Author: alyalia

It was dark everywhere. Even when she walked endlessly, only dark colors were captured in her eyes.

 

How long did she walk, trembling with anxiety? She saw a familiar figure in the distance.

 

“Older Sister?”

 

“…”

 

It was Charelize. Lillian stretched out her trembling hand to touch her. But she couldn’t reach her. Still, Lillian told her what she wanted to say.

 

“You know, Older Sister. I thought you felt sorry for me. I thought it was sympathy like giving a gold coin to a passing beggar, not affection to younger sister…”

 

Once she tried to clear up her misunderstanding, Lillian blurted out her words. She was uneasy about the rapid distortion of Charelize’s face.

 

“Lillian.”

 

“O-Older Sister.”

 

She called Lillian’s name once more. Charelize took out the dagger from her bosom and soon stabbed it into her own chest.

 

“Older Sister!”

 

Startled, Lillian ran to her. Dark red blood slowly seeped into Lillian’s clothes.

 

A light purple butterfly appeared from nowhere and landed on Charelize’s head. It sprinkled gold dust, which made her float in the air. Then Charelize’s body became blurred. Not only was she out of reach, but she disappeared before Lillian’s eyes.

 

“O-Older Sister… I’m sorry. It’s my fault. I won’t do that again.”

 

She begged for forgiveness with her hands clasped together. For now, she just wanted to keep Charelize from going.

 

“Lillian, I told you that you will be a good aunt to my baby. Why did you do that?”

 

“…”

 

The black background that was blocking the surrounding area was broken into pieces.

 

“Princess!”

 

“P-Princess Lillian! Are you okay! Calm down and breathe out slowly.”

 

It was a familiar ceiling when she opened her eyes. a fancy chandelier and soft bedding. Even the servants who care about her in a friendly way.

 

Right. It was all an illusion. The person she saw earlier wasn’t Charelize. But the words she heard there didn’t leave her ears.

 

My baby. My baby. My baby.

 

Good aunt. Good aunt. Good aunt.

 

The two words sounded over and over again, like an auditory hallucination. It was so painful that it didn’t even stop, even when she hit her ear hard.

 

“Bring His Grace and the doctor! The Princess’s condition is strange!”

 

“Princess, please, why are you like this…”

 

Letting go of her tangled hair, Lillian’s eyes rested on the edge of the bed.

 

“Lilli, does it hurt a lot? You need to rest quickly to get better quickly. I’ll be by your side. Don’t worry, and sleep well.” Charelize, sitting on the bed, asked sweetly. Her cool hand rested on her forehead.

 

“Older Sister… why did you come so late?”

 

Lillian threw up her sorrow in the arms of Charelize.

 

* * *

Soon, rumors spread that Duke Marsetta’s illegitimate child had gone crazy upon learning of the little duchess’s death. Duke Marsetta added Charelize back to the family register, making her a little duchess again.

 

 

The day when the funeral was held with respect for the little duchess, news that everyone didn’t expect was delivered. It wasn’t the little duchess who poisoned the illegitimate child, but Marchioness Luxen, whom they thought was dead, who did it. The little duchess, who died injustice, came back alive as the illegitimate child’s hallucination. When the little duchess’s innocence was proven, everyone clicked their tongues.

 

The illegitimate daughter, who went crazy after being so sad, eventually passed away in pain due to her maternal family’s hereditary disease. Additionally, Delphir, the second son of the Marquis Radiasa, committed suicide in the same manner as the little duchess. Duke Marsetta, devastated by the loss of both his daughters, had a distant relative succeed him as a duke and suddenly disappeared. As if it wasn’t enough, Lari, an orphan who was the little duchess’s exclusive maid, was found drowned in the lake. As if to follow the little duchess, the people around her died like that.

 

* * *

It was at the Peschte Empire, in Crown Princess Casilla’s office.

 

Hmm, you’ve done a good job of planning. I’m glad we can cut down the cash used by Ioella. The wasted budget has been significantly reduced, contributing to the lives of the people of the empire.”

 

“it all came about through the wisdom of Her Royal Highness, and I did nothing.”

 

“You’re too humble, Count Taran.”

 

“Then, Your Royal Highness. I will leave now.”

 

“Okay. Thank you for your hard work.” Crown Princess Casilla nodded.

 

Count Taran went out and walked down the hallway when Viscount Bentol clasped his hands.

 

“Ah! Did you hear that?”

 

“What?”

 

“I mean, most of these policies were put in place by His Royal Highness Arensis.”

