I don’t know what it means for me to have this country.
However, I am convinced.
Or rather, every sign shows it.
That ‘I’ am very important to this country…to Dardinia.
Maybe even more than His Majesty the King
“You look like you’ve got something to show for it.”
“I understand that’s probably why everyone is so overprotective of me. I don’t know why I’m so special.”
That’s a long, long story, so can we go somewhere else? Thia.”
‘It’s too cold here,’ says His Majesty.
“I’m sorry, but I can’t leave the West Palace. I have made a promise to His Highness.”
In fact, I think he meant the Crown Prince’s Palace, not the Western Palace, but I’ll expand on that and call it the Western Palace. I know it’s a painful excuse, but it’s just a front to cover up my guilt, so that’s fine.
“Even under my orders?”
At my nod, His Majesty furrows his brow and shows his displeasure.
“…You would put the life of the Crown Prince before the life of the King?”
“No. I am only obeying my husband’s orders rather than my father-in-law’s life. Please forgive me.”
I stood up with a flourish, swayed the hem of my dress and bowed lightly, then sat down again as I had done before.
His Majesty laughed in the back of his throat.
“I can’t blame you for that.”
I smile at his words. No matter how much I want to run away inside, no matter how scared I am, I still smile. That’s all I have in my arsenal.
“Let’s at least go to the podium.”
I stepped onto the raised platform on which the altar was placed as I was urged to do so.
Around the altar, there are a number of nightlights hanging from the ceiling, which serve as heaters. They are used as heaters, and the air is much warmer than on the side of the congregation seating.
In addition, the floor of the chapel is made of marble mosaic, but here, the floor is polished and marquetry is used to create beautiful patterns. One of the reasons for the warmth of this place is that there is no bottom chill from below.
His Majesty suggested that I take the bishop’s seat and the chair in which the assistant bishop sits, facing each other. I bowed and sat down on the bishop’s couch, and His Majesty placed the sword at his waist on the floor between me and myself.
This is one of the ways in which you can be gracious to a lady.
It means that if he does anything insolent, I can stab his chest with this sword.
As a practical matter, I don’t think I can pull it off.
The rugged, utilitarian, unadorned sword is heavy to look at. It’s doubtful that I can even lift it.
“Before I tell you my story, I want to hear yours.”
“Yes. What was the trigger?”
He wants to know why I suspected His Majesty, no matter what.
What was so definite about it is actually not very clear.
“Each one is a slightly trivial matter…For example, how is it that my beloved things are always lost in the tightly controlled Western Palace, and even more so in my most restricted palace. How is it that things are lost so often? Will it be broken or destroyed? Simply put, it’s a natural progression to suspect an inside job.”
“It goes without saying that it is the handmaids who are in my palace and can reach them without being wondered at. My handmaids have been known to be hard to settle in. Aside from Lilia, who is a lady-in-waiting, the maidservants so far have been replaced so drastically that they are said to be worthy of a reward if they are kept for a short period of time, or a year. Many of them were punished in some way…I found it interesting to ask Lilia about these women.”
“Not all of them, but almost all of them had close relatives working at the main palace, and most of them had some connection to the rear palace.”
The Rear Palace is His Majesty’s private space. Those who are connected to it are considered to be under the influence of His Majesty in some way.
“Is that so?”
“So was the late Ellucia. She was in my service at the behest of Her Royal Majesty.”
I looked up at His Majesty. He’s an ordinary middle-aged man to look at like this. He’s already over fifty, but he looks much younger.
However, isn’t he a little too thin?
Maybe it’s even more so since the people I usually see are the knights of the guard or His Highness Nigel.
It’s not that they are fat, but because they work out well, they don’t have the thin lines of His Majesty.
“They say that since moving to the Western Palace and Lilia’s arrival, those things have decreased dramatically. This was because it had become difficult to enter the Crown Prince’s Palace at the farthest end of the West Palace, and it was difficult to deceive the eyes of the resident lady-in-waiting named Lilia. And because of the repeated incidents, it became a known fact that His Majesty would never forgive anyone who did anything to me, and various factors prevented it from happening…but it still wasn’t zero.
