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Chapter 26: Awareness

The sky was blue. The sky was blue as if the blizzard that had lasted the night before yesterday and last night was a lie.

I looked up at the sky and sighed for the umpteenth time today. Haa~

They say when you sigh, happiness escapes, but I think it’s already running away.

“Your Highness, why don’t you take a walk?”

“I don’t want to be buried under the snow.”

Thanks, Julia. But at my height, I can barely see anything in this amount of snow. I’m grateful that you shoveled the snow, but I’m a little afraid to walk through a wall of snow more than a meter high.

“Why don’t you go check on the progress of the kitchen construction?”

“If I go back and forth so many times, I’ll disturb the craftsmen.”

You know, Alice, I’m glad that the construction is progressing steadily, but I feel bad about it because people are afraid when I go there.

“Can I bring you something new from the main palace library?”

“…I’ve been reading too much material lately and I don’t want to look at the text for a while.

The material sent to me by Count Stassen was very detailed.

The past of others, which I had only followed in writing, came up so vividly that I was a little tired. That was only readable when I had the energy to do so.

“You don’t have to worry about me so much. Thank you.”

“But…I’m sure you’re bored.”

“No. It’s not that.”

The reason for the sigh isn’t because I’m bored.

It’s simply because the fact that I’ve been finding out a lot of things were sobering.

“His Royal Highness hasn’t been here for three days already…”

“It can’t be helped. There was political upheaval in a neighboring country.”

The news of a coup d’état in the neighboring country of Esalkar arrived three days ago, just after noon.

The afternoon teatime I had promised to have with His Highness was postponed because of it. I was disappointed, but I knew it was inevitable.

I know that the events in the neighboring country will affect Dardinia in no small way.

“But, Your Highness, no matter how busy you are, I don’t think it’s impossible for you to visit.”

“It’s obvious that His Highness would put his work first…and I’m not so sure if he’d put me first in the first place.”

It’s not like I’m feeling sorry for myself or anything. I really do.

It’s the ultimate choice. It’s like in a drama or something. ‘What’s more important, me or work?’

In my opinion, I don’t think there’s a dumber question than that one.

When I was working at a tart shop, a girl I worked with told me that her boyfriend said that to her. He said, “What’s more important to you, me or your job?”

I was impressed in a weird way, that he would say that to her in that time, but to put work and girlfriend in the same category? I didn’t think that was possible.

It’s not something you can line up and compare…because it’s work, right? There’s a difference between that and a girlfriend, right?

Well, I can’t deny that some people put everything on the line for love. That’s a personal choice.

But, you know, you should only do that if you can do it on your own. It was so hard when I was suddenly retired, at the time.

…Later, when I had to make the same decision, there I was, having chosen my job.

I can see the hustle and bustle of the outside world, even here in the confined space. I’m sure they’re even busier in government offices, and there’s no day or night…Rather than force him to come and see me, I’d like His Highness to relax a little bit.

It’s an honor student answer. But I really mean it.

I’m most concerned about His Highness’s health.

He works a lot, so I don’t think it’s going to get him out of trouble so much, but he’s a bit of a workaholic to begin with, so I don’t want him to be any more reckless than he already is.

There’s no such thing as a holiday in His Highness’ schedule. Do you know what a ‘holiday’ is? I was tempted to ask him.

“Her Highness is too sensible.”

“Is that so?”

“Yes. It’s okay to be a little selfish sometimes.”

“But…I don’t want to bother His Highness…I don’t want to weigh His Highness’s feelings by being selfish and having them heard.”

Selfishness escalates endlessly.

At first, it may be a trivial matter. But then the senses become numb.

I don’t want to come to think that it is natural for me to be selfish.

And I don’t want to think that what I really wished for was just selfish.

“Your Highness…”

I’m not saying this is because I’m smart. It’s a bit of unfair adult wisdom.

If I’m selfish on a regular basis, I’ll get used to it. But if it’s a wish I rarely mention…it will be cherished.

A trump card is not something to be used over and over again.

“I’ll miss him and it’s boring. But he is doing an important job. I want to be at least a cheerleader, rather than a weight on His Highness.”

There’s not much I can do…even if I were here at 33 years old, there wouldn’t be much I could do. It’s not a pretense to help.

“Well, Your Highness…”

“That’s very impressive.”

You have a twinkle in your eyes, Julia, Alice.

I told you, I’m not so noble. I know myself.

“I’m glad to see that Her Royal Highness has that in mind, really…”

“Lilia…Thank you for your time.”

Before I knew it, Lilia, who I had asked to see His Highness, had returned.

“I’m back. I handed the gift basket to His Highness in person. Although he seemed to be busy…all of His Highness’ aides also thanked Your Highness for your thoughtfulness.”


The only person I know of in His Highness’ entourage is Viscount Rada. Baron Fasalt is a family order, so he’s a bit different from the entourage.

“…Please, it’s from His Highness.”

An unadorned white envelope was presented to me.

I can’t help but notice my own eyes light up.

“…Thank you.”

A card from His Highness. I’m happy.

I think it would be easier and more convenient to get in touch with him if I had an email or a phone.

But that doesn’t mean that it’s inferior now without those means.

There are a lot of things that I think are inconvenient, and sometimes I want to cry, but there is a good thing about this present. I think the exchange of cards conveys something that can’t be conveyed at the speed of an email or phone call.

“You don’t want to read it?”

Lilia chuckles.

