“…There’s no need for that.”


Siara scratched the nape of her neck as if to ask what was so exaggerated. 

Dianel looked at her that way.
She felt somewhat uneasy about that gaze.

It wasn’t something she disliked or found burdensome.
It had been more pronounced before. 

Dianel had exuded an intimidating presence that was difficult for anyone to match, and knowing Dianel only added to her bias against him.

But it wasn’t like that now.
Dianel had a more docile side than she had expected.
His position and status were not displeasing, like a tongue in her mouth.
The mistakes of the past had also been diluted to a considerable extent.

It would have been fine if it had stopped there, but Dianel approached Siara without stopping.
As if the previous actions had been mere preparations, he openly revealed his true feelings.

Siara, who had been acting tough about men until now, noticed and stopped.
She realized he saw her as a woman.
That fact made her more conscious of every action she took.

Above all, Dianel, who had lost his aggressiveness and dominance, looked pitiful.
Why did those lifted corners of his eyes seem like they were about to cry…

‘This is dangerous!’

Siara, who instinctively noticed her strange behavior, stood up abruptly.

“I, I’m leaving.”

“Are you leaving already?”

Dianel quietly looked up at her.
There was a pupil-like regret that filled his eyes, even though he didn’t hold onto her.

This person, who had shown bold actions like grabbing her chin a little while ago, seemed unexpectedly passive.
He acted like he was being rough, but in reality, he was afraid of being rejected and left.

Looking at his face, Siara realized why he listened so attentively to what she wanted when she stood in front of Dianel.

He was excessively adorable.
Yet, his desires were clear.

Dianel willingly hoped that she would stroke her head, and now…

“It seems like you’re going to come, so I prepared dessert.”

“…”

“To leave without eating it…”

His lowered eyes, the voice filled with regret, and the careful grip on the corner of his apron, were all excessively demanding.


It was a stimulus that went beyond Siara’s limit.

“Ahhh!”

Siara screamed as if having a fit, then sat back down.

“I’ll eat it! Just eat it!”

“Yes, please enjoy it.”

“After finishing it, I’ll leave right away!”

“Of course.”

Dianel returned calmly and elegantly sipped his tea.
Although his appearance was calm and composed, Siara still lingered in his gaze.

Aware of his presence, Siara took a bite of the chocolate cookie and accidentally spilled half of it.
A piece of the cookie that looked appetizing fell onto her dress.

“Ah.”

As soon as Siara sighed, Dianel took out a handkerchief from his pocket and gently brushed away the crumbs.

“I’ll do it.
Let me take care of it.”

Dianel smiled, lifting the corners of his mouth, seemingly aware of her embarrassment.

“Please, I’m happy to do something for you.”

Siara’s cheeks grew warm, and she cooled them with the back of her hand.
It was not only Dianel but also the fact that someone openly said such things that she was not accustomed to.

Taken aback by her reaction, she even forgot about the presence of Hierian lurking in her shadow.

Her lips trembled for a moment, and she managed to speak.

“Is this because you’re sorry? If that’s the case, you don’t have to do it anymore.”

“…I’m sorry.”

At that moment, Dianel’s hand paused.
He lifted his bowed head, still holding onto Siara’s skirt.
Their faces were so close that their noses almost touched.

Siara held her breath.
Dianel chuckled, knowing that she was tense.
Finally, her eyes mirrored a similar warmth.

Genuinely delighted by that fact, her eyes narrowed into a beautiful smile.
Siara swallowed once again upon seeing his face.


Not missing the opportunity, Dianel probed deeper.

“I’m sorry.”

“…Fine, I understand, so now—”

“And I believe there will be more things for me to apologize for in the future.”

Dianel straightened up completely.
Siara blinked her eyes as she found herself enveloped by Dianel’s presence.

The face she had looked down upon was now above her.
It blocked her front and back, filling her view.

Rather than being scared, it felt familiar and intimate.
The sense of dissonance confused her even more.

Despite this, the space between them continued to narrow steadily, as if they were trying to feel each other’s breath.

Suddenly, a lump resembling a sprout emerged from the shadows and took on a human form with a wriggling motion.
Then, it squeezed in between them and embraced Siara.

“Siara is mine!”

Finally, even Siara, who was lost in a dreamy sensation, regained her senses. 

“I… I’m mine, though?”

“Then I’m Siara’s!”