That’s why Arthirea was hiding something so important.
“Do you suspect that deceased handmaid?”
“…I haven’t had any such incidents since I returned to this royal palace, Your Majesty.”
I don’t think it was all the work of Ellucia.
But it is true that she was someone’s, probably the Queen’s, hand. Her Royal Majesty Queen Yulia had not denied it either.
“You’re thinking too much. It is only natural that Yulia would have someone she trusted serve close to you as a maid. She is your mother’s substitute.”
“That’s true if you only hear the words, since she was ostensibly up in the palace on the edge of His Highness Nigel.”
“Is it ostensibly a falsehood?”
‘If it is false, he must be severely punished,’ His Majesty raised his eyebrows.
“It’s not false, but it wasn’t absolutely right either…Why did you keep it hidden…therer shouldn’t be anything else to hide. But isn’t it because you didn’t want people to know about your connection to Her Royal Majesty?”
Is it too much to think that he didn’t want His Highness Nigel to know?
My question is, did he really think he could hide it from His Highness Nigel? But that’s something that no one can ask.
“If that’s the case, isn’t it Yulia, not me, who’s after you?”
I shake my head quietly.
“Because Her Majesty considers being a queen to be everything to her.”
Her Royal Majesty Queen Yulia is strongly attached to herself as queen.
Not being able to save the destruction of her beloved homeland, thinking herself as a substitute…all of them were in exchange for being the Queen of Dardinia.
Above all, the fact that His Majesty has always stood up for Queen Yulia as the first queen above all else…Even if she is not loved, even if she is a substitute, I think she would find it comforting to stand next to him as queen.
Somehow, there’s a part of me that understands.
It is as if Her Majesty thinks her only worth is being a queen.
Such a person couldn’t possibly harm me, who is necessary for Dardinia to be a nation.
“I believe that Her Royal Majesty is only doing His Majesty’s bidding.”
Above all, she doesn’t care about me that much.
It would be a misnomer to say that she doesn’t care. If I had to put it one way, I would say that I have nothing special to offer to Her Majesty.
If I am of any value to Her Majesty, it is only because of His Majesty’s attachment to me.
So I don’t think she would think of doing anything to me without the factor of His Majesty.
In other words, I believe that even the ‘petty harassment’ she was referring to was not completely of her own volition.
I shake my head.
His Majesty does not answer.
“Because Her Majesty Yulia doesn’t care about me enough to do anything to me.”
At my words, His Majesty smiled.
“His Majesty didn’t do anything…but just look at it. People who go back and forth with one word or one action.”
His Highness Nigel is the one who runs the politics of this country.
His Majesty is not interested in politics and does not want to interfere.
What does His Majesty do on a daily basis…that is ‘socializing’?
Evening parties and balls, or tea parties and concerts, His Majesty likes such events and secretly participates in some kind of event held somewhere every day.
His Majesty’s evening parties and various events such as the music world are so popular that he must participate in the form of stealth participation.
Although he is far removed from political power, his influence on the aristocracy is great.
One might think that he would have no influence without political power, but he was His Majesty the King. Although His Highness Nigel has the real power, His Majesty is considered by those around him to have a certain amount of influence over His Highness Nigel.
“The same was the case this time. I believe that His Majesty, rather than wanting to kill me, thought that it was okay for me to die.”
What difference is there between those two? Those who are trying to kill me and those who want me dead…
Phil-Lynn thought there was a difference.
He believed that those who are trying to kill me and those who are harassing me are different.
They couldn’t be the same, he said, because their goals were completely different.
They are certainly different.
I thought they were different, too. But it didn’t make much of a difference which one they belonged to.
Because no matter how different the hands that executed it were, there was still the intention to move them.
“You really do understand, don’t you?”
There was a hint of sweetness in his voice.
“I have no proof of anything, though.”
His Majesty got down on one knee on the floor and was at eye level with me.
His gaze was full of compassion.
“I have never thought of doing you any harm.”
His hand gently scooped my hair. A shiver ran down my spine, but I didn’t brush his hand away.
Even if it was His Majesty who was at the center of the situation, I cannot deny that this man cares for me.
