Translator: Skye Editor: herkawaiidramas
* * *
The emperor raised his voice, shooting a piercing glare at the duke. “How can you guarantee that when my life is on the line!? Tell me, how can you be so sure?!”
But Regis was certain. He knew that the culprit behind the attack, his apprentice, would not act rashly and order a second attempt to frighten the emperor.
‘Because even if the emperor were to be shaken up, it’ll be all for naught as long as I remain unfazed.’
The emperor had always been someone who was easy to handle.
Especially when he saw him talking like that, clueless and unaware of anything. Regis let out a small sigh at the sight of the simpleminded emperor and spoke in a hollow tone.
“Since Your Majesty has become much more vigilant, they would be aware that a surprise attack would no longer work.”
The duke’s voice lacked any ulterior motives, but the emperor interpreted it as criticism for being frightened by the assassin.
‘How dare he….!’
While the emperor was furious, the duke continued, “There’s no need to take a dangerous gamble in a situation that has garnered a lot of attention.”
Even though everything the duke said was clearly correct, the emperor did not want to admit it because the moment he did, it would feel like he lost to the duke.
‘This damn bastard, he has quite the silver tongue, having no holes in his argument.’
The emperor’s body shook in anger, but he managed to pull himself together by stroking the ring on his finger.
‘No, as long as I have this….He can’t disobey me.’
Despite that thought, he couldn’t help but still feel anxious because it had been a while since the duke looked so unagitated in front of this weakness.
‘Yes, you never know. If only there was someone that could stand against this man….’
At that moment, he remembered the prime minister’s advice:
<If you want to keep the Duke of Floyen in check, I suggest that you call for His Royal Highness the Crown Prince to return to the palace.>
The emperor regained a sense of stability when he suddenly found a use for his son, who he had always viewed as a threat to the throne.
‘That’s right, I can dangle the throne in front of him, make him think I’ll hand it over, and coax him into keeping that damn bastard in check.’
The emperor spoke in a relatively milder tone, “It seems I’ve been inconveniencing you, Duke.”
While others would have refuted immediately, Duke Floyen remained silent, as if he agreed with the emperor’s remark. The emperor clenched his fist, barely keeping the urge to throw something at bay.
“Duke Floyen, don’t you think you should at least help me save face by staying for the remainder of the week? Please allow me to trouble you for three more days.”
“I will obey yours orders, Your Majesty.” Regis bowed his head and left the room.
As soon as the doors closed behind him, he heard the sound of something shattering. A subtle air of mirth quickly passed over the duke’s graceful face.
‘He’s so easy to read that it’s starting to become boring.’
Sporting a bored look, Regis looked up and stared at the night sky. As soon as he saw the moon, his face–which remained frozen most of the time–warmed.
‘I hope that child is doing well.’
If he had just chosen to endure this charade a little longer, there would have been criticism directed towards the emperor who was oppressing him. But for Regis, being able to have his daughter in front of his eyes was more important than that.
It had only been four days since he had last seen his daughter, but Regis couldn’t bear it as he was constantly wondering about her safety.
* * *
The office without my father was bigger and emptier than I thought.
‘I didn’t expect that the absence of one person could make a place feel so empty.’
But still, it was a relief that my father was away. I didn’t think I could give him the letter face-to-face.
‘He should see it if I leave it on his desk.’
Having decided on my target, I headed towards his desk and noticed an open ink bottle. Capping the bottle with its lid, I was contemplating where to place the letter when a piece of paper caught my eye — which I ended up unintentionally reading.
‘Huh? Is this a list of potential marriage candidates?’
I doubted my own eyes for a moment. I looked over the list from the top just in case. These were definitely the names of male nobles that were around my age.
‘Why did he compile such a list without telling me….?’
Suddenly, I recalled what my father had asked me after I ended my relationship with Mikhail.
<What is your ideal type?>
‘Don’t tell me…is he actually trying to find a man who meets all the criteria I listed?’
Looking over the list of names with trembling eyes, I noticed several names that were underlined.
‘Wow, he’s trying to set me up with these grandeur candidates?’
One was a member of the royal family of a foreign country, another was the prime minister’s only son, Frederick Elios.
Although their stats were higher than Mikhail, they were characters who weren’t even mentioned in the original novel. In a way, it might not be a bad idea to marry and live a happy life with one of them. I’d naturally be able to avoid the death flag and carry on with a comfortable life.
‘Good stats and good looks — they’re definitely the best husband material. Though, I don’t have any thoughts of getting married of course.’
Unfortunately, I had no intentions of changing my decision. The moment I get married, I would no longer be able to live as Juvellian, but as their wife.
‘It’s a relief that both of their families are of similar status to mine. One of the conditions I gave my father was that the man’s family had to be of higher status than ours.’
Though, to be honest, there was only one family in the empire that was above ours.
‘But there’s no way we’ll form a relationship with them, so I’m safe.’
Feeling relieved, I smiled as I continued skimming the list until I came across the name that was circled — in fact, it was the only one with a circle.
‘Hm? Who is this?’
The moment I took a closer look, I recognized the name and ended up dropping the letter that I was holding in my hand.
‘Maximillian Kassein Hachette’
I immediately panicked. This name belonged to the heir of the one and only family that was above mine in rank — it was also the name of the one who would try to kill me in the future….
