The carriage began to slow down and stopped in front of a large mansion.
Sir Shubart, who was riding on the same carriage, opened the carriage first.
“Have we arrived?”
I don’t know if you will like it or not.”
Sir Shubart grinned, got down, and asked the coachman for something to step on.
I followed my mother, who got off first.
Unlike the previous house that was located on the side of the road, this mansion was located deeper, but it was much larger and cozier.
I looked blankly around the mansion and its surroundings.
In the meantime, my mother was already in the mansion.
“Bella, let’s go in.”
“Yes, I’m going in.”
I grabbed my dress and headed to the front door.
As soon as I entered, I was greeted with a warm atmosphere.
Inside, people who appeared to be servants were working diligently.
They greeted me politely as soon as they saw me.
I approached Sir Shubart.
“Now, I don’t have to do anything, even to light a fire.”
“Yes, but that’s…”
“It’s a relief, right?”
It was a mansion consisting of two floors above ground and one basement.
The basement was used for a warehouse.
It was the same size as the house that used to live in the capital.
Sir Shubart said that the matter was almost resolved, but it didn’t appear to be a lie.
From lamps to candle holders, they were high-quality items that reminded me of things I used to use in the past.
I glanced at the decorations on the wall.
Some were familiar to me.
I thought they were all disposed of, but it seems that there are things that have been stored.
When I turned around, my mother was standing still in one place.
It was in front of our portrait.
The one and only portrait of me with her hung in the middle of the mansion.
I wore a black dress full of frills and a black bonnet with gorgeous jewels.
My mother wore the same black but more elegant dress with a captivating mesh hat.
At that time, we were like a mother and a daughter that no one could doubt.
The portrait painter told us to smile dozens of times, but we didn’t smile even once.
When it was drawn, I didn’t know anything yet, so I thought my life would be rosy in the future.
But then I learned that I’m not from this world and lived such an extreme life.
I could do anything for my mother back then.
But it seems that my mind has weakened for some time.
I kept looking at my mother, who was constantly looking at her portrait.
Thinking of the moment she risked her life to save me, I wonder what is on her mind right now?
I must prevent my power from manifesting before my mother can do her plan.
Even if my power manifested, there should be a way to hide it.
I searched for all kinds of books in my spare time without my mother’s knowledge, but I haven’t found a way yet.
It didn’t even happen in the original story, so I had no choice but to find it by myself.
If I run away, they will catch me and force me to imprint the Prince… Even if that’s the case, I really want to live a long, not pitiful life.
I want it to be a long and happy life! In a cozy and comfortable way.
“Your Highness, we’re ready to depart.”
“Yes, I’ll be out soon.
Before that, I have to go see Your Majesty.”
Valery got up from his seat after getting ready.
He had been prepared to go North under the Imperial decree.
Checking that his clothes were not messed up, he headed straight to the Empress’s Palace.
His steps toward the Empress’s Palace were unstoppable.
The Empress gladly welcomed Valery.
“You’re not leaving right away?”
“Your Majesty the Empress, I’m here to greet you.”
“You’re troubled because you inherit my behavior for being not diligent.”
“Mother, don’t say that.”
If the first Prince resembled the Emperor, the second Prince, Valery, closely resembled the Empress with his beautiful appearance.
There was nothing that didn’t resemble, even their ivory-colored blond hair.
“Be careful as you go.
Did you already say your greeting to His Majesty?”
“I greeted him separately after yesterday’s dinner.”
“Yes, please come back without getting hurt.”
I’ll be right back, Your Majesty.”
Valery bowed down and left the Empress Palace.
Behind him, one of his escorts, Marlon, followed like a shadow.
“We’re going to leave right away.”
“I’m going to prepare it.”
Horses and carriages were soon prepared to head North, and a small number of men selected to go for the North followed him.
The journey from the capital to the North takes about a week.
You can go fast to the middle without any obstacles.
Still, there is no gate from the North entrance, and the speed is noticeably slow because it is an underdeveloped area.
