Home Post 1009-chapter-67



It was the first time she had seen Iris since the witch trial. She stood before the main gate of the palace, wearing a pink one-piece dress. The color of the dress was so bright that it would have been difficult for most to pull off, but Iris was, well,


Her face was the epitome of fashion. Thanks to her flawless white skin and doe-like, delicate features, the dress looked lively rather than rustic. She was as radiant as a flower in full bloom.

As Carinne approached, Iris clenched her fists and shook them vigorously.

“I have so much I want to hear!”

That was right. She had forgotten.

She slapped her forehead. Before she could say anything, she had to quench Iris’s curiosity.

“Did the confession go well?”

While Iris’s eyes sparkled as she anticipated a positive answer, Carinne shook her head and proceeded to give a detailed account of what had happened at Duke Lucas’s mansion. As she explained that Archen had dismissed the confession as a joke, Iris did not seem disappointed.

Rather, she looked surprised.

“What happened then?”

“What do you mean?”

“After the trial ended.”

“After the trial ended, what?”

Carinne thought long and hard but could not figure out what Iris meant. What happened after the trial ended? She had taken Archen to the mansion and called for a doctor… There have been various incidents since then.

Thinking back on it now, it still felt like a dream.

Carinne recalled his hand gently cupping her cheek, the warmth seeping through his gloves. As he had gotten carried away, he had pushed her, and she had stumbled backward, falling onto the bed. There had been various other incidents after that as well—nothing major, just small, memorable things.

Was that what she was asking about? But how did Iris know what she had done after the trial ended?

“Well, you see… Carinne…”

As Carinne looked at Iris with a puzzled expression, she blushed and avoided her gaze. It was the face of someone who was shy.

At that moment, something came to mind.

After finding Archen, she sent someone to tell her to come to the mansion, and she must have followed them to the mansion in the Second Duchy and gone to Carinne’s room to check on Archen. And in the room, she and Archen had…

A reasonable suspicion arose immediately.

“Did you see?”


Iris’s cheeks flushed even redder. She must have seen them a little later, as her face was not that red. Iris was terribly embarrassed, but Carinne was not particularly surprised.

Recalling that the mansion had been empty the day after the trial, it seemed that Iris had quietly left, thinking she was intruding. However, thinking back on it, she had not been alone in the mansion at that time.

“Surely you see Duke Lucas, too?”

“Yes, the Duke was in the reception room the whole time.”

What a relief.

Carinne sighed. It would have been fine if it had been Iris but not Duke Lucas. One would not want to expose one’s private life to someone one did not like.

“Anyway, what happened then?”

Iris asked again, so Carinne explained how Archen had been injured and how they had come to confirm their feelings for each other.

She omitted the conversation she had had with the doctor, deeming it unnecessary. She vaguely explained that Archen had collapsed because he had overexerted his magic and did not reveal that the oracle had been a fake created by magic.

In fact, Carinne wished that Iris would never know that the oracle had been false. Iris was very curious, so if she got wind of it, she would dig deeper. Just like last time, Carinne did not know how honest she should be with Iris.

Fortunately, Iris was more interested in something else than the oracle or why Archen had used magic.

To be exact, she was interested in what Carinne had done with him in the room.

She answered Iris’s questions, being careful not to sound too prudish. When the long story was finally over, Iris nodded slowly.

“I see… Congratulations, Carinne. That must have been wonderful.”

Iris seemed genuinely envious of her.

Seeing that, Carinne felt a little bitter. Because she had interfered with the original story, Duke Lucas was not showing any interest in Iris. She wanted to give him a love potion for Iris, but she had too much to do right now.

Even if she did get involved in Iris’s love life, it would be a long time from now.

“So, Sir Aide is currently at your mansion?”


She could picture him sitting in his study, working diligently since she left. He must have been sitting there without moving for hours despite his collapse. He should be resting, eating snacks and napping at regular intervals, but he was probably still poring over those documents.

Whether or not there were documents to review, Carinne should have turned a blind eye like Duke Tricia. If she had, she would have been able to spend a fulfilling week with Archen. She could have fed him healthy food, let him sleep soundly, and said nice things to him.

Meanwhile, Iris was impressed by Carinne’s words.

“Wow, but you still came to see me? Carinne, you’re such a good friend!”