 

“Huh, again this time? Is that why His Royal Highness Arensis is more favored than Her Royal Highness Ioella?” Count Taran raised his eyebrows in amazement at Viscount Bentol’s words.

 

“Whatever it may be, I don’t know why His Royal Highness didn’t want to get married.”

 

Viscount Bentol, who had a young daughter about to come of age, spoke as if he regretted something. “I’m curious about that too.”

 

Viscount Nurak, who had been quiet, brought up the news that was a hot topic recently. “Ah, that’s right. I heard he rejected Princess Tise’s proposal too.”

 

Everyone smoothed their beards and wondered why Royal Prince Arensis still hadn’t gotten married.

 

“Hey, you guys. Do you think only one or two ladies follow His Royal Highness? If you look at your youngest daughter right now, they’ll be staring at His Royal Highness’s back all day!”

 

“That’s right. I’ve been thinking about it, and it’s the same thing when he said he would refuse the title of grand duke. He also rejected Princess Tise’s marriage proposal. By any chance, is His Royal Highness not greedy for power?”

 

“Does that make sense? In that case, there’s no way he could be the crown princess’s aide.”

 

“If so, then what’s the reason… Why isn’t His Royal Highness getting married? Does he have a secret lover…”

 

“Isn’t there a picture of his hidden lover in the pendant that His Royal Highness always wears?”

 

A voice came out with a suspicious smile in agreement with Viscount Bentol’s plausible reasoning.

 

“Hidden lover? That made me remember something.”

 

“Huh? What is it? I’m curious, so don’t hold back and tell me quickly.” Count Taran, who was frustrated, urged Viscount Bentol, who hesitated without ending his words.

 

“I’m not sure, but I think I know why His Royal Highness is not getting married. Isn’t that because he can’t connect with his hidden lover?”

 

“Hidden… lover? However, I have never heard of His Royal Highness meeting a lady separately.”

 

Viscount Nurak, who expressed his curiosity, tilted his head. “A relationship that can’t be connected? Perhaps it is because his hidden lover is a commoner? Even if she’s a commoner, she can immediately become a princess.”

 

“Or is that his hidden lover dead?”

 

“You guys! How can you spout such profane words carelessly!” Count Taran, who slapped Viscount Bentol’s back to be quiet, was restless.

 

Eii, did I say something that I shouldn’t say? It just might happen.”

 

“This guy, really. Sigh…

 

Count Taran, who was criticizing Viscount Bentol for spouting complaints, hurriedly bent over at the sudden appearance of the shadow.

 

“Greetings to Royal Prince Arensis!”

 

Following Count Taran, the faces of the nobles next to him turned pale.

 

“Count Taran, Viscount Bentol, Viscount Nurak.”

 

Smiling, Arensis called them one by one in the order in which they stood.

 

“Yes, yes, Your Royal Highness.”

 

“Seeing as the three of you are here at this hour… are you on your way back from meeting my sister?”

 

“T-that’s right, Your Royal Highness. I have given her a report setting out the budget of the internal palace this month.”

 

“…Really? Then I’ll get going.”

 

They were sure he heard what they were talking about. But Arensis didn’t comment on anything.

 

In fact, among the imperial family, there’s no one who can follow Royal Princess Ioella’s viciousness. Royal Princess Arensis was difficult to approach as he was sensitive. Even Princess Ioella would be moderately flattered when they praised her, but the same trick didn’t work for Arensis.

 

“Do you have something to say to me?”

 

“It-it’s nothing, Your Royal Highness. I’ll go first.”

 

Everyone looked dazed and quickly walked out of their seats. They were afraid that Arensis, who had changed his mind, might be giving them an unreasonable warning.

 

Arensis, who was watching them run away, muttered. “…Hidden lover.”

 

“All. I want to quit this life. In the first place… it would have been better… if I hadn’t been born…”

 

“I’m so late… I’m sorry.”

 

“…”

 

“Rest in peace. In your next life, you don’t need to worry. Only listen to good words and make good relationships.”

 

“…”

 

“Goodbye, Lize.”

 

It was too much to even think about, so the feeling made his heart ache.

 

From the day she died, he lived as if nothing happened. When he thought about it, it was so hard that he couldn’t breathe, so he ran away from it. At least she said everything he wanted to say and closed her eyes.  She left as if sleeping in his embrace. Comforted by that, Arensis erased her traces. However, she wasn’t someone he could forget just by erasing her traces.

 

Arensis took out a pendant. He just hung it around his neck, but it was full of dust because it had been a while since he opened it. When he removed the dust from the pendant, he saw a blonde girl smiling brightly in the flower garden. 

 

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