Lock covered his mouth with both hands.
Choi Han sighed deeply before speaking.
“I’m pretty sure the vague plan you gave before is exactly what you just told us?”
Rosalyn responded refreshingly and Choi Han looked at her for a bit before nodding his head.
Lock watched the calm Choi Han and the smiling Rosalyn and quietly lowered his head. He then nodded his head as well after a bit.
‘I see. Mm… I guess that’s it if hyung and noona says it is.’
Lock decided not to think deeply about it. He looked down at his hands instead.
‘I need to get stronger.’
He thought about someone. He fixed his thoughts while recalling that person’s back.
‘No. It’s not getting stronger.’
That person did not seem strong at all. He did not have some exceptional powers.
But looking at that person’s back oddly made his anxiety disappear.
‘I need to become like that too.’
He needed to do that so that somebody, such as his young siblings, could look at his back and have the same thoughts.
Lock closed his eyes as he firmed his resolve. Although he didn’t know what was going to happen in the Breck Kingdom, he knew that it would go well because he was with his hyung and noona.
Furthermore, it should help him grow stronger as well.
* * *
The Breck Kingdom had many secret passages for potential emergency situations.
One of those secret passages was in an isolated house in a part of the forest that doesn’t get much traffic.
The door to the basement of that house opened.
“John, long time no see.”
John stopped walking out of the basement for a moment to look at Rosalyn.
‘She really is alive.’
John’s heart was finally at peace. He had trusted that she was alive, but it was different from being able to confirm his sister’s health with his own eyes. However, his face did not show that relief.
‘Who is it?’
The kitchen was connected to the basement.
There was a four person dining table in the kitchen. Rosalyn was sitting down at the table, pointing to the seat across from her for John.
And behind her…
There was a feeble but quite tall guy. The face that was visible thanks to the magic light on top of the dining table and the voice he heard let John know that this guy was a young boy.
However, there was someone who was more eye-catching than that young boy.
It was the person who was seated on the kitchen window ledge looking outside. He bowed his head when he and John made eye contact.
He then looked outside again.
‘…Something is odd.’
This person seemed a bit older than the other tall young boy, but he also seemed too young to be called a young man. However, the person’s expression that was visible thanks to the moonlight shining into the window was bleak, unlike his oddly innocent-looking face.
Was it because John kept looking at him?
“My name is Choi Han.”
“Ah, I see.”
The person introduced himself as Choi Han.
“And this is Lock. They are both my important friends.”
“Ah. Hello, Prince John.”
Rosalyn introduced Lock and Lock awkwardly greeted John with the Breck Kingdom’s style of respectful greeting.
John finally smiled and sat across from his sister.
“Please sit down as well, Lock-nim.”
Lock rapidly waved his hand as John pointed to an empty seat.
“Ah, I am okay, your highness! And t, there is no need to be so respectful to me.”
“That is not true, Lock-nim. You are my noonim’s friend.”
“…Thank you very much.”
Lock shyly smiled before moving to Choi Han’s side.
John watched him with a smile on his face before turning his head to look at Rosalyn. This was his sister, whose red hair was even more splendid than the light from this magic light.
“Noonim. Was it the Archduke?”
A twisted smile appeared on Rosalyn’s face.
“…The Archduke did something quite daring.”
The House of Richardson, the only Archduke’s household in the Breck Kingdom.
That house’s history could be traced back about 200 years. The king at the time had two children. The second child, who had shown special talent, was made king while the first child was given the title of Archduke Richardson.
It was said that the first child accepted that situation at the time, however, the situation changed as the generations passed.
The current Archduke’s House of Richardson was the leader of the noble faction and was always in political conflict with the king.
“Noonim, it seems as if the head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs leaked your travel path to the Archduke.”
“Really? Royal Father must have been disappointed.”
The head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was one of the king’s close confidants.
Rosalyn looked down at the table that was lit by the magic light and opened her mouth.
“The current Archduke must really desire the king’s position. However, it is not a position he could get because I die.”
“He must trust his child and the future.”
Rosalyn looked at John. John looked at the magic light as he continued to speak.
“The Archduke’s first child is said to be a genius who is only second to you, Noonim, at least when it comes to administration and finance. Because of that-”
Rosalyn finished the sentence as John could not do so.
“Because of that, if nobody knows that it was the Archduke who was responsible for my death in a foreign kingdom… Even if the current Archduke cannot become king, his son or maybe his son’s descendants could achieve that dream?”
The Archduke must have determined that it would be much more difficult to find an opening to take the throne if Rosalyn became Queen.
He must have done this because he believed that if Rosalyn was not there, then there were only average candidates for the throne, making a better future possible.
“However, the Archduke failed because he wasn’t fully aware of your magic abilities. He’s probably extremely anxious right now.”
“The Archduke is probably uncertain as to whether I am dead or alive.”
John looked at Rosalyn’s eyes after hearing her cold voice.
“…The people who were with me either died or were seriously injured.”
Lock groaned but John only looked at Rosalyn.
His sister was angry right now.
She was also sad.
“One of the people who were with me was a traitor.”
“…Was it the diplomat?”
“John, you truly are smart.”
“Not at all.”
John knew that he was not smart.
However, he simply guessed that someone from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs would be the traitor since the head of that ministry was serving the Archduke.
There were only a few people accompanying Rosalyn to the Whipper Kingdom. The king’s shadows, a diplomat, an attendant, and a few knights were with her so that they could move stealthily and efficiently.
Naturally, Rosalyn and the king felt that they were all confidants they could trust.
