Author: rolypoly

“Of course. My mother is the noblest person on this land.”

 

“Uhm, but the Duke and his wife trust me too!”

 

It was all thanks to their trust that she, a prisoner, was able to roam the garden on her own like this.

 

“The Duke?”

 

“Yes, you know what? The Duke really…!”

 

Clarisse was about to talk a lot about Maximilian’s greatness, but she stopped.

 

“Come to think of it, the Prince is the Duke’s younger brother.”

 

She was a little embarrassed to try to explain the obvious in front of his family.

 

“Well… I’ll listen. Listening to the stories of the people is a knowledge of a prince. Anyway… the story of the exiled prince won’t be anything special.”

 

“That’s not true!”

 

Clarisse quickly boasted of Maximilian.

 

How wonderfully he took care of Sheridan, how seriously he listened to people’s voices.

 

It was all a story to be proud of.

 

Perhaps if Clarisse had been Valentine, she would have kept the fact that such a great older brother existed as a light in her heart.

 

But somehow things went a little differently than she thought.

 

Valentine’s expression gradually hardened and now became sharp as if angry.

 

“T, the Duke is… a really cool adult. I’ll be sure to do it later too… just like that…”

 

Clarisse’s voice gradually faded as she watched him.

 

“Why are you… angry, Prince?”

 

“You.”

 

Valentine’s voice was cold again.

 

“Y, yes?!”

 

“Tell me honestly. The bloody Duke told you to do this, didn’t he?”

 

“…Yes?”

 

“What do you mean no!”

 

He screamed and pushed Clarisse’s shoulder.

 

“You are a liar! The Duke told you about me, too, didn’t he?”

 

“P, Prince.”

 

“The prince who betrayed his mother and was imprisoned is respected by everyone? Don’t lie!”

 

“R, really…”

 

“In the words of the traitor, there is only one! The Duke must live in great pain, reflecting on his sins against his mother all his life in the cold Sheridan!”

 

Just then, the voices of knights looking for Clarisse came from somewhere in the garden.

 

Valentine glared suspiciously at Clarisse, then quickly turned and ran over the canal.

 

“Excuse me!”

 

Clarisse hurriedly called out from behind, but he didn’t respond.

 

“Prince!”

 

However, at the moment of this call, he flinched for a moment and stopped there.

 

“Tomorrow… You’ll come, right?”

 

He didn’t know what to say, so he hesitated for a moment to answer with random words.

 

“I… I will wait.”

 

As she added in a small voice, he heard the voice again looking for Clarisse in the garden.

 

“I don’t know! Do as you please!”

 

Then Valentine screamed and ran away in an instant.

 

“….”

 

Clarisse looked at him with confused eyes, then returned to the knights who were looking for her.

 

*****

 

“Liar!”

 

Returning to his annex, Valentine shouted violently and closed the door with a thud.

 

「The Duke is respected by everyone.」

 

「The Duke and his wife like each other. I am happy when the two of them are together.」

 

It couldn’t be.

 

Didn’t his mother tell him?

 

Maximilian is a sinner abandoned by his family and forced to live in a cold winter castle for the rest of his life.

 

Hearing that he would spend several days at the villa, Valentine approached to see his miserable appearance with his own eyes.

 

Although his mother would say that it would be wrong to come into contact with such an evil human being—.

 

Valentine seemed to feel better when he actually saw his misfortune.

 

No, it definitely was.

 

‘It was—.’

 

As expected, the evil duke seemed to have noticed everything about Valentine.

 

‘How could you send such a cute girl as a spy. No, it wasn’t cute at all!’

 

He seemed to think that if such a child blinked his round eyes and told him a good story about the Duke, he would be able to appease Valentine.

 

If he shakes him, the stability of the royal family will be shaken.

 

Who does he think will fall for such a lie?

 

There’s no way an exiled Prince would be loved by everyone.

 

More than anything else, if Clarisse’s words are true, then everything his mother has said up until now is a lie.

 

That was absolutely impossible.

 

His mother was a noblewoman called the royal rose.

 

「Tomorrow… You’ll come, right?」

 

Valentine snorted, recalling what Clarisse had just said.

 

The operation seems to fail, so she’s telling him to come again?

 

“Who do you think will go see you again?”

 

He threw his hat over the bed and screamed.

 

Was the top of his head unusually hot today?

 

He now realized that he had been wearing Clarisse’s hat.

 

“…Ah.”

