It was three days later, inside Citrina’s atelier.


Citrina was slowly reading the newspaper, keeping up with the trends across the whole continent.
She also had to read the mine report that Oslo sent her.
It was her daily routine with her morning coffee.
According to the mine report Oslo sent her, the price of gemstones was in a downward spiral due to the discovery of one gemstone mine after another.
Therefore, the strategy for the future would be to base the value of the jewelry on the quality of the craftsmanship.

‘The value of the craftsmanship is increasing.’

She decided at that point to increase the percentage of wages paid to Adilac and Lita.
Unlike Feinmann in , Citrina had no intention of exploiting her workers.
Citrina glanced towards the workshop.

“How much do you have left, Adilac?”

Sipping her morning coffee, Citrina looked back at the two craftworkers.
As the workload increased, Lita joined them as an assistant.

“Um…about fifty more.”
“We’re halfway there, Citrina-nim!”
“Still, it’s not good to work three days and three nights.
Make sure to take tomorrow off.”

Their faces fell.
Since they had insisted on pulling all-nighters and working overtime, Citrina had also stayed overnight.
She was determined to do something to help.

“I’ll make sure to wash my hair tomorrow when I take the day off.”
“What, you don’t wash your hair?”

In Citrina’s mind, the distance between her and Adilac grew a bit wider.

“My ancestor, if I do say so myself, could have lived for a hundred and sixty years and been a rich person by the next day.
So he only washed his hair once a week, since he was aware of how he spent his time.” “Is…that so.
Well, success and money are always good.”
“Yes! I should work harder.”

Adilac turned her attention back to her craft.

-She’s so dirty.

Ignoring Gemma’s hushed whispers, Citrina sat down at the table and read the letters with some trepidation.
Letters had been arriving one by one from high-ranking nobles, perhaps due to the events at the ball.
There were letters asking for simple customized jewelry.
It was well within Citrina’s capacity to arrange the letters and find a time to meet with them.
‘Since the duke’s request came first, I’ll have to ask them for a delay.’
Citrina neatly organized the letters and replies.
Then she calmly opened up the day’s gossip paper.

“Huh?”


What was this?
Her face hardened.
Along with her hands.
She froze for a moment until Adilac called out to her.

“Citrina, is something wrong?”
“No, nothing.”

Citrina read the front page of the gossip paper.
The pictures within the gossip paper creaked and moved as if by magic.
One name caught Citrina’s attention.
An envoy from the Holy Kingdom of Caisairan had entered Petrosha Empire.
The paladin Genfiros was the leader of the delegation and paladin Elaina Foluin was the deputy leader.
The appointment of a female novice paladin as the deputy leader was quite unusual.
It was a testament to Elaina Foluin’s strong role in the Holy Land.

‘Elaina has returned to the Petrosha Empire.’

Citrina thought back to the day of the ball when she had heard talk of Elaina.
It had been a week or so since then, and it had faded to the back of her mind, more or less.

‘…Come to think of it, what happened to Baron Foluin?’

Baron Foluin was nowhere to be found, and Baroness Foluin no longer visited Citrina.
Even after four years, it was hard for them to reach out to each other.
Especially with Elaina.
Citrina didn’t have a vendetta.
She harbored a small amount of guilt that she had changed Elaina’s chances for a happy future.

‘I don’t think I’ll see much of Elaina in the future.’

Citrina’s ambiguous position as a fallen young lady of the Foluin Barony had been resolved, with her nobility and ties to the barony severed.

The envoys would be meeting this afternoon at Venitri Grand Hall

…so she should avoid Venitri Grand Hall today.
She did not wish to see her again.
But as always, the heart does not get what it wants.

-Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh! The opening ceremony of the Holy Kingdom! That’s so cool!
-…Really?
-There’s going to be a ton of people in the crowd! Do you think I’ll get a good view?

Gemma whispered ecstatically from inside Citrina’s pendant.


-Are a lot of people going to be there?
-Of course! I’ll just show my face for a second.

No, no, no.
She felt a little guilty that Citrina was just sitting around while the craftworkers worked so hard.
“You’ve been reading the article about the Holy Kingdom, haven’t you, Citrina?”
Adilac spoke, finishing her work and coming to her side.
She must have wondered what Citrina was reading to cause her face to become so serious.

“Yes.
Rumors about the Holy Kingdom are abundant.”
“…really?”

-Let’s go check out the rumors.
If we go to that place with a lot of people, won’t we be able to hear more?

Gemma’s voice sounded as sweet as the devil’s whisper.
Citrina weighed her options.
If rumors were going around about the mission of the Holy Kingdom, she would surely hear news of Elaina.
Elaina resented her.
So it was likely she would try to bring Citrina down, even if it was a petty vengeance.

‘Let’s go to the square and gather rumors about the envoy.’

Citrina did not yet recognize Elaina as her true enemy.
She didn’t know exactly what Elaina thought, but they couldn’t destroy each other while they shared a name.

