“An interview? What……”
“Is it perhaps the < Biweekly Riester >?”
Vice Captain Élisabeth asked for me since I was too shocked to finish my sentence.
The serious look on Benjamin’s face seemed to be spreading to her a bit as well.
The < Biweekly Riester > was the Beau Monde magazine that I had spent the most time reading since coming to this place.
Over half of the Empire’s nobles subscribe to it, while the other half are said to read it with their friends who do . (TL: The OG version of sharing Netflix passwords)
“Yes, your highness. Lady Sarah Belliard, the Managing Editor, officially requested to interview you and her Majesty has approved.”
Benjamin calmly explained before serving coconut cake on the tea table.
I couldn’t help but have questions that filled my mind even as I picked up a fork.
“I don’t know why this is happening all of a sudden. It was quiet until now.”
“To be honest with you, it has not been quiet, your highness.”
Benjamin cautiously responded.
I stopped taking a bite of the soft cake and looked at him.
“Your highness, I’m sure you are well aware of the fact that the Empress Palace has been filtering all personal communication from the nobles to you. All gifts have been stored in the Imperial safe as well because we do not know the intentions behind them.”
“Yes, you told me.”
“It is the same for any contact from the media. This is especially true for the < Biweekly Riester > which has been asking for a personal interview with you since the day you arrived at the palace. Her Majesty had declined them all until recently.”
‘As I expected. Well, I’m thankful for that since I would like to be as far away from attention as possible.’
“I wonder what made her change her mind.”
I responded to him.
It made me a bit anxious but there was no reason I couldn’t do an interview.
It was something I had never done before in my life but I felt as if it would be fine if I answered as they told me to answer, and feigned ignorance for any potentially complicated questions.
I was ready to follow anything the Empress Palace told me to do, as long as it wasn’t something difficult.
They feed me three meals a day and pay me to stay here. If the people who hold my life in their hands tell me to bark, how can I not bark?
I just wanted to know why they suddenly allowed this interview.
“To start with the conclusion, it is because of Marquis François Duhem.”
Benjamin sighed as he responded.
Vice Captain Élisabeth, who had been quietly listening, nodded her head while saying that she understood.
I looked at her and then at Benjamin.
Marquis François Duhem was Captain Duhem’s older brother and the person in charge of the Great Clearance of Demonic Beasts.
He was the one who frustrated the Cardinal by announcing that he would put the divine item, the Sword of Wisdom from the Flaming Star, as the prize for the winner of the competition……
“Did she allow them to interview me in return for pushing back the announcement regarding the Sword of Wisdom from the Flaming Star?”
“That is correct, your highness.”
I nodded my head at the immediate response.
The Cardinal had explained the situation in the past.
It made me think about Lady Sarah Belliard, who was willing to share Marquis Duhem’s proclamation even at the cost of sending out a revised edition.
Even if the Marquis had talked about the winner’s prize, the difference was heaven and hell when it came to being a rumor against being written in the most influential magazine in the Empire.
“Her Majesty is usually relaxed with the nobles. She believes that it will be less annoying to her that way. The nobles can do things freely as long as they do not get on Her Majesty’s nerves.”
“You are saying that this media control is a unique circumstance.”
“Yes sir. Her Majesty must have thought that it would be cleaner to give her a reward since something like this pretty much never happens.”
I was that reward.
Rather than owing Lady Belliard and being bothered by her frequently, the Empress wanted to give her a treat and shut Lady Belliard up.
“When will the interview take place?”
I asked with curiosity.
“I heard that it will take place at 2 p.m. in the Empress Palace tomorrow.”
I put a piece of the sweet yellow cake in my mouth and let it melt down.
‘I mean, when else would you use a slacker of a diplomatic hostage?’
I did not consider the Great Clearance of Demonic Beasts as a similar deal since I said that I would go.
“Your highness, please be cautious around Lady Belliard.”
Vice Captain Élisabeth warned me in a serious tone.
I stopped my hand from attacking the cake and made eye contact with her.
“I was almost looted dry by her a few months ago.”
The Vice Captain of the Imperial Guard then raised her left hand.
The ring on her fourth finger shined brightly in the sunlight.
I had seen it on her hand the first time I met her. It had a splendid jewel at the center.
“It is a yellow diamond.”
The real Prince Jesse might have seen it frequently, but it was my first time seeing it.
She quietly chuckled at my response.
“An engagement is a person’s personal life, but she wanted to dig into it solely because I was the successor for the Moutet County. She is not an easy person to deal with.”
‘Oh, it really was an engagement ring.’
I wanted to know who her fiance was but I did not ask because it felt odd asking her before she mentioned it first.
Anyway, it seemed that the way this world’s media chases after celebrities was the same as it is in my old world.
I thought that it was an obvious development because the author of QNW was Korean.
I recalled how Sadie had talked back to me with his usual sharp gaze in the Confessional a few days ago.
‘You can’t eavesdrop on someone else’s confession. That’s supposed to be a secret.’
‘Sarah Belliard doesn’t deserve such consideration.’
‘I wonder what he meant by that.’
The little boy had such a strong reaction to her, Benjamin was calling the interview bad news, and Vice Captain Élisabeth struggled with her…
‘Do they just mean that Lady Belliard is a trashporter?’ (TL: Korean slang for reporter + trash was used so I created the term trashporter)
‘……Thank you very much.’
The woman’s old voice was still vivid in my mind.
She had an ill grandson and her relationship with her daughter and son-in-law had suffered because of it.
Of course, you can’t cover up other issues just because she had such a sad story, but……
‘Yes, I cannot meet someone with my heart already leaning in one direction.’
