“No, you’re honestly pretty.” said Damian with a clear voice.
The empress looked at Charlize with a devastated face.
The empress said in a trembling voice.
“Ah, Charlize, it’s no wonder you’re on the side of the Crown Prince rather than mine… …”
“This ribbon is a keepsake of Her Majesty Empress Sun.”
The Empress glanced at Damian with an apologetic look, she had assumed the ribbon to be something ordinary, not a heirloom.
After that, she coughed and opened her mouth.
“Looking at it again, it’s a very pretty ribbon.”
“Is that right” questioned Charlize.
Despite the instant change in her attitude like a flip of a switch, Charlize still looked up at the Empress with a sparkling gaze in her eyes.
It’s as if her body language screamed out, “As expected, my empress!”
Damian was saddened by how different Charlize treated him compared to how she had treated the empress.
Just then, Charlize turned to look at him.
“That’s right, hey.
Are you hungry”
“I have some soup that her Majesty, the empress sent me earlier.
I’ll bring it to you!”
Then without even listening to Damian’s answer, she proceeded to scurry out of the room in a hurry.
Damian and the Empress, who were suddenly left alone, looked at each other with awkward expressions.
Damian’s pupils trembled with great intensity.
What should I do I should say something.
First of all, I’d like to say thank you.….
“Yes, Your Majesty.” replied Damian anxiously.
The Empress had called Damian at the exact time Damian was about to open his lips.
Damian, slightly nervous, looked up at the Empress silently.
“I didn’t travel all the way to the Crown Palace to see the Crown Prince eat.”
“Because of this situation, I just came because I was afraid the crown prince would feel burdened.”
The Empress did not raise an eyebrow and spoke with that characteristic expressionless face of hers.
Damian felt unease at that unexpected look of hers.
Come to think of it, the empress was a person with very few expressions.
The empress carried on speaking in a voice, indifferent to Damian’s discomfort.
“Have I told you before It is my duty to protect the Crown Prince.”
“I am fulfilling that obligation.
Damian tilted his head.
The empress had been talking for some time now, it was rare for her to speak for long and yet she continued.
“Charlize is always concerned about you, Crown Prince, so there are some things I can do to help her and you in that endeavor.”
Even though she said, ‘Charlize is concerned about me,’ there was the slightest hint of irritation across the Empress’s face… …
Am I overreacting
Damian, who was lost in his train of thought, gave a faint smile for a moment without realizing it.
‘If Charlize really cares about me… … ‘
With that single thought of his, Damian’s mouth became sweet as if he had taken a bite of candy.
‘What’s this tingly feeling, I feel’
It has been ages since someone had cared for him so thoroughly.
Is that why
… … In any case, it wasn’t a bad feeling.
The empress who had been observing Damian smile and gaze aimlessly, narrowed her eyes.
“You look jubilant.”
Was it that obvious
Damian gently felt his lips.
The tip of his lips were curved upwards without realizing it.
He quickly corrected his expression.
Then the Empress’s eyes softened a bit.
“Anyway, I also want to thank the Crown Prince for getting along with Charlize.”
It was a slightly relaxed voice that eased the tension in the atmosphere of the room.
Damian glanced at the Empress, waiting for her to continue.
The Empress sighed briefly.
“I don’t think Charlize has friends of the same age.”
“A friend of the same age”
Charlize has only lived with people older than her, hasn’t she”
Those words carried much weight behind it, Damian quietly dwelled on it, refreshing his memory.
I heard that Charlize was abandoned in the Crown palace as soon as she was born and grew up as a trainee at the education center.
The mature side she shows is probably for survival.
“Sometimes, I feel sad when she acts so mature for her age.”
“… … Your Majesty, the empress.”
“But as far as being with the Crown Prince… … Charlize acted her age.”
Suddenly, a soft smile hung on the lips of the Empress who said that.
Damian answered with a statement.
“……The empress must be very fond of Charlize.”
Lize is the only escape I have from my imperial life.”
The Empress answered without a single trace of hesitation.
Damian suddenly felt guilty.
If only he had not intervened, the two would have been able to live a peaceful life.
He suddenly opened his mouth.
“I am forever sorry, Empress.”
At the sudden apology, the empress narrowed her eyes and stared at Damian.
“In fact, I’m well aware that her Majesty cannot like me.”
“What are you talking about” said the Empress.
“Without me, his Majesty’s current position wouldn’t have been solidified to the extent it is today.”
Deep wrinkles formed on the empress’s forehead.
The current emperor, the husband of the empress, was the younger brother of Emperor Seon.
Naturally, legitimacy was weak, so the emperor took the next best course of action for succession to the throne, by claiming the regency as the protector of the crown prince.
That means that one day when the Crown Prince grows up, he must return the throne.
“If I die, his legitimacy will be unsalvageable, so I understand my position that I can neither die nor live well.”
“But the empress is taking care of me, whom his Majesty considers my being to be like a thorn in his side.”
The Empress narrowed her eyes further.
I didn’t like the situation in which a boy who was only eight years old thought about that and apologized, saying, “It’s natural to hate me.”
Children should be like children.
If you’re forced to become an adult to survive…….
“……The crown prince really, strangely resembles Charlize.”
It reminds me of when she begged me to ‘don’t throw her away.’