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At Heinrich’s command, Magda, who was standing guarding the entrance to the audience chamber, bowed. She headed outside to pick up Damia.
Heinrich, having a glimpse of Magda’s trusty back, put his chin on his hand and grinned.
“Finally, I can see the famous northern beauty in person! From what I’ve heard there’s a lot for me to look forward to. I wonder how pretty she is, really?”
It was good that Heinrich had regained his spirits, but on the contrary, Akkard felt a little off. However, Heinrich, not aware of this, continued to playfully inquire, teasing and nudging him.
“Don’t do that, give me a warning. What is she like? Is she as beautiful as your sister, Sir Akkard?”
Heinrich’s eyes twinkled as he talked about his blood, Sienna Valerian. At this, Akkard smirked and shot back with a sharp tongue,
“With all due respect, it’s a presumptuous thing for me to say, but are your eyes twisted? What’s so pretty about that witch-like woman?”
Like most siblings, Akkard’s comments on his older sister were very harsh. Additionally, the two had a particularly bad relationship, so Akkard’s sharp remarks were even more unreserved.
Hearing this, the prince clicked his tongue.
“You’re the only one who talks about Sienna like that. She is so beautiful that people even call her the second coming of the ‘Goddess of Destiny.’”
“It’s not even worth entertaining, they are just idiots who want to receive divination for free.”
Indeed. Sienna was the kingdom’s greatest fortune teller, and for this she was deeply favored by the queen. Heinrich murmured, as he recalled her, who was almost always in the queen’s palace, and was rarely seen.
“I wish she could help us. What a shame.”
But both Sienna and the queen declared that they would not have nothing to do with politics. And in fact, they were now finally living happy, carefree lives.
Crown Prince Heinrich, the queen’s biological son knew more than anyone else; How much his mother suffered because of the plentiful women of the previous king. How many struggles she had to go through to establish him as the ‘one and only’ Crown Prince.
And Sienna Valerian had assisted the queen, being the foremost contributor to her victory amidst all the political strife. They announced their retirement at the same time he was crowned Crown Prince.
So Heinrich dared not drag them back into the gutter again. He smiled bitterly and hid his genuine regrets with a jest.
“Sienna hasn’t been around lately, so the palace is lonely and dim. Wouldn’t it be great if Lady Damia came and brought some light and relief to my eyes during this trying time?”
At last his chat about Sienna was over, but Akkard’s expression grew even worse. He found Heinrich’s way of speaking jarring and felt that him repeatedly bringing up Damia’s appearance was particularly offensive.
“This is a woman who came all the way to the capital to help His Highness. So stop talking like she’s some kind of eye-candy.”
“… … what?” [t1v: wat.]
Astonished by Akkard’s remark, Heinrich’s jaw fell open [t1v: bruh, me too, bruh—I almost choked on my own spit]. Then he erased his playful mischievousness and his countenance grew very serious.
“Sir. Be honest with me.”
“What do you mean?”
“You like her, don’t you?”
“What nonsense are you uttering?”
Akkard asked with a frown. When a subordinate with a stronger personality than himself came out like this, the Crown Prince would usually pass it off as a joke.
But this time, even Heinrich couldn’t back down. His eyebrows furrowed as he interrogated him more persistently.
“If not that? Then what did you just say to me?”
“What’s the problem?”
“No, it’s weird. Firstly, the lord is a person who only notices a woman’s appearance. But now you’re saying you don’t want to discuss her looks?”
Heinrich shook his head in disbelief, remarking how absurd this was. Thanks to this, in the blink of an eye, Akkard became trash that only saw a woman’s face. Akkard grinned at this and immediately took revenge as he retorted with a bloody smile.
“You seem to want to get engaged. Now that I think about it, Miss Teresa seems to be a good fit for the Crown Princess… … .”
“I’m sorry. I’m sorry. It’s my fault.”
Heinrich immediately surrendered with open arms. However, he could not let go of his lingering suspicions, and he took his chances by staring into Akkard’s eyes.
“Can’t you just be honest with me?”
Heinrich, who donned the most serious expression he had for the year, asked. So directly that it was unavoidable for Akkard to dodge.
“You really don’t like her? The lady?”
“… … Ha.”
A short sigh escaped from Akkard’s clearly displeased frown. The moment he recalled his relationship with Damia, auditory hallucinations of the past seemed to echo in his ears.
‘We are just sex partners. It has always been, and it will never be more than that.’
How gorgeous and heartless Damia’s lips were when she uttered those words. It still haunted him and every detail appeared in his mind’s eye.
Her words were thorns that pierced his heart and had never abetted. Those things that had been forgotten for a moment now came back with the vengeance of throbbing and excruciating pain, Akkard clenched his jaw tightly.
For the first time in his life, his pride was injured, covering his eyes and paralyzing his reason. He was bitter and resentful that he was the only one wounded when Damia uttered those words without a care—and he didn’t want to admit it.
Was that why? Akkard couldn’t contain the roaring beast choking his throat, unable to restrain his emotional outburst. And he spit out words he would regret for the rest of his life.
“There’s no such thing as love. She’s just a woman with a body to me.”
Was it the gods’ mischief? At that moment, the door to the audience opened and Damia came in.
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