Published at 2nd of October 2023 06:06:39 AM

Chapter 22

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It’s only been a day since the Holy Emperor entered the closed prayer. The atmosphere in the Pearl Palace was changing rapidly.

Little by little people began to come and go to the Pearl Palace, which was like a small isolated island within the imperial palace.

Attendants carrying letters came in and out, and small gift boxes and bouquets of flowers began to be delivered.

It’s been quite some time since the access restrictions were lifted, but the reason for this belated change was obvious. Until now, it means that people were nervous about the Holy Emperor.

Requests for visits began to come in from here and there, and the one and only lady-in-waiting became very busy as well.

“Oh, this is a big deal. Your Highness!”

He was just leaving the gymnasium from morning training when Edith called to Seongjin with a very nervous face.

“What is it?”

“I just got a message from the Ruby Palace. The Queen told me to prepare refreshments without a hitch because she is coming with a special guest!”

Isn’t that just a usual guest reception?

“What’s the problem?”

Seongjin stared blankly at Edith, who had a teary face.

“But I don’t know how to brew tea properly?”

“… What?”

You punk. Then, while you are fully aware of your poor skills, you brought me such tasteless tea all this time?

Seongjin felt his blood pressure rise.

“Why did you get a job as a lady-in-waiting if you don’t even know how to make tea?”

“I didn’t know. In the first place, the recruiting condition was [Aura users] only.”

Oh, that’s right. She did say she originally wanted to be a knight.

Still, isn’t it already her second year as a maid? It’s time to learn how to make tea.

However, Edith also had her own excuses.

“Because Your Highness originally didn’t enjoy tea, and there weren’t any particular guests visiting.”

“I heard that Father sometimes come?”

“His Majesty the Holy Emperor was always accompanied by the chief chamberlain, so I had nothing to do. Lord Louis has prepared the perfect refreshments from the main palace.”

Come to think of it, it seems that Louis himself served tea during the last audience.

“What should I do? I just did some practice, and it just tastes like rotten grass. How do I serve this to the guests?”

So you know well what the tea you brew tastes like.

“Well, tea is originally grass and water. Won’t it be okay?”

After replying indifferently, Edith stomped her feet.

“But Your Highness! It is said that the Queen has made a new request. She said that since it is the first time your fiancée is visiting the Pearl Palace, there should be no shortage of hospitality to her!”

Seongjin heard something he couldn’t let go of there, and asked Edith back.

“Wait, Edith. But am I engaged?”

“That’s right. When did you get engaged without me knowing, Your Highness?”

“… Huh?”

“… Yes?”

* * *

“I Invited Lady Valois to the imperial palace on my own account. But suddenly, I realized that the two of you were still meeting for the first time? Even though marriage talks have been going on for such a long time.”

When Queen Lizabeth arrived at the Pearl Palace, Seongjin managed to sit down at the well-appointed refreshment table.

The Queen did not look for any flaws when she saw the assortment of refreshments. She didn’t even bother to sit back and taste it.

Edith couldn’t help but feel glad. Seongjin inadvertently took a sip of the tea in front of him, and a deep bitter taste like bile rose up.

‘I wonder about it every time, but how can grass and water taste like this?’

Trying to control his expression, Seongjin faced the new visitor the Queen had brought.

Lady Valois, Chloe Mia de Valois.

The fluttering light curly hair and the water-colored dress harmonize, making her look like a small girl who might float into the sky with a simple tap.

According to the Queen, the Valois family is a great aristocracy with roots in Brittany, and is a prestigious family that has produced outstanding scholars for generations. The dean of Delcross Theological Academy is also from the Valois family.

That’s why even before Chloe was born, there was occasional talk of marriage with Morres on the Queen’s line. Fortunately, it’s still a story that only comes out privately, and it doesn’t seem like an official engagement relationship.

Right. Considering the times, an engagement started from the womb is not incomprehensible. The problem was the opponent’s age.

‘… 12 years old?’

Since Morres is 15 years old, it must be a calculation that there will be a fairly decent age difference when he becomes an adult. Of course, if it’s a real Morres.

Seongjin’s age before his death was estimatedly 64, and at the age of 12, she could almost be his granddaughter.

No matter how much he decided to pretend to be Morres and live on a steel plate, this is far beyond what he can afford.

The girl sitting across from him was quietly chewing on dessert and bobbing her legs. Cold sweat broke out on Seongjin’s back as she watched him.

“Seeing the two of you together makes me even more confident in this marriage talk. Aren’t you a really beautiful pair to look at?”


Seongjin made an impression without even realizing it, and had to drink poisonous tea once more to hide it.

His tongue goes numb beyond the bitter taste.

Edith, are you sure the tea wasn’t poisoned?

