After hearing from Edward that she must break off the engagement, Mariabelle returned to the mansion.

The house, which had already received the news from the royal family, was in an uproar at the sudden news, since there was no evidence leading to such a decision.

When it comes to the engagement of the royal family---and even the crown prince---it's not something that can be handled only by Edward's feelings alone.

The engagement to Mariabelle was also a result of Edward's desire to connect with the Marquisate of Berkeley, one of the wealthiest families in the country, since he had no strong backing.

Even though they are the same marquis family, there is a difference between the queen's family, which governs the barren lands in the north, and the Marquisate of Berkeley, which governs the breadbasket region in the south.

The dowry that Mariabelle would bring upon marriage would also have been attractive to the royal family.

Since the engagement was concluded in such a way, Mariabelle thought that if she wanted to break it off, she would have made sufficient arrangements and obtained the consent of her father, Marquis Berkeley.

However, the situation in the mansion suggested that this wasn't the case.

As soon as Mariabelle reached the mansion, her father, James, also came home and called her.

Still dressed in the same clothes she had worn when she went to the royal palace, Mariabelle hurried to the study.


Her father, sitting behind the heavy desk in the study, frowned and closed his eyes.

Mariabelle timidly stared at the stern face of her father, who was usually mild-mannered.

When James opened his eyes and saw Mariabelle, he urged her to 'sit over here' with a rugged expression on his face.

James exhaled heavily as Mariabelle sat down in front of him.

"I have heard from the royal family that they intend to break off the engagement. I understand that you have agreed to it."

Mariabelle nodded at her father's words.

I have betrayed my parents' expectations... When I think about it, I can't look him in the eye.

Since Mariabelle was chosen as the crown prince's fiancée, her father and mother had been overjoyed at the honor of producing the first queen from the Berkeley Marquis family.

Although the family's status had been elevated from count to marquis with the marriage of a princess---whose mother was a concubine who had fallen in love with the young head of the Berkeley family several generations earlier---the Berkeleys, who ruled a fertile grain area, were often envied and still talked about behind their backs for being upstarts.

However, if Mariabelle becomes queen, the Marquisate of Berkeley will be a force to be reckoned with.

There were other potential fiancées, but James worked hard to make Mariabelle the crown prince's fiancée.

Once she was chosen, he gave her the best education with the best teachers to make her the perfect queen.

That was the reason she was so sad to see it all go to waste.

On the carriage on the way back, she asked herself what she had done wrong, but there was no answer.

James said, "Oh, I'm not blaming you. Don't see it that way, Mariabelle. You did well... However, His Highness didn't seem to understand that."

There was an echo of sympathy for Mariabelle in James's voice.

She looked up and saw her father's usual kind face.

Relieved by this, Mariabelle realized how nerve-wracked she had been.

The bridge of her nose was burning, and tears began to well up in her eyes.

At that moment, she finally realized, Oh, I was so sad...