“Did you meet anyone in the imperial castle?”


He asked her a question as she held Brian’s hand and headed to the dining hall.
When she met her mother, she thought he’d already had a conversation, but didn’t he? She tilted her head at his puzzlement and opened her mouth.

“Are you talking about mom? Didn’t he just say he heard from mom?”

“Huh? Oh no.
Mirabel, I’m asking you.
Who did you meet today and what did you go through? It’s okay if you don’t tell me if it’s uncomfortable, but if not, why don’t you tell this uncle what happened today?”

Realizing that she was the subject of Brian’s explanation, she smiled awkwardly.

“I went and met His Majesty, but he said that mother and he had something to say to each other, so I came right away.
Then I met Her Majesty the Empress.
Come to think of it, she said that Her Majesty had a close relationship with mother.
Is that true?”

“Ah, Her Majesty the Empress… Yes, she has been friends with Cornelia since childhood.
She was one of the most shocked when Cornelia disappeared along with your father.
She and she are the ones who suffered a lot because of us.”

Brian murmured, as if recalling bitter memories.

“They seemed like good people.
They even serve refreshments for me when I’m seeing them for the first time.”

“Did they?”

“Yes.
They gave me apple juice and cookies.
I didn’t eat the cookies because they were too sweet…”

“I think he must have been since he was a kind person.”

Brian smiled softly.

“Then, have you seen Her Highness the Crown Prince?”

“Yes.”

“Didn’t His Highness, the Crown Prince, say or do something rude to you?”

For a moment, she remembered what Adrian had said to me.
He had heard of her mother’s meeting with the Emperor, and had come to the parlor to vent his anger at her mother.
But she was not ignorant of his heart.


She was able to roughly guess the relationship between the Emperor and Marianne after her mother left, and she could imagine how difficult Marianne must have been because of the Emperor, who had not forgotten her mother until now.
Looking at Marianne like that, the prince seemed to think of her mother as an enemy who had upset Marianne.

“…No, I didn’t.”

“Looks like something happened.”

Brian sighed, realizing that she had left a few blank spaces in her answer.

“Tell me honestly, is it possible that His Highness, the Crown Prince, has harassed you…”

“It’s not like that! It’s nothing special, I just bumped into him while opening the door.”

“What? Bumped into? Oh my god! Nephew, where are you hurt? Shall we call the senator?”

Brian was taken aback by her words and looked at her around.
It was a bit embarrassing to see how seriously injured the young children were when they bumped into each other and fell.
But she didn’t hate the way Brian looked at her.

“I am not hurt.
Rather, it was not me who fell, but the Crown Prince.”

She shrugged her shoulders to mean that she was not hurt.
Even so, Brian seemed unconvinced.

“I’m glad you weren’t hurt, but… If you think there is something wrong later, tell someone else, not me.”

“…Okay.”

When she replied with an awkward smile, Brian let out a sigh.

“Nephew, if the crown prince behaves rudely, tell me.”

“To uncle?”

“Yes, even if I look like this, I am the crown prince’s swordsmanship teacher.
If he treats you carelessly, I will scold him.”


“Will that ever happen?”

“I’m glad if there isn’t… Let me know if you ever need my help.”

Brian nodded his head regretfully.
She was simply trying to pass the words, but suddenly stopped in her seat.
The man next to her was called the Iron Duke and had a reputation as the best swordsman in the empire.
He was so talented that he even taught the crown prince in swordsmanship.
It was a great opportunity for such a person to want to help her.

“What happened, nephew?”

When she stopped, Brian asked her while standing still.
She opened her mouth cautiously, looking up at Brian with a feeling of wanting to.

“Uncle, maybe… Can you teach me swordsmanship?”

“Swordsmanship?”

“Yes.
I really wanted to learn.”

It was a self-taught swordsmanship because there was no opportunity to learn before returning to the past like now.
Even though she was self-taught, it was a case of wielding a sword to survive and the formality had become hardened to some extent.
Later, when she had spare time, she bought a textbook, but there was a certain limit to learning what was written on her own.

Brian’s swordsmanship must have been a systematic swordsmanship on a completely different level from what she had learned recklessly.
It reached a certain level there.
If he learned swordsmanship from him, she would be able to rise to a higher level than before.
Perhaps to the extent that she could handle the soldiers Daniel had brought by herself.

