Ever since then, Aster had grown up posing as a girl, to the extent of even assuming the fake identity of Astel Ayjar.
Aster was prepared for any sudden accident that could befall him at any moment.

But …

A needle was embedded in his necklace, soaked with poison, which would serve as a future regret.

Aster suffered from many attempted assassinations, of which were ordered by the Empress.
Having almost died several times, Aster eventually went into hiding at the Lithi Duchy.

The Empress did not believe it when Duke Lithi tried to spread the rumour of Aster’s death.
As for the Emperor, regardless of the curse, he was not going to save Aster.
It didn’t matter whether he was born a son or a daughter.

Aster lived a silent life, where he could not move freely or make any friends due to his confinement.
Ritaus, Aster’s sixth cousin, was the only one with whom he was able to befriend.

The fact that Ritaus could go out freely in public, unaccompanied, wounded and shocked Aster to the core.
The world to which Ritaus belonged was constantly expanding, while the world around Aster constantly shrank.

Aster felt nervous because of what he learned after picking up on some rumors originating from Count Ayjar’s new servants.
According to them, Ritaus had long been engaged to the eldest daughter of the West family.
After finding out about this, Aster no longer had the desire to marry Ritaus.

“Why didn’t anyone tell me about it?” Aster wondered out loud.
“What should I do?”

Aster was unhappy with the Ayjar family, which until now had hidden Ritaus’s engagement.
He hated Ritaus for leaving him in the dark like this.

Every couple in the world would grow old together, and this was something Aster couldn’t hope for with Ritaus.
Ritaus was the only person in Aster’s small world, but unlike Aster, Ritaus was out living a life of his own.

‘I’m jealous.’

‘I’ve decided to live up to the expectations that he placed on me.
At least the fact that he was hiding it was due to fear of my reaction.’

‘What woman is he going to marry? Will it scare me?’

Aster’s mind had conjured up conceited ways to annoy Kayle Vesta.
He tried to reassure himself.

“They are engaged, but have not seen each other in years.”

“I heard she’s not that good of a person.”

“Well, this is a political marriage after all.
I don’t care either way.”

After realizing Ritaus was not interested in her, Aster thought it wouldn’t be funny to destroy what was of no value to him.
Aster’s interest towards Kayla Vesta quickly cooled off having thought so. 

Ritaus had started to act a little weirdly.
Aster was sure this change in behaviour was most likely because a special creature had suddenly appeared in Ritaus’s life.
This creature was Franz Vesta, the younger brother of Ritaus’s fiancée, Kayla Vesta.
Franz shared a dormitory at Kratie Academy with Ritaus.
Aster had also discovered that Ritaus showed a lot of affection for Franz.
Aster felt distressed because of this, like he had walked into a crisis.

One of the spirits lingering around Aster gave him a detailed account into the mind of Ritaus.

Aster didn’t want to listen to this spirit at first, and he could have easily shut the spirit up, but he didn’t because curiosity got the better of him.
The resulting information offered up was very unpleasant.
The Spirit told him that Ritaus’ heart did not reflect the appearance he portrayed outwardly towards Aster.

According to the spirit, Ritaus’s heart only felt a sense of sympathy, duty, and mentorship towards Aster.
On the contrary, the feelings Ritaus held in his heart for Franz were feelings of connection, adoration, and deep sadness.

The spirit could not lie, and it was certainly not lying about this read into Ritaus’s heart.
Aster was haunted by the whispers of the spirits, which they communicated without hesitation.
He couldn’t bear it.
As told by the spirits, Aster was no longer a priority in Ritaus’s heart.

‘I’m still so lonely … Please, whoever it is.’ Aster begged for a savior, a knight in shining armor, to help him escape from this detrimental reality.
Aster even implored the knight and prayed to God, who he did not believe in.
Like a princess trapped in a fairytale tower, he wanted to be saved.

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