The men’s competition is over and the winner of the event is known.

An anxious rider is bad for the horse.

It was Gillian’s turn.

He had Ellen in his field of vision for a split second as he was riding, and as soon as he recognized her, he lost his pace.

Gillian sped up impatiently, which disrupted his breathing with his horse and caused him to stumble at the end.

The honor of winning the men’s show jumping title went to Coenheim.

Spaniel beamed with rare joy at Morris’s victory.

Next to him was Elsie, who was chattering away in a reminiscent voice.

“That Periwinkle bastard barely made it out of the group stage!”

“Ho-ho, that’s great, El!”

Elsie, who had placed quite high for a first-time competitor, laughed at Periwinkle’s physicality.

Spaniel’s response made Elsie even more excited.

“If I see you at the Academy, I’ll definitely call you a dropout!”

“Yeah, yeah.”

Amidst the endless chatter that went on and on, Ellen responded appropriately and looked around.

She saw the lunch baskets coming.

“I see it’s time to eat already, so you go ahead. I’ll be out for a while.”

“Sister, where are you going?”

“I’m just going for a short walk to get my mind off things.”

“Okay, sister. Hurry up and go.”

“Hey, El! What’s in there belongs to Ellen!”

Leaving behind her raucous tent, Ellen headed for where she had tied her horse.

The dressage competition was about to begin.

That means it’s only a matter of time before something happens.

Fortunately, there were no riding clothes that were as intensely red as hers.

But just in case, she checked the jewelry on the horse’s harness.

The reflection was dazzling.

‘It should be fine.’

It was a musket that did not yet have a very high accuracy.

She knew that aiming at a distance was dangerous.

But she would be alone in a large hall, and there would be no mistaking her for someone else, no aiming at the wrong place.

Ellen stroked her horse of many years with a delicate touch.

‘… I’m sorry to hear that, and I hope it ends well for you and me.’

She once hugged her horse’s neck tightly, and then, having made up her mind, went back to her tent.

“Nuning, nuning, ugh.”

Elsie croaked, his mouth full of smoked salmon sandwiches.

Ellen glanced over at his immature brother with a stern glare.

She heard a chuckle next to her and turned to find Caden carrying lunch from their tent.

He picked up a sandwich and held it out to Ellen.

“El likes Morris a lot.”

“Since he’s so outstanding, he can’t help but admire him.”

Ellen took the sandwich and took a bite.

“By the way, did you say El? You must have gotten to know him pretty well.”

“Because he looks so much like someone I know. It’s a friendly face, my lady.”

“I guess we do look a lot alike.”

Ellen said with a smirk, and Caden snapped back that she was saying something obvious.

It was in the midst of such casual conversation that she dropped a foreshadowing of the events of the day.

“It’s coming. Don’t panic if something happens.”

“What… ah.”

The event, the one she had warned him she had plans for.

Caden trailed off with a low exclamation.

Outside, horns blared.

It sounded like the start of the dressage competition.

* * *


The horns blared and the announcer’s voice rang out.

“The women’s dressage competition will now begin…”

The competitors followed the announcer’s instructions as they dispersed into the distance.

The contestants began to huddle around the white fence that had been built for the competition.

Gillian swallowed hard, trying to control his bitterness.

‘Don’t lose your cool like that again, Gillian. Don’t let her get to you, Gillian…’

Muttering to himself, he stroked the bridge of his horse’s nose, tightened his grip on the reins, and checked his tack.

He looked up, and at that moment a figure came into Gillian’s line of sight through the gathering crowd.

A woman who stood out from the crowd.

Gillian felt a rush of heat rising in his gut as he realized what she had just said.

She had dared to speak of divorce, and now she was laughing merrily at his side.

Strength entered his teeth.

‘I’ve made up my mind, do you really think you’re going to turn against me?’

The crown prince is a ship that will sink one day.

He wonders if she truly doesn’t know that.

Thoughts raced through his mind.

What was driving him now was something he couldn’t quite put his finger on.

It must be him that controls his mind.

She should be the one standing by her side, and he shouldn’t let that fool take any more of what was his.

In the distance, he heard the sounds of the tournament beginning.

Someone was called out, and a few horses came in and out.

A few women passed by, but he couldn’t even see who they were.

It was only when a familiar face stepped into the arena that his focus returned.

The host called out Ellen’s name and she entered with her red horse.

The horse walked in very slowly.

The woman was smiling, shining brightly in the sunlight.

