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Where we learn about the marriage decree is and how nefarious Hans is…
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Episode 154. About 10 months (31)
How could I repay this humiliation?
My head was cluttered with all sorts of scenarios. Theodore, who followed me to the door, delivered unexpectedly good news.
“I am suddenly lucky?”
“Didn't your wish come true? An Imperial marriage prohibition prevails until the end of the Selection process, so when you meet me, you don’t need to feel burdened… Temporarily, of course.”
I quickly lifted my head at his words.
Yes. That was right! Why didn't I think of that? It was probably because my brain bugged, since I thought the Second Prince was toying with me.
‘Maybe on purpose? For me?’
But I immediately erased that thought.
‘No matter how much you confessed that you like me, I doubt you’d sacrifice yourself by accepting the decree just to provide me with the marriage prohibition.’
Kyle Amure, the Second Prince of the Oceria?
I shook my head furiously.
It was a bit unreasonable… No, it wasn't a bit unreasonable, it was completely absurd.
“Then, the next meeting will be your decision, My Lady. You'll be visiting the Stuart Bourne Street residence once a month anyway. Then we can decide what would be a good time for the meeting.”
"Ah… Yes. Yes. Until then.”
I left the banquet hall, walking around aimlessly. My mind went blank. It would be strange if it hadn’t with all that just happened.
Anyway, the idea of meeting the Second Prince was the best I could come up with right now.
‘On the other hand, I don’t want to meet you this in this state with these feelings…’
‘How is it different from acting like a wronged lover, if I go see you, angry and upset?’
‘I wasn't even in that position. Besides haven’t I already made up my mind to reject his confession?’
But why was I getting so hung up on this decree? It didn't make sense.
Nevertheless, my feet were moving towards his quarters, not mine.
To be honest, I didn't even know what to say if we met.
“The art of preparing and being prepared for the unexpected," I mumbled.
Fortunately, or unfortunately, I couldn’t meet the Second Prince.
Yes. Let’s just think about it and see what tomorrow brings.
Black Crown Village in the small town of Knox.
About 20 kilometers south of the capital, on Count Knox’s estate, houses began to be built one by one starting year ago.
It was a barren land where very little grew that had not been managed for several decades.
But a man went to Count Knox and bought this infertile land, where houses began to be erected.
After a year, a village was born.
A wooden plaque stating “Black Crown” was hung at the entrance, signaling the completion of the 30-household hamlet.
In the center of the village, stood a thick iron door covered with ivy and greenery, nicknamed 'Hell’s gate' by the inhabitants.
Inside, Hans had just finished his errands and was climbing the narrow, dark stairs. He’d arrived right after the banquet for the Hunting Contest was over.
At the top of the stairs, he let out a moan of dissatisfaction. Something didn't feel right.
The musty smell and occasional screams were tolerable, but he didn't really like the design of the narrow staircase.
“In the next village, make sure to design the stairs twice as wide as this one.”
The servant, who had come up right behind him, answered right away.
He was a knight sporting a black eyepatch on his right eye and a vassal of the Button Family. His name was Harold. No surname.
Hans reached the landing and knocked on the thick iron door. A peephole opened with a click.
“Have you checked it all, Master?”
While greeting, the man opened the door with the sound of the lock being hurriedly released. Hans frowned at the sudden incoming sunlight.
"Let the Suha family who tried to escape starve for a few days, and then the Suha’s will unfortunately lose their lives this time… Pack enough to send them to the Main Estate. They will live there from now on. Be careful that they don’t escape during transfer.”
"Yes Master. What do we do with the child who broke his leg while running away?"
“Treat and sell.”
After closing the iron gate, Hans looked around the village he had built. The villagers, seeing Hans from afar, bowed their heads several times.
They were all limbs of the same organism. There were three more villages like this all over the Empire, and there were more to come.*
"I have prepared the room as you required. And the woman you talked about last time has been washed clean. Shall I take her to you, Master?"
Hans licked his lips but shook my head.
“I’m sorry. The Second Prince dropped a bomb during the Hunting Contest, even if it's been a long time since I've enjoyed it…”
“Do you need to leave today?”
“Joseph needs a line of shit, so he’ll be looking for me. I have to go and calm that weak heart."
"Then I'll put the carriage on standby."
"Yes. And I'll see her the next time I stop by. Watch her carefully.”
"Ah. About those who entered the Principality of Ga'an?"
"They hid in each province. And as instructed, reports came in that they were going to infiltrate slowly over time. They were also told to report back as soon as the infiltration is finished."
