In the past few days, rumors have spread in the royal palace and temples.

The story was that I was the child of a Kalisa mercenary, who had killed countless people of Santra, and that the temple and the royal family hid the terrible truth and accepted me as a royal.
It goes without saying who spread it.

‘Maybe because I’m staying at the temple, Aquila is in a hurry!‘

In my life before this regression, these were the bad news that only emerged four years after I came to the palace.
Of course, even after having experienced it before, I don’t have any countermeasures against it.

Until my ninth life, I also believed the rumors to be as true as steel, and I resented the world who brought me this despair.
I was the only stain and shame of the royal family.

And how long I felt sorry for my mother whose face I didn’t even know.
My mother certainly didn’t want to give birth to me, and in conclusion, I thought I was a child that no one in the world wanted to be born.
For this reason, it was understandable that my mother left me, a tiny newborn, to a family that she didn’t even know well.

However, the new truth that I only came across in my last life has lifted the burden of my mind.
At least my mother didn’t give birth to me against her will.
The same goes for Phaeon.
It’s still a mystery why he behaves like that, but the fact alone was of great comfort to me.

“How can such a rumor spread like that? The royal family hasn’t announced anything about the princess yet!”, raised the three priestesses their voices in a rage.
Sierra had explained the whole story as soon as she came to the room, but she was so angry that she forgot that I was here.

“That’s what I’m saying.
I’m sure it’s a trick to undermine the princess.
But do you know what Lord Parciel said when he heard this?”

Sierra poured out everything that had happened, without taking a breath.

“How was it? He must have been angry, right?”

“No! He was just like, ‘It’s only a rumor!’ I’m just going to spill these few words and leave! So he grabbed him and asked him if he would stay still.
And he said, ‘I don’t know why I have to keep up with rumors’!”

Apart from the content, Sierra’s impersonation was so funny that I almost laughed.
His dull tone of voice didn’t match Sierra’s voice like a nightingale.

“How fast those dirty rumors spread.
The temple needs to take action.
Lord Parciel is one of the few people who saw Princess Beatrice’s will.
I wish he’d come forward”, Rosa was genuinely worried.

“That can’t be true.
He’s really…!”, Sierra shook her head, looked at the bed covered with a thin veil and stiffened in surprise then, “Oh, I forgot that the princess was here.
I must have been crazy!”, she shut her mouth and had started to whisper, but it was too late already.

“Oh no… It’s not Sierra’s fault this time.
I should’ve thought of it!”

“The princess is so smart.
I’m sure she understood everything I said…”

Yuzu and Rosa muttered in desperate voices.

“But maybe she’s sleeping.
Let’s go and check.”

Yuzu crept up to the bed and lifted the veil.
Phew.
Relieved at the sight of me with my eyes closed tightly she breathed out, and as soon as she did so, I opened my eyes, which sparkled with excitement.

“Whaa! Pr-… princess! Were you awake?!”

I nodded a little.
The two priestesses ran over and pushed their heads into the veil.

“D… did you hear us?”

 As I watched them quietly, feeling restless and contemplating on what to say to them, I carefully raised my body and opened my mouth: “Asha is the daughter of a villain…”

The faces of the priestesses hardened instantly.
I felt guilty about breaking the hearts of these kindhearted people, but I continued: “I’m sorry for my unnies, but Aisha won’t go anymore to the big dining room starting tomorrow.
Please bring something to eat to Asha…“

“Princess! But you really like eating in the diningroom.”

As Rosa said, I liked the big diningroom.
Although I couldn’t meet Phaeon, it was really nice to get a hot meal right away and eat it together with everyone in a noisy place.
Of course, the many curious eyes were burdensome, but it was great practice for me, who was afraid of crowded places.

“Now everyone knows that Asha is the daughter of a villain … so let’s continue going…”

As I bowed my head and muttered, the three pristesses made eye contact with each other as if they were determined.

༻﹡﹡﹡﹡﹡﹡﹡༺

“Asha can’t go to the big dining room!”, cried I out and made up a look of horror, but Rosa didn’t stop changing my pajamas.

“Princess, Sir Parciel is coming today.”

“… Really? Do you really think Papa is coming today?”

“Yes, you’ve always wanted to see him.
Let’s go see him!”

The three priestesses took turns to influence the princess’ emotional development, they always say “The Princess grows slower than her peers, so she needs to get enough nutrients,” and “The Princess has trouble digesting food after eating alone in her room,” and Phaeon eventually raised his hands and feet due to endless anti-threats.

But while on my way to the big dining room, I could feel my curiosity turn into hostility.
There was no goodwill in the way he looked at me.
The three-year long war has left Santra devastated beyond comparison and a lot of people have lost their loved ones by the forces of Kalisa.
The people of the temple people were no exception.
Having lost their family, colleagues, teachers, and disciples, it is no wonder that the hostility towards Kalisa will skyrocket.

“I’ll get the Princess’ food, so please have a seat”, said Yuzu as I entered the dining room.

“No, Asha will do it herself.”

