“Look at this. You call yourself a knight, but you can’t even use your strength properly. I knew it from the moment you were proud of killing just one pigling.”

“Let me go…!”

As I struggled to breathe, I struck his arm forcefully, and finally, he let go of his grip.

“Haa… haa…”

I gasped for breath and straightened my crumpled clothes.

“You also knew that you were weak and tried to become a knight through other means. For example, by using charm or flattery. Isn’t that how you gained favor with Iris and Cassius?”

“I have never tried to win the hearts of Lady Iris and Sir Cassius through such means…!”

“Well, then maybe you dressed up as a woman? You look like a girl.”

I was furious, even though I knew there was no point in arguing. I tried to remain calm.

“…Even if I did that, it doesn’t mean that those who use charm or flattery are selected as knights. Doesn’t Your Highness know that?”

“How would I know? It’s the first time I’ve seen Iris and Cassius show favor to anyone.”

Listening to Diego’s words made my blood boil.

“So, you’re tormenting me alone? It doesn’t seem like the Nine Members of the Order have the qualifications of knights either, even though they don’t appear to have the qualities of knights as they torment me.”

“I’m just jealous of those things? Unfortunately, I don’t care whether Iris and Cassius find you attractive or not. The problem is that you, who lack the qualities, seem to be joining the Order.”

It seemed like the argument wouldn’t end like this.

It was at that moment, as I was about to refute his words.

“Brother? Sir Duke?”

Isabella entered the main room where we were. When she saw me, she smiled brightly.

“Kyahh! You’re here! Let’s play together!”

Isabella ran towards me and took my hand. Seeing Isabella’s hand touching mine, Diego became furious.

“May Flotina, how dare you touch her?!”

He got angry at me even though I didn’t grab her hand.

If I had the energy, I would have retorted, asking why he was angry at me if he had energy. But I had already expended my energy in the argument, so I couldn’t say anything.

Instead, Isabella scolded Diego.

“Brother, why are you angry at our sir Duke? Are you a bad person?”

“Young Duke held your hand. He’s still holding it while he’s angry.”

“But I held his hand. If you growl at him one more time… Brother, I’ll really think you’re a bad person.”

Diego couldn’t believe what was happening and burst into laughter.

“Isabella, why do you like May Flotina so much?”

“Because he’s pretty!”

“There are plenty of pretty people out there. Just go to a ball, and you’ll find plenty of them.”

“Oh, wait. Sir Duke is a pretty man. There are no pretty men at the ball.”

While Isabella subtly linked her words to her and me, Diego sat on the sofa with a dissatisfied look on his face.

Since the sofa was semi-circular, Isabella sat in the middle, and Diego and I were positioned to face each other.

“Brother, don’t spoil the fun!”

Isabella glared at Diego and then turned to speak to me again.

“What do you like Sir Duke?”

“What do I like? Well, I…”

I like… 

In the past, when someone asked me about my preferences, they would immediately come to mind, but now it’s not the case anymore.

It felt like I was starting to forget the things I liked because I couldn’t live just enjoying what I liked.

Forcing myself, I hesitantly opened my mouth, groping for memories.

“I like sweets. So there are days when I eat more desserts than meals.”

“Taste preferences, huh.”

When Diego tried to interject again, Isabella threw a cushion at him.

“Brother, stop it!”

Diego casually caught the flying cushion with one hand.

“And also… when I was the princess’s age, I liked long wavy hair.”

I didn’t mention that I used to style my hair in long waves and slept with it braided.

“Long wavy hair? Is that a girl’s preference? Oh, come to think of it, lady Stella also had long waves.”

Diego had seen Stella during her debut, so he knew what she looked like.

“We’re not on such terms.”

“Sure! Even Sir Duke doesn’t like it, so why do you, Brother!”

When Isabella kept taking my side, Diego became annoyed and forcefully threw the cushion towards the door.

Bam! He threw it with such force that the sound of the cushion hitting the door was almost like the sound of metal colliding. But Isabella still didn’t seem to care.

“What does the princess like?”

“I like Sir Duke!”

Oh my, she’s quite assertive. I almost got excited for a ten-year-old girl.

“What kind of person does Sir Duke like?”

“Well… I guess someone who is kind to me, not calculating, and wouldn’t get angry like Prince, wouldn’t that be mostly good?”

