<100m to the place to become the Imperial Crown Prince (1)>
My confinement ended as soon as Elise left the Imperial Palace.
The August sunshine was bright. Every day in the Imperial Palace felt like a party these days.
The nobles were freely entering the palace to visit the garden and greenhouse.
As long as their identities were confirmed, even commoners could enter the palace right now.
There were luxurious decorations and tea set up all over the palace for the guests.
This was all because it was D-3.
“Wow! It’s summer!”
Christelle was hugging Demy as she shouted with excitement.
I looked at her in shock before chuckling and looking at Percy, who was on top of the table.
Eva and Sand, who had gotten close to each other, had gone off to a distant part of the Empress Palace’s garden and could not be seen.
They seemed to be walking Rhea and Perry. Sand was definitely not as timid as he was before.
He even said that he missed people during his house arrest.
Vice Captain Élisabeth and Marquis François Duhem, who were seated on the other side of the table, were chatting about portals, the military and other random things like that.
“Please eat as you chat, your highness.”
Ganael put some cute little choux on a plate that pushed toward me.
He probably brought them over from one of the croquembouches located all around the garden.
I alternated sips of the savory thistle tea and the sweet snack as I continued to chat with Percy.
I was tightly holding my notebook in my hand.
“When will you transform? Only when big bro is in serious danger?”
“I’m not going to do anything. I just want to chat.”
– Piiiii, pipi
“Yes…… That’s okay. Just do it when you want to do it.”
Percy’s chest moved up and down in a sassy way.
I petted his head with my index finger and gave up persuading him.
Imperial Prince Cédric, who was drinking an espresso next to me, scowled.
“You understand the words of a divine item?”
“No, your royal highness, but there are certain nuances.”
“Times when it looks like they don’t like something and times when it looks like they do like it. It is the same for divine beasts as well, your Royal Highness.”
David brought an extravagant box and placed it in front of the Imperial Prince as I responded.
The Imperial Prince and I looked toward it at the same time. We could see the jewels that were sparkling under the sun.
Each of them was the size of a child’s fist.
‘It’s no joke.’
“These are the broach options for your cape, your Royal Highness.”
The Imperial Prince showed his discontent.
Now that the Imperial Crown Prince succession confirmation ceremony was three days away, he was dragged to different places to confirm things both small and large basically nonstop.
He would even be pulled away while getting ether from me. His face was extremely disgruntled whenever that happened.
Only Christelle was extremely amused by it.
“This one seems to be the best, your Royal Highness. It suits your eye color and you are of the fire attribute.”
Christelle, who had been carrying Demy and singing, approached us and commented.
Christelle was pointing at a luxuriously crafted red diamond.
David said that she had quite the discerning eye. The Imperial Prince did not agree.
“I’ll definitely not choose that one.”
Christelle groaned with annoyance.
I quickly started speaking, hoping that he didn’t hear her comment about how he throws a fit even when she picks for him.
“I also think that this one is the best, your Royal Highness. I think that primary colors look the best on you.”
It was none of my business what color suited him best and he could probably make any color work with that handsome face of his, but I said whatever came to mind to get past this situation.
‘It’d be great if you wore what Christelle chose for you.’
The Imperial Prince was silent for a moment before he turned his head away and took a sip of his coffee.
“Then I will prepare the red diamond, your Royal Highness.”
David respectfully bowed before walking away. I heard a low chuckle.
Benjamin, who was seated at one side of the table, had stopped writing and was smiling while looking at us.
My mind filled with other thoughts as soon as I saw him.
However, I had not reached a meaningful conclusion in the past fifteen days.
The page of the notebook I was writing on was full of scribbles and ink marks.
∙ Nikky and the ‘provisos’
– Existences with the secrets and principles of the world
– Christelle, the Imperial Prince, Benjamin, Eunseo’s chair
– Can I open the ark from my side (X)
These were things I had learned while inside the ‘Ark of the Wind Deity.’ The second line was the important one.
First of all, Christelle was the MC of QNW and the Imperial Prince was the male lead.
It made sense that they would carry the principles of the world and its secrets. However, Benjamin was the one who was on my mind.
He was the attendant of the second male lead. Eunseo had never mentioned him even once.
That meant that he did not have a big role in the original.
‘Why did he suddenly become so important?’