A feather-light laughter danced at the corners of Siara’s mouth.
The temperature in her clear eyes had changed once again.

Knowing that there was no point in clinging any longer, Dianel obediently stepped back.

As Dianel distanced himself, Hierian swiftly devoured the remaining dessert and reached out his hand to Siara.

“Siara, let’s go and research desserts together.”

Siara, who had agreed to play alongside him in exchange for protecting her in the shadows, nodded obediently.

“Yeah, let’s go.”

Dianel nodded obediently as well.
Siara left the office, no longer conscious of Dianel.

The sacred power that unknowingly illuminated the office, making it known throughout, disappeared.
The sparkling office was engulfed in a strange darkness.

Dianel looked at the quiet office and clenched his fist.

“…You’ve become stronger.”


The sacred power surrounding Siara had become even denser.
With each passing day, it was becoming more noticeable that she was growing rapidly.

By now, anyone could feel the change in Siara.
So, even Hierian, who used to act timidly, would probably stick to Siara without any hesitation, looking like a child.

Dianel had a hunch.
There was not much time left now.
The time for Siara to become a true savior and for him to disappear from this world.

Perhaps around winter this year.

Speculating on the timing, Dianel looked out the window.

Coincidentally, leaves, dyed with the full force of autumn, floated and danced in the air.

* * *

On the same day, Erin trembled while tightly gripping her fists upon hearing the news that Siara had visited the Empress’ Palace.

“What? Who did Siara meet?”

“Her Majesty, the Empress—”

“I’m asking! Tell me now!”

Unable to control her anger, Erin raised her goblet.

Crash!

With a loud noise, the goblet shattered against the wall. 

The maid standing right beside her involuntarily froze her expression.
The goblet narrowly missed her face.
It could have caused a serious injury if it had gone wrong.

Even she, who had been composed all along, could not help but be surprised by today’s events.
The hand of the maid trembled uncontrollably.

Whether she knew it or not, Erin murmured with a cold gaze.

“It’s a shame.
I was trying to shut your annoying mouth.”

“Miss…”

“When Siara becomes the Crown Princess, I’ll kill you first.”

“…”

“You said that! That I’ll become the Crown Princess! But what’s this?”


“Well, that’s just—”

“Just? Were all the words you said to me lies? Speak up!”

Her eyes, filled with determination, were fixed on the maid.
And yet, not content with that, Erin swept everything in front of her onto the floor.

The loud noise echoed again.

However, the maid, who had always comforted and calmed her whenever she lost control, didn’t even flinch this time.

It wasn’t because she was afraid of the slight wound on her hand caused by the shattered goblet.
It was because she had learned the fact that the young lady, whom she had simply regarded as a rich girl, was nothing more than a troublemaker.

‘Even after making her debut, she hasn’t corrected her childish behavior…’

The warm gaze that had always looked at Erin with kindness turned cold.
However, Erin didn’t stop her tantrum.
Several ceramic decorations flew around the maid and shattered at her feet.

Thud! Crash! Bang!

Finally, when her white stocking ripped and another wound appeared, the maid left the room, leaving Erin behind.
The smile that had been hanging on her lips, like a painting, disappeared.

The maids who were trembling outside the room looked puzzled as they saw the maid leaving Erin behind.

“Why…?”

“You all always stay away from her.”

“Well…”

The maids swallowed their words.
The maid had ordered them to stay outside because they would only be a hindrance.
She had always treated Erin like her own daughter and believed that she could handle her well.

The maids soon noticed the wound on the back of the maid’s hand, but they didn’t find it significant.
The maid had been hurt by Erin before, once or twice.
There had been days when both of her cheeks were swollen and bruised, so a wound on her hand was nothing special.

However, the maid’s steps were determined.
After handing over her apron to one of the maids in front of her, she continued walking.
And then, she left the mansion and never returned.

Erin thought to herself, ‘I guess she was afraid that she would get scolded by me,’ and pursed her lips.

Then Erin placed the newly appointed maid in front of her and gave her an order.

“Deliver this to Her Majesty the Empress.
I will meet her before this winter.”

Jealousy flashed in Erin’s eyes.
Seeing her expression, the new maid hurriedly left the mansion and went to the palace.

Fortunately, the Empress read Erin’s letter and immediately responded.
The reply contained a message to come to the Empress’ Palace in a week.

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