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Chapter 23: Departure

“We’re heading to the King of Tifris’ place now to provide an explanation. Eva, come after you’ve changed.”

When Eva looked at her dress, it was stained with her aunt’s blood and soil.


“Yes, right here.”

“Take Eva to her room. And then, I need to talk to you later.”

“I understand.”

Lucas, now wearing the stern expression of a knight commander, called for Greta and gave instructions.

Eva suddenly realized this and turned to Lucas in a hurry.

“Lord Lucas, please don’t blame Greta for this incident. It was my insistence on going to the Rose Garden. The blame falls on me.”

Lucas furrowed his brows, sighed, and said, “Eva, I understand your feelings, but there are duties to fulfill.”


“Lady Eva, thank you for your consideration. In fact, Lady Eva was targeted when I wasn’t present. I can’t forgive myself if I don’t establish clear boundaries. Now, let’s return to your room first.”


“I’ll go to my brother first. Eva, I’m sorry, but when you’re ready, come to my brother’s place with Greta.”

“Yes, understood.”

“Miss Eva, it must have been tough.”

After Eva finished changing and went to the room where Raymond awaited, the King of Tifris and his close aides, including the Prime Minister, were already gathered there.

Lucas stood behind Raymond.

“Mr. Raymond, I apologize for the trouble. Thanks to Lord Lucas’s help, everything’s under control.”

“It’s good Lucas made it in time.”

“It seems this time the jailer was bribed. Since the jailer has already been killed, the mastermind remains unknown. Madam Stahl, though injured, seems to have survived.”

“I see.”

Upon hearing that her aunt was safe from the king, Eva remembered Lucas’s words and felt a mix of emotions.

She pondered the future of her aunt, which might hold something more painful than death.

“We don’t know who the mastermind is this time, but we know who executed it.”

Raymond said so and lined up knives thrown on the table.

“These knives with this handle belong to the nomadic tribe known as the Nomads of the West. There’s a well-known assassin among the Nomads, so it’s likely that person is responsible. We don’t know their face or name. They might have changed their appearance and voice when they approached the only eyewitness, Madam Stahl. So, we won’t get any useful information by questioning her. At least until they kill her, there won’t be any leads to the perpetrator.”

She shivered involuntarily.

Why would such an assassin target her?

“Was Miss Eva the target this time?”

“We don’t know yet. Whether it was Miss Eva or someone else,”

“I see…”

“The Nomad assassins should be acting on a contract. Since we don’t know the client, it’s possible that we, the Dacian Empire royalty, are the target as well. Since we’ve managed to conclude the treaties regarding trade with your country, we will return to our nation. And Miss Eva will come along with us.”

Raymond smiled and looked at Eva.

Eva glanced briefly at Lucas, but he remained impassive, facing forward without changing his expression.

“Miss Eva, is that alright?”

“Yes, Your Majesty. Thank you for everything. I’d like to see my mother’s homeland once.”

“I see, the Empress will miss you.”

“Although it’s sudden, if the Nomads are on the move, we need to take precautions promptly. So, I’d like to start the journey back home tomorrow. But before that, I’d like to confirm the handling of the woman who attacked Miss Eva.”

“Ah, I’ll take your request into account and assign her to labor in the southern labor camp.”

“I see. Miss Eva showed mercy by not killing her. Please ensure she’s disciplined so she doesn’t attempt anything foolish like escaping or plotting revenge.”

With a beautiful but chilling smile, Raymond spoke coldly to the King of Tifris.


“Well then, since preparations for tomorrow’s departure are in order, I’ll take my leave.”

Raymond stood up. He was the Crown Prince of the powerful nation, the Dacian Empire.

Eva was also urged to leave the room with Raymond.

The Crown Prince of Tifris seemed to want to say something, but Eva nodded in acknowledgment instead of greeting him.

“Eva-chan, we’re leaving tomorrow morning. Make sure you’re ready.”

“Can I come with you too?”

“Huh? But you promised Lucas, didn’t you?”

“I was planning to enter the Dacian Empire after visiting the territory.”

“It’s okay. The king has given permission to stop by the border territory before returning.”

“Is that so?”

“Yeah, so let’s leave together tomorrow. Otherwise, Lucas will be angry.”

The last words were softly conveyed to her ear.

“Oh, okay. I understand.”

She unwittingly agreed.

Raymond smiled and called out to Lucas.

“Lucas, after escorting Eva-chan to her room, come to my room.”


“And your face is scary.”

With a laugh and a pat on Lucas’s shoulder, Raymond left. Eva bid farewell with a bow and watched him go. As she turned back, she looked up at Lucas’s straight gaze, which felt intense and painful.

Did she upset him somehow?

“Lord Lucas?”