At the sight of her, Gillian’s stomach twisted and he began to feel sick.

He felt so hot, like his insides were burning.

The smile on her lips and her confident face were all unfamiliar to him and he did not like them.

‘Forget it, don’t fret. She’ll never be able to leave the mansion without my permission again, anyway…’

Gillian balled her fists tightly.

Ellen, who had left her greeting with a natural pause, soon began to slowly drive her horse.

One foot in front of the other, a very jaunty stride.

She gripped the reins with a slight smile as the horse rolled and trotted along, almost comically so.

With a small wave of her hand, she changed her stride.

Her steps quickened a little, and the horse obediently changed direction to meet her demands.

Click, click, click, click.

The sound of the hooves pounding the ground was exhilarating.

Ellen smiled at how sweet it was to have a horse that listened to her.

Her insides felt like they were being crushed.

The horse’s stride quickened again.

It picked up to a speed that was hard to describe as a trot or a walk.

Clomp, clomp, clomp, clomp.

The sound grew more cheerful.

People were focused on the sight of her and her red horse, and Ellen’s eyes lit up with pleasure.

Gillian stared at Ellen as if his eyes were glued on her, but at the same time, he clenched his fists tightly, unable to do anything about the seething emotions inside him.

Ellen was now urging her horse into a trot to round the narrow fence.



A single shot rang out.

The slowly moving horse slowly reared back.

Ellen’s body tilted.

Her eyes widened in surprise, her shoulders slumped, her hips swayed, and her back fell.

It was a brief moment, but it felt like tens of seconds.


A tearing scream erupted from the audience.


The horse reared, startled by the unexpected stimulus.

“Everyone check your seats, see if anyone’s been hit!”

People began to jump at the sound of the mysterious gunshot.

An uproar in the hall.

But in the center of it all, Gillian stood quietly staring straight ahead, as if he hadn’t heard a thing.

A woman who, as she fell, grabbed her broken left leg, bent over her body and distorted her face in pain.

Beneath it, a dark liquid…

‘No way.’

Gillian was on his feet in an instant.

A gunshot.

The blood.

The possibilities it suggested.


He was about to jump in.

“My lady!”


Out of the corner of his eye, he saw someone running ahead of him.

It was Crown Prince Caden Istacio and her brother, Elsie Kryant.

“Are you okay, my lady? My lady!”

The crown prince exclaimed, scooping Ellen into his arms.

As Caden strode fearlessly into the center of the stable, Lord Morris Coenheim, cried out in alarm.

“Your Highness, it’s dangerous!”

Morris, Terriod, and the rest of Caden’s entourage rushed to her aid.

They rushed in, including the guards, who calmed their agitated horses and checked on Ellen, some flying stretchers to take the wounded to safety, while others formed a perimeter around them to keep the crown prince from being exposed.

“Search the area now, find where the smoke is coming from! It can’t be more than a few hundred meters away!”

Caden shouted, his voice filled with frustration.

At the crackle of his command, several of those who had surrounded him like a barricade moved to carry out his orders.

Scanning their surroundings and horses, they approached the prince and delivered a message.

He could see his face harden in fear as he heard the report.

But he could not hear their conversation.

‘So how is Ellen doing, is she okay, I can’t hear them.’

Finally, in frustration, Gillian stood up and leapt over the fence.

The crown prince’s gaze snapped back at his approach.

Their eyes met.

After holding his gaze, the crown prince spoke.

“… Gil.”

“Your Highness. How is the condition of the patient? Please–”

But instead of answering him, the crown prince shouted in a gruff voice.

“…Everyone, listen!”

The crown prince’s voice echoed through the hall. The raucous crowd suddenly fell silent.

“Today’s event was organized by the order of His Majesty the Father and supervised by I, Caden Istacio, for the friendship between the royal family and nobles. However, I deeply regret that there is someone who ignored the imperial family’s intentions and tried to disgrace his face.”

Fire flared in the crown prince’s eyes.

“You say it was this horse that was shot, but a marksman hitting a moving target from hundreds of meters away, no matter how slowly it was moving. That’s a very frightening thing.”

Caden’s quartered face swept the room.

“Whoever it is, we’re going to investigate it thoroughly and get to the bottom of it, so you can expect…”

With that declaration of war, Caden laid Ellen on the gurney and left her in the care of the medics.

“Hurry up and go.”

“Yes, Your Highness.”

Gillian called out urgently as she saw Ellen being carried away on a stretcher.

“Your Highness!”

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