Until nightfall, the nine members played various board games without rest, and when it was time to sleep, they each went to their bedrooms.


As I changed into pajamas, I muttered to myself.

‘Princess, you’re good at games.’

Despite the tense atmosphere earlier, we played board games together until the end.

I showcased my skills as usual.
Jed and Diego kept looking at me, unable to focus on the game, and Clovin simply couldn’t play.

‘he princess almost won first place.’

When I had buttoned up my pajamas perfectly, it was time to lie down on the bed.

Knock-knock.

When I opened the door, Isabella was standing there.
Still not dressed in pajamas, Isabella waved her hand at me.

“Good night, Sir Duke.
See you in my dreams!”

See you in my dreams.
It was so cute that a smile spread across my face.

“Yes, Your Highness.”

“In our dreams, let’s decide where we’ll have the wedding!”

I could only awkwardly smile.

Throughout the day, Isabella relentlessly proposed to me.
Beyond proposals, she asked about when and where we would get married, what dress she would wear, and what kind of wedding ring we would have.

She even asked if pink diamonds were being mined in the mines these days.

I worried that if she felt sincere about the proposal and later found out that I was a woman, she would be greatly disappointed.

‘Maybe it’s better to reveal it now?’

To reveal my true gender while under the influence of a mental spell, there are two ways.

I can either directly inform her that I am a woman or show her something that can only belong to a woman.

I lowered my body.

“Could you lend me your ear for a moment?”

Isabella brought her ear closer to me, and she looked so adorable that a smile naturally formed on my face.

“Actually, I am…”

Isabella looked at me with sparkling eyes.
It felt like my heart was being pricked by something cute.

I trembled as I tried to tell her the shocking truth, but I still revealed the truth.
I told her that I am not a man, but a woman.

Then Isabella’s eyes widened like lanterns.

“Eh? Really?”


“Yes.”

I worried about what would happen if she found out I was a woman and became disappointed, but even if that happened, I couldn’t do anything about it.

Because that’s who I really am.
Giving rise to unnecessary expectations and only causing excitement that I can’t repay is a dishonest act.

However, contrary to my worries, Isabella showed an unexpected reaction.
After a brief moment of contemplation, she gestured to me.

“Please lend me your ear as well, Sir Duke.”

“…?”

Isabella whispered to me.

“Even if we can’t marry, I’m okay with you being a woman, Sir Duke.”

Suddenly―! With those words, Isabella gave me a cheek kiss.

As she smiled brightly, I smiled along with her.

“Thank you.”

“Sleep well, Sir Duke!”

“You too, Your Highness.”

Seemingly embarrassed by the cheek kiss, Isabella quickly ran down the corridor at a frightening speed.
Her small strides as she descended the stairs were incredibly cute.

It was when she disappeared from sight that I closed the door.

Jed, who had come out of his room, called out to me.

“May.”

Our eyes met, but I didn’t want to talk to Jed, so I ignored him and closed the door.

As I headed towards the bed, I heard Jed’s voice again from outside the door.

“Can I talk to you? There’s something I really want to say.”

* * *

I walked outside with Jed.
The night breeze we encountered outside the building was chilly rather than refreshing.

We sat on the wooden bench in the courtyard, leaving enough space for one more person between us.

“What did you want to talk about?”

As I asked, Jed averted his gaze and sighed.

“…I’m sorry.”

“What for?”

“For everything that hurt your feelings, all of it.”


I didn’t show any reaction.
Whatever Jed said, I had resolved to take it in stride.

“The things that happened all this time were partly because of Diego, but I also didn’t feel as close to you as I did to the other members.”

As expected.
Jed felt the same way.

I believe there can be people who, even though they fervently wish to become a knight, would feel uneasy about someone else receiving the favor of the divine protection.

I thought so in my head, but my heart felt hurt.

“I apologize for that.
I’m sorry, May.”

Seeing that he couldn’t even meet my eyes, he seemed genuinely sorry.

I asked him.

“Do you still find my presence unwelcome?”

Jed shook his head.

“No way.
Meeting you has made me feel incredibly fortunate.”

Although I tried to maintain composure regardless of what Jed said, why did my heart flutter?

Seeing that I couldn’t control my emotions, I thought that I must be hopelessly in unrequited love.

“But now it won’t be like that anymore, even if Diego orders me to torment you.”

“Of course.”

Only then did Jed finally meet my gaze.
His deep purple irises, reflected in the nearby streetlamp’s light, were dazzling as if enchanted.

