There was a time when I had a vague idea that I would like to meet the characters in the novel I’d read someday. That me had only imagined that she would watch from a distance.

But I never expected to see him face-to-face like this.

I just gulped, facing Theodore.

Theodore Royal Helios.

Before he became the male protagonist, he was a man called a tyrant until he met the female lead.

He didn't look like that now at all.

Theodore came into the room and sat across from me. Then he naturally rested his chin on one hand.

“You look a lot like Duke Estella. Hmm, maybe the difference is that one is more imposing than the other.”

“Yeah, everyone says that.”


Theodore paused for a moment before closing his mouth.

Theodore was described as someone who quickly made sure to distinguish between people who were his and people who were not. Gentle to his people, tough on his enemies.

I wanted to be perceived as a 'good guy' by Theodore.

That's why I looked at him with as genuine a smile as I could.

“You only look alike. Thank god. Resembling a snake is just disgusting.”

Theodore's sad eyes widened.

“Hmm…I like you so, can I give you some advice? It would be better not to get involved with that young lady from earlier.”

It was clear he was talking about Vivian.

Marquis Marigold often took Vivian to and from the imperial palace.

Vivian, who had no friends her age, fell in love with Theodore, who treated her kindly, and she had started following him since she was a child.

This was something I already knew.

However, I acted as though I had no idea and tilted my head and asked a question.

“Why would it be better not to get involved?”

“She’s like a leech. She chases after you wherever you go and sticks to you even though you hate her…Sigh.”

He even scratched his head as if just imagining it was a headache.


Someone gently knocked on the door.

The door opened slightly, and an attendant peeked out his face. Without saying anything, they looked at Theodore for a moment and then slowly closed the door.

It was an act that made no sense.

But Theodore seemed to have read something in the servant's behavior. He frowned and jumped up from his seat.

“I'll go first, so you'd better take note of the advice I gave earlier.”

Theodore, who said he'd go first, headed for the balcony instead of the door.

As if I was used to it, I even went out to the balcony behind him.

I stared at the balcony with wide eyes at his sudden actions.

However, I soon discovered why Theodore acted this way.

The door opened again and Vivian appeared.

“Oh, hello.”

Vivian, who had stopped crying, came back into the room hesitantly.

Of course, it seemed that she did not come on her own but returned after being caught by the lady-in-waiting.


Pretending to read a book on purpose, I moved to the sofa. Even so, Vivian chased after me.

She even held the book upside down and pretended to be immersed in a book she wasn’t reading.

In the meantime, the two red eyes were constantly peeking at me.

At first, I tried to pretend I didn't know.

However, the attention was too much, so I decided to choose the straightforward method.

“Do you have anything you’d like to say to me?”

Vivian was startled by my question.

Is it really that surprising that I asked if she had anything to say? She was surprised and just blinked her eyes.

Vivian awkwardly averted her eyes and hid her face in the book.

She eventually raised her eyes and slowly lowered the book under them.

“Your handkerchief… … It's dirty, so I'll buy you a replacement later.”

Because of how much she cried earlier, her voice was still hoarse.

Did she do all of this because of the handkerchief? In fact, handkerchiefs were scattered all over the duke's castle.
There was no need to buy me a new one.

I shook my head from left to right.

“It's okay.”

“But still! …I have a lot of money! If one isn't enough, ten? Or uh… … a hundred? Two hundred?”

With her small hand, Vivian eagerly bent and extended her fingers.

She was trying to figure out how many to buy for me.

She was too serious. It seemed like she would really give me enough to bury the floor with handkerchiefs.

I waved my hand urgently.

“No! It's really fine!”

Dissatisfied, she reluctantly accepted.
Vivian pursed her lips.

“Ugh… ok.”

I smiled softly and silently.

Slowly, I took my eyes off Vivian. Then I quietly read the book again.

I could still feel her gaze.

But fortunately, as time passed, I felt her gaze on me gradually faded.

Instead, I kept hearing the sound of something muttering next to me.

What the hell are you doing?

I was suddenly curious.
I put my book down and turned my head to the side.

“Ugh… …Ugh.”

Vivian was messing with her messy hair.

It seems that, originally, her curly hair was well styled but, now, her hair was all tangled and disorganized from running around.

I was quietly fighting the urge to comb it with my hands as if her hair was bothering me too.

She was afraid that my reading would be interrupted so she held back her moans of pain even though her hair was painfully tangled.

