Author: LyraDhani

When I came back to the mansion, Grandmother was openly waiting for me.

 

“Sit down.”

 

I sat down in front of Grandmother and quietly stared at the tea in front of me.

 

‘Actually, I am still not sure of what to do.’

 

I knew I shouldn’t run away, but I hadn’t come up with an excellent plan.

 

“Alright. You ran out and came back, so you must have organized your thoughts.”

 

At Grandmother’s attitude, I raised my head.

 

In fact, just facing Grandmother straight took a lot of courage.

 

“You know that this engagement is your only chance to show your usefulness.”

 

“…”

 

“Didn’t I tell you every time? If you prove your worth, I will accept you as a true Liviatan.”

 

The more Grandmother continued, the more I recalled the memories of the past.

 

A childhood when I couldn’t even step out and hide from the cold stare.

 

How many times had I been hurt by that gaze of disgust, the look as if I shouldn’t exist in this world.

 

It was only natural that  Grandmother and my sisters who had grown up under her education would hate me.

 

I wanted to be a useful person.

 

I wanted to proudly put my name on Liviatan by becoming a special and valuable person who was helpful to everyone.

 

“Honestly, I could have put Liliana in that position anyway.”

 

Grandma’s words were like thunder from the blue sky.

 

Despite my surprised gaze, Grandmother didn’t care and brought up.

 

“And yet I am mercifully giving you a chance.”

 

‘If I don’t come forward, Sister Liliana might suffer?’

 

My face turned pale when I remembered the dream I had yesterday.

 

At that sight, Grandmother smiled with satisfaction.

 

My teeth trembled at the simple and petty threat, but I came to a conclusion because I had to prevent the unwanted future.

 

“I want to meet him first.”

 

I wouldn’t be a kid who ran away just because I hated it.

 

In order to face the wrong future, I decided to run into the situation first.

 

✲ ✲ ✲

 

His face in real life had a different feeling than the one I saw in my dream, but that was it.

 

“Nice to meet you, Lady Liviatan.”

 

Considering the actions he had done to Lilliana, no matter how polite he was, I couldn’t welcome him.

 

“It is an honor to meet you, First Prince.”

 

I got up from my seat, grabbed the hem of my dress, and bent down lightly.

 

“You don’t have to be so polite. If it’s just between us.”

 

‘What do you mean between us?’

 

I managed to keep a smile on my face as I trembled and asked him to sit comfortably even though we had no relationship.

 

‘I’m glad I’m confident in my smile.’

 

The reason why I was able to smile casually even in this situation was thanks to the forced smile I had built up over the years.

 

“My name is Daisy Liviatan. Please feel free to call me.”

 

“Yes, Lady Daisy. You already know, but I’ll introduce myself again. My name is Ronald Odphelia.”

 

“There is no one in the Empire who doesn’t know Prince’s name.”

 

At my light-hearted words, he held out his hand to me with a satisfied smile.

 

“I’m tired of sitting still and drinking tea. Why don’t you take a walk with me?”

 

“It’s an honor.”

 

I slowly put my hand on his hand.

 

Ronald took my hand with a gentle smile and began to escort me.

 

He said, pointing to his surroundings in a confident voice.

 

“The Duke of Liviatan may not be as good as me, but isn’t the garden here quite beautiful?”

 

Certainly, the spacious garden and neatly arranged roads were perfect for a walk.

 

“You flatter me. In my eyes, both gardens are beautiful in their own way.”

 

He started to walk slowly, matching my pace that was slower than his, and brought up the subject.

 

“You must be quite surprised by this.”

 

“…It would be a lie if I said I wasn’t surprised.”

 

I never imagined that he would be able to connect with Liviatan again.

 

‘Perhaps nobody could imagine it.’

 

From Ronald’s point of view, his pride must have been hurt.

 

I didn’t know how Grandmother talked to him about it, but he didn’t seem to think this place was bad.

 

“Actually, I was looking forward to meeting you today. I was wondering what kind of person you were.”

 

“Me too. It’s an honor to meet a precious member of the Imperial family.”

 

His gaze was dry enough that I could tell he didn’t mean it, but his voice was very kind.

 

But his words that followed immediately shattered my smile.

 

“I thought a Liviatan would definitely be able to make a wonderful empress.”

 

I looked around in a hurry, surprised by what Ronald said.

 

My heart skipped a beat as he said it so easily even though he knew full well that it would be controversial to proudly claim that he would become emperor.

 

Ronald smiled lightly at me.

 

“There is only my escort around, so don’t worry.”

