Just as the Crown Prince was about to get up, the Empress spoke.
“I heard Lady Dana came a while ago.”
The empress’s face was calm as she said so.
Contrary to her face, the Crown Prince’s face turned pale.
“You’re about to get married in less than a year. Until then, take care of your actions.”
The Empress lifted her gaze and looked at the Crown Prince silently.
The Crown Prince was uncomfortable.
The Empress brought the teacup to her lips with a relaxed expression. The still warm tea had a slight bitter taste. Then in a low voice, she warned.
“As you know, Princess Lillian is the strongest and best rope you can hold. So don’t ever miss it.”
“Can’t find anyone? Does that make sense?”
The Duke asked with a puzzled face.
“I tried to infiltrate people to find out, but the boundaries are stricter than I thought. Bribery doesn’t work…”
Stephen answered with a stern expression.
A cold light was added to the Duke’s gaze.
In a short time, Roxana became like a different person.
She was smarter and more determined than ever before.
The Duke was delighted with his daughter’s transformation, but on the one hand, he worried that someone might be manipulating her from behind.
He thought the owner of the Hermes organization, where Roxana visited, was very suspicious.
So he had someone investigate, but the answer he got back was quite absurd.
“Couldn’t the Duke’s knights penetrate the security of the organization run by a handful of commoners? It seems that the military is loose in its discipline. I can’t believe that they can’t even accomplish a mere task of that magnitude.”
There was a bit of anger at the end of the Duke’s voice.
“Sir, this is very strange. In my opinion, that owner is very suspicious.”
Stephen looked at the duke and added.
“He’s been running the organization for several years, but no one knows his face, and his subordinates are very skillful.”
Stephen’s face was full of curiosity as he continued to speak.
He thought lightly at first, but the more he investigated, the more suspicious it became. There must have been a reason why the owner of the organization hid his identity like this.
He remembered Roxana’s face.
What kind of person was she meeting?
The Duke’s expression was much more serious than that of Stephen’s.
Seeing that the organization’s owner hid his identity so thoroughly, it was clear that it was hard to reveal it.
He may be a criminal or a spy of an enemy country.
Even if it wasn’t, the Duke couldn’t just wait and watch such a suspicious person approaching his daughter.
It was fortunate that nothing had happened so far, but thinking about the fact that the two of them had met each other several times already made his heart ache.
The Duke frowned and gave instructions coldly.
“If he has nothing to hide, there would be no reason to be so wary. Find out more.”
“And if anyone comes from the Hermes, report it to me first.”
“Yes. I will.”
After lunch, I walked around the flower garden and returned to my room when Annie handed me a letter.
“Lady, it was sent by the Second Prince.”
I could feel the gaze of the maids following her words.
Ignoring their curious gaze, I opened the envelope.
Inside was a letter with folded paper.
When I opened the paper, there were dried flowers inside.
It was strangely harmonious as there were yellow violets and white mist flowers together.
“It dried up nicely. It would be pretty if we put it in a frame.”
Joan, who suddenly came to my side, said with a smile on her face.
“Shall we do that?”
Nodding my head reluctantly, she rummaged through the drawers with a smile on her face.
While she found a frame of a suitable size and placed the flowers sent by the second prince in it, I read the letter enclosed with it.
The letter was written with a formal greeting and the date and time of a meeting.
After I wrote a reply saying I understood and gave it to Annie to send it.
Before she left, she placed the picture frame with the flowers on the shelf.
“I thought he would be rough because he lived on the battlefield for a long time, but I didn’t know the 2nd Prince had such a delicate side.”
Tien said as if she liked the dried flowers, lightly touching the glass part of the frame.
Joan nodded her head as she took a bite of a cookie.
“That’s right. There’s a part that’s unexpectedly delicate. But, lady.” Joan, having swallowed the cookie bite, suddenly turned her gaze to me.
She looked at me with twinkling eyes.
“What does this mean for the second prince to send flowers to the young lady? The second prince isn’t interested in the lady, is he?”
Joan’s words were always bold.
I warned her many times, but she was still the same.
If she talked like this in crowded places, I would probably not be able to hold my head up for the rest of my life.
“I know, right. I’m curious too. Violets and mist flowers are both related to love in their flower language. So, as Joan said…. It’s something you never know.”
Tien, who had been quiet until now, said in a calm voice.
