Retin was a little puzzled by Jeremy’s expression. For a man whose judgment was always so admirable, he looked so unsure.


“It’s an act to win the prince’s heart, and you should never trust her.”


Retin thought the crown prince’s spy was quite the damsel in distress, even to the point of confusing his sharp-eyed master. He wondered what kind of acting skills she had.


“Your Highness, how about this?”




“We could reverse the process and charm her into joining our side.”


It wasn’t an idea Jeremy hadn’t considered, but he was in no position to argue now.


“It won’t be easy to charm her. I’m playing the fool.”


“Well, it might actually be easy,” Retin said with a glare as he crossed his arms. “When the prince is playing the part of an idiot, there’s something about him that just oozes innocence.”


It helped that his hair was pure silver, and his eyes were clear mauve.


When combined with his neat smile, he was so dazzling that even a heavenly angel would be mesmerized.


“Have you ever seen such a handsome man? You are a rare breed of handsome man.”


“But an idiot? No woman would be attracted to that.”


“…..Are you ignorant or modest? Even the young ladies who say you’re an idiot, when you turn your back, they all praise you. I saw them staring at you in awe earlier.”


Retin could somewhat understand the feelings of the young ladies. The harmless, innocent look in the prince’s eyes with the hint of an idiot’s act was enough to tug at their heartstrings. Hell, he could even sway the feelings of another man……. If he were this good, how could they possibly be any less mesmerized?


“The youthful and cute image of the prince is very popular with the young ladies. Isn’t acting like an idiot enhancing your popularity rather than diminishing it?”


“Young and…… cute?”


Jeremy frowned. As if he hadn’t expected anyone to see him playing the idiot in that light.


“I see Your Highness didn’t notice. Anyway, let’s get the princess on our side; it’s for the best plan for now.”


‘Charm Hailey into joining our side…..’


Jeremy was silent for a moment, lost in thought, then gave a small nod.


“…….I will try.”


* * *


Having finished his conversation with Jeremy and headed out into the corridor alone, Retin stealthily approached Hailey’s side. He knew Jeremy would stop him if he found out, but he wanted to get a glimpse of her.


‘Let’s see if I can get to the bottom of what she’s up to first.’


Just then, Hailey moved, as if she’d spotted something, stepping closer to the terrace and staring off to one side.


‘What is it? I have a feeling.’


Retin moved a little closer to Hailey. A daring move befitting his reputation as a master of stealth.


And yet. He saw Hailey glance back. For a moment, he thought she might be looking at the wrong place, but the red eyes were pointed exactly where Retin was.


‘Do you know there was something there, or was it just a coincidence?’


He didn’t want to think that Hailey had noticed him. As if by coincidence, she looked away from him again.


‘Of course not. There’s no way you could have noticed me……. What are you looking at anyway?’


Hailey was looking down at the garden from the terrace railings, and when he followed her gaze, Jeremy was standing there.


‘Are you spying on the prince?’


Retin gritted his teeth. The prince already had a difficult life, and having a mole watching him twenty-four hours a day was more than a little off-putting.


‘Should I pretend it was a mistake?’


If he did, the prince would notice right away. He was watching Hailey, not knowing what to do.


‘But who are those people?’


While Retin was distracted, the situation had evolved. There was quite a group of people at Jeremy’s side.


‘Marquis Perdell and his men.’


The four or five men were all members of the Crown Prince’s faction. Just a bunch of brats, not exactly Jeremy’s enemies.


But the problem was.


‘The prince is playing the part of an idiot.’


Retin raised a brow at Jeremy’s smirk.


‘They’re probably going to make some lowly, childish provocation, and he’ll just play the fool.’


It would help his image as an idiot, but still, Retin couldn’t help the twist in his stomach.


‘What to do? I should go to the prince.’


But Hailey was too much of a nuisance for that. The thought that everything she saw and heard would be reported to the crown prince made it impossible for him to act rashly.


‘Let’s wait and see.’


Retin decided to wait and see. But after less than a minute, his insides began to churn.


‘I can’t hear what they’re saying. But that look on their faces, that attitude, it’s very unpleasant.’


