Chapter 1. The fiancé is back
“I feel sorry for Lady Thebesa.”
Philen, who was looking out the window with a sour look, turned to Cecily, who was sitting opposite him.
Cecily muttered with a gloomy face.
“She really wanted to take the official test, but couldn’t go to the capital because she didn’t have a carriage.”
“There’s no need to feel sorry for her. Because it’s all her fault.”
Who told her to use all the carriages in the mansion without thinking?
The carriage that Philen was riding now was a historic carriage used by the Duke of Williot for generations.
Thanks to the servants’ inability to use this and leaving it behind, it was able to stay intact.
“And since she won’t pass the official test anyway, it’s better for her not to take it. It would be even more disgraceful if she went in vain and fell.”
“Oh my. Phil still thinks of Lady Thebesa even in this situation.”
As Cecily looked at him as if she was genuinely admiring, Philen shrugged.
“No matter how much I hate her, she is the woman who will be my wife. I have to take care of her.”
The corners of Cecily’s lips, which went up smoothly, hardened slightly, but Philen didn’t notice it.
“As expected, a kind person. You’ll take care of our child who will be born soon too, right?”
Philen nodded as if she was asking what’s so obvious.
“Then what about me?”
Cecily carefully asked what she was most curious about, as the flow of the conversation went as she wanted.
By then, Philen erased his smile and looked at Cecily closely.
It was as if he was judging what intention she had by saying this.
It’s not the time yet.
Well, she’s still holding out. But there’s no way I’ll give her room.
After completing the calculation in her head, Cecily quickly withdrew.
“I’m satisfied with just being able to see my child often.”
Not ‘our’ but ‘my’ child.
Cecily didn’t let go of her monopoly on the child, even while she was withdrawing, and Philen admitted it.
“Don’t worry. You’ll see the child often.”
“Of course, I promise.”
“It made me happy.”
Cecily smiled brightly and fell into Philen’s arms.
“I hope our child can be born as soon as possible.”
“Same goes for me.”
Philen replied, stroking Cecily’s back affectionately.
“I hope he can be born soon.”
An hour before the official test began.
“Of the 200 applicants, exactly 171 have entered the test hall so far.”
Ver reported to Kalian with a sullen look.
Kalian smiled and looked at Ver.
“You seem dissatisfied with me.”
“Then, must I not be dissatisfied with you not letting me go home? I’m almost dying because of it!”
“I think so, considering your skin is glossy. You have a good complexion too.”
Of course, it was.
There’s no way his complexion could get worse as he continued to receive delicious meals on his soft bed.
Still, it was a palace. It couldn’t be more comfortable than home.
“After the official test is over, I can go home, right?”
“Yeah. At that time, even if you insist you don’t want to go, I’ll push you on the back. So don’t worry.”
Only then did Ver smile brightly.
Was it that good? This made him feel like he had become a bad boss.
Kalian chuckled and accepted the list handed by Ver.
He just glanced through it, and he seemed to know who the seven people Ver was talking about.
They were that famous. They were people who immediately came to mind when someone saw their names.
“…isn’t there Leila Thebesa’s name?”
“Leila Thebesa, do you mean Duke Williot’s fiancée?”
Everyone said that when someone mentioned Leila Thebesa.
Ver didn’t say anything special or strange.
But why do I feel so bad?
Kalian stroked his chin and thought for a moment, but couldn’t find the cause.
“Why are you looking for that Lady all of a sudden?”
“Just… I heard she took the test, but I couldn’t see her name.”
“Ah, I remember seeing her name on the applicant’s list too.”
Ver checked the list that Kalian gave again and nodded.
“Certainly, the Lady doesn’t have her name on it.”
“Why doesn’t she take the test?”
Ver wanted to ask why he was curious about it, but he said his own opinion instead.
“Well, I can’t be sure because I’m not the party involved, but if I dare to guess, she must have been scared and ran away?”
“Because there’s a lot of famous people from various fields who took the test. I, too, would have been scared.”
Ver hated it and clicked his tongue.
“Is that so?”
Kalian answered indifferently. He leaned against the window and looked out the window.
It was a face with a lot of thoughts. Dissatisfaction and worries were also seen.
Ver asked bluntly.
“You seem dissatisfied and worried that the Lady is not coming to take the test.”
Kalian smiled slightly awkwardly and looked back at Ver.
“Is it too obvious?”
