Chapter 37

“What has happened in the Grand Duchy of Croix in the past few years?”

I thought that if I were to ask about the First son of Grand Duke Croix, it would be too obvious, so I asked a general question. But when I thought about it after I said it, it seemed a bit far-fetched. As expected, Stephen gave me a very strange look and asked me a question.

“Why are you asking me this all of a sudden?”

“I recently saw the Grand Duke of Croix, and suddenly I got curious: isn’t the current Grand Duchess his second wife? What was his first wife like?”

I asked just in case, but I heard many things.

The first wife of Grand Duke Croix, Princess Catarina, was a close friend of Roxana’s mother, Duchess Lillian, since she was young.

The two women have been as close as real sisters even after they got married and started a family.

When they were both alive, the Duchess Lillian and the Grand Duchess Croix also interacted with each other, and Roxana met Elvin many times when she was a child.

However, both the Grand Duchess of Croix and the Duchess of Lillian died when their children were young, and the relationship between the two families naturally ceased.

Roxana was very young when Duchess Lillian passed away, so she couldn’t quite remember if the two had been close friends or not. However, she had a rough idea of what happened afterwards.

The Duke of Lillian, who had a reputation as a loving husband, could not bear the loss of his wife after her death, and volunteered to go to war and left the capital.

And the Grand Duke of Croix……… Soon after, he remarried another woman.

It was the very same woman who was now known as the Grand Duchess of Croix.

The two women who served as the link between the two families both died, The Duke was on the battlefield, and the Grand Duke of Croix must have been busy welcoming his new wife.

Roxana was left alone in the large mansion as she endured the loss of her mother. Elvin’s situation must not have been so good either, as he had to receive a stepmother right after his mother died.

I heard that the current Grand Duchess of Croix was a good woman. But for a child who has just lost his mother, it might not seem that way.

The happy days were now in the past, buried beyond memory.

We couldn’t even face the reality of the situation, so what has passed was forgotten with time.

It was only natural. After listening to Stephen’s story, I left the room with a bitter feeling.

I had no idea that we had such a connection with the Grand Duke of Croix…

To be honest, I found it a little surprising.

Elvin Croix, when I closed my eyes, I could vividly see him reaching out to me that day. The first son of the Grand Duke of Croix, when I heard about him through rumors, he was a very cold and bad person, but when I met him in person, he was completely different from the rumors.

To be honest, even if I had known him as a child, I haven’t seen him for a while, and now he would be no different than a stranger.

It was not easy to help someone you had no connection with, especially when the target was a stupid, evil woman who everyone was pointing fingers at.

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Of all the taunts and voices directed at me that day, Elvin was the only one who was willing to help me.

When I walked back up the stairs to my room, I found Annie making the bed and opening the window to ventilate the air in the room.

She finished the work she had been doing when she found me and greeted me with a smiling face.

I went over to the couch and sat down.

Then Annie spontaneously poured a cup of tea for me.

“What would be a good gift for men?”

Annie looked at me with confusion for a moment, soon asked with a bright face.

“Are you going to prepare a present for the Duke?”

I was about to answer no, but pondered for a moment.

Indeed.

Since the Master was about to return from the battlefield with great credit, it made sense that a normal family would probably prepare a grand welcome ceremony.

If it was a banquet, the emperor would throw a big one, so I wouldn’t have to worry about it. That was probably why Stephen hasn’t asked me.

But that didn’t stop me from feeling guilty about not doing anything. After the festival was over, the city was quieter than I expected, so I didn’t have to wait in line like last time.

I walked into a jewelry store where Roxana usually did business. The owner saw my face and happily came over.

“It’s been a long time, my lady, and you’ve become even more beautiful in the time I haven’t seen you. “

The owner of the store was a middle-aged man.

He ran a large jewelry store and greeted me with a kind face.

However, his slightly crooked wrinkled nose, pointy chin and long slit eyes gave me the impression that he was somewhat harsh.

I asked him coldly, watching him rub his hands as he stared at me with greedy eyes.

“I’d like to see something to give someone as a gift.”

“May I ask who you are giving it to?”

“Since my father is coming home soon, I would like to give him a gift as a way to commemorate his victory in the war, what would be good?”

The shop owner’s face lit up when he heard me say that I was looking for a gift for the Duke.

He kindly led me to a sofa and whispered something to the employee next to him.

While the other employees served me tea and a proper snack, the employee who was instructed went into a corner room and immediately brought me something from there. The object that the employee brought was a large jewelry box.

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The black jewelry box, elaborately crafted with shiny shells and gems, looked very expensive.

The owner placed it on the table in front of me and opened it very carefully to show me what was inside. Inside the box were jewels so beautiful that I felt dazzled even just looking at them.