The distance was too great to hear what they were saying. But from their rudeness, he had a pretty good idea of how the prince was being treated.


‘What’s wrong with her?’


As he watched the childish taunts, Retin noticed something odd about Hailey.


‘Why is she shaking?’


Hailey’s shoulders were shaking as she clenched her fists tightly together. Her head was lowered, and she seemed to be muttering something.


‘What is she saying?’


Retin moved forward, knowing he was acting stupid. If he was going to get caught, he had to hear what she was saying first.


“Those damned *#!%@s, how dare the &#@!% speak to the prince?! How can I not want to %*@! them. I will %*@! them.”


Half of her mutterings were thick curses.


For a moment, he was surprised at the way she seemed to defend Jeremy, but then suddenly Hailey sprang to her feet, hiked the hem of her dress up to her knees, and leapt over the railing.


‘What does she think she’s doing?’


Before he had a chance to respond, Hailey plunged down. 



Her black hair fell in loose waves behind her, and the hem of her thin dress left a lingering afterimage like the flutter of a butterfly’s wings.




Retin stared blankly at her back, forgetting that he had been hiding.


* * *


I was standing on the second floor terrace, looking for Jeremy. I think it was around here…… where Jeremy was being attacked a year ago.


In my previous life, I had accidentally witnessed the younger men attacking Jeremy. I hadn’t been able to save him at that time as I was busy with something else.


I vowed to save the prince this time. I would bring him back before the young men had a chance to do any damage.


‘Oh, there he is.’


Jeremy’s figure came into view, and I leaned forward a little more, the corners of my mouth twitching in anticipation. But Jeremy was already flanked by a group of four or five young men.


‘Ha…… they’ve already approached the prince.’


Plan A had failed. The timing had been blurred by the fuzzy memory of a year ago.


“There you are. Our idiot prince who managed to get married!”


I was stunned by the pose and expression he dared to make in front of the prince. Once they saw that Jeremy was alone, they let their condescending attitudes show through.


‘Is he that keen to die?’


The provocation was low. They started by asking him how he could have embraced his bride when he was an idiot, and whether the bride was running away. Then they sneered that they could have embraced her if the idiot prince wanted them to.


My teeth clenched as I listened to the same dialogue as a year ago without missing a beat.


“Those damned *#!%@s, how dare the &#@!% speak to the prince?! How can I not want to %*@! them. I will %*@! them.”


I felt my anger rise to the top of my head. It was as if something inside me had snapped.


It took me a second to realize that Retin was watching, but my legs were already leaping off the second-floor terrace.


‘Let’s save the prince first. I’ve got a plan B for times like this.’


I tossed Plan A, which was to get Jeremy out before the men showed up, into the rubbish bin.


Instead, I had a Plan B: take all my grudges from my previous life and give them a good beating.


From Jeremy’s point of view, it would be absurd to say, ‘Who is that spy protecting now?’ Maybe he’ll think, ‘The prince’s spy might actually be on my side.’ But that would be dangerous. It could lead to a repeat of my failure in my second life.


So, I had a plan B. Even if I sided with Jeremy, there was a way he wouldn’t think I was on the same side.


In his eyes, I’d be the “mole who approached the prince to win his heart,” so I could protect him to my heart’s content and not be suspected of being on the same side, killing two birds with one stone.


Honestly, it was more complicated than Plan A, but I liked this plan better because I could beat the sh*t out of them.




I took off my shoes and held them in my hands. These weren’t just any shoes, they were killer heels, specially prepared for this moment.


“Are you not going to move away from my husband!?”


I gripped the red killer heel like a dagger and swung it, causing them to shrink back in fear at my ferocity.


Yes, I must look amazing now. My black hair is in disarray, and I’m running barefoot. Who the hell would want to mess with me?




That’s when I heard Jeremy’s surprised voice. I turned my head slightly and spoke quietly so only he could hear.


“I think I will end up becoming an oak tree. From now on, I will protect you.”


