“Nice to meet you, Young Lord May.
I’m Clovin Penso.”


As we shook hands, Clovin squeezed my hand with all his strength.
I grimaced and withdrew my hand.

Why is he showing hostility? As I looked at Clovin strangely while holding my hand, Jed spoke up.

“I’m Jed Bloche.”

When his voice reached my ears, my head snapped in his direction.
Jed had flushed cheeks and seemed drunk.

Come to think of it… when we met on the fashion street, he was also drunk, right? Did he drink at Nine back then too? Do they drink often?

Although I’m of legal drinking age, it was worrisome that out of the three times we’ve met, Jed seemed drunk twice during broad daylight.
Alcohol is harmful to the body…

“I’m May Flotina.”

When I extended my hand, Jed took hold of it.

After exchanging greetings, we sat on the crescent-shaped sofa.
Diego sat in the center, with Galley and Velta on either side.
Clovin sat next to Galley, and Jed sat next to Velta.

With only one seat remaining between Clovin and Velta, I pondered where to sit and decided to sit next to Jed with determination.

Diego offered me a drink.

“Young lord, have a drink.
It’s Kellesha-san malt whiskey.”

“I’m fine.
I’m still underage.”

“Well, what’s the harm? There’s no law in the Starcia Empire that prohibits underage drinking.”

As he said, the Starcia Empire didn’t impose restrictions on underage drinking.
However, I couldn’t drink alcohol before coming to the empire because of my personal values growing up in South Korea.

“Still, I’ll wait to drink until I’m of legal age.”

There were about two months left until I became an adult, so I was determined to endure for that period.

“It’s more boring than I thought.”

Everyone except me indulged in whiskey and became intoxicated.

Drunk Velta started rambling.
He was so intoxicated that his tongue got twisted.

“It’s pigling.
It’s not easy to catch… If Lady Iris had joined the party… I would have proudly untied the pig’s four legs… and snapped its neck…”

Galley chuckled with sleepy eyes.

“You don’t know that untying the legs means it’ll escape, do you?”

“No, no… Even if it’s untied, it won’t escape… Because I’ll break the ring and knock it down in one blow…”

Velta tapped his chest with determination.

“Hmph, how will you catch it if it escapes? You’re being foolish.”

“I’ll chase after it with my swift running skills…! Just run after it…”


Velta faced Galley, then shifted his gaze towards me.

“I’m better at catching pig rings than young master May.
To catch a pigling, you have to first strike its head to make it faint… Then you can break the ring in one blow…”

As Velta demonstrated breaking the ring, I burst out laughing.

“Young master Velta, if you’re so good at catching piglings, then you should have gone up against me.
Did anyone besides me give you a chance?”

“That’s the chance I gave Young Lord May”

“That’s strange.
It doesn’t seem like the Lord would give me a chance.”

Even in his drunken state, Verus’ face turned red, indicating that he understood my words correctly.

And then, it happened.

Thump.
Someone’s head fell onto my shoulder.
I could feel their breath on my forearm.

“!”

It was Jed Bloche, resting his head on my shoulder.

In that moment, everything except my heart froze.

‘Why, why are you leaning…? Are you asleep?’

Looking at the table, the whiskey bottle in front of him was completely empty.

How much did he drink…?

Although I sat next to him with some affection, I didn’t expect this level of intimacy.
I called out to wake him up.

“Um… Lord Jed?”

In response to my call, Jed opened his eyes and sat up straight.

“Oh… I’m sorry.”

“You should stop drinking, shouldn’t you? Last time, you got drunk and hit Stella’s shoulder…”

It was a passing remark, but Diego took an interest in my story.

“Are you talking about Stella, referring to Young lady Nazret?”

“Yes, but…”

“I heard that you and Young lady Nazret were a couple with a future.
Is that true?”

“A future?”

A couple with a future meant getting married.
My eyes widened in surprise.

Stella and that kind of relationship? I vehemently denied it.

“No, absolutely not.
We’re just best friends.”


We’re both heterosexual! We may have lived as boys for years, but our gender identity is still female.

I felt relieved because the mental magic seemed to be working well, even though I was baffled and laughed out of astonishment.

Tap―! 

That’s when it happened.
Clovin Penso glared at me as if he wanted to kill me and slammed his glass on the table.
He stood up from his seat and immediately came at me.

“Because of you! Because of you… Young lady Nazrat hasn’t replied!!”

