If I had truly been rational, I wouldn’t have even considered adopting a girl.
Girls are of no use to the family.
Besides, wasn’t there some semblance of the family’s power in the child who was around five years old at the time?


From the start, it couldn’t be a rational decision to raise a girl as a boy.

It was because I was strongly drawn to the child for her bright energy, warmth, cuteness, and resemblance to my physique.
That’s why I wanted to raise her.

But I foolishly raised her as a son, trapped within the framework of being rational.

He had never truly been rational.

Even though he realized this, there was something he didn’t realize that remained.

Why did it feel like something was out of place?

The answer to this was actually simple.
It was because he didn’t make an effort for a relationship with his child.

Even during this busy time when he hunted, sacrificing sleep, he couldn’t consider meeting May as an effort to mend their relationship.
If he had been busy, he could have reduced his workload.

Persis believed he had fulfilled his duty by taking just one step toward May in their relationship.

He had complaints because he didn’t know that he needed to take ten steps to become closer to May and have ordinary conversations with her as a father and daughter.

After barely taking one step toward his daughter, he expected her to come nine steps closer and do as he wished.

* * *

In the corridor on the way back after meeting Persis, Floa encountered me.
Ellen had gone elsewhere due to work.

“Floa, why are you here?”

It had been a long time since Floa and I met in the corridor.
Initially, Floa rarely entered the mansion.

“I came to meet May.
Do you know it’s Iris’s birthday today?”

“Yes, I know.
Although I already congratulated her when she visited last week, it’s a pity that I couldn’t do it on her actual birthday.”

Upon hearing that, Floa extended his hand to me.

“Shall we go together?”

“Where to?”


“To Iris’s birthday party.”

“Birthday party?”

“Yes, a birthday party.”

It had been a long time since Iris hosted a birthday party.
The occasions when she hosted parties could be counted on one hand.

That she was hosting a party…

“Perhaps she has something important to announce.”

Many people always attended the birthday parties of the Empire’s three Great Guardians.
Places where many people could be gathered were suitable for making significant announcements.

Upon hearing my words, Floa smiled gently.

“You’re sharp.”

“But can I go to the party? I didn’t receive a separate invitation…”

“The reason Iris didn’t invite you is that the location of the birthday party is where demons appear.”

“Where is that?”

“Iris’s castle.”

“Ah…”

In the Stacia Empire, there was a distinction between places where demons appeared and places where they did not.

Places where ordinary people could go, like the Flotina estate, Marquis Nazret’s mansion, and the fashion district where I met with Jed Bloche and others, were in areas where demons did not appear, accounting for nearly 80% of the Stacia Empire’s territory.

Areas where demons appeared were accessible only to knights of the Guardians, mages, and people who could use magic, like Persis.
They were regions restricted to those who could wield magical power.

Each demon appearance area had one castle belonging to each of the three Great Guardians of the Empire.

“Moreover, since May has not yet debuted in society, Iris hesitated to invite her to a place with many people.”

“Then shouldn’t I avoid going even more?”


“It’s okay to go.
You don’t have to worry about demons as long as I’m there, and there’s no rule saying that you can’t attend a party before your debut in society.”

I was contemplating, and Floa made the deciding blow.

“I received a request from Iris.
She asked me to bring May if you were okay with it.”

“Really?”

“They said they couldn’t invite me after thinking hard about the situation.”

Even if I wanted to invite her, it seems like it wasn’t a situation where I could easily extend an invitation.

“Okay, I’ll go.”

I don’t want to meet Nine, but I can’t avoid Iris because of them!

“Then I’ll come back in the afternoon.”

“Okay.”

I left in an excited state to prepare to go out.

* * *

On that evening, Iris’s birthday party took place in the banquet hall on the first floor of her castle.

The banquet hall, adorned with white marble, shimmered with crystal chandeliers, creating a luxurious atmosphere.

Most of the party guests were Guardian Knights.
The First Knight Order, led by Iris, took the lead, and there were also several members of the Second Knight Order led by Cassius.
However, no one from the Third Knight Order led by Hestia attended.

Since non-Guardian Knights could also attend the party, as May expected, members of the Nine were also present at the party.
The Nine members presented gifts to Iris as if offering bribes.

