“There’s a rumor that the Crown Prince has chosen a princess for his marriage.
They say the entire family is being groomed in the palace.”


“The Crown Prince’s bride? Wasn’t the candidate the Izbe noblewomen?”

“I don’t know.
But it wouldn’t make sense if it’s not them.
Considering the entire family is receiving support from the palace, they must be from a prestigious family.
Otherwise, why would they receive palace assistance? It’s shameful.”

“I wonder what kind of storm will brew if Duke Izbe finds out.”

“He must already be aware.
I heard the family staying in the palace is the Astita family.”

After exchanging secretive glances, they couldn’t help but smile.

“Astita? But they don’t have a daughter.”

“Didn’t you know that the wife suffered from madness? Rumor has it that she claimed to have given birth to a daughter in the fields.
So perhaps the Count plans to adopt a daughter.”

“…Adopting a daughter to cure his wife’s madness and vie for the position of Crown Princess? Ha, Count Astita, I never saw him that way.
Quite the opportunist.”

“Well, they say those who pretend to be good have darker intentions.”

They laughed as if they had heard a very amusing story and soon moved on to another topic.

“Oh, have you heard about the amazing healer at Mage Tower?”

“The wizards must be jealous.
I barely heard about it too.
They say she saved a person who was supposed to die.”

“I heard the High Priest personally witness it.”

“What? The High Priest? My, how extraordinary must her skills be?”

Everyone’s eyes sparkled with interest.
They soon started spreading the rumors they had heard in all directions.

And the rumors reached Duke Izbe as well.

He had noticed suspicious signs and began gathering information.
As Duke Izbe watched the recorded video stone, he frowned.


“…Is it her?”

“Yes, she goes by the name Siara and is a healer who inherited the power of the fairies.
According to the rumors circulating in Mage tower, she cured the administrator, which even ten healers couldn’t heal.
They say she has a deep connection with the High Priest as well.”

“But there are no records of her existence until now.”

“That’s correct.”

Duke Izbe groaned in dissatisfaction.
The current buzz in the palace revolved around this woman.

It didn’t seem like baseless gossip.

After all, the Crown Prince himself was providing his palace and taking care of her.

According to a reliable informant, the mysterious woman would soon become a threat to the Astita family.
Perhaps the Crown Prince didn’t even know that he was prepping the groundwork to welcome Siara.

But that wasn’t the only problem.

According to reports from his subordinates, the Izbe noblewomen had also fallen deeply for this healer.

‘I worried if it was a man, listening to Madame’s words, but fortunately, she’s a woman.’

The noblewomen were easily swayed by a person’s appearance, and Siara’s appearance was quite exceptional.
Even through the blurry image on the video stone, it was difficult to look away, so in reality, she must be quite striking.

However, Prince Dianel and the High Priest, along with the Administrator, were not individuals who could be swayed by appearances alone.

There must be something more to Siara.
Something beyond her exceptional skills and beauty.

Lost in thought, Duke Izbe spoke up.

“I must see her at least once, even if by chance.”

“I’ll make sure to track her movements.”


“Good.
Whenever she leaves the palace, let me know.
Since she’s in the social circle, she will undoubtedly reveal herself in the commercial district.”

His subordinates nodded and left the Duke’s office.
Duke Izbe, staring at the closed door, immersed himself in his thoughts.
Even the wrinkles that appeared with age, as befitting one who inherited the power of the elves, seemed meticulously crafted, like a masterwork.
He admired his appearance in the opposite mirror and smiled faintly.

The reason the Izbe family had reached the rank of Duke was due to their “beauty.” 

Throughout the generations, they married beautiful women from good families, and married their daughters to men from prestigious families, thus expanding their influence. 

The world is at peace, a time when visible beauty is valued more than the special powers of ancient races.

In this way, the Izbe family stood tall as the family that had produced the most queens in history.
It was only natural for even the noble families to yield the position of a queen to the Izbe family.

But if someone else were to become the queen, it would undermine the family’s reputation.
The duke, lost in his thoughts, furrowed his brow.

“Does anyone think just anyone can become a queen? Knowledge, culture, and the support of the family are necessary.”

In truth, he was just as concerned about the appearance of a woman named Siara as he was about criticizing the noble families.
The thought of others disparaging the noble families, who were usually not even worthy of being mentioned, in relation to Siara bothered him.