Harold moved swiftly, stopping the carriage in front of Hans. Unlike the old and shabby exterior, the interior was very neat and luxurious.
Hans, who started to climb in the carriage, turned slowly at Harold’s interjection.
“What is it?
“Things didn’t go as planned this time, but maybe my family…”
"Haha. Oh dear. How is that your fault? It's because of unforeseen variables. I don't exert myself at work. So, take it easy, Harold. And the bonus for this job will be delivered to the village where your family is staying, just as it was paid to this village."
"Yes. Master, thank you as always. Master."
Hans, who smiled kindly, patted Harold on the shoulder and climbed into the carriage.
When the door closed, Hans pulled out his book and smiled.
“Tut-tut-tut, what is a mere family? Dull things are weak to emotions after all…”
Even on the day I returned to the capital, I couldn't see Kyle.
He was busy supervising the nobles returning home after the competition.
‘Honestly, I’m happy I can’t. I’m not ready to see your face yet.’
I hadn't been able to decide whether to congratulate him or question him about the decree. It was a difficult and complicated situation.
As I was finishing packing my bags, Beth came in with a small container.
“A young Imperial physician came last night. He gave me this new balm. He said it was for your hand.”
“Huh. For me? I’m just an administrator… This is impressive.”
“I asked about giving it to the Lady directly, and he said he was busy and went in a hurry. He strongly urged you to use it until the scars are gone.”
“The next time we meet at the Palace, I must repay him with something."
Looking at the medicine jar with a tiger-like cat on it, it seemed that I’d have one good memory from this Hunting Contest after all.
As I stored my belongings in the covered wagon, Captain Nick, who I'd been working for as an assistant throughout the Hunting Contest, arrived.
“Ha. I’m sorry. It’s really a shame that you are only my temporary assistant and not my dedicated one. How about, if you are interested, I ask His Highness? Wouldn’t it be more beneficial to assist a kind, courageous and hard-working boss like me, rather than as a general assistant with endless chores?”
“Well, of course, the problem is that I have to ask for another person to be added despite my division being full, but…”
“What is it? You're not the kind of person who would refuse a request from a henchman like me. As soon as I return to the Palace, I’ll request an appointment letter. You just need a little patience. You've already worked for me, so you know you won’t be overworked until you are dizzy…”
It was at this moment that I intervened, lest we be here all day…
“Captain. Thank you for your kind words, but a decision has already been made regarding my new assignment. I can't tell you because I'm not sure yet… Still, thank you for your concern."
"Ah really? Is that's right… I see, I see… I will not forget our time during the Hunting Contest, let’s work together again if we have the chance. Hahahaha!”
I didn't understand what was so hilarious as Captain Nick smiled wildly and left.
When I opened the carriage door and climbed in, my father, who was already seated, was scowling.
My father traveled with me because the second wife had declared that she was going alone since she had a lot of luggage.
I couldn't understand how the luggage had increased during our stay…
“Was that the Knight Captain whom you served as a temporary assistant?"
“It must have been difficult.”
'I don’t know. Father. I'd rather have Nick.'
As if reading my thoughts, he immediately tilted his head and asked.
“Hasn’t it? He might be easier than the Second Prince. How about applying for a change of position even now? It is enough for us to open the door halfway. You don't have to suffer next to him."
"Father. I am getting closer to my goal of taking the Civil Service Exam. It would be a waste to leave and give up now.”
“Zip. I got it. I won’t say anymore on the subject. Still, you don't have to be under him, so if ever it gets hard tell me. I will mobilize all my strength to change my daughter’s assignment."
I leaned against the backrest, tired, and as I looked at my father's face with his eyes closed, I was overcome with tingling emotions.
"Yes. Father. If it's hard, you’ll be the first to know."
“Everything is loaded. Bernard and other knights, Logan, and the Madame are ready whenever you are, Count.”
Beth finished reporting as she climbed into the rig last. My father sent the departure signal by hitting the ceiling twice.
“Whoa… We're finally getting out of this damn place. Just thinking about it makes my head ache and I can't get it to go away."
“You worked hard, Father."
Father leaned forward, and then back, closed his eyes and spoke as the carriage began to move slowly.
"Yeah. I was afraid because I was trying avoiding shit."
Aww… everything turned into shit in an instant…
* This section has been updated for accuracy. The original MTL was pretty poorly mistranslated into something unintentionally offensive, but we've since gone over and tried to fix it. Unfortunately this was an artifact of us having worse translation tools to work with at the time. Our sincerest apologies! The original assumed reference was this group from French history.