Time flew by, and the appointment date on his letter arrived.

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The carriage, which arrived in front of the mansion on the exact appointment time as if it was measured, rode on by Valery, not his attendant.
Of course, I thought he would send his attendant to take me to the meeting place.

I know there are many people he can command to do it, but I don’t know if he will be coming by himself like this.
What a strange man.

I hurried down the stairs.

“Please come down slowly.”

He came one step up the stairs and reached out to me.
With a smile that seemed brighter than light, I reached out to him and paused.

“If I had known Your Highness was coming in person, I would have come out in advance.”

“I knew Lady would do that.
That’s why I didn’t write it in the letter.
You look great today.”

“…thank you.”

Escorted by him, I lightly climbed into the carriage and asked,

“But where are we going today?”

“It’s a secret.”

He answered confidently.
After all, he is a member of the imperial family, so there is no place he can’t go.
I decided to look forward to the place as he looked so confident.
What a nice place he will take me to?

“Did you get home safely that day?”

“Are you talking about the banquet day?”

“Yes.”

“Yes, thanks to Your Highness.
That’s why I am here.”

After the banquet, he had sent me home with his carriage.
I already had the previous carriage I rode on, but I didn’t refuse and got home with the carriage he gave me.
It was so big that even though I stretched out my legs, I couldn’t touch Ian, who was in front of me.
It was the same with the carriage we rode today.

“Actually, I wanted to take you back to your home by myself.”

“Ah… but Your Highness is busy.”

“I’m not busy today, though.”

Those words sounded like he would take me home by himself after the date was over.
We’ve just started the date, but how could he be sure if it works out well?

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The carriage turned to the outskirts of the capital and began to run.

“But may I ask why you dyed your hair?”

“Ah, this?”

I lifted my hair and showed it to him.

“Well…”

If you ask me why I did it, I would say I dyed it red because I had to do it.
But I couldn’t say that to him.

“I tried it because I heard red hair was fashionable in the capital.
I guess it wasn’t.
Is it weird? Or it didn’t suit me?”

“No, no.
It’s not like that.”

“It’s not like that?”

Valery stuttered in difficulty.
I couldn’t help but burst into laughter at sight.
He looked at me with a puzzled mind, maybe because I laughed louder than I thought.
His face turned a little red, then he raised his hand and swept it roughly across his neck.

“It looks good on you, but the silver hair was beautiful.
I’m talking about your original hair color.”

“I appreciate your compliments, but… I don’t think I will be able to change it for a while.
I heard the dye lasts for about a year.”

My newly grown hair will be silver again.
Still, the hair that has already been dyed underneath it will probably be impossible to change back.
I even endured the pain that felt like peeling my scalp.

Then he looked very sad.
However, his expression changed as if he had thought of something else.

“Then I can see you until then.”

It was as if he had been waiting to say that.
In fact, the less we saw each other, the better it would be.
If possible, I want to finish my job as soon as possible so we can see each other less.
Of course, it was for my happiness and my long life, which has nothing to do with his happiness or wishes.

“Ah… Uh… I think so.”

I turned my head to the window, unable to see his face as he stared at me.

“How much longer will it take?”

Changing the subject, Valery raised his eyebrows and leaned his upper body a little closer to me.

“Are you tired? We’ll be there soon.”

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“No, I’m not tired, but I’m looking forward to it.”

As he said, the carriage slowly slowed down after a while.
I didn’t even know where he brought me until the carriage completely stopped, and I got off the carriage being escorted by him.

“Wow…”

It was an unexpected place.

“Is it as good as what you had expected?”

“Is there sea near the capital?”

An excited voice came out from me without realizing it.
Waves were crashing on the hollowed beach.
I never expected to go to the beach at all.

“This place is special.”

It is said that this beach is the closest to the capital, and only the imperial family can enter it.
It was usually used as a vacation spot in summer.

“It’s my first time seeing the sea.”

It was precisely the first time I saw it in my life.
I had been tired of seeing forests and mountains, but it was my first time seeing the ocean.

“I’m glad you like it.”

“I love it.
It’s better than I expected.”

