Chapter 1. From the Breakup of the Marriage
Perhaps because I was only focused on the idea of becoming independent three years from now, I didn’t think in detail about the event that would actually cause my true identity to be revealed.
‘Yes, there must be a perpetrator, if the poison was swapped.’
If there are effects, there must be a cause.
But there was a reason I didn’t think about his existence until I ran into him. Estelle, the main character, had a bigger presence than Tector, a mere supporting character in the book.
Based on the book’s content, Tector, the Duke of Perdia’s aide, was a traitor who had an inner connection with the second prince, Beltran Locke Wallent.
The Duke of Perdia had been supporting Prince Adenmir Persil Wallent as the next emperor, so it was a formidable blow to the back of the head.
I looked at the aide with meaningful eyes.
‘You mean you’re playing dirty with that loyal face?’
He looks very comfortable in his deception. You will never know someone’s true mind unless you look inside a person.
Clicking my tongue in my mouth, I hid my innermost thoughts and answered as calmly as usual. “I was walking because I was bored. I can’t just stay in my room all the time, can I?”
“Yes, his Excellency will overlook that.”
The aide replied with a gentle smile.
It was a really kind looking face. Like there’s no word for betrayal in his dictionary.
In fact, Estelle would have been adopted and even established herself as a reliable helper in the family, so it would be natural that no one would notice his betrayal.
Anyway, the aide’s betrayal happened after I was removed from the book.
In addition, there was no guarantee that the current aide would be in contact with the second prince.
And even if he is really turning his back, it doesn’t matter to me.
‘Because I’m going to be independent before Estelle’s adopted.’
But if you didn’t know, you didn’t know, and no one could blame you. But if you know and let it just pass on, you will be a shame…
‘Extraordinary, aren’t you?’
I looked up at the aide with a nice smile.
Let’s dig a little trap.
“Sir Arold, I have a concern, can you listen?” I said, looking around sneakily, as if I didn’t want anyone else to hear.
“Yes, Miss. What is it?”
“Actually, I think my father is really angry. Is there any other way?”
I let the corners of my eyes droop, as if I were upset.
As far as appearances are concerned, I am on the gentle side, so this expression of pity was used quite well. Of course, this expression didn’t work for Martha.
“His Excellency, why is he angry?”
“Mhh. You know I said I’m breaking off my engagement, right?”
He is an aide, so I’m sure he knows.
Tector nodded coolly.
“Yes, why did you do that?”
I was waiting for you to ask that.
I wrapped my hands around my cheeks and murmured shyly at the floor. “I’ve got someone else who I have a crush on. That’s why I want to break up with the First Prince.”
“Is that so? Who is the other person you long for?”
It was obvious that he was asking out of courtesy–he doesn’t care who I like.
But can you keep your composure after listening to my next words?
I looked around for no reason again and gestured to the aide.
I whispered furtively into his ear, “Only I know who I fell in love with.” I smiled bashfully and continued, “It’s his Highness, the Second Prince.”
The aide widened his eyes and was astonished.
It was worth it. It’s a crazy thing that I love my father’s politics.
“Sshhh. Your voice is too loud.”
“Hah, I won’t say anything.” The aide stammered back, still taken aback.
It was obvious that I’d be bothered if he asked for more detail, so I hurriedly changed the subject of the conversation.
“So, Sir Arold, how can I relieve my father’s anger?”
“The best way would be for you not to cause any more trouble.”
“All right, Sir Arold, I´ll keep that in mind. Thank you for your consultation.”
I soon saw the distant aide’s back as he hurried away.
The second prince was not interested in me. Sometimes I felt his gaze looking at me at the banquet, but I thought it was probably because of my striking appearance.
Maybe because he thought I wasn’t available in the first place, the second prince never normally approached me.
‘If the aide is still in communication with the second prince, he will definitely announce this.’
Although I’m an illegitimate child, I’m still a worthwhile prize as the daughter of the Duke of Perdia, so the Second Prince won’t stand still.
Who will refuse when a delicious prey walks into their mouth?
But the problem is that the prey is poisoned.
‘Will he fall into this trap?’
What is going to happen? What an exciting thought.
Once a month, an irregular dinner is held in the Perdia family.
In the quiet dining room, you could very occasionally hear the clashing of dishes.
There were five people at the long table and more than ten people were waiting at the edge of the dining room, but it was a breathtaking mealtime, done all in complete silence.
On the other hand, it was also a familiarly stifling place. It had to be, since we had a regular dinner at least once a month.
I glanced at the Duke of Perdia, who dined gracefully in the most aristocratic form.
‘I don’t know why you insist on family meals.’
I don’t know if it’s just the basis of the Perdia family, but the Duke of Perdia was heartless to his wife, a partner in a purely political marriage, and his two sons, who were his own blood.
As an illegitimate child (not even true), of course, there was no interest in me.
Still though, it was strange that you didn’t forget the family dinner and invited me.
As I was mumbling and peeking at the Duke, our eyes met for a moment. Surprised, I almost avoided his eyes, but instead I smiled.
‘If I flatter my father in advance, maybe he will let it go even if it turns out that I’m not of his bloodline?’
It was my grand plan.
The Duke looked at me for a moment and then turned coldly away.
Well, in the first place I didn’t expect you to smile face to face, so I wasn’t very heartbroken either.
The silent meal of death was still going on, but it was Jansi who broke the silence.
