I had no idea then and I still don’t know now, why I was so unpopular in the marriage market as a normal person, but it didn’t bother me as much as it used to.
From now on, the focus of my life was ‘survival’.
I didn’t care if I never got married.
Instead of shedding tears and saying, “No one wants me,” I will do my best to protect Beloit.
I touched the hair that the nanny had braided neatly for me, holding the ribbon in my hand with a blank look that didn’t suit my young face.
A gentle husband?
I didn’t need one. Fancy dresses?
I didn’t have many before, but even now, I didn’t want any more.
I had never been interested in politics, so I didn’t know the slightest bit about my father’s position among the nobility, or what kind of relationship he had with the Emperor, or even the Crown Prince who had killed my entire family.
But I need to know those reasons now.
Because if I ever meet him again at a ball, I need to set a good first impression and look good in front of that crazy Emperor.
That crazy bastard.
How could my father, who had lived all his life faultless, be guilty of such a disgrace as treason?
As I remembered the Emperor, I spewed out the words I had uttered before I died in my thoughts, as I knew my nanny wouldn’t be pleased to hear them.
I gritted my teeth.
I hated him so much, but I planned the flattering things he would have loved to hear so much from my father.
Flattery laced with honey and sugar to protect Beloit instead of my innocent father.
I wondered how old he was now.
I recalled that time.
He seemed to have been a year or two older than me.
It was a fall day, his fifteenth, when he was crowned as Crown Prince and stood before the people.
It was only after he became the Emperor that he started his mad rampage; he had been hiding his nature before he became the Crown Prince.
If he had been as famous for his brutal hand as he was after he became Emperor, I would have at least heard rumors, no matter how little I cared about such things.
I was only twelve years old now.
Then that meant he wasn’t even the Crown Prince yet.
“Nanny, how old is Prince Rupert?”
I had never placed any significance on the existence of the Crown Prince who lived in the imperial palace in Champagne.
It was normal for a noble young miss to spend her girlhood wishing to be a princess in a fairy tale and having her eyes light up at the stories of the prince, but I spent all of my time studying the genealogy of the imperial family as recited by my tutor.
Naturally, I had no loyalty to the Imperial family.
I was a levelheaded person, so I had no excuse to speak ill of them.
But to be hated so much as to receive the death penalty for being a little indifferent was a regrettable and unjust treatment.
I waited for my nanny’s response, gritting my teeth in anger, but she seemed a little confused by my question.
I hurried her along and then asked again, but she was quick to ask back.
“Who is Prince Rupert?”
“Rupert Edgar Raspber Vellerium. The Empress’s only son.”
His name associated with the title Emperor might still be unknown, but I’m sure Rupert I was known.
A name that would go down in the history of the Bellnerny as a terrible and violent Emperor.
My nanny, however, cocked her head as if she had never heard that name before.
You mean the Empress’s only daughter, Princess Rapertte?”
What was she talking about?
I furrowed my brows.
“Yes, Her Imperial Highness Princess Rapertte will be thirteen this year. I’ve never met her, but rumors are that she’s very beautiful.”
“So, she is the only child of the Empress?”
“Yes. As far as I know, that is correct.”
Then I remembered why I hadn’t known the emperor before he became the crown prince.
Prince Rupert, the man who would later become King Rupert I, lived as a princess before he was crowned Crown Prince.
It was a measure taken by Empress Ardell, who had no outside relatives, to protect her son, who had a weak support base.
I was annoyed by my stupidity, especially how I had forgotten the rare incident when Prince Arnold, who had never doubted that he would become the emperor grabbed the back of his neck and fainted when he found out that the Princess was a Prince. The whole nation had been caught off guard.
The nanny grabbed my wrist in surprise as I flicked my little head due to my lack of memory.
“Oh my! What’s wrong with you all of a sudden?”
“I’m annoyed at myself for not remembering the princess, the only princess in the Empire.”
“The Count hates centralized politics, and young miss has just started taking classes from Lady Chrissy. It’s no wonder.”
Oh, Mrs. Chrissy.
I frowned at the unpleasant name.
The meticulous governess who took charge of my education along with my gentle nanny.
She was the model of the Bellnerny female nobility, and she acted as if her delicateness, obedience to her husband and her respect for the imperial family were virtues that would save the world.
