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Translated by Wook
Edited by Iris Sakura
“Be vigilant, but don’t hate him too much, Rosaline. He’s a lonely man. When I was a child, there was an incident where the White Jade Castle where His Highness lived burned down. His Highness, who was under two years old at that time, was with his mother, the Queen, who later died in Idelavhim’s arms. He only managed to survive from jumping out of the window.”
“I express my condolences…” Rosaline said with a sullen look.
Raymond looked at her as if seeing something peculiar.
“After that, he suffered aphasia from shock and was recuperating for several years… By the time he got back to the castle, no one reached out to him. What help could a 5th prince who lost everything provide? At that time, the person who took in His Highness Diech was His Highness Elpidio.”
“What is aphasia?”
“Ah,” Raymond hesitated for a moment, then spoke carefully, “It’s a disease that makes you unable to speak for a while.”
Rosaline nodded her head, implying that she understood. Diech was seen in the distance, barely holding three glasses of alcohol. He was smiling brightly without any gloom.
“Because just a few years ago His Highness Elpidio’s power was much greater. Also, His Highness Ricardis at that time was not in a situation where he could afford to support someone. So, that’s all I know, Rosaline. Don’t make it obvious, and don’t try to do more for him. Just be like before.”
Raymond smiled and looked down at her.
He patted her on the back. She turned her gaze away from Raymond to find that Diech had just arrived and was gasping for breath. A blush appeared on his white face. He couldn’t hide his joy and handed the cups to the two of them. It was a colorless, transparent drink.
Rosaline toasted Diech first. The sound of the glasses was clear. Raymond shook his head. ‘Subordinates don’t toast superiors first, Rosaline…’ However, he had to save the nagging for later. Diech looked surprised for a moment. But soon, he smiled brightly and a light filled his golden eyes.
Every day was like a festival. The banquet lasted for three days. No matter day or night and no matter the place. Ricardis and Haqab often talked. Although it was a monotonous time with only meaningless conversations, on the surface, it seemed like a process of building a secure relationship. Rosaline, who escorted him, also saw Haqab frequently, but she pretended to not know anything except for the occasional eye contact.
It was when Ricardis went in to take a break. Rosaline took the opportunity to wander the banquet hall to fill her stomach. As she was eating this and that, not long after, she heard low laughter. It was Prince Haqab.
“I’m glad the food seems to suit you.”
Rosaline couldn’t answer because she was enthusiastically eating meat. Calyx said that it was not proper to speak when you have food in your mouth. Rosaline chewed her food hurriedly, trying to swallow it quickly. Haqab, seeing this, raised the corners of his lips and smiled.
“How cute. Just take it slow.”
Rosaline covered her mouth and gave a short answer, “Yes.” Haqab watched her eat her food. His gaze rested on her dark hair and wandered around her moving lips.
“I wanted to see you in our traditional clothes… What a shame. Would you like to try it on now? I will gladly present it to you.”
By then, Rosaline had swallowed her food.
“No, that’s okay.”
“You don’t have to refuse.”
“I can’t leave His Highness’s side for too long.”
Haqab frowned slightly, knitting his eyebrows. Then he took one step closer, handing her a drink. His fingers slowly brushed the back of Rosaline’s hand. Rosaline looked up at him blankly as she took the drink.
“Don’t worry. The prince will not be in danger in this palace.”
“No, it’s okay.”
Since then, Haqab persisted in recommending it. Rosaline repeated only with, ‘It’s okay’ and ‘No, it’s okay,’ and rejected all six attempts. Without any change in his tone or expression, Haqab hummed and folded his arms. It looked funny.
“Why can’t you trust me? Do you think I will harm the prince?”
Rosaline rolled her eyes. Haqab had a triumphant face, thinking it was a touchy question. However, his confident expression collapsed at Rosaline’s reply.
‘Oh, how did you understand my heart?’ Her expression seemed to imply that. Haqab was expressionless for a moment, then smirked as he bent his waist down. Tears welled up in the corners of his folded half-moon-shaped eyes.
“Man, I like you. If you want to leave the prince, come to me.”
“I don’t like you.”
