Chapter 30

***

 

Stella’s next destination on the commoners’ street was none other than Jason Evanders’ office.

 

Jason Evanders looked at Stella who was rushing into his office like a storm.

 

It was really rude of her.

 

Such rudeness was unacceptable to him who valued formality and procedure.

 

Even now, this woman went in and out of his office like being in her own home.

 

Letter? Appointment? Those things weren’t in this woman’s dictionary.

 

Rather than feeling sorry, it was the look that seemed to be glad she had come here directly on her own.

 

“People don’t know about it.”

 

“…what are you talking about, Miss Client?”

 

“I thought they didn’t know the face of The Second Princess when I looked at people on the commoner’s street. Now that I think about it, has there ever been a proper report about me?”

 

“Miss.”

 

“It would have been great news if I happened to fly a star in the sky. Nothing was reported. Was that the reason? People don’t know anything apart from the fact that The Second Princess had come back and flew a star in the sky. The fact that they don’t even know who The Second Princess really was or even Stella Ethelanche Foundation meant that the media has shut up about it. The news hasn’t spread yet.”

 

Jason had a throbbing headache listening to the obvious inferiority situation that he never heard in his life.

 

During his grandfather’s generation, the nobles who worked for a living were despised, but things turned to be very different ever since the imperial family was ruined.

 

He lived in the time when the blessed capital was passed down by his father, and the imperial family also took notice of him.

 

This woman really didn’t know the ‘rules’ and didn’t even know where she came from.

 

“Furthermore, Imperial Princess Karen didn’t even know about ‘Stella Ethelanche Foundation.’ Then who knows about my foundation? Isn’t it foolish to expect people to know about it?”

 

Jason reckoned why Stella was bringing this up.

 

Aha. Would they use national events for political propaganda?

 

If the fact that she had spent ten years among the commoners were to be revealed, she would have been able to approach the commoners closely.

 

If the story of the foundation spread out, the noble who didn’t benefit from the foundation would also have a good impression of Stella.

 

If that was the purpose of The Princess, he wanted to say he was sorry for not doing as she wished.

 

He wanted to restrict the information about Stella in order to make people become more curious.

 

It’s true that he had become interested in her, but he was always a person who put work first. If his thought was right, the interest between the two of them would eventually end here.

 

“If you’re here to make a request for removing the Embargo[2]….”

 

[A/N:

2) Prohibition for reporting until a certain period of time. National Institute of Korean Language, Urimalsaem』]

 

“It’s the other way around.”

 

“What?”

 

“My knight, I haven’t sent them out yet.”

 

His voice without a doubt indicated that he had been putting his hands on the media.

 

She’s a woman who can use her head well. Jason appraised her for that.

 

He heard that she had lived somewhere on the outskirts of the island for ten years as a commoner, but her agility was unrivaled.

 

Sitting in front of him and giving him orders arrogantly when she realized that he had put his hand on the press.

 

All the while, the Princess talked about the thing she was looking for.

 

“You can handle the newsflash regarding my foundation. However,”

 

“…… ”

 

“…I hope you will keep my background and personal information strictly confidential from now on.”

 

“I’m curious about your purpose.”

 

She didn’t wish for the commoner to know the face of the princess.

 

If that’s the case, was there any other reason?

 

He interrupted the princess’ words.

 

“Oh, Your Highness The Princess trying to keep it a secret from your adoptive parents about the fact that you’re here. Because you want to hide that Ethel is Stella.”

 

“……..”

 

“If Your Highness’ adoptive parents end up entering the palace, they’ll be involved in this situation. …Their lives will be in danger in an instant. If the news spreads across the country that Your Highness has adoptive parents, there could be more people trying to send assassins in order to get rid of them.”

 

Stella didn’t say anything.

 

Oh so that’s how it is. Jason thought to himself.

 

For her family.

 

That woman was being a real headache to him.

 

When he stood in her position, he could clearly see how he would plan his move to win a checkmate from this gigantic chessboard.

 

He knew very well on how to make her to be the ‘Queen’.

 

Obviously if she was just reaching into his hand as well being a unique and clever person, she would become a person who’s able to have many things.

 

She would belong to his class.

 

But she didn’t move the way he thought.

 

She jumped into an unexpected place and catched him off guard whereas hesitated in a place where she could have everything like this.

 

There, she said.

 

“It’s good that we understand each other’s words.”

 

“……”

 

“Therefore I will never, ever allow anyone to paint my portrait. However, even if someone wants to spread my portrait to the media, please do take care of that.”

 

“All right.”

 

He answered keenly.

 

“If it’s Your Highness’ request, I’ll do my best.”

 

“You better not betray me this time.”

 

“Would I do that?

 

At the words, the princess snorted as if it was funny and got up from her seat.

 

That woman was like that until the end.

 

Jason felt something stirred inside him but still asked her if she wanted to be escorted.

 

“I don’t need an escort.”

 

She said while looking down at his hand.

 

“Cause I’m not a Lady.”

 

***

 

I remembered the time when Karen was acting pompously in front of the Emperor and the Empress.

 

“I think it’s time to frankly ask questions. I mean, what Stella did with the treasury she had gotten from mother and father.”

 

At that time, I vaguely wanted to think that Karen had tripped over her feet, but when I ultimately thought back to that time, there was a strange part about the situation.

 

How could the Imperial Princess didn’t know about the ‘Stella Ethelanche Foundation’? If she didn’t know, then who would know about it?

 

Of course the beneficiaries of the foundation would know, but the information didn’t even reach Karen’s ears.

 

My spine went cold as my thoughts reached all the way to one point.

 

That someone was controlling the information.

 

I have a hunch that this problem wasn’t just a matter of Karen tripping over her own feet.

