Chapter 1. The fiancé is back
If it was to go to the detached palace, of course, he had to go.
“I’ll be right back.”
Ver brought the documents he had brought to the aide’s office and went back to Kalian.
In the meantime, Kalian, dressed in a neat coat, was holding a large box in his hand.
At other times, the servants would have made a fuss saying that they would hold it, but for some reason, they did not say anything.
It was the same with Ver. He just looked at what was inside the box and smiled.
“He will like it.”
“I hope so.”
A faint smile was drawn on Kalian’s lips.
“Then, let’s go.”
They headed to the detached palace located in the deepest part of the Imperial Palace, a little deeper than the inner palace.
The detached palace was very beautiful. The garden was full of golden royal roses and there was a large fountain in the center.
In the center of the fountain, there’s a stone statue of a baby angel carrying a large water bucket which was continuously pouring out clear water.
It was just after Kalian and his party passed the fountain.
Step step step step
An urgent sound of footsteps was heard from somewhere.
After a while, the bushes beside Kalian shook and a boy about the height of his waist popped out.
His blue hair, a little lighter than Kalian’s, fluttered softly in the wind. Under the sunlight, his clear skin stood out.
The boy hugged Kalian by the waist, but no one stopped him.
It was the same with Kalian.
Instead of scolding him for being rude or asking ‘what are you doing’, he smiled softly and looked at the boy.
When Kalian called his name, the boy, who was burying his face in his waist, lifted his head and looked up at Kalian.
The sky-blue eyes that resembled the sky shone brightly.
The boy smiled brightly, revealing his white, well-groomed teeth.
Sir Hiltine had tasted every food I was going to eat first to make sure it wasn’t poisonous.
It’s a pity that I couldn’t eat with others, but if they had seen this, it would have been very embarrassing.
Hiltine not only distinguished poison but also taught me how to distinguish it.
“The most basic way is to distinguish it with silver. Silver is the best tool to detect poison, but there are many more poisons in the world that cannot be detected by silver.”
“What do you do in that case?”
“The second is to tell by taste or smell, but it is dangerous in many ways. People who are not resistant can die if they eat it incorrectly.”
Die? Just hearing it gave me chills.
“The third way is to feed the suspect first.”
“To the other person?”
“Yes. If it was poisoned, they would never eat it.”
Ah, indeed. It made sense.
The carriage, which had been running diligently, stopped in front of the inn. It was the inn we stayed in today.
Even here, Sir Hiltine tasted the food I was going to eat first.
This was usually done by commoners. The children of nobles who came to the palace as servants or maids sometimes did it, but it was for the higher-ranking imperial family, higher than themselves. They didn’t do this for the same-ranking nobles.
So was he okay? If it were the children of other nobles, even if it was because they had to escort, their pride would have been hurt.
“You can eat it.”
After Sir Hiltine gave his permission, I ate the soup.
It tasted good because it was the special soup that the innkeeper was proud of.
The meal was held in a quiet atmosphere. It wasn’t awkward or anything like that.
At first, Sir Hiltine was so expressionless and silent that it was awkward for the two of us to eat together, but now I was used to it.
About halfway through the meal, a waiter came over and filled the empty glass.
I was about to drink the water because I was thirsty at the time, but Sir Hiltine took the glass.
“I will try it first.”
“I don’t think there is any need to check this too.”
“There are no exceptions.”
…I guessed so.
Sir Hiltine returned the glass to me only after confirming that it was not poisoned.
I drank it with a spoon because it felt a bit strange to drink the water that someone else drank.
“Are you still eating?”
When the soup bowl was almost empty, Marquis Valdir came and asked.
It didn’t look like he came just to greet me as he passed by. He wasn’t the kind of person who would do such a thing.
“What’s the matter?”
“I have something to say to the Lady, can we talk for a while after dinner?”
What did he want to talk about?
I was curious. As I was almost done eating, I put down my spoon and stood up.
“Where should we go?”
“Let’s talk in my room. Because that’s the best place.”
I nodded and followed him. Sir Hiltine also followed me and Marquis Valdir as if it was natural.
Marquis Valdir frowned and looked at Sir Hiltine.
“Did you not hear that I wanted to talk to Lady Thebesa privately?”
Hiltine remained silent without answering.
As I had felt before, he hardly ever talked to anyone other than me.
It could be dismissed as him being reticent, but not even answering questions was just a good way for others to misunderstand that they were ignoring you.
It was the same with Marquis Valdir. His expression turned even worse.
“Please calm down, Marquis.”
After calming Marquis Valdir, I looked at Sir Hiltine.
