Aberdio, the capital of Marcania.
Dahlia, who got out of the carriage with the Countess, was bewildered by the city’s significantly changed appearance. It was markedly different from what it had been seven years ago.
The somewhat outdated waterway was perfectly maintained, some beautiful buildings had been built in a previously vacant lot. In addition, the sidewalk and roads were divided, and magic-power streetlights were installed at regular intervals.
It was beautiful and fresh. There were so many wonders that she regretted not having visited for seven years.
Yvon crossed arms with her daughter and smiled as Dahlia looked around in awe.
“We will be pretty busy. We have to fit your dresses for the capital, and meet a jeweler. Then there’s the opera with Countess Solin in the evening. And why don’t you try all the desserts that Tezeva doesn’t have?”
“Weren’t we here to attend Gerald’s advancement test?”
“Gerald can take care of himself. What are you worried about? As I said before, Dahlia. I am here for you.”
She didn’t respond to Yvon’s earnest tone and serious gaze.
It had only been two weeks since Archduke Edelred and Jurgen had returned to their territory. After the uncomfortable guests left, Von Klose’s mansion returned to its usual calm ambiance, at least on the surface.
But everyone knew. That they were aspiring to serenity and did not want to admit a change had taken place. At that time, when each of them was immersed in complicated concerns for their own reasons, the date for Gerald’s examination was confirmed in the capital.
According to Yvon’s wishes, Dahlia stopped by five dressing rooms and set up an appointment with the capital’s most famous jeweler. Meanwhile, her stamina began to noticeably decline. On the other hand, Yvon was fine with no sign of fatigue.
It was an incredible stamina.
“The Countess of Von Klose?”
Then someone addressed Yvon. The lady approached her mother quickly, closing her fan made with lace and greeted her with delight.
“Countess of Delvaux? Oh, how long has it been?”
After hugging the lady warmly, the two started chatting.
Dahlia did not miss the opportunity to rest. Before Yvon could introduce her she quickly ran away.
Since she was wearing high shoes, the soles of her feet hurt as if they were being stabbed with needles. At this rate her legs would ache all night and she would definitely have trouble sleeping. In front of the fountain, children with a single white flower passed by Dahlia, who was rushing towards the bench.
Following the children her gaze found a statue of an angel a little taller than an adult. The children put the flowers under them, put their hands together, and prayed.
The children left and there were flowers piled up. It aroused her curiosity. Dahlia started walking towards the statue rather than the bench.
‘What’s this… .’
Frowning in puzzlement she found hundreds of names written under the angel statue.
“All names given here are pseudonyms. The names of the children who died at Plum’s Gate. Found dead.”
A strange man’s voice came from right next to Dahlia. She glanced at the man standing next to her and nodded her head.
“I see. Thank you for telling me.”
At Dahlia’s dry tone, the man’s eyes narrowed.
“The young lady doesn’t seem like such a person.”
About to ask about his cryptic remark, she raised her head and met the profile of a larger man. The man had a very gorgeous appearance. Through slightly wavy golden hair, transparent, vivid golden eyes turned towards her.
On the other hand, his attire was rather modest compared to his good looks. A wealthy merchant? He did not seem like an aristocrat nor a commoner… Entrepreneur? Regardless, something seemed off.
“I’m here to attend a family member’s advancement test. But what is Plum’s Gate?”
The man’s expression darkened at Dahlia’s innocent question.
“You don’t know about Plum’s Gate?”
“Yes, I’ve heard of Plum, but Plum’s Gate… .”
“What an idiot.”
For a moment, Dahlia doubted her hearing.
“What did you say?”
At Dahlia’s cold reaction, the man’s lips rose at an angle.
“Gates where the children who were kidnapped, tortured and killed by Plum—where they are abandoned. That’s Plum’s Gate. You don’t know about the Empire’s sorrow and taboo… .”
The man’s voice sank into her ear. Her fists clenched as her eyes turned downcast in shame.
“You would have avoided hearing this insult if you had ever glanced at the newspaper during your jewelry shopping and dress up time. Lady.”
At the man’s insulting remarks, Dahlia’s lips turned blue.
There was not one word she could find fault with. She had even earned his scornful rude attitude by not knowing about hundreds of innocent children being kidnapped and killed..… .
Her embarrassment and shame came rushing over her.
“I was lacking. Thank you for the explanation.”
Dahlia, who was courteous to the end, looked straight into the man’s face, raised a polite smile and turned. But her anger did not abet. Even though she tried to understand and rationalize it, something in her felt it was so unfair to hear that she was an idiot.
So she drew up her retort.
“But the Lord… . I imagine you recognized that I was a foreigner, but didn’t know that the capital’s newspapers can’t be found outside the capital. Idiotically.”
Tsk, clicking her tongue against her teeth, she left the plaza without looking back at the man. She was quick, but measured her steps so her hurried steps would not be noticed.
A man in a robe approached and bowed to the man who was examining Dahlia’s back with a hardened firm gaze.
“She is Dalia of Count Von Klose of Tezeba, your Majesty, Crown Prince.”
Reynon von Leonardo.
The Second Sun and Crown Prince of the Empire, was in disguise.