I was startled by his loud voice.

“You mean… Nazret…?”

Nazret, who is she? Is it Stella?

“How did you seduce Young lady Nazret…!”

“No, it’s not like that.”

“Then are you fooling around with Nazret?”

“It’s not like that.
We’re just friends-“

“You’re short and have no masculine charm, so how did you seduce her?!”

“…”

Sigh, we can’t communicate.
I gave up talking to Clovin.

Velta stood up and calmed Clovin down.

“Calm down.
You must have seduced her by offering your family.”

But his words only excited Clovin even more.

“Do you want to die? What are you babbling about now? How dare you make Young lady Nazret a plaything?!”

“No, it’s not like that-“

“Cancel it right now.
Young lady Nazret is not that kind of person!!”

“Oh, I’m sorry…”

As I watched them, I couldn’t help but smirk.

What am I doing here… Listening to rude people’s drunken rants.

Jed leaned his head on my shoulder again.

Oh dear, I should have stopped him from drinking! In the moment I shook my body to wake him up, his lips opened.

“Give me comfort.”

“…?”


“It’s hard to hold my body together.”

No, does that mean he just leans on anyone? Does he do this with other people too?

“Still, even so…”

“It’s a request.”

“…Alright.”

How could I refuse his request? I offered my shoulder.

I hope he doesn’t do this with anyone else.
If he just said he asked me because I’m me, I would have been happy.

How much time has passed? I got bored to the point of yawning.

Galley and Velta bickered about whose family was better, Clovin glared at me, Diego seemed to be enjoying the situation, and Jed, who I wanted to talk to the most, was dozing off…

Ah, I want to go home.

After I shifted Jed, who had fallen asleep leaning on my shoulder, to lean against the back of the sofa, I stood up from my seat.

“I should go now.”

“Why? Stay a bit longer.”

I wanted to grab Diego’s head, who said that, and squeeze it tight.
What else is there to do other than dealing with these rude people’s drunken nonsense?

“I’ll see you later.”

As I walked out of the main room, Jed, who had somehow woken up, followed me into the hallway.

“Are you leaving?”

Upon hearing Jed’s voice, I stopped on the path I was taking and turned around.

“Yes, Master Jed”

Wasn’t he just asleep? When did he wake up?

“Speak freely.
Call me Jed.”

“Okay, Jed.”

I felt a bit nervous that he allowed me to call him by his name.

Is Jed comfortable with me? But we’ve only exchanged greetings.

Or maybe he treats everyone casually.
It’s strange.
The original Jed wasn’t like that…

In the original, Jed never had any physical contact or intimacy with anyone except for one woman, and he only had eyes for her.

I cautiously asked him.


“Um…”

“Call me Jed.”

“Jed.
Do you often drink during the day? You were drunk last time too.”

“I don’t drink often.
Only when I can’t avoid it.”

“Can’t you just not drink? With Jed, you should be able to express your opinion to the prince.”

“I can.
But today, I wanted to drink.”

“Oh… really?”

His body was getting closer to mine.
Step by step.
As he approached, my fingertips tingled.
It was because of nervousness.

Jed reached me, and his hand gradually moved up until it stopped at my neck.
His cold fingers touched my neck, the most sensitive part.

“Ah-“

“A strand of hair.”

He gently removed the strand of hair that was sticking to my neck.

“Ah… thank you.”

“Don’t you have any thoughts of joining Nine? If you join, we can see each other often.”

His words puzzled me a little.

Why does Jed want to see me often? Did he like me?

It couldn’t be that he developed affection for me as a person of the opposite sex.
Jed must know that I am a man.

Regardless, as someone who likes Jed, I couldn’t dislike his attitude of showing fondness towards me.

“To join…”

It’s good to be able to see Jed often if I join.
Since Stella asked me to take care of him, I want to take care of him.

But the problem is Diego.
Right now, he may not force me to drink as a guest, but after joining, he might. 

As a member of Nine, I might encounter many troublesome things.

“I’ll think about joining a bit more.”

“…Alright.”

Jed made a somewhat disappointed expression, then saw me off and went back into the room.

* * *

The incident happened exactly four hours later.
It was around 5 p.m., when the sun was losing its strength.
After returning home from Nine and before having dinner, the time when I usually read a novel, my servant came to find me.

“Second Prince wishes to meet with you.”

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