Home Post 791-chapter-52


Carinne was in a hurry to leave the palace. She had definitely upset Duke Lucas, and if someone came after her asking to see the documents, it would be a disaster. But maybe it was because she was in such a hurry.

As she was rushing down the stairs, she bumped into someone with a loud thud.


“Are you alright?”

Oh, of course. Why did she have to run into Archen here, of all places?

He caught her with both hands as she was about to fall forward.

With his help, she barely managed to regain her balance. Carinne put the documents she was holding down on the stairs as she escaped the danger of rolling down the stairs. Then, she spread her arms wide and gave him a tight hug.

“What are you doing right now?”

“Why? Can’t we do this much between close friends?”

Carinne buried her head in his chest and rubbed it all over. She buried her face in his chest, then brought her crown to it, and finally pressed her cheek against his, savoring the texture of his coat.

How much time has passed like that?

She let him go just before she thought this was a bit too much.

“I’m going to replace greetings with this from now on.”


He bit his lower lip and stood there frozen, his face flushed red.

“Don’t like it? You can’t say no.”

Wasn’t it okay for close friends to hug each other? It was nothing, so why was he being shy?

Since he didn’t answer, she picked up the documents again. She really had to go now. Meeting Archen meant that Duke Lucas was somewhere nearby, and if she ran into the Duke, it would be quite a headache.

“Then, next time…”

Carinne stopped herself as she was about to say goodbye. He couldn’t take his eyes off of her.

“Do you have something to say to me?”

He shut his mouth before finishing his sentence. His silent face was unnaturally stiff as if he was forcibly holding back something he really wanted to say. In his sapphire eyes, one could feel a longing for something he couldn’t have, along with an inexplicable sorrow.

Still, Carinne knew that it was all just a façade.

Didn’t she fail last time after falling for his gaze and accepting the job? It seemed like whenever she saw his face, she was reminded of something he wanted.

A trembling hand headed towards her face.

“The Princess is really…”

His bent fingers fully extended and came closer to her cheek. The longing in her bright blue eyes was encroaching on him, and his navy blue leather gloves were just about to cover Carinne’s face.

“What do you think you’re doing?”

It was Duke Lucas.

At the sound of the Duke’s voice, Archen quickly withdrew his hand.

‘Oh, no.’

As Carinne frowned and pressed the corners of her mouth together into a tight line, the Duke looked at the blushing Archen and frowned slightly.

“You’re with the Princess again.”

“What does it matter, Duke? I’m with my friend.”

“Are you two dating?”

Carinne snapped.

“No, I told you last time. We’re just very close friends.”

Even though she didn’t want to be called the queen of sarcasm, she couldn’t help it. She grumbled and beat Archen to the punch before he could speak. She didn’t want to hear him say that they were just friends.

If he said it, it would become an eternal truth.

‘I might as well say it myself.’

“We hug, link arms, and do everything else that very close friends do.”

As she said that, Carinne linked arms with Archen. The Duke’s face twisted even more.

“What do you mean by ‘everything else’?”

“Everything except kissing.”

“Are you really friends?”

“Oh my, Duke, don’t you have any friends like that?”


The Duke looked extremely perplexed. He also seemed angry.

‘Is it my fault that you couldn’t make a single close friend while living your own life? Huh.’

Carinne snorted to herself.

“Anyway, we’re incredibly close friends, so please understand that.”

Now, she had to get out of here quickly. Carinne unlinked her arm from Archen’s. Fortunately, Duke Lucas seemed to have forgotten about the meeting in the conference room as he was preoccupied with his own pitiful relationships… or so she thought.

The Duke held onto her arm as she tried to leave, refusing to let go.

“Princess, please stay and talk with me for a moment. And Archen, you go ahead and finish organizing the accounts for this month.”

He uttered curtly.

“But, that’s… It’s not something I can finish in a day.”

“I said finish it today, no matter what.”


“Do you understand?”

“…Yes, I understand.”

Archen bowed his head to the Duke. His red lips, still bearing the mark of teeth, were visible between his golden locks.

“See you next time!”

Carinne shouted at the top of her lungs to Archen, who was walking away.

As he turned around and met her gaze, his eyes flickered anxiously, and he bit his lips, staring at her for a moment before averting his gaze.

Did she go too far?

Still, he was the one who set the boundaries for acceptable physical contact between close friends. A hug was fine, wasn’t it? Even saying that about her liking him was considered just a joke, so what was the big deal? She would have to hug him again the next time they met. He would get used to it if she did it a few more times.