There is no truth or lie to His Majesty as he does this now. I know that.
“But as a result, I have lost the person I was until that time.”
You’re the one who killed Arthirea.
I think so, but I can’t blame him for some reason.
However, I felt my chest tighten and I couldn’t breathe.
“You’re here like this, without a scratch.”
“Physically, yes. But not the mind…so I can’t remember.”
What the body remembers.
It’s a sadness that strikes unexpectedly and makes me want to cry, or a fear for no reason, or a loneliness that won’t disappear from the corner of my chest no matter what…It’s probably the residue of a faint memory.
The doctor told His Highness that I might recall it at some point, but I don’t think I’ll remember it anymore.
Because ‘I’ am now here.
“As I’ve said many times before, when you lose your memory, you lose who you were. There was nothing left in me that I could recognize as such. I lost everything I had spent up to that point…and I think that means nothing more than that I was killed. Even if His Majesty did not intend to kill me, it does not mean that he did not expect it.”
“…Why was I killed in that winter lake?”
The same question I asked earlier, repeated in different words—His Majesty’s eyes wavered.
I may be targeted by people from other countries as well. Or perhaps there are others out there who are after me.
But there aren’t many who can come close to me, being so protected.
“I didn’t think His Majesty’s kindness towards me was a lie…but I was afraid. The same is true of Her Majesty. I didn’t remember anything about it, but it was scary…At first, I was afraid of His Highness, too. But that quickly disappeared. And yet, the feeling of being afraid of His Majesty and Herr Majesty didn’t go away.”
There is indeed an Arthirea in me, and there is a residue of that memory.
“Loving and hating are very much alike.”
You only have to look at Queen Yulia to see that.
I straighten up and raise my head.
The sound of his voice took on a somewhat sad color.
“Your Majesty believes that my mother died because of me, right?”
I hear him gasp.
“My mother died because she gave birth to me.”
I look at His Majesty.
His Majesty also looks at me.
He loves me because I am Efinia’s daughter.
And if so, what about the other me who killed Efinia?
They must both be the same ‘me,’ but which one is bigger in His Majesty’s mind?
No. It doesn’t have to be an either/or. It’s just two sides of the same coin.
But sometimes, it just leans towards one or the other.
It was His Majesty who first took away the gaze we had exchanged.
“You are not to be blamed for this…it’s not your fault…and I know it.”
“But it’s true that my mother died in giving birth to me.”
“…No…No, maybe it’s not different. But…”
Then he shook his head violently, repeating over and over again, no, no, no…as if he had been caught up in something. And then…His Majesty’s expression twisted in anguish.
“…I…It was that man who made hate so much.”
The man who sent his lovely Efinia to her death, mutters His Majesty. ‘Elzevert,’ with an echo of hatred that seems to come from the depths of the earth.
“I wanted to kill that man. Oh, in my head, I even said I’d kill him over and over again. But in reality, I can’t kill him. I can’t kill the man who murdered my Efinia. If that man dies, you would be in danger…Efinia’s legacy…and Thia’s blood. I can’t allow that to happen.”
‘Thia,’ he said. It wasn’t my name that was called.
“You are the daughter of my sweet Efinia, but you are also the daughter of a man who would never get tired of killing her. I love you so much that I don’t care, but I also hate you. I wish I could protect you, but I also wish you weren’t there.”
The shifting mania and depression was changing His Majesty’s expression at a dizzying pace.
“You asked why I couldn’t stop Efinia’s marriage…Surely you’re right, I could have broken the engagement if I forced it…but what would I do by breaking the engagement? Who would I have Efinia marry?…Oh, there were other candidates. It’s the highest honor for a princess to marry…But…”
His Majesty faltered as if he was afraid to say the words.
I looked straight at His Majesty and urged him to go on.
“But the best candidate was the Crown Prince.”
It was a terrible laugh. His Majesty was too sarcastic, and his cheeks distorted.
“I was going to dismiss Elzevert, even though he has a great deal of behavioral problems. The next one would have to be a good one. That was the condition. My father named me Crown Prince. There was no problem at all…anyone would have thought so. Three other lords besides Elzevert even suggested it.”
