Contrary to the plan, Avel hasn’t been able to go to the palace for a week.
The reason was simple.
‘I don’t have any money.’
One might wonder why money is needed for a trip to the palace, which was not too far from the capital. However, the situation was not as great as it seemed.
‘That’s why we should plan our expenses.’
Her index and middle fingers tapped her left cheek.
‘Surprisingly, it cost a lot.’
There were two reasons why Avel’s wallet was completely emptied.
First, transportation expenses to and from the capital and the mansion.
Second, buying toys and such to persuade the prince.
Although the palace and the mansion were not far away, it was a considerable distance for even a knight like Dane to travel back and forth on horseback.
‘If there’s a will, there’s a way, but…’
Raising the future villain as a respectable member of society was a long-term battle. Even if she stayed with him every day, it wasn’t enough, and she couldn’t waste time searching for money on the streets. If she were any other noble, she would have a carriage that she could freely use every time she went out…
But her father, who was a new noble, couldn’t afford it. Thanks to that, Avel had to ride a public carriage, squeezing herself between adults while secretly counting the pocket money that was barely enough to buy a rabbit’s tail.
On top of that, buying things worthy of gaining the favor of the First Prince quickly emptied her pockets.
‘Damn that king.’
With this situation, the king had to be considerate and provide a carriage.
Wasn’t she the playmate of his son?
Well, if he had that much sense, he wouldn’t have banished his son to the secluded palace before his twelfth birthday.
‘My father is also something.’
Wouldn’t this be considered a rude treatement by the king?
Her jet-black eyes, which sparkled like marble, blazed with anger.
“This is serious.”
“Yes, it’s really serious.”
A big sigh came out of both of their mouth.
“Who told you to skip lessons all the time?” Marion, the Delaphion siblings’ private tutor, raised her glasses and raised her voice.
“Lady Delaphion, aren’t you ashamed to see your younger brother when you’re like this?”
“Yes, you say?”
“Teacher, how could you compare me with a child who can recite three languages at the age of five and memorize entire books to take the test?” Avel, who returned to reality, glanced indifferently at the test paper. “If our levels are similar, then you can choose to do it. And besides, I got half of them right.”
“You only got half right.”
“Oh, come on, people should live positively.”
“Your younger brother has already…”
“And happiness starts from not comparing oneself to others.”
Marion’s sigh deepened in response to Avel’s clever retort.
“You’ve become more annoying as you turned ten…”
“When did I say I was an ordinary ten-year-old?”
“Well, aren’t you one?”
“I’m an absolutely adorable ten-year-old.” Her chubby cheeks were so cute that they wanted to squeeze them.
Marion’s expression softened slightly, and Avel didn’t miss the opportunity.
“But, Teacher, there’s a really big problem.”
“There’s nothing as serious as your math grades.”
“Heroes don’t need to bother with studying.”
“You’re not a hero-“
“Shh. Don’t worry about such trivial matters.”
Today’s class was lively.
Familiar resignation was seen in her eyes. Socializing was all about timing. Even if he told her to go away or get lost, if he saw her every day, he was bound to develop some affection. That was why the present moment was crucial…
‘Should I just take a leap of faith?’
Her body, which had been sprawled on the sofa, rose energetically.
Having tried it once, she didn’t want to do it again.
Her tangled thoughts landed on one person.
‘I still don’t know what he’s thinking.’
Cheza Ragrachio, the king’s illegitimate child abandoned in the palace. In a few years, he would become a villain sweeping away the pro-king faction, but for now, he was just an extra who hadn’t even reached puberty.
‘He’s not as scary as I thought.’
His gaze wasn’t as eerie as she vaguely remembered from the original story.
“What’s wrong with your head?”
“You’re out of your mind.”
The sarcasm was a little off-putting to be around.
“How am I supposed to trust you?”
“Turn around, no, get the hell out the door.”
“You’re wasting your time.”
As she think about it, she was getting annoyed. She had shown her face countless times, but the psychological barrier just won’t come down. Of course, it was only natural. However, even if she tried to maintain composure, she can’t help but feel anxious.
‘Don’t panic. Don’t panic. In time, even water can pierce through rocks.’
Even in the icy heart of the prince, there will eventually be a crack.
‘Let my immense cuteness melt him like spring.’
The path was still uncertain, but…
Even with just bare ground and trees, Avel could play for a whole day, and her younger brother would enthusiastically join in if it was a new game. On the other hand, Cheza Ragrachio would remain indifferent even if asked to go outside and play, or if presented with cards or puzzles.
No matter what people said or did in front of him, he never took his eyes off the book in his lap.
“Do I really have to walk there?”
“If you want to go so badly, why don’t you ask Dad?”
Her younger brother, reading a book on the opposite sofa, muttered awkwardly.
“Ask Dad to take you when he goes to the palace.”
“When does Dad usually leave, by the way?”
“I’m not sure.”
“At five in the morning! Five o’clock! How am I supposed to wake up then?”
Even when chasing after bounties, she barely held on for that one coin.
‘Sleep is so important at this age.’
Although she had grand dreams, she firmly added.
‘I’m not so eager that I’d give up my morning sleep.’
“Well, then it means you don’t really need to go, right?”
“There are things in this world that we have to do even if we don’t feel like it.”
And for Avel, there was nothing more important than the well-being of her family. She needs to sacrifice a lot for the sake of future peace…
“That’s not possible.”
She can’t do that. The situation was complicated, but there was only one thing she could do.
‘I have to keep pushing my face into the future villain.’
But she have no money.
“Is there an easy way to earn money?”
“My smart little brother. What is it? How?”
“Those people are usually called robber.” A calm gaze flew at her like a dagger. “Are you planning to become a robber?”
My head spun at the composed conclusion from my family’s smartest member, Sananeth.
In the haze of his eight-year-old astute insight, Sananeth added quietly, “Shall I lend you some money, sis?” It seemed like he was genuinely afraid that his older sister might become a robber.
“You don’t even receive an allowance,” she replied, her last remaining conscience kicked in.
“I saved some of the money Dad gave me occasionally when he drinks,” Sananeth said.
“You saved it all?”
It was hard to believe that he had better financial sense than her eight-year-old sister. As thoughts of past expenses—ones that were not even her share—came to mind, her eyes welled up with tears.
“Keep saving it. I won’t touch your money because I have nothing to take from it.”
“Then, sis, how about this?”
“I want to buy a book from the bookstore, but I can’t go alone. If you accompany me, it can be my way of repaying you for granting my request…”
The meaning of the hand gesture with joined index and thumb was clear. The gentle curve of his eyes resembled someone.
“Such a little brat, resembling someone… who could it be…”
The notion of the last remaining conscience was canceled. Avel never had a conscience to begin with.
“What can I do? If it’s Sana’s request, of course I should fulfill it!”
A playful dimple formed on her face.
“When should we go? Today? Tomorrow?”
“Sis, you have to stay right here. Don’t go wandering off anywhere.”
“Act like an eight-year-old, Sananeth.”
Oh, how nervous he was about losing his sister, who was the only one left in the world!
Without me knowing his worries, Sananeth repeatedly urged me.
“Don’t follow anyone just because they offer you candy, sis.”
“I should be the one saying that to you.”
“Will you really stay here? Without moving?”
“That’s right. Can’t you trust your sister?”
A silence that leaned towards affirmation lingered.
Read ahead here.