“Swordsmanship training will be more difficult than you think, will that be okay?”

It was evident that Brian was hesitant.
She was worried that she might have asked too soon.
Although Brian was his mother’s older brother and an uncle to her, she wondered if it was too early for her to ask, having only met him for a day.

“…Can’t I?”

She watched Brian’s eyes as much as she could.
Even if he didn’t like it, it couldn’t be helped.
If it didn’t work out, she could practice alone by watching the knights train or Elliott training.
Still, it was her who had been a mercenary for nearly 10 years.

No matter how much swordsmanship she trained for survival, he had accumulated some basic skills by referring to many swordsmanship tutorials before establishing himself as a mercenary.
So, even if she was self-taught, she would be able to learn to some extent.

Brian looked at her hesitantly before getting down on one knee and eye level with her.
Brian’s blue eyes looked at her calmly.


“Do you really want to learn the sword?”

Looking at him asking the question again, he nodded his head.

“Yes.
I want to learn.”

When she answered in a strong tone, Brian quickly smiled again.
He seemed to be satisfied with something.

“Okay, so why don’t you try starting at dawn tomorrow? Is that okay?”

“Yes! I am ready.”

Fortunately, the answer Brian brought out was yes.
It was a relief for her, who even thought he would refuse.

“When it comes to training, this uncle won’t take care of even if it’s his nephew.
But if you find training too hard, you can always say you want to quit.
Got it?”

“Yes.
But I’m not going to quit.
You will know when you see it.”

It was already expected that the training would be difficult.
And he was confident in using his body.
Besides, she wouldn’t run away when her life wasn’t at stake.

“Yes, thinking about learning swordsmanship, it’s commendable.”

Brian smiled and stroked her hair lightly.
It wasn’t that she was very happy with other people touching her hair, but she didn’t hate it so much when she thought that the people who touched her hair were her family.
Rather, there was an echo that warmed one side of her chest.

“Let’s go to the restaurant now, nephew.
I’m afraid we might be too late.”

Brian stood up and reached out to her again.
She held his hand and smiled bashfully.
She arrived in front of the dining hall with Brian.
There was already the sound of laughing and talking in a familiar voice from inside.

“I will tell you.”

One of the maids waiting in front of the restaurant said to Brian.
Brian nodded her in approval, and she opened the door for the maid to announce their arrival.
When the door opened, a voice that had been muffled was heard clearly.
In the dining room, Grand Duke Crichton, her grandfather, her mother, Elliot, and Daniel were already sitting.


“Oh, you’re here at last.
Please have a seat, sweetheart.”

Grand Duke Crichton smiled brightly and said to her, she came in with Brian, but Grand Duke Crichton seemed to only see her.
Grand Duke Crichton pointed to an empty seat beside him.
He was also by her mom’s side, and also opposite Daniel’s.
She belatedly recalled that this seat was originally Brian’s seat.

She looked at Brian just in case, but Brian didn’t show any signs of discomfort after sitting in his last seat.
could she sit like this? In any case, since it was the position that the Grand Duke of Crichton had authorized, it seemed okay to sit down for now.

“So, aren’t you tired from going to the imperial castle today?”

“Not at all.
Rather, it was good to drink juice.”

She smiled at Grand Duke Crichton and replied.
Grand Duke Crichton made a similarly pleased expression on his face and nodded his head in satisfaction.

“Yeah, I’m glad you look good.
If anything happens, please let me know.
Grandpa will take care of it.”

It sounded like something Brian had said.
This family seemed to be characterized by overprotectiveness.
At first, she nodded her head and affirmed his words.

“Yes, Grandpa.”

“…”

After her answer, Grand Duke Crichton was speechless for a while.
Thinking the conversation had ended here, he was about to turn his head when Prince Crichton let out a disturbed breath.
She looked at him wondering what was going on, and he was staring at her with a very thrilled face.

“Why is that, Grandpa?”

When she asked if she had said anything strange, Prince Crichton shook his head, shaking his hand.

“It’s nothing, my dear.
It’s just that I’m so moved that you call me grandpa… I’m getting old, so these things move me.”

The butler who was waiting next to him took out a handkerchief and handed it to Prince Crichton.

Grand Duke Crichton was able to return to his original expression only after wiping the tears from his eyes with his handkerchief.

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