“Did that not happen?”
I asked, even though I knew the answer.
“I couldn’t allow that much. I just couldn’t allow it. The only way to keep Efinia from becoming the crown prince’s princess was to allow her to marry that man.”
“Fortunately, Efinia was in love with that man. It was one-sided, but Efinia was even counting down the days of her marriage.”
‘I was tricked,’ he muttered.
“…You’re right, I did know. Effinia, who was imagining the ideal man, was in love with the Duke. She knew nothing. I knew, but I didn’t stop it…I couldn’t stop it. Because I couldn’t allow that engagement to be broken.”
“Because you didn’t want the engagement to be broken off and the marriage to His Highness Nigel to be established.”
I check carefully. His Majesty nodded, though he was slobbering.
“I regretted it. Yes, I did. I had no intention of being a king. I had already learned the hard way that there was no way I could do it. I had given up on everything, so I took Yulia as my wife. It’s a small price to pay for a small amount of resistance. But…my thoughtlessness…my thoughtlessness, hoping for Yulia, killed Effinia. If I hadn’t wanted Yulia, I wouldn’t have married, and if I hadn’t had children, Efinia wouldn’t have died. The only child Thia left behind was…”
I thought I was crying.
The tears were nowhere to be found, but they were crying.
The family that Count Stassen and Phil-Lynn had once known had been a very normal family.
A father who was a little difficult to deal with, who didn’t care much about his children, and a brilliant and kind mother, who was the perfect match…but the presence of the crown that fell on them changed the face of the family.
But was it really just that?
“I hated that man. I couldn’t hate him. I couldn’t get tired of the thought of killing him…but in reality, I couldn’t kill him…That man’s sins are unforgivable. But if there’s a sin, it’s also mine.”
“You are the lovely Efinia’s daughter…but as lovely as you are, the fact that you are also an Elzevert pierces like a thorn in my heart.”
‘You are Efinia’s daughter and that man’s daughter at the same time.’ His Majesty says in a bitter tone.
“Perhaps those who were at your side took each of those extra hesitations in their own way.”
Two conflicting emotions.
Two very different desires.
Some people convey the love they seek, and some convey the hatred that they cannot kill.
“Who started first…It started as a trivial harassment. Dirtying your favorite dress, or smashing your cherished cup…every time you cried, I hugged and stroked your back.”
‘The tiny little you wept in my arms.’
‘You must not let your tears show weakness to those around you. That is the lesson of royalty.’ And there was only so much you could weep, says his Majesty.
“You were very patient. Still, there are some things you just couldn’t stand…I felt a twisted sense of satisfaction that you were clinging to me and being comforted by my words. And I was astonished to find it. I even felt nauseated by how ugly I was.”
I clenched my trembling fists.
“Seeing you as a living embodiment of Efinia was comforting. But on the other hand, there is a part of me that felt pleasure in hurting you.”
His Majesty smiled and said that Yulia first noticed the secret pleasure.
“Yulia did what I wanted without saying a word.”
The petty harassment was repeated.
The hand of Her Majesty is the hand of His Majesty.
Wounded by her own hands and comforted by his.
A ludicrous and ugly scheme.
“And it spread rapidly…escalating beyond Yulia’s intentions and to the rear palace.”
An enclosed space.
A place where women’s jealousy and envy seethe and, in a sense, are isolated from reality.
It was in such a place that the spark was born.
From the sidelines, it would have looked like Her Majesty Yulia was torturing Arthirea out of jealousy.
And Arthirea was the jealousy of the entire rear court.
“The goal was the same in terms of gaining my attention, but the means were different for each of them. Some tried to humiliate you, some harassed you too viciously to be trivial, others tormented you. Others tried to draw their own praise from you, who were said to be the most influential person in my life, by defending you. The entire court was watching you. I witnessed the ugliness of the female creature.”
That didn’t mean that he was now disillusioned, His Majesty interjected, and then added.
“After all, I am aware that it is I who is the ugliest of all.”
Although he seems calm, there is an unfathomable heat in his words.
Just like Her Majesty Yulia just now.
