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    Chapter 241

    A/N: This chapter is dedicated to @Sloanwhite45! Thank you for helping me with this, I really appreciate it since there are some sentences or paragraphs that are really really confusing. 😅

    Here's the update for today! Happy reading!

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    (Florentia's POV)

    You said you had a previous engagement.

    So that was Ramona.

    It was the first thought that came to my mind.

    As soon as the meeting was over, you rushed out without saying hello.

    You were in a hurry to meet Ramona.

    That was my second thought.

    I'm getting emotional.

    It was a funny story, but something like resentment towards Perez unknowingly struck me.

    And I admit, it hurts to see him walking alongside Ramona.

    "They look so good together." 

    Someone at the back said.

    If I turn my head, I can see who it is.

    But for some reason, I couldn't take my eyes off of Perez and Ramona.

    "Apparently, Lady Brown and the Second Prince were very close to each other from the Academy?"

    "That's right. So, in the academy, rumors that the two were in a relationship were publicly circulated..."

    Chairman Killian proudly talked about the rumors he picked up somewhere and stopped talking.

    It was because Widakong, who belongs to the young axis, tapped Chairman Killian's hand, who was tactless.

    (A/N: I don't really know if 'Widakong' is the right word to use here. But the translation only said: 'Widakong' and 'Wide-a-gong'. I even ask someone about this but we don't have any clue. Anyway, because it looks like a new character, it's most probably a name. If anyone knows the right word, you can tell us on the comment section!)

    "Hmm? What's wrong?"

    However, Chairman Killian was more tactless than I thought.

    "Ah, the Deputy Patriarch of Lombardi is not someone who cares about something like this."

    Something like this?

    "They have never announced the breakup, but it must have already been sorted out among the parties. Am I right, Deputy Lombardi?"

    Chairman Killian was right.

    Me and Perez were not officially broken off.

    Not yet.

    Of course, it was also scheduled when I became the Deputy Patriarch of Lombardi.

    "...That's right."

    I replied with the utmost calm voice.

    "Look at that!"

    Chairman Killian gave me a look full of trust.

    "Our Deputy Patriarch of Lombardi is not one to be swayed by personal feelings!"

    Even though Chairman Killian continued to say the right things, every single word began to bother my ears.

    It was crossing the line.

    Even though I have the title 'Deputy Patriarch of Lombardi' in front of my name, my story keeps pouring from their mouths, as if the words taste like their favorite food.

    "As expected of Lombardi..."

    "Stop."

    In a low voice, I interrupted Chairman Killian.

    When I looked away from Perez and turned to the Chairman, I saw a pretty embarrassed face.

    I wasn't smiling anymore.

    I looked at Chairman Killian with a blank face.

    I'm sure you understand what I'm saying.

    I said with a moderately polite smile again.

    "Should we spend my time here like this? Let's go to the restaurant. And His Highness the Prince... " I glanced at Ramona and Perez, who were still walking and having a conversation as I said.

    "It's embarrassing, isn't it? Knowing that we're watching here like this."

    "Ah, hahaha..."

    At my words, the nobles laughed awkwardly and nodded.

    "You're right."

    "That's exactly what it is. Let's get out of the way!"

    Me and the nobles turned a little out of the way Perez and Ramona were approaching.

    While I was moving again, I kept feeling empty as if there was a hole in the middle of my heart, but I struggled to turn away from that feeling.

    I need to get used to it.

    I chose Lombardi.

    Perez will be the Emperor and the Emperor needs an Empress.

    So one day, someone will fill that seat next to Perez.

    Someone other than me.

    And Ramona was a really good choice.

    Brown is a loyal family that no one can object to, and now she has a glorious return, she will be able to support Perez, whose political base is weak.

    It will also play a part that Ramona is a very good person.

    Because she's a strong and straight-minded person.

    And even at a glance, one can tell that she likes Perez very much.
    'You need to get used to it.'

    I once again awakened myself.

    At that time, I remembered what Perez whispered to me in the Knight's Office.

    "Like this, I will put my lips on the Deputy Patriarch. I'm the only one who can do this. It must be me. No one else."

    As if he would never let me go, I felt Perez's temperature, who was holding me tight.

    "Haa.."

    I let out a small sigh, pretending to smooth my hair.

    If I didn't do that, it seemed like my heart, which had become a mess, would be revealed on my face.

    Look, you can do it.

    At that moment, I suddenly felt confidence that I couldn't understand the roots.

    In the future, whenever you're having a hard time like this, you take a deep breath and pass it over.

    I can live without seeing Perez my whole life.

    I looked at Perez for the last time before we went completely in different directions.

    It is much more breathable.

    Yeah, it'll get better one day.
    Time solves it all....

    I stopped walking without realizing it.

    As I saw Perez's face, I stiffened.

    Are you smiling?

    ****

    Perez left the conference room where the parliamentary meeting was held and tried to soothe his regret.

    'It's been a while since I saw you.'

    It was very regrettable that he couldn't meet Tia in the eye and greet her properly at the end.

    "I will move on to my next schedule by myself."

    Perez spoke to the aides who are following him wherever he goes these days.

    "It was a meeting with my colleagues at the academy. Then I'll meet you up again in an hour."

    He was heading to a place to meet Ramona and the three members of the Academy to receive reports about what happened in the past few days that is beyond Perez's eyes.

    However, the aide, who thought it was simply a private meeting with his close friends, stepped down.

    "Yes, Your Highness."

