As soon as I entered the central greenhouse, a white-haired boy pushed a huge bouquet of roses towards me.
His copper skin was glowing golden under the warm sunlight flowing through the windows.
I frowned, not receiving a bouquet.
“Is a visit without a message a tradition of the imperial family”
Whether I shoot sharply or not, Garou laughed.
Can you forgive me for this”
He took one of the brightest roses from the bouquet and put it behind my ear.
He was an unstoppable guy.
Where did the smirk go and why was his face so innocent all of a sudden
At that time, Alan, who was right next to me, blocked him with a bitter expression.
“State your business.”
Garou tilted his head as if he had no idea why Alan was here.
“I clearly told the Princess that I wanted to talk only with the two of us.
If you keep following us, it’s a little…”
‘…Isn’t this kid really crazy’
I was more nervous than the talking crown prince.
‘Haven’t you heard of the infamous ‘Mad Duke’ How do you dare make such a statement’
“There is no need to be polite to someone who came without notice.”
Even when Alan spoke lowly, Garou continued to tease his tongue.
“Ah, but who am I I am Garou, the best successor to the World Tree that supports the Empire.”
Garou took out another rose from the bouquet and spun the thorny stem around in his hand.
Red petals fluttered over the back of his tendon-protruding hand.
“As long as the barrier of the World Tree protects the Empire, there is nothing I cannot do in this Empire.
Isn’t that a reasonable thing”
No matter how much I listened, it sounded like he was saying, ‘Since the duchy is within the empire, it is no different than my own territory.’
‘The Crown Prince, he’s more insane than I think.’
How dare he act like that in front of Alan, not anyone else…
Does he want to scatter blood of the same color onto the red rose
“If you have to ask me about the matter, there’s actually nothing much… I just came here to ask her to think about the marriage again.
Garou did not stop poking Alan’s wrath.
I was afraid Alan would be angry, but his eyes were as cold as ice.
It seemed that he was not going to fall for the crown prince’s provocation.
“If it was about that offer, I had already rejected it.”
“Yes, I was dumped.”
Garou put the bouquet down on the tea table and tilted his head exaggeratedly
“But I still can’t give up.
What should I do I want her to accept it, so I’m going to follow her around.”
“You’re a nuisance.”
It’s okay if I get rejected again, so can’t I just talk to the Princess”
Even if Alan cut into his words, Garou only smiled, and there was no sign of intimidation at all.
“Did Lilietta ask you to hide her behind your back so that she wouldn’t need to say a word”
Alan shut his mouth.
Taking advantage of that gap, Garou bent his waist to the side and met my eyes, which was hidden behind Alan’s back.
“You don’t have to tell me if you like it or not.
Let’s just have tea together.”
“That, I’m allergic to tea…”
“If I were you, I would want to hear what I’m going to say.”
Garou showed his teeth, smiling clearly.
“I want to talk to you about your secret.”
This mean bastard.
I secretly grinded my teeth.
The fact that Garou appeared in a dream, that he knew that I was a monster, and that I was trying to run away from the duke’s castle; all these were stories that would not be of any benefit to me if he revealed it to Alan.
In particular, I was careful to keep the third secret.
‘…Let’s be calm.’
If I was a child, I would have trembled and swayed at every word like that.
But not now.
This was what I realized after living with a secret for 4 years.
‘The outcome of any crisis is dependent on how I deal with it.’
“I have no idea what you are talking about.”
I smiled nonchalantly and feigned ignorance.
Garou smiled at me as if he was having fun.
“You really don’t know”
“I have nothing to hide, and even if there is, it is not polite to dig out a lady’s secret.
If you have something to say, please respectfully…”
Suddenly, my back shivered.
I slowly looked up at Alan.
Perhaps it was an unconscious act, but his hand was heading to the large sword behind his back.
I could feel the cold energy all over my body.
I could tell intuitively.
‘He, he’s angry!’
I hurriedly pulled Alan’s sleeve.