I thoroughly chewed on the cake to make sure that I didn’t forget that.
“I will say I don’t know to any difficult questions and respond with as little as possible to the easy questions as well. That should be good, right?”
I smiled as I said that.
Vice Captain Élisabeth gave me a thumbs up, saying that I had the right mindset.
Benjamin silently nodded his head but he still looked worried.
Demy suddenly popped out of the garden shrubs.
He must be hungry after running around and having fun.
I cleared my mind as I handed him a thinly sliced mango.
We had caught five demonic beasts yesterday and I had been studying all day after returning to the palace, so I wanted to leave tomorrow’s affairs for tomorrow’s me to deal with.
Yesterday’s me was such a selfish bastard.
‘How could you only think about yourself?’
“He is not someone who needs a lot of makeup. His highness also pulls off beautiful colors very well.”
“I see, his skin is so clean as well.”
The boss of the makeup department in the Imperial Palace was holding a large brush-like item in his hand, and the boss of the attire department I had met back at the Spring Ball were chatting with each other while I was seated in front of them.
One of the numerous empty rooms of the Empress Palace was full of people attending to me.
‘This is so nerve-racking……’
The people of the Empress Palace rushed over to Juliette Palace early in the morning, threw me into the tub, and frantically started to get me ready.
The fact that Sarah Belliard, a media celebrity, managed to land an interview with a diplomatic hostage seemed to have created a bigger ripple than I had expected.
I managed to see a miracle in action when all of the attendants finally left me alone after I told them that I would starve all day if they didn’t let me wash alone.
I naturally had no plans to starve myself, so I was relieved that the threat worked.
“The best way to describe Prince Jesse’s skin? The summer cool tone.”
Christelle, who was seated on the couch observing the chaos, said something that nobody here would understand.
‘This definitely sounds like something Eunse talked about a few times but I don’t really remember what it means.’
I think it meant skin that looked cool even in the summer or skin that looks even better in the summer.
Anyway, it was a term that should only work in Korea, so I feigned ignorance and changed the subject.
“Do you not have to stop by your house, young lady Sarnez?”
‘Why are you killing time here? Please go home.’
That was what I actually meant by that but Christelle did not even budge.
“Anything you do while ditching class is fun.”
I couldn’t say anything to that since it was true.
She smiled as she saw my mouth close before happily observing the clothes that the attire team had selected and brought over for me.
I thought that the interview would start after lunch because it was scheduled for 2 p.m.
I had never expected them to cause such a ruckus from the morning. Even Benjamin and Ganael seemed quite shocked this time.
I supposed that I should expect a ruckus for anything the Empress is involved with in the future.
My Friday lesson with the Cardinal was canceled, so the fact that Christelle came over to play was one of the tiny misfortunes of the day.
“My mother worries a lot if I only stay at the residence.”
The main character suddenly responded. I had no idea what to say to that.
“It is not easy to see someone who treats me so well suffering. I feel that way even though I don’t have many memories about my mother.”
She then said that that was the reason she left the house whenever she had an excuse to do so.
Lady Isabelle de Sarnez still seemed to be unable to drop her concerns for her daughter.
No parent would be able to do so, but……
I could see a bit of Christelle’s personality based on her response.
She was an affectionate person, as Eunse had told me, and seemed weak to the older sister characters.
It wasn’t that difficult to think that an office worker in her twenties would consider Lady Sarnez, a woman in her thirties, to be an older sister.
“His straight hair doesn’t cause many issues, so we can just comb it over.”
I was quietly in my thoughts when the makeup department boss proclaimed that as if he had made a great discovery.
‘Wait, it’s not like I’m some kind of idol…… Whatever, I guess I should be happy that they won’t put any makeup on me. I remember how much Eunse hated it since it is such a hassle getting it off.’
“This is my first time coming to this side. It is extremely luxurious.”
Christelle seemed amazed while looking at the mural on the ceiling.
She looked extremely entertained after she ended up having lunch with me in the Empress Palace and accompanying me to the interview location.
I couldn’t turn her away after seeing the grim look on her face while talking about her mother……
It was also my first time coming around the Empress’s office, as I had only been to the Cardinal’s office and the dining area.
We were slowly walking down the wide hallway of the Empress Palace, following an attendant with Benjamin and Ganael behind us.
“This person is……”
I observed a large portrait in front of the Empress’s office, while Christelle was inspecting the mural.
It was a portrait of someone I didn’t know but there was no way I could not recognize that face.
“That is his Royal Highness, Prince Alexandre.”
Benjamin responded to my question.
Alexandre Riester. The man who was said to have given up his title of Duke for love.
The Empress’s husband, who had left this world now, only remained as a portrait in front of his spouse’s room.
He looked almost exactly the same as Imperial Prince Cédric, but his black hair was down to his waist and his eyes were as blue as the deep sea.
“The Thrilling Archmage……’
“Your Royal Highness.”
I suddenly heard Ganael’s urgent voice.
I turned around wondering if Cardinal Boutier had appeared. (TL: In Korean, the same title is used for pretty much everyone. Jesse, Cédric, Cardinal Boutier, The Empress, etc. Hence Jesse’s confusion with who it is when in English all of their titles are different.)
‘Nobody said that she would be taking part in the interview.’
However, the person who was there was not the Cardinal.
“Your loyal subject greets our Royal Highness.”
Christelle greeted him first.
The attendants who were momentarily shocked quickly showed their respects as well.
Unlike the portrait silently observing us, the eyes of the person slowly walking over to us was the color of the sunset.
I calmly greeted Imperial Prince Cédric and the woman walking one step behind him.
“Hello, your Royal Highness. Hello Lady Belliard.”