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“Crown Prince, why did you come today without notice?”
The Duke asked coldly.
There was an open expression of unpleasantness on his face.
The Crown Prince struggled to keep his smiling face.
“I came here because I was worried about Roxana being sick.”
“You didn’t have to, and you came without being invited.”
Stephen, who had just entered the parlor, approached and whispered into the Duke’s ear.
The corners of the Duke’s lips rose slightly at his words.
He turned his head and looked back at the Crown Prince.
“My daughter is not feeling well, so she says she can’t afford to see anyone.”
“You mean she is that sick?”
The Crown Prince asked curiously.
“It’s not your concern.”
The duke replied in a cold voice.
The Crown Prince scoffed.
Everyone knew that the duke loved his daughter.
If Roxana’s condition was really bad, he couldn’t be so carefree.
But what to do?
He (CP) couldn’t even get through those knights and go up to her room to check it out.
“Your Highness, once the engagement cancellation is officially over, I hope that you will refrain from calling my daughter’s name so freely. If other people hear it, they may misunderstand it.”
The Crown Prince’s smile hardened at the words the Duke added.
However, he quickly picked up the teacup with a calm face.
“Cancellation? What do you mean?”
“I understand that the engagement cancellation papers have been sent and Roxana has already told Your Highness. And yet you’re going to pretend you don’t know?”
“Nevertheless, I have something to say with Roxana on the matter.”
“If there is anything left to say, you can tell me.”
The Crown Prince removed a smile from his face.
Now that he came here, it was meaningless for him to maintain the pretense any longer.
He said coldly, raising the corners of his lips.
“I felt it every time, but you are too meddling in your grown daughter’s affairs.”
“Before the coming-of-age ceremony, I can’t say that she’s all grown up.”
When the duke responded with a calm face, the Crown Prince said sarcastically.
“For that matter, the two of you have been apart for a long time. From my memory, Roxana was very lonely because of that.”
The Duke’s face hardened.
As Roxana grew up, not being by her side was a thorn deep in his heart.
In the meantime, she remained alone in the capital and suffered unpleasant things and almost died.
The Crown Prince raised the corners of his lips crookedly and continued with a mocking voice.
“Last winter, when Roxana fell ill and you, her father, was not with her.”
The Crown Prince looked at the Duke and sighed in regret.
“You don’t know how sad it was to see her sweating in a cold sweat with her face as white as a blank sheet of paper. Of course, you wouldn’t know.”
The Duke got up from his seat abruptly with a stiff face.
“Just go back. It’s late.”
“It’s unpleasant. I’ve been here for a long time, but you kicked me out after I spoke the truth. How does the Duke treat guests like this?”
The Crown Prince put down the teacup with a clattering sound.
Still sitting, he frowned and looked up at the Duke.
The Crown Prince’s gaze was cold and arrogant, as he thought he no longer needed to hide his hostility.
Perhaps that was his real face now.
“If Your Highness felt offended, it would be my fault. Feel free to hold me accountable if necessary. But you can’t meet Roxana. It will be the same in the future.”
“I haven’t finished my words yet.”
The Crown Prince clenched his teeth.
Hold him responsible!
He had already heard similar words several times from Roxana’s mouth.
Given the duke’s prestige, he (CP) knew that he would not be able to punish him.
It made him (CP) feel twice as unpleasant to hear what he had heard from Roxana from the Duke.
“It is common for lovers to have quarrels. But, does it make sense to treat the marriage talk like a kid’s prank, and that it happens so suddenly and unilaterally? Beyond ignoring me, this can only be seen as an attitude of ignoring the imperial family.”
“I understand that Roxana continued to give Your Highness many chances. But the one who had taken those chances for granted was you.”
The duke looked down at the Crown Prince with a gaze that didn’t seem worth dealing with.
Roxana gave him many opportunities to make it right.
She was the one who forgave even her ugly father, who abandoned her for many years.
Such a forgiving woman had decided to end the engagement, how much she had been hurt by the Crown Prince’s atrocities?
There was no end to the Crown Prince’s atrocities the Duke had heard from his aide, and when he just heard the story, he (Duke) felt a pang in his heart that he could not immediately visit him and behead him (CP).
The thought that Roxana had been humiliated by a man who was still only that small made him feel hot in his chest.
“Let me be clear right now. We, the Lillian, will no longer involve in the fight for the throne in the future. So take my word and leave.”
The duke’s attitude was so strong that even as a Crown Prince could not do much.
Even at this point, the Crown Prince thought that it was Roxana’s fault that she didn’t show her face.
If he stayed any longer, and she wouldn’t come down, he would lose face.