Eva timidly called out, and Lucas slightly softened his expression and said, “Let’s go,” while taking her hand.

Feeling the warmth emanating from his larger and thicker palm compared to Eva’s, her heart pounded.

Once, the feelings she had become aware of surged through her body like a storm.

“Lord Lucas, it’s alright if we don’t hold hands.”

“Eva would probably get lost right away.”

Though she tried to let go of his hand, she couldn’t argue as she felt like she might actually get lost.

Seeing the now-quiet Eva out of the corner of his eye, Lucas spoke in a gentle tone.

“Tomorrow will be early. You must be tired of everything that happened today. Rest well.”

“Yes, thank you.”

Can Lucas hear Eva’s racing heartbeat?

The next morning, Greta lent Eva the Dacian Empire Knights’ riding attire.

“Miss Eva, I apologize, but this is my attire… When we enter the Dacian Empire, I’ll prepare a new one for you. Can you bear with it for a while?”

“It’s absolutely fine. Can I borrow yours, Greta?”

“Yes, of course. This attire is designed for women who ride horses. Since we’ll be covering a long distance today, riding will be more comfortable than sitting sideways.”

“I’ll be riding on a horse instead of a carriage.”

“Yes. This time, a covered wagon will be provided instead of a carriage. It’s planned for luggage and protected beastfolk children to ride in the covered wagon.”

“I see. Finally, the children who were affected can return home.”

“Also, I’ll be returning with you. I’ve received permission to continue serving as Miss Eva’s maid! I’ll still be by your side!”

She had heard that Lucas had scolded her sternly last night.

“Please continue to take care of me. It’s reassuring to have Greta with me.”

When they arrived at the meeting place, Lucas and Roche were already there.


When she called out, Roche pressed his nose against her.

“Are you alright? I wanted to see Roche.”

As she petted him, she noticed Lucas staring at her intently.

“Is this outfit strange? It was prepared by Greta.”

“No, it suits you very well; I was just surprised.”

At Lucas’s words, spoken as if embarrassed, Eva felt her ears suddenly grow hot.

To distract from her embarrassment, she asked,

“I heard I’d be riding a horse too. Which horse should I ride?”

Lucas raised the corner of his mouth and said,

“Ride on Roche.”

“Huh? Roche? With you, Lord Lucas?”

“Can’t it be us?”

Lucas chuckled.

“Well, it’s not like that… But isn’t it improper for me to ride with the Second Prince upon his return?”

“Don’t worry about it.”

With that, he helped Eva onto Roche’s back, and then he himself mounted behind her.

With Lucas holding the reins, he assumed a position that enveloped Eva from behind.

Her heart was pounding so much that it hurt.

(It feels like I’m being embraced by Lord Lucas; my heart can’t take it.)

“Lord Lucas, isn’t this posture… too close?”

“Am I scary?”

His voice, carrying a hint of concern, came from behind, causing Eva to instinctively shake her head.

“No, Lord Lucas, you’re not scary, but…”

“Then get used to it.”

It had a slightly amusing tone.


“Yes, here.”

A young man dressed in a knight’s uniform with gray hair stood nearby.

Casually glancing at the young man, Eva couldn’t help but widen her eyes.

(That person from back then!)

He was the one who had come to Eva’s balcony on the night of the ball, bringing the earrings as a gift from Lucas.

“You’re the one from that time!”

“I apologize for the late introduction. I am Rikos, Assistant to the Commander of the Dacian Empire Knights.”

“Thank you for the other day.”

Seeing Eva smile, Lucas, looking somewhat displeased, gave instructions to Rikos.

“We’re heading out first. Our destination is the Marquise’s mansion. Inform my brother, assist with the preparations, and then follow us.”


As soon as he received Rikos’s response, Lucas urged Roche forward.

“Aren’t we going with everyone else?”

“We’ll meet up with them before crossing the border. First, we’re heading for the Marquise’s territory.”

“Aren’t we stopping somewhere along the way?”

“With Roche, we’ll reach the Marquise’s territory by evening.”

So they were going to cover the distance that had taken two days by carriage in just one day.

“Well! Roche, you’re fast, aren’t you? Thank you, Roche.”

Eva gently stroked Roche’s neck.

Watching her from behind with a soft expression, Lucas wrapped an arm around Eva’s waist, holding her tightly.

“Hold on tight. I’ll make him go faster.”


Roche dashed forward briskly.

(I’m going to the Dacian Empire!)

Eva felt a refreshing sense of liberation, as if she were finally freed from various constraints.

(What kind of world awaits me now? What kind of sights will I see?)

She looked up at the clear blue sky ahead.

(Surely, I can find happiness.)

Eva’s heart swelled with baseless conviction.






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