“A paralyzing poison was put into my food and the food of some of the shadows. It wasn’t too strong, but we were unable to properly react to the sudden attack.”
Rosalyn recalled the moment when she was attacked.
She had recalled this memory tens, no, hundreds of times.
Hundreds of people suddenly surrounded their carriage and group. Then the attack started.
Rosalyn thought about the people who protected her until the end.
“All of the bastards the Archduke sent are dead.”
She did not leave even one bastard alive. The few who started running away to inform the Archduke about Rosalyn’s magic abilities all died as well.
It had been a dark night. Rosalyn, who was thinking about that time when she thoroughly searched through the forest, opened her mouth.
“The Archduke’s household broke the fundamental rule.”
John thought about the ironclad rule that had been in place since the birth of the Archduke’s household.
“The Archduke’s household…”
The royal family could deny the existence of the Archduke’s household if they broke this rule.
The Archduke’s household…
“Is not allowed to have troops.”
The king from 200 years ago prohibited the Archduke’s household from having troops because he was worried that it might hinder or threaten the second child. Surprisingly, it was the older son who asked for that first.
The Archduke’s household was a good partner and rival to the royal family at that time. The Archduke gathered the opinions of the nobles and scholars to make suggestions or confront the royal family in politics and administration.
That was why the Breck Kingdom was able to be maintained so well until now. However, that confrontation slowly changed.
Rosalyn calmly commented.
“The Archduke’s household broke the fundamental rule.”
John recalled what the king had said.
‘There was a reason the head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs didn’t want us to reveal that Rosalyn was missing. The Archduke’s side wanted to find Rosalyn first. They wanted to find her first and-!’
He couldn’t finish the sentence as he couldn’t forget the wrath on the king’s face nor the queen’s pale face.
“John. I’m going to take down the Archduke’s household.”
John called out to Rosalyn in a low voice after hearing what he thought she might say. However, Rosalyn’s gaze was that of someone who had made up their mind.
“There will be internal conflict in the Breck Kingdom if we leave the Archduke’s household as is. But this is not the time to let something like that happen.”
The plaza in the Roan Kingdom’s capital… The attack and Magic Bomb Terror Incident that happened in the middle of the day…
The enemy behind it was an unknown being.
‘The peace was long.’
Rosalyn thought that the peace on the Western continent had been too long and that battles might happen to go against this peace.
Actually, she was almost certain about it.
‘An internal conflict in such a situation would only be cutting away at the kingdom’s lifeline.’
Rosalyn wanted to protect her kingdom, her home.
‘But I am lacking when it comes to doing that.’
There was something she wanted to do, something she treasured as much as the kingdom.
“My friends and I will soon deal with the Archduke’s house.”
“Noonim, the nobles will riot if you do that.”
John thought that Rosalyn would have proof that the Archduke was responsible for the attack.
However, even the head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was in the Archduke’s hands. The noble faction followed the Archduke.
Taking care of the Archduke’s household quickly without even talking to the nobles about it in such a situation was likely to cause the noble faction to riot in some form or fashion.
And that riot…
“Noonim, you know how it would be. If the nobles riot-”
“My position might be in danger? You’re trying to say that they might make me their enemy because they can’t turn the royal family into their enemy?”
“It doesn’t matter.”
Rosalyn looked at John.
“I’m not going to become Queen.”
John jumped up from the chair.
Rosalyn gently smiled.
“John. I love this kingdom. I love this land and its citizens. They are important to me. I treasure them.”
She closed her eyes.
She recalled the sight of the capital as she looked down from the highest spot in the palace.
‘Yes, even while looking at the sight, I…’
“It is not my dream.”
‘I want to do magic that will let me fly in the sky.’
“Can you understand the difference?”
John looked into Rosalyn’s eyes before sitting back down. He then sighed as he responded.
“Of course I do.”
John spoke freely to his sister as he used to do when he was younger.
“…I understand it very well.”
During that time in the past when Rosalyn was thinking about doing magic that would let her fly in the sky, John had been next to her taking in the view of the Breck Kingdom from the capital to the horizon. He couldn’t forget the sight of the yellow wheat from the good harvest and the citizens working on the farms in the distance.
“John, your dream is the kingdom, right?”
Rosalyn knew about her brother’s dream.
While she finished everything she needed to learn as a member of the royal family and studied magic deep into the night… The light in the study in John’s Palace was always lit.
“John. You are most like me among all of our siblings.”
“Because I too only look toward my dreams as I live.”
The two of them were silent for a moment.
Lock was observing Rosalyn, who seemed oddly different from her usual self, before turning away. Choi Han was looking out the window with an odd smile on his face.
“I will somehow convince Royal Father and Royal Mother.”
John let out a short sigh at Rosalyn’s comment. Rosalyn smiled before continuing to speak.
“First, I’m going to be very loud while taking care of the Archduke’s household. It won’t take very long.”
She was planning on making it such a big deal that the whole kingdom would be talking about it.
“While I do that, John, you-”
“Take care of the palace?”
“Yes, that’s right.”
Rosalyn couldn’t hide her pleasure at John who understood what she wanted right away. John looked away after seeing Rosalyn’s gaze and added on.
“I’m not going to get rid of everybody who followed the Archduke. I will only capture the ones who lied to the royal family and tried to trick us; the ones who show potential signs of causing internal conflict.”
“You already have a list?”
“I don’t have an accurate list yet. It looks like you’ll have to help me a bit.”
“Okay. Let’s do it together.”
Rosalyn extended her hand and John grabbed it.
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