(E/N: “Of the various trees, the ‘Cham’ tree is the only tree with the Korean word ‘Cham’ meaning ‘true’. This means that the oak tree has always been considered to be ‘true trees’ and ‘fine trees’.” This is what I found with a brief google search trying to figure out what this idiom means. I am guessing it means she’s telling him that she has decided to share the ‘truth’ with him. Or, at least, the version of the truth that she wants him to believe for now.)


I emphasized the word “protect” for the sake of the operation. Jeremy’s eyes widened slightly at the out-of-character dialogue.


I smiled in satisfaction as I watched his mauve eyes flutter. Okay, let’s drive the wedge in one more time.


“Anyone who touches my beloved husband will die!” I shouted, putting particular emphasis on the “my beloved husband” part. 


Okay, this is going to make it look like I’m desperate to win Jeremy’s heart, right?


“My beloved? Pfft, and you’re going to kill us all, too? You know a woman alone can’t touch us with a ten-foot pole. So why don’t you go and get the foolish prince’s loyal dog?”


“The Fool Prince’s loyal dog, Retin?”


“Yes. The one who sticks around the idiot prince when he’s got nothing better to do. I don’t know why he sticks around the prince with his skills.”


“It’s because our prince is overflowing with charm. And speaking of which, I’m stronger than Retin. Because I’m here alone, you think you can take it easy?”


At my words, the men laughed, holding their bellies.


“What? It’s true, but I don’t think you believe it. Retin is no better at hiding than I am, no smarter than I am, and has a smaller heart than I do for our prince.”


I glanced in Retin’s direction with a disgruntled expression. He had been watching me from earlier, but he hadn’t moved, as if he didn’t want to step forward. He seemed to have chosen to watch me.


‘Watch, Retin. This is the way to protect the prince.’


I flicked my high heel into the face of the man in front of me. He turned his head slightly to dodge, but my hand was faster.


“Ouch! How dare you, bitch!”


Got you, asshole. How dare you talk dirty in front of Jeremy?


“Your mouth! Is–! A–! Bad–! Mouth!”


I repeatedly smashed my shoe down on Perdell’s mouth, which swelled up like a pig’s belly. The other one lunged at me to make me stop, but who was going to listen, anyway? I laid a hand on Perdell and kicked the other one who’d lunged at me.




“What the hell, why can’t you guys use your strength?”


The young men behind us chattered in confusion.


“There’s only one girl against us. Can’t you do it right?”


I’m one of the top ranked Shadow Knights, so how can I fail to put in a good performance?


I beat up a few more of them as an example. I grabbed one of them and slammed him to the ground, and the man spoke so only I could hear him.


“You’re not trying to hit me with that shoe, are you? I’m from the crown prince faction, come on, you were recommended by the crown prince to become a princess. Shouldn’t the crown prince’s faction get along with each other? Don’t you have to look good for me?”


The man speaking to me now was named Perdell. He had sneaked into the crown prince’s faction with his father, a marquis, on his back.


‘……I’m a little nervous because they’re from the crown prince faction.’


Since they were from Ain’s faction, it was possible that their words might reach Ain’s ears. But I’ll tell you what, it was to win Jeremy’s favor.


As his trusted Shadow Knight, I’ll give Ain the benefit of the doubt. And I think he cares more about me than you guys.


“Who are you telling me to look good for? I mean, what do you think you’re supposed to be doing?”


Pow. Pow.


The slightest touch and Perdell’s nose were dripping with blood. As their leader fell to the ground, I could see the minions scurrying back.


“Where are you going?!”


I reached out to the fleeing men, not yet relieved of my anger. But perhaps I moved too quickly in my dress, and the torn and tattered hem of my gown snagged my foot.




Taking advantage of my stumbling, all three men lunged at me simultaneously.




Apparently, the weight difference couldn’t be ignored, and they crushed my body as I fell to the grass.


“Hey! I have her! Get over here!”


“Haha, bitch. We finally got you.”


Despicable people. What the hell did they eat to make them so heavy? I grunted and tried to escape the pinned position I was trapped in, but one of them balled up a fist.


“Now it’s your turn!”


A blunt fist came flying at my face.


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