The voices calling out to me abruptly ceased, and in an instant, the dinner table fell silent.
The glass shattered against the defensive magic cast by Lucerne, turning into sparkling dust that dispersed into the air.
Cold water trickled down the invisible barrier.

I felt my heart pounding with surprise, although there was no immediate danger.
I was worried if the children were frightened.
Fortunately, the observant Caleb and the servants quickly guided the children away from their chairs, covering their eyes and holding them close in their arms.

Collis bit her lip.

“A defensive… magic.
Lucerne, was it you?”

Lucerne remained silent.
His face, as he looked at his sister in his hands, was consumed by cold fury.

“What are you doing right now?”

“I… I was so angry, I didn’t even realize… Lucerne.”

The dining area fell eerily silent, as if frozen.
Not a single person, from the servants to Lucerne’s family and the children, made a sound or moved.

An aura of crimson energy flickered around Lucerne, sharp as a blade, even just by looking at it.

“That was a defensive magic I had cast in case Mother attempted to harm Astia again.
I never expected you, sister, to lay your hands on her.”

“Lucerne, just listen to me.”

“Didn’t I listen to you the entire afternoon? If it weren’t for you, I would have silently let Astia be blamed.
Perhaps I would have even publicly displayed her severed limbs as a warning.”

His eerie words made me instinctively shrink my shoulders.

Lucerne warned in a low voice, “Please be mindful of your actions in the future.
I request it, sister.”

“No matter how much you threaten me, even if you try to kill me, I will not waver in my resolve.
It’s for you, Lucerne.
I love you.
I can’t exist in this world without you.”

Before she could finish my sentence, Lucerne’s cold gaze silenced her.
The room remained in a heavy, suffocating silence.

“More than anyone else…”

Her voice trembled, but Collis remained steadfast in her stance.

“I will oppose you and Astia until the end.”


As Lucerne raised his voice, the energy swirling around him spread in all directions.


Someone screamed.

The bluish energy shook the crystal chandelier hanging from the ceiling of the dining area, causing delicate crystals to collide and produce a tinkling sound.

Hundreds of candles that illuminated the dining area extinguished simultaneously.
A few candles that were still lit flickered uneasily.

Collis, as if possessed by evil, raised her voice.

“You are already possessed! You cannot do this to me.
Our shared hardships, trials, and those terrible times cannot be ruined by just one woman!”

“I am deeply grateful to you, Sister.
Without you, I would no longer exist in this world.
However, that doesn’t mean you have the right to mistreat someone precious to me.
You can do as you wish with me, but do not lay a finger on Astia.
This is not a request, but a warning.”

In the darkness, the eyes of the two individuals glowed even brighter.
The radiant pair of abyssal eyes engaged in a silent battle in the air.

While engaged in this eye battle with Lucerne, Collis suddenly turned her body and extended her hand towards me.


As Lucerne raised his voice, I startled and stepped back, but Collis was faster.
Perhaps because she had no intention of attacking, the defensive magic did not stop her.
She grabbed a handful of my hair and pulled, tearing a strand away.



Geo, who had been watching from Caleb’s arms, raised his voice.

The scalp that was pulled stung.

Collis, holding my torn golden hair, turned to Lucerne with a triumphant expression.

“Surely there will be evidence.
I’ll go and see.
If I see it with my own eyes, you’ll believe too.
Just wait, Lucerne.
You’ll soon find out how incredible of a magician your sister is.”



“No, wait a moment! Please wait!”

I shouted, but Collis paid no attention and quickly left the dining area.

“Wait, sister!”

Following Lucerne’s voice, blue lights wreaked havoc on the dining table and decorations.
The sparkling dishes and untouched food scattered on the floor in disarray.

“Aaaah! Mom, I’m scared!”

The children screamed, hunching their bodies.

The plates in front of them fell and broke, and even Mirana, covering her ears with her hands, trembled.

“Kyaaak! No! Ahh! What on earth is this!”

“Lucerne, that’s enough.
Stop now!”

I tried to stop him, and the blue energy that had spread around me weakened.
However, his expression remained stern, indicating that his anger hadn’t completely subsided.
He glanced at me briefly and tightly closed his eyes.

“I’m sorry, Astia.”

“It’s okay.
It’s just a little hair pulled.
So please stop using magic now.”

“Dinner has become a mess.”

“Is dinner really important right now?”

“Of course it is.
I should inform the kitchen staff to prepare it again.”

I barely managed to suppress a bitter laugh.
The lingering blue light in the surroundings gradually faded.
The servants and children, including myself, cautiously relaxed, but Mirana continued to tremble and mutter nonsense like a frightened person.

“What is this? How on earth… How could something like this happen in the palace?”

