Po and Joy stretched out their hands and pointed to the gift in front of Dorothea.

“I made it!”

Po shouted in a voice full of excitement.
The gift was an apple pie with a slightly distorted shape.
It was an apple pie that was crude but had no burnt spots and had a buttery, glossy surface.

“I wanted to give the first apple pie I made to the princess.”

Po laughed out loud.
It was then that Dorothea could find white flour on his chin.

“You said you made this?”

“Thanks to Chef Renier for his help.
It’s not pretty, but…”

“Princess, I said I would give you an apple pie!”

Joy also shouted with equal force while helping Po’s gift.

‘I didn’t expect them to pay it back so quickly…’

Dorothea’s heart was pounding like a haze at just one crushed apple pie.

Po glanced at Dorothea, who was still admiring the apple pie.
It was a look that told Dorothea to eat the pie quickly.

Clara then cut a slice of apple pie and placed it on a plate in front of Dorothea.
When the pie was cut, a cross-section showed layers of apple slices, jam-like fillings, and pastries.

Dorothea grabbed the dented end of the pie with a fork.

Joy and Po were watching Dorotea without taking their eyes off her.
With a burdened gaze, Dorothea put a slice of apple pie into her mouth.
Po and Joy, who watched Dorothea munch, came closer to the table.
Po leans his head against the table and asks, with his eyes shining.

“Oh, is it delicious?”

Poe wet his lips anxiously, waiting for Dorothea’s reply.
An apple pie Po hasn’t tasted yet.
He thinks it doesn’t taste good.

“Yes, delicious.”

Po’s eyes widened at Dorothea’s words and she smiled broadly.

“It’s delicious, sister!”

Joy and Po stamped their feet excitedly as if they had won an award.

To be honest, the flour contains butter, eggs, apples, and sugar, so it’s hard to taste bad.
Besides, the chef helped Po with things like setting the oven temperature, so the taste was great.

“I’m so happy, Princess.
Because the princess ate my first pie!” said Po.

Po said that when he made a pie, he wanted Dorothea to taste it first.

“I’m sure Joy will be upset If you say that.”

“No, I am not upset at all.
I’m proud of Po!”

Dorothea glanced at Joy, who smiled broadly and shook her head.

Of course, it was a little disappointing, but the happiness of baking the pie for the princess was greater.

“Really? Then can I eat all of this by myself?”

When Dorothea pulled out a plate of pie and asked, the eyes of the two, who had just been excited, trembled.

They can’t say no, because it’s the princess’s words, but the look in their eyes asks if it’s really true.

At that, Dorothea burst out laughing.

“It’s a joke.
Come and eat it too.
You can eat the whole pie.”

With Dorothea’s permission, the two quickly climbed up to the table chairs and sat down.
As Clara placed each piece of pie on her own plate, they both stared at the apple pie, then mustered up the courage to eat it.

“Po, it’s really delicious!”

As soon as Joy put it in his mouth, she shouted at Po without swallowing the food.

“This is a real apple pie!”

Joy was excited and pointed at Pie.

‘So is it a real apple pie?’

Dorothea looked at the two and smiled happily.

“It’s a little bit difficult to make but the result is pretty good.
It is definitely difficult to knead because of a weak grip but Po did it with his own hands from the beginning to the end.” Renier praised Po. 

The result was unbelievably good for an eight-year-old child’s dough.

“You may try again next time.”


“If you have the will to do it.”

Reniere told Po that he seemed to have a knack for baking.
Po rejoiced as if he had been praised for the first time in his life.

“I want to try it!”

Po opened his eyes and burned his will.

‘It’s pastry baking! If I can make apple pie well, will I be able to make cakes and cookies?’

Po seemed to be invited to a new world he had never seen before.

“Really? Then come back to the kitchen tomorrow at the same time as today.”


Po answered, raising his arms high.
Dorothea doesn’t know what it means to raise his arms high, but it was probably a positive emotion.

It is okay?”

‘She must be busy with kitchen work, wouldn’t it be a hassle to take care of the little ones?’

Of course, from Dorothea’s point of view, it was fortunate that Po found what he wanted to do, but… 

“It’s okay.
Instead, lunch or dinner desserts may be served by Po.
It may not taste good.”

Reniere said jokingly.

Fortunately, the kitchen in this palace wasn’t that busy.
The number of people to be fed was not as large as in the Imperial Palace, and there was nothing as busy as a restaurant as it was always possible to prepare a set number of meals at a set time.

In addition, it would have been good to have Dorothea for high-quality food.