“It’s a waste, so I won’t open it.”

I carefully wrap it up in a handkerchief and put it in a hidden chest pocket.

I gently run my hand over my chest.

I feel like it’s a waste to look at something so quickly.

“Your Highness, that’s not your pocket.”

“Because it’s convenient.”

The concealed bosom is designed to hold a handkerchief. It is proper etiquette for a lady to carry a handkerchief with her at all times.

The open bosom is double-layered, so you have to be careful of your surroundings when you take it in and out.

What is meant to be put away here is basically limited to handkerchiefs. That’s why the handkerchief has a special meaning.

The handkerchief means the ‘heart.’

In Dardinia, a knight may offer a sword to a Master, but he can also offer it to the one he loves.

There is a clear distinction. To a Master, it is a pledge to serve him with his life, and to a loved one, it is an oath to love them with his life.

The person who is given the “Oath” will be called “Princess” for the knight, but the knight’s feelings for “Princess” are said to be sublime without physical relations.

The knight is charged with being the pride of the princess, and the princess is also charged with honing her to be worthiness for her knight. This spiritual bond is the basis of the aristocratic society in Dardinia.

The princess, when she is sworn, is said to respond to the vow by giving the knight one of the things she wears.

They often give the knight something to wear, such as an ornamental sleeve, an ornamental button, a fan, or an accessory, but if they give him a handkerchief, it means ‘my heart is always with you’.

“…Then, I’ll be in my study.”

I gently hold my chest and move with bouncy steps to the study.

“Can I get you a cup of tea?”

“No. I don’t need it.”

Because I’m so happy and my heart is full with joy.


“No, it’s nothing.”

Lilia’s meaningful smile.

You know what, guys, you don’t have to look at me with such a smiley face!

On the sofa corner by the window in my study, I carefully retrieve the card wrapped in a handkerchief. I gently open the card, which seems to reflect my body temperature.


For a moment, a sweet, bitter scent tickled my nose.

…This is…?

It was a scent I’d smelled somewhere before. Where was it? But that thought didn’t form and quickly disappeared. I didn’t want to pursue it any further.

Because I was more distracted by the card in my hand.

The scribbled blue letters: …….

There were only three lines of writing.

Apologies for the other day’s rebellion.

Thank you for your patience.

And a signature in the name of Nigel alone.

There lines is just too unfriendly.

…Well that’s a first.

I gently trace the name with my fingertips.

Previously, it had been signed as ‘Crown Prince Nigel Elsebard’

But…the only thing written here is the name ‘Nigel.’

Even his half-sister, Nadi, and his mother, Queen Yulia, never referred to the Crown Prince by name…For in the court hierarchy, no one but His Majesty the King can call the Crown Prince by name.

However, it is different if he allows one to call him by name.

I got permission to call him by his name the other night when we went for a night out, for sake of confidentiality, but I wonder if that is still in effect?

No, but it could just be my one-sided imagination that the look on His Highness’ face was a complaint at me not calling him by name…

…But maybe this signature is distant way of saying that I can call him by his name.

No, no, maybe I’m too smug to think that way!

It makes my head spin.

I’m so disturbed by a card with only two lines of actual content.

Oh my god, what a mess!

I don’t know what to do with myself. I took a deep breath in, exhaled slowly, and took one deep breath.

Then I looked at the card again.

It’s a scribble, but His Highness’ handwriting is beautiful.

…Just like His Highness, apparently.

The words are too curt. But I think I can see His Highness in action when he wrote this.

I’m happy you did…

I honestly think so. I’m so glad to see that card, so I hug it to my chest and collapse my upper body on the couch.

An upside-down field of vision…I can see the clear sky between winter snow and cloudy skies with a different feeling than before.

I’m happy to have these thoughts…tickling, fluttering, and happy to see them springing up in my chest.

I don’t know why I’m so happy.


The truth is, I know.

I’m just too embarrassed to admit it.

…I think I like him…

His Highness, who always seems to be in a bad mood in front of me.

His Highness, who is cold in his tone, but quite anxious on the inside.

And then there’s His Highness who hates carrots and tries to avoid eating them.

I’m sure there are faces that only I know about.

When I remembered the various things about His Highness, my cheeks felt hot.

I’m sure if I looked in the mirror, I’d be blushing.

Well, even if I like him, it doesn’t matter. We’re married! Not weird at all!

Somehow, I couldn’t help but makes excuses for myself.

Because we’re a married couple!

There is no problem with a wife liking her husband. Yes. It doesn’t matter.


The word “love” settled in my chest.

Then the restlessness that made me want to flinch faded away.

I don’t blame him for teasing me anymore.

It’s only the third day that I haven’t seen His Highness in the morning, but I already know exactly how I feel.

No, that doesn’t mean I have to do anything about it.

Because we’re already married. Generally speaking, the goal has already been reached.

It’s just a matter of time……Fufufu, just watch! Because it’s what it is.

Fortunately, my relationship with His Highness at the moment is extremely good, so I’m going to keep trying to feed him and do a lot of things to keep him going.


I stacked the card I’d received with the card I’d received before and tied it with a blue ribbon.

I was about to put it away between the books, as I had done originally, when I realized something.

Even after I moved here, I kept hiding them…

Nadi said that everything that Arthirea had during her time in the rear palace had been lost.

But even after moving here, Arthirea continued to hide these cards.


It’s because she knew that the killer could reach it over here too.

I let out one deep sigh.


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