vely atmosphere with the music of the orchestra.

Meanwhile, Marie wore an awkward expression while working.
‘Why am I placed so close to him?’ The distance between where she was assigned to and the Crown Prince’s seat was uncomfortably close.
If she turned her head, she could easily make eye contact with him.

“Let’s not worry about it.
Let’s not worry about it,” Marie muttered to herself as she threw herself into her work, checking to see if anyone was uncomfortable, if they needed more food or drinks.


While Marie was fully engrossed in her work, she absentmindedly turned her head towards the Crown Prince.

“…….!”

Marie’s heart thrashed as soon as their eyes met.
The blue eyes behind the iron mask were looking directly at her.

She hastily lowered her head.
‘S-Stop worrying.
It’s just a coincidence that we made eye contact.’

It’s just a simple eye contact, but since he was such a frightening person, her heart was pounding.
‘Let’s just focus on work.’

Marie tried her best not to turn her body towards the Crown Prince as much as possible.
However, it was when she unconsciously raised her head that he happened to look at her.

“…….!”

She met his gaze again! ‘Why does he keep looking this way? What’s so interesting here?’

She felt a sense of despair as her heart continued to pound uncontrollably.

She wished to live in a world without the Crown Prince.

‘Let’s move somewhere else.’ With that in mind, Marie moved to another spot as far away from the Crown Prince’s gaze as possible.
However, at that moment, a cold voice loomed before her.

“Marie.”

“······?!”

She wondered if she heard it wrong.
But she hadn’t.
The cold voice was clearly talking to her.
She swallowed hard and turned her head.
‘Why?’

The Crown Prince, next to Prime Minister Oren, was looking at her.

“I greet Your Highness.”

Her heart skipped a beat.
‘Why did he call me? Could it be?’ Marie thought nervously.

But the words that came out of the Crown Prince’s mouth were anticlimactic compared to her apprehension.
“Can I have a drink?”

“……”

“Marie?”


“Oh! Yes, yes! What kind of drink would you like?”

“Strawberry juice would be nice.”

Marie was speechless.
The anxiety she felt was all for nothing.
And strawberry juice? It didn’t fit the Crown Prince of Blood at all.
If he asked for a juice made out of virgin’s blood, it would’ve been more believable.

“…I see.”

She brought the drink to the Crown Prince.

“Here’s your drink.”

“Thank you.”

As she tried to escape, the Crown Prince looked at her.
His deep blue eyes felt familiar, as if she’d seen them somewhere before.

Marie asked awkwardly, “Your Highness? Is there anything else you need?”

But the Crown Prince’s reaction was strange.
He looked like he had something to say, but immediately closed his mouth without saying a word.

“…….?”

Marie tilted her head and stepped back.
“If there’s anything else you need, please let me know.”

“……Sure.”

And so she withdrew.

After Marie left, Prime Minister Oren asked, “Your Highness, is there something wrong?”

“What?”

“It’s just that… you seem a little different than usual.”

Oren tilted his head.
It was hard to put it into words, but something seemed off.

The Crown Prince paused for a moment before saying, “……No, it’s nothing.”

Oren turned his head and saw a maid with a tray of refreshments.
For a moment, a single thought crossed Oren’s mind as he alternated between looking at Marie and the Crown Prince, who was drinking the strawberry juice in a strange manner.

‘No way?’


As time passed by, the first part of the banquet ended.
The orchestra played a relaxing symphony, and people took a break before the second part began.

Marie rushed through the crowd, filling up empty plates and glasses.
However, as she was carrying a drink towards the balcony, she accidentally collided with someone.

“Kyaa!” she let out a scream as her face blanched.
The drink she was carrying spilled all over the person’s clothes.

“Oh, I’m sorry.
I’m so sorry.
It was an accident…” she quickly bowed her head.
Technically speaking, it was the person’s fault for suddenly appearing, but he’s a nobleman, so Marie had to apologize.

Fortunately, the nobleman seemed to have a good temperament.
After shaking the juice off his soaked clothes, he said, “How bad did you fall? Are you okay?”

The man looking at her had an incredibly handsome face; he had black hair, dark and soft eyes, and glasses that gave off an intellectual air.

‘I keep crossing paths with handsome men these days,’ Marie unconsciously thought to herself.
Although there were many beautiful men and women at the banquet due to the flock of nobles, they couldn’t compete with the appearance of the man in front of her.

The only person she could think of who could rival him was Kiel, a member of the royal guard whom she had seen in the Swan Garden, and the mysterious blond man.

The man’s excessively pale and sickly complexion was a flaw, though.

“I’m really sorry.”

“It’s my fault for coming out of nowhere.
And as for the clothes, don’t worry, I can change them.
I’m just glad you’re not hurt.” The man smiled warmly.
His gentle smile made Marie’s heart flutter without even realizing it.

Since she’s still a girl, seeing such a charming smile made her feel flustered.

“Ah! C-Clothes! I’ll bring you new clothes.”

“Thank you.
Can you also take this and wash it?”

“Yes, of course!”

“I’ll be waiting here.”

Marie took the soaked vest from the man and hurriedly went down the balcony to fetch a spare vest.

As he watched her go, the man smiled.
“What a cute maid.”

t/n: rael is going all stalker-y vibes while marie’s just thinking: She wished to live in a world without the Crown Prince. and her snarky thoughts when handing out the strawberry juice??? she’s so????

poor marie, she can’t take a break.
and idk johannes seems much more perceptive so this cat & mouse chase should be fun

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