“Yes. It’s rare to find someone like you.”
Did I say something wrong? But he was the one who asked.
“It was praise. I think honesty suits you well.”
Honesty. Being honest suited me. It was funny. Because there was not a single truth that came from this body.
I raised the corners of my mouth gently.
“Your Highness evaluated me too well.”
Delkian told me about the painting, put his hand in his coat pocket, and then pulled out a red pocket and gave it out to me. I raised my hands and took the pocket. Obviously, there was something inside, but it was so light that you could barely feel the weight.
“Is it the mana stone?”
“Yes. The processor was very proud of it. So the quantity came out better than expected. The grades were high too.”
“Isn’t it natural that the higher the quality, the higher the effect?”
Delkian nodded and gestured to open it.
“That’s right. They are close to the highest quality, so open it and check it out. They said there would be a few more small mana stones, which would be sent after reprocessing. Do you want me to send it to your house right away? The effect is probably good for trivial things.”
“I’m grateful, but…”
When I untied the string tied with a ribbon and looked in the pocket, I found three mana stones, dark blue and black mana stones in the shape of long crystals and an opaque white mana stone. The first thing I thought about was that the size and the shape would be perfect for hiding it.
“What kind of mana stone is this dark blue color?”
“Teleport stone. Even if it’s not the highest quality, with just one of them, you can travel a distance that takes about three days by carriage without any problems. Even for shorter distances, you could use it several times.”
“Yes. Be careful because the stone will break if you use all the mana in it. Teleport stone has the highest quality, so I purposely asked them to process it as much as possible. It’s okay, right?”
“Very well. It’s an honor for me to use such a strange thing.”
If the upper quality is this high, how about the highest quality? In addition, these small things were disposable. Still, they could easily teleport me for about 30 minutes or an hour on foot. They were even light. Perfect things to use for running away.
I know I shouldn’t run away, but just in case. It might come in handy when my mother and Sir Shubart reached the point where they couldn’t be saved.
“Then, is this making me invisible?”
“It’s an invisible stone. Even if the quality is low, it’s quite difficult to make and breaks easily in the middle of processing. It’s a pity there’s only one.”
“It’s amazing just to be able to make it with this shape.”
It was very satisfactory. I thought it would be nice if there were one or two, but I didn’t expect to get something this good.
“You must like it.”
“Can I do anything for you? I’m sure Your Highness doesn’t lack anything, but I’m still grateful.”
I looked up at him, and he looked at me with a subtle expression.
“Why is Your Highness looking at me like that?”
“Just. When I saw your eyes again, I thought they were very mysterious.”
It was too much to call them mysterious… But his words sounded like he really thought them like that.
“Are they a rare color?”
“I guess so. You don’t need to feel burdened because you won it from the game.”
“If you want something to do, it’s okay to meet me again next time.”
Delkian had a humorous personality. But this time, I thought he really meant it.
I smiled slightly and turned my head back to the painting.
* * *
Late at night.
“Lady, here you go.”
Nina poured the tea and gave me a note. Nina, whom I sent under the pretext of checking the dress design, brought the information.
As I quietly accepted it and opened it, there was news that the empress’s biological mother, Madam Perza’s carriage, had been canceled for departure. I guess she believed it was dangerous.
I thought she wouldn’t believe me, so I asked Shale Iskar to block the path for whatever reason, and now it has become useless.
“You did a great job.”
“It’s my job. She asked who told me about this. I didn’t answer, but now I asked if I should let her know?”
Nina nodded her head. I thought for a moment, shook my head, and burned the note with a candle. Then I drank the rest of the tea and said, “Not yet. It wasn’t an important story, so I would be in danger if I told her. Let’s pretend it never happened.”
“You can go and rest. There won’t be anything more to do for today.”
Sir Shubart must have been a little annoyed, but it couldn’t be helped.
“Lady, this is Lisa.”
As soon as Nina left, Lisa came in.
“An imperial man just visited. It was said to be a letter from the second prince.”
“At this hour? Give it to me.”
This was the gold envelope of the letters he always sent. The content was simpler than usual. It was a concise reply to send a carriage at that time.
“He doesn’t have to send this though. What is that?”
“It’s arrived together.”
It’s a big box. When I received it from Lisa and opened it, a cloak-like overcoat was inside.
It’s not a dress, but a cloak. Moreover, it was thick, which could only be worn in the middle of winter, when it was colder than now. I didn’t know if I would go somewhere colder than here. I didn’t even think I would ever go back to the North.
“I guess he wants Lady to wear it on a date tomorrow.”
Lisa said in a rather excited voice. She doesn’t have much change in her emotions, but she’s been a little lively these days, thanks to Nina.
“I guess so. Can you match it with the dress tomorrow?”
“Sure, don’t worry!”
“Okay, then take this. I have to get ready tomorrow, so leave. Let me know if my mother or Sir Shubart ever comes.”
“Yes, Lady. Rest well.”
I was left alone after Lisa left, and I reflected on my conversation with Juri yesterday. I guessed she would give me some good news soon.
* * *
Valerie was waiting for her at the appointed place. His face was redder than ever. He couldn’t believe he had gotten a reply from her. The exact time of the appointment was written, but he couldn’t stand it any longer and replied back.
A large bouquet of flowers was in his hand, hidden behind him. These flowers were the same flowers that he sent to the North. If he showed her these, she would know who sent the flowers she saw in the North.
It was almost time for her to come. He hoped that the carriage he sent to pick her up would bring her wearing the gift he gave to her. Valery practiced and coughed again and again until she came. He lifted the bouquet into the air and lowered it.
He had never waited for anyone in his life. It was his first time. Never he thought waiting for someone would be so exciting. If he could continue to feel this way, he hoped he would continue to wait. Of course, it would be better to see her thoughts.
“Blake. Ahem, Bla… Blake.”
He practiced and rehearsed how to look best in front of her. Hoping to see her face soon.
* * *
I wore the necklace that he wanted to see on the date. And I chose a dress to match the necklace. I got out a little earlier than the appointment time I told him. Holding his reply and putting on the cloak he sent yesterday. Fortunately, it was so cold today that I didn’t even wear a coat.
The sunlight coming through the window was so nice today. I wanted to get some sun before I got into the carriage. The sunlight that I would normally hate.
I opened the letter again while waiting for the carriage.
[Blake Ariandel. There is something I want to formally say to you tomorrow.]
I remembered him, who would have written it full of emotions. Even though it’s not my real name, I guess there was only one thing he wanted to say.
No matter how much I asked my mother, I was nervous because it was my first time dating. I couldn’t tell how close I could get to him. Like when we bump on the terrace? When we danced? Or like when he hugged me? Could I even grab his hand and get closer? Maybe there are days when he would come to visit without contact.
On the other hand, I felt bad because I felt like I would be trampling his heart. Of course, Valery was a very nice person. But he was a complete stranger to me.
My heart felt heavy because I felt like I was unintentionally taking away his chance to meet a good person. I didn’t think about this until recently… I guess I was thinking of him better than I thought.
It was time for the carriage to come soon.