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We returned to the imperial palace only after midnight. The prince’s palace was filled with silence, as there was no owner.
Louise knew how to get in, so I opened the door to the terrace, which was tilted, and carefully walked into the room. As I was putting on my pyjamas and sitting down on the bed, I heard the door open.
I was in a hurry, so I just threw myself onto the bed without even bothering to cover myself with the blanket. Someone with a dim light walked into the room.
“If I had known that His Highness would come in person, it would have been better to tell Ciel in advance.”
Huh? Who is this voice? When I narrowed my eyes slightly at the sound of Meryl’s voice, I noticed a familiar silhouette standing beyond the slanted door.
Tall with brown hair. Unlike Theo, who still has a handsome face, my dad is now starting to look quite middle-aged and is the strongest dad in the world.
What are you doing here at this late hour? It’s nice to meet you, but for now, I have to pretend to sleep.
“Even after entering the palace, those bad sleeping habits don’t change.”
My father held me in a strange position and covered me with a blanket. Glancing at the timing, I opened my eyes tentatively, as if I had just woken up.
“Yes. Ciel. Have you been doing well?”
If he found out that I had secretly left the palace and just come back, he would probably scold me a lot. I curled up under the blanket on purpose so he wouldn’t notice that my body was getting cold.
“I’ve been doing well.”
“You didn’t stay calm.”
Lying doesn’t work in front of my dad. My little heartbeat with the skill of not missing anything that was deliberately evasive.
Fortunately, the lame excuse worked. I crept up and opened my arms to my dad.
“I missed you.”
“Then. Dad also missed Ciel.”
Because Dad is a busy man, he couldn’t even come to the last tea party. I don’t know what he was so busy doing, but I was so thankful that he took the time to come here that I even gave my dad a kiss on the cheek.
“What about Mom?”
“She is lonely because we don’t have Ciel.”
Well. I’m sure you’ll be busy preparing for my debut by now.
Now I felt the pressure to come home slowly.
Now that I think about it, there were so many things I wanted to say when I met Regina, but I came back without even making a promise to meet her again, so I felt a lot of regret. I haven’t even returned her necklace yet.
While my thoughts were running wild, I jumped out of bed and handed my dad the necklace I had hidden in the drawer.
“Ciel. What is this?”
I had to come up with an excuse, but since I’m not very creative, I just explained that it was in front of the terrace. My father looked at the necklace, thought for a moment, and then returned it to my hand.
“It looks like the necklace has found its owner. Please let Ciel keep this.”
“Is that all right?”
When I asked if it was something that was lost from the princess’s treasure trove and should be returned, my father smiled and shook his head.
“The person who picked it up originally owned it.”
Are you saying that now? After saying that much, my father went so far as to put a diamond necklace around my neck.
If Princess Lotte sees this while I have it stored in the imperial palace, it might be taken away from me. No, she might be accused of being a thief. I shook my head and handed it back to my dad.
“So, Dad, please keep it for me. This is…….”
Please forgive me for not being able to say that it was a gift from a dear friend. My dad didn’t ask me anything because I couldn’t finish what I was saying.
“Then I’ll keep this well for you. If one day Ciel becomes a lady who looks good with this necklace, can I return it then?”
I nodded willingly to my dad’s suggestion. Dad put me back on the bed and gave me a kiss on the head.
“Daddy wants you to come home now. What do you think, Ciel?”
Even though I know I have to go back soon, I don’t want to go back tomorrow because I think Alex will be very disappointed. I think it would be better to remain in the imperial palace at least until this jewel case is resolved to some extent. Because I can’t just leave without loyalty just because my business is done.
“When the first snow comes. I’ll go home then.”
“When it snows for the first time?”
“I want to be by Your Highness Alex’s side right now.”
Not my sister, but Your Highness Alex. My reason for staying at the Imperial Palace shifted without anyone’s knowledge before they even realised it was happening. Now that my older sister has found a place to live, my older brother Theo is taking care of it. But I’m the only one who can take care of Alex.
