Chapter 25

 

***

 

I struggled as I sat at my desk, rolling my pen from back and forth.

 

I was on the Crown Prince’s side now, but I had no intention of helping him unconditionally in the future. And I increasingly had no desire to spend my time in hostile relations with others for the sake of the Crown Prince.

 

I especially didn’t want to get even worse with the second Prince who might inherit the throne. If possible, I would like to spend my time in peace without making enemies, but things didn’t go my way.

 

In the struggle for the throne, there are only winners and losers. The forces that supported the winner would enjoy a lot of glory together, while the forces that supported the loser were in great danger of being purged. 

 

I planned to build a friendship in advance for that time, but I had no idea what the Second Prince was like. While I had to pay attention to both the Crown Prince and Claire, I had a headache as the problem continued to grow.

 

I sat at my desk and pondered for a while, when someone knocked on my door.

 

“Miss, there’s a man from the Hermes, what should we do?”

 

The servant’s voice coming from through the door troubled me for a moment before I answered.

 

“Tell him to come in.”

 

“Yes, Miss.”

 

The servant walked off to deliver my words.

 

Not long after the servant’s footsteps faded into the distance, more signs of movement came from beyond the door.

 

 

Eventually, I heard the knocking once more, and when I gave the permission to come in, several people came inside. Aside from the man in the expensive suit, the others seemed to be his attendants.

 

“Nice to meet you. I’m Noah.”

 

The man who introduced himself as “Noah” greeted me and offered me a bouquet of flowers. Instantly, the room was filled with the scent of flowers, and it was like a spring day had arrived. 

 

I stared at the people standing behind him with a slightly reluctant look on my face. All three men were carrying fancy boxes. Were those the items I ordered? It looked plausible, but it was probably empty inside. I soon realized that my guess was wrong, though, because what I had bought was information, not objects.

 

“Let’s talk inside.”

 

Once seated, Annie quickly poured me a cup of tea. Steam rose from the scarlet teacup with golden roses engraved on it.

 

“The Princess is a little different from what I heard.”

 

I paused for a moment, but then quickly raised the edge of my lips and replied.”

 

“I’ll take that as a compliment.”

 

“It’s a compliment. From what I’ve heard, you have a lively and bold personality, but in person you seem calm and perceptive.”

 

Noah was a handsome looking young man, who was about 20 years old. Good appearance and well dressed. While I was drinking tea with Noah, his men carefully put down the boxes they had brought to the side.

 

It seemed somewhat strange to me, the way they handled the empty boxes.

 

They didn’t have to act inside the room. Didn’t they even know what they’re carrying is empty boxes?

 

Perhaps sensing my gaze, Noah stopped the conversation and motioned for them to bring the boxes to him.

 

“Our boss has prepared this gift as a favor to you, so please don’t refuse it.”

 

Noah opened the boxes one by one.

 

“…? “

 

Two of the boxes contained clothes, and the other contained several small jars. One was a pale bluish white, very light in color, and the other was a darker purple.

 

Roxana usually liked to wear brightly colored clothes, such as yellow and pink, but such colors didn’t suit her. The overly flashy attire made her look childish and vulgar.

 

However, the dresses in front of me now seemed to go well with Roxana’s skin tone.

 

It was no less glamorous than the clothes she usually wore, but one looked breezy and the other solemn. Indeed, perhaps it was because he was the boss, he was not only bold with money, but also had a good eye for choosing things. I didn’t see his face, but just looking at the two items in front of me, I had to admit that he had a much better eye for things than Roxana.”

 

“What is this? Cosmetics?”

 

I asked, looking at some of the small bottles in the last box.

 

“It’s medicine. I was told that the Princess was injured not long ago, so he prepared it.”

 

The two dresses I just saw were surprising, but the most surprising thing was the last box of medicine bottles.

 

I know that the news of Roxana’s injury had already spread, but I had never imagined that the Hermes would bring me medicine. 

 

From the looks of it, the Hermes’ boss seemed to have a meticulous personality as well as a good eye.

 

But….

 

“It’s a little too much to be this generous. Is there something you want from me by any chance?”

 

I asked, and Noah nodded with a small smile on his face.

 

“You’re right.”

 

‘It’s true.’

 

Even though the Hermes were wealthy, they were merchants after all.

 

They were profit-driven and wouldn’t spend money for nothing. The fact that they offered so many gifts to me meant that they had something more to gain from me than this.

 

As the anticipation hit me, my mind became rather more at ease. It was better to be transparent, even snobbish, than to accept someone’s excessive favors without knowing why.

 

I lifted my chin and spoke.

