It was early morning when I would normally be sleeping. Moreover, the cold morning rain was pouring down.

However, the funeral was crowded with people using umbrellas of various colors.

I also mingled with the crowd, donning a black umbrella and suit. I headed inside the imperial palace.

This was all to commemorate the deceased.

“Duke, you can go this way.”

The servant led me to the room where the emperor's body was enshrined.

It was near the site of the first temple in the thick forest of the imperial palace.

There was also a shrine where the previous emperors were buried.
Each had stone ancestral grave markers.

There was a coffin in front of one wall of the shrine, and many people in front of it were weeping, bearing sorrowful expressions.

Although most of them looked like crocodile tears.

Rather than shed tears like chicken droppings, I prayed for the deceased's soul and prayed for a moment of silence.

Then, I made my way through the place and grabbed one of the attendants who was guiding guests.

“Do you need something?”

“Where is His Highness the Crown Prince?”

“ah… … . I just saw him leave here earlier.”

The servant gave a vague answer, as if he didn’t know the whereabouts of Theodore.

But that alone was enough of an answer for me.

Behind the shrine, if you go into the thick trees, you will see a very small empty clearing.

That clearing is also our secret place. Theodore will be there.

I had been there dozens of times no matter how dark and rainy it was.

Without thinking, I turned my back to the crowded shrine.

I followed the path, which continued to recede into the depths of the thick trees, casually stepping in muddy water as I went along.

“Your Majesty.”

As expected, only Theodore stood, in silence, in the empty clearing.

An umbrella lay on the ground and he was standing in the rain.

He wasn't crying, nor was he laughing.

He just stood in the rain quietly as if he wanted to wash everything away.

I walked up to Theodore and put my umbrella over his head.

“Are you all right?”

Theodore looked at me quietly, then raised one of the corners of his mouth helplessly.

“That’s the first time anyone’s asked me that question. Everyone was talking about my father. No one asked about me… …”

It was pitiable. That's why I had the vague urge to comfort him.

I put down the umbrella I was holding in my right hand. It fell alongside Theodore’s.

My body was soaked in no time.

At this sudden behavior, Theodore looked at me in amazement.

“When Vivian was young, she cried a lot in my arms. But now that I think about it, I’ve never lent my arms to His Majesty.”

“To me… … Do you want me to cry in your arms like Vivian did back then?”

“No, you don't have to cry. I just want to comfort you, Your Majesty.”

I hugged Theodore.

I thought this might hurt his pride. However, he only hesitated for a moment, then hugged me tightly.

Being tall, naturally, Theodore buried his face in my shoulder.

“Thank you, Rosenta… …”

And it wasn't long before another shadow fell over us.

The sudden shadow puzzled me. I looked up and met her bright red eyes.


It was Vivian.

She had picked up once of the umbrellas from the ground and put it over us.


People could come up with 50,000 reasons to drink.

For example, because it’s raining, because there is an important event, because someone has something to celebrate, because something sad has happened.

And today, for those reasons, all the taverns were extremely busy.

“The emperor passed away.”

“Come to think of it, didn't Duke Caligo Estella die a few days ago?”

“Oh, right! Hmm… … . right. Suddenly I remember that joke.”


“There are three great beauties in the Helios Empire, and the only male among them is Prince Estella.”

“What? Ha ha ha ha ha!”

Most of the people who drank at the tavern were drinking while using these stories as snacks.

Except for one person.

“Is he really that pretty? Haha! Has anyone checked him down there? Well, even if the lower half is wrong, so what if he’s really that pretty? … . UGH!”

One of the loudest talkers squealed as someone from behind him smashed his face on the table.

“What the… … .”

The other man couldn't even scream and shivered as his face went pale. He couldn’t take his eyes off the arrow stuck at his feet.

The arrow was transparent and emitted light. It must have been an arrow created by a wizard.



After that, everyone in the tavern ran outside screaming.

Except for those two.

After his dirty talk, the man whose face was crushed would never leave the bar.

His companion was begging and rubbing his hands together in the corner.

“Please, spare me… … . My wife and I, we have to feed our son, Enoch, let me live, let me live… … .”

The man approaching paused for a moment.

“Did you say Enoch?”

Thinking that his appeal had worked, the man shouted loudly.

“Yes! My son Enoch… … .”

Although he failed in the end.

The man died after being hit by dozens of arrows in an instant.

Then the one who was standing leisurely in the middle of the tavern began to take off his hood.

His fine black hair was scattered.
The corners of the man's red mouth were gently raised.

“Such a nostalgic name.”


Immediately after the emperor's funeral, Theodore's succession ceremony took place.

And after that, we barely had time to see each other. Everyone was busy for their own reasons.

I was exhausted as I concentrated on making the Duchy completely my own.

Of course, like me, Theodore had a royal position, and Vivian had to navigate the social world.

