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Published at 19th of November 2020 08:18:41 PM


Chapter 19

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Chapter 19




The cold feeling on my cheek sent shivers down my spine. 

“It looks like our naive mother doesn’t really know what’s going on…”

“…”

“It’s not just surface wounds that count, right?”

The finger on my cheek traveled upwards and stopped at my ear. I could probably shake it off if I wanted…No, it would probably be difficult to deal with both sisters. But the scary thing was that Rania wasn’t the type to stop at breaking bones in a couple of places. 

“What are you planning now!”

“Oh my, you’re hurting my feelings. If others heard your words, they’d think that I was trying to hurt you.”

“…”

Her light chuckle echoed around us.

She looked at me, my mouth closed tightly, and gestured to Rebecca. 

“Rebecca, hurry and bring all the snacks you can find in the kitchen. Our one and only mother even left the estate because she wanted to eat sweets so badly, so we should make sure she eats them all to the last bite.” 

“Are you sure Unni?” 

“If you’re so curious, do you want me to stuff you first?” 

“N-no!” 

At Rania’s narrowed eyes, Rebecca leaped up from her position. 

Whether from fear of excitement, she quickly opened the door and kicked aside the mallard ducks that were in the way. 

“When did these things get here! Hurry and get lost! Heh, these animals seem to have a lot of loyalty.”

“QUACK QUACK!”

“Stop it! Stop kicking them!”

“Ahah…It’s probably not the time for Mother to be worrying for them.”

Rania pointed outside as she moved my head back to its original spot. 

I couldn’t stand it any longer and rolled up my sleeves, but the confrontation didn’t last long.


“Looks like you’re frustrated but if you move that smart mouth of yours one more time……What are you doing, Rebecca!”

“U-unni.”

“I told you to go and come back from the kitchen, but just how many steps have you taken to make such a fuss?”

“That, that’s…”

Rebecca gestured hurriedly as if asking her sister to come outside.

Seeing how she neither yelled or threw a temper but seemed genuinely stupefied, Rania had no choice but to step out. 

“….Just know that you’re lucky this time.”

She looked at me straight in the eyes and walked away, her steps echoing off the floor. 

Just what is going on. 

Rania had an annoyed look on her face as she approached and pushed aside her younger sister before stiffening in shock. 

“Oh, Oh my God!”

Rania looked like she couldn’t believe what she was seeing.

I never thought she would be able to make such an expression. 

She wore an expression of shock and confusion mixed with an underlying hint of happiness.

“…U-ugh.”

At the two sisters who were too dazed to care about me, I slowly raised my body. 

In the direction of Rania’s gaze, a light was shining at the other side of the lake. 

As I remembered what that place was, the corners of my lips lifted up.

“Huh.”

Looks like my luck was actually pretty good.

◇ ◆ ◇

“Quickly, Selene. What’s going on?”

「That is, it’s that the emperor has arrived at the Winter Palace!」


*Flap flap* 

The excited Selene’s voice was the loudest it’s ever been. My hands shook as I heard her words while applying silver herb leaves to her wound made when Rebecca kicked the ducks earlier. 

“Are you sure of this?”

「Of course! The only people who have the authority to light up that palace are the emperor and the empress! 」

“It could be someone else from the royal family. I mean, you’ve said there are seven brothers.”

「That’s not possible. All three pillars have been lit. This indicates that the emperor has arrived. Two for the Grand Duke, and for the rest of the royal family, only the one in the middle will light up.」

She pointed towards the ball of light in the distance. 

Though it wasn’t extremely clear because it was daytime, I could still make out three flames trailing towards the sky. 

It looked as if made of some sort of fire magic.

「Why did the emperor come visit? It’s the first time after the late emperor’s visit years ago! I really wonder what’s going on!」

“Well.”

Wasn’t it obvious.

My smile was full of meaning. 

If the extremely busy emperor had come all the way here, he must be searching for something.

「He’s been at the warfront this whole time so why all of a sud-Ah!」

“Just stay still for a bit. I told you to stay put and hide so why did you run out at the very front.”

「But we’re all loyal to you. We were afraid you’d get hurt while facing against the two sisters by yourself…….」

“So what. One more mallard duck attacking would’ve done something?”

