“Eila.”



“I’m fine.
So I hope you, my brothers, can forget about this and treat it as if it never happened.”

“…….”

Aslan kept his mouth shut, his expression showing that he couldn’t quite understand.

“Since Lady Rojasis has accepted the apology, let’s consider this matter officially resolved.
I kindly ask everyone present here to also let go of this incident.
It’s my request as the Crown Prince.”

With Raphir’s words, the murmurs that had been noisy earlier subsided.

“Thank you.
Well then, let’s continue the ball.”

Raphir smiled and said.

Quickly catching on, the orchestra began playing again, and the people who had gathered dispersed in different directions.

“Thank you, Your Highness.”

I said as I approached Raphir.

He was well aware of my father’s overprotection.

His request to resolve this matter smoothly and prevent any further leaks to the outside world was undoubtedly done out of consideration for me.

“I hope you can consider it as an additional point for the answer you’ll give me rather than thanking me.”

“That’s….”

Seeing my embarrassment, Raphir let out a brief laugh.

Nita and Aslan were still glaring at Clyde.

I grabbed their arms and gave them a gentle tug.

“Brothers, let’s leave now.”

“But, Eila.”

“I’m tired and I just want to go home.”



“…….”

Nita and Aslan looked at each other and then sighed simultaneously, realizing there was nothing more to be said.

“Okay, I understand.”

Just before leaving the hall with my brothers, I looked back at where Clyde had been standing.

He was still standing there, unmoving, with his gaze fixed on me.

*****

Nita still seemed resentful as we rode back in the carriage.

Aslan remained silent, but with his arms crossed, he looked extremely unhappy.

“That guy, what’s his problem? How dare he do that to our Eila-“

Nita frowned, unable to finish his sentence.
His expression showed even more anger as he thought about it again.

“Eila, are you really okay? Did you force yourself to endure it just because you didn’t want to make a scene?”

“No, I’m fine.
I really wasn’t bothered at all.
It wasn’t something I had to endure in the first place.”

“It’s not nothing! Have you forgotten what that guy did to you? Forcing off your mask, undoing your hair-“

“I told you already.
He mistook me for someone else.
I was a little surprised at the time, but now I’m fine.
Really.”

Nita let out a deep sigh.

“Eila, you’re too kind for your own good.
To think that you even consider that rude guy’s circumstances…”

At that moment, Aslan, who had been quiet the whole time, spoke up.

“It’s not like that.
Didn’t you hear what Eila said earlier? If this matter escalates, it might reach Father’s ears, so she wanted to resolve it quietly.”

“Well, that may be true, but… Aslan, aren’t you angry?”

“As the Crown Prince himself has ordered us to let it go, we should leave it at that.
So, brother, forget about it.”


“But-“

“Thank you, Brother Aslan.”

I expressed my gratitude, cutting off Nita’s words.
At my intervention, Nita closed his mouth.

Aslan responded with what appeared to be a vague smile.
But he wasn’t smiling at all, except in the corners of his mouth.

We maintained silence as if we had made a pact until we arrived at the mansion.

*****

“Brother Nita, Brother Aslan, thank you for today.”

“Yeah.
You must be tired, so go upstairs and rest.”

“Yes.”

Eila slightly bowed her head and climbed the stairs to the second floor.

Aslan approached Nita, who was looking at Eila with a worried expression.

“He had a face I hadn’t seen before.
With that kind of appearance, he must have been known in social circles.”

“…What?”

“I’m talking about that guy earlier.”

Aslan said expressionlessly.

“He’s probably a foreigner.
Since he was invited to the royal-hosted ball, he might be someone important, maybe even a royal.
It makes sense that His Highness the Crown Prince wanted to handle the situation smoothly.”

“…….”

“I’ll have someone look into it.
It shouldn’t take long.”

After saying that, Aslan turned around, but Nita hurriedly grabbed his arm.

“Wait.
I thought we were supposed to let it go?”

“Of course.
But we can’t just leave that guy alone.
What if he approaches Eila again? What if he does the same thing when we’re not around? To prevent such a situation, we need to at least know where he lives or what he does, don’t you think?”


“…….”

Nita looked at Aslan, his mouth slightly open.

“Brother, use your connections in the Order of Knights to find out.
Be careful not to let Eila and Father find out.”

With that, Aslan left the room without saying goodnight.

Nita couldn’t help but stick out his tongue.

‘When I see him like this, it feels like he resembles Father more than Heufeln…’

*****

Even after returning to her room, Nita couldn’t calm his troubled mind.

How did Clyde return to the palace? Why did he come back?

Seven years ago, I orchestrated a plan and helped Clyde and his mother Hena escape to a foreign country.

I provided them with enough money to establish a life there, but my support ended there.

Naturally, I assumed that he was still living in seclusion with his mother, as he had before his first capture.

So I never imagined that Clyde would appear in front of me again in this manner.

Needless to say, being invited to the royal ball was restricted to high-ranking nobles.

Whether it was a formal invitation or sneaking in secretly, neither option seemed plausible to Clyde.

Compared to that, the fact that Clyde discovered my identity wasn’t shocking at all.

Considering my appearance at that time, my age, and the Duke’s strict security measures, it was easy to deduce that someone like me would be behind the rescue.

Even so, I didn’t make any effort to hide my identity from Clyde because I never even considered the possibility of him returning.

After successfully escaping with so much difficulty, there was no reason for him to come back and be captured again.

I had changed the course of the original story, so Clyde shouldn’t have awakened his magical power or become a demon king in the Demon Realm.



I also made him promise not to seek revenge on my father, Julion.

So he shouldn’t have any means or reasons to return to the Empire.

But how? Why?

「I haven’t forgotten your face for a single day in the past seven years.
Don’t try to deceive me anymore.」

「Why didn’t you keep your promise? Why did you lie to me? Why did you save me if you were going to do this?」

「Tell me, why did you do that?」

Clyde’s voice continued to echo vividly in my ears.

I covered my ears with my pillow and squeezed my eyes shut.

I couldn’t sleep for a long time that night.

*****

Over the next few days, I did some research and learned a few things about Clyde.

Some of the people who attended the masquerade recognized him.

Clyde first appeared in the palace about a month ago, using the name Haylan Peridot.

He was said to have come from the Kingdom of Sansaria, the northernmost region of the continent, and was traveling the world in search of a bride.

Naturally, when a man who looked like that professed to be looking for a marriage partner, of course it caused an uproar in social circles.

Every time he attended a social gathering, young noblewomen and debutantes flocked to him like customers waiting in line at a popular restaurant.

Ironically, despite his words, he showed no interest in the women who approached him.

There were countless testimonies of him almost humiliatingly ignoring them and even bursting into tears.

‘…If that’s the case, did he attend all those parties and conduct investigations about me, or was it to meet me?’

Peridot, the alias Clyde used, was not only a gemstone embedded in the magical artifact I gave him seven years ago but also matched the color of his changed eye color.

Ruby and peridot.

It was a pseudonym I could only assume was chosen to match the name I had given him.

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