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The dance is nothing special; it’s just an ordinary waltz; nevertheless, this is the first time I’ve ever danced with anyone other than my family, so I’m a little embarrassed, but other than that, I’m feeling really good.
Alex always has a refreshing scent. Perhaps because of this, the tension evaporated, and I found myself laughing without even realising it.
Nobody died, not even Greta. It is not an exaggeration to say that I came out on top of this game handily, despite Princess Lotte’s best efforts to devise cunning schemes.
I was smiling broadly in front of everyone as I danced joyfully with Alex’s hand in mine. Despite a few unexpected twists and turns, the party appeared to be a success.
“How was it? The party is also quite fun, right?”
“It is enough if you are happy.”
I puffed out my cheeks for no reason at the words, that I enjoyed myself. At the time, my steps twisted and I stumbled, but Alex was holding me up, and I didn’t fall.
“I had a good time.”
“If you’re happy, I’m happy too.”
It’s cheating to suddenly come in like this. My waist was lifted by Alex, who did it with both hands and a friendly smile. Our eyes locked, and I reached out to lightly brush Alex’s left hand with the tip of my right hand as we locked gazes.
I let go of my hands for a while, and after spinning around and grasping them again, I realised that this was only a dancing move; yet, for some reason, my heart was hammering during this move.
The emperor was treated to a toast just as the lovely music was drawing to a close.
“May the glory be upon the little lady who arranged such a pleasant occasion.”
The first party was a smashing success, and an imperial spear was used to raise a glass of champagne to celebrate.
* * *
“Ciel. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for protecting my wife.”
After the party, Marquis Baldr belatedly heard the news of me. After the party, the doctor checked Greta’s pulse and was impressed with how steady it was. He speculated that this might be because Greta had eaten the cookies that my sister baked and the medicine that Morrigan had given her.
“I was worried that the child’s pulse was weak, but today it is quite audible. What did you do?”
It seems that the medicine Morrigan gave me was really an elixir. Greta, who is extremely thin due to chronic stress, has brightened her complexion, perhaps thanks to overcoming the crisis.
“What a sigh of relief.”
“Thank you so much, Ciel. Thank you very much.”
Greta was sobbing while she wrapped her hand around her stomach. The Marquis of Baldr was in favour of such a wife. Whatever Greta’s inner circumstances were, the two were truly worried for each other.
I told The Marquis of Baldr.
“Only the Marquis can protect Madam Greta and your unborn child. Please remember that.”
“I heard from His Highness the Crown Prince. I will be careful not to let this happen again.”
The Marquis of Baldr, who had seen the poisoned threat with his own eyes, firmly grasped his wife’s hand and renewed his spirit of fight as he did so.
After having a conversation for long with the Marquis of Baldr, Greta and I were finally left alone together. I didn’t know what to say after everything was over.
Greta spoke first before I could say anything.
“I will forget everything now.”
Greta requests to speak with me after the party, but she has forgotten most of her memories.
Even though she was reincarnated with modern memories, the fresh memories she had gathered here spanned a wide range of things because she was a newborn infant when she first woke up here.
“I don’t recall much anymore It’s only that there are other worlds besides the one I live in now, and I was only a one-liner extra.”
“That’s all right. My adversity is behind me now.”
Greta, who was only mentioned in a single line to ensnare the crown prince, safely overcame the perilous situation to avoid death. Now that her husband has found out that someone is trying to poison his wife, they can’t aim for Greta’s life recklessly.
But I, Ciel, am different. Seeing me still have a few mountains to climb, Greta stroked her belly where her child was.
“I’m going to forget everything now. My name is Greta, and I will be the wife of the Marquis Baldur and the mother of this child.”
Where she came from, who she was before she was. There was not even the slightest hesitation in her hand as she bluntly said that she would cling on to the now worthless memories and not shiver in terror.
She woke up in an unfamiliar place, and she must have lived her whole life holding a secret that she couldn’t even tell anyone. Because that’s what I did.
She now has a reason to live. She has someone she loves, and she has someone to protect. I said nothing as I saw Greta bow and go while looking at her back as she went away.
What do I do now? After I got back to my room, I laid down on the bed and let my mind wander for a while. It was possible for me to forget everything about Greta, but even that was difficult for me.
“Ciel, are you awake?”
“Come on in.”
I could now hear Alex’s familiar voice. I greeted him politely, now that I was a welcome guest.
“What are you doing?”
“I have something to tell you.”
The party ended safely, and everything seemed to be in order, but Alex’s expression was not good. I sat facing him, not knowing what was going on.
With my sister’s special herbal tea in front of me, Alex was silent for a while. It was only after I had half-sipped the tea that he struggled to open his mouth.
“Why didn’t you tell me anything?”
“I had heard everything from Marchioness Baldr.”
That Princess Lotte might kill the Marchioness of Baldr. I had asked my sister and brothers for assistance in advance, just in case.
Nonetheless, I kept it secret from Alex just in case. I’m not sure how things would turn out if he did know.
“However, Marquis Baldur is fine……”
“I’m concerned about your safety, Ciel.”
He is sometimes scarier when he does not raise his voice. For example, right now. I held my breath as I stared at Alex’s expressionless face. I knew he would be like this. If he knows what I’m trying to do, I’m sure it will be like this. That’s why I keep it secret from him.
“Your Highness would have told us to cancel the party if you knew.”