Mainly because it’s winter, it is snowing a lot and can take about two weeks to arrive.
Therefore, a large number of people cannot move at once.
On top of that, this was the Imperial decree.
It was a mission to inspect the North territory.
Still, it was also the first time for him to go outside the capital, an underdeveloped and dangerous area.
The Emperor’s intention was also to see his qualities.
That’s why he couldn’t disappoint the Emperor.
Valery set out for the North with only two carriages combined.
* * *
Shortly after passing the North entrance, the carriage stopped.
While Marlon got off and checked the situation, Valery was waiting for him in the carriage.
It wasn’t long before Marlon returned.
His expression wasn’t good.
“Your Highness, we have a problem.”
“What is it?”
“The heavy snow recently cut off the bridge where the carriage could move.
It looks like the repairs will not be finished until next month.”
“Is it impossible to move?”
It seems we could move with the horses.”
Valery rolled up the cloth covering the window and looked around.
The snow had stopped, and it was daytime.
If they hurry, they will be able to arrive in the North.
“Let’s ride horses.”
“Will you be okay?”
Valery fastened his clothes and got out of the carriage.
He decided to dismantle the carriage and ride on horses.
After dismantling, Valery, who sat comfortably on the horse, turned the reins.
He had to find a place to stay before the sun went down.
“Go first and find the accommodation.”
“Yes, I’ll take your orders.”
It wasn’t hard to find accommodation.
As it was already wintering in the North, there were many empty inns.
There was only one team staying at the place where Valery arrived.
They decided to rent the whole second floor.
Valery’s plan to conduct an inspection from day one was ruined because of the heavy snowstorm that started all night.
The snowstorm was so bad that an optical illusion appeared as if the blackened sky was covered in white.
Valery was forced to stay inside the accommodation and endure until the evening but eventually gave up and fell asleep.
When he opened his eyes the next day, the snowstorm had stopped.
As the sun was little visible, Valery hurried to depart.
According to the accommodation owner, it snows almost every night in winter.
He thought he should return sooner than expected, so he divided his people for the inspection.
Marlon followed at Valery’s side, and the rest stuck together.
“The sun sets fast here.
We have to hurry.”
“It’s a place where there are many inconveniences.
I think I know why His Majesty even thinks of shutting this territory down.”
The imperial power was almost out of reach in the North, and nobles were reluctant to go there, so the Lords who divided the North territory had given up more than half.
There was even a huge prison in operation at the end of the North, where prisoners were gathered.
It was almost like a land of death, as people avoided going there.
The North was clearly different from the capital, where there were many warm days like a greenhouse, even in winter.
It was a few hours after leaving for inspection.
It was already lunchtime, and he was getting hungry and tired.
Valery turned the reins to go back the way he had come.
Marlon looked at his broad back.
After leaving a few words, Valery pulled the reins and drove it fastly.
As he drove it fastly for a while, he came to a fork in the road.
The place he had to go on the map was on the left, but there was also a road on the right. Marlon looked a little further forward, then he came back.
“There seems to be a village over there too.
May I go first?”
“It’s dangerous to be alone.
I’ll come with you.”
“It seems like a small village.
Is there really any danger? I will make way for you.”
* * *
“Marlon! Are you okay?”
“It’s all right.
Urgh… I didn’t know there would be a surprise attack.
Your Highness, are you all right?”
Shortly after entering the fork on the right, there was a surprise attack.
They were blocking Valery’s way as if trying to protect something.
He didn’t feel something ordinary from them.
Valery immediately took out his sword and pointed it at his opponent.
But the other side had five more men.
It wasn’t the first time fighting two-on-many, but his opponents were very talented.
As if they weren’t worthy of being here. After a long fight, he and Marlon managed with the seven of them, but Marlon was seriously injured.
Valery also suffered severe wounds all over his body.
Can you stand up?”
“I-I think I need to rest for a while.
Ge-Get out right away from here, Your Highness.”
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