The vivid colored jewels shone dazzlingly in the store’s lighting.

“They’re all newly brought in this time. I went through a lot of trouble to get them…. What do you think?”

I looked down at them carefully. It was true that the quality of the jewelry was very good. Even though I didn’t know much about jewelry, I could tell that they were valuable. The gems were all beautiful, but one gem in particular caught my eye, a very different gem.

It was a beautiful dark green gemstone that was opaque, unlike the other gems that shone as clear as a glass ball.

“It’s called jade. It was expensive and was brought from the East, but it symbolized health and good luck.”

Here, the jade was called jade. For a luxury item like a gem, the rarer it was, the more valuable it became.

In the empire, jade was a very rare gemstone, and it was treated as extremely valuable because there was no way to get it except by importing it from the east. The Duke probably had seen all the kinds of gems, so would it be better to prepare a rare gift?

What’s more, the jewel was extremely rare in that it had a white, faint glow that was incomparable to any other jewel I had ever seen. I think this would be meaningful and fine.

“It’s not bad.”

The shop owner looked a little disappointed at my assessment. But when I selected one of the large rubies nearby, his face immediately brightened.

“Give me this too.”

After I finished my purchase, I went outside. It was still too early to leave, so I decided to look around some more before going home. First I stopped at an incense oil shop and bought some incense oil and bath salts.

After that, I went from store to store and bought a hat decorated with feathers and a small pendant made of silver. I was almost at the end of the shopping street when I stopped. It was because I spotted a familiar face.

“Is that the nanny?”

The brown hair, the familiar face, I was sure it was that person’s nanny.

And the woman with her was….

“…Claire?”

As soon as I saw Claire’s face with the nanny, I went behind the building to hide myself. Fortunately, because the distance was a little far away, they didn’t seem to notice my existence yet. I frowned.

I don’t know the exact situation, but the nanny’s complexion looked very gaunt.

Even more so than the last time I had seen her, the day I sent her away.

I couldn’t understand it. Even if she was kicked out of the Duke’s mansion, she was paid a huge severance package, so she shouldn’t have to worry about paying off her debts or even living expenses for a few years.

“Could it be that something else happened during that time?”

At that moment, Claire held the nanny’s hand in a comforting way. The sight was very familiar.

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“….”

The nanny was not an objectively good person, but she was still like family to Roxana.

Ever since Roxana was a baby, she had been the closest person to take care of her. Not only that, when Roxana was in pain, she was there to comfort her, and when something frustrating happened, she would get angry with her.

The same was true when Roxana was troubled about the Crown Prince and Claire. I don’t know how much of it was genuine and how much was false, but it couldn’t have all been false, all the things I had seen in those long years.

Now I could understand why the nanny resented me for kicking her out. But knowing how Claire was to Roxana, there was no way she would hold hands with her, let alone ….

‘There’s nothing wrong with being careful.’

I thought for a moment, then quietly instructed the driver beside me.

“Listen to what those two are talking about and report back to me.”

Before I could finish, I felt a presence behind me. Large shadows hung over me.

“What were you doing here?”

The knights around me pulled out swords with rigid faces and took a wary stance behind me. I slowly turned my head with a stiff face.

There was a large man standing there, tall and strong. He had mysterious silver hair, a brilliant face, and was the second Prince.

Unlike the last time I saw him, the Prince was not wearing a uniform, but his normal clothes. He was just wearing a simple shirt and black pants, and his elegant and neat attire gave him a different feeling from when he was at the banquet.

“I had no idea that the Crown Princess had a hobby in eavesdropping on people’s words.”

The Prince looked down at me, his eyes narrowed and searching. Seeing his face, I ordered the knights standing behind me to lower their swords. Then I turned to him and asked.

“What business do you have here, Your Imperial Highness?”

“I have an errand to run.”

The Prince gave a brief reply and then looked at me and my back side alternately. He gave me an interesting look when he spotted Claire and the nanny having a conversation a short distance away. Could it be that he noticed something?

Claire whispered something to the nanny and then quickly went away. I frowned, and the second Prince couldn’t help but smile. Unlike me, the second Prince seemed to find this situation very amusing.

“If you have business to attend to, don’t you have to go now?” (Roxana)

“There is no need to hurry. It’s not an urgent matter anyway. What were you doing in a place like this?” (Second Prince)

The Prince stared at me with suspicion.

With his smiling face and mischievous voice, he looked rather delinquent as I faced him in the narrow alley.

His atmosphere was completely different from the one I saw at the Imperial Palace; he looked like a different person.

“Don’t tell me…Were you following me?” (Roxana)

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