Chapter 21: Lumentium X (part 1)

“Then I’ll be taking my leave, Your Majesty.”

“So be it. Good job today, Iris.” 

Iris was exhausted. All day, she had chatted face-to-face with countless nobles in the banquet hall. It wasn’t hard to sit still and talk to others, but it was exhausting to engage in so many meaningless conversations with a smile plastered on her lips, as if she were a doll.

It was indeed exhausting work, but at the same time, it was her duty. Born into the imperial family, it was a price she had to pay. Despite being born with noble blood, she had to take responsibility to become a noble herself. That was the belief held by a woman named Iris el Devhart.

As Iris attempted to withdraw from the Emperor with a tired expression, he gave her a proud look.

“Hehe, you are truly trustworthy. Without you, today would have been really challenging. Thank you.”

“…It was what I was supposed to do, Your Majesty.”

In the past, she might have been overjoyed to receive such praise from the Emperor. She might have taken pride in being acknowledged by someone who looked down on all others from the top of the empire.

…But not anymore. The pride of the imperial family, once lofty, and the honor of the imperial lineage, once valued above life itself, had now decayed into an old, moldy tombstone. 

Instead, the figure filling her heart was that of a certain man.

Cain von Estel. The most brilliant star she had come to know in her life.

When she came to her senses, she found herself yearning for the twinkle of that star, longing to possess it. Just as a thirsty person craves water, she could not escape the heat of desire that filled her heart.

Yes, a star. It was the most beautiful thing she had ever seen. From the moment she began to long for that star, everything else faded to grayscale. 

Her father’s approval, the pride of being a member of the royal family, the honor of being the imperial princess… perhaps even the empire itself.

Suddenly, his face flashed into her mind. His surprised expression upon meeting her was truly adorable. Perhaps he was so surprised because she was wearing such a dress…


Today, for the first time in her life, she had worn such a dress. Exposing her bare skin to other men was unimaginably embarrassing. Yet, she had worn that dress hoping to catch his eye even more.

Ah, thinking back, certain words came to her mind, it was said that men die for those who acknowledge them, and women adorn themselves for the men who make them happy.

Indeed, it was as they said. When he looked at her and his eyes widened, she didn’t show it, but she was immensely happy. She thought enduring the shame of wearing such clothes was worth it. 

Much time had passed since then, but that prideful feeling still filled her heart. He must have already been ensnared by her beauty…

With her body weary, Iris returned to her room. She sank into a chair in the middle of the room, releasing her exhausted mind and body for a while.

However, after a moment, she realized there was still work to be done.


As soon as she spoke, a knight emerged from a corner of the room. 

It was Kris, the princess’s escort knight. 

Iris stared at him blankly, and the woman struggling with love just a moment ago had vanished. Now, the only person in the room was Princess Iris el Devhart, striving to lead the empire’s subjects with a stern countenance.

“I ordered you to observe Cain von Estel’s every move today and report back to me.”

“Yes, Your Highness.”

At Iris’s words, Kris nodded calmly.

“Then, what did you observe? Please share.”

“Very well. Let me first outline Cain von Estel’s activities today…”

It was then that Iris’s expression darkened toward Kris.

“…be respectful.”


“Address him with respect. He is not someone you can treat lightly.”

With that, Iris’s expression conveyed her unwillingness to entertain objections.

“…apologies. I will be more mindful.”

Kris had no intention of opposing Iris’s words. He was the sword of the princess, representing her will and acting on her behalf. If she said so, he would comply. It was that simple.

“After monitoring Sir Cain’s activities today, I found nothing noteworthy. Besides the duel with Lucian von Tournigen, there was nothing out of the ordinary. However…”


Kris paused, unsure if this was something he should report to the princess. What he was about to disclose was sensitive information, even for Kris, the princess’s guardian knight. He hesitated, but the momentary dilemma soon passed.

“…this is purely speculation, but it appears Sir Cain employed the ‘Flowing Star’ during the duel with Lucian von Tournigen.”

“Please elaborate.”

Iris’s expression stiffened. No, it did not merely stiffen.

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