“Mirana, are you okay? Mirana! Snap out of it! You, Lucerne! How dare you do this to Mirana!”

“I haven’t done anything to your mother.”

His tone was devoid of emotion, but to Mirana, even that was terrifying.
She convulsed, and then collapsed under the chair.

“Go away! Get away from me! Ahh!”

“For heaven’s sake, Mirana! Pull yourself together! Doctor! Fetch the palace physician! Hurry!”

Caleb quickly disappeared, presumably to call for a physician.

“Ugh, huk! Hic! Uwook!”

Through the chaos of the ruined dining table, I could hear Mirana’s gasping voice.
Even though I had no medical knowledge, it was unsettling to hear.
It sounded like retching and struggling for breath.

Henry lifted Mirana’s body and shook her frantically.

“Mirana! Mirana! Please, come to your senses! Breathe!”

She’s not breathing?

Startled, I rushed towards the fallen Mirana, but Lucerne’s grip on my wrist stopped me in my tracks.

“Where are you going?”

“She’s not breathing!”

Lucerne’s expression was peculiar as he looked at me, as if questioning why it mattered to me.
Honestly, I didn’t want to get any closer.
It didn’t seem like he would appreciate my concern, and since I had no knowledge or abilities to help, I felt utterly helpless.
But could I simply stand by and watch someone suffer?

In that moment, while I was locked in a standoff with Lucerne, the children rushed towards Mirana.


“Grandma, are you okay?”

“Are you alright? Does it hurt anywhere?”

“Is Grandma sick?”

My heart trembled.


Marley and Rie were in a frenzy.

“Mom! Grandma seems really sick! She’s shaking so much!”

“Foam is coming out of Grandma’s mouth, like droplets!”

“This is just like back when Mom was sick!”

Foaming at the mouth? That’s a really serious situation.

I quickly turned my head to meet Lucerne’s gaze.
When I looked at him with a questioning expression, he nodded.

“Dipeume will handle it.
It’s best to wait for the experts rather than letting uninformed individuals interfere and make things worse.
Making a fuss won’t change anything.”

“But Lucerne, aren’t you worried? She’s your mother.”

“I don’t see why I should be worried,” Lucerne replied with a dismissive tone.
It was as if he was implying that it was unnecessary for him to be concerned about Mirana.
He spoke softly, almost in a way that only I could hear.

“Some parents are no better than strangers who don’t know a thing.”

I was at a loss for words.
Henry and Mirana, what on earth have you done to Lucerne?

I released my grip on Lucerne’s arm, which I had been holding to go towards Mirana.
I stood still, silently watching her trembling figure.
It seemed that, as Lucerne had said, it was a time to wait for Dipeume to arrive and fulfill her duty.

At that moment, Geo, who had been pacing around nervously, sat down next to Mirana.
The child bit their lip and alternated between glancing at Henry and Mirana, mumbling softly.

“Mom, I’m sorry…”

What could they possibly be sorry for?

Before I could ask, Geo grabbed Mirana’s cheek and turned her head to the side.

Henry’s face turned red, and he wore a menacing expression.

“How dare you lay a hand on someone like ☆☆☆ to Mirana!”


Henry swung his hand, and I rushed towards the child without thinking.

Geo closed his eyes tightly and cowered, but he didn’t let go of Mirana’s face.

Just as Henry’s hand was about to reach Geo, Lucerne raised his hand, and a beam of blue light extended from his hand, enveloping the child.

Blocked by the blue barrier, Henry, unable to reach Geo, trembled and shouted in frustration.

“You, Lucerne! How dare you protect that ☆☆☆☆☆ who dared to lay a hand on your mother! What were you thinking?!” Henry shouted.

“Shut up before I tear your throat apart,” Lucerne retorted with an indifferent tone.
He looked at me with a gaze that seemed to say there was no need to worry.
I wiped the cold sweat that had appeared on my palm onto my dress.

Meanwhile, Geo forcefully inserted their finger between Mirana’s lips, prying her mouth open.
Mirana made a gasping sound and then coughed, producing frothy saliva mixed with food that dribbled out.

Henry, shocked by the vomit that splattered onto the floor, raised his voice.

“Mirana! ☆☆, what on earth are you doing, Palace Physician!”

“Grandfather! Please don’t let go of her head! Keep holding onto Grandmother!” Geo shouted.

Enraged, Henry grimaced at Geo.
Despite the cold sweat on his forehead and the dirt clinging to his hands and arms, Geo remained undeterred.
They pressed Mirana’s cheek to prevent her from looking up and opened her mouth.

Coughing and vomiting continued a few more times, and Mirana’s trembling gradually subsided.

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