“Lady Vivian, if you don't mind, can I tie your hair up?”


Vivian looked at me with wide eyes but didn't answer me.

I took the silence as consent and slowly approached Vivian.

I then grabbed a handful of Vivian's tangled hair.

“How would you like me to tie it up?”

Vivian bowed her head and said in a small voice, “Please, do whatever you want…”

“I’ll get started right away.”

Vivian's neck turned red. Could it be that her body is running hot from crying so much?

I was thinking about whether I should make her drink cold water once her hair was all tied up when my eyes met with Theodore’s on the balcony.

Theodore reappeared, probably because Vivian had her head down.

Theodore was perched on the railing, staring at me.

His eyes sparkled in the sun outside.

Those golden eyes were full of curiosity toward me.


When our eyes met unexpectedly, I unknowingly let out a weak exclamation.

Perhaps hearing me, Vivian lifted her head and looked at me.

“What’s wrong?”

“Ah…it's nothing.”

I shook my head and gave a sweet smile.

Vivian, who saw my smile, returned it with her own cute smile.
Pretty dimples hollowed out on both of Vivian's cheeks.

I rolled the left side of Vivian's hair and looked back at the balcony.

Theodore, who had been sitting there watching me until earlier, was no longer in sight.


Could it have been an hour?

To signal that the conversation between the adults had finally ended, a servant came to pick us up.

“You can come this way.”

Following the guidance of the attendant, we descended to the hall on the first floor at once.

The attendant quickly stepped forward and even opened the door himself.

Two carriages were already waiting outside and I could see my father.

When my father saw me coming out, he said his farewell to the man standing with him.

“Then we will go.”

“Yes, we will as well.”

After exchanging farewells, they winked at me as if asking me to follow them.

I had no reason to stay there anyway.
I tried to follow behind my father without hesitation but I couldn't really take a step.

“What are you doing?”

When I didn't move, my father's eyebrows narrowed sharply.

It wasn't that I didn't want to move and make fun of my father. There were circumstances that made it impossible.

I smiled awkwardly and twisted my body slightly.

“That's young lady…”

It was Vivian, who was holding onto my clothes tight enough to show my waistline.

I couldn't move at all.

If I tried to take any footsteps, even the slightest of attempts to move away, Vivian noticed, like a ghost, and added strength to her grip. It was impossible to push this young girl away.

My father saw it and said nothing more to me.

Instead, he turned to the pink-haired man to whom he had just said goodbye.

“Marquis Otis Marigold. I think we must take our leave.”

Even Marquis Marigold seemed quite startled by this sudden sight. I could see that his pink eyes had grown enormously.

Marquis Marigold, who came to his senses belatedly, ran towards Vivian.

“Vivian! Let him go!”

Despite her father's shouts, Vivian did not budge.

Rather, she shouted loudly with her eyes wide open.

“I want to play with the young lord more!”

The Marquis of Marigold was sweating.

Vivian grabbed my clothes so hard that it was difficult to remove them by force, so I seemed to be at a loss.

Eventually, the two started an argument with me in between.

“Let go.”


“Why the hell are you doing this? I'll buy you some things that you said you liked a while ago, so let's play with them. Yes?”

“I hate everything!”

I got very upset.

My father, who was looking at me with displeasure, was also bothered and I was embarrassed that this situation unfolded in front of everyone.

I thought that I shouldn't leave Marigold and his daughter to argue like this.

So, I hurriedly acted against Vivian.

“Young lady, you’re holding on to my clothes too tightly…My back hurts.”

As if in real pain, the corners of my mouth drooped and my forehead narrowed.

Seeing my expression, Vivian hurriedly removed her hand from my waist.

“Oh! sorry!”

Marquis Marigold seemed to be a very quick-witted person.

“It hurts a lot…Aww! Dad! Let go of me!”

As soon as Vivian let go of my waist, he swiftly snatched her up.

Vivian was swung to the side of Marquis Marigold like a piece of luggage.

Of course, Vivian wasn't staying still. She continued to struggle, swinging her little hands and feet.

Marquis Marigold didn’t let go of his daughter, even though he was being beaten over and over again by her fists and feet.

Then he said to me, with a very sorry expression.

“Prince Estella, go quickly.”


When the Marquis of Marigold told me to go, I nodded at first.

Then I quickly walked towards the carriage on which our family insignia hung.

As though I was leaving the world behind me, I heard “No dear!” An agitated Vivian cried out, “I want to stay with the young lord!”

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