Chapter 70 - Delusions
Fresia frowned. ‘Some personality he has. That’s why I don’t even bother to correct all the bad rumors about him among the nobles.’ As she silently complained to herself, she heard a soft voice.
“What does it mean when a woman says she wants to run away from her marriage partner?”
Fresia became deep in thought for a while, then smiled “Isn’t it obvious? She must hate that person with a passion.”
Max scrunched his face at the expected answer and clenched his fists. ‘She hates me with a passion?’
“So what happened at the mansion that is making you so angry?” Fresia asked softly.
Max furrowed his eyebrows and began to reproach her cold-heartedly. “I said it was none of your…”
“By any chance, did you propose to the lady? And if so, did she say that she wanted to run away from you, my lord?”
Max felt his face getting hot in response. “Who proposed?! It was her who…”
“Hey, do you want to go out with me?” she had said.
Unable to continue, Max changed the subject instead. “Is there any news from the emperor?”
“Oh, you know. He’s doing the same old, rushing for your return and… Ah.” Fresia’s expression became serious. “Rather than the emperor causing trouble, the empress sent another assassin. I told our men to keep him alive for now.”
Max smirked. “Really?”
This wasn’t the first time his spiteful stepmother, the current empress, had tried to kill him. He suspected that she had also killed the former empress, his birth mother. For these reasons, Max harbored a deep hatred for her. ‘It would be a good idea to behead the assassin and send it back to that woman as a gift.’
“In that case, let’s…” Just as he was about to reveal this gruesome thought, someone came to mind.
“Then I must run away,” Jubelian had said.
Max squeezed his fists and closed his mouth tightly.
“What should we do about him?” Fresia asked.
“Keep him alive,” Max said softly.
“Yes, Your Highness.” With this, Fresia began to head out of the room.
“Ah, I’m also asking this out of curiosity… but has there been an invitation for me to meet a prospective marriage partner?” Max’s quiet voice stopped her at that moment.
Fresia smiled slightly in response. “If there was such a thing, I would’ve let you know immediately, Your Highness. But why are you asking something like this all of a sudden?”
Instead of answering her, Max waved at her dismissively. ‘Seriously, would it hurt for him to answer me right away?’ Fresia thought. When she left the room, Max frowned and recalled what he had said to his master in the past.
“I don’t intend to create a weakness like that.”
He had never hesitated to dye his hands with red before, but strangely enough, he didn’t want to today. ‘Why do I… suddenly feel regretful?’ Max clenched his fists.
* * *
Every time I dined with my father, I felt as if I was walking on thin ice. I was constantly occupied by the anxiety that he might mention my prospective marriage partner. ‘Ah, I really shouldn’t have let his disciple leave so easily that day.’ When I sighed mournfully, my father called out to me.
“Yes?” I asked calmly. Although I tried to look calm, I was nervous that he was going to start talking about the marriage meeting.
‘Please do not talk about it. Anything but that,’ I prayed to myself.
“What do you think about the crown prince?”
When I realized that I had to confront the very thing that had been troubling me, I could only turn to God. ‘Dear God, why are you doing this to me?’ If I could avoid answering my father’s question forever, I would. But if I kept tight-lipped, he would think I was acting strangely. I hesitated for a moment before deciding to beat around the bush.
“Hm, I’m not sure. I don’t really think about him.”
When I responded like a naive noblewoman, my father slightly furrowed his eyebrows. “I see,” he muttered before picking up his spoon again. Just as I was about to be relieved, he said, “Still, you should learn about him.”
Chills ran down my spine. ‘You want me to learn about a sadist who might kill me? No thank you.’
Contrary to my thoughts, I smiled shyly and changed the topic. “Well, I have been reading a lot recently. It’s made me realize that history is an exciting subject.” I was trying to show him that I was doing my best to live my life to the fullest instead of being a good-for-nothing. My father took my bait.
“I see. What have you been reading?”
“Ah, the history of this empire’s foundation.”
His face slightly hardened at my words. “I see,” he said.
I became concerned that he might mention the marriage meeting again, so I continued talking. “The most interesting part of the book is about the first emperor.” I actually thought that the treasures left by him were the most interesting part, but they were both in the same context. “I learned that he left behind many peculiar things… Do you think they are still being passed down?”
My father set down his spoon. “Well, I’m not sure,” he said before standing up from his chair. “I just remembered an urgent business that I have to take care of. You can take your time.”
I was a bit taken aback because my father was never the first one to leave the dining room when we shared our meals. ‘Hm, what’s so urgent?’ Although I felt relieved, on one hand, I felt empty on the other.
* * *
Regis sighed after returning to his room, worried that Jubelian might find his actions a bit strange. ‘I shouldn’t have said that…’ After feeling regretful for a while, he thought about what she said earlier.
“Hm, I’m not sure. I don’t really think about him.”
Although she was insensitive to rumors, it was impossible that Jubelian didn’t know about the bad rumors involving the crown prince. However, his daughter bore a stern expression, as if she didn’t want to think about the prince’s unpleasant qualities. ‘It’s also suspicious that she’s reading about the imperial family.’
Regis looked at the cufflinks his daughter had given him as a gift and sighed. ‘I must stop them from getting together.’
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