Chapter 9: Duke of Elzevert

“Your Highness.”

The call brought my consciousness back to reality.

The one in front of me was Count Stassen. This elderly knight, who is very warrior-like with a strong body, and who does not speak uselessly.

However, I have a strange sense of security in him that I can rely on. It was very strange that this man was also a scholar with ‘Vera.’

Pale gold hair that is thought to be from the north…Many northern people have silver hair or light gold hair. The most common eye color is blue or light blue, and the Count’s is light blue.

What’s even stranger, though, is that such a person is my guard captain.

“Your Highness, this is the itinerary for your return to Royal Capital.

He knelt down and offered it to me with both hands.

I received it.

“Thank you. I will take care of it.”

His eyes widened somewhat in surprise, but he quickly gave a light bow and left. It was sudden and everyone was busy preparing for the return.

Since I woke up, I had only been in contact with the maidservants, but after the incident, I started to see the escort knights more often. Until now, they had been on escort duty to keep a low profile, but after the ‘balcony incident’ and ‘attempted poisoning’, they can’t seem to do such things anymore.

I’m not running away.

I’m not going to the royal palace to escape, which seems safer than here.

I was clearly aware of the killing intent…that was directed at me.

Until now, I had not been able to clearly recognize the killing intent. I had been told that I was being targeted, but I felt it was too distant.

But now it’s different.

My enemy.

They want to kill me. My enemy.

I may not yet truly understand that my life is in danger.

But now I am clearly aware that I am in danger on a daily basis.

Long gone are the days when I traveled between work and home and my part-time job, occasionally going out with friends and complaining about things, not caring a whit about the danger to my life.


I’m not a saint.

I don’t have a cute personality that cries herself to sleep after being beaten up.

If you punch me in the right cheek, I’ll punch you back in both cheeks. I know it’s stupid, but I’m the type to buy a fight when I’m sold.

I’m alive, and that will be the best revenge.

But that’s definitely not enough.

Because Ellucia is no longer here.

I don’t care if this wasn’t legitimate anger. You can take it out on me.

If I get hit, I’ll hit back.

I’m reminded of the terrorist attacks on America. A quagmire of great powers. A vicious spiral where retaliation leads to retaliation…A negative cycle.

But I can no longer pretend this didn’t happen.

And yet, I’m a wimp and…this hand is too small…

Therefore, I can’t judge them with my own hands. I can’t redo it…I can’t kill people with my own hands.

No matter how much I hate them, no matter how much I feel the urge to kill them, it is impossible for a person who has lived an ordinary life in 21st century Japan to do so.

What I can do…it is…

Identify the culprit.

This is not about him, the soup keeper, who was seen as the perpetrator.

If there was another perpetrator to replace him, this is not…about that person either.

Of course the perpetrator will also be guilty of the crime.

But the person who ordered me to be killed…

That person is the real criminal.

Send that person to court

That was my idea of retaliation.

The best I could do, which I can only do indirectly.

That is the goal I’m working towards.

I’ll be gathering information for a while.

It pains me that I can’t gather information directly myself, and it hurts that I have no memory of the balcony incident.

Arthirea might have seen the culprit.

If I remembered, I could have solved the case in one fell swoop, along with this one.

I wish I could go around asking all kinds of people about it, like in a mystery novel, but if I did that, it would be conspicuous and I couldn’t explain it to the people around me.

As a matter of fact, I suspected at first that the incident might have been a suicide by Arthirea.


She was called the Doll Princess, and I somehow felt the emptiness of her heart.

Even if she didn’t clearly jump down herself, she might have done something like that so that she could test herself…like going to such a place knowing it was dangerous.

The balcony on the lake is very windy. Even more so at night. Arthirea is very light in weight, so it’s not surprising that she could lose her balance there…unavoidable and intentional accidents.

But now I can say that that’s never going to happen.

Little by little, as Arthirea came back to me, I began to believe that it wasn’t true.

I don’t know everything about Arthirea’s mind. It’s just something I feel vaguely.

But if I think about it for a moment, I understand.

The knowledge of Arthirea that emerges is something she has studied hard to acquire.

What’s the point of it all…?

It’s a testament to the fact that she was trying to make herself worthy of being the Crown Princess.