I stared at the manuscript of the August 15th edition of < Reason, Sensibility, and Holiness > in Benjamin’s hand.
Aside from being my attendant, Benjamin was the third child of a Count’s Household and the author of a popular romance novel.
That seemed like a hint to me.
However, my thoughts could not extend from there at all.
No, they did extend but the direction they went seemed completely off.
‘Does the fact that Eunseo’s chair came up mean that she is the author of QNW?’
There was no way that was the case.
It was impossible once I thought about my memories in the year since QNW started.
‘Then is Christelle the author of the romfan and she somehow ended up in her own novel?
But the official setting is that she was a typical office employee. Maybe it was a side hustle?’
– Scribble, scribble.
The quill pen danced in my hand.
Or what about something like this? We are all in a romance novel that the Imperial Prince writes in the future. After falling deeply in love with Christelle and having a blissful romance until he grew old, he wrote it to record their past journey of love……’
I couldn’t help but say that out loud. I stopped writing.
Something like that would be nice but I had no reason to rationally believe that was the case.
If Christelle was the original author, it would not make sense that she was confused for a few months while getting used to this world setting and choosing a career path.
Even if I overlooked everything one hundred times and decided that the Imperial Prince became an author in the future, I was at a loss as to how that might help me in the present.
‘Maybe it is just the MacGuffin effect where it looks important but is not and is just here to give me a headache?’
“Wow, so pretty. Who does our Demy take after to be so pretty? Hmm?”
“Oh, you are like big sis. Are you a total babe because you take after your big sis Christelle?”
“Aww, so smart. Our Demy is a genius. I should give you a prize.”
Christelle kissed Demy’s nose. Demy smiled and looked happy.
The Imperial Prince let out a deep sigh.
I looked at the beauty and the divine beast while recalling another piece of information ‘Nikky’ gave me while inside the Ark.
‘It’s not that Eunseo is here?’
‘You are the only foreigner here.’
That was a peculiar proclamation.
Christelle was also a transmigrator but she was counted as a person of this world.
‘It’s probably because she is part of the QNW storyline.’
Unlike me, who came from the outside world, her ‘Korea’ existed inside the story.
“Did you choose your territory?”
The Imperial Prince’s voice snapped me out of my thoughts. I quickly turned my gaze.
He was glaring at the map that I had open in front of me.
I could not say that it was just an excuse to organize my other thoughts in my notebook.
“I recommend a place with only a small bit of forest, your highness. Portals and demonic beasts will be less common.”
Vice Captain Élisabeth commented in a jovial voice.
“I understand about demonic beasts, but portals?”
Marquis Duhem responded to my question.
“It rained a lot throughout the Empire until last week, your highness. As the dirt in the forests are washed away by the rain, old discarded portals are starting to appear.”
“Yes sir! They are beautiful and mysterious ruins. Most are broken and do not work anymore but recently, some territory lords have had quite the headache because three or four of those portals actually activated. I’m sure that you would not enjoy random surprise portals, so……”
His eyes curled up as he smiled. I awkwardly smiled.
“Well then, I would like an area with a small forest…… That has a lake.”
Benjamin and Ganael nodded their heads at my comment as if I chose well.
We had been sharing this grand dream of a mansion with a lakeview since some time in the past.
Even just a big house would be fine if a mansion was not feasible.
‘But I don’t even know how many times I will be able to go there.’
“Of the territories owned by the Imperial family, it would probably be here then.”
Eva, who just returned to the table, reached over and pointed to the southwest region of the Empire.
I turned to see that the child’s brown eyes were sparkling.
“Since it is for you, your highness, I can at least build you a villa there.”
The young lady tilted her chin up with pride. I waved my hand in shock.
“You don’t need to do that, Eva. I also have money-”
“I’m treating you because I became the young Duchess, your highness.”
Everybody turned to look at Eva. Even Rhea and Perry’s tails rose up.
“Ah, it is not official yet…… But the Duchess has taken my side and even my father…… Said that we should just kick my brother out. He said that my brother is the shame of the family.”
The child’s voice alternated between being quiet and loud.
“Anyway, it will be announced next month when I make my Beau Monde debut next month. I swear!”
Christelle became extremely excited and hugged Eva while Marquis Duhem whistled.
Everybody other than the Imperial Prince congratulated her.
Vice Captain Élisabeth got up and approached Eva.
