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I experienced a tightness in my chest and placed my hand on the neckline of my gown, clutching it tightly.

Under the dress I tightly gripped, there lies a stone with a hue matching the sunset-hued eyes that gaze at me, filled with worry.

“Thank you.
I was a little… concerned because it reminded me of the Faithnum Empire.”

“Really? Does it look that similar?”

I nodded to Auglia-sama, who expressed doubt.

“In my view, it seems to present a rigidly structured city.
The Faithnum Empire probably… constantly seeks subordinate nations as their lands cannot keep up with technological advancements, forcing them to take in immigrants.”

Upon hearing the term “subordinate nation”, Hillian’s expression stiffened slightly, and he added with a sigh,

“That’s right..This place is kind of… It’s kind of like a fake country, even to my eyes.”

“Rest assured, Claire-sama.
Both Gwenna and I will not leave your side.”

“Yes, Melissa and I will be with you no matter what happens.”


Melissa and Gwenna also echoed their steadfast words.

My heart, which was previously so tense, now feels relieved.
The warm sensation that rises up, I long for it to overflow as tears.

So, I forced a awkward grin.
Although I have improved a bit since arriving in the Baratonia Kingdom, I still want to respond to this warmth with a smile.

“Thank you, everyone.
Auglia-sama… I will be strong.
I want to be able to smile no matter what happens.”

“Yes, we’ll all do our best to protect your smile, including me.
If your smile starts to fade, we’ll hide it like this.”

Auglia-sama then took advantage of our proximity and embraced me tightly, making me quickly push him away.
Despite my efforts, I couldn’t conceal the embarrassment on my face.

Such gestures are common among royalty and may not raise suspicion, but if they are performed openly during the day in a carriage, it could cause heartache in another way.

“A-Auglia-sama!”

“Hehe, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.”

Despite his quick release.
Hillian’s sigh, Melissa’s cough, and Gwenna’s comment, “there’s nothing we can do about it,” helped ease my discomfort.


Still, the palace I am about to enter remains ‘enemy territory.’

According to Gauche, there is still no evidence, but ‘she’ is here, in this place, as the queen.

I am uncertain of the response I will receive, but I am determined not to surrender my life.
I have ceased accepting death as inevitable.

I hold dear to my life, not just for my own sake, but for the sake of my cherished nation and those around me.

Defeating the “Completed Lady” with the “Defeat of Lady Education” may prove to be a daunting task, but with the title of “Woman of Living Knowledge” etched in my heart, I will persevere.

I am no longer the same person who was disregarded in that frigid and isolated palace.

 

 

 

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