    Perez kept walking looking forward.

    On the outside, it looked like he was blowing cold air more than the winter weather with his expressionless face.
    But only thoughts about Tia were all in his mind.

    'You look a little thin.'

    It was all part of Perez's plan to take over all the Emperor's duties and keep everyone from feeling the vacancy of Yovanes.

    For a very short time, Perez had to make sure that the Empire could not run in full function without him.

    "Haa."

    Perez sighed uncharacteristically.

    The morning-to-night work was tiring but bearable.

    Fortunately, Yovanes was not a very good Emperor, so it was easy to fill the vacancy.

    It was Tia who actually bothered Perez.

    To be precise, he couldn't even sleep because he misses her.

    He wanted to ride a horse over the wall of Lombardi's mansion at dawn.

    He couldn't because he was warned not to do so anymore.

    It was when he read the documents that Tia sent him about the liquidation of Angenas' assets that opened his breath during the day.

    Although the contents were only business-like things, such as what was disposed of and how much it cost.

    Perez seemed to be working right next to Tia all day long, as if he could hear her voice from each line.
    "Your Highness."

    While thinking of Tia, Perez, who had no idea who was approaching him, heard a rather familiar voice.

    "Lady Ramona Brown."

    It happened to be Ramona getting off the carriage.

    "The place of appointment is over there, Your Grace."

    Ramona, in a calm voice, pointed a little differently from the direction Perez was heading.

    "Ah."

    I didn't even know where I was going because I was thinking about Tia.

    "Let's go together."

    Ramone, who noticed, said so and guided Perez to the meeting place first.

    While walking together, there was not much conversation between the two.

    They only talked briefly about sword training.

    At that time, Ramona broached cautiously.

    "I am officially joining the Imperial Knights next week."

    "Congratulations. You've achieved your goal."

    "Thank you."

    Ramona, who smiled and bowed slightly, added.

    "But that's not my dream."

    "You've changed it, haven't you?"

    Ramona's dream since she was at the Academy was to regain her identity and for the Brown family to became a member of the Imperial knights again like their ancestors.
    "Yes. When I saw Florentia, I made up my mind and decided to follow her."

    Ramona smiled shyly and said.

    "Maybe sometime next year, I will succeed the Brown family."

    "...unexpectedly."

    He didn't know that Ramona had such a desire.

    Ramona said she would be happy if she could solve her family's injustice and hold a sword for the rest of her life.

    "Seeing Lady Florentia proudly succeeding to the Matriarch position gave me courage. I'm the only one my father has, but I don't think anyone deserves to be the next great Brown householder as much as I do."

    Ramona spoke with confidence.

    Her appearance resembled Tia somewhere, so Perez nodded his head.

    "That's a good thing."

    "I think there will be many people like me in the future. Because she has set a precedent that even if she is a woman, if she has the ability, she can lead a family."

    Ramona's eyes twinkled as she said so.

    "Lady Florentia is a great person. Wise, beautiful, and powerful."

    It wasn't flattery, it was Ramona, who was genuinely in love with Tia.
    "I don't know how many times I've been impressed by her kindness to the weak."

    "Tia has been like that since she was a kid."

    Perez nodded his head several times and said.

    "Ah, I see you did."

    "That's one of the reasons why there are always so many talented person next to Tia. Do you know Alpheo Jean?"

    "You mean the famous sculptor?"

    "Yes, he also said that Tia saw him when she was very young and recommended him to the Patriarch of Lombardi. Before that, he said that he was learning to work as a carpenter in the Lombardi family."

    Perez was proud.

    Because he can tell Ramona a story about Tia that she doesn't know yet.

    He even shrugged at the fact that he knew more about Tia.

    "Tia is that kind of person. Generous to the weak, strict to the cowardly strong..."

    With that said, Perez recalled the moment he first met Tia.

    Little Tia, who suddenly appeared from the forest, looked like a fairy, was still visible in his eyes.

    How bright she was.

    Perez even thought that he was addicted and saw nothing.
    "Stop it! What the hell are you doing?! Why are you eating that grass?!"

    He can still hear that clear voice.

    When he recalled that time, Perez still felt his heart pounding.

    As a result, the corners of his mouth, which had always been stiff, were loosened and a smile came out.

    "Lady Florentia?"

    Just then, Ramona found Tia standing in front and tilted her head.

    She stood with the nobles of one of the most powerful men in the Empire.

    "Tia."

    Perez unwittingly approached her, calling her name.

    But

    "..Tia?"

    It was strange.

    Her face, looking at him, was the first time Perez had ever seen.

    It was cold and hardened, so it was unlikely that even a single needle would fit in.

    Perez's heart sank.

    His heart, which had been pounding pleasantly a little while ago, trembled nervously.

    "See you again at the restaurant."

    Tia spoke to the nobles around her, then quickly turned around and started walking.

    She didn't even look at Perez again.

    "Oh, yeah, sure."

    Chairman Killian said in a bit of bewilderment.
    Before Perez could do anything about it, Tia was marching away towards her carriage.

    From the back, Perez felt a fear he had never felt when he was chased by any assassin.

    His body seemed to be cut in half with an invisible sword.

    "Damn it."

    Perez ran after Tia in a low-pitched murmur.

    Something is terribly wrong.

    A stream of cold sweat flowed down behind his back.

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    A/N: This is were love blooms folks! lol. Aren't they cute? Anyway, do your best, Perez! Fighting!

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