In any case, it was an awkward refreshment time, with the Queen talking alone and the two parties to the engagement keeping silent.

“How long has it been since we had such a friendly refreshment? Seeing that the Prince was so calm, you must also like Lady Valois. I am satisfied that the two of you seem to fit better than I thought.”

Oh, it’s fine if he just didn’t make a fuss.

Queen Lizabeth continued to talk for a long time after that, from trivial topics such as the weather to the latest status of a famous salon in the social world, and the newly launched 7th Knights as the Imperial Guard.

Chloe calmly chewed on a snack and chimed in, while Seongjin blankly nodded and sipped bitter tea.

“I didn’t even notice. The conversation was fun, so I didn’t realize how fast the time goes.”

How much time had passed, Queen Lizabeth rose from her seat, leaving Chloe behind.

“I will get up first, so the two of you should chat a little longer. Opportunities for the two of you to face each other are rare, so I shouldn’t waste that precious time like this.”

As if it were not empty words to say that the conversation was enjoyable, the Queen’s eyes, which were usually sensitive, relaxed quite gently.

Following her, the ladies-in-waiting and all the escort knights left, and finally, Edith and the engagement party were left alone in the spacious drawing room.

‘This has become difficult.’

Seongjin clicked his tongue as he watched the little girl pick up the snack.

He’s not used to dealing with children……

After thinking for a while, Seongjin cautiously opened his mouth.

“Um. So, Lady Chloe……”

“Call me Chloe, Your Highness.”

Said the girl as swallowed the piece of macaron she was chewing on.

He wondered if she had a timid personality because she had kept quiet until now, but her sharp tone was unexpectedly bold.

“While marriage talks come and go, being too distant can also be a story for others.”


The girl slightly folded her eyes and made something similar to an eye smile. Of course, those eyes weren’t smiling at all.

“I don’t know why you are looking at me with such an apologetic face. Sir, are you thinking of embarrassing me by refusing to talk to me?”

Astutely, the little girl seemed to be aware of some of Seongjin’s reluctance.

Just like that. Seongjin, who wanted to make his wishes clear for her sake, realized that the matter was not so simple.

“If this engagement is broken, Chloe… will you get in trouble?”

“Well, there is nothing to worry about. It’s just that I’ll be shamed by the adults in my family, shamed by the young girls I interact with, and shamed by the social world where I’m about to debut, and I’d rather just die.”

… It’s getting very difficult.

“Isn’t it burdensome to decide to get married already at such a young age?”

“It is a burden. The wedding ceremony with the Holy Imperial Family is a great honor for the family just by coming and going. Whoever the opponent is.”

Even if it’s a rumored trash.

The girl’s raised mouth seemed to have somehow swallowed these words. However, Seongjin had no intention of responding to the little provocations of a child, whose judgment was twisted.

“That’s why it won’t be easy to get rid of later. The glory of the family doesn’t guarantee Chloe’s happiness, so wouldn’t it be better to be a little more cautious about the wedding? Is it okay to make such a thorough selection only for the family?”

“… Yes?”

“You may suddenly have other hopes for the future or want to live abroad. Or maybe in the future you will find someone you really want to marry.”


“In any case, it will not be possible after the marriage has progressed to some extent.”


Chloe removed the sneer from her lips and put on a serious expression. After observing Seongjin’s face for a long time, she carefully opened her mouth.

“… Your Highness?”


“Do you think I was forced to come here because I couldn’t overcome the pressure from my family?”

It was a straight line.

Why, aren’t there such stereotypes? A 12-year-old young aristocratic girl might somehow think, ‘I’m going to marry a prince on a white horse! I don’t like opponents decided by my family!’

Ah. Of course, Morres himself is something like a prince.

“Like preparing to sacrifice my life for the family?”

“Isn’t it like that?”


Chloe answered firmly and ran her finger over the corner of her mouth smeared with cookie crumbs.

“Hmm, this is a bit unexpected.”

The girl looked at Seongjin with slightly deepened eyes, as if she had a lot of thoughts.

“You seem to be genuinely concerned about me, so I will be honest with you. With just the fact that I had already had marriage talks with the Holy Imperial Family before my debutante, I can attract a lot of attention once I debut in the social world.”

“… Is that important?”

“That’s right. After that, the influence I will have on the social world will soon become my strength and lifelong asset. It is by no means a choice only for my family.”

Chloe seemed to have a fairly firm opinion about this marriage talk. They say that the family has a lot of scholars for generations, so even a child like this has a different idea.

As she was agreeing with a somewhat uneasy feeling, she glanced at Seongjin’s eyes and cautiously continued.

“In addition, you don’t have to attach much importance to this wedding talk.”

“… Why?”

