many things.
A woman gave birth to the emperor’s child, but she was never officially appointed as an empress. Thus, the position of the empress of the empire was still vacant.
“She was His Highness Alex’s mother.”
It was almost taboo to mention her existence in the imperial palace. The black-haired woman whom the emperor suddenly brought was of lowly status and couldn’t even speak properly.
When she first met Burnett, her belly was already quite swollen. The woman with the emperor’s seeds was afraid since she had no idea what she was getting herself into.
“However, I think His Majesty loved her with all his heart. At least they two had a good communication, and they seemed happy while they were together.”
“Do you happen to know where she came from?”
“His Majesty just said that she came from a faraway place, a very far place where you could never go back.”
I think that’s not the excuse. Like other male leads whose birth secret is pretty important.
I listened to Burnett’s words as the settings that were not addressed in the main plot were being resolved.
“A few years later, the predecessor, Grand Duke Winterbaum, also known as the Mercenary King, passed away.”
“Do you mean Stan’s father?”
Burnett nodded. The emperor pushed his only sister into the arms of the mercenary king to get her hands on the Winterbaum estate, which is essential to the empire.
Because of that, Princess Lotte could maintain her current status even though she had committed countless evil deeds.
A pitiful princess who married a ruthless barbarian for the sake of the empire. The aristocracy lauded Princess Lott’s arranged marriage as a noble sacrifice for the empire.
The unhappy marriage did not last long. Princess Lotte’s husband, the Mercenary King, was killed by a dragon’s curse even before their child was born.
“Ever since Princess Lotte returned as a pregnant woman, the imperial palace has felt like hell to him.”
Alex was only two years old at the time. When Princess Lotte returned to the capital after a few years, she was shocked to discover that the emperor’s children had been born to an unknown foreign woman.
It’s not that I don’t understand how she feels. It just feels wrong. It would be unfair to make her marry by force, but the emperor himself even had a child with an unknown woman.
The atrocities she committed thus far cannot be justified by this, but if I have to argue, the emperor seems to be the worst.
This would not have happened if the emperor had acted appropriately in the first place. The wretched emperor, who couldn’t defend the woman he loved, couldn’t protect Alex’s mother in the end.
It would be nice if all dads were like my dad. He loves my mother, and He is a man who loves his children. As a bonus, he didn’t drink alcohol, didn’t smoke, wealthy and handsome. My dad is the best.
“I feel sorry for His Highness Alex.”
How hard would Alex have been in the imperial palace alone with a father like that? I’m sorry, Stan, but I can’t let go of Alex either. Burnett gently held my hand as I stared at the door leading to Alex’s room.
“His Highness has often talked about Lady Ciel.”
“Yes. He said that you are honest and kind, and that you grew up receiving a lot of love and had a warm heart.”
I think it’s a serious overestimation considering my condition these days when I’m having fun playing villains. Still, I don’t have to confess the truth.
“Did he not tell me I was beautiful?”
“Of course he did. He said you are beautiful, shining like the moon.”
Hmm, I thought he wasn’t interested in me at all because he didn’t respond, but he still has eyes for people.
I felt better because I received the compliment. Even though I grew up listening to it my whole life, I was still weak against compliments. I always want to live my life hearing only positive things. There is no need to buy and hear negative words.
I smiled like an idiot, took a sip of hot herbal tea, and gestured to the mound of presents.
“I don’t know what to do with all that.”
“I’ll have the ladies-in-waiting sort it out tomorrow. Can I send the list to Valentine’s family so that it doesn’t get lost along the way?”
“Yes. That’s enough.”
Burnett was one of the few allies who protected poor Alex’s mother and her son. It was clear that she was a smart and capable person, seeing as she safely protected Alex from the clutches of the princess.
Since she must be well aware of the situation in the imperial palace, I confided my troubles to Burnett.
“Actually, His Highness Stan asked me to come to his palace during the day earlier.”
“I’ve heard that His Highness Stan likes Lady Ciel.”
Rumours have already spread. I’m screwed. Seeing me sticking out my tongue and grumbling, Burnett smiled brightly.
“Your Highness must have told you to refuse.”
“How did you know?”
“Burnet knows anything.”
Oh. I want to give extra points for her confident attitude. I really like that bold look.
“Is it better to refuse, as His Highness says?”
“No, you must not.”
My prediction was right. If I had rejected Stan’s offer on the spot, it would have been perfect for me and Alex to be criticized as a whole.
“The other side will spread rumors that His Highness the Crown Prince is forcibly restraining Lady Ciel in order to monopolize her.”
“I knew it.”
“Because you wouldn’t want to turn the Duke of Valentine into an enemy either.”
So, if I get anything wrong, I’ll blame it all on Alex.
We were eventually able to converse after meeting Burnett, who had extensive experience in the circumstances of the imperial palace.
“Is His Highness going to be too late?”
“I think the meeting is getting longer.”
I was bored, so I asked Burnett for permission to look around Alex’s room.
On one side of the bleak room was a portrait of Alex’s mother, whom I had only heard about.
“She is pretty.”
“She was a stunningly beautiful woman.”
It’s just what I expected. Long black hair hung down like thread, and lively black eyes. As well as ivory skin. Alex’s mother was an elegant beauty resembling the night sky.
She was a beautiful woman, but aside from that, Alex’s mother really did look familiar to me.
Could it be that Alex’s mother was also included in the book? Or dimension shift? Thousands of possibilities crossed my mind, but I could see how much she suffered because she couldn’t communicate.
“Unfortunately, Her Highness has destroyed all of the last belongings left by His Highness’ mother.”
“Removing the keepsake, what do you mean?”
Burnett’s expression was sombre as she opened her mouth.
Even though Alex is the emperor’s only son, his legitimacy is not acknowledged when Princess Lotte returns to the Imperial Palace.
“In the Empire, the title of Princess of Royal is bestowed upon the emperor’s eldest daughter from generation to generation.”
Princess Royal is a lifetime title. In other words, even if the next Emperor has a daughter, the position cannot be inherited until the previous royal princess dies.
Even if it is not hereditary, the emperor’s eldest sister has a powerful position with the right to inherit the throne.
If Lotte had an in-law, she would be able to say bitterly that she was virtually no different from her maternal grandmother, but Princess Lotte had neither a spouse nor an in-law.
1. Gold Miss refers to an unmarried woman who is highly-educated, economically and socially independent.