However, this did not mean that we lost all contact.

Although we corresponded occasionally, it became difficult to meet each other as freely as we did when we were children.

We were no longer 11- or 16-year-olds.

We were now adults of twenty and twenty-five and our positions were different from before.

As our positions changed, it was natural that the work to be done increased as well.

I was myself, Theodore was Theodore, Vivian was Vivian.

“Still, things were slowly coming to an end.”

I stretched out and leaned back against the headboard of my bed.

The warm morning sunlight, the chirping of birds sitting on the railing outside the window, and the warm temperature.

All of this seemed to be the welcome to a long break.

It had been one month.

A group of nobles had been visiting me every day to make connections and to sort out the paperwork my father hadn't finished.

Was it because of that effort? There was no great difficulty in gradually establishing myself as the 'young duke' in this castle.

But it wasn't all over. One thing remained.

“Duke, did you cough?”

It was not Emma who entered my room. It was a young girl.

She was an attractive child with auburn hair, brown eyes, and freckles.

She is Emma's granddaughter who came up from the countryside and became the new dedicated lady-in-waiting, 'Anna'.


Anna looked at me sitting on the bed and blushed.

Then she asked anxiously, “Duke, it's nice to see you looking so pretty, but should you really sleep so defenselessly like this?”

As I grew up, there was no space left on my fingers and especially not on my ears.

This was only natural because there were so many jewelry-shaped magic tools on them.

This was out of necessity, but they were cumbersome when it came to sleeping.

It was fine now though.

Whenever I felt uncomfortable, I could remove the earrings and rings at will.

There was no more Emma to nag.

“It is not good for me to be defenseless, but not being able to sleep comfortably isn’t good either.”

“That is also true.”

Anna smiled broadly and nodded her head.

Then, with the jewelry box, that had been on the table, in her arms, she held out a hand mirror to me.

It was definitely my face, but it was unfamiliar.

The slightly raised eyebrows, a nose that falls in a pretty curve, and tightly closed lips gave a severe impression.

That didn't mean it looked ferocious.

It's because the calm blue hair and purple eyes made it a calm image as if to offset the feeling of severity.

“Here you go. This, this, this, this… and this is the last one.”

I started putting on the accessories one by one.

My jawline seemed to be thicker than before and my Adam’s apple was protruding from my neck.

After going through all the other changes in turn, I was transformed into the image of the Duke of Rosenta, Estella, whom everyone was familiar with.

I organized my long hair and got up.

“Anna, get ready to go to the imperial palace.”

It was time to go finish my last remaining work.


Among the 4 dukes, Duke Estella was the only not to manage his own territory.

I didn't know exactly why.

I've only heard that it's been like that since the time of my ancestors.

Instead, the castle of Estella existed near the outskirts of the capital and stayed close to the imperial family.

The royal family and the Estella duchy had been in a symbiotic relationship for hundreds of years.

Maybe that's why the Estella family visited the emperor directly whenever the duke changed.

To share good wishes for the future.

“Long time no see, Your Majesty.”

Like the dukes before me, I also came to see Emperor Theodore.

However, the moment I greeted him upon arriving at the imperial palace, he was deeply troubled.

Did I get the timing wrong?

Theodore looked distraught.

Even while receiving my greeting, Theodore's eyes and hands were not resting.

Even so, there were still stacks of papers piled high like a mountain in front of him.

I felt like I had to say something first. I began speaking slowly.

“You seem to have a lot of work.”

Only then did Theodore take his eyes off the papers.

A haggard golden eye turned to me.

A bitter smile hung on his lips and then he ruffled his golden hair as if in agony.

It was a very pained gesture.

“Yeah. There are many documents that I have never seen before so I have to go back through the records that have been collected since my father's reign. This just increases the papers I’m buried in.”

He sighed in despair and hung his head.

That look made me sad.

Is that why? Without much thought, I spat out useless words.

“Can I help you?”

It was said as a pleasantry, out of politeness.

There was no way he didn't know that, so I assumed Theodore would refuse.

I thought he would say that it was his job so he would try his best to the end…

Theodore lifted his head as soon as I finished my words.

His golden eyes, which seemed to have lost their vitality from fatigue, even flashed.

“Your consideration of me is very commendable. I wouldn't dare refuse.”

He smiled so much that it was as though the agony he had suffered until now had been a lie.

Only then did I realize that this smirking Theodore had set a trap.

Theodore waved the bell on his desk as if he was afraid I might run away.

Even though the bell had not even rang a few times, an attendant entered the office as if he had been waiting.

“Bring me a table and a chair for the Duke to sit on.”

“All right.”


After letting out a light sigh, I took off my coat and laid it on the sofa.

It couldn’t be helped.
There was nothing to do but assist.

Rolling up the sleeves of my shirt, I approached Theodore.

Then I pointed to the messy piles of papers and asked.

“What should I start with?”

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