Translator: Skye Editor: herkawaiidramas
* * *
‘If not my father, then who?’
To think the one he was referring to was not my father…..
‘I ended up saying a bunch of nonsense because I misunderstood….I’m so embarrassed.’
Then, he started laughing all of a sudden. It made for a pretty sight but, for some reason, I felt offended.
‘What the–why is he suddenly laughing?’
Annoyed, I called him out bluntly, “Hey, don’t just laugh and say something.”
He stopped laughing and turned to stare at me. I think I instinctively became nervous because his gaze looked so serious.
‘What is he going to say?’
After a few more moments, he finally opened his mouth.
“So, did you say the gift was a pair of cuff buttons?”
“Yes, these ones.”
He gave a slight frown when I showed him the cuff buttons.
“They’re not very practical for a knight.”
‘Well, I’m not even a knight myself and frankly, I think this is a pretty nice gift. Is he just trying to pick another fight with me?’
I grumbled with a scowl, “You must be really good at picking out presents then.”
A smile arose on his face.
‘Sigh, he was really blessed with his looks.’
It was rare to see him smiling, so I couldn’t help but continue staring at his face.
“Well, I did give my father a present not too long ago,” he said, a faint smile remaining on his frigid-looking face.
“He’s been looking pretty worn out lately, but it seems he has been able to regain some of his energy even in his later years thanks to me, so I’m glad.”
Hm. Contrary to my impression of him, it seems he was actually a filial son, seeing how he seemed to be in a good mood talking about it.
‘But what kind of gift was it that it helped his father return to high spirits?’
I suddenly became curious and asked him.
“What did you give him?”
“You don’t need to know.”
He brushed me off with that rigid voice of his. But then again, I didn’t expect him to give me a proper answer anyway. Vexed, I scowled at him until he continued,
“If it’s from you, the Duke will like anything.”
He’ll like anything that I give him? It would have been believable if my father’s body was possessed by someone who was warm and held a lot of affection for others — but my father was not. Therefore, those words were simply nonsense.
My mood dropped by the disingenuous response I had gotten even though I had asked him seriously.
‘Useless. He’s my father’s apprentice yet he doesn’t seem to know anything about my father.’
I let out a sigh.
‘The buttons were pretty expensive too….I can’t just not give it to him. And I also have to return the necklace anyway.’
However, due to my father’s indifferent temperament, it was highly likely that if I just left the pendant and cuffs on his desk, he wouldn’t know that they were from me.
‘If it’s my workaholic father….He’d probably go to his office first before his room.’
With that thought, I decided to write a letter to leave with the cuff buttons.
* * *
It had already been four days since the emperor called the duke to the palace.
‘Duke Floyen, what’s taking you so long?’
The emperor had just been barely holding on by increasing the number of palace guards as well as having the duke around, but he still did not feel secure.
‘I can’t let my guard down.’
The emperor was afraid of a possible betrayal by the duke, as well as when and where assassins may suddenly appear from.
‘I’ll crush what you hold dear into pieces if you ever betray me, Regis.’
The emperor was gritting his teeth when the chamberlain entered the office.
“Your Majesty, the Duke of Floyen has asked for a private audience.”
The emperor stared at his ring.
‘It’s about time.’
Smirking, the emperor stroked the ring on his finger.
‘But this is good, I was wondering who the culprit was.’
Soon, a stern voice came from the emperor,
“Tell the Duke I will see him in the evening.”
Truthfully, the emperor was free to see the duke immediately, but there was a reason for his stalling.
‘He’s been dragging this on, making me nervous. I have to make him wait this much at least.’
The chamberlain spoke up carefully,
“Ah, there was also another matter I have to report, Your Majesty.”
“What is it?”
Noticing how the emperor seemed to be in a better mood, the chamberlain took a deep breath before he continued.
“There’s a petition signed by several bureaucrats demanding the crown prince’s return.”
The emperor’s eyes darkened at the mention of the word “return.”
“Bring it to me.”
The chamberlain brought the golden tray holding the document and presented it to the emperor. The latter’s face became furious when he opened and scanned the contents.
“Those rotten bastards, how dare they…!”
The paper was crumpled in much the same way the emperor’s face did, and was thrown on the ground.
“Find a partner for the Crown Prince and start preparing and training him as the next Emperor?! These fools have gone mad!”
Soon, a twisted smile appeared on the emperor’s face.
“I’m still alive and well — do they see this throne as a joke?”
The chamberlain, seeing the emperor’s obsession with the throne, which bordered on madness, gulped in nervousness.
He decided to remain quiet, careful not to have the sparks of ire aimed towards himself.
“Arrest these impudent bastards,” the emperor coldly ordered.
Not wanting to displease him, the chamberlain calmly answered,
“Yes, Your Majesty.”
* * *
I was holding my quill pen over a piece of paper, trying to write, but I found myself hesitating.
‘What does one usually talk about with their father?’
I was raised by a single mother in my past life, and in my current life, I have been living awkwardly with my father. As a result, writing a letter to my father felt awkward as well.
‘I don’t think this is something I can ask Marilyn for help on….’
I noticed my father’s apprentice peering at me with curious eyes.
