Episode 42

“Long time no see. You look better.”

‘Why did she call me over?’

“I can’t believe it’s been a long time since we’ve seen each other. How have you been?”

I couldn’t answer, so I only looked at the table innocently.

“I apologize for what happened earlier.”

“Oh! That’s okay.”

I don’t think she called me over to apologize anyway.

The scene of her biting her lips with a pale face flashed by my head in an instant.

“You looked like you were in a lot of pain.”

“Oh… I’m fine now, thank you.”

“I heard that you almost died not long ago.”

I lifted my head and almost looked her straight in the eye.

I reached for the cloth pouch hanging on waist, and took a deep breath.


“You were attacked by a demon?”


“I don’t suppose you participated in the battle.”

“No. The demon suddenly appeared inside the fortress, and I wasn’t the only one in danger.”

“Inside the fortress? Here?”


“It’s a dangerous place. It must have been scary.”

I was even more confused because I didn’t understand what she was trying to say.

The tension in my body did not go away because I was facing a person who could spill tea on her thighs with a calm expression.

“It must be a more difficult place for slaves to live.“

She sounded worried.

No matter how much I looked through the original content of the story in my head, there was no such a scene.

I wondered if she was just genuinely concerned.

“How about the Lé Chenío estate? It’s a much safer place than here.“


I finally raised my head.

Cesaria’s face was as sincere as ever.

“I’ll promote you into a maid.”


“Who else is here?”

A slight anger flashed through her eyes.

But it was immediately hidden by her.

Did I see it wrong?

“But I belong to the Crown Prince’s Palace…”

“Belong? That’s for Lé Chenío to decide.”

So that’s why she called me, but it was still confusing.

“Then why did you want me to…?”

“I thought you would want to thank me first.”

“Oh, Th–thank you.”

“I’ll be leaving first thing tomorrow, so if you need to pack anything, make sure it’s ready.”

So she wants to take me away but wants to make it look like it was me who wants to leave in earnest…

Why is she doing this?

Of course, from a slave’s point of view, it’s definitely an offer I should be flattered by.

No slave wants to stay in Einfork for long, let alone if they were promoted into a maid.


I know her position in the Lé Chenío Duchy better than anyone.

Of course, I didn’t know her current situation, but I do know her background.

Her faith in her adoptive father, the Duke, is probably unbroken, at least not yet.

What she doesn’t realize is that the Duke is the one who would abandon her if she carried out the order to kill the Crown Prince.

‘It’s a safe place.’

That’s what she thought, and a part of me felt sorry for her.

It’s a sandy swamp that could swallow you up to your head in an instant, and it’s frustrating that I can’t explain anything to her.

I can’t just say, ‘Don’t trust your father.’, like before.

“What’s with that expression?”

“Oh, no I–”

“For one thing, it was my father who wanted to punish you, and I’m not comfortable with that. I think I’d be even more uncomfortable if I heard rumors that you ended up dead in Einfork, so I’m taking you away.”

Her voice sounded sincere to anyone who heard it.

She’s trying to show that she cares.

“Thank you very much for your generous offer, it’s very much appreciated.”

I was in a sitting position, but I still bent down as much as I could.


“… But I like it here, and I’d like to stay and work here for a while longer, and I’m really sorry for your consideration…”

“… What?”

“…I’m sorry.”

How many offers have I refused ever since I became a slave?

But this time, I didn’t think this was a ‘Good’ offer at all.

It was supposed to be a peaceful place, but there was a different kind of danger lurking there than in Einfork, and the Lé Chenío’s wanted the current crown prince dead.


At her question of why, a person’s face naturally came to my mind first.

It was a man who is good at hiding his emotions, but whose eyes are as warm as the setting sun.


Because I want to be by his side.

“I’ve gotten a lot of help here, and if I can help in some small way to return that, I’d rather stay.”

I didn’t do anything wrong, but the mere act of declining the offer made my voice trail off.

When I first said I wanted to go to Einfork, I was treated like I was out of my mind, and she probably had the same thoughts.

I could feel it in the atmosphere, even without seeing her expression.

Tap, tap.

Her long fingers tapped on the table.

After a steady tap, her fingers folded into a fist, and soon I could see her hand shaking slightly, and a little strained.

“You seem to enjoy sympathy so much.”


I glanced down at her pure white fist and then up at her.

Her expression was still nonchalant, but only her blue eyes were piercing in the darkness.

“It means you enjoy being pitied, and you know it.”

It was the same tone she’d used when she offered to take me to the Lé Chenío’s, so the meaning behind her words took a while to sink in.

“… To the point of risking your life just to stay…”

The main point was missing, but I knew that she was referring to— It was the fact of me staying by Shane’s side.

It didn’t really matter if she was right about Shane feeling sorry for me, because I saw the sincerity in his eyes, and that was enough.

