Chapter 2. Growing Cracks

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Episode 11

Was it because he heard Karina’s story?

It really looked like Tatiana was determined to take her lovers.

“No, I don’t want to be swept away by strange rumors.”

Tatiana’s body twitched at Aster’s rejection.
She fiddled with the bracelet on her wrist again.

Daniel saw the old bracelet she was wearing.

‘I’ll have to buy you a new one since you value it like that.’

Daniel shook his head as he thought that way.

She was the one who always showed only a clear and shiny look.

So that day, when she quarreled with Karina, he couldn’t believe how she looked while claiming all men to be hers.

“Brother.”

The Archduke then appeared and greeted.

“Finally, almost everyone has gathered.”

When the Duke of Gloucester appeared, the nobles gathered in the Great Hall looked forward to the banquet that was about to begin.

However, Aster did not get up from his seat and was talking about the weather leisurely.

As if he was waiting for someone.

Both Daniel and Andrew looked at the emperor and waited for someone.
Tatiana, who watched him, fidgeted with her bracelet with an irritated face.

‘This can’t be happening.’

She felt like her hair would melt from her stress.

Tatiana, whose actions came before her thoughts, decided to boost her score.
She smiled brightly and walked over to Aster.

“Your Majesty, do you know what day it is today?”

Daniel and Andrew were both embarrassed by Tatiana’s sudden action.

And they instinctively realized what she might do to the emperor.

They looked at Aster with anxious faces.

Fortunately, he didn’t seem to care too much about Tatiana’s behavior.
Read only at pm tl.

“Isn’t today the foundation day?”

“Today is not only the day the empire was established, but it is also my birthday.”

Tatiana replied with an innocent smile.

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Daniel was shocked to see her like that.

‘What the hell are you talking about?’

“Right.
It’s the Duchess’s birthday.
Do you want to hear me say happy birthday?”

“Yes.
I wanted to hear it from Your Majesty.”

But this time, Daniel was more restless.

He glanced at the Archduke and sent a signal to Tatiana.

‘What the hell is she doing with her husband behind her?’

This was no different than throwing an open flirtation.

“To want to receive congratulations from me, it seems that Andy must have treated you disappointingly.”

“No, Your Majesty.
Hasn’t it been three years since we became a family? That’s why I’m only saying this because I want to get closer to Your Majesty this time.”

Daniel felt unfamiliar with Tatiana, who poured out her words like a clearing stream.
And he felt awkward.

That single awakening made all of Tatiana’s actions feel strange.

And he was afraid of how the emperor and Andrew would react to that action.

“Ha ha ha.
Right.
Okay…since it’s family, Happy birthday, Duchess.”

“Then, can you give me a birthday present?”

“Tell me.”

Tatiana grabbed her bracelet and smiled softly.

“Please do the first dance with me today.”

The atmosphere froze in an instant.

She was smiling broadly as if only she knew nothing.

“Family…family.”

Aster looked at Tatiana, tapping his armrest with his fingertips.

In the end, Andrew, who was observing the situation, approached Tatiana.

“Titi.
You should tell His Majesty today that you have a partner.”

“But, we are a family.
I’m sure the partner will understand.”

Tatiana’s eyes were full of confidence.
Seeing her like her, Andrew held back a sigh.

The emperor kept Andrew alive because the timing was not good.
The prince at that time faced  intense criticism because he killed too many brothers of his bloodline.

Even Andrew’s mother came from a family that poisoned Aster’s biological mother.
Aster forgave Andrew, and made him the Archduke.

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He seemed to have thrown out the bridle of hatred.

At least outwardly.

“I’m sorry, Your Majesty.”

“Is the Duchess telling lies, brother?”

Tatiana didn’t notice at all the way Aster spoke was mixed with a sarcastic tone.

Tatiana believed that her words were to do her own favor.

Because the world revolved around her.

“But Duchess.
I don’t want to get involved in your promiscuous relationships.
We are family.”

Aster laughed at her gracefully and taunted her.

Tatiana was surprised and didn’t say anything.

She turned and saw the two men who would take her side, but they turned their attention away too.

Who could stand by her Tatiana side at this point?