At each of her words, Joan became more and more motivated to think she had gained support, and she chimed in with her guesses.
“Come to think of it, the gaze of the second prince on the young lady has never been unusual before. On the day of the lady’s birthday banquet, I saw the second prince looking at the young lady with my own eyes. She was very beautiful that day, so I understand if the second Prince’s interest.”
Even if I ignored it, Joan’s nonsense continued.
The more she talked, the more excited she seemed to be, the more her voice grew louder.
“Did he fall in love that day? No, maybe it was before that. He didn’t fall in love at first sight, did he?”
“Even if you like flowers, not many people memorize the flower language. Moreover, wild flowers like violets are even more so.”
Joan shook her head with determination.
“In my opinion, it is definitely intentional. How could the sender of the gift not even know that much?”
She retorted sharply. But her subsequent words were absurd.
“He’s been on the battlefield for a long time, and hasn’t even been engaged yet. He is not meeting anyone, so he must have expressed his feelings in such a careful way.”
“After all, the lady broke up with the Crown Prince, so it’s not bad for her to be close with the Second Prince.”
Tien quietly added.
I looked at her with complicated eyes.
Tien had a calm personality for her age. But when did she become like Joan?
Unable to listen any longer, I got up and went to the window.
A vase was placed by the window, and beautiful red flowers were placed in it.
Lisianthus, sent from Hermes, still did not lose its beauty with a splendid and elegant display.
However, there were withered petals in the middle, and the leaves and stems were a little dry.
It was a natural process. But I felt a little bitter.
“I’ll bring a container.”
Tien stood up looking at the petals that had fallen on the floor.
Joan asked with a puzzled face.
“Why? We can just get new flowers. There are plenty in the garden.Of course, these are more expensive than others, but they are still only flowers, aren’t they?”
Joan looked at me, asking for consent.
Tien pretended not to hear her.
“It’s better to dry it before it withers,” she said. “That way we can see it all the time.”
“Yes. Let’s do that.”
Joan immediately picked up another cookie with a sullen face as I didn’t agree with her.
Then, Stephen came and asked.
“Lady, are you all right?”
For some reason, his complexion didn’t look good.
His gaze at me was full of suspicion.
I didn’t understand, but I answered casually.
“I’m fine now.”
“It’s better to be careful for the time being just in case. Don’t forget to take your medicine after meals.”
Perhaps it was because I said the same thing last time, but I was sick again. Stephen didn’t seem to believe me.
“I will. Don’t worry too much, I won’t forget it.”
I nodded gently, and Stephen was silent for a moment, then spoke again.
“The Crown Prince is on the first floor. When he heard that the lady was ill, he came to visit. The Duke said you didn’t have to come down to see it….what should I do?”
I was surprised that he had brought a doctor in the daytime to check me out, and then came back within a few hours, but again, there was a reason.
If the Crown Prince came again without notice, how should I interpret this?
Maybe he didn’t come here to give me the answer I was looking for.
After all, the breakup papers were sent, so there was no need to face him.
Besides, if the duke was dealing with him on my behalf, I didn’t have to come forward.
I didn’t need long to answer.
“Tell him that I won’t be able to see him because I’m not feeling well. And from now on, he doesn’t need to come in person like this. It would be better if he gave an answer to the engagement cancellation.”
Inside the room, decorated in purple and gold.
In the middle, there was a table and a sofa, and there were two men sitting facing each other.
Behind each of them stood knights in uniform.
Except for the two guards of the Crown Prince, the rest were knights of the duke.
The well-trained knights radiated ferocious momentum, and even without words, people could feel the pressure of the Duke alone.
The air in the quiet room was cold and there was a strange tension.
Then, a maid brought refreshments.
With her trembling hands she set down the teapot, teacups and plate of snacks on the table.
The Crown Prince took a sip of the tea served by the maid with a forced smile.
He could feel several pairs of hostile gazes on him.
As if to prove the saying that users tend to resemble their masters, it was very annoying that the knights standing behind the duke were disrespectful like their masters.
They did not look at the prince of the country to which they belonged, but as if they were looking at an intruder or an enemy army, they were full of caution and a subtle hostility.
If there were such knights in the palace, he would have ordered them to be imprisoned and whipped to death.
It was absurd and unpleasant for even a single knight to show such an attitude, but the Crown Prince decided to put up with it today because he wasn’t here to argue about that.
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