Chapter 2. Growing Cracks

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Episode 14

(3rd person pov)

Daniel and Andrew helped Tatiana into the break room.

It must have been a great shock to be caught by the owner of the tower, Freya.

But above all, Tatiana may not be able to tolerate the fact that she was insulted in front of so many people.

People of nobility are prideful.

“Tatiana, are you okay?”

“Daniel, I’m not okay.
How could you do that to me?”

Tatiana looked up at him with her tearful eyes.
Come to think of it, she always has.

Every time he looked into those blue eyes, Daniel felt a weak remorse.

He looked into her eyes and felt a strong desire to do something for her.

“You knew that Freya has that personality.
Even His Majesty the Emperor can’t stop her.
Let’s be glad it’s over, okay?”

“No, not Freya.
You weren’t able to persuade me to dance with His Majesty earlier.”

Daniel was greatly embarrassed by Tatiana’s anger, which was completely different from what he had thought.

Of course, he thought she must have been hurt by the behavior of the Tower Master.

“That, that… That was for His Majesty to decide.”

“It’s too bad.
So Daniel doesn’t care if I can’t dance with the person I want?”

Not knowing what to say, Daniel looked at Andrew.

He was Tatiana’s husband, and he should be angry at the situation.

But, there was no change in his expression.

Besides, Tatiana was talking to Danile as if Andrew didn’t even exist.

‘What the hell is this? Was Tatiana originally like this?’

He felt a sense of detachment from Tatiana again.

Daniel covered his mouth and Tatiana wrinkled her forehead slightly.

She thought that his reaction wasn’t what it used to be, so Tatiana fiddled with the bracelet on her wrist.

And Daniel saw it.

Tatiana sensed Daniel’s gaze and quickly removed her hand from her bracelet.

‘How far did you hear the conversation between Karina and I?’

If Daniel knew about the bracelet, she was in trouble.
Tatiana looked to Andrew for help.

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“You, go away.”

“Ah, yes.
Your Excellency.”

Daniel thought he found a chance and quickly ran out of the room.
His mind was complicated.

That day, after Tatiana and Karina’s fight, his solid world was cracked.

Daniel said that although he wasn’t her loved one, he could be content to stand by her side.

But from that day on, he doubted whether it was okay for him to be with Tatiana in the name of a friend.

‘I think I should talk to Karina.’

He ran into the banquet hall to find Karina.

After Daniel disappeared, the break room was filled with silence.

Tatiana glanced at Andrew with an anxious mind.

“Andy, are you mad?”

“Mad? Why would I be mad?”

Seeing Andrew’s twisted lips, Tatiana squeezed her eyes shut.
He was really pissed off.

“You must be upset because I suddenly wanted to dance the first dance with His Majesty…”

“No, Titi.
Do I still look like someone who cares whoever you dance with?”

Tatiana bit her lips at his relentless voice.

He was sincere.

“The bracelet, the bracelet is a bit strange.
The windows are blurry these days, so that’s why…”

“That’s none of my business.
You just have to remember that if you don’t keep your promise, your seat and life will not be guaranteed.”

His deep, dark purple eyes were brimming with hatred and anger.
Tatiana purposely wept, dripping with tears.

“I will do well in the future.
Ugh, I won’t make that mistake again, Andy.”

And yet, Andrew didn’t blink his eyes and told her what he had to say.

“I won’t say it twice in the future.
If you want to live, finish the first thing you promised.”

Tatiana bit her lip at his words.

Nodding her head slowly, Andrew sighed and went outside.

When Andrew had left the room completely, Tatiana, who had been sobbing until then, raised her head without expression.

“Hah.”

Fatigue washed over.

It felt like she was standing on a sharp blade.
Tatiana pulled out the bracelet and fiddled with it.

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“What’s the matter, huh?”

She got this bracelet by chance.

It was the item she got by asking Daniel, who was only going to give Karina a present.

It looked simple, but she wanted it because it was a pretty precious item.

The power of the bracelet she got in her hand was amazing.

‘I’m glad that Karina thinks that I can only see likability.
If she had gotten it instead, it would have been complicated.’

This bracelet, which made her life rich and perfect, has been a headache for Tatiana these days.

There was something wrong with the window, so she couldn’t see the proper window like before.

‘Is it a problem for Andy to find out? If not…’

As she pondered, Tatiana felt a sweet scent drifting through the air.

