Author: alyalia

“If so… shall I continue with Her Royal Highness’s class?”

 

The class results would also be heard through Royal Princess Veloche, so there was no way that Harbert IV was unaware that Charelize was a competent teacher. That’s why she mentioned Royal Princess Veloche. It was implied that she would stop the class if he did this one more time. Harbert IV, who understood right away, quickly narrowed his brows.

 

“Yes. It seems that the princess is learning what you’ve taught well. I’ve also heard good things about your teaching method.”

 

In fact, Emperor Harbert IV had long contemplated whether or not to throw out Royal Princess Veloche. Shubert’s symbol of the imperial family wasn’t perfect, so it was difficult to decide. Figuring his thoughts, Charelize made him know that she wouldn’t support that boy.

 

“Let me tell you one thing… That child, even if he becomes the crown prince, you wouldn’t be able to wield him at your will. Running forward without considering the consequences…”

 

Charelize deliberately blurted the end of her swords and smiled in the end. All he needed to tell him was that the boy couldn’t be handled like Royal Princess Veloche. Rather, not completing her words was the best way to make him anxious.

 

Harbert IV was someone who could kill even his own blood when their value was gone. Just because you’re his child doesn’t mean he would unconditionally give you affection.

 

“Please take care… the princess.”

 

“Don’t worry, Your Majesty. Isn’t Her Royal Highness the only imperial descendant of the Elioter Empire?”

 

Charelize deliberately imprinted the fact that the princess was the only ‘imperial descendant’ to prevent him from weighing the scales. Although there were quite a few people recognized as members of the imperial family who had symbols of the imperial family, including her, the current Royal Princess Veloche was the only imperial descendant with the surname of Elioter.

 

“…That’s right. The princess is my only child, my precious daughter.”

 

He ended up abandoning his son, who was good for nothing. His decision was like pieces on a chessboard, moving according to someone else’s decisions.

 

* * *

The next day, news of Ezela arrived. Shishi, who had her reply in her mouth, urging her to give it the reward.

 

Charelize ordered Hailey to give Shishi some raw meat. After praising it, Shishi’s feather fluffed up in excitement. Charelize gently stroked Shishi’s back a few times before unfolding the letter and reading its contents.

 

[Dear little Duchess.

 

I’m staying in a safe place with the help of Royal Prince Arensis. Don’t worry too much, Your Highness. At the time, I had already asked my acquaintance to find out about ‘poisonous but not poisonous,’ and it seems to be a poison called Kozel.

 

For creating Kozel, the essential herb called Tebis can only be found in the treacherous Alphos Mountains; very few people are familiar with it. I’ve heard that even most doctors are unaware of it.

 

Ah, if you ever become addicted to Kozel, you should never consume the medicine made with the herb called Patin. It may temporarily alleviate seizures or difficulty in breathing, but prolonged use can strain the heart. In case you’ve taken Patin, I’m sending the antidote along. Then, please take care of your health until we meet again.

 

—Ezela.]

 

“Shishi, where is the antidote Ezela gave you? Did you bring it?”

 

“…Screech!”

 

Shishi, who had already emptied the bowl from eating in a hurry earlier, tapped its full stomach. Then, when asked by Charelize, it stretched out one of its legs.

 

When she opened the small pouch tied to Shishi’s leg and looked inside, there was the antidote. Royal Princess Veloche’s symptoms matched those written in the letter. It looked like this antidote could make her feel better.

 

As a gesture of appreciation to Shishi, who brought good news, she patted Shishi’s fur, causing it to sit up attentively.

 

Screech!”

 

When she stopped her hand, she doubted whether it was a person or really an animal who said that.

 

The morning was bright. Meeting with Royal Princess Veloche became much easier because of the class. Charelize immediately met Royal Princess Veloche and handed her the antidote given to her by Ezela.

 

“Thank you. Thank you, little Duchess.”

 

Royal Princess Veloche, whose tears were welling up as she repeated the words of thanks, whispered something in Charelize’s ear.

 

“Is that… true?”

 

“Yes. You’ll find out soon… I want to tell the little Duchess more quickly.”

 

It was said that the five meetings ended successfully, with the professors agreeing that Katerias could treat Liref.

 

“How did Your Royal Highness know about this?”

 

“His Majesty Father was with me when he received the report from the professors.”

 

Royal Princess Veloche said Harbert IV’s hands trembled, and his expression continued to change. Charelize imagined him trying to hold back his anger because of their previous agreement. She knew how absurd it was that he allowed the name of the Crown Princess Elizabeth, who he had cut her throat with his own hands, to be cleared.

 

A few days later, she received a statement saying that only patients who had officially reported it would be allowed to use Katerias.

 

Charelize was given gloves by Ezela, which were said to be Crown Princess Elizabeth’s favorite gloves to wear during her lifetime. Ezela cherished that so much that it still looked fine even after being kept in storage. There wasn’t even a small scratch. It didn’t take long for Charelize to think about what to do with these gloves. She placed the gloves back on Ezela’s hand.

 

“Ezela, I want you to put this in the box by yourself at the funeral that will be held soon. Can I ask you that favor?”

 

“…Your Highness.”

 

Ezela noticed that Charelize had allowed her to attend the funeral of Crown Princess Elizabeth. In fact, since Ezela wasn’t a noble anymore, she had been wary of being in the capital, let alone the Florence Palace. 

