Instead of answering, Hierian bit his lip tightly.
Sorrow swirled in his ash-colored eyes like a stormy sea.
He fiddled with his fingers for a while before finally speaking up.

“…But still, it’s a bit complicated.”


“He seems to be trying to change too…”

Though it was frustrating to see him unable to come to a clear conclusion, Adandito nodded calmly.
Even if he felt bad, as an official, he couldn’t afford to act hastily.
So he calmly sat by Hierian’s side and started a conversation.

“Hierian, let’s start with your plans.
What kind of research are you currently conducting?”

“I’m researching ways to close dimensional gateways.
Sending a vision to another dimension and closing the gateway.”

“It seems like a challenging research that you’re dedicated to.”

“Yeah, it’s difficult.”

“Perhaps you might not be able to complete your research until the day you die.”

Hierian nodded weakly.
Adandito smiled with a composed expression.

“I’m not suggesting we rush into a decision either.
I’m just keeping the possibilities open.
Besides, for now, Dianel is assisting you with your work.”

“Yeah, right.
We should always keep the possibilities open.”

Hierian was a curious and enthusiastic mage who never stopped exploring.
In his pursuit of countless possibilities, he missed one important fact: Adandito was a person with a different determination.

As an official, Adandito didn’t usually utter empty words.
As evidence, his gaze became particularly firm.

Normally, Hierian would have noticed, but at the moment, he had been conducting research overnight, accumulating fatigue, and the surroundings were still dark with the sun not yet risen.

Above all, Adandito’s relaxed behavior reassured Hierian.

“It was a pleasant conversation today.
I’ll prepare breakfast, so please rest and enjoy your time.”

Adandito’s gentle pleading tone caught Hierian off guard, and he reflexively muttered.

“…I don’t like vegetables.”

“Are you planning to be a picky eater in front of Siara”


Hierian shouted and went up to the upper quarters.
Adandito smirked and sighed.
With each step he took, the gentle smile that had graced his lips disappeared.

His face became expressionless, and he muttered to himself.

“I want to have Siara as my partner.
I will do whatever it takes if the gods permit.”

He asked dozens of times, but Eora did not answer.
While it was acceptable for a savior to love three people, Adandito couldn’t accept being not the only one.

Adandito became envious of Dianel.
At least his strength was faithful to his desires.

He felt a tightness in his chest.
Adandito took a deep breath and exhaled.
Then, with an expression no different from usual, he continued walking.

* * *

Adandito served meringue-topped cream of mushroom soup, egg custard with basil leaves sprinkled on top, and spicy oil pasta seasoned with chili.

Hierian, who occupied the seat next to Siara, initially had a gloomy expression but soon became amazed.

“Wow! Adandito, when did your cooking skills improve this much?”

“I was always good at cooking.
Now, please enjoy.”

There was no trace of suspicion in their actions.
However, for some reason, Siara’s expression wasn’t quite right.

Adandito, who noticed that her energy was low, pushed the egg custard more toward Siara’s side.

“Please have some.
I’ll bring dessert after the meal.”

“Um, thanks.”

Siara rubbed her sleepy eyes and nodded.

Hmm, she yawned and small words slipped out of her mouth, her voice was filled with drowsiness.

“But, Adandito.”

“Please speak.”

“Did you happen to fight with Dianel?”

At that moment, Hierian dropped the fork he was holding.
Adandito also froze his face for a moment and then finally relaxed his expression and lowered his head.

“No, I did not.
Why would I…?”

She opened her narrow eyes and looked at them.
Although she asked with a mind of hoping it wasn’t true, she became more suspicious due to their flustered reactions.

“What’s going on? It seems like you fought.”

“No, really, we didn’t!”

Hierian also took Adandito’s side.

“Yeah, Adandito was with me earlier.”

She hummed and, taking a deep breath, asked.

“Before that?”

Adandito swallowed his saliva in response to the sharp question.

Although she was talking about the time before the ceremony, Adandito understood it as referring to the time before meeting Hierian.

Seeing her detailed questioning, it seemed she knew something, but he couldn’t figure out how to act.

‘Could she have heard everything? But she seemed to fall asleep immediately…?’

In the end, Adandito answered vaguely.

“We exchanged some words for a moment.”