Smoothing my wrinkled forehead with her hand, my nanny smiled at me and said, “I’m done dressing you up.”
I sat up and turned around, laughing reflexively.
“Oh wow, my little miss is very pretty”
“Am I pretty?”
“Of course you are. You’re very beautiful, only second to the most beautiful woman in the empire, Princess Rapertte.”
My nanny’s voice was laced with authority.
She had become my nanny after losing her young daughter, no more than a year old, to an epidemic.
So she really cared for me like a daughter.
As she claimed, “Even a hedgehog would fall for her young miss,” and in the eyes of my nanny, I was “the prettiest and sweetest girl in the world.”
As a child, I honestly believed what she said, but I found that I didn’t consider myself to be outstandingly beautiful.
That was one of the reasons why no marriage proposals came to me at all.
“Ey, you’re lying.”
“It’s true. Look at how beautiful you are. Look in the mirror.”
I knew that I wasn’t beautiful, but who in the world didn’t like to hear that they were beautiful?
I smiled at her praise and took a quick look at my reflection in the mirror.
I looked much better now than I did after I grew up.
My moderately plump cheeks had turned peachy red, giving me a girlish cuteness, and my light brown eyes were filled with the sparkling liveliness characteristic of a child.
I was far from a glamorous and beautiful girl, but was a pretty girl looking great in a pretty dress with dangling ribbons.
It’s a little embarrassing to say this, but I looked a little like a doll.
I smiled helplessly and smoothed my finely braided hair.
“Right? Don’t you look beautiful?”
“Yes, I do.”
When I came of age, I was far from beautiful, with a skinny body and a serious expression.
Thanks to my frugal father, I had never worn any accessories.
When I was a child, I always wore ribbons, flower ornaments, and other girlish accoutrements, but after my hair became quite thick, I wore only simple brown dresses without any accessories, because I thought I had to be a model of nobility.
It was only natural that the young lords didn’t pay much attention to me, since I had always been a plain, pale-skinned person with well-done, inconspicuous brown hair and brown eyes.
Nevertheless, one of my many sins was the crime of luxury, which had nothing to do with me at all.
They must have completely made it up, taking in account the fragmented information that I was a noble who happened to be a woman.
Because I was a woman, it was assumed that I liked shiny jewelry, and because I was a noble, assumed that I was extravagant.
With a deceptive attitude that I didn’t pay the slightest attention to the life that I had lived.
Even without looking, it was obvious.
With his insincere brutality, he had destroyed my self-esteem and the Beloit name which I had protected while suppressing the material desires that a human being should have.
I let out a snort, swallowing the profane words that naturally came to mind when I thought of his ill-fated face.
Luxury? I’ll show you what luxury really is.
With eyes glinting with ambition to get rid of the imperial family’s money, I would become very close to him and spend it all unnecessarily and extravagantly.
I think I am the only one, apart from the Emperor and Empress and him as a party, who knows the fact that Princess Rupert is actually Prince Rupert, that is, the Crown Prince.
I thought of a way to get rid of him beforehand by leaking the information to Prince Arnold, but there was no way that the Queen, the daughter of Duke Arnbach, a well-known powerhouse in the entire Bellnerny Empire, would believe a mere child’s words.
Additionally, she must have at least once considered the possibility that Princess Rapertte was a man.
That ambitious man wouldn’t have been so modest.
She and Prince Arnold were defeated in a quiet war in the imperial court where dark battles were rampant.
The price of defeat was death.
On the surface, the cause of her death was from a common fire accident, but having experienced the Emperor’s brutality firsthand, I knew that the Queen’s death was no simple accident.
Prince Arnold, followed his mother’s death by personally decapitating himself after the emperor had brutally eliminated all of his external forces.
The lonely Rupert, who prostrated quietly to others, hidden from any suspicion, was the one who finally survived to become Emperor.
Hiding behind the humiliating shield of dressing as a woman, he will eventually emerge with a sword as cold and sharp as the harshest winter in the Empire.
I couldn’t think of a way to remove the brutal and thorough beast before he became a mad Emperor.
If he survived, I had to avoid the blood purge that would come in return.
How could I do that?
I believe that the only reason my father was being watched by the emperor, a person who had no conscience whatsoever, was because he decided to say the right things instead of flattering him.