Author: alyalia

* * *

Princess Diana rud Seperdel arrived in the capital ten days after the divorce. Reiad had submitted the documents to the temple in the capital the morning after Luize left. The priest, confirming the signatures were voluntarily made using divine power, declared the divorce, completing the process.


The next day, the news of their divorce stirred up the capital through gossip columns. The story of Grand Duke Lindeman personally fetching the former Countess Cloette spread, inflating the rumors further.


Just in time, invitations for an imperial banquet were distributed. The banquet was to celebrate the visit of Princess Seperdel. The banquet was held three days after the princess’s arrival.


“Greetings, Princess. My name is Reiad di Cloette, and I am tasked with guiding you through the imperial palace.”


“So, you’re the famously handsome divorced man of the empire?”




“And you’re trying to woo me this time? I’m not interested in men others have discarded. Especially if they’re married.”


Reiad smiled serenely. “The divorce was entirely my initiative. It was my suggestion to serve the Princess.”


“The rumors suggest otherwise.”


“The rumors about me are always half true and half false. Aren’t you curious about the truth?”


Diana’s eyes narrowed, a flicker of interest in her vibrant green gaze. “I am curious.”


“Today, while guiding you through the palace, I’ll share some secrets with you alone,” Reiad whispered, leaning in close to Diana.


“Ah, but there’s something more pressing on my mind.”


Reiad’s eyebrows twitched. “May I inquire about it?”


“Of course.” Diana smiled just as evenly as Reiad. “I want to see with my own eyes if you’ve truly parted ways cleanly. You’ll allow me that, right?”


Diana extended her hand towards him. Reiad gently took her hand, kissing her knuckles.


“Of course.”


His lips quivered slightly with a smile.


* * *

Grand Duchy Lindeman attracted more attention than usual. Newspapers, gossip columns, and socialites were all curious about what was happening inside the firmly closed mansion. Luize, who had locked herself in the annex since her arrival, emerged the next day with swollen eyes and, since then, dragged Edward and Maxion to the training ground every day.


“Why do you all look so gloomy? Is there something on my face?”


“No, it’s just… Luize, that…”


“There’s nothing wrong. The weather is nice today, isn’t it, Luize?” Edward interjected, blatantly lying. To say the weather is nice when it was a cloudy day…


“Maxion, what’s wrong?”


“… It’s nothing. Just didn’t oil the sword properly.”


Though they couldn’t hide their concern, Luize faintly smiled. Despite feeling bitter and heartbroken, she felt relieved, like she had completed a long-postponed task.


Days passed with shared meals, solitary returns to the annex, soothing baths, and forced sleep. On the third day of her stay at the grand duchy, Luize sought Edward’s advice to look for a new house using the inheritance disguised as prize money, stating she couldn’t impose on the grand duchy forever.


“Considering the departure is soon, how about we find a house afterward? The focus is on this place right now, and it would seem odd for you to leave immediately.”


“That makes sense. Please take care of me a bit longer.”


Thus, by Edward’s persuasion, she stayed in the grand duchy until the departure.  However, the rumors that stirred high society quickly spread to the general populace.


Grand Duke Edward von Lindeman and Count Reiad di Cloette. Since it was a situation involving two of the most famous men in the empire, it was bound to reach even those distant from high society. The grand duke’s knights, filled with curiosity, incessantly questioned Maxion and Edward about Luize.


Amid the commotion, Luize remained the most serene center of all stories. Excluding the first day, she appeared no different than usual. On cloudless, clear days, she might pause with a complex expression but quickly return to her regular demeanor.


Today, the news of the princess’s arrival at the capital spread throughout. Edward, Luize, and Maxion were having dinner together. Since only Edward was attending the welcome banquet,  the Lindeman mansion was busy preparing for the upcoming expedition.


“It will be difficult to conceal my identity from everyone through the expedition. Now that I’m divorced, it’s okay to reveal it. But I’m concerned about lying to His Majesty.”


“It might be inconvenient, but it’s better to wear a mask and act anonymously in public. We’ll ensure no information leaks internally, so don’t worry.”


“Thank you.”


Knock, knock. A knock was heard, and a servant entered, whispering something to Edward, who then handed Luize a white envelope with a golden seal of a dragon.


“Why from the imperial family to me…”


“It seems they want to invite Miss Luize to the welcome banquet.”


“Weren’t all the invitations already sent out?”


Luize quickly opened the envelope. As Edward said, it was an invitation. The invitation mentioned Luize’s recent changes in status as the reason for the delayed invitation. It was odd to send out an invitation three days before the event, especially since it was already late.


“It’s true that famous people, even commoners, get invited to parties.”


“It’s rare for the imperial banquet, but they made an exception this time,” Edward replied, smiling as usual.


The fact that the invitation arrived as soon as the princess arrived meant that the emperor had a reason to invite Luize, which was likely related to Reiad. It seemed the princess might be planning something. Considering past experiences, it was likely something undesirable would happen, but avoiding it could lead to more troublesome issues.


It’s better to go along with the rhythm.


Edward looked at the invitation somberly.


“Can I attend as Edward’s partner? But I don’t have anything prepared… Can I wear one of the dresses Edward gifted me?”


“Fillio should be able to make a dress for the party in time. I’ll call him early tomorrow.”


“Thank you. How much will the dress cost?”


“Since you’ll be attending as my partner, I’ll cover it. It’s more natural that way. By the way, your surname before marriage was ‘Servenia,’ right? Servenia is a family well known as the imperial healers.”


Ah, right. My father was said from the imperial healers.”




“His name was ‘Allen di Servenia.’ Do you know him? It’s a common name, so you might not. There are so many people working in the palace.”


“How could I not?” Edward’s eyes widened. “Allen de Servenia was the imperial family’s best healer and also the head of the Servenia family.”


“…Yes? My father?” Luize asked, surprised. “He never mentioned being nobility… Now that I think about it, my father said to take his brooch to the biggest clinic in the region if anything happened.”


“Most healers in the empire are graduates of the Servenia Academy run by the Servenia family.”


“Incredible.” Luize’s eyes widened.


“He was reported to have died during a dragon hunt. It seems like a deliberate false report… Later, Servenia sent the second son as a healer, who became the imperial dedicated healer. His son now holds the head position, which would make him Luize’s cousin.”


“Is he also in the imperial palace?”


“No, he didn’t become a healer.”


“It’s unusual to not follow the family profession.”


“The previous head of Servenia died under unfortunate circumstances six years ago.”


 “Unfortunate circumstances…?”


“Do you remember the incident when many nobles died on the day the previous emperor passed away?”


“Yes, it was an execution of rebels, as I understand.”


“The head of Servenia was also there.”


“Did Servenia commit treason?!” Luize asked, shocked.


Edward’s expression darkened. “No. The death of the Servenia head was an accidental death caught up with the rebels.”


It was concluded as such externally. Emperor Eligos, coveting the power of Servenia, announced the head’s death as an accident after murdering him, sparing the remaining family members’ lives in exchange for their allegiance.


The Servenia family immediately knew the head’s death was not an accident upon receiving his body. They decided not to follow either the current emperor, who had killed the head of the family or Edward, who had failed to protect the head of the family twice. They maintained neutrality without angering the emperor, cutting ties with the imperial family and giving up their path as a healer.  


“Now that I think about it, I’ve never encountered anyone from the Servenia family at banquets.”


“They’ve completely withdrawn from society since that incident.”


“What’s the current situation of the family now?”


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