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The long-awaited Wednesday evening has finally arrived. Alex left the Crown Prince’s palace early in the morning after horseback riding practice. He went to take care of government business.
“Your Highness says he will be very late today. I received a message telling you to go to bed early.”
The stalker, whose name is Stan, was unable to control himself and sent me a very generous gift while Alex was away for a while.
“Please return all the gifts to His Highness Stan along with a gift in return.”
Alex will definitely hate it if I receive something like this. I’ll definitely get in a lot of trouble if it’s known that Stan came and went in the first place, but I decided to leave it up to me in the future.
[To my childhood friend, Stan.
I know very well how you prepared it for me; it is perfectly acceptable for you to refrain from getting me a present the next time we interact. When I have time later, I will contact you first, so please wait.]
Now, I feel sad that I have to take care of my parents and even Stan. While I was writing the letter carefully, Meryl, who was watching from behind, asked.
“Are you really going to send him a letter?”
“That’s all I’m saying.”
He’ll get mad if I say no. When victims refuse their advances, stalkers become irrational and don’t know what to do next. Instead, I have no other option but to buy some time in order to wait and watch in the hopes that his emotions will calm down.
There are times when the amount of love that is present is excessive and potentially toxic. As Burnett watched me struggle with my head for the better part of the day, there was no mistaking the look of satisfaction on her face.
“Then I will make sure to convey it to the Lily Palace.”
“Yes, Burnett. I look forward to your kind cooperation. I’m tired, so I’ll rest early.”
“I’ll take your word.”
I made the excuse of taking a break early and ended up alone after Meryl got out. I looked out the window after confirming that the sun was beginning to set, and then I changed into the clothes I had brought along with me earlier in the day.
I chose a time when the guards were away because they were switching shifts. I cloaked myself in magic and escaped through a window when there weren’t many people around.
It’s not been difficult up to this point, perhaps because I practised it a few times. As I saw the guard approaching from afar, I quickly hid myself.
“There’s a lot of chaos in the palace today.”
Are they doing this to prepare for military action in preparation for the jewel auction? Vigilance has become more severe today.
“Why are you so late!”
The tip of Louise’s nose was red, perhaps because the weather had become quite cold. Behind Louise, who was acting nervous, I saw a carriage stacked with a mountain of different kinds of herbs.
“We are going to ride this out.”
Clara was kind enough to bring me some herbs, but after she left the palace with the explanation that she had brought them by accident, she changed her mind and decided to return them.
It is impossible for them to check luggage at this time because Louise, the third son of the Duke of Valentine, has travelled here in person, so it’s perfect for me to sneak in.
“Get in the sack here.”
“Why in the sack?”
“You’d better hurry.”
Apparently, my third brother seemed ready to use this as an excuse to trouble me. I found myself in a position where I was struggling all of a sudden, and I hid my feet in a bag that contained the aroma of medicinal herbs.
“You’re not going to sell me anywhere, are you?”
“Look at what you’re doing.”
What a strange sight it was to see the third son of the duke driving a carriage by himself. I was afraid that people would think I was suspicious of them, so I hid in the carriage and looked around.
“Sir Louise, did you run the wrong errand again?”
“I don’t want to get caught by my oldest brother, so please let it go.”
Louise, you bastard. The process of tripping over Theo and bribing the guards felt very natural.
Should we really say that he is like the prodigal son of Valentine, who has been wandering the back alleys since he was young? With the excuse that he would bring another herb later, Louise put on a robe and hood and hurriedly drove the carriage.
As I lay under the rattling carriage, I felt drowsy. The soft grass and the inside of the bag were treated quite softly, making it look like a blanket.
I was lying down and about to fall asleep when someone woke me up by shaking me.
“Ciel. Get out.”
On a day when I was sleeping comfortably, Louise woke me up by shaking me. It seems that we have arrived. I got out of the bag and put on Louise’s robe.
“Are we going in now?”
We have to park the carriage in a corner and walk from now on. Louise spoke firmly with an unusually serious expression.
