The Empress of the Empire, Charlotte, smiled as she watched her young son eating cake.
Snack time was always precious as it was the moment when her child showed the most childlike smile.
Although she wanted to poke his muddy cheek with her finger because it was so lovely, she knew that if she did, Aegis would surely tell her not to do so with good manners.
“Why are the words that come out of a small mouth not pretty at all?”
When Charlotte called him, Aegis put down his fork and swallowed the food in his mouth before answering.
“Yes, Your Majesty.”
“You might meet a new friend soon.”
“A new friend? Which family are they from?”
Charlotte’s smile almost faded momentarily because of Aegis’ question about which family they were from, but she skillfully hid her expression.
“She is Lady Lemetrio.
She is a lovely young lady who is one year younger than our Aes.”
At the sound of Lemetrio, Aegis widened his eyes.
A smile appeared on Aegis’ face after blinking his pretty blue eyes a few times.
“Do you know who she is?”
“Yes, I heard Lady Grandma, the Duke, and the Viscount talking about her last time.
Lady Grandma said she might become my bride.”
It was a surprising story to Charlotte.
When Aegis saw Charlotte’s smile freeze, he tilted his head with a bewildered expression.
“Well, the Duke and the Viscount said they would think about it slowly.”
Then it’s okay.”
Of course it would be.
Charlotte comforted Aegis and poured milk into his teacup, telling him to finish eating.
A relieved Aegis started eating cake again.
Charlotte’s smile was affectionate and gentle, but her hands on her knees were not.
Shalotte was lost in thought for a moment before instructing a maid to inform the Emperor’s palace that she would visit in an hour.
Her husband, Philippe, would surely be eagerly anticipating her visit.
Thirty minutes later, having finished her leisurely tea time with Aegis, Shalotte headed straight for the Imperial Palace.
As she entered the office, Philippe put down his quill and sprang up from his seat.
He had been eagerly waiting for her since receiving the message, and a bright smile lit up his face.
“I have something important to discuss with Your Majesty.
Would you please excuse us for a moment?”
“Of course, Your Majesty the Empress.”
Normally, Shalotte would have exchanged kind words with Philippe before broaching the topic at hand, but this time she asked him to leave the room.
Sensing her unease, the attendants quickly left the room.
Shalotte began to fidget with her lace gloves, making a strange sound.
After a moment, the most beloved golden-haired boy in the world, whom Shalotte loved the most, was captured in her hand.
The knights and attendants waiting outside the door turned their gaze to the window, hearing Philippe’s scream.
“Today is such a peaceful and happy day.”
“Roksi, it seems like Tilly resembles herself a lot.”
Roksana looked at Yurian with an odd look, as if she had said something out of the blue, and I ignored her and put a big piece of meat from the stew in my mouth.
“You took me outside to play like kids and suddenly you became a demon king.
Does a demon king always appear in kids’ play?”
Roksana burst out laughing at Yurian’s expression, which seemed genuinely puzzled.
“You don’t know anything.
A demon king is necessary in kids’ play.”
“You’ve been called a genius since you were young and just studied, so you probably wouldn’t know.
I was once one of the Four Heavenly Kings.”
“There were even Four Heavenly Kings?”
“Of course, I ascended to become a new demon king through a rebellion, but at first, I was one of the Four Heavenly Kings.
Four Heavenly Kings, demon king, and five chosen warriors.”
Yurian tilted her head, as if she couldn’t understand.
Roksana had many friends of the same age because she used to play with everyone in the countryside, regardless of nobility or commoners.
In contrast, Yurian, because of her position in the three clans, only had friends she could comfortably associate with, such as the Emperor and Phileas.
“Then, don’t we also need Four Heavenly Kings for our Tilly?”
“Do not do it.”
“I am a tyrant, so I would have to kill the Four Heavenly Kings who are after me.”
“But then it will put you at a disadvantage when the warriors come.”
“The Demon King can absorb the blood of the Four Heavenly Kings and become stronger, so don’t worry.”
Unable to refute any further, Urien chuckled and fed me some finely sliced meat.
I smiled at Urien, who was staring at me intently with a slimy expression.
“Do you want to go to the palace once?”
“No, I don’t want to.”
Urien chuckled again as if she had expected my answer and fed me more meat.
Today, it was so comfortable to have food entering my mouth without having to move my hands.
