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No matter how much she thought about it, this wasn’t it. Even though she was grateful, she had to decline, as she had no intention of getting married quickly.

However, Vincent seemed to read her mind and took the lead.

“Miss Edith, this is by no means a bad proposal. Duke Devion is the successor of the Magic Tower Master and currently leads the Ministry of Magic. Opportunities to be connected with such a person are rare.”

“…Successor of the Magic Tower Master?”

Edith, who had prepared herself to reject whatever was said, faltered.

“Yes, it was like that in the past. He’s truly an extraordinary person. If it weren’t for Duke Devion’s remarkable magic, the war might still be ongoing.”

A magician, and not just any magician but a successor of the Magic Tower Master, using extraordinary magic to end the war. Edith’s small mind was spinning uncontrollably.

“Can we meet once?”

After much deliberation, Edith came to a conclusion.

‘Let’s meet and see what happens.’

“Of course.”

Vincent smiled as if he had been waiting for just that.


* * *


“Congratulations. You’re finally getting married, too.”

Emperor Trister II of Robedon smiled happily, looking at the duke sitting across the table.

“It’s not confirmed, Your Majesty. We just have a meeting planned.”

Duke Devion, sitting elegantly with an impeccable posture, responded with a composed face, a stark contrast to the amicable Emperor. However, the Emperor didn’t blame him. Instead, he raised a glass of clear wine as if to propose a toast.

“Do you never look in the mirror, Duke? There aren’t many women in the world who would reject a handsome man like yourself.”

“I understand that at least five women have declined Your Majesty’s offer so far. The exact number Your Majesty is probably aware of.”

Regardless, the Duke seemed utterly uninterested. His agile face seemed meticulously carved, and his expression was singular.

“…Perhaps they didn’t reject the duke himself, but rather issues related to the family. Noble matters, you know.”

The Emperor, feeling a bit down by now, roughly finished the wine in his glass.

“It just wasn’t the right time. As you know, marriages among nobles involve various considerations.”

“If Your Majesty wishes me to know so, I shall make an effort to understand.”

Oh dear.

The Emperor, finding the conversation with the stoic Duke stifling, emptied the remaining wine. Despite being a bit uncouth, his reputation was not significantly damaged.

“Though their contributions are far more modest compared to the Duke’s, County Brussels was once a respected family in the East.”

The Emperor, in addition, praised Count Brussels, saying that he was a true knight for bravely facing the invading kingdom forces and fighting valiantly on the border when others fled.

“Thanks to that, the reputation in that region is quite favorable.”

“It’s a family with an outdated honor that couldn’t exert any influence in the central region. If it helps Your Majesty, I have no objection.”

Despite the Emperor’s effort to raise the County’s status, Duke Devion struck at the heart of the matter. The Emperor, now devoid of any inclination to drink more wine, set the glass aside.

“I appreciate the duke’s candid nature, but sometimes, a bit less honesty might be acceptable.”

That’s both your strength and your only weakness.

The Emperor had great trust and favor for Duke Devion, a competent and loyal vassal. In the midst of useless nobility with high noses, the Emperor needed a reliable ally to strengthen his authority, and that ally was none other than Duke Devion.

Duke Devion, Skyle Elliot Devion, was, in a word, a genius. Already a successor to the Magic Tower Master at the young age of thirteen, he participated in the war at the age of twenty-one and brought the continent before the Emperor within just a year of remarkable service.

The magnitude of his achievements was such that even the Pope, who treated the young Emperor as a fleeting wave, couldn’t prevent Skyle from receiving the Dukedom despite his significant weakness.

In any case, the Emperor was determined to actively utilize Duke Devion to counterbalance the nobility and the temple. To achieve this, he needed to first strengthen Duke Devion’s influence. The marriage with Lady Brussels would be an excellent pretext for the Emperor to push him forward.

“My secretary claims she is as bright as a spring flower. Since you are like winter, you will benefit from her positive influence.”