“Just from exchanging words? But he said to have fallen off a cliff and was completely beaten up, and then he miraculously acted like he was fine after healing.”

Dianel getting injured was due to his successful disappearance and rolling down as if he had been defeated.

‘He couldn’t even handle that quietly.’

An unsatisfied expression crossed Adandito’s face.
Sensing the change in his expression like a ghost, Siara confronted Adandito.

“You, then, it can’t happen anymore.
Promise not to fight with each other, okay?”

“I will remember that.”

“Yeah, the three of you should get along.”

Upon hearing those words, Hierian looked gloomy again.
Siara picked up the fork he had put down and handed it to him, speaking gently.

“Hierian, it’s okay.
Eat quickly.”


Adandito also chimed in.

“Please eat.
I’ll go prepare for dessert.”

“You sit down too.
You can do that after we finish.
And just have one of the servants do that.”

“It’s food for Siara.”

Adandito calmly continued.

“In any case, I will have my meal and then go.”

“Okay, Hierian, let’s eat quickly.”

Perhaps due to the change in topic, Hierian’s expression brightened a bit.
Siara narrowed her eyes in a suspicious atmosphere.

‘There’s definitely something going on.
Could it be that Adandito is teaming up with Hierian and trying to keep Dianel away?’

As soon as Dianel’s story came up, Hierian made a gloomy expression, and Adandito closed his mouth.
She might not even know what Adandito was trying to convince Hierian to do.

‘If that’s the case, it means Adandito is really angry with Dianel.’

Adandito was not someone who could easily be read.
It was easier to target Hierian.
There was someone even easier to deal with than him, but…

‘Dianel after his transformation is honest.’

At that time, Dianel easily revealed what he had been hiding with just a little prodding.

‘First, I should ask Father about what happened with Viscount Leven.’

For Siara, family matters were more important than the three gentlemen.
Therefore, she planned to finish the meal and then go find Count Astita.

As the meal drew to a close in a subtle silence, the bell rang at the door.

“His Majesty Dianel is looking for you.”

‘He must have hit the mark by thinking I’ll go see my father.’

It worked out well at the right time.
Siara willingly stood up from her seat.

* * *

Sunlight streamed into Dianel’s office, which had been darkened by drawn curtains even during the day.
By the window, a vase adorned with autumn flowers was placed.

It was an unbelievable sight to behold in the office of a solemn crown prince.

The aides who had secretly placed their hopes exchanged excited glances.

‘Can we now work in a place where the light shines?’

‘Come to think of it, His Majesty has been more active lately.’

‘Last time, he was furious about the incident with the young healer being involved in illegal dealings!’

Even without speaking, their eyes conveyed a shared understanding.
Fortunately, Dianel, being engrossed in his thoughts, didn’t notice their exchanged glances.

In front of Dianel, there were documents.
They detailed what Lord Leven, the Viscount, had done using the collateral he received from Count Astita, a substantial sum of money borrowed.

The Viscount had demanded a ring named ‘Astita’s Promise’ as collateral from the Count. 

The ring symbolized the Astita family, and it was customary to entrust it to a higher power in the event of a significant transaction between families.
It wasn’t worth a lot of money, just symbolic, and he accepted without question. 

The family seal is engraved on the inside of the ring, but it is not the seal itself.
He seemed to think it would be fine.

The Count, who lived a straightforward life and rarely ventured beyond the Astita territory, thought the world was a terrible place.

It hadn’t occurred to him that it was possible to forge a document based on a seal.

Viscount Leven immediately called in a skilled forger to replicate the seal of the ring.
With that seal, the Viscount could borrow money from other families or commit misdeeds, attributing them to Astita.

In reality, Dianel had never cared about what the Viscount did to smaller families.
He would handle it when it bothered him.
However, things changed when Siara became involved.

Dianel recalled the members of the Astita family he had seen during her debutante ball.
Except for Siara, they hadn’t caught his attention, and he thought of them as insignificant beings.
The only reason he had treated them well so far was to impress Siara.

Strangely, during the debutante ball, the appearance of Siara and her family had been beautiful.
An elderly couple, a middle-aged man, and Siara herself.
It was a common composition, yet he couldn’t take his eyes off them.

‘I want to protect them.’

As the thought vaguely crossed his mind, he clenched his fist when a firm knocking sound was heard.

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