“Uri, you should eat your food first before feeding me.”
“Even though the engagement talk came up in the royal family, it’s not confirmed yet.
The children are still young, and it was just a passing conversation for His Majesty, so don’t worry too much.”
I was surprised at the sound of an engagement.
The engagement between Duke Lemetrio and the royal family? There was definitely no such story in the original.
“No, that’s not it.”
In the original, Royina was the only successor of Duke Lemetrio.
However, now that the successor of the duke includes me, even if one person marries into the royal family, there would be no problem with the succession.
“But the prince is a sub-male lead.”
And the sub-male lead had been secretly in love with Royina since he was very young.
But if I were to be engaged to the prince, it could cause a significant problem where the lineage or the sub-male lead could be replaced if Royina were to be engaged instead.
Lost in thought, I was called by Roxana with an unusual voice.
Finally, I came to my senses and swallowed the food in my mouth.
I wiped off the sauce and oil from my lips while calmly and rationally analyzing the situation.
“So, when I suggested going to the palace, it wasn’t just a matter of going for fun.
Is avoiding it really the best thing to do? Wouldn’t it be better to go to the palace and have some fun while we’re still young and can get away with it to some extent?
Later on, we might find out that the engagement has already been arranged, and the fiance is the prince! We wouldn’t want to end up in a situation like that.
When Royina manifests her ability at fifteen years old, I’ll probably be around nineteen or twenty.
The moment Royina manifests her ability, she will become the successor to the Duke’s family.
Then, the older brothers who are above the young successor will become irrelevant.
Usually in cases like this, there are three options.
One can either accept a lower-ranking title, inherit a title from the family’s relatives, or marry into another family.
Roxa also has a title, but she has already chosen a successor among her nephews.
She is very thorough in this regard, so she has no intention of passing the title of Countess to me or Royina.
Furthermore, as a baptized person, I could not bear many children, and the infant mortality rate was high in this region, so I was not a very good candidate for marriage.
Since neither side could bear many children, and given the consideration of combining the three families, there was a high probability that there would be an opinion to marry me and Aigis together.
Since it is better to marry into the royal family than to receive a mediocre title from an ordinary family or to receive no title at all, it would be better to consider a marriage with the royal family.”
Of course, I didn’t think Rosana and Julian would proceed without my consent, but I still felt a sense of unease.
As the relationship between the royal family and the dukes was complex, I couldn’t just follow my own will.
“Well, it’s better now that we have some idea of what to expect from Royina’s birth.”
However, the queen didn’t like it.
Being of a higher rank brought with it many obligations and responsibilities.
Above all, the male lead, a typical prince character, didn’t appeal to me at all.
My preferences for someone as upright as a pine tree were unchangeable.
No, marriage sounded like a story like Andromeda beyond the stars to someone like me, who was against it.
“If you do well, you can receive a peerage and a fortune and live the rest of your life as a rich bachelor.
But I’d rather wear a silver bracelet and go voluntarily than engage with a five-year-old.”
With a creaking sound, Podo Lee, whose gaze had gone somewhere else, grinned at me and said, “Let’s go together.” There was also a sense of rejection due to my mental age, but my obsession with the original work was stronger.
While I was gnawing my lips, wondering how to escape, Rosana called me in a desperate voice.
“Taleia, are you listening to me, Mom?”
I looked up and met Rosana’s gaze.
Her pupils were filled with worry.
I asked with a sullen expression, taking advantage of her concern.
“Do I have to go to the palace?”
“No, you don’t have to go if you don’t want to.”
“I wanted you to make friends with a child who could be a friend to Tilly at the palace.
But if you don’t want to be friends with that child, I won’t try to force you to be friends with anyone in the future.”
The only child of my age living in the palace was His Royal Highness, the Crown Prince.
Every time I tried to make a friend, it seemed like Rosa also brought out her last resort since I kept running away.
I sighed and said as if there was no other choice.
“This is the last time.”
With my permission, Rosa grinned slyly and Julian looked somewhat complicated.
But I had my own plan.
It wasn’t such a difficult thing to make a 5-year-old boy cry.
If I torment him for a few months, the child will start to hate me.
What can I do if the parties involved say they can never get married?
“I have to leave enough fear in him from his childhood that he never wants to see me again.”
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