There were a lot of positive articles about me, along with a picture showing the amicable relationship between me and Damian.
Of course, that wrapped up this memorial nicely, but…
‘It’s more likely because I ordered the reporter to post an apology rather than him doing it out of the kindness of his heart.’
For a moment, my gaze turned cold.
Realizing that I wasn’t going to be slandered by the media anymore, I straightened my back.
‘It’s also thanks to the various ways Damian was respectful towards me during the memorial service.’
There’s a great difference between a fiancee who’s forced to obtain the people’s favor and a fiancee who’s actually adored by the Crown Prince.
‘I should thank Damian for what he did.’
I snapped back and made a gesture to the Empress.
“Oh, about…the pensions to be paid to the bereaved families…”
“It will be paid.”
My eyes fluttered.
It was something I found out during the memorial service.
I was told that the bereaved families had so far not received their pensions.
So, that had to be changed.
Isn’t that the least that could be done for those who can never see their precious family members again
At that time, I was upset on the inside.
“By the way, what kind of compensation did Viscountess Antes decide to receive”
Just then, the Empress asked me a question.
“It’s said that she sent a letter of protest in Margrave Antes’s name.”
“Really She’s being firm.”
The Empress smiled contentedly.
Sending a letter of protest was to show that she was willing to deal with the matter, family to family.
It was also obvious she would do so.
Sienna is very proud of her family.
“So the other family has to pay a considerable amount.”
“Of course, they should.
How dare they damage a family crest”
The Empress narrowed her eyes.
“Honestly, it was bizarre in the first place to be holding onto the flag.”
“The Empress is right.
I’d rather fall than tear a family’s coat of arms…”
Damage to a family crest is a very sensitive issue.
Both the Empress and Her Majesty, the Empress Dowager, shared the same opinion.
The Empress Dowager then asked me a question with a playful face.
“By the way, Charlize.”
“Earlier at the memorial service, Damian seemed to really care about you.”
“Wasn’t it just because I’ve been serving His Highness, the Crown Prince, ever since we were children”
Hmm…I think I gave a pretty decent answer.
Her Majesty, the Empress Dowager, looked at me with a strangely frustrated expression.
Then she asked me the question again.
“Of course, that’s part of it.
But Charlize, do you think that’s the only reason”
Her voice was more earnest than before.
As soon as she heard the question, the Empress furrowed her brows as if her stomach was turning inside out.
‘What is she implying’
With a bewildered face, I looked at Her Majesty.
Inwardly, I waited for an explanation, but the Empress Dowager kept her lips shut.
Instead, she simply picked up her refreshment with a mischievous look in her eyes.
I wanted to ask her what she meant, but…
‘I wouldn’t dare urge the Empress Dowager for clarification.’
Putting away my lingering desire to find out what she meant, I returned to the conversation at hand.
As I did, I glanced out the window.
On some of the branches, light green buds were sprouting one by one.
A gentle smile spread across my face.
Spring is just around the corner.
It came in full force.
Branches were covered in green leaves sprouting and rustling as a soft breeze blew by.
I was outside for the longest time, just enjoying the sunny weather.
‘Ah, the sun’s warmth…I’m a little sleepy.’
I feel like I have a disease that makes me drowsy upon feeling the sun’s rays.
That reminds me of when I was at the Empress’s palace alone and I dozed off in front of the Duke.
Come to think of it, what has the Duke been up to these days
It seems like it’s been a while since we last saw each other…
While thinking such miscellaneous thoughts, I covered my mouth and yawned a little.
A man’s shadow fell over my head.
It was Damian.
I opened my eyes and looked up at him.
“What are you doing here”
“Oh, I was basking in the sun.”
As I yawned again, Damian frowned slightly.
“If you’re tired, go inside and sleep.”
“Well, I’m not that tired.”
Damian sat next to me, staring at the flowers swaying in the wind.
Then he opened his mouth abruptly.
“Come to think of it, you seem to be in the garden often.”
“It just feels good to be out in the garden.”
