I wasn’t lying.
When the Emperor and Empress died and young Ian was left alone, Duke Bledel could have killed him.


However, he changed his mind and wanted to become the next emperor’s maternal grandfather.
Despite the resistance of the opposition, the plan was strongly pushed forward thanks to Emperor Benjamin, who approved the marriage of the two children.

Since Emperor Benjamin suddenly passed away without invalidating it, the Duke had his own plausible justification.

Now that Ian’s power has grown, Duke Bledel may be sorely regretting the decision.

“I’ve never forgotten it either, Lethenia.”

Ian’s emotionless voice, devoid of pitch, cut like a knife into my heart.
In the stifling atmosphere, he took a step closer to me.

We shouldn’t be this close.
It’s easier to control my emotions if I keep physical distance.

With that thought running through my mind, I reflexively took two steps back.
He tilted his head slightly as if my behavior seemed strange.

He took another step closer.
I took another two steps back, and the distance between us increased.

Contrary to his beautiful smile, he continued in a cold tone.

“Our marriage was something you wanted so badly.
It’s not something I should thank the Bledel family for…… I think it was a necessary transaction for each other.”

For a moment, anger surged through me like a hot fireball dropping into my chest.
My anger overshadowed the tension in my stomach.

Transaction?

Lethenia only wanted to be an Empress because she truly loved him.
The term “transaction” would only apply to him and Duke Bledel.

Ultimately, the result of that transaction came back to her as punishment.

“I know how you feel about Duke Bledel, but at least I was true to you, and what makes you any different from him, who only thinks of using me and then throwing me away?”

Ian’s smile gradually faded, and his gaze became even colder.
But his dark expression only fueled an indescribable anger within me.

Somehow, the more I mixed my words with him, the more my composure wavered.
I turned my body slightly in one direction.


Let’s calm down.
I paid attention to mind control again and delivered what I had to say in a calm voice as much as possible.

“You’re right.
We’re not ordinary people, so a normal marriage would be impossible.
So, although we live together in the palace, I hope we can stay free without interfering with each other.
I think you want that, too.”

“Why are you doing this all of a sudden?”

“I need to grow up too.”

“Do you think that’s possible?”

“We’re already living like that now.
You don’t come to the Empress’s palace, and I don’t go to the Emperor’s palace.
At best, we see each other on official business a few times a year.”

“Well, you’re so weak that I have to go see you every time you collapse.”

Ian’s words sounded somewhat sarcastic.
Upon realizing this, a huge sense of anger rose up inside me like a raging fire.

“That’s not going to happen anymore.
No, even if I’m really sick, I will never call you.
I’m sick of seeing your face.”

One corner of Ian’s mouth lifted slightly.
His eyes alternated between amusement and curiosity.

“I’m a little surprised to hear that coming out of your mouth.”

“I won’t really bother you anymore.”

While I was at it, I thought about the future and decided to mention the heroine, Rosetin.

I wanted to secretly appeal that I was never an evil woman trying to bully or kill Rosetin.

“And if either of us gets involved in marital affairs, I hope we won’t bother each other.”

“…….”

“I’m okay with you being in love with another woman, really.”


“…….”

“That’s how couples who are married by political marriage live in Asha.
Someday I may want to have a lover.”

He didn’t say anything in response.
The continued silence made the place even more still.

I rolled my eyes and examined his expression.
His eyebrows wrinkled for a moment.

Even his trademark fake smile vanished without a trace.
He answered with a darker tone of voice.

“If that’s what you want, then so be it.
As long as someone doesn’t use it to annoy me.”

Someone’s going to annoy him for having an affair……It seems like the “someone” he was referring to was Duke Bledel.

“Duke Bledel has no right to say anything.
This is a matter between the two of us.”

“Unfortunately, he has always intervened in the matter between us.”

“It has nothing to do with him.”

“I wish it were as simple as that.”