She was a little embarrassed when she saw Iris smiling brightly. Of course, she also wanted to see Iris as a friend, but…

“Do you know why I asked to meet you at the palace?”


“To show you the garden.”

…The main purpose was to tell her this.

“Did you know that the palace garden is open to the public? I went there a while ago, and it was quite nice. So, I wanted to recommend it to you as a place to go for a walk.”

In Esmeril, the Crown Prince’s main activity was in the forest.

Ironically, despite his hatred for humans, he was very interested in nature. Whenever he had nothing to do or needed to think deeply, he would take a walk in the forest. It was something the Crown Prince and Iris had in common.

Maybe that was why their first meeting took place in the forest of the Capital.

Knowing this, Carinne planned to prevent Iris from going to the forest for the time being so that she would not meet Ian. She asked Iris if she wanted to visit the garden, and Iris agreed.

Carinne held Iris’s hand and walked towards the palace garden.

The garden was located at the back of the palace. Lush greenery covered the garden, and various flowers bloomed in vibrant colors.

As they walked along the path between the bushes, the floral fragrance wafted so strongly that it almost numbed their sense of smell. In the middle of the garden, there was a statue of a saintess holding a water jug. Water flowed out of the jug, creating a small waterfall.

The sound of the trickling water tickled their ears.

The garden was so beautiful that one would want to pitch a tent and live there. Even someone who was extremely angry would calm down if they came here.

There was another reason why it was so calming.

There were only Carinne and Iris in the garden. Most people did not know that the palace garden was open to the public. In the first place, few people even knew that there was a garden in the palace, and even if they did, most of them would assume that only the royal family could enter and would not bother to visit.

‘If I hadn’t read the book, I wouldn’t have known either.’

She should come here with Archen next time.

Carinne felt at peace as she looked at the colorful flowers and the butterflies flitting between them and Iris, who could not hide her joy.

Iris said, “Just a moment,” let go of Carinne’s hand and put her face close to a flower to smell it.

“It smells so good.”

Iris closed her eyes and muttered, looking genuinely happy.

“I think I’ll come here often from now on. I shouldn’t go to the forest for a while.”

The plan was a success. Now, there was just one more thing to do. Carinne lowered her voice as if someone might be eavesdropping.

“By the way, have you heard about it?”

“Heard about what?”

“There’s a young merchant from Irita here.”

She should say this and then chat for a while before returning before sunset. She thought about Archen and me going to a shrimp restaurant, and he looked at the shrimp dish with anticipation, and the corners of her lips turned up.

“Cream-colored hair, golden eyes, and about this tall. He has a gentle voice like a boy, and he’s about our age.”

Carinne rattled off Ian’s physical information.

The day after meeting Ian, Carinne had asked for an inquiry to find out what kind of disguise Ian was using. She was sure that he would not pretend to be an ordinary person, as he liked to be treated like a Crown Prince. He must have had a unique business card, and Carinne needed to know what it was for her plan to be foolproof.

A few days after she made the request, Carinne received a list of people who had recently moved to Esmeril from Irita, including their backgrounds.

There was only one person named Ian on the list.

A young merchant from Irita. A talented and intelligent young man who inherited a large business at a young age because his father died early. He was said to have a bright future. His background was quite glamorous, like that of a narcissist.

Carinne learned that the crest was, in fact, real and even quite famous within Irita. However, since it was used as a disguise for the crown prince, it was highly likely that the crest had originally belonged to Saraha or that Saraha had seized it. The might of a vast empire could easily pilfer a single crest from a small country.

Creating a false identity would not have been difficult either.

“The crest’s owner seems polite and kind on the surface, but in reality…”

Just as she was about to get to the heart of the matter, two men rounding the corner caught her eye. They must have been on the other side of the garden, out of her sight.

Squinting, she saw that one of them was a stranger, while the other looked very familiar. The moment Carinne realized who it was, she hurriedly grabbed Iris’s hand and pulled her back, but… it was too late.

“Well, hello there. What a coincidence to meet you here.”

One of the two men recognized Carinne and smiled brightly.

“You’re Carinne, right?”

He had short, curly, cream-colored hair, golden eyes, a stature slightly taller than her, and a melodious voice. His face alone was youthful enough to pass for a boy’s.

It was Ian.