“Consider how long that pity will last. My offer is good until we leave tomorrow.”

Cesaria couldn’t figure out what was going through her mind— whether she was just trying to get rid of the slave because she didn’t want to be bothered by her, or whether she was looking for a chance to really kill Shane, or maybe she had really fallen in love with the crown prince, and just want to get rid of an obstacle.

She couldn’t understand what she was trying to do here.

“You may leave.”

Cesaria fiddled with the pendant around her neck.

I couldn’t look her in the face, so I simply bent forward.

Until I know what her intentions were, I can’t let my guard down, so for now, I’ll keep a watchful eye overnight.

I left the barracks, thinking that I have to find a place where I can hide and watch her quietly.


As the door to the barracks closed behind her, Cesaria straightened up and took a deep breath.

Her calm face cracked into a grimace.

A look of sadness and anger soon emerged.

‘You’re acting like you already won the game, how dare you, a mere slave!’

She was a slave at a glance.

It was evident from her clothes, which were neat but by no means of high quality.

But she didn’t look servile or pitiful.

It was as if she had already earned something.

Such insolence!

‘You want to stay because you like it here?’

Of course she wants to stay because the crown prince is nice to her, and the thought of him making her think that way, made her feel a fire burning deep inside her.

‘Poor thing.’

She was born and raised in a brothel.

She grew up receiving so many sympathetic glances, especially from the Duke of Lé Chenío, whom she had known since the first time she met him, and who even now often gave her a sympathetic look.

Especially when things didn’t go his way.

She was the only daughter of one of the great families of the Empire, and she still hadn’t gotten over it.

And yet…

A mere slave who should be the recipient of those sympathetic glances is only too happy to shrug it off, either because she takes it for granted or because she thinks she has someone to count on, but either way, it bothers her.

It was obvious that she was simply trying to put on a front.

‘How can he look at that slave like that when I’m right in front of him?’

She is the daughter of a duke, no matter how much he wishes to divorce her, she’s still better than that slave.

‘She’s just a mere slave in the palace, so how could he look at her like that?’

She thought that he was always like that.

She thought that he was supposed to be indifferent and emotionless.

She didn’t think that he was actually capable of showing a trace of emotion, so she was fine.

‘How far will I have to go for you to stop ignoring me?’

She wished she hadn’t seen that emotional gaze.

She had to keep believing that he was so indifferent.

But he wasn’t.

She felt something crumble from inside her.

It felt like the floor she was sitting on was pulling out from under her.

If she went back to the capital tomorrow, she was sure the Duke would give her that gaze again.

She could imagine the look of disappointment on his face when he realized that she hadn’t been able to grant him a simple favor.

Maybe this time he’d even be angry with her for the first time.

‘If only it weren’t for that slave.’

Even if he wasn’t standing next to her, she would still think that the crown prince would have been the same to everyone, albeit coldly.

He wouldn’t have looked so different.

Cesaria clenched her fists tightly, her eyes determined.

She sat there all night, unmoving, until morning.

The morning of Cesaria’s departure.

I thought that I should just watch the back of the carriage leave, but something unexpected happened.

“Come in and sit down.”

I suddenly heard the news of Cesaria’s visit to Shane, and I was suddenly asked to come to the barracks where the knights were meeting.

Shane and Cesaria were already seated first at a large table, when I arrived.

Above it all, the maid and the servant were putting down the warm tea on the table.

“I called you. To apologize for what happened yesterday. Are you all right now?”

What is this scene?

It’s nice to be able to keep a close watch on Cesaria, but it was still uncomfortable.

Cesaria pushed the teacup in front of the crown prince further in.

It was a natural gesture that seemed to make them look a little intimate.

“Have a seat.”

Cesaria made a friendly expression on her face, and pointed to a seat, where a teacup had just been set out for me.

Couldn’t I just stay out at the back?

“I just wanted to say hello.”

When she saw Shane’s expression gradually harden, Cesaria immediately added another word, as if to soothe him.

After thinking that any further refusal would make things awkward, I decided to pull out a chair and sat down.

I sat across from Cesaria, it was only a seat away from her.

“When will you be returning to the palace?”

“I don’t know.”

“You’ll be coming with His Highness, I assume?”

The question came back to me suddenly.

It was as if she was asking if I might come with her today.

“Yes. I suppose.”

“I see.”

An emotion flashed on her face for a moment, but I didn’t know what it was because she suddenly hid it, when she looked at me.

I was talking about staying, after all.

I guess it was a look that seemed to be saying that I was foolish for turning down her good offer.

Since I was unable to meet her gaze straight on, I simply lowered my eyes, to stare at the nape of her neck.

The pendant that had always hung around her neck looked somewhat different.

The pendant, which used to glow pink on her pale skin, was transparent today.

As if something had left it.

And then, Cesaria and Shane lifted their teacup simultaneously.

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