‘What? I thought he was taking dust off my hair?’
Elena’s red eyes widened.
There was a loud noise as the door opened and the sound of women’s voices entered the room.
“Sister, would you and His Highness care for refreshments–”
She halted the moment she saw Carlisle and Elena. The room was quiet as if it had been doused in cold water. To Mirabelle and the maids standing outside, it looked as if the couple were about to kiss each other.
Mirabelle yelped and went to scurry back outside to the maids. Elena rose from her seat and pushed Carlisle away.
“No, it’s alright. Come in.”
Despite Elena’s invitation, no one stepped in. They seemed to think they would get in the way. Behind Mirabelle’s back, the maids were arguing quietly with each other.
“Ugh! I told you we shouldn’t go!”
“I didn’t know there would be a situation like this…”
However, Elena felt too embarrassed to send them away and be left alone with Carlisle. She didn’t want the others to misunderstand.
‘Why did he suddenly say he’d remove the dirt from my hair…’
Elena glanced wordlessly at Carlisle, the one who started this. In contrast to Elena’s utter embarrassment, Carlisle was as calm as a still lake. No, actually, he seemed to be really dissatisfied to be interrupted so suddenly. Carlisle sat back in his original position and spoke in a low voice.
“Just come in.”
There was a sense of pressure in his words, and Mirabelle and the servants entered the room as if they had no choice. Elena sensed the uncomfortable atmosphere and spoke.
“Please don’t misunderstand. He was just trying to get dust off my hair.”
Only Mirabelle nodded awkwardly along. Elena’s gaze suddenly came upon the tray of refreshments Mirabelle was holding in her hand. Carlisle said he didn’t care for tea, but the delicate-looking snacks looked quite tempting to her.
“Mirabelle, why don’t you join us? Show me what you brought here.”
After a short pause, Mirabelle approached the table where the two were sitting then put down the refreshments.
“I’m sorry that I interrupted you. I brought you some refreshments, if you like.”
“You weren’t interrupting.”
Mirabelle, however, was only looking at Carlisle. Carlisle looked at Mirabelle’s face and recalled their meeting at the ball.
“You are the Lady’s younger sister.”
“Yes, Your Highness.”
“I saw you at the ball. Your sister had lots of praise for you.”
A blush crept up Mirabelle’s cheeks.
“I-I’m flattered, Your Highness.”
A great load seemed to lift off Elena’s mind when she saw Carlisle speaking warmly to Mirabelle. While she expected the same from other families, there was a particularly strong desire that Carlisle would not treat Mirabelle coldly.
“Sit down with us. I want to know the younger sister Lady Blaise loves so much.”
“Ah…yes, Your Highness.”
Mirabelle’s face brightened at the thought of the three of them sitting in Elena’s room and having friendly conversation. Carlisle was blunt but attentive, and while Mirabelle was nervous at first she grew more and more comfortable in talking. As a result, Elena was also able to treat Carlisle naturally as well.
The three spent quite some time together before Carlisle rose up from his seat.
“I have to leave now.”
“Yes, Your Highness. I’ll see you off.”
Elena followed suit and stood up. Carlisle spoke to Mirabelle as she followed them as well.
“Did you say earlier you wanted to see the palace?”
“Ah, yes, Your Highness”
“I’ll invite the two of you next time. I can show you around.”
Mirabelle’s face flushed with joy. Mirabelle’s feelings could easily be read on her face, and Carlisle smiled at her. Elena, who was watching from the side, spoke first.
“Thank you, Your Highness.”
“Nonsense. Your sister is also my sister-in-law.”
“Wow! How exciting!”
Mirabelle grinned at Carlisle straightforward reply. She couldn’t help but be ecstatic that the crown prince of the Ruford Empire was now her brother-in-law. She was also happy to see that Carlisle treated Elena well and that they seemed to get along.