 

For a moment, he remembered what he heard while she was lending this hat.

 

「Yes, it’s my favorite hat, but it’s okay.」

 

*****

 

While Clarisse meets Valentine twice.

 

Maximilian met with Lysander and decided on the disposition of the Darringtons family, who deceived the royal family into sending a fake bride.

 

The king seemed to give a very lenient disposition.

 

All he wanted to do was return the ‘dignity maintenance fee’ he had sent to them so far.

 

However, the Count’s family, which had already spent all their money, was struck by the greatest disaster.

 

In the end, the Count could only be pardoned after giving all of his family’s honor and small estate to the royal family.

 

The Darrington family, who found it difficult to even get a meal right away, let alone a house to lie down on, scattered, blaming each other.

 

In this way, the previously invisible Darrington family was completely forgotten throughout the realm.

 

However, the impact of this incident on Brielle was very great.

 

She was able to meet her mother, about whom she was always worried, and she received regular updates from the doctor on the progress of her illness.

 

Now, she didn’t have to spend vague time just looking up to the sky and praying for her mother’s health.

 

So the morning of the fourth day since they came to the capital.

 

Brielle got up before the sun rose and hurriedly put on her outerwear without eating breakfast.

 

As she hurried out of the annex, she ran into Maximilian in the garden, who was returning from the morning exercise.

 

“Ah, hello. Duke.”

 

Brielle quickly bowed and said hello. Soon he greeted her in the same manner.

 

“Good morning.”

 

Maximilian wore a lighter-than-usual shirt and trousers, with his long hair tied up high.

 

Perhaps because he had just finished exercising, his sweaty top was slightly attached to his body.

 

“I think it’s going to be cold.”

 

“The Sheridians don’t call the winter of the capital cold.”

 

There was a strange pride in his voice as he spoke. Just like the natives of Sheridan.

 

“But you must dress warmly.”

 

“I’m also Sheridan, right?”

 

She doesn’t know why, but when Brielle spoke like this, Maximilian seemed to pause for a moment.

 

‘…Was I too presumptuous?’

 

Only then could it have seemed that there was some lingering attachment to his wife’s position.

 

‘It’s not that I don’t have any regrets.’

 

The heart of unrequited love that Brielle realized last month was still raging.

 

“I, I’ll dress warmly. I’ll be in trouble if I get sick, too.”

 

“Yes, you had better be careful.”

 

“By the way, how did Clarisse fall asleep under the waterway?”

 

Yesterday was Clarisse’s third exploration to the garden.

 

The child who was playing along the waterway with a long stick was gone from a certain point on.

 

At first, the knights didn’t think much of it because Clarisse would sometimes hide behind a tree and dig a hole.

 

But when the return time was noticeably later than usual, they went looking for Clarisse themselves and found her sleeping in a waterway under a tree tunnel.

 

Her body was frozen, and last night, Clarisse even suffered from light body aches.

 

“Uhm…”

 

Maximilian pondered for a moment, then replied in a slightly awkward tone.

 

“Maybe she fell asleep while playing. Maybe.”

 

“I’m glad it’s not a big deal. My heart sank when I heard they found it under the waterway.”

 

“The inside of the third wall is not a good place for children to stay. It’s built on beauty over safety and practicality.”

 

For some reason, Brielle felt heavy on one side of her mind.

 

“I’m sorry. I couldn’t pay attention to Clarisse because I was going to my mother every day…”

 

“That’s not true.”

 

The Duke lightly raised his hand to interrupt her apology.

 

“Didn’t you miss your mother all the way in Sheridan? Oh, I’ve been holding on to you for too long.”

 

He took a step aside.

 

“Have a safe trip.”

 

“Oh, well… I’m a little ashamed to ask you this favor.”

 

Brielle looked up at Maximilian, holding her hands together.

 

“J, just for one night… can I come to sleep for one night?”

 

“….”

 

“I’m not saying I’ll do it tonight. I just want to sleep with my mother for about a day… while I’m in the capital. “

 

Even thinking about it herself, she knew it was an outrageous request.

 

Still, she really wanted to be with her for just one night. Somehow her mother seemed to want that too.

 

Looking nervously, he soon opened his mouth quietly with his bitter face.

 

“How about…him?”

 

“Yes?”

 

“I mean…that man.”

 

That man?

 

Brielle, who was wondering, immediately clapped her hands and answered cheerfully.

 

“Ah, do you mean Harry?”

 

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