 

Yeah.

 

The commoners didn’t know the princess’ face.

 

Daisy also didn’t know that I was a princess.

 

So it was clear that Mary and Hans made up a lie like that for Daisy who was waiting for me.

 

I went on a long trip to a faraway country in order to become a princess.

 

They meant to protect Daisy’s innocence when saying that.

 

There must have been some people who saw me closely on the day I flew the stars in the sky, but those numbers of people were small.

 

And if people except them didn’t know who I am or where I came from, someone might have controlled the media.

 

On my way back to the Imperial Palace, I quickly headed for the display stand that was selling newspapers.

 

Then when I asked the stand’s owner if there had been any articles about the second princess, he answered as if what I had said was absurd.

 

“If it’s the news about the second princess, the nobles don’t even see it in the exclusive newspapers, but we do know about that from other newspaper companies.”

 

“…you mean the Velvet Daily?”

 

“Yeah. That Velvet… Velvet Mercy, oh, why do you know that expensive newspaper?”

 

If my prediction was right, my destination was clear.

 

I headed to Jason’s office.

 

‘You’ve been trying to take advantage of me too much.’

 

There was only one reason why he wanted to restrict the information.

 

He was trying to use me for his own gossip. To raise the name of his enormous business.

 

He might be trying to raise everyone’s attention by making people curious.

 

I pushed through people who were trying to dissuade me from entering and managed to open the door of Jason’s office, taking the seat in front of him.

 

He smiled at me.

 

I said to his smiling face.

 

“People didn’t know.”

 

It was truly a good thing that our f***ing interests fit perfectly.

 

***

 

The owner couple, Mary and Hans, who had run the inn <Adventurer’s Refuge> looked at their little daughter Daisy with loving eyes.

 

“Daisy has been depressed ever since Ethel left, but she is sleeping well today.”

 

Mary’s eyes when she looked at Daisy was filled with a deep affection that wasn’t able to be expressed with words.

 

It’s a deep motherly love.

 

“It’s nice to see her like this.”

 

Hans wrapped his arms around Mary while hugging her tightly.

 

“Looks like a gentleman was passing by and showed kindness to her. I heard he was with a girl wearing a cloak.”

 

“Oh gosh, the knight must have gone out for a walk with the Lady and helped our Daisy on their way. I’m grateful. Look at that.”

 

Mary lowered her voice and pointed toward Daisy’s small hand.

 

“She is still holding the gold coins given by the knight in her hand.”

 

“She didn’t let it go even when she was eating.”

 

“I’m very grateful to whoever he is. Daisy said she had seen him once before. I think she meant it was the knight who came to our inn looking for Ethel.”

 

“Since there are not many occasions for His Grace to visit here, he may have been confused as another knight in armor. It isn’t so common to meet knights here so maybe she thought that way just by looking at the armor.”

 

“That’s what I thought as well.”

 

Mary nodded her head.

 

“Whoever it is, they will surely be blessed.”

 

Mary’s lips drew into a soft line. It was a very rare smile after Ethel left the inn.

 

Hans hugged Mary tightly.

 

“Our child, she will be back soon. And even if she isn’t coming back…”

 

“…… ”

 

“…we’ll be with her forever because of the fact that we love her so much.”

 

Mary bit my lip as if trying to hold back her tears.

 

“She has grown up a lot now.”

 

She said,

 

“She will be fine.”

 

***

 

Once my work was done, I then headed for the imperial palace. Because it was a contract with the imperial family.

 

The main gate of the huge imperial palace opened, and I climbed the stairs quietly while heading for my room.

 

It was almost midnight when I returned to the imperial palace.

 

‘Come to think of it, it’s been long since then.’

 

Walking down through the dark hallway, I was lost in thought for no reason.

 

Ten years ago, a young girl who was walking with a storybook looked like a faint afterimage in front of me. 

 

I walked along the afterimage while scanning through the newly plastered wallpaper with my hand. 

 

The moonlight shadow that reached out like a net was deriving from the huge dark window of the hallway that covered me as I took one step forward.

 

It took me to my room at the place where my young afterimage dispersed. 

 

My new room was not far from Karen’s room. It was a large, nice room, obviously different from the attic of the imperial family.

 

I walked into the room after receiving the greetings of mercenaries who saw me with a nod.

 

The room was exactly the same as when I left. 

 

I leaned against the door as soon as it closed. I pushed my head back and let out a deep breath.

 

Fatigue came swarming into me.

 

When I was about to step ahead and wash my body, a thing placed on the faraway tea table caught my eyes.

 

It was made of steel, shining in the dark.

 

I moved quickly, wanting to see what it was. I picked up the small object and stood still.

 

‘Music box.’

 

It was a small music box. Next to it was a letter.

 

 ‘Joseph.’

 

I put down the music box without even trying to read the letter because I didn’t know who put it here.

 

At that moment, the door behind me opened once again.

 

It was Joseph’s face that reflected with guilt as the shadow at the door gap slowly swept through the dark.

 

“You’re late.”

 

“…….”

 

“…I’m waiting for you in the drawing room. Because I wanted to give it to you in person.”

 

He passed by me and picked up the music box on the tea table.

 

“I guess this old-fashioned gift wasn’t fun.”

 

He smiled wryly.

 

“Have you ever played it?”

 

His voice was cautious.

 

Since that morning, he was still the Crown Prince of the Empire, the son of his mother, and he still remained the same… as Joseph though.

 

Then he said,

 

“I was going to give it to you when you get back.”

 

I could tell because I clearly remembered what the music box meant to me as a child.

 

“…it finally met its owner after various things happened.”

 

This was none other than his apology.