I held my chin in thought for a moment, then smiled bashfully at Damian.
“Damian, you’re acting like a pampered prince, I’m just out here sitting in the garden.”
“What’s so special about the garden”
“Well, the place I first met you was in the garden of the Crown Prince’s Palace.”
If I closed my eyes, I could picture it like it was yesterday.
The garden was overgrown and drab as if a ghost could pop out.
Crawling through a dog hole, filled with a desire to see the male lead, Damian, who pointed a dagger at my neck with a vigilant look in his eyes.
A young, little boy who was wary at first and didn’t trust me, but couldn’t leave my side in the end.
But now, that same boy has grown up so well and is sitting next to me
After reminiscing, I quickly asked Damian a question.
“Do you remember that time”
“The time when you discovered me going in and out of the Crown Prince’s palace.”
I rolled my eyes and smiled mischievously.
“Damian, didn’t you drench your pillowcase every night because you couldn’t see me”
“What What are you on about I never cried!”
Damian was flustered.
Pretending to be disappointed, I tucked my shoulders.
“Really You didn’t cry”
I didn’t cry!”
Damian, you’re that kind of person.”
Damian raised his shoulders.
I looked up at him with an envious and sorrowful gaze.
“I…I feel a little disappointed.”
“Wait, you’re upset”
I nodded my head helplessly and asked Damian again.
“Really You didn’t cry”
After some silence.
Damian gritted his teeth and answered.
“I think I cried a little, just a little bit…”
In an instant, sound left my lips.
Damian widened his eyes slightly.
“Lize, are you serious!”
At the same time, I burst out laughing.
Damian made a pouty face.
“You really…treat me like a child sometimes.”
Hearing his grumbling, I wiped the tears from my eyes.
“That’s because it’s so cute seeing you react like that.”
“Oh, are you annoyed”
When I asked that question, Damian turned his head away with a sulky expression.
But that can’t be helped, right
I’ve been taking care of him as his maid since he was young.
I glanced sideways at Damian.
Lilac-colored eyes remained still as they gazed at the person before them.
‘… … Damian, you’ve grown a lot.’
A thought suddenly formed in my head.
His sharp jawline and solid frame.
The soft curve that Damian once had as a child left no trace.
He’s really become a man…
Damian turned to me.
Our eyes met.
Damian narrowed his eyes and asked me.
“Why are you looking at me like that”
For a moment, my breathing became erratic.
My face felt like it was getting hotter, so much so that I unknowingly avoided Damian’s gaze.
‘It’s becoming a problem every time I get conscious of Damian.’
I hurriedly opened my mouth to shake off my thoughts.
“Moving on, the social season is slowly coming back.”
Fortunately, Damian nodded along with the sudden change of topic.
The imperial social season begins in the spring.
Where local nobles come to the empire and the ladies of especially powerful noble families hold banquets called ‘Spring Tea Parties.’
Spring Tea Parties is a place for local and established aristocrats to interact with each other….
Damian then suddenly asked me.
“So why aren’t you preparing a tea party for this spring”
“It’s fine, I was in charge of the memorial service this time.”
I smiled and shook my head.
“If I keep making an appearance, His Majesty, the Emperor, will take offense.”
Damian seemed a little disappointed with that answer.
“Still, you’re my fiancee.
It’s an opportunity to make a mark on society…”
“Ah, even if that’s so, there would still be a lot of talk about the budget concerning the memorial service.”
To be precise, the Emperor made a fuss about it.
Fortunately, there was no need to address His Majesty because the memorial ceremony was handled well.
Despite intentionally omitting some words, Damian quickly caught on to what I was getting at.
His expression darkened.
“There’s no doubt something similar to that will happen again, it’s a given.”
To disperse the gloomy atmosphere, I made a light joke.
“Because I’m lazy by nature, playing and eating and not doing anything is my preferred way of living.”
Damian laughed a little.
I tapped the back of his hand to cheer him up.
At the unexpected call, I looked back.