Chapter 1. The fiancé is back
It was the drawing room where I waited for Kalian early in the morning to accept the offer to become an aide.
“His Majesty will be here soon. I have a lot of work to do, so I’ll get going now.”
“Thank you for the guidance, Baron(-nim) Delrond.”
“It’s Baron, Baron Aster.”
Baron Delrond urged me to follow him.
Now that we’re both barons, it was right to remove the ‘-nim’, but it felt awkward.
I hesitated and carefully opened my mouth.
“It’s a lot nicer to hear.”
Baron Delrond disappeared with a smile as if he was very pleased, though I had only removed the ‘-nim’.
When I sat down where I used to sit before, the maid brought tea.
“It’s Ann Marie tea.”
When the teapot was tilted, the teacup was filled with yellow tea.
As I looked at the tea, I naturally thought of Sir Hiltine.
I wanted to thank him for escorting me to the Imperial Palace. It was a pity that he disappeared so suddenly that I couldn’t say goodbye properly.
I was fiddling with the tea and thinking about Sir Hiltine when I heard the door open.
It was Kalian. I immediately got up and greeted him.
Kalian waved his hand in annoyance and sat across from me.
Soon the maid prepared his tea.
“I’m sorry to have kept you waiting. Something came up all of a sudden.”
“No, you’re not.”
Come to think of it, why did His Majesty call me privately? Did he have any questions about the diplomatic meeting?
There was no other reason that came to my mind other than that, so I thought it would be it, but it wasn’t.
“I’m going to give you a new mansion.”
A new mansion?
“Are there any problems with the house I live in now?”
“I’m sure you, who live in that house, know better than me.”
“Then, why are you giving me a new mansion…”
“Because the house you’re living in now is too small for you to live in.”
Small? It was too big for me and Sarah to live in.
“Other nobles will laugh at you if they find out that a baron, as well as the emperor’s aide, lives in such a small mansion rather than a proper one. You will lose face, you know?”
I tried to refuse, but when he said that, I couldn’t refuse anymore.
“If that’s the reason, I’ll take it.”
“By the way, this mansion is the house I give you in commemoration of becoming a baron. I don’t accept rent or anything like that.”
I was going to say that I didn’t think so, but Kalian cut me off and replied coldly.
“You’re not going to turn down my gift because of that small sum, are you?”
“Okay. That’s a relief.”
Kalian picked up the teacup with satisfaction.
I was concerned if I could get such an expensive mansion. As he said, it was not polite to reject the emperor’s favor too much.
I wonder what kind of mansion he will give me? It must be bigger than the house I live in now, right?
I couldn’t leave Sarah to manage such a big house alone. I should look for a maid before Sarah came back. Also servants.
Looking at the size of the house, should I look for hired servants? Since I didn’t pay rent, I could afford to hire hired servants.
Then, first of all, I had to stop by the cashier immediately and get my unpaid salary on my way home. After that, I had to check the house and go to the employment office to hire people.
As I was making plans in my head, Kalian called me.
“I haven’t decided on a mansion to give you yet.”
Ah, it hasn’t been decided yet?
“So, will you stay in the palace until then?”
You want me to stay in the palace?
Staring at him blankly at his sudden suggestion, Kalian asked with a smile.
“Why are you so surprised? It’s as if I said something impossible.”
Even though it wasn’t impossible, it was a strange thing to say.
The Imperial Palace was the residence of the imperial family. And he wanted me to stay here until a new mansion was decided?
“Is the mansion going to be decided tomorrow?”
“Tomorrow will be too much.”
I would understand if it’s going to be decided tomorrow, but it’s not.
“Then the day after tomorrow?”
“I don’t think it can be done then either.”
Kalian tilted his head and thought for a moment before answering.
“I think it will take about two weeks?”
Two weeks? It was a ridiculously long time for me, who’s not an imperial family member or a distinguished guest of another country, to stay in the Imperial Palace.
“I cannot stay in the palace for that long.”
“Even if I, the owner of the palace, allow it?”
“I am not a member of the Imperial family. If I stay in the palace for a long time, other nobles will find it strange.”
When I subtly told him that it would be an act of igniting the rumor that I was the emperor’s mistress, Kalian smiled.
“It’s a useless worry. The reason I want you to stay in the palace is not only because of the house but also because of the childcare project.”
Kalian put down his teacup and continued.
“Now that you’re back, we’re going to work on it in full swing, so it is more convenient for you to stay in the palace.”
That’s true, but I was worried that the other nobles wouldn’t think the same.
I couldn’t answer that I would do it easily, and when I stayed still, Kalian who was silent for a while, then added.
“Ver will also be staying in the palace for the time being, so you don’t have to worry about anything weird.”
Ver’s sneeze echoed loudly in the quiet outer palace’s office.
