Author: rolypoly

“Ah…no.”

 

For unknown reasons, Maximilian responded with a hesitant tone. Perhaps Brielle mentioning another person’s name had caught him off guard.

 

“R, right? I’m sorry all of a sudden.”

 

Brielle smiled brighter, trying to hide her disappointment.

 

When the thought crossed Brielle’s mind that she might be of noble birth, she considered whether she could stand a bit more confidently beside Maximilian.

 

Certainly, Maximilian had never caused her any embarrassment regarding her background. 

 

However, other nobles….

 

When Brielle was alone, she subtly hinted at such remarks.

 

「Even the Duke looks pitiful. He was once the most radiant man, but now it seems there’s no one willing to marry him except for a woman like that. Tsk, tsk.」

 

It’s not like that.

 

The reason Maximilian and Brielle decided to continue this marriage, promising to become a true couple, was… because they were genuinely convinced there was no one else for each other.

 

He once said this to Brielle, who was anxious.

 

「I understand that we shouldn’t dare to assume such things. However, if I… even if I’m still fully bound to the royal family, I would definitely find you and make you my wife. I… there’s no way I wouldn’t fall in love for you, right?」

 

Who said that families are meaningless? Brielle wanted to find the person who uttered such words and question them, asserting that it was not true.

 

That’s how deep the relief that Maximilian’s firm confession gave her. 

 

‘Well, whether a maid or a noble, what does it matter? Between the Duke and me, nothing should change.’

 

What other people say may change.

 

The stories that changed in that way did not have any influence on their lives.

 

“…I’m sorry, Brielle.”

 

Maximilian quietly handed an apple to Brielle, who had been lost in thought for a long time.

 

“Yes?”

 

“I dared to lie to you. If what you’re talking about is the daughter of the Curno family… I know that child.” 

 

Sitting beside her, he gently brushed through Brielle’s silver hair with his fingers.

 

“You… know her?”

 

“Yes, Cecilia Curno. People who cared about her used to call her Cici.”

 

Brielle pondered once again the words he had spoken about Cecilia Curno.

 

Is she really that great young lady he was talking about?

 

She somehow felt her heartbeat getting faster.

 

It wasn’t merely due to the simple expectation that her status might rise.

 

Rather, it seemed as if some of the memories that had been dormant deep inside her heart were rejoicing. 

 

“Although it pains me to have caused your misunderstanding once again, I must express that denying a close friend from my six-year-old days is not the right thing to do.”

 

“…Yes?”

 

‘A, are you saying I was childhood friends with the duke?’

 

Brielle knew she was a bit impatient, but she began to think that the Cecilia Curno she was talking about was herself. 

 

“Yes… first of all… there was the engagement that the previous king had set for me…”

 

When she heard the story he hesitated, Brielle was surprised and jumped up.

 

“Oh my, you shouldn’t move suddenly.”

 

He fumbled with his hands for a moment, but eventually gathered them neatly and offered an apology.

 

“I, I… I was wrong.”

 

“…Yes?”

 

Though she wasn’t sure what he had done wrong all of a sudden, Brielle wanted to confirm, for now, that he indeed knew Cecilia.

 

“Duke, by any chance… did that child have silver hair like mine?”

 

“….!”

 

Now his complexion was starting to turn white rather than pale.

 

“Yes, but you must not misunderstand! You and Cecilia are clearly different.”

 

“Oh… it seems we don’t share the same silver hair. Well, for a commoner like me to dare with a noble lady…”

 

“It’s not that, really.”

 

Maximilian, after briefly placing his hand on his forehead to ease a headache, continued with the response.

 

“I think you will be displeased because I had so many fiances in my past.”

 

“….?”

 

“No, but I swear to you that I have never had any thoughts of being disloyal to you. It’s true!”

 

Brielle finally realized why Maximilian was always reacting like that.

 

Even so, there’s no way Brielle would be upset because she became his fiancee when she was only six years old…

 

‘Oh, why… wouldn’t I be upset?”’

 

In any case, does it mean like he had a special girl in his life?

 

When she recalled that he had been engaged to the queen, even though she knew he wasn’t sincere, her heart felt as if it were rotting.

 

Even Cecilia was a girl he cherished.

 

Maximilian rarely refers to someone as a ‘close friend.’

 

‘It’s not unpleasant at all. This feeling…’

 

Is it because Brielle thinks of herself as ‘Cecilia Curno’?

 

‘Ah, if that’s the case.’