“Then I’ll be out a bit this afternoon.”
“Ok.
Goodbye, master! Maybe we can also sell our jewelry to the Holy Kingdom!”

Citrina smiled weakly at Lita’s cheerful voice.
Since Elaina was an envoy as a paladin this time, it somehow felt like she would be a bit more visible.

“I hope so.”
“It will be!”
“…maybe they’ll become our competitor.
We have to be determined.”

Citrina knew best why the Holy Kingdom was so wealthy.
They sold holy objects.
And holy objects could not damage Citrina’s atelier.
Elaina must have known about Citrina’s dream to have an atelier shortly before they parted.
The heroine of was like that- she knew the cards dealt to her and how to use them to her advantage.

‘I suppose I should respond in kind.’

Taking another sip of her coffee, Citrina vowed to do a better job collecting information.

***


That afternoon, Citrina and Gemma headed to Venitri Square and were overwhelmed by the crowd gathered there.
To put it mildly, there were more people than clouds in the sky.
Citrina found a spot by the square’s central fountain and grabbed an ice cream, a specialty found in the square.
The path from Venitri Square to the emperor’s castle was densely packed with people.

‘I didn’t come here to see the paladin delegation’s ceremony anyway.’

She looked around.
Everyone seemed to be excited.
Apparently, the Holy Kingdom, Caisairan, was popular in the empire.

-Gemma, is this crowd gathered for the ceremony?
-Yeah, I think so! What do we do? I’m excited!

The pendant containing Gemma flinched uncontrollably.
Citrina clutched the pendant, listening to the conversation of the people on duty.

“They can’t be serious about handing out relics containing god’s prophecies, can they?”
“It’s the first visit of a delegation in ten years, so I’m sure they’re serious.”

‘A divine…prophecy?’

The delegation of paladins was a tool to revive the reputation of Caisairan.
Caisairan was a divine nation that appeared inside the original work, .
It was a small country blessed by god, and it produced paladins every year who traveled around the continent spreading god’s prophecies.
The Pope, the leader of the Holy Kingdom and devout believer in god, was Elaina’s supporter in .
It seemed like the same was true here.

“More than a prophecy, I wish I could get some holy water.”
“I want a paladin’s blessing!”
These were strange and familiar conversations, with talk about paladin’s blessings and holy water.

-That’s weird.
-Yeah? Why?
-They’re selling things that contain prophecies from god.
Does god still care about this world?

With that, Gemma tilted her head.

-Why, what’s so strange?
-How can god’s prophecy be embedded in an object?

As a reincarnator who was aware of her past, Citrina had a certain amount of faith in the divine realm.
Her awareness of her past life was also a strange divine blessing that couldn’t be explained rationally.


“Did you hear that? It seems the high priest is going to offer the holy object to the emperor.”
“You said the deputy head of the mission is originally from the empire.
Was it a baron or something?”
“A noble then.”
“A noble, yes.
But it seems like they’ve long since fallen.”

Among the chatter of the passer-byes, Elaina’s story broke through.
The reason Citrina had come the Venitri Square was the hear what the world was saying about Elaina Foluin.

“The envoy is coming!”
“It’s the Holy Knights! Can you see the white uniform?”
“I’m not a falcon, so how could I see over there?”

Light grumbling followed.
At the sound of the envoy’s arrival, Citrina cleared her mind.
Gemma flew up in the sky, taking in the hubbub.
Among the festive atmosphere, Citrina was the only one organizing her thoughts.
If Citrina’s memories from her past life were correct, the paladins would be lined up on the boulevard in white robes.
At the front of the second row, the leader would raise his sword.
It would sparkle and shine.

‘Elaina will be attached to the emissary, unlike the original.’

She was a younger sibling who knew her heart too well, sisters who understood each other too well.
They were sisters who shared the same ambition to succeed, so much so that they couldn’t help but hurt each other.

“I can’t see the ceremony from here, but it must be amazing, right?”
“Look at all of the people cheering.”

Citrina took one look at the crowd gathered around Venitri Square and stood up.
The people in the square were cheering.
The paladin memorial service seemed to be coming to an end.
Gemma spread her wings and descended from the sky.

-It’s your sibling, that’s amazing.
-That’s right.
It’s amazing.
-But I like you better.
-I know that.

At Citrina’s simple reply, Gemma slipped silently into the pendant.
Citrina hailed a carriage outside the square.
The carriage drove through Venitri Square and onto the opposite side of the road from the delegation and the crowds that filled the boulevard leading to the imperial palace.
Elaina, you walked towards the imperial palace.
I run outside of it.
They were sisters yet they followed opposite paths.
Citrina headed back to the atelier.
She needed to get to work on the bracelets for Desian’s knights.
It wasn’t a bad feeling.
That was her top priority right now, rather than the worry or resentment that she might feel for her family.

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