 

“I-I see.”

 

“You seem so surprised.”

 

Ronald smiled playfully and strengthened the hand holding me.

 

“Of course, it’s an unexpected seat, so it can be burdensome.”

 

“Wouldn’t it be too much for me?”

 

Unlike my lack of confidence, his voice overflowed with pride.

 

“But think carefully. You will rise to the position of the empress, who will receive wealth, honor, and respect from everyone.”

 

“I’m not sure if the position suits me.”

 

“It’s funny to say now, but I’ve been thinking a lot about this engagement.”

 

I was nervous that he brought up this story casually.

 

“I thought that the engagement with Liliana Liviatan had fallen off, so there was no need to talk about marriage anymore, but the Duchess stepped up.”

 

The satisfactory smile building in his mouth felt suffocating.

 

“Considering your political stance, unlike Lady Liliana, you are mixed with blood of unknown origin, which is a bit unfortunate.”

 

Ronald’s words made my heart pound.

 

I hadn’t expected him to say that in front of me.

 

“You don’t have any special ability, and you’re not meant to dominate the society.”

 

The words comparing Liliana and me brought me shame.

 

But he didn’t say anything wrong so I couldn’t get angry.

 

“But aren’t you also a Liviatan?”

 

Ronald looked confident, perhaps because he was only telling the truth.

 

“…”

 

When I was silent for a long time, he continued cautiously.

 

“Duke cares about you quite a lot. He said he has no intention of proceeding with the engagement if you don’t want to. It’s not easy to pour out that kind of affection when you’re not even his real daughter.”

 

Unlike a moment ago, these words were brought out to comfort and embrace me.

 

In a friendly voice, he whispered in my ear like a devil.

 

“I wondered what kind of person you are to receive that much love. And I think you deserve more love than I thought.”

 

Even though I didn’t respond, he affectionately grabbed me by the shoulder and gently pulled me aside.

 

“I am saying that I want to know your charms in the future. I like you quite a bit.”

 

‘Did Sister get swayed by these sweet words?’

 

If I hadn’t known what kind of person Ronald was, I would have foolishly let down my guard.

 

And would have blindly leaned on him, like Liliana.

 

I raised my head with a slightly surprised look.

 

Ronald was quite a handsome man with Imperial blood flowing through him.

 

I knew that he made quite a lot of ladies’ hearts flutter with his tall height, handsome appearance, and bright blond hair.

 

He was handsome, had good manners, and was a man who tried to protect the other person’s weak points with kindness.

 

The subtle smile also seemed to express the feelings of a man’s crush.

 

Of course, I didn’t think there was a grain of affection in that crush.

 

“Can we meet again next time?”

 

“Of course.”

 

Through my conversations with him, I was able to clearly determine my future moves.

 

“It’s a pleasure.”

 

I nodded shyly at Ronald’s insincere remarks.

 

We had a light conversation and walked around the garden, and promised to meet next time.

 

✲ ✲ ✲

 

I sat in the carriage going back to the duchy and quietly gazed out the window.

 

‘Prince Ronald’s purpose must be to ascend the throne.’

 

It was clear that he was using Liviatan’s support to solidify his plan to become the crown prince.

 

I could clearly tell from the fact that we got engaged and the inappropriate affection, even though my bloodline couldn’t be pleasant to him.

 

‘This is difficult.’

 

If I accepted this engagement, the trajectory of my life would change from the dream I had, and the future would change.

 

‘No, is it certain that it will change?’

 

Unless I directly stopped the heresy that caused the terror in my dreams, the same thing would happen again.

 

‘I have too little information to find and stop the heretics.’

 

I was disappointed with myself for not being able to do anything right now.

 

‘First of all, should I get engaged? Should I not?’

 

Just a while ago, I would have followed Grandmother’s opinion without even any consideration.

 

I would have secretly stayed up all night in tears, lost the object of my resentment, and only nurtured negative emotions.

 

I smiled slightly.

 

‘I’ve made up my mind.’

 

My heart, which had been shaken like a reed, came to a conclusion.

 

After a while, the carriage arrived at the duke’s residence.

 

I saw Liliana and Viola, who were at the mansion, stepping out into the garden and waiting for me.

 

“Daisy, did you have a good trip?”

 

As soon as the carriage door opened, I heard Liliana’s urgent voice and nodded.

 

As Viola escorted me out of the carriage, I could see the worried faces of my sisters.

 

I opened my mouth thinking that I should tell them my intention before they asked.

 

“I want to proceed with this engagement.”

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