“What?”


“I failed to convince His Majesty, but in the end, you did it with my help.”

“No.”

When Dorothea refused, raising her palm, Ray pursed his lips.  Dorothea looked at him quietly as Ray mumbled mournfully.

Her eyes were very soft, unlike usual, and hesitation was reflected, so Ray was looking forward to it.
With those eyes, Dorothea might even give him a hug.

‘The relationship grew while doing this job!’

Ray’s eyes twinkled.

And Dorothea’s hand out in front of him.

“Thank you.”

Dorothea lowered her eyes and took Ray’s hand lightly.

It’s not a hug, it’s a handshake.
She couldn’t have done this without Ray, so this was the least she could do.o.

Dorothea was about to let go after a brief handshake.

But Ray didn’t let go of Dorothea’s hand once it was in his and held on tight.

And with the force of the pull, Dorothea was sucked into Ray’s arms.

“Ray…!”

“Thank you too, Dorothea.”

Unable to lower the corners of her lips that rose happily, Ray hugged Dorothea tightly.

Dorothea’s face flushed red from shame and embarrassment.

“Let go of me, you idiot!”

‘People are watching, what are you doing, embarrassing myself…!’

‘Theon is watching, and Julia is there too!’

However, no matter how hard she pushed, she couldn’t let go of Ray’s tightly locked arm.

Ray was originally a strong fool, and Dorothea was weakened by not training in swordsmanship.

“Dorothea.
I am so proud that you are my sister.”

She couldn’t see Ray’s expression because she was in his arms, but his voice was softer than usual.

Dorothea talked and pursed her lips.

“That’s why you sound like an idiot.”

“Haha, yeah, I guess I’m just naturally an idiot.
I don’t mind being called an idiot, I just like it.”

Ray laughed so nonchalantly, not knowing what was going through her mind.


‘Was this it? In the end, the reason you didn’t kill me.’

‘Did I stab this heart with a sword?’

Dorothea thought about it again.

‘Maybe the real idiot was not Ray, but myself.’

* * *

And then one day, just before Episteme’s summer vacation, Ray and Theon came to visit Dorothea together.

“Dorothea! Look at this! Look at this!”

Ray ran to Dorothea.

In his hand was the report card for the first half of the evaluation at Episteme.

“look! I got in the top 50! 49th place!”

Dorothea received the 49th place report which Ray was proud of.

“Look, I told you I could do it, right?”

He said to Dorothea in a confident voice.

[‘The next time I come, I’ll definitely be in the top 50 of the Episteme test.’]

The promise Ray made to her in the detached palace long ago.

‘He really did….’

Ray, who had never even been close to 50th place before returning, did it in this life.

“I tried so hard to keep my promise to you!”

Ray smiled, revealing his white teeth.

“When did you make a promise? It’s too late.”

Dorothea answered nonchalantly but was relieved.

‘This Ray would make a really good emperor.
A warm, bright, and beloved by all, Emperor Raymond Milanaire.’

“It’s a little late, but I did well, right?”

Ray looked at Dorothea with clear eyes.
Dorothea stared into those eyes for a long while.
Then, as if urged by Ray, she blinked.

“Yeah, you did.”

Dorothea said, avoiding his gaze.

And the place his eyes met was Theon, who had come with Ray.

“Theon, go ahead and show off too.”

“Ray.”


Ray poked him in the side, and Theon shook his head awkwardly.

“Don’t be embarrassed.
Dorothea, do you know how far Theon ranks?” Ray asked.

Dorothea knew Theon’s rank. 

‘First place.
Theon will graduate from Episteme at the top of his class.’

“He is amazing— !”

“Ray!”

Ray was about to reveal Theon’s rank, but Theon covered Ray’s mouth with his hand.

“You’re embarrassing me!”

“Why?! It’s a proud score! If it were me, I would have gone around the Lampas with my report card.”

The two of them quarreled with each other, and it seemed like a lot of fun.

Dorothea laughed when she saw Theon for the first time.
That bright, playful side of him.

“Look at that.
The princess is laughing at me.”

Theon whispered softly and slapped Ray’s arm.

“No, I am not laughing at you, I am laughing because it looks good…”

Dorothea hurriedly eased Theon’s embarrassment.

‘I just enjoyed this time.
We are not lovers, but we can have a normal conversation.’

Ray and Theon exchanged another glance before Ray shoved Theon toward Dorothea.

Theon looked at Ray for a moment, then hesitantly opened his mouth.

