Author: alyalia

“Greeting to the little Duchess. May the blessing of Goddess Resina reach you.”

 

“May the head maid be protected as well.”

 

“…I didn’t know you were with the butler. I’m sorry for the sudden visit, Your Highness.”

 

“It’s okay. By the way, what’s going on? What is the thing in your hand?”

 

Greeted by the head maid, Charelize found a jewel box in her hand.

 

“…”

 

“Head maid.”

 

The head maid quietly handed over the jewelry box to Charelize without saying anything. Charelize, who took the jewelry box puzzled, examined it.

 

Barrete Khan Renik At the bottom of the jewelry box was a familiar name imprinted on it.

 

“The video orb containing madam’s memories has been completed, Your Highness.”

 

“A video orb… containing my mother’s memories?”

 

Charelize could hardly hide her embarrassment.

 

The diamond necklace was all that she knew and received directly from her mother. She had no idea that her mother made a video orb separately. Only then did Charelize notice why the name imprinted on the bottom was familiar.

 

He was a wizard who opened a store to make video orbs by collecting memories his customers treasured. In the past, Charelize accepted Delphire’s request to keep their memories by making them into video orbs. Together with him, she met ‘Barette Kahn Renik’ once.

 

“Madam has something to show you.”

 

“My mother…?”

 

“Yes. Your Highness was still in the Peschte Empire at that time, and she asked me to keep it a secret…”

 

Charelize unlocked the box and opened it. It contained a blue video orb with a subtle color, a piece of finely folded letter paper, and a well-dried zinnia flower.

 

“Then, what about this letter paper?”

 

“She told me to give it to His Majesty the previous emperor.”

 

Only members of the imperial family of the same blood could enter the tombs where predecessor emperors and their families were buried. Charelize understood at once what the head maid wanted to say.

 

“Can Your Highness…. give it to him in my stead?”

 

Charelize took out the letter paper and touched the part with her mother’s seal slightly.

 

“If that’s my mother’s will,” she immediately nodded.

 

“Little Duchess.”

 

“Yes?”

 

“The password for the video orb is… the name of the person madam cherished the most.”

 

The head maid told her about the password before she left. Even though it wasn’t an exact answer, it was an ambiguous word. Oddly enough, Charelize seemed to know what the password was.

 

Charelize, who was left alone before she knew it, wanted to read the letter in advance. She thought about it for a while but soon gave up and put it deep inside her drawer.

 

“…Charelize.”

 

She said, gently stroking the video orb.  In an instant, a bright light flashed enough to squint her eyes. The memories contained in the video orb began to come out.

 

* * *

“Sister, catch me!”

 

“Rina, don’t run. You will fall.”

 

“Look at the flowers blooming here. I thought there wouldn’t be anything in the cold North, but it’s so pretty.”

 

“…”

 

“Sister? Why are you standing there blankly?”

 

“…nothing. I’m proud to see you like it. Come here, I will make you a flower crown.”

 

“Yes!”

 

It was her memory of the last trip with Crown Princess Elizabeth.

 

“Yekaterina, in two months, there will be a wedding between you and Duke Marsetta.”

 

“Your Majesty Father! I… I don’t want to get married…”

 

“…I didn’t bring this up to ask for your opinion.”

 

“When I go to the Duchy… Your Majesty Father… will really… be left alone.”

 

“…”

 

“In this spacious imperial palace, you have to live alone…”

 

“…”

 

“I… don’t want to lose… a loved one or my family member again.”

 

“You! Do you know what heart I feel when I send you to him! I did it because I thought about someone and asked for it while kneeling down…”

 

“Your Majesty… Father…”

 

“Don’t be foolish anymore!”

 

 

It was the memory of the day when the decision was made for her to marry Duke Marsetta.

 

“My dear baby. I want you to be a child who is loved by everyone.”

 

“…”

 

“That doesn’t mean you have to be a good person. You don’t have to be a good person.”

 

“…”

 

“Just meet someone who can love you as you are. Thank you for being born, Charelize.”

 

It was the memory of the day she waited for Duke Marsetta, who didn’t come until the sun went down, even after Charelize was born.

 

“Charelize! Don’t run. If you run like that—”

“…”

“Charelize?”

 

“M-Mother… Huaa… I-It hurts… my knees…”

 

“That’s why I told you not to run…”

 

“…Mother?”

 

“Ah…”

 

“Mother!”

 

“Take Madam to her room and call Baron Alec! Hurry!”

 

“Lona, my mother….”

 

“Princess, take my hand and rise.”

 

It was a memory of the day when she couldn’t hold Charelize’s hand after she fell as she had to leave first.

 

“There’s… not much time left.”

 

“…Is it poison, Baron Alec?”

