id you say this was called?”

 “Huh? Oh, that… “

Asha who was hesitating for a while, decided that she’d go out shamelessly since he was someone who she would never see again anyways.

“Okay! Let’s call it Pavel Chocolate.”

“What did you say, you chestnut sized thing?”

“Anyways, I was the one who made it in the first place so I’ll call it whatever I want to.
Since Pavel helped me make it, I’ll give it the name Pavel.”

“Don’t just slap the name of the imperial head chef anywhere!”

Asha acted as if she couldn’t hear him and took another bite of the cake.

Her heart, which had been wandering all day today, was warmed by the warm fondant au chocolat which she had just shoved into her mouth.

Asha, whose cheeks were still red from the residual heat of the oven, and had eaten half the cake, looked at Pavel with a desperate expression.

Pavel stepped back with a huff.

“What now?”

“Milk, or something cold.”


Hot chocolate cake and cold white milk. 

As if he could imagine the harmony between them just from her words, Pavel silently poured the milk into the glass.

There were two glasses.

Asha cleanly emptied the bowl of chocolate cake without saying a word, and was momentarily drunk on the taste of it.

“…but do you not have any fruit?”

“This is the kitchen of His Highness, the Crown Prince.
How could there not be such a thing? Of course it’s in the fruits and vegetables storage room.”

“Is there an orange in there?”

“Of course there is.
What are you going to do with that…”

Pavel, who had been talking up to that point, quickly shut his mouth.

As he recalled the fruity taste of the bittersweet chocolate cake with the right balance of sweetness and acidity, his mouth immediately started watering.

“…what are you going to do?”

“Wouldn’t it be even more delicious if we made this cake with sugar that had been soaked in orange peels for a little while?”


Pavel and Asha made eye contact and simultaneously ran towards the cold storage room.

[ / / / ]

“Chef Marka! I need to take snacks to His Majesty the Emperor right now…Head Chef?”

The servant who had run so much he was out of breath, stood in the empty kitchen where a sweet smell drifted out from the open oven and looked around.

There was an urgent order from the top to bring a snack right away, but the chef was nowhere to be found, and only four finished cupcakes were laid out neatly.

It seemed like it had just been baked, the steam still rising from it.

“Wow, Head Chef.
You’ve already prepared it, haven’t you? Thank goodness.”

There were even green leaves on top of the brown cake that was dark enough to look black, acting as a garnish.

As he got closer and smelled the fragrance, a sweet, and somehow bitter and antique scent came up.

Although it was the first cake he had ever seen such a cake, the servant still put two cakes onto his tray without a trace of suspicion.

The servant, who was agonising over what to bring for a drink, saw two empty cake bowls and half a jug of milk, and immediately filled the glass with milk.

And that’s how the servant left the kitchen faster than he came.

[ / / / ]

Alexei’s grandfather, Emperor Mikhail, skimmed through the report with a noble gesture that showed the traces of time on him.

In the meantime, Alexei, who had finished answering the Emperor’s question, was silently awaiting his evaluation.

“The war against the Noctis Elves is about to end.
Karnov Neustadter has worked hard.”

The Emperor recalled the boy who was now fifteen years old, yet he remembered the cold purple eyes which he had thought could not possibly belong to a boy of his age.

When that boy had signed a contract with the Spirit of Death, he had also taken on a huge weight in order to maintain the balance.

And that balancing complementary weight was now with the grandson in front of him.

“But, I do recall there being a slave amongst the people Karnov saved.
And you’ve asked me to absolve that slave’s sins.”

The Emperor tilted his head and asked.

Alexei answered in a soft and unwavering voice.

“He is only a child who has just turned ten years old.
Although the sins of his parents are severe, as a servant of Igor Akinfeev, all he did was embroider as he was ordered.”

“Are you saying it is not a sin to be ignorant of the fact that what he was told to embroider were sentences that were calling for ‘darkness’?”

“…But ignorance is not the business of the common people, but the business of the ruler, right?”

“That ignorance created embroidery that caused the death of three hundred of my people.
Who is going to pay for that?”

“The thing that kills is not a sword but the will of a man.
Please punish that person.”

“An animal that bites a person is slaughtered, and a knife that pierces a person is broken and melted in a furnace.”

Alexei’s smile remained undisturbed, however, there were also no words that came out of his mouth.

The old emperor who watched on silently, suddenly opened his mouth, as if he was going to laugh.

“Even if you save that lowlife, do you think they will show you any gratitude or succumb to your mercy?”

“I didn’t think of that sort of thing.
That lowlife’s parents have already died for their ignorance, and you’ve already killed Igor Akinfeev, who was the one who ordered it, and torn off his limbs.”

“So what are you going to achieve by saving that little one?”


The Emperor tilted his chin.

“The parents are the ones who were sentenced to death for bringing ‘darkness’ and secretly communicating with the Noctis Elves.
That child will no longer be able to live in the North since none of the government officials would want to use him as a slave either.”


“Even if you put him in an orphanage, the orphans would stone him to death, and there would be no parents anywhere in the world who would accept him for adoption, so what if you save him? He’ll starve to death on the street regardless.”


The words of the old Emperor were too apathetic, and came to be sour.

Whilst Alexei was silent for a moment, the old Emperor merely shrugged and continued.

Wasn’t that slave ten years old? Yuriel’s daughter is also ten years old now.
Since they’re the same age, it’ll be easy for them to get along.”

“…Grandfa…Your Majesty.”

“Although Yuriel’s daughter looked small and weak, she looked clever, so we’l leave that child in the Imperial Palace, and give the slave to Yuriel’s daughter to raise.
That lowlife said he would especially determined to become a villain and take revenge, so he might even kill Yuriel’s daughter.”

For the first time, that smile that seemed as if were a mask faded from Alexei’s face, and his blue eyes froze.

With a sparkle of light in his eyes that resembled his grandson’s, the old Emperor met his grandson’s gaze.

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