Author: alyalia

* * *

“Where shall I take you?”


“To the Cloette mansion.”


Edward stared out of the window of the car with an impassive face. These days, he often thinks of Luize. It wasn’t because of stereotypical love at first sight, like in romance novels.


Edward was far from such an unfamiliar feeling. It was at the age of seventeen that his position in the imperial family plummeted to the ground in an instant following the ignominious death of his mother, who was the empress. This was partly because of the numerous vassals and relatives who didn’t pay attention to him at that time and partly because the emperor, who had taken his last name out of anger, had a new empress before his sorrow had subsided.


To make matters worse, a boy three years younger than Edward entered the imperial palace, holding the new empress’s hand. He was the emperor’s illegitimate son. It didn’t take long for that boy to become the crown prince.


Only after crowning his illegitimate son as crown prince did the emperor seem to have realized that something was wrong and hurriedly summoned several of his vassals to confirm Edward’s blood. That day was three years since he left the imperial palace due to unreasonable disposition, and it was Edward’s birthday in the year he became an adult.


“Grand Duke Edward von Lindeman is a member of the imperial family who inherited the legitimacy of the imperial family!”


On the evening of the day that the emperor was found to be his father, the emperor was murdered. It was even before Edward could ask why he did the unreasonable treatment to him.


That was 7 years ago. Several of those who participated in the paternity test were executed for plotting treason. They were the ones who approached Edward with bright faces after the paternity test.


Since then, many people have died unknowingly. Most of them were those who stood by Edward’s side. Everything was so easy to fit in, but there was nothing he could do, deprived of everything except the illusory title of the grand duke. The ex-crown prince, who was so loved by the empire, became a forgotten prince.


It’s been a while since then. Edward grew stronger to protect himself and what was left of him, calmly hiding his claws like a wild beast that had lost his aggression. However, no matter how rich the Lindeman estate became and no matter how many people he secretly helped, what he could do as Grand Duke Lindeman without being involved in politics was extremely limited.


In the meantime, the number of poor people in the empire increased more than fivefold, black magic was rampant, and the tyranny of nobles against the people of the territory became increasingly severe. The 22-year-old young emperor seemed to be more worried about Edward than taking care of state affairs. He eventually decided to send Edward to Perils.


Perils. While living in the place called Forest of Death, his knights were constantly attacked by assassins. The emperor’s army, which was sent as support, tried to destroy his army, but Edward survived with his knights to the end.


Every day in the dark and gloomy forest, smelling the bloody scent of enemies, allies, and strange beasts, he sensed that the time had come to reveal his claws. When Edward returned from the successful patrol in Perils, the people, tired of the emperor’s incompetence, began looking for Edward again.


The emperor’s foolish move was an opportunity for Edward. He was no longer a discarded prince who had lost everything. His preparations are almost complete. If only the last matter was completed without any special variables, a sufficient foundation to confront the imperial family would be laid. However, on the capital’s outskirts, on the day he returned from Perils, an unexpected ambush appeared in front of him.


Luize di Cloette. The wife of the count who cannot fit into society on her own. That one sentence was the end report about her so far. However, the first aid treatment that Edward experienced wasn’t the skills of an ordinary noble lady.


Luize clearly knew the herbs needed to treat wounds and calmly resolved the urgent situation. Her quick wits, enough to rip her petticoat, were proof that she was quite a capable healer who had often experienced similar situations.


Why did Count Reiad di Cloette have an healer wife? He may have married a healer disguised as his wife to hide her way in and out of the mansion.  But why? It’s hard to believe that he deliberately kept his healer wife by his side.


According to what Edward knew, the count has a separate role. That was undoubtedly accurate information.


It was also strange that Luize treated Edwards. He was the number one target to watch out for the Cloette family, loyal to the emperor. Of course, she added that she wanted to keep it a secret, but that seemed to be because she wanted to hide her abilities than the fact that she had treated him.