“I was not allowed to hurt you physically. Even if I hadn’t hurt you, I wouldn’t have allowed anyone to cause you to stop coming to greet me.”
If he allowed myself to be injured, even slightly, there was no telling what kind of serious injury I might suffer. That’s why his Majesty says that he looked out for it carefully.
“I knew that you must not be lost…I knew that you were in danger. Not everything was going to be as I would have liked it to be. Everything couldn’t go my way, even an outburst…And yet, irresistibly, even there, my heart trembled every time you shed a tear in my arms, or lost your emotions one by one because you just couldn’t bear it…And I was intoxicated with hating those who hurt you, punishing them severely, and protecting you with my own hands.”
It was an irrepressible quagmire.
No salvation, I think.
There is no way to resist the young Arthirea.
“Soon, you maid was injured…and some people died. It was rumored a lot…Still, it would have been nice it had been contained in the rear palace alone. Howeever, the turmoil had spread to the surface as well. Several unrelated people died…The Cardinal’s nanny, the Crown Prince’s schoolmates…and I didn’t know what was going on.”
“I learned that malice is a contagious thing.”
His Majesty says that the unexpected incident happened when you had nothing to do with it.
Everyone has a hidden malice inside them.
Everyone has experienced anger and resentment. It is not often that they are connected to real events.
People are rational creatures. And “time” can sublimate emotions as well.
But His Majesty’s malice had ignited the malice of others. So much so that it became a sin.
“People are, for all intents and purposes, greedy and ugly. I saw that.”
“Didn’t you ever think of stopping them?”
“Anyone who knew directly, what kind of influence, what happened, who did what…I didn’t know anymore.”
His Majesty piles on the words with a blank expression.
“I was a bystander. No, I even threw in a new fire. It didn’t matter, you know. I didn’t care about most things.”
Rather, he thought of it as an interesting spectacle, His Majesty says in a way that seemed ruthless.
Sometimes it was nice to get rid of someone who had hurt you, even if it was unprofessionally, to relieve your boredom, he said.
“I didn’t care how many others died. I have nothing…Eventually, the Crown Prince noticed. It was a time when he was fully involved in national affairs and still attending university, but that was a good time to notice the details.”
“His Highness took me out of the palace when he found out, didn’t he?”
His Majesty nodded widely.
“There was another incident…Or should I say I caused that one…There was a woman who was considered my favorite. It was a woman who has always had extra ambitions before. The woman had always wanted to be a queen. Not a concubine, but a queen. It is true that there are only two places available for me to be queen. But why did she think that she could sit on the seat that remains…I have no idea what that hubris is. I’m not sure why the position of queen was only available to the daughters of the four dukes, but because Yulia was in that position, she thought she could become one too. A foolish woman who thought only of gorgeous things in a small rear courtroom…I thought that her good looks had won me over. I had given her what she wanted without saying a word until then because I did not recognize the need to talk to her.”
The scathing expression on his face strongly resembles that of His Highness when he is preparing his outer appearance.
“In the first place, I chose that woman only because she was Efinia’s closest schoolmate. I should have just sat silently and kept quiet about it. But every time I saw her, I could have easily traced the memory of Efinaia.”
‘They were always two,’ he murmured, his eyes far away, ‘and they were always together.’
“How dare I think it was worth it, I thought. She said she didn’t know you. She said she wasn’t aiming at you. Even if she wasn’t, it would be the same if she got involved. I’m sure that until the very end, she thought she was the only one who would be forgiven and would be able to return to the rear palace. I’ve never once forgiven anyone for what I’ve aimed at Thia. I wondered what she was looking at, even though she was so close to my side.”
‘That’s about the extent of a favored consort,’ His Majesty boasted.
“I was relieved somewhere in my heart that you were in the Westen Palace. I’m sure the Crown Prince was a really good kid…and I was sure that you would be protected if you stayed with him. But…”
His Majesty cut off his words there, and then he laughed
“But as relieved as I was, I was also inexplicably shaken.”
“I thought the Crown Prince had taken you away from me.”
“I believe it was Your Majesty who decided to marry us.”