“I heard the news, Mother, that you developed an antidote in such a short time. You’re amazing.”
“The article hasn’t even been published yet, but you’ve heard the news,”
The Duchess replied with a grin.
It wasn’t exactly a reproachful tone, but somehow the atmosphere seemed overwhelming.
I chewed my salad and pretended not to listen to the story.
I was the one who invented the antidote.
It was just like Jansi Perdia, who is also a well-rounded information collector, to have already come across information that has not been published.
‘Anyway, I’m number one for being gloomy.’
The conversation continued.
“You can make the poison well, but it took a long time to develop the antidote, so I was wondering what happened this time.”
“I was lucky.”
“Yeah, I found a good pharmacist,” The Duchess replied easily.
Those words made me extremely nervous. I wondered if the Duchess would look at me.
But her eyes were on Jansi.
For some reason, my mouth felt dry, so I quietly drank water.
Jansi looked at the Duchess seriously, asking, “Pharmacist? Is he reliable?”
“If something bothers you, Mother, I’ll do a background check.”
‘No background check!’
For a moment, when I choked and coughed, all the eyes of my family turned to me.
I glanced down at the food as if nothing had happened. Fortunately, they quickly turned their attention away from me.
‘Janis’s background check won’t reveal anything because the Duchess is the only one who knows I made the antidote.’
All I could do was to believe in the promise I made with the Duchess.
I looked at the Duchess with some uneasiness, and when I met her eyes, I saw that the corners of her lips were slightly raised.
“Don’t talk nonsense.” She concentrated on her meal again, leaving a short warning to Jansi.
Fortunately, my secret seemed to be kept well.
Relieved, I started eating again. The cooking skills of the chef of the main house were excellent.
“Lili. You don’t have to force yourself to eat if you don’t have an appetite.”
“Huh?” I took a look at my empty plate and looked at Jansi again.
He was sitting quite far away, so he looked kind of embarrassed as he noticed how much I had eaten.
“You…ate it all.”
I smiled at Jansi, who smiled awkwardly. “Yes, it’s delicious right?”
Not long ago, I went back to the annex after barely eating, unable to stomach chewing food in an uncomfortable dinner atmosphere, but there was no reason for that anymore.
After all, there is no such thing as family love.
No matter how hard I try, we can’t become a family….
‘I’m just going to live comfortably.’
Food is innocent.
After finishing the last dessert neatly, I put down the tableware and got up from my seat.
“Then, I’ll go back.”
The atmosphere was a mess, but the meal was really delicious!
Carlot froze, his knife in his hand. His gaze remained at the entrance to the dining room where Elodie had left.
“…. Hey, are you crazy..?”
No one responded to Carlot’s astonished murmur.
At family dinners, Elodie was always there until the end. She left the dining room after saying she had eaten it all, but why doesn’t anyone point that out?
“Father, isn’t she acting a bit strange?”
He asked Duke Perdia as if to warn him, but instead of answering, the Duke just quietly drank wine.
It seems that Carlot was the only one confused.
‘All are crazy – why is everyone not doing anything?’
Contrary to what Carlot had thought, the other three also secretly stared at the door of the dining hall where Elodie had disappeared.
Even though I was sentenced to probation, I was required to attend official family events.
One of them was the emperor’s Birthday Banquet today.
My undesired fiancé and I were now on the way to the Imperial City in a carriage.
“Do you have something to say?”
When I asked Adenmir, who was staring at me, he furrowed his brow and immediately denied it.
For such a vehement denial, he almost pierced my face because he looked at me the whole time we were moving.
After thinking about it for a long time, I came to a conclusion.
‘Do you want to receive an apology for what happened?’
The carriage stopped as I chewed on that thought.
First of all, I had to enter the banquet hall, so I was escorted by Adenmir and moved to the venue.
As soon as he entered the hall, the first prince was surrounded by his aides.
“We will talk for a while.”
“Yes, see you later.” I sent the first prince off.
It seemed that he had something to share with the nobles of his faction.
Even if I attend a party as the partner of the first prince, we never spend time together, and if I danced with him, it was just because it was a formal engagement anyway.
Anyway, I had one thing to do at today’s party, so it was better to be alone.
Eventually I moved from my spot. The place I chose was in front of the West Pillar.
An inconspicuous position.
The reason for standing there was clear.
“Nice to meet you, Princess.”
Just to give this man a chance to approach me.
The second prince Beltran Locke Wallent was in front of me.
“I see your Highness the Second Prince.” I gave him a light greeting.
The second prince approached me. What that fact meant was clear.
The Tector Arnold, Aide of Duke Perdia, was in communication with the second prince, long before the contents of the book began. I had trapped a traitor.
“If you do, I’ll take care of it as Your Highness instructed, but there is one more problem… Your Majesty?”
The aide swallowed, looking nervously at the clearly distracted Adenmir. “Your Highness….?”
“Wait a minute–”
Adenmir was witnessing a scene.
It was a scene where his fiancée, Elodie, had a conversation with Beltran, the human he hated the most.
He was dumbfounded.
‘Are you laughing?’
Elodie even smiled lightly as she greeted Beltran.
At that moment, the image of Elodie, who was blushing and talking shyly, flashed through his mind.
“Actually, I have a crush on someone.”
“It’s so embarrassing to say.”
Adenmir was exasperated and worked to control his expression.
“Is that the guy?”
‘The guy you fell in love with?’
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