It really was.
I thought we would go to an art gallery or something like that.
But it was totally unexpected.

I stared blankly at the crashing waves, which made me feel relieved after a long time.

“If success makes you feel happy, I think at least you will look at me.
That’s why I’m late to pick the place for the date.”

The sea breeze blew.
My hair was disheveled by the wind.
I looked at him with my hair tucked behind my ears.

“…Your Highness has no eyes for people.”

He opened his eyes wide and then burst into laughter.
I frowned.

I’m being honest now, but why did he burst into laughter.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to insult Lady by laughing.”

“…I know.
But it’s still frustrating.”

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“You don’t like me that much?”

“No.
It’s not like that.
Who can dislike Your Highness?”

“Not anyone else, but only you.”

“I didn’t dislike you either.”

His voice, which had stopped laughing and looked at me softly, became lower than before.

“Blake.”

“Yes, Your Highness.”

“Have you ever been in love?”

His words were serious, but I almost laughed at his words.
Have I ever been in love? Of course, love has no age nor time, but at least it wasn’t a story to share with him.

“I haven’t.”

The answer brightened his face uncontrollably.
He cleared his voice as if he was nervous.

“It’s the first time I’ve ever felt this way.”

“…”

“Since the first day I saw you, I remembered your face every single day.
When I saw you again, I was overwhelmed.
It may sound like a lie, but I’ve always thought of you since that day.”

His voice was determined to convince me about his true feelings.
We only encountered each other a few times, which didn’t even last long.
That’s why I didn’t really understand him.

“Your Highness.”

“So I want to be honest with you, who made me feel this way.
I want to look good in your eyes.”

“Prince Kasinev.”

“Please call me Valery.”

“Prince Valery.”

When I didn’t call him just by Valery until the end, he made a sad expression.
Hearing his sad sigh, I just smiled.

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He must have thought that if he called me by my name, I would call him like that too.
But, probably, there is no other imperial family that respects the Ariandel family, who bought the title of nobility with their wealth and raised their power.

“Your Highness must have thought that your feeling is big.
Actually, it’s not that big, but because you’ve felt it for the first time, you thought so.”

“Still, isn’t that feeling bigger than anything else?”

“But, your feelings could decrease, right?”

“Lady Blake, are you still not like me?”

“Uh… No.
I like Your Highness a little bit.”

My words must be hitting him.
Seeing his white, handsome face dyed red like flower petals.
Valery wiped his red face.
Once again, he felt something strange and mysterious.

A person who falls in love at first sight can become like him.
If you looked at someone with a face like that, you probably wouldn’t fall in love with anyone else.

At this time, I had a delusion that my mother might change her mind at least once.

“Then that’s fine.
Please don’t throw me away.
I will take you to a good place like today.
There are quite a few things I want to show and give to Lady.
I will slowly wait until you open your heart.
So please don’t throw me away.”

He seemed to have a lot of questions for me.
What do I like? What couldn’t I eat? And what do I usually do?

I answered his questions fairly sincerely.
Of course, everything I answered referred to the real Blake Ariandel.

My mother’s ultimate goal is not Prince Valery Ahibara Kasinev.
But of course, for my mother’s goal, the second prince should be the first sacrifice.
So that her goal will become easier to achieve.
In addition, Valery showed infinite kindness to me.
This information surely will go into the ears of my mother.

It is said that the Emperor liked the purity of the Empress.
Everyone said that the second prince resembled the Empress much.
The Empress who once confronted my mother.

I’m going to hurt him, and what should I do if he gets angry with me? I might even make him fight with his brother.
If I fail to get away from my mother, I might really do that.
Even if it is not my will, the fact it was still me who did that didn’t change, so I will be the only one who gets his resentment.

I hid the truth and smiled lightly in front of him.

I walked on until I saw the sunset on the beach for the first time.
Then I got into the carriage when I thought my feet were a little sore.

“It will be at night when we arrive.”

“I will explain to your family why you got home late.”

“Fortunately, Your Highness doesn’t have to do that.
Let’s go.”

When I got home, the moon was still shining brightly.

“I want to see Lady again next time.
Is that okay?”

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