The tea party passed peacefully.
Detheus continued staring as if he would burn a hole through me.
Although Kaylan coughed uncomfortably at times, the prince pretended to be oblivious to his hint.

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“I prepared delicate rose tea to serve in the rose garden.”

When the silence felt wearily burdensome, Delia clapped cheerfully, hoping to freshen her surroundings.
It was somewhat pathetic, seeing her working so hard to impress Rodrigo.
…Come to think of it, wasn’t Rodrigo Delia’s first love?

‘The moment Rodrigo appeared in a black suit during Delia’s anniversary celebration, he was imprinted in her mind.’ I’ve seen sentences fairly similar.
‘Everything disappeared as she focused her eyes on the handsome figure.
She vowed to do anything possible to be with Rodrigo.’ Wasn’t she somewhat obsessed?

Delia’s desire grew since.
It was written that she never felt that way before in her life.
In other words, she was very passionate.

Not to ignore the fact that Delia was a fairly beautiful princess.
She initially thought no man could resist her beauty.
Bloodline was the only fault found in her, but that managed to fade as time passed.
In addition, the Emperor agreed to permit any of her wishes.

Rodrigo was the only one who needed to answer positively.
Thus, how exasperated would she feel if I suddenly showed up?

I understood her emotions, but despite my presence, Delia seemed unwilling to abandon Rodrigo.

“Isn’t it a thing for young people to date before marriage these days?” (Delia)

She was trying to seem ‘understanding’ of my out-of-fashion ways.
I glanced at Delia.

“They do say so.
Kaylan, don’t you have a lover?” (Detheus)

Kaylan shook his head.
I immediately realized the intent of the sudden conversation.
Delia and Detheus were attempting to turn Rodrigo and I’s love affair into a simply passing relationship before our actual marriage.

“It wasn’t until my mother’s generation that dating before marriage would have left a bad imprint on the person, but currently it’s so common that no one gives a care anymore.
Rather, I think it’s more sophisticated and cool.
People who indulge in such relationships learn how to treat their wives better after they marry.”

You wish for the wife to be you, isn’t that right? What baseless nonsense.
My goal is to be responsible for Rodrigo’s safety and bring him to the female protagonist!

“Oh my, Sir Rodrigo’s teacup is empty.
I’ll fill it in for you.”

Delia gracefully lifted the teapot.

“That’s not necessary.”

Rodrigo sharply refused.
Disappointed, Delia placed down the kettle.
Then she worked to lift the corners of her lips.

“Sir Rodrigo, are you not feeling well?”

“It seems so.”

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“Do head in and rest.”

Detheus struck him mercilessly.
He seemed to raise his guard the moment Rodrigo appeared.

“No, Your Royal Highness.
The smell of roses is a bit strong, so it’ll be alright if I simply gather some fresh air.”

Rodrigo rose from his seat without bothering to hear Detheus’s consent.

“You don’t like the scent of roses? Why didn’t you tell me in advance…”

Delia was in tears.
Rodrigo smiled lightly.
It was, in fact, a fed-up and slightly annoyed expression that he wore.
It may just seem like a kind smile to others, but I knew it well.

“Your Highness, it isn’t like that, so don’t worry.”

Rodrigo bowed lightly and excused himself.
He didn’t forget to faintly pat my shoulder before leaving.

Follow me.

Was what he spoke with his eyes.
I continued sipping my tea.
It would seem strange and suspicious if I followed him right away.

“Lady Estiya, I heard you recently mastered how to torture people in Cartina?”

After Rodrigo disappeared, Delia’s prey directed my way.
Her intention of asking me with such a naive expression on her face was so obvious that I almost burst out laughing.

“Of course, I’ve learned everything.
Much to my dismay, I am not very talented.
I always find myself bothering the tutors.”

I responded appropriately and blocked Delia’s attack skillfully.
Delia bit her lips.
Don’t worry, I see your efforts.
I helped myself up before Delia could grab me.

“Excuse me, may I go to the bathroom?”

This was a very personal matter.
They couldn’t just stop someone or follow them to the bathroom.

“Where are you?”

I left the rest and circled the Crown Prince’s palace.
Despite being quite far from the Rose Garden, Rodrigo was nowhere to be seen.
Had I known it would be like this, I would have asked in advance where he would be heading.

“It seems we crossed different paths.
Shall I head back?”

It was the moment I contemplated returning.
A large hand appeared from the shadows and grabbed me.

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I was so surprised that I unconsciously took a deep breath.
A firm chest collided with my reflexively raised hand.
I could tell who this was without even asking.


“You’re too late.”