“Now when we leave, don’t say a word from then on. Do you understand? No matter who talks to you, you must never answer.”
“Yes. I understand.”
Louise warned me several times and fixed my hood once again. It was my first time seeing this rascal so nervous.
I crouched down as much as I could and held tightly next to Lewis.
How long did it take to walk like that? As I went into an alley that I couldn’t even remember, a solitary alley came out. Two gangsters who were guarding Louise recognised him.
“Lou. What’s going on this night?”
“My little brother has been sick. He has a high fever and needs to see Old Man Jefferson.”
“Do you have a younger brother?”
I began to cower and clung even more tightly to Louise as the thug got closer. Hugging me and trembling, Louise warned the gangster.
“Don’t touch him. He has a severe fever.”
“I heard you’ve been working a lot lately, and it turns out you were making money to pay for your younger brother’s medicine. Good guy.”
“Noisy! Let me in.”
Should I say that people here also love Louise? The guys who made fun of us a few times let us in easier than we thought.
I quietly walked into the back alley, hugged by Louise, without making a single sound.
“You can raise your head now. Don’t make any noise instead.”
When Louise spoke in a whisper, I raised my head. I’ve always heard that it’s a back alley, but this is my first time actually setting foot there. I could barely hold back the exclamation that was coming out of my mouth.
There were brick buildings all along the street, which were lit up with lights in five different colours. Even though it was dirty, the street was full of life and different things.
Should I say it has a different kind of charm than the imperial palace? Even well into the wee hours of the night, people could be seen strolling the streets amid the bustle of the numerous shops and stalls that lined the streets.
They say that if it is the imperial family that dominates the daytime of the capital, then it is the back alleys that dominate the capital’s nights. I was convinced that those words did not come out of nowhere.
“Where should I go now?”
Louise said he had someone to meet, took a moment to look around, and then took my hand and headed somewhere. I couldn’t even look around and walk along the road until we came across a place where there were a lot of people.
“The atmosphere is bad.”
“What’s going on?”
“I heard your friend is from the Thief Guild. People say that the auction has been delayed because the five guild leaders are in an emergency meeting.”
Simply by looking around, Louise gained a lot of information. I stayed still next to Louis and watched what was going on. The store next to the intersection sold my favourite caramel candy and had an ugly girl doll hanging as a decoration.
While I was looking around, a tall man dressed in a black cloak approached me from the other side.
Breaking my promise not to be loud, I hurriedly dragged Louise away and hid in a corner of the alley.
Even if he was wearing a cape, he could be recognised at a glance. A tall young man with red eyes reflected in the shadow of a dark cloak passed through the alley shortly after we hid.
“Do you know him?”
“Your Highness Alex.”
The large knight standing behind him is obviously Sir Wilhelm, who is no different from Alex’s henchman. The crown prince came to the auction house in person, so it must have been because of this incident that he would be late today. Although I felt relieved, I also started to feel anxious at the same time.
“I guess I’ll have to go inside and find out.”
“Ciel. Stay here and hide. You must never go anywhere. Understand?”
I only came because I wanted to see Regina, but it looks like I picked the wrong day. I never thought meeting Regina would be this difficult.
I decided to hide behind a stack of boxes on a run-down side street and wait for Louise quietly.
The stars that fill the sky appear so clearly, but no matter how much I stretch out my hand, I cannot reach them. Regina became like a star to me.
I heard someone’s footsteps at the entrance to the alley. I held my breath and curled up.
A sonorous voice called my name.
“I know you’re over there.”
I jumped up from my seat at the nostalgic voice that I couldn’t meet, no matter how hard I tried.
“Are you Regina?”
I was just waiting for Louise to come back, but when I poked my head out, there stood Regina in a brown hood, dressed in black.
Today, Regina was wearing tight pants instead of a skirt and had purple hair that looked like it had been ground into amethyst. This was a very different look from what I had seen in the palace.
You came to me first after getting this far. We would have never seen each other again if we had stayed in the palace. Under the light of the street lamp, I went out on my own.