I knew we would be able to greet each other comfortably, as we had no choice but to become acquainted because of Ingrit.
But I didn’t expect it to be like this.


Wait.
If I were to nitpick, wasn’t this also probably due to my desire? I couldn’t believe I was this much of a pervert.
What the hell was in my subconscious?

In any case, what was I supposed to answer?

[Please tell him, ‘No way.
How could I be upset?’]

A welcome help popped up.

“No way.
How could I be upset?”

I straightened my back as if I were defending myself.

“But you weren’t looking so good when you left the palace before.”

“That’s because Brother keeps bothering Celina! I told you to stop! I kept stopping you! And how can someone openly say that they are upset with none other than the crown prince? Brother sometimes doesn’t take into account the most important things.”


Ingrit glanced at Cain as she criticized him.

“What? Then you were upset.
I can’t believe you said it wasn’t like that, even back then… That’s a downright lie.”

Cain tilted his head to one side, and a sharp glow appeared in his eyes.
The excitement and anticipation of having a one-on-one conversation with a favorite character were overshadowed by the curiosity that accompanied the strange anxiety.

“Celina.
I clearly told you there’s no need to care about such personal matters with me.
I’m the one who will get upset if you’re like this.”

[I’m sure I said I shouldn’t, Your Highness.]

I read the words that appeared.

“So.
Are you feeling better now?”

He changed the topic, as if he didn’t believe me.

“I am fine now, Your Highness.”


It was a complex feast of informalities and honorifics that I couldn’t figure out.
I lowered my gaze.
My hand was still being held.

As she lived while being confined, Celina’s body was very thin and weak.
In contrast, the veiny hands of the man showed signs of holding a sword for a long time.

Besides, his calloused skin was very rough, so it almost felt like it was scratching the back of my hand even though he was holding on to it very slightly.

“Please refrain from pushing my daughter too hard, Your Highness.”

Elijah, who was only wriggling his fingers because he couldn’t openly brush it off in the presence of the crown prince, suddenly interrupted.

“Archmage, really.
You misunderstood greatly.
I didn’t mean to do that, so please don’t be angry.”

Cain took a step back with a pleasant look on his face.
At last, freedom came to Celina’s arm.

“Your Highness, really.
You misunderstood greatly.
I never felt any anger at all.”

“Is that so? Oh, my God.
I’m sorry.”


“What are you talking about? What do you mean, sorry? You don’t have to.
It makes me embarrassed.”

Elijah returned the sarcasm in a natural way.
I looked at Elijah and Cain as if I were watching the ball go back and forth in a game of soccer or table tennis.

Wow, these guys are already like this.
How can they be like this as soon as they met?

“Not at all.
I have learned that a wise and sagacious man is responsible for what he says and does to the end.
And I think that’s evident in these trivial conversations.
But I guess the Archmage doesn’t think so.”

Cain clearly pronounced the words ‘wise and sagacious man’.

“Your Highness.
If you are conscious of those things and mention them out loud, doesn’t it seem like an act? It has to be natural to have any value.”

“In that case, are you telling me that I’m not natural?”

The two people’s eyes met sharply.


“Well, well! Should we sit down quickly?!”

Fortunately, Ingrit stepped forward to mediate their conversation, which was becoming more and more intense.
She smiled at the guests and poked Cain in the back.

“Brother, can you please take care of the ladies?”

She performed a near-perfect ventriloquism.

“Then, the three ladies, please come this way.”

Cain faked a smile and rubbed his back once, guiding me, Elizabeth, and Henrietta separately.
He pulled the chair for each of us and went to his seat.

Soon after, the emperor, Alluster Heihel, appeared, wearing a red cloak embroidered with gold thread.
A firm, strong face like an old tree looked at us and smiled faintly.
Everyone who was sitting got up.

“Welcome to the guests.
Please, take a seat.”

The emperor opened his arms and sat at the top of the table.
Elijah was looking displeased since a moment ago.
He looked like he wanted to leave this place right away.

Today, those who were gathered were wearing at least one piece of red on their bodies.
Thanks to the mages residing in the imperial palace, the temperature inside it was warm throughout the year.
So, there was no need to dress in thick clothes.

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