Ariel briefly identified herself at the entrance to the central hall of the imperial castle and received a permit. Skyla’s signature was on the silver temporary pass for guests. It was proof that she was allowed to enter the central hall for the day.
“One day is a little short.”
She muttered grimly.
It was already a time when the sun was already out, so she would only be able to stay for a few hours.
Access to the imperial castle, especially the central hall where the royal family usually stayed, was strictly controlled. Even guests vouched for by the Emperor had to be thoroughly vetted and weren’t allowed to stay for long periods of time.
Still, it could be adjusted according to the discretion of the imperial family. Being granted such a short time meant that Skyla didn’t have much trust in her.
‘I still have one heart… but it’s not enough to earn his trust.’
Ariel, who couldn’t check her phone, assumed that was the case. Out of regret, she rubbed the lower part where the signature was written. The neat cursive handwritten by Skyla stood out into view. As it turned out, she was engulfed by positive doubts.
‘Am I still not trusted yet, right…?’
On the contrary, Skyla had given this much privilege to someone whom he had only known for two days.
As her thoughts went on, she fumbled for the phone, hidden under her clothes. It seemed she had to check something, perhaps something may have changed.
Her movements stopped at the sound of a heavy voice.
Skyla always called her name in a rather stern voice. When she raised her head a little and looked at him, he was already looking down at her with a slightly cold face.
A firm order fell.
It was a cold phrase to use while they were going to dinner together. Nonetheless, there was no hint of mockery in his voice. Not waiting for an answer, Skyla finished his words and took the lead.
Ariel followed blindly, not knowing where they were going.
Quick steps crossed the black-and-white plaid floor and entered the hallway. Skyla’s stride was calm, unlike the one he’d taken earlier at the Count’s residence, so she didn’t have to run to keep up with him like she had before. He walked at a moderate pace, occasionally taking the time to keep an eye on his surroundings.
It was a velvet-lined hallway where footsteps echoed softly. It was old-fashioned and solemn as if to announce that it was the private residence of the royal family.
‘…Can I go in here?’
There were priceless art pieces on display that made her worry.
It was a place where it seemed that every movement was being monitored. Ariel clasped her hands together and kept her gaze fixed forward. If she made a mistake, she could be caught and thrown out.
‘Let’s be a little more thorough with my actions because this is the imperial palace.’
In the stillness, Ariel walked with his back in front, not knowing where she was going until Skyla suddenly stopped. It was because the door opened as if blocking the way. It was a white door with golden trim that stood like a wall, and behind it, a figure gradually appeared.
His back stiffened.
Stripped pronunciation and a hazy, lofty voice like fog.
It was a voice she had heard before.
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