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CWITB | Chapter 16: Self-awareness


Rosalie frowned slightly as she stared into the darkness, only to hear the sound of something colliding.


When Rosalie’s head whipped around at the sound, she saw the shadowy figure she recognized as Derivis. Leaning back against the wall, he clutched his sword in one hand, unmoving, his thumbs working to open and close the scabbard.

“What do you want me to do when I find the culprit? Should I cut off his arms and legs in front of the Duchess?”


“Your Highness the Crown Prince.”

“Or should I thoroughly destroy everything he considers precious in front of him?”


As the sound continued, Rosalie called him.

“Your Highness!”

“Just say the word, and I’ll give you the revenge you desire.”


The sound of the sword hilt and scabbard clashing rang out again. Just then, Nathan lit a candle. 

In the dim light, Rosalie could see Derivis’s face. He already seemed to have lost his sanity in anger.

“I will make them cry tears of blood as much as you felt fear and confusion.”


Rosalie strode up to him and grabbed the hilt of the sword to silence it. She then called out his name loudly.


At the sound of her voice, Derivis regained his senses and looked up at her. Rosalie let out a small sigh and gazed into his clear blue eyes.

“I’m glad you’re alive.”

“I don’t die easily.”

Derivis smiled faintly at Rosalie’s calm response, as if nothing had happened. Rosalie stared at him and spoke.

“I have a favor to ask.”

“Tell me.”

“Thank you for finding me. But I need you to bury what happened today, and don’t bring it up. Don’t investigate it any further.”

Upon hearing Rosalie’s request, Derivis’s expression quickly turned grim. He looked like he was going to rip someone’s head off at any moment.

“Why? Bringing armed mercenaries into the palace and kidnapping nobles is a serious crime.”

Rosalie was taken aback by Derivis’s outburst, but she kept her composure and continued speaking.

“There is something that I must do. Please.”

Derivis opened his mouth to protest once more but was silenced by the determined look in Rosalie’s khaki-colored eyes. After a moment’s pause, a calmer tone came out of Derivis’s mouth.

“Fine. But I have a condition.”

“…What is it?”

“I need to know what the Duchess is planning.”

Rosalie opened her mouth to ask one more question at Derivis’s unconvincing answer, but Nathan was quicker.

“Devi, don’t you think you should go back? It’s getting late.”

Nathan, who had already laid down on the sofa, pointed to an old clock in the corner. As Rosalie squinted her eyes to find the clock in the dark, a large jacket was draped over her shoulders. It was Derivis’s jacket.

“Come on out. I’ll take you home.”

Rosalie tried to refuse, but Derivis quickly opened the door and walked out. She was about to follow him out the door when a husky voice called after her.

“Goodbye, Lady.”

“Rosalie. That’s my name.”

“Goodbye, Rosalie.”

Rosalie glanced at Nathan, who was sprawled on the couch, and thought that he looked like a cat before opening the door and going out. 

Derivis had removed the saddle from his horse and extended his arm to Rosalie as she came out of the shop, lifting her into the horse.

He then climbed up behind her and immediately took control of the horse. The cold morning air washed over their faces as they galloped towards the Duchess of Judeheart’s mansion.

Dismounting, Derivis reached out and helped Rosalie down, then mounted himself.

“We’ll talk about the details later.”

“Please come in secret and unofficially.”

“The Duchess has so many requests for me.”

Derivis muttered softly and spurred his horse away.

Fortunately, only Martin and Emma saw Rosalie’s tattered dress when she arrived at the mansion, and she ordered them to handle it.

⊱⊱⊱────── {.⋅ ✧✧✧ ⋅.} ──────⊰⊰⊰

Back at the palace, Derivis ran a rough hand through his hair. His neatly arranged hair became disheveled. Venick, the Captain of the Imperial Knights who was waiting for him, politely lowered his head.

“First of all, all the distinguished guests at the ball have been sent home.”

“We’ll conclude that the missing Duchess of Judeheart was found and protected by the guards and will be treated as a simple robbery.”

“But then the Emperor will have questions.”

“I’ll take care of that.”

Venick felt every muscle in his body stiffen at Derivis’s anger. He bowed politely and stepped aside, knowing that beneath Derivis’s usually laid-back demeanor was a cruelty like a cold blade.

“At first, it was just out of interest.”

Rosalie’s appearance had changed after several months, if not a year. For him, the change in someone else’s character was completely irrelevant.

However, her changed appearance strangely caught his interest. Whenever her restrained face showed faint emotions, it made him feel something beyond intrigue. When he pointed it out, she would make a subtle face as if pricked by a needle.


