Chapter 3. Rule Breaker

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Episode 25

As my father refused to get up easily, I saw my mother pinch his forearm slightly.

‘That must be quite painful.’

Still, my father tried to sit still.
In the end, he got up only after being hit on the back.

As the two left, Aster burst into laughter that he had been holding back.

“They’re really on good terms.”

“Oh? I think so too.
It would be nice to be together like this again.”

“You must be bothered.”

“What? Ah… I can’t help it.”

I knew it wasn’t all my fault that my parents divorced.

But the fact that the starting point was me made me feel strangely guilty.

“The princess has a lot of thoughts and a lot of worries.”

“It seems that the innate personality is unavoidable.”

I’ve only met him a few times, but strangely, in front of him, I feel like my vigilance was lifted.
Read only at pm tl.

Was it because, unlike other people, he was not a target in the game?

I turned my gaze away to hide my easily disturbed heart.

“By the way, when did you learn magic?”

“Ah… I’m just learning the basics because my mother told me to learn enough to protect myself.”

“You’ve only learned the basics, but your talent is amazing.”

Aster who said so was also a possessor of strong magic.
He seemed to be making fun of me, so my cheeks reddened on their own.

“Do you make this face when you’re angry?”

“…Don’t make fun of me.”

He made eye contact with a playful smile.

The moment I looked into his deep purple eyes, I remembered the day I had an accident.

“Thank you for coming to the rescue that day, Aster.”

“Oh?”

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“If it weren’t for Aster, Nivea and I would be dead.”

Aster’s expression changed strangely at my words.

He didn’t say anything for a while and then asked me.

“Didn’t the princess run away by magic?”

“What?”

“At the time of the incident, I had not yet departed, and when I arrived at the scene, the wizard had already diminished the flames.”

“Huh, but I remember someone waking me up.”

“Did you see the face?”

I shook my head at Aster’s words.

“All I remembered was that he has eyes the same color as yours.”

After a moment’s silence, he opened his mouth.

“I found you lying in the alley next to the store, but you remained unconscious all along the way.”

I stared blankly at Aster’s face.

Perhaps there was a possibility that I saw Aster in the midst of being distracted with mixed memories and dreams at will.

But it was still unknown who had rescued me from the fire.

“Karina.”

Aster gently grabbed my hand.

“Mana is essentially the power to listen to what the caster wants the most.
Maybe you’ve driven your magic to live desperately.”

It was only after I saw his worried expression that I came to my senses.

“Yeah, I must have misunderstood something.”

I could find out about the truth of that day later.
Now I had to focus on Aster.

I shook my head and got up from my seat.

“Would you like to go for a walk to digest? There are things I want to show you other than what you gave me.”

In order to change the mood, I led Aster out.

Upon arriving, I showed him the glass greenhouse I had been cultivating with my mother.

“You said you learned magic with this?”

Aster looked unbelievable.
I understood his feelings, because I too was skeptical at first.

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“Yes, because I actually did it.”

“Actually, the princess’s talent may be enormous.”

It wasn’t a compliment, because Aster’s face was full of playfulness.

After that, Aster joked around while I explained how I would take care of the glass greenhouse in the future.

We then left the greenhouse.

The sky, which had begun to turn red and orange, had the sun shining over his head.

His blonde hair fluttered in the air with each smile.

In an instant, I was convinced.

Because it rained last night, I will remember this moment for the rest of my life, filled with the fresh scent of grass.

~*~

(3rd person pov)

Andrew was tense at the emperor’s sudden order to enter the palace.

He had recently been given the amount of defense budget he had just wanted, but he was worried that it might be canceled.

Andrew cleared his cluttered mind as he walked down the ornate hallway.

“Welcome, Archduke.”

“Is His Majesty inside?”

“Princess Pioneer is here, so please wait.”

At a time like this.

Andrew bit his lips, trying to keep his expression on his face.

How much time has passed…

It wasn’t a long time, but to Andrew, it felt like hours.

He could clearly sense how happy Karina was at the sound of laughter coming from inside.

There was a time when she and Andrew were like that.

The days that were happy and enjoyable just being together.

He shook his head to shake his thoughts away.

Soon the door opened and Karina came out.

She wasn’t even surprised to see him.

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Andrew bowed lightly and watched Karina’s back as she passed him.

“His Majesty has told you to come in.”

“I see.”

Andrew’s muscles tensed all over his body.

It wouldn’t be strange if he showed a gap in front of the emperor and his neck was blown off at the spot.

“I’m coming in, Your Majesty.”

“Come in.”

Andrew opened the door and went inside.

Aster looked out the window and said nothing.
Andrew waited until he offered him a seat.

‘You seem to be watching Karina leave.’

He didn’t even have to look to know it.

He remembered seeing Aster running down the street on his father’s lap when he was young, crying.

Andrew moistened his lips with his tongue to wipe the bitterness away.

“Oh, sorry to keep you waiting.”

“No, Your Majesty.”

“Sit here.”

The emperor then offered him a seat.

Andrew was a little relieved at him.

If Aster had called to rebuke him, he would not have offered a seat.

He would have stood there for hours and hours, spinning his words around, waiting for him to confess his mistake.

“What made you have me enter the palace in a hurry?”

“Ah, I think I have something to thank you for.”

“What?”

It was a good sign that he scored points with the emperor.

Andrew loosened his grip on his hand slightly.

But no matter how much he thought about it, he had no memory of doing anything the emperor would be grateful for.

“I did some research and it said you were in Berris Street a few weeks ago.”

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“Yes? Ah… I went because there was a problem with the boutique run by the duchy.”

“Yes, that day.
There was a fire in the run-down boutique on your way, do you remember?”

Andrew clasped his hands again.

He remembered what had happened that day.

He made sure that no one was around and walked out quietly.

If so, what was left was Karina, and there was a high probability that the story came from her.
Andrew lowered his head to hide his strange euphoria.

“Thank you for saving my fiance.
I have called you to tell you that.”

Aster leaned on his back and spoke.

“Kari said she thought it was me who helped her.
But I wasn’t there.”

After a moment’s hesitation, the emperor wiped his chin with his hand.

Watching where his fingertips were headed, Andrew moistened his parched mouth with water.

In the end, he told the truth first.

“There were people who were in danger along the way, so I just helped.”

The emperor was very possessive of his own.

From childhood, the only thing that could be said to be entirely his was his body and the crown prince seat.

Anyways, how much blood and tears he shed to protect himself from those who constantly seeked the throne.

Andrew instinctively noticed that the emperor had a strong possessiveness for Karina.

“Yes, yes.
I called to compliment you, so don’t be so nervous about it.
I’m trying to reward you.”

“No, Your Majesty.
I just did what I had to do.”

“Don’t give up and accept it, I will bring down the jewels and seasonal stones.”

After being told that the emperor would give him seasonal stones that were hard to find, Andrew eventually accepted his favor.

“Then you may leave, I’m sorry I told you to come because you’re busy.”

“Yes, Your Majesty.”

Andrew got up and headed for the door.

It was as if he was walking with his back to a lion.

The moment he grabbed the doorknob, he heard Aster’s voice.

“By the way, isn’t the boutique run by the duchy completely opposite to the store on fire?”

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