“Understood. I won’t do anything that would betray your trust in me. Please, excuse me.”

He bowed and left with an elegant turn.

Watching him depart, I prayed for his success in battle.

“M-milady, is Ryle really going to be okay?”

Rehme asked me tearily.

She had grown up with him, after all…she must be worried.

“To make sure he’ll be okay, we need to work as hard as possible.”

“But…”

“Rehme.”

Even if I told her not to keep asking, it was useless. She didn’t shrink back.

“Well then, please let me travel with him!”

Her proposal shocked me into silence.

“I understand the Acacian language, plus I’ve gathered a lot of intel on that country through books. If we can get to the point of negotiating with the armed group, I can be helpful.”

“Your proposal is tempting, but I have to say no.”

I rejected her without a second thought.

“Why…”

Her tears flowed down her face swiftly.

“You can’t protect yourself, right? If you go with him under those circumstances, you’ll only be a source of inconvenience. Please understand this, Rehme.”

I purposefully scolded her with a harsh tone.

“I’m sorry…”

After a moment’s struggle between our gazes, Rehme ended up looking away.

“I’m very sorry, Rehme.”

If it were possible, I would have loved to visit the scene at once too.

I wanted to be there, to issue orders in response to what was happening on the ground.

This body that couldn’t accomplish that made me hate myself.

But even this version of me, there were things only I could do. Only I had to do.

“Issue a request for help to the national military right now.”

“Yes, milady.”

“Now I’m going to write a letter to the Acacia Kingdom myself.”

“But milady, we still don’t have confirmation that they’re involved in this incident…”

“Of course, I wouldn’t ask that directly, just allude to it. It’s not so odd if I communicate with him, right?”

But I needed to make sure that I kept my emotions in check when I actually started writing the letter. I committed that point to heart.

“Even so…”

“After this, Tanya, even though it’s a demanding request…could you please send someone to investigate intel on the Acacia Kingdom?”

“Actually, about that…”

Tanya seemed a little flustered in the face of my request.

It seemed that I was being too sudden after all. Bitterness began to spread inside my heart when suddenly.

“I actually already have sources investigating the Acacia Kingdom right now.”

This surprising response made it hard for me to react in the moment.

“You’re quite prepared, then.”

“Although it was my own decision to go ahead without permission, it’s related to you, after all. When the topic of marriage came up I already sent several people to infiltrate the country. Now I’m waiting for news.”

I can’t believe the proposal caused all this.

But I had to admit that Tanya’s sense of judgement was fantastic.

“Please report to me whenever you hear back.”

“Of course.”

“Milady. Although we can request reenforcements from the national military, under our current circumstances it’s hard to know how many people they’ll end up sending here.”

Sebastian’s reminder was something that I worried about too. Even so, I couldn’t not ask for help.

In our current situation, we were practically powerless with the amount of troops we had.

But I wasn’t planning on relying on reenforcements.

After all, if you manage to grasp at straws when you’re afloat you’ll still end up drowning.

Think, think.

I thought as hard as I could. Half-formed plan after half-formed plan appeared and then disappeared in my mind.

Perhaps because of how anxious I was, my brain wasn’t working at all.

“What to do…” “How can we do this…” I paced back and forth, entrapped in my thoughts.

Narrowing my eyes, I breathed out slowly, letting my mind go blank for a moment.

After that, I let myself fall back into the vortex of thoughts.

To avoid being lost, to avoid floundering, I started to organize our issues and goals.

“Although Duke Armenia’s territory is distant from the Towair Kingdom…but when war starts everything is up in the air. If the battle comes to our territory, don’t forget to call on me.”

My mother’s words passed through my mind.

That was it…! I spoke my plan out loud.

“We’ll request help of Duke Anderson’s family through my mother.”

Duke Anderson’s guards were all champions borne out of my grandfather’s intense training.

Their training was top rate in our country.

“But milady, our country prohibits unauthorized militarization between territories.”

The legal department’s official said.

“That’s why I said I would do it through my mother. If she wants to come to this dangerous zone, of course she’ll have to bring a troupe of highly trained guards with her.”

Of course we were taking advantage of a gray area, bordering almost on black.

“I’ll report to the first prince about it. If he does intend to point fingers at the end of the day I’ll take full responsibility.”

I didn’t think Dean would have anything against it.

In the case that anyone by his side opposed it, though, I was fine taking the responsibility as well.

Best case scenario, I would be able to shoulder the burden of saving my people alone. What I wanted to do wasn’t what was best, but what was most suitable.

“I’ll be going off to write to everyone now. During this time, everyone please collect intel and handle affairs on your own! Protecting our own people is our top priority.”

“Yes, milady.”

After giving everyone that talk, I returned to my study and started to write a letter.

I drafted out a summary of what was happening and requested assistance from my mother and Duke Anderson.

Suppressing my rage toward the Acacia Kingdom, I wrote nothing about them…but I did hint that we might know about the people behind the whole incident.

To the military division, I once again wrote a summary and explained why we needed help.

And then finally, I started to write the letter to Dean.

In the midst of writing that letter, my hand suddenly halted.

…How was he doing now?

I let my thoughts wander for a moment before mocking myself for asking such a stupid question.

He must be fighting now too.

Just like me…no, with an even more unbearable burden.

Since returning to the territory, there were many times when I wanted to say his name before I managed to seal my own lips shut.

It was the first name I’d learned for him after all.

When I was in pain, when I was miserable, he had always been by my side.

So that’s why, that’s why.

If only he were here…if only he were here. I thought that countless times.

How should I say this? I’m really becoming weak now.

I still have longings of this kind.

That day, that time, we’d already said our farewells. We had chosen the same direction and different paths.

Even now, it was the same.

If right now I chose the path of weakness and ease, everything I’d built up to this point with my misery and pain would have been destroyed.

That’s why whether it was trying to escape or weakness, I wouldn’t be able to forgive myself for any of it.

My hand started to move again.

Not with the words of Iris, but the words of Duke Armenia’s territory’s current leader.

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