If this continued, an unprecedented situation in the empire would occur in which the duke beheads the crown prince.
I was going to die from nervousness, yet Garou smiled and poured oil into the burning house.
“Don’t scare me too much, Duke.
Lilietta is afraid.”
I wanted to hit that pretty face once.
I swallowed dry saliva and folded my arms around Alan.
“Dad, then let the three of us have tea together.”
Alan and Garou both widened their eyes at my words.
“With the Duke too”
I struggled to calm my twitching cheeks and smiled broadly.
“Yes! Let’s get along!”
This was the best compromise because if I tried to kick out either of them, it would be a disaster in some way.
Alan and Garou looked at each other warily, like enemies who met on a single wooden bridge.
I strode first to the tea table and they followed me reluctantly.
Tea time began as soon as the three of us sat down.
‘I want to shove my nose in a teacup and pass out…’
It was a peaceful afternoon in the greenhouse.
To my left, there was Alan, who didn’t even touch the teacup, and to my right, there was Garou, who was emptying a couple of cups of tea.
You know that most of the spirits are twins, right Since I have so many siblings, I can’t even tell my family apart.”
Isn’t the sun hot I’ll tell them to lower the awning.”
“Twin Spirits are not just siblings, but beings born by dividing one person into several people.
It is like how petals gather to become a flower.”
“I have to tell them to make the flowers in the greenhouse bloom more brightly.”
Not a single sentence of proper conversation ever flowed.
Alan and Garou spoke only to me, completely ignoring the other as if there was no other.
Being sandwiched between the two men, I only sip tea, not knowing whether it went through my mouth or my nose, and hoped for the deception on thorn cushions to be over.
“By the way, Lilietta.”
…It was an impossible wish.
“Can I share the secret between you and I here It’s embarrassing to say this in front of the Duke…”
He used such a subtle tone.
It was obvious that it was made up.
I almost spat out the black tea I was drinking at his face.
‘What has he been doing in front of Alan since earlier!’
“…I don’t know what the secret is, but I won’t forgive you if you trouble Lily.”
My stomach has been aching from Alan’s murderous aura.
However, unlike me, Garou waved his hand leisurely in the air.
“Trouble her, huh”
The twinkling light gathered around Garou’s white wooden ring, creating a round shape.
When he grabbed the light and cut it in half, there was a breaking sound.
Which was familiar.
It was definitely the cookie I saw in my dream last night.
“I’m worried that hiding the secret will make it more difficult, Duke.”
Garou, who was staring at me, narrowed his eyes like a snake and smiled.
“I really like the Duke’s daughter… I don’t want her to cry.”
Because this guy said that kind of line, somehow he looked like a bastard among bastards.
Alan’s murderous aura, which had been burning like a blue flame, suddenly cooled as cold as ice.
I had a hunch.
Alan’s condition became more dangerous than before.
At first glance, Alan seemed to have calmed down, but in reality it was the other way around.
From what I had known, Alan was the type to cool off when his anger reached a critical point.
A state in which one would get goosebumps and the legs would tremble just by standing by his side.
It was the moment when the side of the ‘Mad Duke’ was revealed.
The debutante dress was pretty.”
Even if I changed the topic, Alan did not answer and slowly got up from his seat.
Suddenly, the back of my neck became cold.
It had been a while, this feeling.
No matter how kind Alan was to me, whenever I remembered this feeling, I couldn’t control my desire to run away.
“…I definitely did say that I would not forgive you.”
He wasn’t even talking to me, but his voice stimulated my nerves like a sharp dagger.
Garou mumbled while munching on the still shining sweets as if he wasn’t afraid.
“So what if you don’t forgive me Are you planning to officially challenge the Imperial House”
I frowned unconsciously.
A strange foreboding drenched the back of my neck.
It wasn’t my imagination that the crown prince was exceedingly rude.
‘Is it an illusion’
Since before, an unpleasant feeling of incongruity kept touching one side of my chest.
‘This crown prince, I think he’s picking a fight on purpose.’