 

“Tell me.”

 

Despite my arrogance, Noah never lost his smile.

 

“My Lord would like to meet you.”

 

“Me?”

 

“Yes. Could you visit us again next time?”

 

I was a little perplexed.

 

The reason for sending these expensive gifts was to meet me… of course it wouldn’t end up being a simple meeting.

 

‘What the hell is he looking for?’

 

I was terribly curious about Hermes’ boss’s intention.

 

Noah added, as if he was worried that I would refuse him because I was sitting still without answering.

 

“I swear, you’ve got nothing to lose, Young Lady.”

 

“I see.”

 

I was a little worried.

 

When I looked at the attitude of the man in front of me, it didn’t seem like the meeting would be bad, but I had to meet with the notorious Hermes’ owner…

 

I was a little reluctant.

 

I hesitated for a moment and then nodded.

 

“I’ll try to find some time next week.”

 

“Thank you for accepting the invitation.”

 

I didn’t feel like it, but when I thought about it rationally, it wasn’t a bad offer for me either. Hermes was now the largest organization in the Empire.

 

If I had a friendship with a wealthy and knowledgeable Lord, it would be better for me.

 

I could take the family’s knights as my escorts like last time.

 

Because they wouldn’t dare to touch the legitimate daughter of a high-ranking noble family.

 

After a short negotiation, Noah, with a happy face, finally began to report on what he had found out so far.

 

“Let me tell you what I’ve found out.”

 

Most of it was exactly what I knew.

 

The first time the Crown Prince and Claire met, as I knew it, was at an imperial banquet hall, and they had no particular contact before that.

 

In their relationship, Claire was much more aggressive than the Crown Prince, which was surprising, but there was nothing strange.

 

The male protagonist rescued the female protagonist who was in danger, and the two of them fell in love at first sight and gradually came closer.

 

It was a love story like a fairy tale.

 

If only the villain, me, would disappear, their story would end in a beautiful happy ending.

 

But why should I stand by and watch?

 

Wouldn’t it be foolish to stand by and watch and support them as they trample on the happiness of others and make only themselves happy?

 

“Are you okay?”

 

Noah woke me up after I was lost in thought for a while.

 

It was only then that I came to my senses when I met his worried gaze. I smiled a little.

 

I was no longer the Roxana who clung to the Crown Prince. I did not love him, so there was no reason for me to be hurt by whatever happened between the Crown Prince and Claire. But what reason could there be not to be okay?

 

I took a sip of my tea with a nonchalant look on my face. Noah hesitated, looking at my expression, and then continued.

 

“Recently, there have been a lot of invitations to the Dana family to invite Lady Dana (Claire) to various gatherings and banquet halls. It seems to be due to the scandals that have been circulating about the accident that occurred at the banquet held at the Imperial Palace the other day.”

 

“Scandal…?”

 

“Rumors that the Princess was drunk and harassed the innocent Young Lady after the Crown Prince broke up with you.”

 

I frowned.

 

It was obvious how much people had been talking about me. The face of the Crown Prince, Claire, and those who laughed at me in sympathy with the false rumors made my teeth chatter.

 

“It’s a hoax not worth correcting. I’m sure I’m not the one who’s really sorry.”

 

Noah looked at me with a bit of surprise, as if my reaction was unexpected.

 

“Unless you’re an idiot, I doubt anyone would believe it.”

 

“As you say, my Lady. However, it seems that there are many people who agree with you.”

 

“Can you track down the source of the rumors?”

 

Noah nodded without hesitation at my question. I was very pleased to see that he was more competent than I had expected and could handle the job better. But apart from that, I still didn’t feel good.

 

I didn’t realize that Claire’s social activities became even more active as soon as the rumors of my engagement being called off started to circulate….

 

Isn’t it too obvious?

 

It was probably Claire who started the rumor.

 

She was also the biggest beneficiary of this scandal.

 

Claire was certainly involved in this event in no small part, and she seemed to be using the crisis that had befallen me as an opportunity to further solidify her position. I pondered for a while, then said as I placed my teacup on the table.

 

“I would like to make an additional request. It will be a little tricky, but not too difficult. I’ll pay for it.”

 

Noah swallowed dryly, looking nervous.

 

“It’s no big deal. So there’s no need to be so nervous.”

 

I was trying to relieve the tension, but Noah’s face became more rigid.

 

I continued, not caring about his reaction.

 

“Start a rumor that the Crown Prince and I are getting along better.”

 

“!”

 

I continued with an indifferent look on my face.

 

“If possible, It would be better if the Crown Prince was embarrassed by me.”