“You were late, Estiya.”

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Kaylan vaguely let me know that I was late and that he was worried for me.
He also added that he was on his way to look for me just now.

My timing was perfect.

“The Imperial Palace is very large, brother.
It took me a while to figure out where the restrooms were.”

I fanned my hand to express how hot I became while searching for the bathrooms. 

The warmth I was feeling was raised due to none other than Rodrigo, however.
I must request him to change the perfume he uses.

Kaylan picked up my teacup, emptied it on the fresh grass, then poured myself a cool drink.

“Drink this, Estiya.”

I accepted the glass Kaylan offered me. 

My heart could finally calm down after I consumed the exhilarating beverage.
I breathed in deeply as Rodrigo once again overwhelmed my mind.

I shook my head to dismiss him from my mind when I could feel a hot stare grazing my shoulder. 

It was Detheus.

A fox about to set on its prey.
I must say, that is one accurate description.

I cleared my throat while silently admiring Rodrigo’s blunt expressiveness.

“Sir Rodrigo is late.
I’ll have to check, something must have happened to him.”

Delia rose from her seat.
Her true love for Rodrigo presented in her moist eyes and shaky yet worried tone of voice.

She’s using her dirty ways again.

She was saying that instead of making excuses as to why I was late, asking about Rodrigo was more of a top priority. 

I was a bit upset at the thought of being questioned unilaterally.
Meaning things like ‘the side that posed as a perfect lover failed to act their role’.

I wasn’t in my professional spirit.

The next time she interrogated me, I’d show her my true professionalism and scold her severely!

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I made up my mind.

And, the opportunity quickly arose.
Rodrigo was back.
Delia’s face brightened up like the sun appearing after a long and gloomy day.
She approached Rodrigo and tried to hold his hand.

Now! It’s time to act like a true lover.

I quickly looked around. 

Something to throw, something to throw.
I could just take a piece of my jewelry and aim it her way, but the two were in too bright a place. 

Kaylan would be able to notice the glimmer.

So I dropped the fork to the floor.
The servant approached immediately, but I raised my hand to restrain him, handed him the fork from the floor, and picked up a stone.

Quick judgment, quick action.

That is Cartina.

“Sir Rodrigo, where have you been? Are you feeling better now?”

Delia raised her hand and rested it over Rodrigo’s left cheek.
I pursued the stone relentlessly.

The stone shook the Hepao tree, which then cast a shadow over Delia’s head.
As the birds flew from the tree, ripe Hepao berries fell over Delia.

“Oh, my God!”

Delia stepped back, startled.
But it was too late.
Everything had gone wretched.
The Hepao fruit burst upon Delia’s body and blackened her completely.

“Your Highness the Princess!”

Delia’s maids rushed to their lady and wiped her surprised face. 

Rodrigo remained perfectly fine as he avoided the tree the moment it shook.
All he did was stare at me.

Why? What?

I left my seat and didn’t avoid his gaze.

“Are you alright, Your Highness? I think we best postpone drinking tea until the next time.

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As I approached to comfort Delia, swiftly Rodrigo pulled my wrist. 

Whether I should say he was very strong or had good timing for surprises, these words didn’t fail to leave my mouth as I was dragged into his arms.

Stop pulling my wrist, hombre.

“What is it…”

“Hepao berries are on the ground, Estiya.
You shouldn’t dirty your shoes.”

A man who was worried his lover’s shoes would become dirty while before him a Princess was completely covered in the mess…

“Lo, Lord Rodrigo…”

Delia was in tears.
Her voice desperately strived for Rodrigo’s comfort. 

Unfortunately or not, Rodrigo’s eyes remained completely fixed on me.

What a shame.

“Well, as much as I can tell, Your Highness the Crown Prince, it’d be best we leave now.”

Kaylan stepped out at the perfect timing. 

He glared at Rodrigo’s hand that grabbed my wrist as if he were about to slice it off, then placed down the teacup and rose from his seat.

“It is difficult to have a simple cup of tea with Cartina.”

Kaylan laughed in response to Detheus’s thorny remark.

“Cartina is indeed difficult to reach.
As a Cartina, I sometimes can’t seem to understand myself.”

Kaylan seemed to be on edge.

Was it because of Rodrigo? Then why was he directing his anger Detheus’s way?

“Thank you for the good tea.
I will be sure to pay you back.”

Kaylan jumped over the area where the Hepao berries had fallen and reached out to me.

“Let’s go home, Estiya.”

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“I’ll take you there.”

Rodrigo interjected as soon as Kaylan finished speaking.

“No, there isn’t a need for that.
I’ll lend you my wagon.
I apologize for the lack of treatment I have given you here.”

Detheus then approached the three of us.
I was suddenly caught between the three men.
Delia had long been forgotten.

I was in trouble.
Currently, I was in a fiery love affair with Rodrigo.
So holding Rodrigo’s hand would be the most reasonable choice.
But Kaylan was also an opponent here.

He’s my older brother, my older brother that cares very much about me… Won’t he feel hurt if I refuse him?

I won’t even bother with Detheus.
I agonized for a moment with a troubled expression.


There is one very nice proposition.
I chattered with a bright smile.

“Why don’t we take the wagon together, Rodrigo? Let’s delay greeting the attendants until later.”

Then Rodrigo would take me home, and I could now ride a carriage with Kaylan.

The Crown Prince stepped in, satisfied with my wise and well-thought answer.

“I’d love for you to take my carriage.”

Both Kaylan and Rodrigo frowned, but Detheus didn’t even care to look at them.
Only I seemed to be in his eye of vision. 

No, all three pairs of eyes were still gazing my way.

TN: Make that four from Delia LMAO

My worries deepened while exchanging glances with the desperate, dirty, and threatening stares. 

Arriving at the Imperial Palace was indeed much easier than returning.

Kaylan and I sat side by side in the Crown Prince’s carriage while Rodrigo faced the both of us.

I couldn’t take this situation.
The wagon remained still as if it had been poured with ice-cold water. 

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Although Kaylan frowned Rodrigo’s way throughout the whole ride, Rodrigo only looked out the window in a relaxed manner, as if his gaze didn’t exist.

The two were like sculptures.
Handsome and attractive, with not a single twinge of movement coming from either of them.
I was worried if they were even breathing anymore.

“It’s unpleasant.”

That was Kaylan’s first remark upon entering the carriage.
Kaylan was very, extremely irked.
He disregarded Detheus’s determination to have me in his carriage but seemed to have no idea why we were to leave with Rodrigo.
I don’t think he’ll ever understand.

“The stupid guy always gets caught between us.”

Kaylan whispered into my ear.


I quietly warned him.
I couldn’t ask Rodrigo to try and impress my brother, but I also wouldn’t leave Kaylan to establish an abrupt death flag.

“Alright, Estiya.
I’ll be careful.”

Kaylan’s eyes narrowed to indicate his exasperation.

And silence again.

My head ached as I observed them just sitting there, motionless.
I sighed and rubbed my temples.

At that time, the wagon rattled and bumped.
Rodrigo and Kaylan moved simultaneously as my body bounced upwards.
Rodrigo and Kaylan quickly reached out and held me tight.



Then, they made eye contact mid-air and stared into each other in displeasure. 

They each tightly grasped both my arms, as if they were playing tug-of-war using my body. 

Mind me, both possessed extraordinary physical strength.

What if they ended up tearing my body apart?

“Brother, Rodrigo.
It hurts.”

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