No parties, no dinners, few guests.
Compared to the time when Reniere had to run around the imperial family all day, she was too relaxed.

When Po decided to go to the kitchen, a servant hurried into the dining room.


The servant fluttered, holding something in his hand with a bright expression.

“Another letter has arrived from the Imperial Palace!”

‘From the Imperial Palace? Ray? It happens all the time, do you need to be so happy?’

The next words penetrated Dorothea’s ear and she wondered.

“This is a letter from His Majesty the Emperor himself!”

At the same time, Dorothea’s face hardened.

* *  *

Carnan’s letter was not pleasant at all.
The emperor’s seal on the outside of the envelope was like an unspoken threat to force open something I didn’t want to do.

I took one deep breath before opening the letter.
The letter was written in the handwriting of a scribe, not an emperor, of a suitable length.

My hand, as I was reading the letter, clasped the letter paper so hard that the paper was wrinkled.

‘When I have finished recuperation, do you want me to come up to the Lampas?’

It was contemptuous.
It would be better to pretend that there is no princess named Dorothea and forget about it.

Carnan’s plans are obvious.

‘It seems like you need a princess to be the background somewhere, don’t you?’

There’s absolutely no way Carnan would call me up for a friendly reason.

‘You don’t want to see your daughter’s face that you haven’t seen in years.’

No, I thought I wouldn’t go even if he said he missed me.

I picked up my pen without hesitation.
The answer was written.

* * *


One evening after class at Episteme.
Ray caught up with Theon, who returned to the dormitory in the distance.
As Rey grabbed him, Theon trembled in surprise.
However, upon recognizing Ray, he had a relieved expression on his face.

“I am terribly surprised.

“No, I don’t know how to catch you all of a sudden.”

Theon smiled awkwardly as Ray scratched his head.

“Why didn’t you come to history class today? I thought my head would break because you weren’t there.”

Ray spoke lightly but looked at Theon carefully.
It was Theon, who had never missed a class until now.

“Ah, I am not feeling well.”

“Are you unwell?”

“It’s not a big deal, I must have been a little tired.”

Theon reassured Ray who looked worried.

Ray’s gaze turned to his hand.

“Your hands are shaking a lot, Theon”


Theon hid his hands under the hem of his robe.

Ray noticed that Theon’s mood had changed a lot recently.
Is it puberty, which usually comes around this age, or secondary puberty characteristics?

‘At that moment, I was worried that Theon might have been involved in something bad.’


Julia Delevine ran from afar.
The figure of Julia running with her pink hair fluttering was as beautiful as a single flower.

Julia was also a pretty popular student in Episteme.
Good grades, kind, bright.
A person who has a good relationship with both upper and lower-class students.

Julia is popular but the one she sticks with the most is Theon.
Thanks to that, Ray became close with Julia as well.

After entering Episteme, the three of them went together all the time, attracting people’s attention.
People were convinced that they would become the next representative of the episteme leading the empire.

However, the mood of the three has changed recently.
Ray thought that the two of them seemed to be going more and more together except for him.

Unsurprisingly, Julia saw Ray standing next to Theon, paused for a moment, and then said hello.

“Hello, Ray.”

Julia looked at Ray and smiled.

For the sake of friendship and the atmosphere of the school, episteme prohibited the use of honorifics according to status.
The three of them were especially close, calling each other by nicknames, so Julia called him Ray, not the Crown Prince.

“Hello, Julie.
Did you have a good class today?”

“As always, it was boring and fun.”

Julia’s purple eyes glanced at Ray’s gaze for a moment, then glanced at Theon.
Then Theon looked at Ray again.

“Oh, Ray.
I have something to talk about with Julia today.”

“Oh yeah…?”

“Sorry, let’s talk again tomorrow, Ray.”


“Well then, see you tomorrow, Ray.”

Theon left the place with Julia.

Ray looked at the two as they moved away.
The atmosphere between the two of them was somehow different from usual.

* * *

Julia put Theon, who had no strength, in a chair for once.
Theon shook his hand nervously.

“You look terrible today, Theon.”

Julia held a warm teacup in his hand.
But Theon didn’t put his lips on the teacup.

“The bird died this morning.”

Theon said while looking down at the tea in the teacup.

“The bird…?”

‘I woke up early in the morning and went for a walk, and suddenly my eyes went dark and the bird died.’

Theon muttered.

This phenomenon started last year.
At first, it was only briefly dark all around.

Theon thought it was because he had a problem with his eyes or maybe he was too tired to sleep.
But that wasn’t it.

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