Chapter 77 – Do You Have Compassion? (2)

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“You must be healthy, Queen.
You won’t catch a cold.”

“…A little.”

I awkwardly clutched his arm, and Prince Heinley gave a faint laugh.
I squeezed my skirt tightly and held up my chin before steering the conversation in a different direction.

“Your letter needs some exercise.
You must be worried.”

“Puhu—”

“!”

I really just wanted to pass out for the next five hours.
My head was scrambled about the contents of the letter.
But the words already left my mouth, and Prince Heinley was desperately biting his lips to hold back the laughter.

“Yes.
I had a lot of trouble choosing strong stationery.
I had to make sure it wasn’t torn in Queen’s beak.”

Although he tried to remain calm, his straight face collapsed at his joke.
I scowled, and Prince Heinley tried to wave his hand apologetically.
But he was still busy laughing.

“Sor—haha—sorry.”

“I said it wrong.”

“I know.
You wanted to ask me if I exercised a lot, didn’t you, Queen?”

“No, I was going to ask about your brother’s health.”

 

“Well, my brother doesn’t exercise much.”

Really…this prince? I stopped because I didn’t like playing games.

I made my expression cold, Prince Heinley immediately sobered.

“My brother said he was feeling worse than before.
He’s not in danger yet, but he has always been weak.”

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“Thank goodness” would be a bad response.
Just because his brother wasn’t in danger yet, didn’t mean he wouldn’t be in danger later on.
I had an anxious expression on my face, and Prince Heinley smiled as if to lighten the atmosphere.

“Have you thought about my suggestion?”

“Which one?”

“How to get revenge, one and two.”

He cleared his throat loudly.

 

“I recommend number one.”

“You mean have a beautiful, respectable man as my lover?”

“If you don’t want a fake lover…”

The prince’s voice trailed off as he looked at me, and I suddenly wondered if the fake lover referred to himself.
I knew he didn’t like Sovieshu.
However, he had been teasing me earlier so I paid him in kind.

“Are you referring to Grand Duke Kapmen?”

“No!”

“Not Grand Duke Kapmen.”

“No.”

 

“But are there any other beautiful, respectable and great men?”

“…”

Heinley pouted his lips earnestly, and I leaned in close to his face as if to inspect how handsome he was.
I burst out laughing, and I grinned at him to see if he understood my joke.

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“Are you joking?”

“I’m serious.”

“!”

So that was why Prince Heinley teased me earlier.
It is quite fun to see his reaction.

“You’re right.”

 

“I am?”

“I don’t want to look like I’m having an affair I someone don’t want.”

“…Was that part of a joke?”

“Why?”

His face turned sullen.
I felt bad for teasing him, but he looked quite cute rather than pitiful.
I walked side-by-side with him, forcing myself to hold back my laughter.

After that, we walked wordlessly all the way to the Crystal House.
I don’t know why Prince Heinley didn’t say anything, but I couldn’t find time to talk because I was looking around.
The sky was especially beautiful today.
It became awash with red as the sun went down, and Crystal House glistened like a giant ruby.

I watched the scene for a moment.
I’ve seen it several times before, but my mind was blank and I couldn’t think of anything to say.

“If I go to the Western Kingdom…”

Prince Heinley’s cautious voice broke the silence.
I turned my head and saw him looking at me.
Perhaps it was because the sky was dimming, but his violet eyes looked darker than usual.

“Western Kingdom…?”

“Will you miss me?”

The sound of bird cries echoed from afar, and I stared at him as I processed his question.
Return to the Western Kingdom?

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That’s right.
Prince Heinley was the successor and he would eventually have to go back to his country, taking Queen with him.

“…”

It was as if I stopped hearing.
Was I too used to them? I already felt a sense of loss with the knowledge that my friends would go to a faraway place.
Why was this? Come to think of it, I never truly parted with friends and family before.
While I hadn’t seen my family much since I married, they were never far away.

“…I will miss you.”

I managed to keep my composure, and as I listened to my voice it sounded like a courteous remark.

“Sincerely.”

Prince Heinley gave a sad smile.

“I’m not leaving right now.”

I didn’t know how to reply.
I turned my head back to the ruby-like roof.
When I glanced sideways, I saw Prince Heinley taking out a watch and checking the time.

“It’s late.”

He offered me his arm again to escort me back to the western palace.

*

*

*

Sovieshu stared intently at the report sitting on the desk in front of him.
Marquis Karl, his chief secretary, stood by his side and looked at him in concern.

“Your Majesty, are you considering what to do with Miss Rashta?”

“What can I do? Do you want me to punish a pregnant woman?”

But the Emperor had been thinking for two hours already…

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Marquis Carl carefully offered his opinion.

“While it’s an unexpected matter, Your Majesty, a low-rank concubine wishing to live in high society must be able to defend herself to some degree.”

“Defend…”

“I heard that the Duchess and Ms.
Rashta confronted each other at the tea party.
Wouldn’t that be something worthy of punishment?”

“…Well.”

Sovieshu frowned in thought.

“If you’re worried about what will happen in the future, why don’t you tell me what you’re thinking?”

“Marquis Karl.”

“Yes, Your Majesty.

“This is my business, not yours.”

“I’m sorry.”

Sovieshu sighed and handed the report to Marquis Karl.

“Should I destroy the report?”

It was clear that that was what Sovieshu would ask of him.

However, after thinking for another moment, Sovieshu gave an unexpected answer.

“…I’ll keep it.”

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