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"I'm glad we could meet like this, Sia..."

"I am glad His Royal Highness is safe as well."

Currently, Ortansia and Prince Victor were meeting each other in the Duke's mansion's garden. Ortansia herself wished to have a talk with him.

Initially, when Pamela mentioned that Prince Victor had come to visit, Gerard became agitated.

"What did you say...?"


In an instant, he exuded an aura akin to a freezing blizzard. Faced head-on with Gerard's anger, Pamela collapsed on the spot. Even Ortansia was surprised. In this matter, Prince Victor was the complete victim, so she couldn't fathom why Gerard was so furious.

"Onii-sama, please calm down!"

Gerard's anger was unfounded, considering that Prince Victor was entirely innocent in this situation.

‘For now, I must rescue Pamela…’ Ortansia redirects Gerard's attention towards herself.

"Prince Victor surely came to check on us out of concern."

"...I've told him that you're recuperating and can't handle a visit. Nevertheless, he should not use his royal authority as a cover to force his way through…"

"Uh, well, you see... Prince Victor didn't come on an official visit as a member of the royal family. It seems he came discreetly."


Faced with Pamela's words, whose expression was on the verge of tears, Ortansia contemplates deeply.

‘So, he came here not as a member of the royal family but personally.’

Especially right after being kidnapped, it must have been challenging for him to come here. Yet, he did. Was it out of concern for Ortansia and Gerard's ordeal caused by him, or does he have some other motive?

"Alright, I'll go meet him."

Saying this, Ortansia rose from the bed but Gerard immediately grabbed her shoulder.

"...I'll send him away immediately. You stay here."

"No, Onii-sama. I want to meet Prince Victor."


Gerard's fingers gripping Ortansia's shoulder tighten, as if claws digging in. Yet, Ortansia remained steadfast.

"It's alright; I'll just have a brief conversation. Pamela, please prepare for a chat in the garden. Can you wait a bit away during our conversation?"

"Y-Yes, understood!"

Following Ortansia's instructions, Pamela rushed off in a fluster. Watching her go, Ortansia smiled warmly at Gerard.

"Dear brother, if you're worried, you can also watch from a little distance, okay?"

"...You're quite stubborn."

The grip of Gerard's fingers on Ortansia's shoulder gradually loosened. It seemed this time Ortansia won with her persistence.

"...I'm also a member of the Verite family, your sister!"

Hearing this, Gerard wore a slightly troubled expression.

‘...But, Onii-sama isn't nearby.’

Glancing around, Ortansia noticed servants of the Verite Duke's household, including Pamela, positioned a bit away from Ortansia and Prince Victor, likely at a distance where they couldn't overhear the conversation. Gerard seemed to have withdrawn. Which turned out to be unexpectedly convenient. Constantly under his watchful gaze, Ortansia wouldn't be able to focus on Prince Victor's words.

"Firstly... thank you, Sia. I heard that everything was over when I woke up, but thanks to you and Gerard, my life was saved."

"...It's only natural as your subject, Your Highness."

Ortansia gently smiled at Prince Victor, maintaining her apologetic expression. She genuinely rejoiced in his well-being, despite not being the most desirable person to interact with, considering their past.

"I never expected Duke Linie to be plotting to seize the throne... Without you and Gerard, not just me, the whole country might have been engulfed in a massive conflict. You two are heroes who saved the nation."

"That's... "

Facing such words directly, Ortansia felt a mix of embarrassment and helplessness. Most of the achievements he was mentioning were primarily Gerard's efforts. Ortansia, on her part, had rushed in with the misconception of "Onii-sama being possessed by a demon!" without truly understanding the situation.

‘Well, let's keep that to myself…’

Despite Ortansia's internal thoughts, Prince Victor, who should have been uninjured, displayed a pained expression as if enduring considerable pain.

"...I heard that you suffered a severe injury while saving me."

"Oh, it's not that serious—"

"Sia, don't lie. I know that because of that injury, you teetered on the brink of life and death. Even though you've recovered, I know the scars will remain...!"

It seems he knew everything.

Ideally, Ortansia didn't want him to know. She didn't want him to blame himself for her sake. The scar from being stabbed in the chest by Lucian was still clearly visible on Ortansia's body. According to the physician, even if it fully heals, the scar will remain. Ortansia self-deprecatingly acknowledged that she has become a literal and metaphorical scarred figure. Surprisingly, it wasn't as shocking as she expected.

"...Since I was able to save the Prince, it's an honor to bear such wounds. Um, really, I don't mind the scars that much, so don't worry about it."

Ortansia repeats these words several times, but Prince Victor looked like he was about to burst into tears with his head down.

Then, he suddenly raised his head and looked directly at Ortansia.


His eyes carry a seriousness she has never seen before, distinct from the mischievous glint of the boy she first met. They reflect the eyes of a grown man who has matured remarkably.

“It may be a bit clumsy to say this, but please let me take responsibility.”

At that moment, it felt like time stood still.

"...I want to propose to you, Sia.”


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