There was no reason for the woman who seemed to follow anything her husband said to treat Edward, even betraying her husband. The reason he could think of was two. Either Luize disobeyed Reiad’s order not to treat Edward for some reason, or she didn’t know how big a role Reiad played in the imperial faction…


“The relationship between the two is not that good.”


It was necessary to know for sure whether this variable was in his favor or not. If she and Maxion were close, Maxion’s judgment would not be objective. In that case, it was right for him to find out himself.


Soon, the Cloette mansion appeared out of the window of the carriage.


* * *

Reiad, who returned to the mansion just as the sun was setting, was embarrassed to see the man standing before him.


“I didn’t know your childhood friend who came to visit would be a strong man, Luize.”


“He’s my only friend.”


“Nice to meet you.” Maxion reached out first.


Reiad took his hand and shook it. During the handshake, the two looked at each other’s expressions and were alert.


“Would you like to have dinner?”


Reiad’s hand gave more strength.


Maxion answered while staring at it. “It’s late, so I’ll get going.”


“It’s a shame.” Reiad let go of Maxion’s hand with a satisfied face.


As the three headed toward the main hall, the waiting servants soon headed to the stables to take out the horse Maxion had been riding on.


It was then. A black carriage with a silver falcon engraved on it entered the mansion’s garden. Luize, Maxion, and Reiad all stared with puzzled faces at the carriage that was gradually getting closer to them.


“Did you have any other guests to come?”






The carriage stood in front of them. Soon, the door opened, and the black-haired man got out of the carriage. His red eyes scanned the three people before him, one after another. Maxion, Luize, Reiad, and once again Luize.


“Good evening, everyone.”






“Lord Edward.”


When Maxion called him, Edward approached him with a happy face and tapped him on the shoulder.


Maxion was a huge man but only appeared large due to his bulk muscles. Edward was actually a bit taller than him.


“I’m here to pick you up, Maxion.”


“Pick him up…?”


Edward answered with a smooth curve of the tail of his mouth as Luize recited with a puzzled face. “Because it’s raining. In case it might rain again, I stopped by nearby and brought a carriage for my precious subordinate. It bothered me that he went out on horseback.”


Ah.” Luize nodded her head as if convinced.


The clouds haven’t cleared up in the sky yet. It wouldn’t rain again, but he must have thought so since he didn’t know much about the weather.


“I would appreciate it if you could send the horse to Lindeman’s mansion.”


“We will do that.” It was Reiad who answered.


Luize wasn’t looking at Edward as if she was deliberately trying to avoid him. She hoped he would get out of the mansion quickly. If the story of that day were accidentally revealed, Reiad might be offended.




At Edward’s call, Luize’s gaze slowly turned to him. His red eyes were looking at her. In his eyes, Luize felt something chill.


“I saw the garden on my way here, and it was beautiful. I hope I can be invited next time.”


Reiad answered while looking at Edward and Luize in turn. “It’s a shabby place, but we’ll try to make a room.”


“I look forward to it. Well then, I hope you have a peaceful night. Let’s go, Maxion.”




Edward got into the carriage first. Then Maxion, who was climbing the wagon, turned back and saw Luize. “See you again.”


“Yes.” Luize smiled softly.


Maxion got into the carriage. Reiad, who was looking at her like that, opened his mouth. “Luize, I have something I want to say.”


Luize’s still happy expression hardened in an instant.


The smile disappeared from Reiad’s face. “Let’s go in.” He turned around and headed inside the mansion.


Luize tried to follow him into the mansion but turned her head and stared at the carriage of the Lindeman family. Under the sunset, a black carriage left the mansion and slowly moved away. She thought the silver falcon pattern behind the Lindeman family’s carriage was like a bird flying out of a cage.


Luize looked ahead again. A gorgeous mansion stood before her eyes. It was time for her to return to the beautiful cage.


* * *

Reiad and Luize sat across the tea table. Because Reiad had chased out all the servants, only two were in the large parlor.


“My Luize.”


The good news was that Reiad’s expression returned with a warm smile like before. Luize raised her head slightly, looking at him.


“Why don’t you bring in a lover instead of hanging out with such a vulgar person?”


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