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Chapter 54

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Jed’s Point of View
As I entered my room in the inn, I broke the spell I had cast on my hair.

“As expected, my identity would be exposed if I walked around with this hair color.”

I muttered as I looked in the mirror at my true hair color, which was bright red.
This unusual hair color is a sign of the Imperial family of the Fall Empire.

My name is Jed.
My real name is Jerald Gale de Fall.
I’m the first prince of the Fall Empire.
That may sound like a big deal, but it’s not.
Because my mother was a commoner, I am called the “Unnecessary Prince” of lowly blood and is abhorred, so I do not hold the right to succeed to the throne. In addition to that, I’m not even allowed to appear on the throne room’s platform. And since I don’t even appear in the Empire’s noble’s illustrated reference book, there are hardly any people who know my face as the first prince. The only people who know me are my family and my caretaker.

“Family, huh…”

I vaguely remembered Cosette’s family and felt envious.
I have a stepmother and two half-brothers.
However, all three of them hate me. Even the servants who took care of me looked down on me.
My father was the only one who acknowledged my existence in the Imperial Castle.
When I was a child, I didn’t understand why I was being treated so badly. I wanted the warmth of my family, so I would ask everyone to play with me. By the time I was eight years old, I realized that I was an unwanted person, so I stopped following anyone around and locked myself in my room.

I could be free only in my room. From the window, I could see the training grounds of the Imperial Knights. I watched the training of the knights every day, and trained with my sword, imitating them. I had no one to fight with, no one to show off to.
Even so, I never stopped swinging my sword.
It would be nice to join the Knights Order someday.
Such faint hopes got dashed because of my status as a member of the Imperial family, which I did not obtain by choice.

At the age of twelve, as a prince, I was assigned a tutor. They taught me, despite their disapproving looks, and thanks to them, I was able to acquire the minimum amount of education and magic skills I needed.

It was my twenty-second birthday.
That night, I learned the secret of my birth, which no one should ever know.
My father, who had given up his time for me, called me in, and we were drinking together when he got drunk and told me the truth.

As it turned out, my real mother was not a commoner.
My real mother was the wife of the current ruler of the Principality of Agreable.

Thirty years ago, my father and mother got engaged to be married.
However, they were separated due to the Principality’s independence that took place earlier.
Although both were married to other people, they continued to meet in secret in a small hut in the forest on the border between the Principality and the Empire. As a result, my mother became pregnant with me.
When my mother saw the hair color of the child she gave birth to, she realized that it was the child of her lover.
My mother’s husband was the Prince.
If he found out about my existence, he would kill her and her son together. My mother thought it would be safer to leave me in the hands of my father, who had the power of the Emperor, so she acted out a play of my death and handed me over to him.
After that, my father and mother never saw each other again.
I heard that my mother stopped coming to see him.
My father didn’t know why.

My father took me in as a child with someone he pretended to love and announced me to the world as his own.
A child whose mother was unknown. However, since I have red hair, a sign of the Imperial family, there was no doubt that I was the Emperor’s child. It was no wonder that the surrounding people mistook me for a bastard when the Emperor never clarified my identity.

The secret of my birth.
That was my father’s birthday gift to me.

Devastated by the shocking revelation, I staggered back to my room and decided to leave the Empire as soon as I regained my composure.
There was no one to look for me, as it was still the same whether I was there or not.
I told my father, who was the only one who might care about me, that I was leaving the country. He didn’t oppose me because he felt guilty for telling the truth, but he made me promise to write to him regularly.

After I left the Empire, my first destination was the Principality of Agreable.
I was not sure if I wanted to see my mother, but I did want to see the country where she lived.
It’s been about a year since I started touring the Principality.
I was sitting in the forest, hungry, when I was approached by a woman.
Elle.
Her real name is Gabrielle de Olivier.
The person who called out to me was the daughter of the Duke of Ansanse Kingdom.

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