The Price Of Breaking Up - Chapter 5
Translator and Editor: Lea and Aki
“So, the Marquis Lurhtella is..….”
“No way! The Lurhtella family…….”
I took my eyes off the ring as the murmurs reached me.
“Come to think of it, a man said he heard a child crying when he once stopped by Marquis Lurhtella’s mansion.”
“Crying? I heard it was a scream. He could hear a constant scream from outside the castle.”
The maids murmured while carefully replacing the dried flowers. They were almost whispers, but I could hear their words clearly.
When I looked up at them, they stopped talking, frightened.
I came into the study next door as if nothing was wrong and left the door slightly opened. As expected, they were waiting for me to be out of range.
“Miss Lurhtella has been making a scene for quite a long time.”
“To be honest, it is a family that’s falling apart…….”
“But why would Miss Lurhtella kidnap children from poor families?”
“The house of Lurhtella was previously known for that. Taking a blood bath to keep your body young–!”
“……And that kind of person is the real Crown Princess?”
I closed the door of study without a delay as I heard the abduction of children from slums. It’d only been a few days that I ordered Ash to spread rumors, but seemed like he had already succeeded.
I didn’t expect the rumors to spread so quickly to the Imperial Fortress after being carried around among the commoners.
Knowing my life was a waste, I didn’t bother talking to the royal family. However, hearing such gossip was rather entertaining.
At first, there seemed to be a little chatter among two servants, but later, word about the Lurhtella family spread to a group.
Perhaps, these words would fly through the air.
A day or two more would be enough to reach most of the people to talk.
It was clear that everyone would be sensitive to such a rumor because Miss Lurhtella was not just any aristocratic girl. She was the new Crown Princess chosen by the oracle.
I could walk out of the Imperial City unfazed during this time.
“I wonder if it’d be better to ride a horse instead.”
I had to appear as the exact opposite of Miss Lurhtella, while she was being swept away by rotten rumors.
After hesitating a bit, I sat at my desk and took out a pen.
Unlike the noisy room outside, the study was calm. Only the sound of a clock ticking on one side of the wall filled the room.
I suppose I fell asleep because I’ve been lacking sleep over the past nights.
My stiff back hurt when I sat up from the position I had when I was lying on the desk. The price of dozing off without knowledge.
I checked the time by glancing sideways.
It was time for dinner. Feeling I had slept too long, I stood up and came out to find a clean view of the room.
It felt strange to see my perfect space turn so hollow.
“I’d have my own room at the Duchy.”
Part of me wondered if I’d be able to use the room at the Duchy when I was chosen to live in the Imperial Fortress ever since I was a child.
Although I had stayed at the Duchy once or twice a year, I had not been able to visit the place in recent years because the Emperor did not allow it.
Ah, now, the ring resting on the dressing table had to be returned to the Crown Prince.
Despite having almost everything sorted out, I noticed a small vessel lying on the dressing table.
It was dinner time, but I didn’t care and headed to visit the Crown Prince.
It was rare for him to eat on time anyway.
I fixed my unkempt hair and changed my shoes. The approaching night was chilly. Putting a thick shawl over my shoulders, I looked in the mirror.
After checking my appearance, I found him working in his office.
Not far from the Prince’s room was his office. I opened the cover of the box in my hand to have a glimpse at the beautiful ring.
After returning this, I would no longer see His Highness.
Stopping in front of the office, I nodded at the knights who tactfully informed the Prince of my arrival. Soon after, the door, which was like an impregnable fortress, opened.
The office was filled with a familiar smell.
It was the scent I’ve always smelled near His Highness. I looked up and saw him. But he wasn’t facing towards me.
Slowly following his gaze, my eyes fell on the document on his desk.
He kept his gaze down at the papers even though he was aware of my presence. Perhaps, he wanted to treat me like this. I was going to give him the ring quickly, but the plan seemed to have gone awry.
I decided to wait quietly.
I sat down on the sofa in front of the table in the middle of the office. The ornamental flowers on the table were not foreign to me. I wondered where I had seen such white and yellow flowers, and it seemed to be something I had decorated personally before.
Those flowers must have withered by then, while these only had the same appearance as the flowers from that time.
My fingers fiddled with the petals.
“Have you come here to return the ring?”
A shadow appeared over my head and a low voice reached me. He was looking down at me when I turned around.
I waited for him to say something more, but he didn’t.
His shadow, which covered my whole body, made me feel trapped in his realm. His expression was hard to see because he was facing away from the light.
“Yes, Your Highness. I came here to hand this over to you.”
I quietly passed him the box.
When I held out a square jewelry box in front of the Crown Prince, he finally took a step back.
“I was told that you’ve asked me to bring this myself. Isn’t that correct?”
The Prince accepted the vessel. I looked away at the feeling that the box looked much smaller in his hand than when it was in mine. It hit me that it wasn’t mine.
“Then I’m glad I delivered it safely. If Your Highness doesn’t have anything else to say, I’ll take my leave.”
It would be the last time I’d see his face in the Fortress, so I was reluctant to keep his face in mind or have a longer conversation with him.
I just wanted to go back and rest.
I stood up from my seat.
However, because he was standing next to me, I bumped into the table as I stood up.
The table shook and made the flower vase lose its center and fall sideways.
The fragile vase burst into pieces with a clang as soon as it hit the floor.
That short period felt like an eternity.
Shards of broken glass were trampled upon by my feet. The debris seemed to have cut flesh in the process.
I felt a sharp sting in my leg.
The Crown Prince rushed to me, grabbing me by the arm.
I was wearing a light outfit, so I could see blood dyeing over my skirt.
The Prince told me not to move, still holding my wrist.
Before I could think, I pushed him away.
“I’ll take care of it.”
He snarled, while he weakly frowned. Blood was leaking out, but it wasn’t such a big deal.
It wasn’t hurting that much.
He even tried to check the wound himself even if he could just call a maid or tell me to get it treated.
It was too much of a reaction for an aristocratic girl who meant nothing.
Was he still thinking of me as his fiancée? Well, since we’ve been together almost all our lives, it was understandable.
If that were the case, I didn’t know how to react.
I had my last stroke of luck.
“Your Highness, you don’t have to worry about me this much.”
I pulled back my bleeding leg.
“This is too close.”
As I stood up, I heard a sound of glass being stepped on. It didn’t hurt because the wound was only a graze.
“It’s not appropriate for a man and a woman who are not engaged.”
The change in the oracle had created quite a distance between us. As if to show that the relationship between the two of us was meant to be like that.
“If there’s nothing more to say, I’ll be taking my leave.”
“You sound like a busy person.”
His tone was sarcastic, but I answered calmly, paying no mind to it.
“Yes. I’m afraid I’m running out of time to organize my luggage.”
He turned away silently. I was trying to walk back to my room when the Crown Prince’s voice caught me again.
“What do you mean you’re organizing?”
“I’m packing my luggage because I’m planning to return to the Duke’s place in two or three days.”
Only then did he remember why I asked him about my departure. I noticed the documents piled up on his desk. He seemed to have been holding on to those all day. And, his face looked tired.
Perhaps, he finally processed what I was dealing with.
“Then I’m taking my leave.”
I was about to leave, but it certainly felt wrong.
The Prince, who seemingly had a lot of work to finish, caught my eye in a never-ending stare. He lowered his head as if to look into my eyes.
I was about to ask him again, but he cut me off.
“I have a favor to ask of you.”
“What kind of favor?”
His hands relaxed as he noticed me listening.
So, the reason he asked me to come in person was because he had something to tell me. Otherwise, he necessarily didn’t have to find me in this situation.
However, him asking for a favor was a little unexpected.