“…Did you know I was a woman from the beginning?”

Kyle said nothing. Asralda accepted it as an affirmation.

“But you kept it a secret until now.”

Asralda had always received help from Kyle in her previous life and this one. She looked at Kyle’s blue eyes and smiled bitterly without realizing it.

As she pulled her wrist out of Kyle’s grip, she spoke.

“I know that the lieutenant and the commander are close friends.”
“I asked you to keep it a secret earlier, but even if you tell the commander the truth, I won’t resent you. After all, even if you’re a lieutenant, you would have reported it to the commander.”
“There’s a misunderstanding. Even if Aiden finds out that you’re a woman, he won’t do anything to you.”

Asralda laughed bitterly again at Kyle’s words. Yes, he wouldn’t do anything right away.

“I heard the commander talking when I was brought here as a prisoner not long ago. He said he would use me as bait to catch my father.”

Anyway, as long as my father is alive, I am still useful.

Soon, Asralda’s smile disappeared. She spoke calmly.

“That’s why I offered to be the bait. Of course, I told him that he would have to take on the risk.”
“Are you saying you’ll hit Aiden from behind?”
“As a prisoner, and moreover, as a novice knight, how can I fight back? I know it’s impossible.”

Asralda added.

“I plan to wait for the right moment and escape.”
At the same time, Kyle’s expression stiffened.

Asralda continued to speak while looking at him.

“I have two reasons for telling the lieutenant about this truth. One is that you said that your favorite person is someone who looks like me. I don’t want to use the lieutenant who doesn’t know that fact. And another reason is…”

Asralda remembered Kyle, who had been laughing cheerfully in front of her until now, who had suddenly become serious.

‘I’m sorry if I disappointed you, but it’s really not the case. I came here today because of the Duchess.’

‘It’s a flower called Morelia that only grows in the northern part of Mimart. If you dry the leaves and boil them into tea, it’s great for colds. My younger sister caught the flu and ate this, and the next day she felt much better.’

“Thanks to you for coming to visit me when I was sick, it was very comforting.”

Kyle’s expression momentarily changed when he heard her say that, but Asralda didn’t pay attention. She just quietly said what she had to say.

“I don’t mind if you tell the Duke everything I’ve told you, including the fact that I’m a woman. But, as I mentioned before, if you have any other feelings towards me, please put them aside.”

Asralda drew a line as she spoke and bowed politely to Kyle. At that moment, Kyle’s voice was heard above her head.

“By any chance…”

As she looked up at him, Kyle seemed to hesitate, puckering his lips as if he was about to say something.

Asralda patiently waited for him to speak. However, after staring at her for a long time without saying anything, Kyle eventually turned his head.

“Nothing… it’s nothing.”

Asralda politely bowed once more and said, “Then, I’ll go now,” before turning around and retracing her steps.

Until Asralda had completely disappeared from view, Kyle couldn’t take his eyes off her silhouette.




“Who’s been going in and out of Kyle’s office?”

Marinda, at the duchy of Muriel sharply raised her head from her book as she asked the question.

The messenger who had been whispering in her ear nodded his head cautiously.

“You mean every night?”
“Yes. I heard that Lord Kyle requested assistance first.”

Yes, it wasn’t unexpected. Just seeing that he had been dispatched to the Ashard Castle in this situation was enough to confirm it.

‘It must be because of Asralda.’

Thump! Marinda slammed her book shut and threw it onto the table before leaning back against the sofa in annoyance. She said,

“Fine, I know. You can leave now.”

The maids who were neatly laying out the refreshments on the trolley with Ophelia watched her closely.

It was because Marinda’s sharp attitude, which had always been upright and elegant in life, was now unfamiliar.

Shortly after the messenger had bowed and left the room, footsteps were heard outside.

Marinda, who instinctively leaned her ear against the door, quickly got up from her seat as the door opened with a loud noise.

The person who opened the door and walked in was Marinda’s father, Duke Owen.

“Father? What’s going on…?”

He walked in expressionlessly and slapped Marinda’s cheek without warning.


Marinda’s head turned at the loud frictional sound.

At the same time, the maids let out small screams. Marinda silently placed her hand on her cheek. Then, she looked at the maids as if telling them to leave and nodded towards the door.

Except for Ophelia, all the maids disappeared outside, and a chilly silence filled the room.

Owen looked down at his daughter for a moment and straightened his rumpled white cuffs and collar. Then, he removed his sword from his waist and spoke in a gentle voice.

“You secretly went to meet Aiden on the day of the morning banquet at the palace.”
“Moreover, you went to Ashard Castle yourself.”

It had already been a few days since she visited Ashard Castle, but it seemed that news had just reached him. Marinda briefly smiled through her disheveled hair.

“Didn’t I tell you before, Marinda? No matter how high Aiden flies, he can’t even touch the hem of the throne.”
“Moreover, Aiden has been at odds with the nobility since childhood. Even if something happens, he is now a person who has nowhere to turn to. But on the other hand, Mavil is the prince of Mimart, no matter how weak and incompetent he may be.”

Owen slowly approached Marinda and held her chin.

“I think I’ve explained this to you hundreds of times since you were a child. I don’t know why you still didn’t understand such a simple thing.”

He said with a hint of pity as he looked at his daughter’s face.

“Say it again, Marinda. Being born as a human is like being born with a destiny that cannot be denied.”
“And destiny is something that can never be opposed.”

At his words, Marinda unknowingly tore at her knuckles with her fingernails. Blood soon seeped out of her tender skin.

“It’s best for small fries like us to just go with the flow. Do you understand? My daughter.”

Owen finally released his rough grip on Marinda’s chin. He glanced at her as if she was pitiful, then gently patted her shoulder and said,

“I’ll take care of His Majesty the Emperor, so it’s better for you to behave properly from now on.”

Owen coldly brushed off Ophelia, who was trembling next to Marinda, and left the room.

Marinda, who had been staring at the door with a disdainful look, tugged at Ophelia’s shoulder.

“I’m fine.”
“Where are you hurt…Oh my god. Your cheek is red. What should I do?”
“I said I’m fine.”

Marinda brushed away her tears and bit her lip while tearing apart the sofa.

It didn’t matter how many times she was slapped on the cheek. What was more painful was the fact that she had sympathized with her father’s words for a moment.

‘And destiny is something that can never be opposed.’

Marinda, who had been grinding her teeth, spoke.

“Tell them to prepare the carriage early tomorrow morning.”
“Are you going out?”
“Yes, I’m going to Ashard Castle.”
“What!? What if something big happens?”
“I’ll take care of it, so just prepare it.”

Despite Ophelia’s long sermon, Marinda’s decision remained unchanged.

Left alone, Marinda rested her head on the sofa.

The setting sun outside the window had already turned dark red. The garden, dyed in crimson, was so beautiful that it was rare to see, but Marinda was just sulking.

It was a sight she had seen dozens of times before.

While staring at the scene outside, Marinda muttered to herself.

“…I’ll find out if I can change it or not, Father.”

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