“Sir Hiltine, please wait here for a moment, as I’m going to talk to the Marquis.”
“I cannot do that. Something could happen in the meantime.”
“You mean I’m going to do something to Lady Thebesa?”
Oh, no. He’s pissing him up.
“Tell me, is that what you meant?”
“How could it be, Marquis.”
I answered on behalf of Sir Hiltine, who did not answer.
Then Marquis Valdir looked at me as if it was ridiculous.
“Since when did the Lady become his spokesperson?”
“It’s not like that…”
“If it’s not like that, let that damn guy answer me directly, not the Lady.”
No matter how angry he was, but ‘that damn guy’?
I frowned at the excessive language.
“Did you hear me or did you not hear me?”
If he didn’t answer this time, it would be really bad.
I looked at Sir Hiltine with an anxious look.
Sir Hiltine’s eyebrows twisted slightly as our eyes met, and he slowly opened his mouth.
He answered. That’s a relief.
“But you’re still going to follow us?”
Sir Hiltine affirmed in silence.
Marquis Valdir clicked his tongue and looked at Sir Hiltine.
“How dare you ignore me, a marquis, when you’re just a commoner?”
Although I often thought that the way he spoke and behaved was not like a noble, I never thought he was a commoner.
I turned to look at Sir Hiltine in surprise and Sir Hiltine averted his gaze.
It was the first time he had avoided my gaze since that night.
“As a marquis, I command you. Wait here.”
“His Majesty’s orders take precedence over the Marquis’s orders.”
Despite Marquis Valdir’s order, Sir Hiltine did not retreat at all. As it was the Emperor’s orders, how would he keep on persisting?
“Do what you like!”
Marquis Valdir became red and turned.
When I arrived at his room, I sat facing the Marquis with a table in between.
Sir Hiltine was standing behind me.
His aide came in. He set the teacup and teapot on the table and left.
“This tea was recommended by the innkeeper. They say it’s a specialty here.”
Marquis Valdir kindly filled the teacup himself and put it in front of me.
The pale yellow tea was glittering.
“I wanted to introduce it to the Lady, so I asked him to bring it. Give it a try.”
His uncharacteristic kindness was weird.
…could it be that this man was the one who poisoned the cookies?
As I was staring at the teacup, a hand suddenly popped out from behind and picked up the teacup.
It was Sir Hiltine. He poured the hot tea into his mouth without saying anything.
Marquis Valdir and I looked at him in bewilderment.
Either way, Sir Hiltine looked at the empty teacup for a moment, put it back in front of me, and nodded. It meant that it was safe to drink because it was not poisoned.
“I DON’T EVEN KNOW THIS KIND OF MANNERS…!”
Marquis Valdir, who soon came to his senses, glared at Sir Hiltine indignantly.
I knew why Sir Hiltine did this, but Marquis Valdir knew nothing. So, it was natural for Marquis Valdir to be angry.
Even though Sir Hiltine was His Majesty’s knight, he was lower in rank than Marquis Valdir.
If the Marquis punished him with this, he couldn’t be stopped.
I hurriedly spoke to the Marquis, trying to distract him.
“What do you want to say to me?”
Fortunately, Marquis Valdir’s expression calmed down in an instant.
He coughed lightly and then said.
“This is not my opinion. This is the opinion of those below me.”
Hearing only that, I immediately knew what he was trying to say.
He’s talking about ‘that thing’, huh?
“Everyone said that it would be better to attribute the Lady’s credit during the diplomatic meeting with the Natsha Kingdom to the entire Ministry of Foreign Affairs.”
It was as expected, too. Since they rarely came over, I guessed he took over it in person.
Marquis Valdir’s proposal didn’t need to be considered. Because my answer was clear.
As soon as Marquis Valdir finished, I answered.
My answer made Marquis Valdir frown as if he was very displeased.
“You answered without hesitation, huh?”
“Because it’s something I’ve already refused several times.”
“Still, can’t you think about it one more time?”
Should I? I didn’t think I needed to do that at all though.
But Marquis Valdir wanted me to think about it for a moment and there’s no reason not to. It wasn’t hard either. So I thought for a moment, then answered.
“As expected, I will refuse.”
I did what he wanted, but he still didn’t like it. Deep wrinkles formed on his forehead.
He asked me without hiding his unpleasantness.
“Why do you refuse?”
I wanted to ask him why he was trying to steal my ball, but it was a pity that I couldn’t. It’s because I already knew the reason, so there was no need to ask anymore.
I also couldn’t tell him why I refused, so I asked him a question.
“Is the Marquis a person who steals other people’s credit for his own authority and gain?”