‘Why is the Crown Prince on here?!’
There was a brief comment about the crown prince that I remembered from the novel.
‘A cold-blooded, ruthless psychopath.’
That may have been a severe exaggeration, but if it was the crown prince of the novel, I could believe it.
‘You don’t hesitate in killing people, do you?’
There were quite a few anecdotes about the cruelty of the crown prince. The one that stood out the most was the coming-of-age gift he gave to his sister Beatrice: the head of an assassin. That alone was enough to show how insane he was, but that was nowhere near the end of the list of brutal acts he committed.
For example, he even sent an assassin after the emperor in the early half of the novel. With this it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that he wasn’t just a psychopath, but had split personalities.
‘If his name is circled, it probably means he’s been chosen as my marriage partner….’
Realizing the high possibility of it being true, I felt my head spin and stumbled, just barely managing to hold myself up.
‘My father is really too much. Other nobles try so hard to avoid getting their daughters chosen to be the Crown Prince’s partner…..’
Originally, he was a prince who should have been in the limelight, but there was a reason why he ended up like that. At the beginning of the novel, there was an odd rumor going around about the crown prince. It was said that the reason he always wore a helmet was because his face had a burn scar.
‘But that wasn’t the only rumor.’
There were more horrible rumors than those about his appearance. There was rumor about him being violent with the women he slept with — he was a rumored sadist.
It was no wonder many of the nobles made an effort to eliminate any chance of their daughters becoming the crown princess. The sensible nobles rushed engagements for their daughters so that they could avoid any possibility of having to send them to the violent crown prince.
‘That’s right, even in the future that I saw, he came down to torture me!’
In the novel, my character had chosen to take her own life over getting tortured by him. She must’ve thought that it was better to die rather than be miserable and suffer through his torture.
‘So is my father trying to sell me off to that scoundrel?!’
I ground my teeth. I did say it had to be someone extremely rich, high in status, skilled and honorable–but this just wasn’t right!
‘He left out the most important thing….I’m sure I told you he had to be handsome, Father!’
The crown prince always had his face covered, making it impossible to judge, but even if his appearance met my standards, I refused to marry him.
‘The moment I marry him, my life will end. The problem is…’
I was getting a headache. Because we were a distinguished ducal house, we could always somehow refuse proposals from any other families. But if it was the Imperial family, and specifically an engagement with no less than the Crown Prince…..it was something we would not be able to refuse.
‘Of course, the Crown Prince would have to like me first for us to get married….’
The problem was that for a psychopath like him, it may not matter who his partner was. He’d be happy as long as he got to harass me.
‘The best thing to do would be to try and change my father’s mind…..but that’s easier said than done.’
Letting out a sigh, I placed the list of candidates back on the desk.
‘For now, I’ll have to come up with a countermeasure while also keeping the fact that I know about this list a secret.’
If my father were to find out that I was aware of his plan to marry me off to the crown prince, the worst-case scenario could be moved up.
For that reason, I left his office, keeping the pendant and cuff buttons, and returned to my room.
* * *
‘Was this room always this big…’
Max looked around the room that was missing its owner, eventually making his way to the chair Juvellian had always been sitting on.
Despite that thought, he leaned back on the chair and strangely felt the strength leave his body.
‘When is she coming back?’
Even when he was together with the woman, they had rarely conversed. But since there was no one in front of him all of a sudden, it felt so empty that he couldn’t stand it.
‘What’s taking her so long?’
Discontent, he was glaring at the door when he suddenly felt the presence of an intruder. Max’s gaze shifted to the window and his body disappeared in a flash.
“Who are you”
The uninvited guest, who was caught by the throat in an instant, struggled but Max didn’t budge, the murderous aura surrounding him intensifying.
“You. I asked you who you were.”
“I’ll speak if you could let go of—Euk!”
“State your purpose for coming here.”
As Max tightened his grip, the man continued to struggle but managed to let out an answer.
“I was sent by the Madame….!”
At that moment, Max released his grip on the man’s neck. Then, like a loose doll, the man collapsed onto the floor.
Max, who was staring at the man coughing frantically, coldly spoke, “How did you know to find me here?”
“The madam said that you might be here…..”
Max frowned at the sight of the man who trailed off his words.
“So, what business do you have with me?”
The man collected his breath and answered in a low voice, “We’ve received reports about unusual movements from the Emperor.”
A twisted smirk tugged on the corner of Max’s lips. “Yes, he must be busy trying to protect himself.”
Then, the man shook his head before speaking again.
“I heard that the Emperor is rushing to have you return to the palace due to the advice from the prime minister and several other officials.”
Max didn’t return an answer, choosing to glare instead.
“I’m afraid you’ll have to go back as soon as possible, Your Highness Crown Prince Maximillian.”
Normally, Max would have left the mansion immediately — yet, he had not moved a single step, remaining in his place.
‘I have to leave right now?’
T/N: Max’s last name: Hachette [아셰트]
French origin: pronounced ‘ah-shet’ — derives from the word ‘hache’ meaning “to cut or strike” — fits his character doesn’t it
E/N: Aww he’s already leaving
thanks to hazelnothazelnut for this chapter’s raws!
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