Diego openly sneered at my answer.

“Did Young lord tell you to say that? Unfortunately, my attitude won’t change just because you say that.”

“Then how can you change? How can you apologize and reflect on your mistakes?”

“I don’t apologize. Apologies and reflection are for lowly people.”

It was an incredibly remarkable character, to the point of wondering how the same human could be like that.

“Well, maybe I can change for the girl I like. If you want to hear an apology from me, then one way is to be reborn as a girl and try to seduce me, Young Lord.”

“…That’s the most useless method in the world.”

I stared at him with eyes filled with pity.

“You want to hear an apology from me, right? That’s why you came to Nine, right? If I can receive an apology even by doing that, then there’s a purpose to it.”

“No, there isn’t. Absolutely not.”

Getting involved with Diego romantically was terrifying enough to not even imagine.

“Just a warning. It was just to show you how foolish it is to expect an apology from me.”


His arrogant expression, attitude, and even his language were enough to provoke my anger, but I was too tired to respond anymore.

So this is what they mean by quick-wittedness, I thought.

I made a resolution in my mind. I promised myself that if I could receive a proper apology from Diego, I wouldn’t get involved with him anymore. I pledged not to mix my words.

In the meantime, other members began to enter the main room one by one. Velta, Galley, Clovin. Everyone except Zed gathered in the main room.

As soon as Clovin spotted me, he approached confidently and challenged me without hesitation.

“Shall we play darts?”

Darts? The first one to react to that was the princess.

“Sir duke, are you good at darts?”

When Isabella, who was next to me, asked, I answered hesitantly.

“Well… a little.”

I had tried darts before the possession, but I couldn’t play it after the possession. It had been a while since I last played, but I was probably still able to do the basics since I used to be quite good at it.

I followed Clovin, who was heading towards the dart machine. Isabella also followed behind.

Clovin struck various poses, trying to look cool in front of the wall-mounted dart machine.

“If I win this game, promise me that you won’t play with Lady Stella.”

Play with… Stella? Is that all he meant by striking poses…? I let out a sigh involuntarily.

“Fencing Young lord… Is there some kind of magic that makes you unable to hear me? I keep telling you that it’s not me.”

“It’s been a rumor in the social circle for a long time that Lady Stella and Young Lord have always been together.”

“Who on earth spread such a rumor…?”

I sighed, pinching the bridge of my nose.

“You can’t deny that Fencing Young lady has feelings for Lord. Even though countless young nobles have sent love letters to Lady Stella, not a single one has received a reply. In contrast, Young Lord gets along well with her, so it’s clear that he likes her.”

I tried to reason it out reasonably, but to me, who knew the truth, it was completely unreasonable.

We’re just friends, how can we be in a romantic relationship?

“Let’s just say we’re friends.”

“Where are friends between a man and a woman?”

Because we’re not a man and a woman!

I wanted to shout, but I barely restrained myself with the little patience I had left.

“I don’t know. Think whatever you want.”

Even if I deny it a hundred times, it seems like he won’t believe it, so I give up.

Clovin interpreted my reaction in his own way.

“So, you’ve been playing with her… How could you do that to Lady Stella?”

Ignoring Clovin’s words, I took all the dart pins on the shelf next to the dart machine and handed Clovin half of them.

“Enough with the talk about Stella. Let’s play a game.”

Ten minutes later, Clovin was dumbfounded.

“I lost… I bet Lady Stella in the game, but I lost…”

We had decided on a rule where we would take turns throwing the darts ten times each, and the person with the highest score would win.

“How did you manage to hit the bullseye seven times…?”

I had hit the bullseye seven times in the center of the dartboard, while Clovin only managed to hit it once, resulting in a significant score difference. I won.

Isabella, who had been watching the game, jumped up excitedly.

“Yay! Sir Duke is amazing!”

Clovin, with wounded pride, grabbed his own hair and pulled it out.

I can’t lose to my love rival! I have to win! He seemed to be thinking like that.

Looking around, Clovin found the pocket billiards table as the next challenge.

He approached me with determination.

“The next challenge is pocket billiards.”

“I thought we were just playing darts?”

Clovin ignored my words.

“I won’t go easy on you this time.”

Hmm… I thought I took it seriously earlier when I let him win.