How can someone be so handsome?

Even if I had possessed no knowledge of the original work and transmigrated, Jed would have instantly recognized that he was the male lead.
People with a complete appearance like his are rare.

As I momentarily lost myself in his charm, a smile appeared at the corners of Jed’s mouth.

“I’m relieved.”

“What for?”

“That you still like me.”

“W-what did you say?”

Taken aback, I leaned back.
How could he casually say something like that?

“Eyes that see the truth.”

“….”

Can’t I block that damn truth-seeing eye? At this rate, it felt like he could even read my thoughts.

“I don’t see any hesitation in you about keeping a distance from me.”


As I mischievously spoke, Jed naturally moved closer to my side.

“Don’t let go.
I’ll take good care of you by your side.”

Our bodies were so close that my heart rate started racing uncontrollably.
I glanced away discreetly.

“…Anyway, we won’t be separated for a while.
We have to search for Milo together.”

Milo.
In the original work, Heint couldn’t find his son even after the story concluded.
It had been on my mind throughout reading the original work.

“In reality, let’s have a reunion between the wealthy.”

I stood up from the bench.

“Let’s go to sleep now.
We have the second round tomorrow.”

Jed, seemingly relieved that he was forgiven, stood up following me.

“Yeah.”

* * *

The next day, the members of Nine boarded the carriage early in the morning.
The destination for the second round of the tournament was the Arcus Center.

Diego, Jed, and I all got into the same carriage.
Jed sat next to me, and Diego sat in front.

As the carriage was moving, Diego let out a loud yawn.

“Ah…-“

Unlike the other members, Diego looked unusually tired today.
Jed asked him about it.

“Didn’t you sleep well last night?”

“Well…”

Diego had stayed up all night, grappling with his own feelings.

‘There’s no way I could like a guy.’

Even now, with the dawn breaking, the same thought persisted.
Diego analyzed it objectively.

‘In the first place, my body doesn’t respond to men.’

Does it make sense for someone like me to like May Flotina?

Diego shot a sharp gaze at May.
But when their eyes met, his expression softened, and he flinched.

‘It surprised me…’

He was taken aback by suddenly looking at her.

Feeling startled by his own reaction, Diego quickly turned his head to gaze outside.


May paid no attention to whatever Diego did or whatever expression he made.
She, too, soon turned her head towards the window.

Only Jed continued to observe Diego until the end.

After arriving at the Arcus Center and getting off the carriage, Jed sent May ahead first.
When they were alone, he spoke to Diego.

“You don’t like her, huh.”

“I don’t like her.”

While it was evident in Jed’s eyes, Diego was still in denial.

“I’ve told you before, but just because you like May doesn’t mean I’ll back off.”

Diego was about to respond, as if saying it didn’t matter to him, but he stopped.
It turned out to be a funny statement to hear.

“Do I have the right to back off or anything?”

You’re also a suspect like me, a thief.

“And, even though we’re friends, I hope you treat me according to my status.”

Normally, Jed would have let it pass without any issue, but Diego suddenly stumbled over his status.
Jed noticed that fact, but he didn’t show any dissatisfaction and treated Diego respectfully according to his status.

“…I apologized to May yesterday.”

“What?”

“I, too, have been harboring hostility towards May from the beginning and willingly participated in tormenting him.
When I did that, he forgave me.”

Moreover, he still likes me.

“….”

He continues to like me, even though I acted coldly towards him and easily forgave Jed.

Although annoyance was building up, he pretended to be unaffected.

“Do you know where I stand?”

Contrary to his words, Diego walked into the Acrus Center with an irritated stride.

* * *

The second round of the Acrus Tournament began.
When the time came, the host appeared on the central pillar.
He explained the rules.

“In the second round of the 4th Acrus Tournament, the top three participants will be selected in the order of retrieving the bead of a C-rank monster, the Skull Ghost.”

Just like in the first round, participants had to defeat the Skull Ghost in the area beyond the gate and retrieve the bead.

“The time limit is one hour.
If the top three participants are determined before that, the second round will end immediately.
For the safety of the participants, even if the top three are not determined within the time limit, the round will end after one hour.”

Unlike D-rank monsters that can be defeated by ordinary people, C-rank monsters are difficult to defeat even when several people join forces.

Looking around, most participants seemed tense.
They knew that even though it was just one rank difference, the gap between D-rank and C-rank was significant.

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