Derivis let out a deep sigh. When he saw Rosalie’s scattered jewelry and small shoes in front of the fountain, he regretted not seeing her off. Seeing her return with a messy dress and small scratches all over her body made him feel as if his blood was boiling.

He had the urge to twist and kill anyone who laid a hand on Rosalie’s body, but he just clenched his fists in frustration, thinking about her determined khaki-colored pupils.

⊱⊱⊱────── {.⋅ ✧✧✧ ⋅.} ──────⊰⊰⊰

The next day, the newspaper from the capital that arrived at the mansion had an article titled “Reckless Mercenaries Infiltrated the Palace.” Rosalie, fresh from her morning training and bath, picked up the paper and scanned it.

“Simple robbery…”

Thanks to Derivis, this incident was determined to be a simple case of mercenary robbery, and Rosalie was said to have been rescued by Imperial guards as she fled. The mercenaries that Rosalie killed were also said to have been dealt with by the guards.

‘I owe him a favor.’

He must have put a lot of effort into resolving this incident. Derivis seemed very angry about the intrusion into the palace. It was understandable as he was the Crown Prince, and his opponents were probably busy tearing him apart at a time like this. 

Rosalie understood his anger.

“Your Grace! A guest has arrived, and butler Martin has taken them to the reception room.”

Rosalie stood up at Emma’s voice and headed to the reception room. As she opened the door, she found Moiron sitting on the sofa in the center of the reception room.

“Emma, bring the tea.”

“Yes, Duchess.”

At Rosalie’s command, Emma bowed politely and left the reception room. Rosalie inclined her head as she turned to face Moiron.

“Good morning, Countess Seth.”

“I heard the news through the newspaper this morning. Should I have come a little later?”

Rosalie shook her head at Moiron’s concerned tone.

“No, it was me who asked you to come quickly.”

Not long after, Emma opened the door of the reception room and brought in tea cups and tea. The fresh scent of herbal tea filled the drawing room, and Moiron, attracted by the scent, picked up a teacup and spoke, looking into Rosalie’s eyes.

“So what items do you want to buy from my merchant store?”

“I want to buy a large quantity of enchanted magic scrolls and ogre tendons.”

“Oh… You seem to be making some kind of weapon? I didn’t know that the Duchy was developing weapons.”

Rosalie was unperturbed by Moiron’s sharp and direct question and merely shrugged her shoulders nonchalantly.

“It’s just a small hobby.”

“But both items are not very profitable. Ogre tendons are especially difficult to obtain.”

“For the next three years, I will significantly reduce the customs taxes in the Yelvi Sea in Judeheart’s territory without conditions.”

Moiron’s eyes flashed. The Yelvi Sea was an important route to the Imperial Palace and the Lentil Kingdom, and it was one of the most expensive places to pay taxes. Reducing the taxes would mean a huge profit.

“That’s quite a bargain… but isn’t the customs tax also the Duchy’s main source of income?”

“In exchange, make sure that our business trade is kept confidential.”

Moiron glanced at Rosalie, feigning consideration. After staring at her wordlessly at the obviously tempting offer, she spoke slowly.

“Hmm… that’s good. We’ll benefit a lot if you reduce the customs tax. We will send the contract and the items we have obtained to the Duchy.” 

“Very well.”

Rosalie took a sip of her tea, relieved that the negotiation had been settled. She met Moiron’s gaze steadily, who was still looking at her.

“Did you know, Duchess?”

“What is it?”

“Aside from His Highness the Crown Prince, the Duchess is the first person to look straight into my face and not avert her eyes.”

Three years ago, Moiron lost her younger brother in a carriage accident and obtained a large scar on her right eye.

Since then, Moiron had covered her right eye with her hair because she hated it when people looked at her scar and avoided her or were at a loss.

However, Derivis was the first person who didn’t avoid Moiron’s eyes. Therefore, Moiron thought of Derivis favorably and later helped him a lot in his business.

“Is that so?”

Rosalie knew Moiron’s story, but she didn’t pursue it. Moiron’s scar was not particularly scary or disgusting to her, who had seen many scars and wounds during her ten years of military service. 

Moiron smiled softly at Rosalie’s blunt answer.

“The Duchess is a very interesting person.”

“I wonder why I’ve been hearing that a lot lately.”

Moiron burst into a small laugh as Rosalie spoke with a puzzled expression on her face. She thought that Rosalie, who had an infinitely expressionless face, looked a little cute.

Fufu, do you mind if I leave then? I have plans.”

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