 

“I’m sorry, Madam. This is because I’m lacking…”

 

“I hope you don’t tell the princess about this.”

 

“Why…”

 

“I want my child to live for herself rather than living to avenge her mother.”

 

“Madam…”

 

“It’s what I chose. So don’t beat yourself up too much.”

 

“…”

 

“I hope… that person will keep the promise they made back then…”

 

It was a memory of when she realized she had little time left.

 

* * *

Charelize saw all of her mother’s memories just like that. And what she immediately noticed was that her mother loved her more than anyone else.

 

Unexpected tears rolled down her cheeks very slowly. It kept coming out.

 

* * *

Afternoon the next day, the sunlight stayed moderate, so there was shade, and it was cool.

 

“My name is Viyon Ruen De Aretta, the second daughter of Count Aretta. May Goddess Resina’s blessing reach little Duchess.”

 

“May Lady be protected too. Thank you for accepting my invitation.”

 

Charelize and Viyon looked into each other’s eyes and looked at each other’s faces slowly. Her sister conspired with Lillian last time and deliberately knocked over Lari just because her dress was slightly dirty.

 

Viyon had a completely different impression from her older sister, who made Lari kneel down, called her vulgar, and tried to slap her on the cheek. 

 

“I apologize on behalf of my sister’s wrongdoing, Your Highness.”

 

“Apologize?”

 

“It’s my little courtesy, so would you accept it if you don’t mind?”

 

Viyon didn’t seem to be the kind of stupid person who would spit out her words without hesitation in front of Charelize or flatter this or that in order to look good. She moved smoothly with fairly finite actions. What she handed to Charelize was a gorgeous bouquet of half olives and half primrose.

 

“These are the children I raise myself in the greenhouse garden, Your Highness.”

 

It was a delicate field that a normal person wouldn’t notice at all.

 

When she was young, Lona, Charelize’s nanny, ran a small flower shop until she came to the Duchy.

 

“Lona, what is this?”

 

“It’s a flower called the silver bell. Pretty, isn’t it?”

 

“What’s behind there?”

 

“It’s a lisianthus. Perhaps… in the flower language, it means unchanging love.”

 

Lone often shared her knowledge of flowers she knew with Charelize.  Charelize liked various colors and the scent of flowers in each season. She took Lona’s hand and followed her around, which made her master it in her head.

 

“Thank you.”

 

“I hope there will be peace for you and prosperity for the duke family when you will lead later.”

 

Olive meant peace, and primrose meant prosperity. The jewel-encrusted ornaments that others obviously bought, and tea leaves that were said to only be grown in each territory, were all useless for Charelize. That was why even if she accepted it, she wasn’t interested in that. On the other hand, flowers were a gift she had never received before.

 

“Take a seat. It’s not polite to keep my honored guest standing.”

 

“Then, excuse me, Your Highness.”

 

Viyon’s gift was enough to interest Charelize.

 

“What kind of tea do you like?”

 

“I’m sorry, but I’m not really familiar with tea, so I don’t know.”

 

“Then… Martin.”

 

“Did you call for me, Your Highness?”

 

Charelize contemplated calling Hailey, but she eventually called for Martin. It wasn’t because Hailey wasn’t good at brewing tea. Rather, it was the opposite.

 

Usually, it was Hailey’s job to serve tea for Charelize’s guests. Even though she was working as her exclusive maid, she was definitely the daughter of Count Kabe and the count’s heir.

 

But what would happen if she brewed tea for Viyon, the daughter of Count Aretta, who was on equal footing? As the eldest daughter, Hailey could have been in an awkward position. Clearly, words would spread throughout society, and her prestige would be undermined.

 

“Two glasses of chamomile, please.”

 

“Yes, I understand.”

 

She didn’t seem to be on very good terms with Martin either, just from the last glimpse. From Martin’s point of view, it wasn’t good too. Even so, Charelize couldn’t take leave and asked Lari to come. Charelize thought it was a better option, so she decided to talk about it to Martin later.

 

“By the way, I don’t know if Lady Freya went back to the County that day.”

 

“…”

 

“When I said I’m going to meet you, she seemed to have a bad expression on her face.”

 

“I was moved by Your Highness’s generosity.”

 

“Lady?”

 

“To think that Your Highness was even concerned about the condition of my sister who made a mistake.”

 

If it was other young ladies of her age, at this point, they would apologize once more and be at a loss for what to do. In contrast, Viyon smiled effortlessly and gave a compliment, not an apology.

 

The meaning behind her compliment was that if she apologized one more time, she would prove herself petty. Despite the provocations of the other party, Viyon had the wit not to be offended.

 

Charelize liked her boldness in replying so well that she didn’t test her again.  

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