Rupert lied about his gender for fifteen years at the Imperial Court.
He was sneaky as a snake.
If it was a disguise that could easily be detected, no one would have been able to keep it a secret for fifteen years.
I’m scared because I couldn’t even defend myself and didn’t know what to do.
He must’ve been extremely lucky in the past because no one noticed, and he was able to survive for so long.
When I didn’t move my head, Rupert quickly stood in front of a wall full of guns.
I turned pale and raised my face when I saw him pick up a rifle he cleaned by hand every day.
“Please, Your Highness, calm down!”
That’s what I said, but in reality, I was the one who needed to calm down, not Rupert.
While I was shaking like an aspen tree, Rupert was very calm.
From the moment I walked through the door until he pointed that savage rifle at me, his expression didn’t change.
It was as if nothing had happened, except his eyes, which were usually dull and sunken, were suddenly distorted with displeasure.
Even that little sign was only of annoyance.
No matter how I look at it, he never seems as perturbed as I was.
I discovered something that I shouldn’t have, but Rupert is still as calm as a lake.
I looked around for her, but I couldn’t find her.
What happened to Tori
She told me that she liked me a lot for the past year, but is she letting me die like this
I need to hold on until she comes.
I raised my hands and covered my face with them.
“Your Highness PLEASE! Let’s… let’s talk.”
“It’s not a problem that can be solved by talking.”
“Am I not too important to be killed over such a small thing”
“You don’t even have any talents.”
I’ve never seen him use a gun, but I knew from the way he held it so naturally that he was very proficient at it.
He perfected his acting as a woman so who’s to say that he’s not good at hunting as well
He was very good at hiding himself.
And if someone like that decided to shoot, I’ll die for sure.
Dying by the guillotine was horrible, but I hated the idea of being hunted like an animal even more.
I just sat down again.
“Why… Why didn’t you lock the door, dammit!”
Rupert was a little surprised by how resentful I was and hesitated.
“I called Tori, so what are you doing here”
“THE MAID SAID THAT YOU WERE LOOKING FOR ME!”
He gave a small nod of the head as if he knew.
“She’s new so she’s unaware that you’re not Tori.
I guess I only told her to call the one that’s always by my side.”
It’s clear that the maid is to blame, but I’m going to die.
I backed away and wiped away the small tears that fell.
Rupert laughs, clearly thinking that I’m pathetic.
“Are you aware that bullets go that far”
“S-shoot… are you going to shoot”
“What should I do then, save you”
It was very cruel of him to spit those words out with a face that was almost smirking.
Rupert quickly reloaded his gun and looked at me as if I were a bother.
He has a cold expression and doesn’t seem to feel any qualms about killing the maid who’s been beside him for a year.
I couldn’t say anything and stuttered.
“I..I’m a Bellua, Your Highness.”
“I know, and it’s making my head hurt.”
“My father wouldn’t let this slide.”
“He can cry… but it was an accident.”
I was surprised by how direct Rupert’s answer was.
“How does that make sense”
“Well, I only have to stay in hiding for six months.” [^note1]
I cried out because I didn’t know what he was talking about.
“THEN WHY WHY DO YOU HAVE TO KILL ME I’M ON YOUR SIDE! I WON’T TALK!”
“You’re noisy… and how many times do I have to tell you that I don’t trust you”
He gave a small click with his tongue.
Still, I didn’t think he would kill me while I was talking, so even though I was terrified, I kept using my mouth.
Don’t kill me.
For a year, I stayed by your side even though you’re my family’s enemy… even if I did so hiding behind a mask.
I wanted to shout it out loud for him to hear, but in the midst of fear, I still couldn’t say anything.
“Besides, it’s your fault! It’s not like I want to know!”
“You knew already.”
“N-no, what do you mean”
“It looked like you knew who I was.
Don’t you find it strange that I’m a man”
“I’m just so surprised that I don’t feel shocked…”
I took a deep breath and put my face in my hands.
Do you really want to shoot
I felt like a rabbit who fell into a hunter’s trap.
The maid came to my room and told me he was trying to find me.
The only mistake I made this morning was listening to the maid.
Even though I brought you dumplings to eat, you’ll still do this to me!
I threw the dumplings on the floor because I thought I had wasted a year of my life.
“Why did you throw those dumplings away”
Rupert’s eyebrows go up as the round dumplings roll over and touch his feet.
