Author: rolypoly

The surroundings were noisy. The closing time for the Imperial Palace library was approaching. Luce hugged Rev tightly before moving away 


“I think your eyes are green? 


The closeness that made them feel warm went away, and Luce was the first to speak. She asked with a slightly sullen expression.


“Are there people in the capital who say something when they see your red eyes?”


“No one speaks in front of me.”


It meant that there were only rumors about the red-eyed prince, and no one dared speak in front of him. Rev was so used to people treating him with disrespect and coldness that it no longer bothered him. However, Luce comforted him lightly and warmly, even though she didn’t know the story about the prince. 


“It’s just pretty; I don’t understand why everyone is acting this way. Right?” 


“I only need to be pretty in your eyes.” 


“You still say this, really.”


Luce, who was smiling brightly, felt the gaze that pierced her empty neck. 


“I still have the pendant you gave me. I took it out because it made me think of you.”


Luce cleared her throat for a moment.


“But now I no longer feel pain when I think about you! I’ll wear it well from now on.”


“Mhm. Please do it.” 


“You said if I miss you, I could just talk to the pendant, right?” 


While saying that, Luce fiddles with Rev’s hand. Not stopping there, she casually rolled up the sleeves and even lifted the collar to inspect the skin underneath. It seemed to be checking something.


“Since you came to the Imperial Family library… you’re not trapped here, right? I can see you whenever I want, right?” 


The tone of voice was gentle, but it sounded somewhat earnest. Rev understood that Luce was focusing on the second question. 


“If you want, I will definitely do it.”


Even if he changed his eye color, he still had to minimize contact with the outside world. That way, it will be even more shocking and surprising when he is revealed as the new prince. But if Luce wants to see him, the story is different. More than anything, it was what he wanted. 


Now that Luce was close to him, all of his emotions seemed to be focused on her. Emotions are an intangible thing, and he had the unscientific thought that Luce might suffocate from the intensity. The years spent hiding emotions within the palace might not have been in vain; seeing Luce pleading like before made it seem as though he himself was behaving similarly to the past, but people’s thoughts always differ.


His friend, whose true feelings were most difficult to understand, stood up with a complicated expression instead of smiling.


“That’s a relief. But don’t push yourself too hard, Rev.” 




“I thought that when I met you, I should tell you that I missed you first, but this time, you beat me.”


It smelled like raspberries. Luce leaned down, gently stroked his cheek, and whispered. 


“So, I’ll tell you this first. I’m going to miss you… I’ll go.”


It was a greeting just for the two of them. 


Rev, sitting as if frozen, watched Luce’s retreating figure. He slowly understood what she meant by her question. Now he felt he understood the origins of her heartfelt expressions occasionally seen and the cautious glances directed at him—it seemed like she had some specific thoughts behind it all.


Luce thinks he’s trapped in the palace not because he’s a prince, but because he’s a useful being. Up to this point, it was as Rev had planned. However, the way she behaved afterward was different from what he thought. She didn’t focus on being ‘useful’, but on the fact that he was ‘trapped’. 


So, trying not to show her depressed feelings, she tried to act brightly, checked for any wounds, and asked about the extent of confinement. He couldn’t even dare guess Luce’s feelings, assuming the worst.


Luce, who always gave the answer, made the wrong judgment this time. Her misjudgment turned out to be good for him. No matter how smart Luce was, she wouldn’t be able to know the details of the situation in the imperial palace. It was right to quietly accept her concern about him based on superficial information and direct all her attention towards him. However, 


Is it okay to be happy when anticipating Luce’s night of worry because of the consequences of misjudgment?


“Really, I often thought there was something strangely off about her…” 


Unfortunately, Radanum’s words have never been wrong. For a long time, he and the truth have been at odds. 


Rev believed that the difficulty in breathing was not due to emotions but because he hadn’t taken his medicine. Instead of confessing the truth, he thought of a piece to fit into a dangerous lie.


Even though he quickly found the answer, the fact that Luce hadn’t called that night kept bothering him.




The Marquis Lantier, who was suddenly summoned to the imperial palace the next day, had a blank look on his face.


He couldn’t figure out why, on earth, he had entered the palace. Except for occasional events like New Year’s gatherings or private auctions where he superficially shows his face as a noble figure in central politics, Lantier has never entered the palace for either private or public reasons in the past ten years.


As he got off the carriage, he saw bright red hair. It’s the Young Lord of Menelik. Were they summoned together?


“Young Lord Friedrich?” 


When he looked back with a fresh smile, the corners of his eyes narrowed slightly.


“I didn’t expect to see you here, Marquis. What brings you here?”


He didn’t expect someone to ask so directly, even though he wasn’t at the palace very often. They don’t even address him by my title. Nevertheless, the Marquis Lantier could not offer much rebuke. The status of the Western Council, to which Menelik belonged, and the Eastern Council, to which Lantier belonged, was truly the difference between heaven and earth.


“It must be for a similar reason to the Young Lord.” 