“We have prepared 100 dresses that would suit the beautiful Lady Iris.
Our family has great expertise in dressmaking, and we hope you will like them.”

“I have prepared seven rare-colored diamonds.
Colored diamonds are valuable due to their rarity.
I believe they are jewels that suit Lady Iris well.”

The one who presented the dresses was Galley Maxim.
The dresses he prepared, made with great expertise from the Maxim Viscount family, were extravagant and beautiful in every way.
He, the second son of the viscount, had a prominently structured dinosaur-like face and looked intellectual with his glasses.

The one who presented the diamonds was Vita Verus.
As the firstborn of the Verus Viscount family, he had a small stature and distinctive villainous features.
He always applied too much mousse to his hair, making it stick up like a bun.

These two were the most materialistic among the members of the Nine.


Iris, who already had everything and didn’t particularly care about gifts, still accepted them graciously.

“Thank you, I will make good use of them.”

Upon hearing this, Galley and Vita were delighted as if their selection had been guaranteed.
They mistakenly believed that since the Guardian deities gratefully received the gifts they gave, they would receive extra points during the selection of Guardian Knights.

However, Iris was not a shallow person who would give extra points for gifts.

Galley and Vita, unaware of this, were quite satisfied.

“I’m definitely going to be selected this time.
Whenever she wears the dress I gave her, she’ll think of me.
Unlike jewels that are easily forgotten when left in a corner.”

When Galley raised his glasses and spoke, Vita snorted and looked up.

“Even if you leave the dress in a corner, it will be easily forgotten, won’t it? Rare jewels are more meaningful than dresses.
She would rather select me than you.”

They were truly delusional.

After delivering the gifts to Iris, they returned to the Crown Prince.

He had brown hair and green eyes, with an arrogant demeanor.
However, he displayed the nobility of the royal family.
It was the Second Prince, Diego Stacia.

Known as a troublemaker, he quietly drank non-alcoholic champagne.
Galley approached him, fidgeting, and spoke.

“I think there will be an announcement today at the party about this year’s selection of knights.”

“Is that all?”

Diego tilted his head as if he thought there was something more.

“Otherwise, it could be related to the Flotina’s bastard.”

“Bastard?”

“Yes, it is known that the Duke has a son named May Flotina.”

May Flotina.
At the mention of that name, a flicker of light appeared in Diego’s green eyes and then disappeared.

“What does that child have to do with the Imperial Guardian?”


“According to the difficult-to-obtain information from an informant recently, May Flotina is close to Lady Iris and Sir Cassius.”

Hearing Galley’s words, Vita, who was listening nearby, was astonished as if he had been struck.

“What-?! Close? How? Even the members of the Nine couldn’t build such a close relationship!”

Galley, with a look on his face that he didn’t want to share valuable information with someone like Vita, adjusted his glasses as if to assert himself.

Meanwhile, hearing Vita’s loud voice, one of the Nine members nearby approached.

“What’s going on?”

He was Clovin Pensso, the eldest son of the Pensso Viscount.
He had a younger sister, and the Pensso siblings were known for their bad personalities.

Galley and Vita, of lower status than Clovin, respectfully greeted him.

“We have information that May Flotina is close to Lady Iris and Sir Cassius.”

“May Flotina? Why would someone from the Florentina family have a close relationship with the Guardian deities?”

Since the Florentina family had their own deities, they had no reason to build a relationship with the Imperial Guardians.
Vita expressed his displeasure at this information.

“Isn’t it absurd? If May is from the Flotina lineage, they would use the power of their family.
Why bother trying to surpass the Knight Orders?”

Vita believed that May’s only reason for building a relationship with the Imperial Guardians was to enter the Knight Orders.

Diego, while drinking champagne without saying a word, noticed someone at the entrance of the venue.

A platinum-haired boy he had never seen before.
He didn’t seem like a Guardian Knight, despite his young appearance.

Diego realized this by the fact that he confidently entered the venue without belonging to either the Guardian Knights or the Nine.

“Is that May Florentina?”

Diego’s words caught the attention of Galley and Vita, and also caught the attention of Clovin.

“Wow, the party venue is huge.”

There was May, entering with Floa, holding a bouquet of flowers.

〈 the names of minorities might change in the next chap〉

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