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Years passed after that.
Dean and I lived a happy life after marriage.
The only people who knew Dean’s real identity were my family, Lady Letticia, and my most loyal servants.
Our official announcement was that I’d married a civilian.
Of course, it was still difficult to reach the point of marriage.
No one opposed me from within my family, but the other nobles were quite irritating about it.
Especially the nobles who were interested in sliding into the door of Duke Armenia’s family with a second or third son: their scorn attacked us like a storm.
With Lady Letticia’s help and the wise nobles who weren’t interested in expanding Duke Armenia’s family’s powers any further, we were finally able to marry.
Our wedding ended up being attended only by family.
But none of that mattered.
What mattered was that we were finally one.
The happiest person in this wedding was none other than the queen dowager, Queen Ellia.
While she was howling during the ceremony, her face wouldn’t stop contorting.
Although she commented that we had finally fulfilled a “long-time dream”…for some reason, Dean’s expression was frozen in an exasperated smile.
My work also went well.
Unlike when Prince Edward was around to antagonize me or treat me like a roadblock, there was no one around to interfere.
But my husband’s support was a very important factor too.
After becoming an official aide to the ruler, work ran even more smoothly.
Surprisingly enough, those who were most happy to see him were the financial department.
Some of them even sobbed tears of joy when he returned…even though they were still pale.
Of course, we weren’t without problems either.
In my life there was no such thing as true peace.
Even so, my subordinates were experienced enough that with their help, we managed to conquer all issues.
Right now Duke Armenia’s family had expanded into the territory with the most populated cities in the nation.
The newest technology developed in the schools were all going straight to market.
Our cities built schools and hospitals, spreading literacy and basic mathematics to each citizen. It also became common knowledge for citizens to go to the hospital whenever they were ill.
The wide array of rare products imported from the Acacia Kingdom was intriguing to every visitor.
Because the two nations were trading more and more, their new technologies entered our nation too.
The Azure Merchants’ Guild became a top notch merchants’ guild within our nation, enough to rank top five within the country.
At the moment we were also working on various aspects of our project of setting up storefronts in the Acacia Kingdom.
Although I still ended up exchanging a few letters with Prince Majid since the negotiations…it seemed he still hadn’t completely given up. Occasionally he still sent passionate invitations for me to live in the Acacia Kingdom.
Of course, he insisted he had no ulterior motives or interest…other than in my talents.
But whenever Dean caught a glimpse, he’d always act a little out of sorts. It was quite adorable, if I was going to be completely honest with myself.
In the capital Lady Letticia served as the first official queen, showing everyone her strong, intelligent tactics.
Bern was by her side the whole time.
Shockingly enough, the two of them married a year after Lady Letticia ascended to the throne.
My shock at this was almost indescribable. It seemed as though Dean had predicted it, although he was still surprised by the actual marriage.
More surprisingly, Lady Letticia was the one who had proposed. (A sight I’d love to see.)
When asked her favorite part about him, her response was “his emotional side and his ideas”…what in the world that meant was anyone’s question.
But it wasn’t polite to keep asking further, so I let the matter drop.
“Milady, here’s your tea.”
“Oh no, Tanya! You can’t be moving about this much now.”
My sometimes secretary, sometimes secret spy aide Tanya was now pregnant.
And her partner was Dida.
The news of Tanya getting married caused a big shockwave among the staff here…but when they learned it was Dida, they seemed to understand.
“For something like this, it’s fine. Compared to not moving at all, it’s better to get some exercise.”
“Are you really saying this when you didn’t even let me work during my own pregnancy?”
I glared at her. Her eyes drifted, then she seemed to admit her defeat.
“Apologies. After putting this down, I’ll go take a break.”
“Good. Anyways, just rest here for now.”
I pushed the chair used for receiving guests toward her, leaving her flustered.
“Don’t worry, no one is scheduled to come now anyways. This is an order from your leader. Rest here for a moment.”
“Yes, milady. Well then, I’ll do as you say.”
After Tanya sat down, I approached her and gently touched her stomach.
“I’m quite excited to meet this child.”
“Indeed. When the child is born, if you allow…I want them to tend to your children.”
Tanya said this with a gentle smile, caressing her own stomach.
“That’s their own choice.”
Even when I answered with an exasperated smile, there seemed to be a light behind Tanya’s eyes.
“Well then, milady. Does that mean you allow me to do this?”
“Um…I guess so. No matter what path a child of yours and Dida’s takes, it will be dependable.”
“I’m honored. Then I will train my child to your satisfaction. Please look forward to it.”
Impressed by her sheer aura, I couldn’t help but nod in agreement.
Afterwards she rested for a little longer and left the room.
Coming into the room was my child.
This was Dean and my child.
Although his silvery hair and eye color was mine, his face was a complete clone of Dean’s.
“What is it, Arphys, are you here alone?”
As if in response to my question, Dean walked in.
“How many times have I told you? Don’t just stroll around in here.”
In his arms was my eldest daughter, Luce. Opposite to Arphys, her hair and eye color were Dean’s, but she looked exactly like me.
When I extended my hand to her, she giggled and threw herself toward me.
I patted Arphys on the head.
“He really likes it in this building.”
“Yes, because it’s super cool.”
“Is it super cool?”
“Yes. The officials work hard for their people, and that’s super cool. They might not be superheroes, but they give all they have to be someone’s hero. Isn’t that awesome?”
Arphys was quite mature for his age.
Apparently Dean was a child like that too. Maybe they were similar in that way.
“Oh dear. Then, do you want to work like them in the future too?”
I patted Arphys on the head again.
“I’m looking forward to that day. One day, you won’t just think of them as super cool. You’ll understand the weight of this job. If you really do end up working here, I can’t wait to see what you do.”
“Yes. Maybe saying this right now doesn’t carry much weight, but someday…”
“I didn’t say you couldn’t dream. I’m happy for you, in fact. You’re still a child.”
A light shone in Arphys’ eyes.
Finally he looked like a child again.
“Childhood dreams are special, because they aren’t filled with ulterior motives. Just thinking something is super cool is great. If you want to achieve your dreams, you have to work hard. Even if you bump up against the wall of reality, if you feel this is still your road to follow, then you should continue…or if you find something else better, then follow that. Even if you pick a different route, your hard work in another cause will never betray you.”
“Okay. I’ll try my best.”
“Don’t work too hard, though. If you can’t wait to grow up, Mommy will be lonely. If you can stay as cute as you are right now for a bit longer I’ll be very happy.”
Arphys and Dean both made a face.
“Arphys, Dean…if you want to call me an idiot parent, please do.”
“N-not at all. I’m happy, Mother.”
Arphys’ panicked and embarrassed demeanor when he said this was enough to relax anyone.
My child was the cutest in the world after all.
Dean took Arphys into his arms.
“What’s so bad about being an idiot parent? If you say that, I’m also an idiot parent. Let’s just say we’re a family of idiots. Not only do I think my wife is wise and gentle and the most lovable person in the world, I also think my own kid is the cutest.”
“Come on. We don’t get the opportunity to have an intimate family moment that often, do we?”
“What a good suggestion, my dear. The rest of my documents aren’t urgent. If you help me out later I’ll be able to polish them off quickly enough. Let’s enjoy some of Merida’s tarts while we relax.”
We each picked up one of our children and started to walk, happy smiles on our faces.