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    Translated by Tam
    Edited by Genie


     

    “You must have been eating. Please continue to eat.”

     

    Next to Renia was a salad that was barely touched. Is she abstaining from food and beverage as Gilbert said? However, Renia’s skin was elastic without any blemishes.

     

    “No, it’s okay. I don’t feel hungry even if I don’t eat. More than that, Charlotte. Can you guess why I called you here?”

     

    “—Yes. It’s because of the party right?”

     

    Charlotte came to her senses. Renia was expecting a scheme to humiliate Amelie at the party. Of course, she would do as instructed, but she wouldn’t follow along easily.

     

    ‘It will cost a lot. If I do it wrong, my life as a maid will end.’ 

     

    Renia took a small bottle out from the bedside table. It was about the size of a little finger, so it was easy to hide in sleeves or pockets. Inside the bottle was a clear yellow liquid. 

     

    “What is this?”

     

    Hopefully it’s not poison. Charlotte swallowed despite her dry mouth. Bullying and killing are two different things. 

     

    “Why? Are you afraid of poison?”

     

    Renia burst into laughter. The cheerful laughter was beautiful, but somehow she felt creepy. As Gilbert said, Renia was a little strange. However, Charlotte faltered because of a vague ominous feeling she couldn’t pinpoint. 

     

    “It’s not poison. It’s a slightly acidic liquid. Spray it on her skirt.” 

     

    “What will happen then?”

     

    “The stitching will be weak and at just the right time. What if the skirt is accidentally pulled then?” 

     

    “—The bare legs will be exposed.”

     

    “It’s a way not to hurt anyone.” 

     

    Renia smiled broadly. She had such a beautiful smile that even women would feel their hearts flutter.

     

    “….”

     

    Her skirt would be torn in front of so many people who had gathered to evaluate her, revealing her bare legs. Is there another shame like that? 

     

    Charlotte hesitated for a moment. Of course, it wasn’t because she was worried about Amelie. She was afraid that Serwin would be angry over this. 

     

    “It’s a bit of a mess. We have to show that the aristocracy isn’t that easy.” 

     

    “But— His Majesty will be angry.”

     

    “Charlotte. Are you going to be so stupid?” 

     

    Renia hardened her face. Charlotte was a little discouraged when the bright expression disappeared from her beautiful face. Somehow, she seemed to have an atmosphere similar to the Emperor.

     

    “This is an opportunity for you, too.”

     

    “Opportunity?”

     

    “A chance to gain faith from me. If you want to become my family in the future, you must have that much faith.” 

     

    “—Family? It can’t be, Gilbert and I—”

     

    Renia smiled brightly. 

     

    “If you are close to the Empress, you have to be a Countess. Even my father understands that your role is that important.” 

     

    “….!”

     

    Charlotte involuntarily clutched the bottle. Countess Charlotte Manvers! What a sweet sound, If Renia was pushed to become the Empress, she could become the Countess herself. This luxurious and beautiful mansion will be her own. The servants of the mansion will take care of her with the utmost respect, just as they did Renia. 

     

    She was thrilled just by imagining it.

     

    ‘Yeah. It’s not like I’m hurting or killing anyone. It’s just a little disgraceful. In the first place, a commoner girl is able to step into an imperial palace party. She should be grateful that it ends with ridicule.’

     

    Charlotte looked into Renia’s eyes and nodded. Her eyes were full of greed for the advancement of her status.

     

    ‘What is so good about this house?’

     

    Renia clasped her hands tightly. The shame of that day was still vivid. 

     

    Not long ago, the Count took Renia while attending an imperial meeting. Although it was intended to impress Serwin, Renia was very happy. This was because the Count had always taken only Gilbert.

     

    However, in the meeting room she dreamed of, Renia tasted the greatest shame of her life. 

     

    Upon hearing that Amelie was waiting, Serwin hurriedly ended the meeting, and Renia was ignored by Serwin.

     

    That alone was miserable, but Count Manvers scolded her on the spot. 

     

    Everyone’s eyes were on Renia. There was also a view that she was pitiful, but most of them were laughing at her misery.

     

    ‘He’s like that to his daughter. He will do more to a daughter-in-law who doesn’t have a backbone.’ 

     

    If it was a man she could trust, it would be fine, but Gilbert was a jerk. It was obvious that the luxurious life Charlotte hoped for would be difficult. 

     

    ‘I’m struggling to get out of this house because it’s terrible.’

     

    The decision to use the drug was retaliation for her misery. Had it not been for Amelie, she would not have suffered such humiliation. 

     

    ‘So, in front of everyone, I have to give the same disgrace to you.’

     

    Amelie seemed weak-minded, so if she is humiliated, she may not be able to stand it and leave the Imperial Palace. 

     

    Even if not, it was enough to leave the worst first impression on the nobles. They will think this while looking at Amelie’s ugliness. 

     

    And they will think, ‘The only one that suits the Empress position is Renia Manvers!’

     

    “All I have to do is become the Empress. As long as it works.” 

     

    Renia muttered the same thing over and over again.