“It is not a relationship in which each other feels heavy responsibility. I’m sure I’m not the only partner in marriage talks that ‘only talks come and go’.”

So there’s other fiancee candidates?

When Seongjin looked at Chloe in amazement, she asked with a slightly mischievous smile.

“Isabella, the daughter of the wealthy Scarchapino, and Julia Meyer, the granddaughter of Cardinal Meyer and knight of the Imperial Guard. Both of them are from prominent families, and they are now in full bloom and are proud of their mature beauty.”

Isabella Scarchapino, who is called the flower of society, and Julia Meyer, who was assigned an unconventional assignment as the lieutenant of the 7th Knights at a young age in recognition of her talent as an outstanding knight.

While listening to Chloe’s explanation, Seongjin suddenly had a thought.

Queen Lizabeth left after talking for a while about major social news and the newly launched 7th Knights. Although he assumed that the occasional squint at Seongjin’s face was simply because she was concerned about Morres’ health.

The Queen conveyed the current situation of the other marriage partners and looked at Seongjin’s reaction.

“It seems you don’t have any memories of them either, Your Highness.”

And the Queen got her answer, and somehow left with a satisfied face.

Seongjin’s lips hardened. It was a new alarm about Queen Lizabeth.

He thought she was just a pitiful mother with a spoiled son, but why is she circling around people instead of asking openly? Could she have some kind of scheme to hide from Morres?

Above all, the fact that she created this kind of opportunity as if she had been waiting as soon as the Holy Emperor was away was proof that she, too, had been paying attention to the Holy Emperor.

“No marriage talks have been confirmed yet. Marriage talks that are only mentioned in private for a long time, in the end, the longer they drag on, the more they gain from each other. So Your Highness……”

Chloe’s smile faded a bit, as if she had accepted Seongjin’s hard expression.

“If the reason you disapprove of this marriage talk is purely out of concern for my position, then please do not refuse the marriage talk first.”

“… I understand. I’ll wait patiently for Chloe to throw me away.”

Since Morres already had a bad reputation, it would be a big deal if he become broken hearted once or twice. It’s not that difficult.

Seongjin nodded his head obediently, and Chloe blushed a little and then raised her teacup with a relieved expression. She always had a relaxed attitude, but deep down, it seemed that she was anxious about breaking up the marriage talks on her own.

“Hold on……!”

Perhaps she was quite thirsty, she gulped down the tea without giving Seongjin a break.

“… Cough! Oh my!”

Chloe’s eyes widened as she managed to swallow the tea without spitting it out.

The trembling eyes lingered for a while on Seongjin, who stood up from his seat and stopped. Soon after, her eyes alternately examine Seongjin’s half-empty teacup and Edith’s face.

There was a new realization in Chloe’s eyes, which turned to Seongjin’s face again.

“Your Majesty, you are a more generous person than I thought.”

That you’re still keeping it alive.

She didn’t say it with her mouth, but her cold gaze toward Edith made it clear what she wanted to say.

Gulp. He heard Edith swallowing dry saliva from behind him.

* * *

“How was the imperial palace, my lady?”

In the carriage on the way back to the mansion, the maid cautiously asked Chloe, who was exceptionally quiet.

The little girl, who had been on high alert in the morning and sharpened her blades like a hedgehog, now sat quietly, as if deep in thought.

“Well, it wasn’t as bad as I thought.”

No one knew how annoyed she was when she suddenly received an invitation from Queen Lizabeth last night.

She thought it was a good talk, but not a story that would go deep in the first place1. Prince Morres didn’t have a very good reputation, and there were already plenty of other great candidates for the Queen.

Perhaps that is why the Queen picked Chloe and invited her. Because she was the most easy opponent to come and go at will.

‘Even so……’

Contrary to rumors, Prince Morres, whom she met in person, was a very handsome boy. She heard that he also has a dog-like personality, but looking at it today, he seems quite thoughtful and serious.

He didn’t ignore her like a child like everyone else did, but treated her as a proper lady. He was even subtly cool when he confirmed that she would throw him away.

Chloe rubbed her slightly heated cheeks and muttered.

“From now on, I think I will send a bouquet of flowers to the Pearl Palace regularly.”

“… Yes?”

The lady-in-waiting asked back in bewilderment, but Chloe’s little head was already spinning quickly.

Isabella Scarchapino, who believes in her innate beauty and is arrogant.

Julia Meyer is dedicated to training as a knight and is famous for hitting the iron wall with people courting her.

‘Good. If we move one step faster, this side is not without odds.’


In front of the lady-in-waiting, who was confused and didn’t know why, Chloe smiled softly and clenched her fists.


1She didn’t think Queen Lizabeth would take the marriage talk this seriously to the point that she made the two of them meet face to face.

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