“Yes, that’s right. That was the best way to get you back from Elzevert. At the same time, the Crown Prince, born of a mother who is not of the Four Dukes, absolutely needs you no matter what you have to do. It was also the will of the Father King. So that was the perfect reason. I had no intention of letting you go anywhere again.”
A hint of hatred and anger can be seen at the end of the words.
It seems that “Elzevert” is the one that stirs up so much hatred.
“You were taken away by the crown prince…and within six months it was winding down. He seemed to have a good idea of where things really were. Well, if it weren’t for that, he wouldn’t be able to rule this country…He cleverly seized the real power and began to control my surroundings.”
There’s nothing he could do to stop His Majesty. His Majesty has done nothing.
But he can stop the people around him.
By controlling the people who were His Majesty’s hands and feet and under his influence, he may have tried to calm things down.
“And I knew that your heart was beginning to turn to the Crown Prince.”
In a way, it’s only natural.
A young girl thrown into a muddy situation would never fail to care about the person who rescued her from it.
And moreover, that person was her husband. You are allowed to think of him.
Normally, it couldn’t be helped.
“I couldn’t help it. I was more angry than happy. I was more angry at the thought of you being stolen from me. It reminded me of Efinia.”
“His Highness is Your Majesty’s son.”
“Oh, yes…but not me. To me, that overlapped with Elzevert who had taken Efinia from me.”
“There is no resemblance between the two. His Royal Highness is the son of Her Majesty Queen Julia and Your Majesty. And there is not a drop of Elzevert blood in his veins.”
“Oh, yes. But that fact also stirs my anger…If there had been a drop of Elzevert’s blood, I wouldn’t have had to give you.”
His Majesty laughs.
I felt uncomfotable.
“…Are you involved in this situation right now, Your Majesty?”
Did he have any role to play in the process that began with Esalkar’s political upheaval and ended with the Imperial invasion?
But the only thought that came to mind was, ‘No way.’
Although Dardinia does not have marriage diplomacy, it is not a closed country.
Friendly nations have embassies in the royal capital, and we send to them as well.
But His Majesty is not actively engaged in diplomacy.
“Well…I don’t recall the remainder of my life being traitorous, although I did pay some lip service to an audience that smelled of Empire and Esalkar and the like.”
His Majesty’s preferred audience is musicians and artists.
His Majesty is known as the ‘Protector of the Arts’. Normally, one must be of a certain rank to be granted an audience with His Majesty the King in any country, but in Dardinia, if one has a talent that strikes a chord with His Majesty, it is possible.
Even if you are an imperialist, even if you are perceived as an enemy, you are allowed to be a renowned musician or painter.
Even if you are a little suspicious.
“What did you do?”
“I didn’t do anything, Thia. I just laughed and listened to the one who claimed to be their messenger. I even nodded a few times. If that’s the only reason we’re in this situation now, that’s more than surprising.”
‘If that was the case, it would be quite simple for both the Empire and Esalkar,’ His Majesty said, twisting his mouth.
“Is it strange that the hands of the Empire and Esalkar have infiltrated?”
He had said himself earlier that His Majesty’s personal affairs were under His Highness’ control.
Esalkar is still good. Esalkar was a friendly country before the political upheaval.
But the Empire is a complete enemy. In particular, I heard that His Highness Nigel is treated like an evil demon king in the Empire. To the Empire, our country is the biggest enemy, and it is the same for our country.
I don’t see how someone who is suspected of being involved with an enemy nation can be overlooked to be near His Majesty’s side.
I was a little surprised to find that such an idea came naturally, and that it showed this Dardinia.
“I have a deep-seated dislike for politics, but there are many people who don’t see it that way. They say that power is a very attractive thing. There are many people who can’t do it, and yet they offer to take back the real power from the Crown Prince. The Crown Prince has robbed me of my real power, and they believe that I want it back.”
His Majesty sighs, “Why should I be bothered with such trouble?”
“I don’t get involved in politics. I have decided that I will stay out of politics. I have a feeling that the Crown Prince will not be able to forgive me…so I will make sure to inform the Crown Prince if there are any strange people. The Crown Prince knew exactly what he was doing. It is not all about policing. A spy with a recognizable face is nothing more than a spy. They’re just carrier pigeons.”