Because he’s a lonely person. It would be nice for him to show his weak side sometimes, but he rarely lets it go.
It would have been better if I didn’t know how it feels to be left alone. When I think of the day when I heard the news of the sudden accident, I lived with my sister as an orphan, and my heart sank.
Even if no one else knows, I can understand how miserable it feels to be left alone in the world.
I had been wondering if I had been possessed by a character in the book called Ciel, but looking at Greta made me think that perhaps I, too, had been reborn here.
I held my father’s hand tightly and lowered my head because I didn’t want to lose my precious family again.
Dad gathered magical energy into his hands and made a small snowflake. My heart was so touched that my father wanted me to come back as soon as tomorrow.
“Shh. Slowly. You’re nice, right?”
I got the hang of pulling on the reins, so I got used to controlling the speed. At some point, the muscle pain subsided, and now I have learned how to speed up.
“You’re doing pretty good now.”
It was rewarding to learn from a strict teacher. Even after his return, Alex didn’t say anything about what happened in the back alley. I thought about whether to ask or not, but in the end, I couldn’t say anything. Still, seeing as the palace was extremely peaceful and Alex had become quite relaxed recently, it seemed like things had been sorted out somehow.
What is Your Majesty doing these days?”
“Your Majesty has vacated the palace. It’s already been over a month.”
No wonder. Something seemed strange around the time that the jewels were stolen, and now it looks like His Majesty has handed all of his responsibilities over to his son and is just lounging around outside the palace.
“It’s too much of His Majesty to leave all the work to Your Highness and go have fun alone.”
“It’s not what you think at all.”
From the image of the emperor, I thought he definitely went for a picnic, but where he went was nothing like what I expected.
“Your Majesty went to take a look around Winterbaum.”
I heard that Stan’s father defeated the dragon and made the land an imperial territory. He said that the place where dragons had ruled for a long time had a huge amount of natural resources, and that was where all of Stan’s money came from.
Before I knew it, dark clouds were rolling up into the sky.
At first, I thought the white flakes were just illusions, but then they started to take shape, and white snow started falling from the sky. So much time goes by so fast.
“It’s the first snow this year.”
As I was walking out to the terrace to see the snow with my sister, Alex suddenly grabbed my hand. When I turned around to ask what was going on, he looked down at me with a somewhat unhappy expression on his face.
“Are you happy that it’s snowing?”
It was like that. I definitely made a promise to his dad. I said I would return home when the first snow fell.
“I got a letter from my mother.”
“From your mom?”
“Yes. She asked me to deliver it on the day the first snow fell.”
Dad faithfully conveyed my message. Even though I knew that the moment of separation was just around the corner, I couldn’t bring myself to say anything about going back.
Did Alex ask this because he knew I would come back when it started to snow, or just because he was curious? As expected, it’s hard to figure out what he thinks right now.
“I’ll get back to you in the morning. Send it over to Theo.”
My sister also left calmly after bowing to see if Alex was conscious. If it’s really time to leave the palace, maybe I can ask you one last time. I took as much courage as I could to ask questions I hadn’t asked before.
“How did the last jewel theft case end?”
“You’re so quick to ask.”
Just as I waited for Alex to speak first, it seemed that Alex also waited for me to ask first.
How foolish of us to change our minds without being able to honestly say what we really wanted to say. While my sister was out on the terrace watching the snow, Alex briefly informed me of the situation.
“The treasure has been returned to the imperial warehouse, but we have decided to keep it a secret for the time being.”
“Because it is not Her Royal Highness Princess Lotte’s personal property, but the imperial family’s. It is His Majesty’s will that she can no longer keep it private, so I decided to keep it until things calm down for the time being.”
He said he personally interviewed the guild leaders in a back alley, and it appears that he succeeded in informing them of the circumstances of the drug incident.
“This is mostly just what-if thinking.”
He waited for a while, then opened his mouth very carefully.
“What on earth is your relationship with the leader of the Thieves Guild?”
I cleared my throat without realising it and ended up covering my mouth. I tried to answer most of the questions, but I didn’t expect to be asked so directly.