“I was late because I didn’t know where you headed.”

I expressed a bit of resentment in my words.
The place where Rodrigo concealed himself was one of the passageways leading towards the inside and outside of the palace, which was used mainly for moving ingredients for early morning cooking.
Who knew he’d be in a dark aisle that was rarely occupied during the day.

“It’ll be difficult for the two of us to speak in a public area, “ he whispered.

“Anyhow, what is it that you want to tell me that’s worth all this?”

“Excuses and interrogations.”


What is this guy saying?

I stood speechless, oblivious to how I was supposed to answer him.

“Let me make an excuse first.
Today is the first time I’ve met the Princess alone.”

Rodrigo seemed to be maintaining formal speech with me whenever we were left alone.
Perhaps the reason he spoke so informally when in front of others was because we were ‘lovers’.
It felt nice for him to be polite when he had such a vicious personality on the inside, but it was somewhat discouraging the way he remained wary of me till this point.
Above all, this excuse and interrogation discussion was not very pleasant.

Because I didn’t doubt him.

“I’m not curious about that.”

“Is that so? Well, I’m rather curious.
I was wondering why the Crown Prince stood gazing at you like he was going to eat you in one bite?”

“That’s how it seemed to you.”

My answer turned out noticeably blunt and stiff.
I really didn’t want to talk about Detheus.
Rodrigo tugged my hand closer to his body.
The distance between us neared as I let myself be pulled to him.

He laughed softly.
There was clearly a bright smile on his face, but he didn’t seem very happy.

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“Be aware in the future.
Those eyes are that of a fox who is about to set on his prey.”

The Crown Prince suddenly became a fox.
I didn’t particularly criticize his rudeness.

I’ve done a lot more swearing than Rodrigo when it came to the Crown Prince.
Although in my heart.

Rodrigo’s tight hold caused a sore pain on my wrist.
I twisted my hand to pull free from his grasp.
Above all, we were too close.
I could feel his breath tickling against my skin and his warm temperature brush against mine.

The passageway was dark and narrow.
However, there wasn’t any need for us to stick together like this.

Nonetheless, Rodrigo’s firm hand didn’t let go as easily as I anticipated.

“Let go, wrist.”

“The excuse part is finished, but not the interrogations.”

“You can let go of me first.”

“I can’t see you very well.
It’s dark.”

“My wrist hurts.”

I had very good strength and skill, but not strong bones.

Of course, I was healthier than others due to my Cartina bloodline.

“I’m sorry.”

He immediately let go of my wrist after I complained he was hurting me.
Instead, he pulled my waist.
Unlike before, I didn’t have any thoughts of pushing him away reflexively.
I moved my hand to his arms which tightly wrapped around my waist.
His forearms were strong, presumably because of previous training.

I won’t be able to easily push him away.

I gave up the idea of escaping his grasp.
He held my body as he asked, “Who told you to come to the palace?”


“Did you know you were going to meet Detheus?”

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“Never come from now on.”

Rodrigo spoke in a rather serious tone.

“Are you worried that I might have an affair with Detheus?”

He smirked and chuckled as if what I said were absurd.
I pulled my head backward and widened my distance from him.

“Who do you think your lover is?”

“Rodrigo Develi Erhardt.”

“You know well.”

He arranged my loose hair as if I had done well.
I wondered what the intention of his touch exactly was.
When I attempted to ask, the voice of a person could be heard.
It didn’t matter if I were caught alone with Rodrigo, but I didn’t exactly wish to be seen by strangers.

I retreated from him by half a step.
He was finally willing to let me breathe.
A large cloak covered my back.
His cape was of a dark color, so if someone passed by, we would simply resemble a lump of shadow.

The sound of footsteps eventually moved away, not closer.

His body contained a refreshing scent.
My heart rate gradually accelerated every time I took a breath.
His breath seemed a bit rough as well.

“You know my name, but you don’t know much about me, so if I can teach you one thing, it’s this, Estiya.”

He sighed deeply and towered over the top of my head.

“I don’t let my lover look away.
At least for the likes of Detheus.”

Is he trying to act like a lover? Is this guy jealous?

It’s too hot with him this close to me.

“It’s late.
I’ll head back first.”

I sincerely felt like I was being scolded by my lover.
The moment I fall in love with him and mistake the role I was assigned, the game would be over.
I pushed him away.
Rodrigo retreated at my motion.
His large hand fell from my back and the cold wind cooled my body temperature.

It was a pity that his arms were so far away.

Ps: this novel doesn’t fail to make my heart beat everytime ┛Σ(ノ´*ω*`)ノ

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