“Congratulations, Eva. I know it was very emotionally challenging for you.”
“Yes ma’am, I promise to build a villa for Sir Michel and for you as well, young Countess. Oh, young lady Sarnez as well.”
Eva rattled away while still being hugged by Christelle. I chuckled because she was such a good kid.
I guess this was what she meant when she solemnly said that she had a meal with her mother, Duchess Blanquer.
The fact that caution at the border went down once Elise left was favorable for Eva as well.
It allowed the Duchess to return to the Imperial Capital to see her daughter.
“But why a villa?”
Vice Captain Élisabeth fixed the ribbon on Eva’s head as she asked.
“Ah. It is because our family has agreed to build a small castle for his Royal Highness’ birthday and succession confirmation ceremony.”
My jaw dropped.
‘Something like that is possible……?’
“We also wanted to apologize for the disrespect my brother showed the Imperial family and his Royal Highness.”
Eva peeked warily at the Imperial Prince as she said that. He did not show any reaction.
The Imperial Prince truly seemed like someone out of my reach after hearing that he would receive a castle as a gift, even if it was to apologize for something.
The House of Blanquer also seemed to be quite wealthy.
“I’m embarrassed because your present is much fancier than mine, young lady Blanquer. I offered his Royal Highness the magic stone crystal board!”
The Marquis acted the fool and changed topics after seeing the young girl frown at the Imperial Prince’s lack of response.
‘Is the crystal board the one I am thinking of?’
“It is a magic tool that projects an image of an object onto a large flat board. It will be revealed during his Royal Highness’s succession confirmation ceremony to be seen by all of the citizens of the Empire.”
I couldn’t help but scoff.
The romantic device from the original story that could not be used in the polo match was going to make its debut on a much greater scale.
They must have seen this as a hot topic for the Imperial Capital as both Eva and Sand’s eyes were sparkling.
‘Maybe this is why the two of them became close.’
“Have you prepared a birthday gift for his Royal Highness, Prince Jesse?”
The young girl suddenly turned toward me and asked. I flinched.
‘Maybe the topic on her mind changes so quickly because she is still young.’
“You are not going to wiggle your way out of it with tears again, are you?”
The child’s large eyes became slanted.
Her problematic question made everybody look at me now.
I was so shocked that I could not respond.
‘When did I-’
I heard a voice that was like a gentle breeze at that moment. We all turned around.
“Did you wait a long time, your highness?”
Johann Geens was looking at me.
The corners of his eyes gently curled up as he alighted the steps of the Empress Palace.
This was the reason we were spending time in front of the Empress Palace instead of Juliette Palace.
He was now wearing a typical outfit of people in the Empire.
His cleanly shaved face, tied down white hair, and thin jade-green summer coat suited him very well.
The look on his face seemed fine as well.
“Are you seriously asking because you don’t know? He waited a very long t-”
“I didn’t realize how much time had passed since it is my first time in the garden of the Empress Palace. Did your Audience go well?”
I gently cut Eva off and asked.
The young girl pouted and squeezed my arm.
‘It felt nice.’
“Yes, your highness. Now, I can…… Go get Gerrit.”
Sir Johann’s voice cracked a bit as he said that. Christelle and my face lit up.
That meant that he made a Promise of Ether to Empress Frédérique and that the Empress accepted him as one of her people.
It felt so good thinking about how all of the promises had come true.
“Today is a day full of happy news! What a beautiful day!”
The Marquis pulled some flower petals out of his pockets and scattered them in the air as he stood up.
I had no idea since when he must have prepared such a performance.
Everybody congratulated and gave words of encouragement to Sir Johann as well. Well, everyone except the Imperial Prince.
I peeked at the guy who was seated with his arms crossed.
It would take a three hours round trip to go pick up Gerrit, who would soon arrive at the outskirts of the Imperial Capital.
“Your Royal Highness.”
I quietly called out to him. He immediately looked at me.
I thought that it would be okay for him to go out for a three hour stroll since he had been busy with preparations for the succession confirmation ceremony and official business as soon as August started.
He would obviously be even busier once he became the Imperial Crown Prince.
“Eva would like it if you came with us. Oh, young lady Sarnez as well.”
‘You don’t have to if you don’t want to.’
I commented with such a thought on my mind. He quietly scoffed.
Throwing it on Eva and Christelle… lol