 

Ezela, who had lost strength in her legs, sat down on the floor and cried. It was tears for Crown Princess Elizabeth. It had been a long time since she could shed tears comfortably. She missed the warm voice that responded to her question, ‘Is there any reason to take care of your own people?’ or ‘Why should there be any other reason to protect someone who is nothing but a daughter of viscount?’. She couldn’t understand why the crown princess embraced her so warmly when she was only a daughter of a viscount.

 

“Ah, Your Highness, t-thank… you… really… Thank you very much…”

 

Knowing how Ezela was crying like a child, Charelize patted her without saying anything.

 

After restoring the crown princess’s name, her funeral was held in the Florence Palace. Because there were no remains to bury, they buried her gloves in the box. Charelize didn’t like it, but it took her a long time to come this far. It was a makeshift funeral, representing the funeral that couldn’t be held at that time.

 

Crown Princess Elizabeth was laid to rest beside the previous emperor’s tomb. Charelize bowed to them twice, saying that her mother would join them soon.

 

Having returned home with a tired body, Charelize received a report from Count Riven, who had already arrived. As she knew he joined hands with Harbert IV, she wasn’t expecting anything good from the trade business he was doing with the Shische Kingdom. It wasn’t a matter to be taken lightly because she had brought a condition of allowing free passage through the maritime routes of the Marsetta Duchy in order to move the ships.

 

“Hey, did you negotiate with your feet?”

 

“…Y-Your Highness?”

 

“I think even an eagle would do better than this. Countess Riven’s parents are even from the Shische Kingdom… But was I expecting too much?”

 

“I… I apologize, Your Highness.”

 

Count Riven was taken aback and bowed his head repeatedly to apologize.

 

Charelize secretly read a letter from Ibelin. Ibelin was able to participate in the negotiations because she was her close friend, and she reported that Count Riven’s attitude was strange during the negotiations. It was written that even if the Marsetta family suffered the damage, he wasn’t angry and didn’t even refute it, which made the nobles of the Shische Kingdom think it was strange.

 

Charelize couldn’t help but be angry, as she wouldn’t have known if it had been for Ibelin. Wondering what he did with Harbert IV, she sent him to take over the trade business. However, she only expected him to steal the fund in the middle or leak the business details to Harbert IV. She didn’t expect him to cause such enormous damage financially to the finances of Duke Marsetta. It was nothing less than an attempt to portray her family as a ‘family without dignity’ within the Shische Kingdom.

 

“Count Riven.”

 

“Yes, Your Highness. Please… continue.”

 

Charelize came to the conclusion that he would be faithful to his current master and do as they wished.

 

“Your complexion doesn’t look good since before. Are you very tired?”

 

“N… No.”

 

“No, you’re getting more and more pale. I think you’re breaking out in a cold sweat. I’m really worried about Count’s health.”

 

“I-if I get some rest, I will get well soon. Thank you for your concern, Your Highness.”

 

“No, if you recuperate in a place with good air, you will be able to recover faster. Well, you can sort out your miscellaneous thoughts.”

 

“Little Duchess…?”

 

Count Riven felt chills running down his spine at Charelize’s attitude as she spoke leisurely with a smile. He knew she would scold him because of the trading business, but he felt uneasy at the word ‘recuperate.’

 

“Your Highness, this time…”

 

Noticing her uneasiness, he brought out as carefully as possible to avoid her getting angry more.

 

“Count Riven, please go back to your estate for the time being.”

 

With a humble demeanor, Charelize maintained a smile on her lips as she replied. To someone who didn’t know the context, it might look like she was rewarding him with a vacation.

 

“Your Highness… go back to my estate… what do you mean…”

 

Count Riven protested with a voice that sounded like he was going to cry.

 

“Why are you reacting like that? I said it out of concern for your health.”

 

Charelize didn’t pay any attention to Count Riven. She processed the paperwork, doing her routine as usual.

 

“Your Highness, no matter what, that’s…”

 

Charelize’s patience had reached limit because Count Riven whined for a few minutes.

 

“Master.”

 

“Butler, see off Count Riven. He will go a long way, but it’ll be lonely if he goes out alone.”

 

The butler came in just in time, and Charelize ordered him to take Count Riven out.

 

“I… that…”

 

The butler didn’t approach Count Riven. There was no reply like usual. His lips seemed slightly hesitant and uncertain as he continued to speak.

 

“What’s going on?”

 

Charelize had a hunch that something was wrong with his actions.

 

“Lady Lillian… it says she’s coming to the duchy now…”

 

“How did Lillian come from Astan…”

 

Charelize, who got up wildly and slammed the desk, stopped her words and looked at Count Riven.

 

“I… will leave first, Your Highness.”

 

First of all, she calmed down her anger. At the sight of her taking a deep breath, Count Riven quickly lowered his head and tried to leave.

 

“If any rumors spread, I will look for Count Riven first. While I may let it slide about the duke’s finances, I will not let it slide when it comes to a tarnished reputation.”

 

“…”

 

“At that time, I will send you to another country instead of recuperating, so go back to your estate immediately. Unless you want to rest forever, not just for a moment…”

 

“I-I will keep that in mind, Your Highness.” Realizing the serious situation at Charelize’s solemn warning, Count Riven quickly responded.

 

“Don’t make me a laughingstock.”

 

After Count Riven left, Charelize asked the butler what was going on earlier. “Butler, explain what happened.”

 

“Marchioness Radiasa… I heard that she paid for her bail.”

 

“…Marchioness Radiasa?”

 

“Yes, Master.”

 

Charelize tilted her head at the unexpected name that came out of the butler’s mouth. She paused at what she soon realized. That Marchioness Radiasa was the mother of Delphir. 

 

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