With that in mind, Carinne pulled her arm out of the Duke’s grasp.

“I’m sorry for being so quiet during the meeting, but I really don’t like getting involved in complicated matters.”

However, the Duke was interested in something completely different from the meeting.

“When did you become so close with that guy?”

She was so flustered that she couldn’t even protest why he was referring to Archen as ‘that guy.’ While Carinne was stuttering, he took a step closer to her.

“Was it when you went to meet the Captain of the Knights?”

His voice was languid as if he were asking a casual question, yet the sternness on his face suggested otherwise.

“Or was it during the trial?”

This time, his voice was like a growling beast. His menacing tone made her feel as if she were being tightly bound with ropes… No, wait, why was he like that?

“I’m sure you’ll be able to be close with someone too, Duke, if you work hard.”

Was he really that upset because she teased him too much? Not wanting to be on completely bad terms with the Duke, Carinne hurriedly spoke.

“…We’re only close friends.”

Fortunately, the Duke seemed to like her answer. His blood-red eyes, which had been bubbling with anger, slowly subsided.

“Close friends, huh.”

His eyes turned into glaring eyes. The Duke seemed to be deep in thought for a moment.

…Should she wait for him to speak?

Just as Carinne was about to try to leave, he composed himself and returned to his usual cold expression.

“That’s fine, but what’s this about Saraha’s spy?”

‘Ah, here it comes.’

She knew he’d ask. She had put a lot of thought into how to answer this question. If she said that she had figured it out herself, the Duke, who already thought highly of her, would probably pester her to keep attending meetings. And if she said that she had found out by chance, she didn’t have a good way to explain it.

So she came up with…

“I have a maid from Irita at home. She told me that the Third Prince of Irita is quite the womanizer and has a bad reputation, and I absolutely detest men like that.”

…The foolproof method.

The Duke didn’t seem to realize what she meant yet.


“So what? I can’t let a man like that set foot in Esmeril.”

He narrowed his eyes and retorted incredulously, “So you’re saying that Irita being a semi-colony of Saraha was all a lie?”

Actions speak louder than words. As Carinne handed the file she was holding to him, the Duke opened the file, and his jaw dropped.

Of course, it did.

After all, the thick file was filled with nothing but clean white paper. There wasn’t a single piece of paper with writing on it. Not a single one.

“Then, what about the strait?”

“Oh, that was just something I made up after reading about the importance of straits in a world geography book. Everyone fell for it.”

“And what about the story about the dark mage?”

“Of course, that was a lie. What would I know about dark mage? Keep it a secret from everyone else, okay?”

Carinne winked and made a gun shape with her hand, shooting at him, bang, bang.

On the other hand, the Duke was speechless, as if he had been shot. It was understandable. He must have been shocked. He had high expectations for her, enough to call her to the meeting, and she turned out to be an idiot!

It was even harder to tell someone else because he was the one who called her to the meeting. On top of that, he didn’t even stop her when she was lying through her teeth. He would never tell anyone else if only to save face. Of course, that was what would happen.

Carinne smiled with satisfaction and snatched the folder from the stunned Duke’s hands. It was time to say goodbye.

“Well, then, goodbye.”



Did he have something else to say? Carinne was starting to get tired of the Duke’s incessant talking.

“It doesn’t matter whether it was a lie or not.”

He said, twisting the corner of his mouth.

What was he talking about? Carinne turned on her idiot mode and pretended not to know anything.

“I don’t understand what you’re saying. Like I said, it was all a lie, and I don’t know anything about politics…”

“If you don’t know anything, how were you able to persuade His Majesty? That alone shows that you have potential.”

‘…What a persistent jerk.’

“Whether what the Princess said was true or not, we’ll find out soon enough. Whether that strait actually exists, whether a single dark mage can take on a hundred men.”

What a ridiculously persistent jerk!

“What are you going to do if you find out?”

She finally couldn’t take it anymore and shouted.

“Verify your qualifications. In my opinion, the Princess is qualified enough.”

…Qualifications? What qualifications?

Something felt strange. Very strange. Carinne’s danger siren suddenly started blaring a sharp warning… and in her experience, her danger siren was rarely wrong.

The Duke smiled strangely and looked down at her.

“Won’t you be my partner?”


She felt a sudden urge to hit him in the head with the folder.