ll have to.
Don't worry too much, Duke Honeywell will go looking for me if I don't see him even for a moment.”

“I'm glad then…
So are we supposed to stay here?”

Russell shook his head.

If Duke Honeywell comes here to look for me himself, there are several places to go.
It's a place I often go, so for now, let's wait there.”

The outstretching of his hand and grasping her hand were all done very naturally.

Unaware of their actions, the two of them started to move away from people's eyes again.

Every inch of the Imperial Palace was no different from Russell's master bedroom.

He knew when and where the knights were changing shifts, so he knew where to go without the knights getting in their way.

Thanks to that, unlike the garden, they were able to easily arrive at a safe place.

“Where is this?”

The place the two of them entered was filled with bookshelves and books—enough to make them believe it was a library.

Russell answered Rose's question by lighting a red candle on the table.

“It is my resting place.
You can see that I almost only read books here.”

have you read all of this?”

“You can say that.
Rose, come here.”

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Looking through the books on the bookshelf, Rose headed in the direction where Russell stood in front of the fireplace.

He tossed embers into the fireplace, causing the stack of firewood to instantly catch fire.

The heat from the fireplace instantly melted the chill from the cold air, and the room gradually warmed up.

Rose sat down on the sofa in front of the fireplace, and after a moment's absence, Russell appeared with a blanket and duvet in each hand.

He handed the thickest and softest of them to Rose.

“Does Your Majesty sleep here too?”

“If it's annoying to go to my room while reading, I sometimes sleep here.”

Rose wrapped the blanket around her body and buried her face in it.

After working hard in a cold place, being in a warm area like this relieves fatigue and makes me sleepy.

Rose didn't stop talking in case she fell asleep without realizing it.

“Your Majesty, have you ever danced at a banquet?”

“I never danced officially.
As long as I am in the position of emperor, no matter who I dance with, there will be a scandal, so I have to be careful.”

Russell placed a piece of wood in the fireplace and spoke.

“The last time I danced in front of everyone was at my coming-of-age ceremony.”

“Which young lady did you dance with?”

“I danced with Alison.
As I said earlier, it was easier to dance with my sister if I didn't want to get involved with the opposite sex.”

Russell poked the wood in the fireplace with a skewer to make the room hotter and stayed silent.

He got up, as he had finished lighting the fire, and sat down on the sofa across from Rose.
The eyes of the two met.

“I thought you wouldn't be coming to this year-end banquet.
Rose Honeywell is harder to come across than even the Emperor.”

Embarrassment set in when a joke that Rose was all too familiar with came out of Russell's lips.
Rose brushed her cheek.

“To be honest, I didn't attend because I was uncomfortable at banquets with a lot of people.”

“Then why did you come this time?”

“Yeah, this time…”

Rose couldn't finish her words.
Her complexion, which had returned to normal with the heat from the fireplace, paled to a shade of blue.

Rose jumped off the sofa, and the thick, soft blanket rolled down to the floor.


“We have to go back to the banquet!”

Russell looked at Rose's expression quietly.

I don't know what's going on, but that bluish face isn't from the smoke.

“Okay, let's go back.”

Rose intended to go back to the celebrations by herself if Russell didn't move.

But Russell didn't ask her anything, and while Rose was very grateful for that, she also felt sorry.

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However, if she hadn't been able to stop feeling sorry for Russell, she wouldn't have even thought about what happened to the Proud and Honeywell families in the first place.

Rose followed Russell as he left nervously.

Russell quickly evades the knights who were standing guard, but he ran quickly, so Rose had to catch up.

After following Russell, Rose stopped at the stairs that appeared in front of her eyes.

The banquet hall was in a different building from the Emperor's Palace.

According to common sense, shouldn't we go down to the first floor and go outside? I don't remember seeing that overpass connecting the Imperial Palace to another palace.

Rose hesitated and didn't follow; Russell turned around.

He immediately guessed Rose's thoughts and gave her the answer.

“Going down to the first floor and crossing the garden takes a lot of time.
So we will go to the hall through a less guarded area.”

“A place with few guards?”

“Over there, it has the least security in this palace.”

Russell points at the ceiling with his index finger.
Following his finger, Rose lifted her head and looked at the ceiling, then faced the emperor.

“Up there…
Are you talking about the rooftop?”

“That's right.”

Russell climbed the stairs without saying a word.

Rose couldn't hide her confusion as she followed him.

…You mean we need to—How do we get to the rooftop?

The path to the rooftop was completed in silence.

The number of knights standing guard was significantly reduced, so he was able to climb more easily.

When they reached the rooftop, the winter wind was blowing strongly.

In the biting cold and ferocious wind, Rose grabbed onto Russell's coat.

“Rose, we have to get there.”

Rose saw a pillar in the middle of the empty rooftop.

At first glance, it looked like a common structure placed on a rooftop.

Rose approached the pillar with Russell, and even up close, it didn't feel like anything special.

“What is this?”

Russell didn't answer.
Instead, he raised his right hand and lightly touched the pole.

Light leaked from the pillar, which just a moment ago appeared ordinary without any special features.
Rose's eyes widened.

Then she was helplessly drawn into Russell's arms by the force that wrapped around her waist.


Before she could utter a single word, Rose's vision changed in an instant.

When she blinked and slowly opened her eyes for a peek, the space the two were standing on had changed.

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