As I watched His Majesty say this, I knew that he was a born royal.
Despite his dislike of politics, professing it, and keeping himself away from it, he has an ingrained sense of being the one who rules.
“Have you ever wondered what you were born for?”
My eyes widened at His Majesty’s words.
My whole body trembled.
I can answer that clearly and unequivocally.
Rather, I’ve been thinking about it ever since I woke up.
Why did my memories come flooding back?
I wanted to know why I was here.
“I wanted to find out, and so I started betting.”
“And that’s what you’re going to do, confronting His Highness with me?”
“I’ve certainly thought about testing the Crown Prince, but that’s not all… but you symbolize the country itself, and the Crown Prince is the change, a wind that blows from the future, the new blood. I am…the history and past that cannot be changed, the very stain that is stagnant in the history of the royal family. The irony of fate, the irony of destiny, is that when your existence is unique, it reminds me of what we represent.”
“Oh…something that can’t be handled by humans, something that calculation and conspiracy can’t handle…I thought I had been fighting against it all along. But in the end, what I arrived at was nothing more than a continuation of that which I had hoped to escape.”
What has this person been fighting against?
I lack some kind of feeling or strong emotion for this person, as I have no memory of it. What I have is that fragment that Arthirea had, and the helplessness that I can’t help but feel.
“What are the terms of victory for the wagers you and His Highness have made?”
Even if His Majesty thought it was a one-sided bet, His Highness would not have been unaware of it.
However, I think that His Highness was procrastinating…to settle the matter.
Because if he simply wanted to settle it, it’s really best to seize His Majesty. The best thing to do is to put His Majesty under house arrest or imprisonment.
And His Highness is able to do that.
And yet, His Highness Nigel did not do it.
“Victory conditions or…”
His Majesty looked at me and gave a small smile.
I wish they could face each other without me. But I also think that this was parent and child that can’t do that.
The disconnection is too terrrible. Probably, if they were left alone together, they would be able to remain silent until morning without saying a word.
After all, His Majesty the King and His Royal Highness the Crown Prince…Both of them have been trained to their fullest through skills.
“…It’s a dead end. As soon as you came here, the Crown Prince won.”
“Becauuse I’m out of the game…I can go on as long as I want with the Crown Prince as my opponent, but not with you.”
His Majesty gently places a hand on my head.
“I really only care about you, you know.”
I didn’t want to know that His Majesty had said from the bottom of his heart, that he didn’t want me to doubt that. I’m not sure what to do, but I feel a sense of helplessness.
I want to say a word of resentment, saying that it was my own peculiarity that I had hurt him so much.
But I won’t say it because I’m a lady…and I am His Royal Highness Nigel’s Princess!
“So then I won, not His Highness.
But I was kind of frustrated, so I told him so.
“I said that Your Majesty lost to me, not to His Highness.”
“Yeah…I see that I’ve lost to you.”
His Majesty’s eyes widened, and then he muttered that he could let it go.
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2 thoughts on “Chapter 40: Winner of the Game”
…What a messed up man. Can’t he just officially abdicate instead of causing all this havoc? And truly, he’s so twisted and has zero love in his heart. Love and hatred are not close to each other, despite popular sayings. True love is not merely based on emotions, but it also involves a resolve to show love to someone as a matter of principle rather than circumstances. If you truly love someone, you won’t hurt them indifferently on purpose. He never loved Luthia.
He also never loved Efinia, because he was nwilling to let her be happy. It wasn’t just because he didn’t want her to marry his son, he obviously wouldn’t have given her to anyone other than himself. So he let her marry someone whom he knew would make her miserable. And then he took out his anger for that on the daugther. Really. On top of that, it’s not like he even HAD to marry Yulia, who didn’t even want him. I don’t understand why he couldn’t just marry Efinia from the beginning if he was going to be like this. I bet his interactions with Eleanor were also twisted. This man is the epitome of an enemy of women, truly.
Seriously, can we pick one and stick with it? It changes every 3rd instance almost…