That was the next thing that Alex was about to say, but then he went silent. Isn’t it all right that an accident of unfairness occurred for a while, but everything worked out in the end?
Even if something bad had happened to me, everyone would have come together to depose Princess Lotte, claiming they would exact revenge on the people who wronged me, which would have been to Alex’s advantage in the end.
Alex has nothing to lose, no matter how you look at it, but he is staring at me strangely annoyed.
Are you going to have an eye staring fight? Not to be outdone, I peered directly into Alex’s flaming eyes. Eyes that sparkle like rubies are absolutely pretty.
Alex shook his head and let out a deep sigh, probably getting tired of my careless behaviours.
“How cruel of you.”
“If anything happens to you, I will……”
His long eyelashes fluttered as they covered his red eyes. Alex avoided making eye contact with me by keeping his head lowered and speaking in a hushed whisper.
“I am…… I think you will be very angry.”
His voice trembled more and more as it spoke slowly, uttering one word at a time. Alex’s unusual look was revealing.
The realisation hit me at that same moment when I observed Alex’s face, which appeared to be on the verge of breaking down in tears.
This kid is only nineteen now. He can’t be seen as very young, but that doesn’t mean he’s too young to be considered as a full-grown adult.
The fact that he usually acts his age does not mean that he is an adult in every sense of the word. I couldn’t even begin to fathom how utterly devasted Alex would have been if something terrible had happened to me; not to mention the work that my mother does.
I behaved badly. I rose carefully from my seat and moved in close to Alex.
“I apologise, Your Highness. My thoughts were short.”
“I won’t do that again. So don’t cry.”
Before I knew it, tears welled up in his red eyes. I never imagined that Alex would shed a tear for me one day. I don’t know if I should be joyful or sad at this moment.
Nevertheless, I did not enjoy the feeling of unease that came with it, so I purposefully messed up Alex’s bangs.
“I will never die because of your highness. You’ll see. I’m going to be the most beautiful grandmother in the world.”
Alex laughed at my shameless words. Apparently, my mother’s work must have left quite a few scars on me, so I rolled my eyes and leaned against Alex.
“Are you still very angry?”
“I am not angry.”
When I asked back, Alex put on a troubled face and wondered what to say. Probably so, I thought I had asked too hard a question, Alex’s fringe was all tangled up, and I couldn’t help but giggle as I tried to straighten them out.
“Look. I am so strong.”
“You speak well.”
After bluntly sarcastic remarks, Alex grabbed my hand that was touching his bangs and put it down as if protesting.
“Because you’re such a troublemaker. I just can’t tear my eyes away from you, not even for a second.”
“I am kind of like that. I will take it as a compliment.”
I think my face skin has become as thick as a jade plate these days, but fortunately, Alex didn’t blame me anymore when I made a fuss.
“So, what are you planning to do next?”
Finally, the question I was looking for came out. The most important thing now that we’ve been taken care of is from now on.
“For the time being, you won’t be able to move on the other side.”
I passed out in front of the Emperor, not in front of anyone else, no matter how much she was Princess Lotte, she must have been quite embarrassed.
Our side also kept quiet about it so it wouldn’t spoil the party, but if this happened again, the emperor would order us to reveal the truth.
I’ll give up myself for a while. So, we must start right away with a full-scale attack on the Lily Palace. Regina had saved face on this occasion, so surely she might receive some assistance?
Alex shook his head when he thought about me coming up with such a bad plan.
“You won’t listen to me anyway.”
“You already know that.”
“Not once. If something happens to your safety, I……”
Before Alex could say anything, I raised my hands to cover his mouth. Please don’t say that I will be sent out of the palace. I mean, I’m working really hard for you right now.
His warm breath tickled my palms. Alex’s lips were much softer than I expected. I committed rudeness in his haste. I hid my hand behind my back, which I slowly removed.
“…I won’t let you go. I was just thinking about banning snacks, but what the hell were you thinking?”
No snacks. My mother is the only one who deserves such vicious punishment. Just before the day he woke up, Alex managed to regain his smile.
Somehow, I felt like I had crossed a big mountain. Alex sat me down next to him and offered me a cookie.
“Why did you force yourself to eat something that you were going to throw away?”
“Why did you force yourself to eat something you were going to throw away?”
“It was a waste.”
He poured himself a cup of tea and offered it to me. When I saw the prince from the fairy tale reflected in the steaming tea water, I thought he was very cool.
It would be nice if time stopped like this. I lightly tapped Alex’s elbow with my shoulder, thinking that was nonsense.
Alex didn’t know I was doing it on purpose, so he just tilted his head. I laughed when I saw this, so I crept up and sat next to Alex.
Alex’s legs were hidden by the bottom of my big, flowy dress. I reached out with the tip of my shoe and touched Alex’s heel.
Alex picks up a cookie and puts it in my mouth now that he knows I’m doing it on purpose.
“You also like this.”
He always like this. Grumpy, I tapped Alex on the shoulder.
Alex suddenly grabbed me by the shoulder and sighed.
“Just kidding, just kidding.”
Alex shook his hands with a look that suited his age. A sorrowful heart welled up as I looked at Alex, who had to become an adult too soon owing to the complicated conditions of grownups.
Because it is so hard to see him smile like a child. For now, I’d like to take the weight off his shoulders and let him have some time alone.
“You are a fool.”
I softly leaned in on Alex, scolding him lightly. He sipped the steaming tea without saying anything, not sure if he liked it or not.