Jed’s Point of View
“I’m Jerald, the first prince of the Fall Empire. I’m a friend of Elle’s.”
Giselle’s eyes widened when she heard my real name. But the knife was still at my throat.
You won’t believe me easily, huh?
“I’ve heard that the First Prince of the Fall Empire is a sickly man.”
I am treated as an “Unnecessary Prince” in the Empire, but other countries know me as a sickly prince. Giselle, who lived in the Ansanse Kingdom, has the same opinion.
“The First Prince history is surrounded by a terrible scandal. That’s why he’s not allowed to appear in the public.”
“So he’s treated as a sickly person? Do you think I believe that?”
“The only proof I have that I am the prince is this red hair. Please believe me.”
I’ve heard that red hair is rare even on the entire continent. I was foolish enough to think that this would make people believe me, though.
I stared straight into the eyes of the woman who thought I was lying to her. Giselle exhaled deeply and removed the knife from me.
When I backed away from her, she offered me her hand, which I grabbed and stood up.
“You believe me?”
“You don’t seem to be lying to me.”
She doesn’t seem to believe me completely. Her suspicion seems to be lingering, and the look she’s giving me is not very pleasant.
“You said you met Lady Elle four years ago. Where was that?”
“At the Empire’s banquet. We met in the garden.”
Giselle thought about it for a moment, and then muttered briefly, “I see.”
“Haven’t you received a handkerchief on that occasion?”
“Y, yeah, she gave it to me as a token of friendship.”
“Please show it to me if you have it on you.”
I wondered how Giselle knew about it, but Elle had probably told her.
I handed her a pure white handkerchief embroidered with Elle’s name, which I kept in my pocket, and she began to look at it carefully. Her stern gaze softened, and her cheeks broke into a smile.
“This is certainly Lady Elle’s embroidery. How nostalgic.”
“You can recognize it?”
“I’m Lady Elle’s personal maid. I know when I see it.”
I knew that she was a servant of Duke Olivier’s household, but I had no idea that she was Elle’s personal maid.
While feeling surprised, she said, “Thank you very much” and returned the handkerchief to me.
Giselle knelt down and bowed deeply.
“Please forgive my rudeness. You are no doubt a friend of my master, Lady Gabriel.”
“S, stop it, please. I’m not used to have this kind of behavior directed to me.”
“As long as you believe me. Just treat me normally.”
Giselle looked up and stood up with an apologetic expression on her face.
“Did Elle tell you about me, Giselle?”
“Yeah, Lady Elle told me that after the Imperial banquet, she made a very special friend. I also heard that she gave them a handkerchief, but I never imagined that it was His Highness.”
Perhaps Elle couldn’t give my name.
It would be an ugly story if it were leaked to the outside world that she had become friends by talking with a prince who was not at the banquet. I guess she couldn’t talk about it even if it was with a maid who she trusted.
I was glad that she thought of me as a friend.
“However, why are you here, Your Highness?”
“They call me ‘Unnecessary Prince’ in my country. It makes no difference whether I’m here or not.”
“I don’t understand…”
“I’m the child born between the Emperor and a commoner.”
If she was Elle’s personal maid, she would know that the difference in status in the Empire is absolute.
It pains me to lie, but I can’t tell the truth.
Giselle looked satisfied with my reply.
“The Empire is very strict about such scandals.”
“Thankfully, I’m able to travel freely now that I’m not needed.”
“You met Lady Elle on the road, didn’t you?”
“Yes, I did.”
I was surprised when I saw her again, and I didn’t know why she was outside her country.
I’m sure Giselle can tell me a lot about what happened to her.
“Please, can you tell me about what happened to Elle?”
“That’s not something I can tell you on my own.”
I had hoped she would tell me, but Giselle shook her head in refusal.
I think it’s because she doesn’t know if she can trust me, even if I call Elle my friend.
“However, let me answer the question you had asked earlier.”
“About the man who was talking to Elle?”
“That man was Lady Elle’s father. Duke Oliver.”
I was blindsided by the unexpected truth.