Alex hurriedly kicked my foot under my wide skirt, but the Grand Duke of Glouster already heard it and laughed quietly. “That kid was always that way. I don’t think it’s because she’s a Princess. Maybe it’s a problem from her foresight.”
“Does Her Majesty really possess it? That thing,” Alex asked. The Grand Duke glanced around to make sure no one was there.
He shrugged. “The late King believed it.”
“But just a while ago… she was mistaken. She blamed Aaron for Count Thoreau’s death,” Alex murmured. He scratched the back of his head. Why would she pick Aaron?
“Foresight isn’t always… accurate. It’s not clear whether it is foresight or simply a child’s daydream. If she could distinguish between them, she would be an amazing seer, undoubtedly but… nobody in the royal family ever had a gift like that.”
My brother seemed surprised at the Grand Duke’s words. It was unusual for the member of the royal family to speak so openly.
“Isn’t it natural that the Princess hates you? Especially when you talk about your ancestors like that.” The Great Duke smiled slyly at my words.
“I don’t think that’s the reason why the child hates me,” said the Grand Duke. “Now when I think about it, doesn’t the Marquess of Wishburn also inherited the royal lineage through his wife?”
I had forgotten about it, but he was right. Our family had broken off ties with the royals, but my maternal grandmother was a sister to the late king. It is said that she voluntarily gave up the throne when her brother was born. Wait… so my mother and Inverius the 3rd would be cousins. Which means…
“Am I your relative too?” I asked, horrified. He laughed. Alex buried his face in his hands and sighed.
“You really should have concentrated on your history lessons,” said Alex.
“Well…,” said the Grand Duke, “after marriage, Duchess of Seymour, your grandmother, abandoned her royal status and never tried to meet with the late king or my brother, for that matter. The Duchess and the late king have different mothers. It will be hard to know how much blood we share.”
I had learned about the genealogy of the royal family in history, but it hadn’t seemed very important at that time, so it hadn’t stayed in my head for a long time. I decided to look into the family tree once I returned home.
Will I be able to return home? I bloody well hope they don’t mean to marry me off from Schway. If so, I might just run away for real.
“Well. I think it’s time to go inside now. If we delay a bit more, I think the Marquess will come out himself.” He put his hand slightly on mine, that was still holding onto his arm. I felt his warmth even through his gloves.
There were no scars on my hands now. And there are no burns that removed my fingerprints either. But I remembered everything. How rare and uncommon is it for one person to love another completely.
Even families betray each other. Even if you share blood, it doesn’t mean you will be loved unconditionally. As I watched Alex’s back in front of me, I recalled the image of his body on the ground drenched in blood. And Sir Slanted Eyes collapsing on the ground with blood gushing out from his neck.
“I can kill more people,” I murmured so quietly that only the Grand Duke could hear me. He had said he wasn’t a police officer, but will he live up to his bold declaration? Will he be surprised at my words? Will he detest me?
But it was me who was surprised. He patted my hand and spoke quietly. “It is important to protect things and people precious to you.”
We didn’t speak again as we entered the palace.
Ethan Duplo limped across the party room and approached the corner where his brother and father, Duke of Ayble, were in conversation. His clothes were dirty, his hair was disheveled. People glanced at him when he made his way across to his family, whispering behind his back.
Even if his father had given up on him, Ethan still carried his name and the title of being the second son of the Duke of Ayble. He wanted a drink to forget the pain between his legs. But when he picked up a glass of wine, his hands shook. He knew the look his father and brother would direct at him if he spilled the drink on himself. He wished for the humiliation to end.
She is probably crazy. She expects me to believe Count Thoreau touched her? He would have been lucky to even survive.
“Going tomorrow would seem a little impatient. But you’re still the future duke and aren’t lacking anything as a marriage partner. Wishburns probably want to put this scandal to rest as soon as possible. So, there’s no better way than assigning a proper escort. A young man with a good family and no flaws.”
“She’s a lot more beautiful than I had expected. It doesn’t even seem like she just debuted.” His older brother, Hugo’s, face was flushed as his eyes twinkled. He looked like someone who had fallen in love. What on earth are they talking about?
“Well, the Marquess was a famous beauty. Even now almost no one can compare to her in looks and intellect. If she wasn’t a cousin to His Majesty, and if the Duchess of Seymour didn’t hate everything concerning the royal family so much, they would probably get married. But no one could bring that up since the Duchess hated going back to the palace,” said Duke of Ayble, Ethan’s father, Isaac Duplo.