The servant, who was helping him, handed him a handkerchief and asked.
“Do you have a cold?”
“I don’t know.”
Ver answered, wiping his nose with the handkerchief.
“My ears are tickling. It seems like someone is speaking ill of me.”
“No way. Who dares to speak ill of the Baron?”
Ver wanted to reply that there were so many people who would do it, but he just shrugged his shoulders and handed the handkerchief again to the servant. Then he got up and grabbed his documents.
“Are you going to His Majesty?”
“Should I help you?”
“There’s no need. After all, you can’t enter the inner palace.”
The palace itself was a place where access was strictly controlled, but the inner palace was even worse. Because it was the place where the Imperial family lived.
Only those with permission from the Imperial family could enter. Even servants working in the palace couldn’t enter without permission.
Because of this, Ver had to carry all the documents in his arms. There were so many that it was still overflowing even if he hugged it with both arms.
Ver walked carefully not to drop the documents. If he had known this would happen, he would have brought a servant of the inner palace.
As he was passing between the inner and outer palaces with belated regret, he saw a familiar face from a distance.
It was Kalian.
Kalian, who found him only after being called, approached.
“What are you carrying so much?”
“These are the documents from the outer palace. I’ll organize it all and report it to you tomorrow.”
At those words, Kalian’s eyebrow rose slightly.
As he glanced at the amount of documents Ver was carrying, he sighed.
“Is there a magic tool for printing documents somewhere?”
“If there’s such a tool, I would have gone and destroyed it right away.”
Kalian smiled at the words full of sincerity and took half the documents Ver was carrying. Then the documents were passed into the hands of the attendants who followed Kalian.
Thanks to that, Ver sighed in relief as it made it easier for him to move.
They naturally walked towards the inner palace.
“By the way, aren’t you on your way somewhere?”
“I was on my way to meet you.”
Ver’s eyes widened.
“I have something to tell you.”
You were on your way to the outer palace to see me simply because you had something to say?
An ominous feeling came up from below.
He wanted to ask what was going on, but he felt like he shouldn’t.
“Are you not going to ask me what’s going on?”
“…I should ask, should I?”
“It doesn’t matter if you don’t ask. I’m just going to tell you anyway.”
Ver tried to argue why he still asked if he was going to say it, but he swallowed his words.
Kalian beckoned the attendants and escort knights that followed to stay away. Then they spoke in a quiet voice as they stood from them at a certain distance.
“I told Leila to stay at the palace for a while.”
Ver glanced at the people following them and replied.
“Did she say she will?”
“First of all.”
Is it yes or no? What first of all?
“Is something wrong?”
Kalian paused for a moment and answered.
“Leila said that if she stayed at the palace, others would find it strange.”
“Your Majesty brought Baron Aster in as a mistress, not as an aide – kind of thought like that, right?”
What? I thought it was serious, turns out it’s not.
Ver, who looked tired for some reason, replied indifferently.
“Why are you worrying about that? It’s something that you would have expected.”
“Yeah. And I found a solution.”
Oh, you found a solution? This is a bit surprising.
“What is the solution?”
In response to Ver’s question, Kalian stared at him silently.
Ver brushed his cheek awkwardly.
“Why are you looking at me like that? Is there something on my face?”
“You are the solution.”
What is this again?
Ver, who blinked at the words he couldn’t understand, soon understood what Kalian was trying to say and frowned.
“Don’t tell me, you want me to stay in the palace for the time being?”
Ver’s roar resounded loudly.
“What is going on, Your Majesty?”
The attendants who followed were surprised and asked.
Kalian replied that there was nothing wrong, and then gave Ver a scolding.
“Your voice is too loud.”
Who’s to blame for all of this?!
Ver replied with a silent roar.
“I don’t want to.”
Kalian replied with a smirk.
“I never asked for your opinion.”
“Why are you putting me in this tough job? What did I do wrong?!”
Kalian answered as if he was asking what was so obvious.
“You being my aide.”
Ver, lost for words, shut his mouth.
Kalian took a step forward and continued.
“Hang in there a little bit. I’ll let you go once the thing with Duke Williot is settled.”
Ver was going to ask when on earth that was, but he asked something else.
“Have you told Baron Aster that Duke Williot was here? She didn’t seem to know it.”
“I haven’t told her yet.”
“Wouldn’t it be better to tell her?”
“You don’t seem to want to.”
Kalian answered with a smile instead.
“Well, the situation is not good right now. It looks like it’s overheated over there too, so I think it’s okay to tell her once it calms down a bit.”
“I’m glad you agree with me.”
Ver snorted and walked a little faster than Kalian.
“Ah, come to think of it.”
Then, as if he had suddenly remembered, he looked back at Kalian and asked.
“Do you know that it’s Baron Aster’s birthday soon, Your Majesty?”