He was laughing at the dumplings, which made me want to kill him.
Are dumplings more important than me, the person who took care of you for a year without fail
“Why are you telling me stuff before I die!”
“How are you dying”
“Then why do you have that gun!”
Rupert put down the gun that he was pointing at me with all his might.
The dumplings fell apart when he stepped on them.
I flinched as if it was the end of the world for me too.
“Did you know”
“That I’m a man.”
He walked toward me while dragging the rifle across the floor.
The gun rattles loudly and the sound feels like pressure on my ears.
I shook my head and barely spoke up as I tried to figure out what to do.
“I… I had my doubts…”
“Because my intuition told me so…”
“Fuck that intuition.”
I don’t know why you asked if you won’t believe me.
Rupert leaned back to meet me at eye level as I scrunched up my face.
“I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to take the throne, but it looks like you are.
If that’s not the case, there’s no reason to stay with me.”
He spoke softly, as if to make me feel better.
He was smiling at the corners of his mouth, but not at all in his eyes.
There was a big difference between the two.
As I flinched, Rupert grabbed the back of my neck and pulled me forward.
He looked into my shaking eyes from as close as his nose could get.
“You might be helpful, but I don’t think so.
You know that”
The bright green light deepened in an instant.
Rupert’s face was engulfed in deep shadows as the clouds blocked the sun.
Only the outline of his troubled face was left.
It was as sharp as broken porcelain.
I was quiet and did what I was told, like a scared sheep thrown in front of a wolf.
“You might think that I’m not on your side, but I am! And I am a beloved daughter of Bellua… If I die…”
Rupert cut me off and shook his head.
He slowly got out of his sitting position and reached for his gun.
I bit my tongue because I was scared.
Did I say it wrong
“In my opinion… It’s better to kill you then.”
Rupert shut his left eye and pointed his gun at me.
Will I die in vain like this
If Rupert killed me, I’m sure my father would hate him even more than he does now, but wait…
I thought about whether I should let Rupert kill me quietly or if I should hurry up and kill him.
Should I run away
As I tried to find the hidden self-defense artifact on my body, Tori slammed the door open and ran inside.
She stopped between Rupert and me.
She gave me a tight hug and turned to look at Rupert with a fierce look in her eyes.She was kind to everyone, but especially to Rupert, so when I saw her ‘gazing’ at Rupert, I opened my mouth a little.
She shook her head firmly, as if she had quickly figured out what was going on with Rupert’s exposed upper body, my crouching position, and the gun pointed at me.
“No Your Highness… Lariette is my friend!”
Tori gave me a tight hug, took a deep breath, and then started crying.
Even though I had known Tori for a year and built a relationship with her, I was a little embarrassed because I didn’t think it was a friendship.
It looks like greeting her and telling her stories are paying off right now.
My tears were also welling up.
“I told you to move.”
Rupert bit his lip with a worried look on his face.
Tori wept and yelled.
“U…uwaahhh… Tori… hic.”
“La… Lariette… uwaaaahh… if… you… hic… me…hic…too.”
Tori’s words were hard to understand because she was crying, but I understood them right away.
Rupert gave a short smile, like he was tired of it all.
If you want to kill me, you should also kill her.
What a sad way to be friends.
I felt bad that I hadn’t thought of Tori as a friend.
Rupert is also the worst person in the world because he killed such a kind child on the first day of their honeymoon.
“Don’t… don’t cry La…Lari.”
Tori and I were holding each other close and crying when the raccoon came out of nowhere and crawled between us.
This stupid beast doesn’t even realize we’re in trouble.
We’re all stuck together, so I guess it just wanted to stay with us.
Servile raccoon… traitor raccoon.
Even though he didn’t like my hugs, the raccoon didn’t hiss at me when he saw me after a year of taking care of him.
For some reason, I even brought food for this ugly animal.
Rupert’s act of treating my life like it was worse than an animal’s made me feel like it was unfair and made me cry more.
I couldn’t stop crying once I started.
Rupert looked down at us, who were crying so hard that our faces were red, and the raccoon, who was rolling its eyes close by.
He watched for a moment, then sighed and put the gun down.
[^note1]: It’s currently winter in Imperial Year 287.
Rupert has already anticipated that “a certain crucial event” will happen in about half a year, which will be late summer/early fall.