However, that didn’t mean they were an easily swayed family.
Behind their dazzling beauty, there was always envy and jealousy.
The Izbe family, who had subdued the social circle for generations, knew well how to use such public opinion to their advantage.

It seemed necessary to issue a warning beforehand.

The duke picked up his pen and began writing a letter.
He carefully sealed the parchment with a long message and handed it to his butler.

“Send it anonymously to the newspaper.”

“Yes, understood.”

The butler accepted the letter and turned to leave.
The duke smiled, lifting one corner of his mouth.

‘Who dares to come and muddy the water?’

That night, a strange gossip appeared in the largest daily newspaper in the capital.
It was a rumor that Siara was the illegitimate child of Count Astita’s wife and that the Count’s wife’s madness was just a show to bring the illegitimate daughter into the family.

* * *


I held a newspaper in my hands.
It was brought to me by Hierian, who had quickly caught wind of the rumors circulating in the capital.

There was a provocative headline that read, [Breaking News! Count Astita’s Wife’s Madness a Show for the Illegitimate Child’s Entry?!]

The article went on to describe various gossip, such as how my mother and I looked so similar when we got off the carriage together, and rumors that I was soon to be admitted into the family.

I crumpled the newspaper and threw it on the floor.

“The informant has a good sense, even though I don’t know who they are.”

Contrary to my words, my insides boiled with anger.
It wasn’t because I was misunderstood as an illegitimate child.

‘How dare they tarnish my parents’ honor?’

I knew that rumors in the social circle would come and go, and even if those rumors were proven false, no one would take responsibility.
But I couldn’t tolerate interpreting my mother’s madness in this way.

‘I just can’t take it anymore.’

I picked up the crumpled newspaper and headed toward the central office of the palace.
It was said that Dianel worked there during the day.

I had always had doubts about Dianel’s identity, but I had never asked.
This time, I finally had the intention to inquire about it.

* * *

As usual, the office in the palace was immersed in a calm darkness.
Only a couple of candles barely illuminated the dim room, and the only sounds that could be heard were the voices of officials reporting and the rustling of papers.
Everyone was focused on their work, with no remnants of their usual conversations.

Tick-tock! Tick-tock!

Along with the sound of furious footsteps reminiscent of a woodpecker, a voice like that of a cuckoo was heard.

“I have come to meet His Highness the Crown Prince.
Can I see him right away?”

“That’s not possible.
You should make an appointment in advance—”


“I must see him right away.
Please let him know it’s something very important.”

The head official of the office, who seemed annoyed by the commotion outside, furrowed his brow and stood up.
Dianel sent him a silent signal to stay put, and then he stood up in his place.

Dianel stood in front of the mirror, tidying his appearance with a light touch, and then he walked towards the door.
With the sound of the door opening, a glimmer of light entered the previously dark office.
The journalist who had obstructed Siara and the protesting Siara both stiffened their expressions.

The journalist quickly stepped back.
Only then did Siara, who had become free, raise her chin slightly and spoke.

“…Sorry for coming suddenly.
There was something I’ve been curious about and haven’t had the chance to ask.”

The ambiguous tone, whether informal or polite, made everyone frown. 

However, Siara, who seemed too preoccupied to even have the capacity to focus on them, took out a crumpled pile of papers from her pocket and handed it to Dianel.

At that moment, everyone swallowed their screams.

“……!”

Prince Dianel, who grew up in the royal family, had a neatness bordering on obsessiveness, befitting a noble aristocrat.
Additionally, due to his strong power, he had difficulty controlling his anger and often exerted force even for minor discomfort.
That poor young lady could turn into a pool of blood in an instant.

After the suppression, when everyone cowered in fear, wondering if the Prince’s slaughter, which had been quiet for a while, would resume.

Thump―.

Dianel calmly reached out his hand and received the crumpled bundle of paper from Siara.
He unfolded the crumpled paper, read its contents, and asked Siara.

“Are you upset about baseless rumors?”

“…It’s more than just baseless rumors, Your Highness.
But there is something I wanted to ask you.”

Beneath the trembling golden eyebrows filled with anger, there was a serious glimmer in her clear green eyes.
As if reading the seriousness reflected in her eyes, Dianel gestured for everyone inside the office to step back.

Those who hastily left the office caught up in the strange atmosphere, looked at Siara with curious gazes. 

It was the first time the prince, who was obsessed with his work, had interrupted his duties because of one person.

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