Ian’s absurd words made me even angry.
I snorted.

“Don’t try to drag me into your fight.
You know, in this place, a powerless woman is always forced to make sacrifices for her family.
I have to suck it up and deal with the consequences, even if I don’t want to, or I’ll be disowned by my father or be abandoned by my husband.”

Ian looked momentarily confused at my words, but quickly erased any emotion and looked at me impassively, as if he hadn’t heard anything.

The skill of maintaining a poker face in any situation is something I wish I could teach myself.
I couldn’t get used to his cold expression, as if blue blood would come out.

“Anyway, I’ve made my point, so you can figure it out.”

“All right, we’ll see.”


Ian’s answer was short and simple.
Unlike me, who was swept around by tsunami-like emotions, he seemed completely calm and collected, making me feel empty.

He turned and left with his attendants.
I stared blankly at his retreating figure.

The anger I felt a moment ago had begun to subside, but at the same time, it had been replaced by Lethenia’s sick and troubled feelings.

Her fragile heart was swinging unsteadily in different directions.

*

Stella unfolded a thick stack of papers and spoke with a puzzled expression on her face.

“As you instructed, I’ve made a list of men who might appeal to Her Majesty, but I don’t think there’s anyone like the Emperor…….”

Not long ago, I ordered Stella to bring in a list of unmarried men who are handsome and not too old.
This was to spread a rumor that the Empress was looking for a lover because she was getting tired of palace life.

Of course, Theo, who will act as my fake lover, was the most likely candidate, but I was worried because his reaction was not very good.

Theo’s words echoed in my head.
I stared at my neatly manicured nails.

That day, after Theo left, I thought about Stella.
According to her, Lethenia had a habit of biting one of her finger nails when she was alone.

So, she usually carried a fan or held her fist lightly, hiding her messy hands naturally.

These details weren’t in the original, so I didn’t know.
Theo’s gentle yet subtly piercing gaze somehow seemed to see right through me, and it made me nervous.

Anyway, I decided to put aside my uneasy thoughts and examine the documents in front of me.
Inside were the personal information and portraits of the men who had been selected as candidates.

But… there was an unexpected problem.

“Stella, didn’t I ask you to bring me handsome men?”


“Yes, you did.”

The strange setting in the original came to mind, where only Ian and Theo were considered handsome in this world.
Even a brief glance at the portraits made it clear.

There was no one else who could match the main and supporting characters in the original.
I do not discriminate in appearances, but this was too out of proportion.

“Hmm… Are you sure you’ve looked it up? Are these the most handsome men in Aisha?”

“There are so many outstanding people around you, so it’s hard to be satisfied with that.”

Stella hit the nail on the head with her irrefutable statement.
There was no other choice, so I continued to read the documents, hoping to make some useful connections in the future.

My gaze stopped at the bio of a man named Linus William.

[Name: Linus William

A professional Demon hunter

Age: 25 years old

Special notes: Mixed Kebel descent.
Excellent swordsmanship.
Steel stamina.
Son of a poor farmer, he was orphaned after the war and lived a low life before joining a mercenary organization.
Gained fame as a dragon slayer after working as a demon hunter.]

He had dark hair, dark skin, a small scar on his forehead, and a rough appearance that suited his job as a hunter.

Somehow, this man seemed like he could be useful.
Asha was a country where magic was forbidden, and to obtain anything related to it, one had to enlist the power of a multinational organization that was not bound by national laws.

Like the mercenaries led by Linus William.

“I told you about the love potion the other day.”

As I stare at the papers, Stella casually mentions the love potion.

Love potions.
In this world, there was a magic potion with a clichéd name that appeared in every novel.
An enchanting potion that was said to make anyone who drank it fall in love with anyone they wanted.
I needed it.
But not to make someone fall in love with me.
The Love potion was a strange drug, just like its name.
If someone who was already in love took it, they would lose their feelings of love and become numb instead.

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