In the soft floral scent and fluttering petals, she recognized who had appeared.

“Ray!”

Raymond’s figure was revealed through the petals.

He still looked at Tatiana with loving eyes.

Then he hugged her tightly like a teddy bear and rubbed her face against his head.

“I missed you, Titi.
How have you been?”

At Raymond’s attitude as usual, Tatiana was secretly relieved.

Today in the banquet hall, Tatiana felt anxiety for the first time in her life.

The fear that one side of the world she had been safe on was collapsing.

She had to let the precipitation go to overcome that fear.

“Ugh.
So.
How have you been? What about Ray?”

“I am always fine.
Except for not seeing my Titi every day.”

The two sat down.

Raymond brought cookies and drinks from one side of the break room and placed them in Tatiana’s mouth and hands, respectively.

“By the way, Titi, when did the Archduke start to treat you like this?”

“Ah…no.
Usually he’s very kind, but sometimes he’s just like that.
Once in a while.”

“Then you’re saying something like this has happened before.
Titi, if you’re scared of the Archduke, tell me.
I will help you.”

Tatiana felt relief as she saw Raymond clasping her hand.

‘Yes, this is still my world.’

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Having regained her composure, Tatiana smiled softly and patted Raymond’s hand.

“No.
I’m getting along well with Andy.”

“If you are, there is nothing I can do.
But Titi, know that I’m always by your side.
If you’re having a hard time, just tell me.”

“Yes.
That was the truth.”

Tatiana smiled pretty and looked up at Raymond.

Raymond felt ecstatic every time she looked into his eyes.

He felt as if he had found out the truth of the world.

She was seductive and addictive.

Tatiana’s red lips moved up in an arc, and she opened her mouth.

“It’s because there’s something that’s been bothering me.
It’s about Karina.
Can you do me a favor?”

~*~

(Karina’s pov)

Aster and I headed to the garden.

He said he had something to show me, and he was excited like a child.

“It’s an honor to be able to show this to the princess.”

“What are you trying to show me?”

Aster just laughed at my question.

We arrived at another garden in the deepest part.

Aster put his hand on the closed iron door.

Red magic spread out from his wrist and seeped into the door, and it opened with a squeaking sound.

“Go in first.”

As I walked through the passageway lined with vines with my skirt slightly raised, a white snowfield spread out.

“Wow.”

The place was covered with snow out of season and was full of jeweled flowers.

Besides, each flower was shimmering and shining by itself as if it had been enchanted.
Read only at pm tl.

It looked like it was another world.

“Oh my gosh, it’s so pretty.”

“It was a garden that my father gave to my mother.
She was a wizard of winter.
She wanted to give him flowers that wouldn’t die even in winter, so she made all those flowers into jewels.”

“What a romanticist.”

At my words, Aster laughed bitterly and muttered.

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“It was so heartbreaking for him after losing her.”

“Ah…”

His mother was a winter wizard, and Aster was a summer wizard.

Because she had a son with a different personality and powerful magic, she weakened a lot during her pregnancy.

And in the meantime, the poisoning happened.

Normally, that amount of poison wouldn’t have had any effect at all.

However, it was a huge blow to Aster’s mother, who had already weakened to the point of dying.

In the end, she gave birth to Aster and died within a year.

The Emperor blamed it all on Aster.

He neglected him, saying the throne was the last thing he could do for him.

The reason Aster had no choice but to kill all his brothers was because his position was too weak.

I was dissatisfied with that.

“But, Aster.
To be honest, His Majesty the Sun Emperor was a coward.”

At my words, Aster looked at me with a surprised expression.
I wondered if I had said something wrong for a moment, but decided to finish what I had started.

“The death of Aster’s mother was just an unavoidable accident.
And to be honest, he had a lot of illegitimate children.”

“Ha ha ha ha.”

At my words, Aster laughed as if it was funny.

Following his laughter, his puffy breath spread into the air.

Aster reached out and touched my cold fingertips.

“It’s the first time you’ve told me such a story, Kari.”

Was it because the surrounding air was lower than usual?

Strangely, Aster’s face looked shiny.

Eyes full of kindness and affection, and red lips that look dreamy due to the white breath.

‘What am I thinking!’

Still, I couldn’t take my eyes off his face.

“Kari.”

The voice calling my name was perfect.

We slowly got closer.

My heart started beating fast.
Will it be okay like this?

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