Though I said that, I was actually very grateful.

What did it matter if doing that didn’t help me.

My heart warmed at their useless good intentions after living as an orphan who had grown up with no one by her side. 

「But it looks like the two ladies won’t be able to bother us for now, right? Since all their attention will be on the emperor.」

“You aren’t afraid, Selene? Last time you’d tremble at the slightest mention of him.” 


「The emperor probably won’t visit humble people like me anyway. And Rania will definitely block all paths to the lake. She does that for all her other esteemed guests.」

“Well…Yeah, that’s true.”

Though the lake inhabitants didn’t pose any threats since they had been turned into mostly harmless animals, Rania took every precaution. People generally ignored this area as a remote place, but when guests came she completely sectioned off the lake.

And so when she finished showing me off to her guests or making me sign documents, she’d banish me back to the prison-like lake. 

「What perfect timing. I was afraid of what would happen if the situation made a turn for the worse.」

“You’re right. It was perfect timing.”

「…Your Ladyship seems to be in a good mood?」

As though she’d just regained her senses, she looked at me searchingly. I set her down in the lake and slowly walked around. 

‘Of course I am. Why wouldn’t I be.’

It was really difficult to get this perfect timing. 

I hadn’t only escaped Rania’s wrath. 

Whatever the reason for his visit, seeing that Haniel’s big brother came himself, there was no need to expend further effort. 

‘What’s there to be concerned about? I just have to return her to him!’

Hello, Your Majesty. Your delivery package has arrived. 

If I just handed the princess to him with my own two hands, he wouldn’t have to go around looking for Loam or the whatever missing magician brother. 

I didn’t like the thought of meeting that infamous tyrant, but there wasn’t any other way. 

I wouldn’t need to risk my life to go to the city, and I wouldn’t need to stand in lines to eat at famous shops. 

If I returned the lost princess, this would all be over, no wait…

I wasn’t sure if that would be the end. 

“Hmm, wouldn’t it be good to receive something.”

「What was that, Your Ladyship?」

“Selene, you should wait too. We’ll be getting some bonuses if we play this well.” 


It seemed like Rebecca roughly tying and dragging me away had never happened as a happy song burst from my slender neck.

No matter how cruel he was, he wouldn’t ignore his sister’s savior, would he?

I wasn’t expecting much, but maybe the lake would be returned to me under my name.

“We are honored, Your Excellency, I am happy with staying by this lake. I met the beautiful Princess Haniel in this place and only ask to be able to treasure my precious memories made with her at this place.”

I already thought of all the words I would say to the Emperor. 

Of course, he wouldn’t be able to sympathize with animals, so making him believe the white swan was really Haniel was the problem, but I thought of a way to solve that too. 

‘I can just say I saw everything happen, right!’

Without having to explain every little detail, I would just need to say I saw Loam turn Haniel into a swan. Wouldn’t that make the white swan the princess?

I was the perfect middleman for this.

After playing as Rania’s puppet for so long, I could pull off the ‘accidental witness’ act better than anyone else.

Of course, maybe Loam actually didn’t cast the magic himself…

‘Well, so what. If it’s a false accusation, he’ll show himself.’

He was a person who needed to be caught anyways, it would be a relief if he showed up that way. 

And with the Emperor’s capabilities, even if he didn’t catch Loam, he could at least catch the magician who did this. 

The responsibilities and emotional commitment that came with being our precious Haniel’s temporary guardian were now over. 

“…Yeah.”

But strangely, I didn’t feel relieved. 

I knew the reason my chest stung the way it did, but I ignored it and put my foot down even more firmly. 

「It has been a long time since our last meeting, Duchess.」

“Lady Melloe.”

A goose at the edge of the lake bowed her head. As expected of an etiquette teacher, her overwhelming dignity belied her old age and thin frame. 

「I did not expect Your Ladyship to visit this old person. I thought you weren’t fond of me. 」

“There is no such thing.” 

Though that was the exact reason I didn’t visit her earlier, I didn’t let go of my elegant smile. I needed to gain Lady Melloe’s hard-to-earn approval. 



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