Eventually, he got up reluctantly.
“Sure. I’ll leave today.”
Today? He would come back again?
The Duke said with a frown.
“Roxana wanted to be engaged, but now she wants to end it because she doesn’t like it anymore. Even if it is called parental greed and excessive interference, it cannot be helped. So, I hope you don’t waste your time on things that have a set outcome.”
At that, the Crown Prince stopped.
With a stern expression, he took a few steps and stood in front of the Duke.
He then said in a whisper.
“Duke, you should know that I too have a lot of patience. What do you think will happen if it becomes known that the woman who will become the Crown Princess met another man and even exchanged gifts?”
The Duke’s face hardened.
He didn’t believe everything the Crown Prince said, but the possibility that his daughter might have a hidden lover ignited anxieties in his heart.
But if come to think of it, there must have been a reason for her sudden change.
Perhaps it was because of that reason that she suddenly changed and wanted to break up with the Crown Prince.
Because of the new lover?
‘Don’t tell me it’s the owner of Hermes.’
The Duke, conscious of the Crown Prince standing right in front of him, struggled to hide his anxiety and said with a calm face.
“If you insult my daughter without proof, would you be willing to pay the price, Crown Prince?”
“The evidence is overflowing. I know there are many bracelets, necklaces, hairpins, brooches.
Duke, if you don’t believe me, ask your daughter yourself.”
“As Your Highness said earlier, it is not possible to intervene and crack down on my grown daughter’s actions one by one. Was it not Your Highness who did sin against her and betrayed her trust in the first place?”
“So… you mean you’re just going to let Roxana meet such men?”
The Crown Prince certainly seemed to know something.
The Duke grew increasingly anxious. But he couldn’t express this.
“Well, wouldn’t it be better than to be by your side?
And whoever my daughter chooses will be better than now, so I don’t want to get involved.”
“Oh, so you chose Elvin? How can you be so sure she’d be better off with him than me when his parents, the Grand Duke, can’t even handle him?”
“What did you just say?”
The Duke’s eyes went wide as I’d he couldn’t believe what he heard.
He quickly captured his expression, but the look of shock was evident.
Seeing him like that, the Crown Prince said sarcastically.
“Really, I thought you knew a little about it because you weren’t surprised, but I guess you didn’t.”
The sun began to set.
Dark clouds began to form in the sky, and the sun quickly disappeared.
Soon it started to rain.
In an inn room a little far from the capital, someone lit a fire.
Elvin took off his cloak, handed it to the man who appeared to be his servant, and sat down.
He lifted his head and looked outside in the rain.
Then he found a vase on the window sill and stared at it thoughtfully as if he was thinking about something.
The servant accepted the cloak from Elvin, and hung it on a hanger.
Then he looked towards him.
Elvin was sitting near the window, looking at the vase with red flowers in it.
His white face, which looked a little pale, was dyed with the scarlet light, and his red eyes, which seemed only cold, appeared warm.
Even though he had been watching him for years, every time he saw him, he was always so elegant without losing his dignity.
Even a man like him was amazed.
But now the faint smile on Elvin’s face was something he had never seen before.
His smile so far had been all about formality, cynicism, or ridicule.
But now, warmth and affection were felt in his gaze, and his lips were raised softly.
The servant was amazed. Did his owner have a smile like that?
As the usual sharp atmosphere was lifted, a gentleness that had never been seen before was added to his beautiful face, and the servant couldn’t take his eyes off him even more.
“Can I come in?”
Then, someone knocked on the door from outside.
Elvin said without looking at the source of the sound.
After Elvin’s permission was granted, the door opened and a man entered the room.
He looked at Elvin and bent one knee.
“Captain, I have something to report.”
The man was dressed in plain clothes, but had a sword around his waist.
At first glance he looked like a mercenary, but his attitude and manner of speaking showed that he was a trained knight.
He was working as a servant at Hermes.
And he called Elvin captain.
Elvin said with a languid face.
When he woke up from his thoughts, his appearance was cold as before.
There was nowhere to be found the gentle atmosphere of a while ago but coldness and arrogance.
“Grand Duke of Croix was very angry that the captain had left without a word. He was furious and said that if you didn’t come back soon, he wouldn’t let it go this time.”
“If nothing special happened, then leave it. From now on, there is no need to disclose such trivial things. Anything else?”
The servant once again admired the courage of his master.
The Grand Duke (Elvin’s father) also had an unusual personality, but it seemed that he could not surpass his master.
“The recent movement towards the Petanya Kingdom has been unusual. It is said that riots have already begun in various parts of the kingdom. Maybe… sooner or later, war might break out.”
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