“I don’t think so. I was invited for a very confidential reason, so it seems that outsiders won’t be allowed in that place.” 


But this was too much. How can a Young Lord, who isn’t even a Count yet, call a Marquis, who is in a higher position than him, an outsider?


The Marquis of Lantier, who was well-educated and suppressed his emotions, spoke with the corners of his mouth trembling slightly.


“I think we need to select a few more etiquette teachers for Menelik County.”


“Oh my.”


Friedrich placed his hand on his chest with a proud expression and whispered sadly.


“I have heard that all the people in Lantier work in the mines, so the labor shortage is extreme, but I didn’t know that there weren’t enough people to hire as etiquette teachers. If you need anything, please feel free to ask anytime. I will make sure to send you a good person.” 


“What on earth does that mean!”


“I thought you were asking because you needed it, but did you have another reason?


Friedrich, wearing a mischievous smile that didn’t suit his innocent face, walked past him. The Marquis Lantier, whose face was flushed red, realized that the two people were taking different paths, just as Frederick had said. Friedrich was being escorted to where the Empress’s place was, while his attendants were guiding him to where Prince Delmar was


Friedrich looked back just before the path changed.  The shape of the mouth asking, ‘Am I right?’ was clear. 


‘How can someone be so arrogant? He’s acting as if he could be the Empress’s companion!’


As Lantier asked why he entered the palace as if it were his own, and recalled the bridge of his nose that was so high in the sky, weight was placed on Lantier’s steps. Pursing his lips, he waited for the prince’s door to open. 


“Thermere Nikos Lantier, meet Your Highness the Prince.” 


A slightly crooked voice escaped his lips, and he covered his mouth, but the prince did not point out Lantier’s rudeness. For some reason, Prince Delmar seemed to be in a very good mood.


His face was smooth. He looked extremely fatigued and worn-out as he passed by at the New Year’s gathering; perhaps today he managed to get some rest


Anyway, it’s good that the prince who called him has a bright expression. It didn’t seem like he had been called out to point out that the territory was lagging behind others.


“May I ask the reason I was summoned to the Palace?” 


“Please sit down first, there are a lot of documents we need to look at together.”


After checking the titles of the scattered documents, Lantier decided to correct his thoughts. The document given by Delmar contained information about the mining output of the Lantier territory. Lantier, who was frightened by the documents filled with evaluations that all the minerals produced were rare and of poor quality, lowered his head and muttered.


“W, we are also trying to improve work efficiency by utilizing reward systems, but the poor quality of the stored materials is something that cannot be helped solely by manpower…”


“Why are you so intimidated? I didn’t call you to scold you, so raise your head.”


Lantier slowly raised his eyes, and he couldn’t believe that the prince’s expression was still bright.


“What minerals are found in the East?”


“Common minerals such as feldspar and muscovite… and low-quality magic stones.”


Lantier’s appetite was bitter as he thought about Menelik, whose power had grown rapidly since it was discovered that high-quality magic stones were buried. This is something that hurts his pride. Who knew what was buried beneath the ground would become so important?

High-quality magic stones were mainly used in magical engineering products where stability was important, and they were expensive. However, there was no use for low-quality magic stones. It is easy to process due to its low density, but it is very unstable and loses its magic quickly. It could not be used as a power source for magic spheres. The stones in Lantier’s territory were mostly gems, but due to their low quality, children sometimes used them to make toy necklaces or other items. 


However, Delmar looked quite pleased with Lantier’s words.


“I heard there was an attempt to make an alloy with those minerals. It’s light and non-corrosive, right?”


“Yes, we tried to find a way out on our own… but it wasn’t promoted well.”


“It will surely be useful and remain so; why are you lacking confidence? Don’t worry about publicity.” 


Delmar said it with confidence. Lantier, who was tilting his head, slowly smiled. 


“I’m planning to use the alloys and the system for the upcoming blacksmith qualification exam.”


“Yes? Is that true?” 


“Hmm. If it’s a blacksmith, they should know how to handle new metals.”


Delmar’s words might have seemed casual, but they were like a string of hope for Lantier. What a help it would be if blacksmiths came from all over the empire to try this alloy and tell others about it. 


Delmar’s mention of an interesting test topic instead of that point was somewhat surprising, but Lantier blinked his eyes, waiting for the conversation to continue. 


“Speaking of low-quality magical stones, I’ve recently felt that we’ve overlooked them as resources. So I was wondering if there was any way to use it other than making children’s toys.”


“However, the magical stones in Rantie’s territory aren’t very stable, so they aren’t suitable for long-term use…” 


“Then wouldn’t it be suitable for things that are quickly consumed?”


“What do you mean by ‘things that are quickly consumed’…? What do you mean, for example?” 


Delmar smiled slightly with a proud and arrogant expression.


“Why don’t you use it for projectiles or arrows?” 


Seeing Lantier’s wild excitement after hearing those words, Delmar thought of his older brother, who always helped him. 


Author's Thoughts

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