If that was the case, there was no way such a girl would have gone to a dangerous place on her own.

She knew exactly what she meant to the kingdom.

I can say for sure now that the incident was no accident.

So…I won’t run away.

I’m not going to run away and hide in safety.

However, since this is still a ways away, I’m going back home.

The enemy knows me, but I don’t know their shadow or shape.

So, at least, I want the home advantage.

I’m still at a huge disadvantage, though.

But I’ve decided not to run away.

It’s okay. I’m not going to jump into danger.

I won’t let Arthirea’s efforts go to waste.

I am the Crown Princess.

I just have to get rid of the fallout.

Self-defense is essential.

Even if it becomes a bit over-defensive, that’s probably within the bounds of what’s allowed. Probably.

The next day, after getting everything ready, I received my usual morning greeting from the Duke.

The maidservants, except for Lilia who was waiting by my side, were busily carrying my belongings to the carriage. All of the knights in the escort were also busy making preparations, except for the two who stood behind me.

“There was a danger of poisoning. An ordinary escort is not enough. We must contact the royal capital and receive instructions from His Highness the Crown Prince.

When I told him that I was returning to the palace, the Duke of Elzevert objected fiercely.

He gave various reasons.

Well, I understand. If I returned without an explanation, there would be a big fuss.

“I’m going home.”

But I told him again, clearly.

The Duke looked at me in shock.

Maybe it was because it was the first time Arthirea had ever expressed her intentions to him in this way.

Perhaps he hadn’t yet heard the sound of my voice.

“I will return to the royal palace.”

I looked straight into the Duke’s blue eyes and repeated.

Eyes that could be light blue or blue, depending on the light.


I knew that the color of my eyes was the color I had inherited from this man.

“Do you…doubt the Elzevert?”

The Duke asked, his voice strained.

Without looking away, the eyes that looked back…I felt I was facing him for the first time.

I felt that his words had been uttered with an extraordinary weight.

He was exhausted.

I think he cares a lot about this appearance.

His short beard was neatly groomed, and his black hair, with steel tints, was lustrous. His long, slender, trendy clothes were wrinkle-free.

He looked younger than his forty-four years, but there was a hollowness in his eyes. He looks like an old man immersed in despair and resignation.

I replied, hoping that he would understand.


I don’t know if it was the Duke who gasped, or the handmaidens and guard knights. Or maybe it was both.

But either way, I knew that my answer had been properly conveyed.

I didn’t dare to say why.

I don’t want to do anything extra as long as I don’t know where the true criminal’s eyes are.

At the moment, my only advantage is that although Arthirea is a twelve-year-old girl, she has thirty-three years of life experience, namely me.

At best, I can be written off as a naive princess who is only twelve years old.

“I understand…Would you at least allow my son to escort you?”

The Duke didn’t ask any particular questions. However, he said it in a somewhat pleading voice.

I nodded my head. Could the Duke’s son serve as an escort?

“The Duke’s sons, Master Dior and Master Rael, both belong to the Eastern Division.”

Lilia explained.

The national army in Dardinia is roughly divided into six divisions. There’s the east, west, north and south divisions, the central division, and then the Kingsguard division. In addition, each of the noblemen has their own private army. Elzevert was the keystone of the East, so it was not strange that the sons of the Duke served in the Eastern Division.

The Dardinian nobles are just people, except for their legitimate sons. The only option for boys below the second son is to enter the clergy or become a soldier.

“I’ll allow it.”

I nodded and stood up.

The Duke bowed with a somewhat relieved expression on his face.

To be honest, no matter how many times I met him, the recognition that this man was my father never came to me. But today, somehow, I felt that I was related to this man by blood.

“Thank you for taking care of me”

“No, Your Highness. I pray that Your Highness will have a safe journey.”

The Duke said and made a holy sign in front of me, wishing me well on the road.

I nodded in response.

It was not at all a situation where I could say that I had made peace.

I can’t forget the pain in my heart for my mother.

But I had a feeling that we had come to terms.

Perhaps it was the same with the Duke.

Upon leaving, the Duke came outside to see me off.

All the way, until my carriage was out of sight, the figure of the Duke remained on the drawbridge of the castle.


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