 

She was about to continue making hasty assumptions but shook her head, deciding to stop.

 

This was a very dangerous idea.

 

Above all, it would be a great disgrace to Mrs. Curno who lost her daughter.

 

Not only was it impossible to completely trust the one vague memory that had just come to mind, but there were many names that could have been made up of the initials Cici. 

 

Camille Carlton, Charlene Camden, Christina Chament…

 

There were several things that immediately came to mind.

 

‘No, more than anything…’

 

There was no way a place like the Marquis’ family wouldn’t have commissioned a group of wizards. Especially if they are looking for it so desperately. 

 

‘So, maybe.’

 

Brielle’s feelings of strange pleasure at the name Cecilia Curno may be mistaken. 

 

From her desire to somehow establish a connection with Maximilian…

 

“That, Brielle.”

 

She raised her head at the sound of Maximilian calling cautiously.

 

A man, seemingly twice her size, was stuttering, unsure of what more excuses he could make.

 

It was somehow cute.

 

Unable to hold back the laughter that came out of her mouth, Brielle quickly decided to reassure him.

 

“I wasn’t angry at all.”

 

But why?

 

Even though she said that, he somehow seemed to become even more restless.

 

“Why are you doing this?”

 

“If, if you could forgive me just this once, I promise to repent for this sin throughout my life.”

 

“Hmm, it looks more suspicious if you suddenly panic like that, Duke.”

 

“T, that…! I’m always at loss with you.”

 

At the solemn voice, the maids guarding the entrance were seen quickly covering their mouths with both hands. It was obvious that they were having a hard time holding back their laughter. 

 

Brielle felt a little sorry for them, so she raised her head and tried to order them to leave.

 

However, before that, a knock was heard first.

 

It was a butler; he announced that Clarice had returned with a guest.

 

“A guest?”

 

“Yes, the Marchioness Curno came to visit.”

 

“I’ll go out and see her. Wife, now…” 

 

Maximilian stepped up first. Perhaps he wanted to give her a little more rest.

 

Brielle gently held his hand on the bed and held it.

 

“No, I know it would be rude in this condition, but I would like to see the Marchioness.”

 

* * *

 

Clarisse and Noah returned to the third wall with the Marchioness. 

 

In fact, Noah had avoided going in and out of the third wall, but now she had accepted the Duke’s invitation and came in with Clarisse.

 

“Oh, really, what should I do?”

 

With Clarisse, who had slightly raised her tiptoes, whispering tickling words in his ear, Noah forced a smile and shrugged his shoulders.

 

“There is nothing like what a girl thinks. They will recognize each other at first sight.”

 

“But!”

 

Clarisse unknowingly made a loud noise.

 

Not only the Marchioness of Curno, who had gone ahead of her, but even the butler who guided her looked back at Clarisse. 

 

She waved her hands quickly and smiled brightly, saying it was nothing.

 

Fortunately, they just climbed the stairs without asking any more questions. Towards the Duchess’ room. 

 

“I perhaps… believe that even without the power of magic, two people might still be able to recognize each other.”

 

“Now you really trust the jewel’s words.”

 

“How can I not believe that? Right? We owe a great debt.” 

 

Clarisse lightly stroked the jewels in her small pouch.

 

Clarisse picked up the items that had fallen at the scene where Brielle was kidnapped and packed them away. 

 

The jewel was what revealed the crisis of the Duchess.

 

[Bbabam! I’m Cici’s escort! The mineral that will protect Cici with me is…]

 

Well,  she appreciates it, but she prefers to avoid long stories.

 

Clarisse quickly put the jewels in her pocket.

 

“Anyway, don’t expect too much.”

 

Noah replied with a deep sigh.

 

Even if the Marchioness and the Duchess were truly parent and child, haven’t they lived as strangers for a much longer period of time?

 

There was no way they could recognize each other at first sight.

 

Arriving in front of Brielle’s room, the butler knocked lightly and immediately opened the door.

 

And at last the Marchioness stepped her foot beyond the open door.

 

“Please forgive me for coming without asking permission, but after hearing the news…

 

The Marchioness, who continued her soft greeting, suddenly stopped.

 

That was the moment when her eyes landed on Brielle sitting on her bed.

 

In the deep silence where her whole world seemed to have stopped, Clarisse quietly placed her hands together near her heart. 

 

“…Cici?”

 

After a while, the Marchioness cautiously called out that name. 

 

As deep as her longing was, she was cautious.

 

Clarisse now turned to Brielle.

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