“Very. And didn’t you make it obvious on purpose so that I can notice it?”
“…you know me too well.”
“It’s been five years since I’ve been with you, Your Majesty.”
Ver trembled as he spat out the words that made him feel disgusted.
“So, shall we find out? The reason why Lady Thebesa didn’t come to take the test.”
Kalian waved indifferently.
“It’s not something you can know right away just by doing an investigation, and you’ll find out only after the test is over, so what’s the use?”
“Well, that’s true.”
Ver nodded in agreement with Kalian’s words.
“Then, there are only 30 minutes left before the test begins, so I’ll go to the test hall now.”
Ver was the test’s general supervisor. This was also ordered by Kalian.
He couldn’t believe other people. So what could he do?
It’s not enough to prepare the questions, but also to supervise the test.
Being an aide was a harsh job in many ways.
Laughing at those who took the test, dreaming of a hopeful future without knowing this, Ver bowed to Kalian.
Kalian raised his lean body.
“I’m going too.”
“Cra… Hmm, mmm.”
Ver, who was almost asking Kalian if he was crazy for a moment, swallowed his words in a hurry.
Ver had been an aide to Kalian since he was a prince. He was one of the loyalists who stayed by Kalian’s side even during his most difficult times.
Kalian took that into account and was very considerate of Ver.
Thanks to this, Ver was able to express his opinions more freely than other people, but everything had lines.
He knew that it wasn’t okay to ask if he was crazy.
At least in this situation.
“Are you going to supervise the test yourself?”
“Is it wrong?”
“There is nothing wrong with it, but if Your Majesty supervises the test himself, everyone will be nervous and will not be able to take the test properly.”
“If they don’t have that much of a wall, they shouldn’t apply for an aide.”
…where on earth did that standard come from?
Even if I ask, it will be his own standard.
Ver clicked his tongue inwardly and shook his head.
He didn’t want to take Kalian with him as much as possible for the poor people who were probably very nervous about the test, but…
Unfortunately, Ver had no justification or power to stop him.
And so, Ver headed to the test hall with Kalian.
“Your, Your Majesty!”
“I, I greet Your Majesty, the Emperor!”
As expected, as soon as they saw Kalian’s face, they greeted him in bewilderment.
The commoners who had an audience with the emperor for the first time in their lives fell flat on the floor.
Kalian looked around the test hall indifferently.
He expected it from the moment he checked the list, but they were all men.
There were no women, including supervisors and scholars assigned for scoring.
Although it was written in the official announcement that women can take the test, Leila was the only woman who took it.
Numerous commoners, even those who had recently become commoners from slaves, took the test, but there were no women.
Well, is it obvious?
Because there had never been a case in the empire’s history where a woman became an official.
There were often times when a woman became an official of the territory, but never once became an official of the empire.
It was ironic.
The empire’s laws didn’t explicitly state that women are not supposed to be the officials of the Empire.
But in the long history of the empire of 700 years, there had never been a woman who became an official of the empire. It was surprising and ironic.
He could understand why people took it for granted.
Is that why you ran away, Leila Thebesa?
When the official test was going to start, his eyes sting.
Or maybe she ran away because Philen rebuked saying ‘what official’ to her?
Is that why she’s breaking her promise to me?
Even though he didn’t think he would have any lingering feelings for her if that was the case, the lingering feelings were still there. And so, his gaze turned to the door.
He had a feeling that Leila would come in even now.
“Ten minutes left until the test begins.”
But a feeling was just a feeling, it was different from reality.
That woman, didn’t come.
As expected, did she give up on the test?
Kalian’s eyes darkened.
“Everyone, please sit down.”
Following the supervisor’s instructions, the people sat down in unison.
The supervisor waited a little longer, and when there’s five minutes left, he turned to Kalian.
Kalian was still looking at the door.
“May we close the door, Your Majesty?”
The supervisor asked politely, but Kalian didn’t answer.
It was the same no matter how many times he called.
When the supervisor was at a loss, Ver sighed deeply and stood right in front of Kalian.
Only then did Kalian react.
“May we close the door?”
“…how much time left?”
“One minute left.”
Only one minute left?
If it’s until now, it is safe to say that she won’t come now.
I have to throw away the lingering feelings I have.
As much as he had expected in his heart, the disappointment that came to him was great.
Kalian turned around with a cloudy look.
“Close the door.”
The moment when the huge stone door was about to close with a loud noise.
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