“My wife’s thoughts were brief, Your Majesty.
Please forgive her.
I guess she just wanted to celebrate her birthday.”

“It was a very childish idea, Duchess.
If you want to live a long life, you’ll have to fix that mentality quickly.
I’m not like other people.”

There was nothing like kindness or friendliness in his eyes as he looked at Tatiana.

She fiddled with her bracelet again.

“But, Your Majesty…”

When Tatiana didn’t want to give up, Andrew grabbed her arm.
He pulled her roughly towards him.

“Andy, I just-!”

“Can you please stay still?

Tatiana bit her lips at his low growling, overbearing attitude.

Aster who watched them looked pretty excited.
Obviously, he heard that the Archduke cherished the Duchess, but looking at them now, that doesn’t seem to be the case.

“Duke Pioneer and Princess Pioneer enter.”

At the sound of the servant’s call, Aster erased his thoughts about the Archduke and his wife.

Because there was something else to focus on.

~*~

(Karina’s pov)

Before going to the Imperial Palace, as I was making the final preparations, a bracelet caught my eye.

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‘It’s an opportunity to check if my bracelet has the ability.’

It was a good situation to test, but there was nothing I could do about it.

There was no benefit for me to look into other people’s minds, saying things I don’t mean, and raising the other person’s favor.

I lifted the bracelet with my hand.

The firm and cool touch on my fingertips felt foreign.

“Miss, are you going to go to the banquet with that old-fashioned thing?”

Lily looked at the bracelet and muttered, horrified.
At her words, I smiled and put on the bracelet and stood in front of the mirror.

“It doesn’t suit you at all.
There are many prettier ones…”

“Hmm.
Is that true?”

Once again, I thought that Tatiana, who wore this bracelet wherever she was, was amazing.

“Go back now! How rude of you!”

Just then, I heard the butler shout outside the door.

Judging by the mixture of murmur and shouting, it seemed that something was messed up.

“Who came?”

“Well, should I go out?”

“No, I’ll go and see.”

I quickly got out of the room.

As I went down the stairs, I saw a round head with blue hair.

“Sir Wilhelm?”

I saw the butler and servants trying to stop him.

Everyone looked very angry.

“Miss.
You can go up ,because the Duke said that if Sir Wilhelm came, he would be expelled immediately.”

Wilhelm immediately subdued the servants blocking him and stood in front of me.

He was one of the strongest in the world, and it was impossible for servants who had no power to stop him.

‘There is no one here to help.’

The number of knights that each family could operate within the capital was limited.
It was because of a special law made by the emperor who had his life threatened several times.

Even if there were a lot of knights, they wouldn’t be able to defeat him, a sword master.

I straightened my back and stepped forward and stood in front of Wilhelm.

Above his well-dressed head, there was a clear bar of likability.

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At the near-zero number, I swallowed a laugh.

Wilhelm’s brow wrinkled at my smile.
He seemed to think I was ignoring him.

“It’s been a while, Miss.”

“I said I wish I didn’t see you in the future, but you don’t seem to listen to me.”

“On that day, you seemed too excited so I just backed off.”

“I was extremely rational.
And it was Sir Wilhelm, not me, who was going to lose his temper that day and resort to violence.”

My words have lowered the level of favorability.

It seemed to be a favorable impression according to the owner of the bracelet.

At least when I touched Tatiana’s, Daniel’s affinity continued to rise.

“That day…I made a mistake.”

He apologized with difficulty.

Even so, Wilhelm was the first to apologize for being rebellious against me.

“I will accept the apology.
So just go back.”

I’m done, so I turned around.

Wilhelm hurriedly grabbed my hand.

“Please reconsider the breakup.”

With an incredibly blatant request.

Reminder: pls do not repost ANYWHERE smh

TL/N: SOOO!!! For kicks and giggles I’m gonna do a poll.
Look at the image below and answer the poll hehe~ May the right answer wins 

 

Should I change Karina's nickname (Karin) to Rina, or Kari? The reason can be found in the image above the poll.

Any backlash for the name change goes to aciddentprone/ap 😛

Rina :)62 votes32.12%

Kari :069 votes35.75%

Keep it as Karin T_T62 votes32.12%

193 total votes

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