Elena looked at the innocent Mirabelle with a gentle expression, while Carlisle stared at Elena. Suddenly, Elena and Carlisle’s eyes met. Elena gave a look of gratitude, while Carlisle seemed to express that it was nothing.
“Your Highness, please follow me this way.”
Elena guided Carlisle. Contrary to her worries, Carlisle’s visit to Blaise mansion was a success.
Batori was patiently standing by. He suffered a major injury when he was pursued by Carlisle’s men, but had recovered much in a short period of time. In front of Batori was the back of a leather chair, in which a man was seated. The mysterious man spoke in a gruff voice.
“I believe your search was right. Given that the crown prince and Elena Blaise are lovers, it is almost certain that the ring is the Dragon Orb.”
Batori never once asked questions about his orders so far. He was fine with only being paid anyway. But for the first time, he was captivated by an unbearable curiosity.
“My Lord, may I say something?”
There was no reply, but it was apparent that the mysterious man was waiting for him to speak.
“If you want to keep me in charge of this mission, please let me know one thing. What on earth…what on earth is the Dragon Orb?”
The chair, which was facing away from Batori, was now turned to him. The man’s identity was revealed, showing the man to have a strong face with a black beard and dark eyes as deep as an abyss. It was Paveluc, the Archduke of Lunen.
“You must have gotten curious.”
“I’m leaving you Lady Blaise anyway, so you’ll need to know more.”
Batori swallowed at the sound of Paveluc’s gravelly voice. He was a man who could be called a treasonous king.
Batori considered the current emperor of Ruford to be a fox in a tiger-free forest. One day, Paveluc would rise to the throne and defeat Emperor Sullivan. If Batori could bet on Paveluc, he would have bet an entire fortune. That was how fierce of an opponent Paveluc was.
“Legend says that the dragon can use all kinds of mana with the Orb. The Orb only appears to a boy who inherits the blood of the royal family, who inherits the blood of the dragon.”
“But since they are not perfect, complete dragons, they are much smaller in size and have limited abilities.”
Dragon’s blood? Was the myth of the Ruford Empire real? Batori stared at Paveluc in disbelief, but Paveluc continued without stopping.
“The Orb, which had not appeared for generations, was thought to be a legend, but it was revealed to Carlisle and he became the crown prince. It doesn’t matter if it’s just sick and tired, but it bothers me to hear it is annoying. “
“After the Dragon’s Orb failed to appear for many generations, the mythical jewel appeared to Carlisle, and so the humble boy became the crown prince. I don’t care if it’s a myth, but I hear that it has a troublesome ability.”
“A troublesome ability?”
“You can’t use it on yourself or your bloodline, but you can make a wish for someone else.”
While speaking, Paveluc stroked his beard with one hand.
“Since the crown prince has given it to Lady Blaise, there is a good chance that he made a wish for her. So keep an eye out for anything suspicious.”
Batori could not understand Paveluc’s explanation even after hearing it. But as Batori looked into the man’s deep eyes, he knew it was not a joke. And if Paveluc believed it so, it was certainly not something Batori would dismiss lightly.
“If he made a wish for her sake, then it may have already come true?”
“Yes. That is why I cannot guess what the prince would do with the Orb.”
“I’ll keep a close watch on it.”
“There is no need to interfere in what they do. Just keep an eye on what happens and report to me.”
Batori didn’t fully understand the Orb’s existence, but it must be important if Paveluc was so concerned. Batori was thrilled to know about the hidden secrets about the Imperial Family.
“I’ll give you command of the Blood Assassins.”
Batori’s voice shook. It was a natural reaction to anyone who knew who the Blood Assassins were. They were an elite group of killers raised by Paveluc in Lunen.
“We need to know every single thing that has happened between the Crown Prince and Blaise.”
“Yes, My Lord!”
At Batori’s reply, Paveluc turned his chair back again.
Batori bowed his head then left. Left alone in the dark room, Paveluc remembered Elena at the ball and murmured to himself.