“Princess, if it’s okay with you, would you like to visit Friedia this summer?”

Dorothea’s eyes widened in surprise at the suggestion she had never imagined.

‘Theon is inviting me?’

“Episteme graduation was just around the corner, so Ray also decided to come.”

Dorothea, startled by Theon’s kind words, found Ray standing by his side.
Ray watched them both excitedly.

‘Ray was brought up first and ordered Theon.’

He wants to go on a trip with Dorothea, but she won’t accept his offer, so he uses Theon.

Ray’s strategy worked well.
Dorothea’s heart started pounding at the sound of her trip with Theon.

‘I wanted to calm myself, but my emotions didn’t listen to reason.’

“But Friedia is not a good place to play… I’m worried that the princess might suffer something.”

“Theon…!”


After convincing Dorothea well, Ray intervenes in Theon, who suddenly confesses his shortcomings.

‘Dorothea will never fall for it if you do that!’

Ray fumbled with his hands, conveying the meaning of it.

Dorothea could see it all.

“But it’s going to be a long trip, Ray, we can’t just take the princess without telling her anything.”

When Theon spoke seriously, the two of them opened their mouths again and fought again.

Dorothea looked at it and opened her mouth.

“I know.
I know what Friedia is like.”

At Dorothea’s words, the two stopped arguing and looked at Dorothea.

“You know?”

“I read it in a book.
I heard a lot about it.”

Friedia.
Theon’s hometown.
The grand duke Fried’s estate.

In a place where it rains often, the mist is thick, the lakes are still, and the tall trees block the sun.

A place where the footprints of animals are engraved on a wet dirt road heavily covered with air moisture.

Fried’s land, famous for its shady, humid places, was not suitable as a vacation destination.

Dorothea had taken Theon to his hometown the other day, before returning.
She’d hoped it would cheer him up.

But her efforts, as always, were in vain.

Dorothea was terrified if she don’t feel well, so she couldn’t even take a good look at Friedia’s scenery.

“But it’s okay if I go…?” Dorothea asked Theon carefully. 

‘What if I go out with Theon and I don’t feel well, ruining the trip? If Ray is forcing him to take me, and I’m intruding on him unnoticed…’

“If you want to come, you are welcome.”

Theon smiled at Dorothea, who was worried.
It makes her heart flutter.
Even with his permission, Dorothea hesitated for a long time before answering.

“If I can go, I want to go.”

“Wow…!”

As soon as Dorothea had finished speaking, Ray cheered, then quickly acted politely.

Dorothea was worried again that she had decided to go.

‘Maybe it was right not to go.
Am I greedy for Theon again?’

I’m sure Julia, a Fried noble, would also go with him.


‘Still, Ray goes with me…It’s just a trip.’

because she chose to go, so she convinced herself.

‘If I go on this trip, I might be able to organize my mind.’

‘The reason why I still feel guilty for Theon maybe because I’ve never had a proper time with him.’

Remnants of love for something that was never allowed.

‘Okay.
This is the last.’

‘A farewell trip that only I know, it seemed like the end of a long unrequited love.’

* * *

“You have to be careful, Princess!”

Clara waved Dorothea off impatiently.
She was very worried about Dorothea going on such a long journey.

“Don’t worry, Clara.
I’m just going to Theon’s house to play.”

“But I’ve heard that there are scary wolves in Friedia.
If you meet a wolf while passing through the forest, you have to—!”

“Stefan is going with me.”

“So, you have to stay close to Stefan and don’t fall off.”

“Okay, Clara.”

‘I was no longer a child, she was very worried.’

Dorothea was about to say goodbye for real and climb into the carriage but Clara grabbed her again.

“And Princess!”

Looking back to see what else she was worried about, Clara looked at Theon, who was preparing to get into the carriage and whispered in Dorothea’s ear.

“Beware of the other wolves.”

Clara narrowed her eyes and looked at Theon.

Dorothea is sixteen.
Clara was worried about letting Dorothea go, who had become a mature young woman.

‘Besides, going to an outsider’s castle!’

Dorothea laughed at Clara’s sensitivity

“It can’t be, Clara.”

“You don’t know what’s inside men! Look.
Who would leave a nice and beautiful lady like a princess!”

Clara thought that Dorothea didn’t socialize too much, so she didn’t know men very well.

‘The princess is still innocent!’

If Dorothea had been to a banquet or a social club where young nobles gathered, men would have flocked around her like a swarm of flies.

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