I’ve been trying to be treated the same as the people here, but now I think being treated like a princess would only worsen the rumors.
Despite all the the stinging gazes stabbing the back of my head, I was waiting in line to receive my food but when the waiter served me the food mercilessly, the hot hot soup splashed on my hands.

“Oh, it’s hot!”

Nevertheless, the waiter did not apologize but instead looked at me annoyingly.
Only a few days ago, he had kindly accepted my greeting, but now his attitude had changed 180 degrees.

Then, Phaeon’s cold voice of came from the side: “What are you doing?”

The waiter looked at him in surprise, but it was actually me who was more surprised.

“I asked what you are doing.”

“I … Sir, I’m sorry.
It was a mistake.”

He spoke in a crawling voice: “You should apologize to the Princess, not me.”

The waiter’s face quickly turned white due to his high-pressure tone, that seemed to cool down the surrounding area and even cause thin ice to form in the air.
He threw away the ladle, came forward and fell down before my feet.

“Pa- pardon me all to hell! Princess!!”

“It’s okay”, answered I in a hurry because of how embarrassed I was, but he didn’t seem to want to get up.
Phaeon was staring at him.
I grabbed him by the hem of his robe and pulled him closer to whisper: “Papa, let’s go… Asha is hungry”

Only then did Phaeon tell the waiter to stand up while still having a disapproving look on his face, but the waiter was no longer in a condition to serve the food, so someone else rushed to replace him.

The three priestesses, who were watching us with their mouths wide open, stopped walking to the table and thanked Phaeon at the same time as he approached.

“I just did what I had to do”, answered he in a businesslike tone while sitting down at the table and quietly began to pray before the meal.
I also sat down and pretended to pray silently, but I couldn’t stop thinking.
His unexpected action made my heart pound and I didn’t know how to calm down.
He stood up for me in public! I had to put my praying hands over my mouth to hide the smile that was about to escape.

The three priestesses also started eating with a lighter expression compared to before when we entered the dining room with a gloomy mood.
I didn’t miss this momentum and chattered: “Papa, Sierra brought me the royal genealogy yesterday.
Asha memorized everything!”

“You don’t know how clever the Princess is! I really think she’s a genius.
How else would it make sense to be able to memorize everything from the first king to the 16th and even the names of countless members of the royal family in only two days, right? Even adults can’t do this!”

He seemed a little surprised, but he didn’t say anything in particular.

“But, Asha is curious about one thing.

“What is it, Princess?”

“All the people in the genealogy have middle names… Why does Aisha have no middle name?”

As soon as Rosa heard me, she spit out the juice she was drinking.
Usually, within one month after birth, the royals hold a grand ceremony at the temple to receive the middle name of the new family member.
It’s some kind of magic book.
But I didn’t receive a middle name because I was born without anyone’s knowledge.

A name that I’ve never received in all my previous lives, this even dragging on until I turned 12.
Even when I insisted that I should receive it from the temple, I was often defeated by the royal family’s answer that it was not the right time yet.

“……does Asha not get a middle name because she is the daughter of a villain?”

At that moment, Phaeon stopped moving his hand that held his spoon.
He looked upset.
I wish I know what is going on in his head.

“We’ll make a suggestion.
So that you can get it right away.”

Sierra said with a glowing eyes: “Sir Parciel, will you help us?”

“…”

“Will.
You.
Help.
Us?”, asked Sierra again.

Phaeon, who had hesitated to answer, answered quietly: “…I don’t know if it’ll be accepted if I say it, but I’ll try.”

Of course I thought he would refuse, but this is really a great development.
I even felt a little grateful for the rumors that I had always resent.

༻﹡﹡﹡﹡﹡﹡﹡༺

After we finished the meal, I called him over just before we parted from him at the back door of the dining room: “Papa, sit down for a second.”

“…?”

As he knelt down in front of me, I spread my arms and hugged his neck tightly.
He tried to pull himself off with great agitation, but soon calmed down.

“Thank you for today… Asha thought Papa hated Asha.”

I was curious about his expression, but I couldn’t see it because I was hugging him.

“… I don’t hate anyone.
Having any particular feelings for a person is… That’s not something a servant of God should do.”

Is it just my delusion? His emotionless voice sounded as if he was in.
After a short hug, as I looked at his back, which disappeared at a quick pace, I thought: ‘Don’t get attached to him.’

Even if he is on my side now, I must never forgive him.

‘Don’t be too happy because he is on my side for now.”

༻﹡﹡﹡﹡﹡﹡﹡༺

I’m not sure if he made an active suggestion, but the proposal about me receiving a middle name was accepted.
However, the king was worried about the rumors spreading about me and was deliberating how to conduct the ceremony.
In the end, rather than doing it separately, it was decided to do it together when both the royal family and the nobles gathered at the end of the year to hold a public prayer ceremony.

That was enough, so I wrote a letter of gratitude to the king and handed it over.
He praised me in an emotional voice for how perfect my sentences were and for how elegant my handwriting was.
Just like Princess Beatrice’s handwriting.

Time has flown by fast as we closed the days till the last day of the year.
The day of the year-end-prayer ceremony dawned.

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