Thinking again of the Chief Secretary’s report, the Emperor’s lips curled into a satisfied smile. Although he had struggled with the nobility’s lack of cooperation with Duke Devion’s marriage, he had a good feeling about this time.

“Your Majesty, may I ask one question?”

Skyle, who had been quietly listening to the Emperor without any particular response, asked in a hushed tone.

The Emperor sighed quietly.

“I know that your questions always make me uneasy. Will you not ask if I said no?”

“If that is Your Majesty’s wish, I will investigate on my own.”

“Just ask me directly.”

He couldn’t tell who the Emperor was. Seeing Skyle confidently sealing his lips without any hesitation, the Emperor briefly clicked his tongue, seemingly indifferent.

“Does Lady Brussels know about my younger sibling?”

However, in the following words, the Emperor’s jaw tensed slightly. His reaction served as the answer.

“We should save the toasts for another time.”

The tone of the statement was incredibly flat, as though he hadn’t expected anything from the beginning.


* * *


Edith gazed out of the window, seemingly entranced by the passing scenery.

The imperial palace in Robedon boasted a scale that perfectly matched the expression ‘vast.’ The huge palace visible beyond the golden walls looked like a beautiful European palace in the textbook. Perhaps because it was the first time she had seen it in person, she even felt a sense of awe.

“Miss, we have arrived.”

“Ah, thank you!”

Edith, awakened by the courteous voice announcing their arrival, habitually greeted. As she got off the carriage, Vincent, who seemed to be waiting, greeted her with a smile.

“Miss Edith, you’ve arrived. I’ve been waiting. It must have been a long journey. Did you have enough rest?”

“Thank you for your arrangements, I could rest comfortably. I sincerely appreciate it, Chief Secretary.”

Before leaving the Count’s estate, she had disposed of her old house. It was originally planned as she was supposed to move to the capital, but thanks to Vincent arranging temporary accommodation in the capital, she was able to sort things out more quickly.

“As it was His Majesty’s orders, I will convey my gratitude to His Majesty.”

“Then, please.”

It was an order from His Majesty… It was a bit overwhelming, but still, it was good. The accommodation seemed like a luxurious hotel.”

‘…But still, it can’t compare to the palace.’

It was somewhat obvious, yet for Edith, it was a surprising revelation.

The room she stayed in just yesterday was the best place Edith had ever lived, considering both her past and present living spaces. However, the palace was still a palace. The white stone columns were majestic, and the sparkling white marble floor was dazzling to the point that it was blinding.

“Is this your first visit to the Robedium Palace?”

“Yes… Actually, it’s my first time coming to the capital.”

Unintentionally wandering around, Edith belatedly realized that she was acting too much like a country bumpkin.

‘Though I am a country bumpkin.’

That was true.

What could she do? She shrugged off her embarrassment and bravely continued exploring the palace. After all, when else would she have the chance to see it?

Walking along the arched corridor for a while, she suddenly found herself in the lobby. A young man who had been loitering in the center of the lobby noticed Vincent and approached.

“Mister Vincent!”

“Aaron, where is Duke Devion?”

“He should be coming soon. He went to report to His Majesty.”

The young man replied nervously. He seemed quite young, maybe around twenty. Vincent pointed to him with his palm.

“Let me introduce. This is Aaron, a wizard from the Ministry of Magic. From now on, he will be your guide.”

“Nice to meet you! I’m Aaron Decker! Feel free to call me Aaron, Miss Edith.”

“Pleased to meet you, Aaron!”

Despite the fact that Edith smiled warmly at Aaron, deep down, she was a bit surprised.

‘I thought all wizards were eccentric, but it seems like my bias was wrong.’

County Heddon’s estate, located at the southeastern tip of the Robedon Empire, was quite remote, and information was severely limited. The doctor who worked for the County was from the capital, so she was familiar with news of the Empire.

However, even that was an old story that had been around for quite some time.

The doctor often bragged about the wizards he had seen in the Magic Tower, but unfortunately, the stories were not particularly pleasant for Edith.