“What is it?”
As if he were waiting for me to ask, he responded, “What are you doing?”
“Oh, I’m going to write a letter.”
His eyes slightly softened at my answer.
“I don’t really think you need to write one, though?”
How would you know? I wanted to retort but kept my mouth shut. He was certainly my father’s apprentice and, despite being of no help earlier, I felt like he would still know more about my father than me myself.
‘Well, I still don’t have much faith in him but…..’
Putting the pen down, I called out to the man in front of me.
I was slightly afraid that he would ignore me again, but he answered gently, as if he was in a good mood.
“What do you and my father usually talk about?”
He sat up and stroked his chin, contemplating over my question, before leaning back on the sofa again.
“I’m not sure, we don’t really talk.”
I was discouraged by the unhelpful answer.
‘Then again, my father is a man of few words and this man isn’t very sociable either….I shouldn’t be surprised.’
Once again, I learned that you shouldn’t lean on others too much for anything and decided to settle the matter myself.
‘I’m sure I can write it well — I’ve done a lot of volunteer work on top of my penpal experience in my past life after all.’
I wondered how much time had passed just like that? The letter was finally completed after much thought and consideration.
‘This should be fine.’
Reading over what I had written, there didn’t seem to be any mistakes that stood out — it seemed fairly decent overall.
‘Yes, this is good enough…..I should treat myself with something delicious as a reward for working so hard.’
As I was praising myself for working so diligently, I heard a voice, which sounded uncharacteristically surprised, come from behind me.
“Do you really plan on using that?”
“Yes,” I answered seriously. I looked over the letter I wrote one more time.
<To Father, whom I deeply respect.
Have you been doing well?
Before we know it, it seems I will already be turning 19-years-old soon. Time sure flies, does it not? We sometimes tend to forget the important things during these idle times.
By the way, haven’t you been missing your pendant recently? I just wanted to inform you that it is currently under my possession.
I meant to return it to you earlier, but due to unavoidable circumstances, I was unable to do so. I hope you will forgive me. These cuff buttons are a symbol of gratitude for your understanding.
I apologize again for not being able to return your precious pendant earlier due to my personal reasons.
Juvellian Eloy Floyen.>
‘No matter how many times I look at it, I think I wrote it really well. I acknowledged my fault and asked for his forgiveness, I’m sure my father won’t get angry now.’
Flawless, clear and to the point — it was a perfect letter. I was sure my father would let the incident pass.
Then, I saw my father’s apprentice smirk and mutter, “Yeah, that will definitely be a sight worth seeing.”
I felt doubtful about his expression for some reason, but confident that my letter was truly well-written, I brushed it off, thinking he was just being mean like usual.
“I’ll be right back. I’m going to go drop off the letter. You know what to do if someone tries to come into the room, right?”
He nodded his head, understanding what I was implying.
“Do as you please.”
If it was before, he would have ignored me, but now that he was listening to my requests, I wanted to praise him.
* * *
Arriving at the emperor’s office later than scheduled, Regis greeted the emperor, bowing his head.
“I greet His Majesty.”
The emperor was hoping to see irritation on the duke’s face so that he could have an excuse to berate him, but the duke’s face was calm and indifferent instead.
‘This brazen little….’
He felt uneasy seeing Regis look so confident despite being the one in the unfavorable situation. Nevertheless, the emperor maintained his composure and spoke.
“So, did you find out which dirty rat was behind the attack?”
Instead of revealing the truth, Regis smiled as a thought passed over his head.
‘Max, you called my daughter a rat…..this is payback.’
The duke had quickly caught on earlier than this disturbance was the work of none other than his apprentice. He was aware that Max, who was not only skilled at swordsmanship but also skilled at manipulating people, despised the emperor. His apprentice most likely wanted a clash between his father and his mentor.
The flaw in that plan, however, was that Regis had much more patience than his apprentice expected.
“I was unable to find the source of the problem.”
A nasty frown appeared on the emperor’s face. He couldn’t believe the words that had come from Regis’ mouth.
“How dare you utter those words? You weren’t able to fulfill my orders and yet…’
Hearing the angry voice of the emperor, Regis suddenly recalled what his apprentice had told him some time ago.
<Are you afraid of such a weak man like him?>
‘Just a little longer now.’
His blue eyes were calm, holding not a single trace of anger, as if they were a superior being looking down at a lowly one.
“Isn’t Your Majesty already well aware of the reason why?”
The emperor suddenly felt very pressured, seeing the Duke of Floyen’s gaze, and found it hard to breathe.
‘Don’t tell me he’s rebelling….!’
The emperor was frozen in terror, unable to say anything, so it was the duke who first broke the silence.
“As long as I remain in the palace, they will not attack.”
The duke’s voice held no hint of a reprimand, but to the emperor–who was already overwhelmed by the duke’s aura–it felt like he had heard a thousand words of criticism.
Enraged, the emperor tightly clenched his fists.
T/N: Oof, the slight second-hand embarrassment I felt reading her letter. Also can’t wait till Max finally tells her his name so I can stop referring to him as “father’s apprentice/that man” in her POV
thanks to hazelnothazelnut for this chapter’s raws!
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