Haqab laughed out loud again. The nobility in the banquet hall was buzzing as they spied on the scene. It was not unusual to see Haqab smiling. Unlike other nobles and Imperial families, who had a strange face-saving sense of humor and frivolity, Haqab always had a smiling face, but no one could understand him easily. He always smiled, even as coldness filled his eyes and a sense of intimidation emanated from his tall body. Moreover, his smile did not come from pleasant emotions but rather from the composure of an absolute predator.
Such a genuinely delighted Haqab, who smiled with tears in his eyes, was so rare that even long-time servants only witnessed it for the first time. Many people’s attention focused on the two of them.
“Come back anytime if you change your mind. Livita Palace will always be open to you.”
Rosaline nodded her head, slightly dissatisfied and thinking that would never happen. Haqab slowly swept his chin with his knuckles.
‘Aren’t both Balta and Illavenia full of people? How did such a cute thing appear in Illavenia? Hmm.’ Haqab enjoyed his pleasant mood to the fullest. It was a feeling he wouldn’t be able to feel again when she dies sooner or later. He was a little sad. ‘I wish you could come to me before that happens.’
Rosaline was still on alert. As time passed, the mood of the banquet hall improved, but she stopped those approaching Ricardis with a ferocious gaze. Her deeds of intimidating people regardless of their status ended with Deputy Commander Nathan summoning and scolding her. In this good atmosphere, her attitude of being excessively alert could cause a big problem. She was a good escort, and she was told to be modest.
As a result, Rosaline broke the extremities a little bit. During the banquet that continued day after day, there were numerous meetings, but none of them were threatening. As Prince Haqab said, within this palace, Ricardis’ safety seemed to be guaranteed. Until now, Rosaline had always eaten about half the portion of food to determine whether it was poisonous or not before handing it over to him. Only then was Ricardis able to eat the food given to him.
Ricardis exited the noisy and glamorous banquet hall. Rosaline and several of the senior knights followed him.
“Your Highness Ricardis?”
A delicate voice came from behind them. Ricardis frowned. When one person goes, one person comes, and when two people go, two people come, and they even chase after him outside the banquet hall. ‘The Baltans must have a bad bone in their body.’ Ricardis turned around, hid his frown, and smiled brightly.
“The moon is bright tonight. Did you enjoy the banquet?”
It was a woman with silky hair. Her thin eyes looked sultry. From her ornaments and her clothes, Ricardis knew that she was a high-ranking noblewoman. But Ricardis had met numerous Baltans who were high-ranking aristocrats in these few days. To be honest, they all started to look the same to him. Ricardis smiled with his eyes bent.
“I came out to see the moon for a while because I feel a bit intoxicated, milady…”
Isserion whispered from behind.
‘This is the 3rd Princess Ganje.’
“… Princess Ganje.”
She widened her eyes.
“It’s the first time we’ve met, but I’m glad you know me.”
Ricardis glanced at Isserion, who put on an apologetic look. ‘I thought we had met her before, hadn’t we?’ He seemed to have been mistaken as they had greeted many people.
“I was joking. We met on the second day.”
‘… It wasn’t an illusion.’ Isserion covered his mouth and smiled.
“I was looking for the moment when you would be alone. There’s nothing more frivolous than holding on to someone who is leaving the banquet and talking to them, but I would appreciate it if you’d be generous.”
It was not an accidental meeting. Ganje came here looking for a time when there were no people around after leaving the banquet. ‘Is there something going on?’
“Do you have anything to say to me?”
“You are so beautiful. Even the moon hid behind the clouds because of your beauty.”
Ganje put her hands together, and her eyes twinkled. Ricardis’ external mask slightly cracked.
“Thank you, but… If that’s all you need…”
“I’m sorry, I’m just spewing out a moment’s appreciation.”
The moment Ganje was about to speak, she sensed a crowd coming at the end of the hallway. It seemed that other people were leaving the banquet hall.
She paused with her mouth open, then let out a deep sigh.
“At a time like this.”
Ganje knitted her eyebrows, looking awkward.
“Those useless bastards.”
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Author-nim don't make me hate Diech, Author-nim don't make me hate Diech, Author-nim don't make me hate Diech