     

    *****

     

    Time went by so quickly that the party was a day away. As the day of the party was just around the corner, Amelie’s palace was already tense. Amelie, who had been receiving skin care and massage all morning, had her last checkup with Caroline during the remaining time. 

     

    After finishing her day, Amelie went to bed earlier than usual. But she couldn’t sleep. She couldn’t fall asleep easily because she had put all her effort and time into the imperial palace party. 

     

    After tossing and turning for a while, she gave up sleeping. Instead, she went up to the attic and opened her book. It was one of the things she had brought from her house in the forest. It’s a light storybook about the adventures of a little witch, and it’s a book she has never read properly until now.

     

    Amelie slowly turned the page. She was so nervous that she couldn’t sleep, and her book couldn’t catch her eye. Eventually she pushed her book aside and put it on the table. 

     

    “Why are you here?”

     

    It was Serwin’s voice. Amelie raised her head. He looked around her room and approached her.

     

    “This place is similar to the house in the forest.” 

     

    “Is that so?”

     

    It was the first time Serwin had come up to the attic.

     

    “Is the security okay? The maids might come in without you knowing.”

     

    “That part is okay. I put a spell on people who I didn’t allow to enter.” 

     

    “Was there such a thing?”

     

    “I learned it not too long ago.” 

     

    “I see. Magic is amazing.”

     

    She didn’t just play around all this time. Amelie became a little proud.

     

    “How about your work, Your Majesty? I thought you’d be late today.” 

     

    “I thought you wouldn’t be able to sleep.”

     

    “….”

     

    “Is that correct?” 

     

    “Yes. I—I can’t sleep because I’m worried. What if I make a mistake tomorrow?”

     

    Like suddenly she sprained her foot and fell over, or she said something strange and ruined the mood. She wasn’t the only one worried. Serwin looked down at Amelie and stroked her hair. Her hair was tangled between his long fingers. The hand passing through her hair like he was brushing it was very relaxing. 

     

    “Do you want to go out?” He eventually asked. 

     

    “Right now?”

     

    “Wouldn’t it get better if you get some fresh air? Without others knowing.”

     

    The moment she heard him, Amelie suddenly wanted to go out very much. After taking in the cold night air, her stiffness seemed to ease a little. The night sky was dark today, so it looked perfect to fly on a broom. 

     

    “Your Majesty, have you ever fly in the sky?”

     

    “No.”

     

    “I’ll show you a good tour today.” 

     

    Amelie smiled and pointed to a broom in the corner of the room. When he found her new broom, Serwin’s forehead wrinkled. 

     

    “Ah, are you scared of heights?”

     

    “No way.”

     

    “Don’t worry. As long as you hold onto me well, you won’t fall off. Then I’ll change my clothes and come back. This is my pajamas—” 

     

    “Yeah.”

     

    Amelie jumped up and ran to the dressing room. 

     

    Serwin stared still at the broom, waiting for her in the attic.

     

    ‘I threw it away and I didn’t expect her to make a new one.’

     

    When he brought Amelie’s luggage from Dellahaim, he intentionally threw away the broom. It was to prevent Amelie from changing her mind and running away. But he didn’t know she could make a new one. He shouldn’t have done that. 

     

    He thought about destroying it again, but he soon shook his head.

     

    ‘If she makes up her mind to leave, there’s nothing I can do to stop her.’

     

    She was not someone who could be tied to his side by force. Even if she has a silly and kind face, once she makes a decision, she doesn’t back down. 

     

    ‘Besides, I don’t think it’s good to forcefully hold her next to me.’

     

    Even though she can go anywhere, she’s more than happy to run for him. The last incident made him realize that fact.

     

    Serwin reluctantly turned away from the broom. If he waits, he will hear the sound of footsteps approaching him. It was just the sound of footsteps, but he liked the sound very much. 

     

    But after a while, when he sat on the broomstick and soared into the sky, Serwin regretted not having shattered the broomstick when he had the chance. 

     

    ******

     

    A broom was more dangerous than he thought. He can’t believe she’s climbing as high as a cloud without a single safety device. If they fell, they died immediately. Looking down at the distant ground, he felt the distance under his feet. Serwin grabbed the broom stick tightly without realizing it. 

     

    ‘Just how far are you planning to go up?’

     

    Although they had already climbed much higher than the peak of Amelie’s palace, the broom continued to point upwards. Even Serwin could not bear this height. It was the first time he had ever experienced it, and if he fell there was only the Imperial road to catch him. As a human being, there was no choice but to have an instinctive fear. 

     

    “The moon isn’t bright tonight, so I think we can fly low. During the day, I have to go up a lot higher than this.” 

     

    “This is low?”

     

    How far does she usually go? Shouldn’t she be banned from riding the broom for her safety? 

     

    “The wind is cool, too. I’m glad we came out!”

     

    Amelie hummed with excitement. Serwin looked at Amelie like that. Just as birds were not afraid of flying in the sky, she was not afraid of the sky either. Her long hair fluttered gently in the wind. As the blurry moonlight blazed over her face, her familiar face looked mysterious and strange. 

     

    ‘I only thought her smiling face under the sun was the prettiest.’ 

     

    But then, she looked very good in the night sky.

     


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    Tam

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