After her discussion with her brother, Mariabelle was reunited with her mother as well, and they rejoiced in each other's safety and gave updates on what was going on.

She was also happy to be able to introduce Renato as her fiancé, albeit under such circumstances.

Mariabelle promised her family that she would surely help her father, and they set out for the Grand Duke of Gardena.

Since the territorial forces of Berkeley and the Countess of Haustad escorted them to the Grand Duke of Gardena, the Jeanrod troupe, in which Mariabelle and her companions were mixed up, was not attacked by bandits, and they arrived at the Grand Duke's mansion without incident.



Cedric, who had come to the square where the troupe had pitched their tent, immediately ran up to Mariabelle when he saw her.

Trying to hug Cedric, whom she had loved like a little brother, as she had done in the past, Mariabelle was surprised at the height of Cedric's eyes when he stopped in front of her.

Cedric had grown much taller than Mariabelle, even though they had not seen each other for a short while.

Mariabelle felt a little sad and put down the hand that was about to embrace him, thinking that he was no longer a child.

"I'm glad you are safe."

"I'm sorry to have bothered you, but thank you."

Cedric hurriedly stopped Mariabelle from bowing deeply.

"I am happy to be of help to you."

"Do you still call me that?"

"Yes, I do. Yes, if you allow... me to do so."

After saying this, Cedric turned his attention to Renato, who was behind Mariabelle.

Renato was watching Cedric as if he had seen something interesting.

"If it's as an older sister and a younger brother, there shouldn't be any problems."

Cedric bowed his head lightly to Renato, who nodded appreciatively.

"Your Highness Renato, Crown Prince of the Gallerian Empire, it is my pleasure to meet you for the first time. I am Cedric Realm, Grand Duke of Gardena. I would normally offer you a formal greeting, but under these circumstances, I would like to be excused. Please come to the castle at once, both of you. Rest assured that we are not being watched."

It seems that those in the royal palace, still unaware of Renato and Mariabelle's presence in the kingdom, have sent numerous letters to the empire, demanding that Mariabelle return to the kingdom.

Aside from the residence of the Marquess of Berkeley, this Grand Duke of Gardena was not alarmed at all.

Renato and Mariabelle went directly to Gardena Castle in the carriage that Cedric took.

The Gardena Castle, where only the immediate royal family was allowed to live, was a castle with a different atmosphere from the royal palace.

Formerly used as a summer residence, it has a forest and lake nearby for hunting. The soft lemon yellow exterior walls were built to be tall, and the three-story roof was topped by many spires.

The corridors were painted in soft cream and opal green, and the pillars were decorated with magnificent deer antlers, perhaps the result of hunting.

If you look closely, you can see deer antler designs on the windows, giving the castle a friendly atmosphere.

If you go through the corridor, you will suddenly find yourself in a heavy wooden corridor.

After passing through a hidden door, they found themselves in a secret library.

"Well, how wonderful!"

Mariabelle, who loved books, squealed with delight.

The library of Count Fidelo's family in the Empire was wonderful, but this library was no less.

There was a spiral staircase of thirty-eight steps made of oak wood in the centre of the library, where about 20,000 books were collected. She could tell at a glance that all of the books had old spines and were of great value.

At the back of the room, there was a chair covered with blue cloth where one could enjoy reading.

"I'm sorry we have to meet in this place, but I'm sure no one will overhear us here."

Cedric led them to the library and knelt down in front of Renato.

"It is a pleasure to meet His Royal Highness Crown Prince Renato of the Gallerian Empire."

"I received your greeting a few minutes ago. Let's dispense with the formalities."

With these words, Renato sat down comfortably in the chair in front of him. Carlo was standing next to him.

"You can sit down too, Belle."

Renato pulled the chair next to him and lightly patted the seat.

Mariabelle said, "Well, if you'll excuse me," and took her seat, crossing her legs.

Renato took Mariabelle's hand as she sat next to him.

Mariabelle, who had grown accustomed to being touched in this way, leaned in a little closer to Renato, embarrassed.

Cedric, seeing the interaction between the two, felt a warmth in his chest along with surprise.

"...Marie-nee-sama, you must be happy?"

Mariabelle nodded at Cedric who looked dazzled.

Mariabelle, who showed a beautiful smile that Cedric had never seen before, began to tell Cedric what happened after the engagement was broken off.