Chapter 21

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The lady-in-waiting looked up.

“Will you bring me a paper and pen?”

I want to stop now.

I don’t love you anymore.

I don’t want to keep hoping anymore.

Her cold body, as if there was still snow enveloping her, was telling her that this was the right path.

“The letter’s recipient is…”

She clenched her hands into fists.

“The third prince.”


* * *


William, the third prince, got on a carriage after being shocked by Chloe’s telegram.

Eric Aslan’s residence was in the capital anyway, so he would arrive there in less than 30 minutes.

So before he’d get there, his shock should abate.

But he couldn’t calm down at all.
He’s going to see Chloe!

Of course, he saw her at the banquet, but they couldn’t hold a long conversation at that time—Harris, the second prince, was next to him.

But now that he thought about it, that was a relief.
How much had his heart pounded back then!

It’s a shame that Harris was next to him before, but otherwise, he wouldn’t have been able to hold onto his rationality.
Right, just like right now.

Chloe was William’s first love.

It’s often that first love was only fresh but short, however over time, this supposition proved wrong for William.

His first love was something that had been with him as he grew up—and continues to be with him right now—but back then, he couldn’t think deeply about the reasons for his feelings and emotions.
He realized this love only later out of the blue.

He loved Chloe, in the past, in the present, in the future.

So when he found out that she was getting married, the sorrow he felt could be compared by no other.
He condemned Duke Rolphe, who sold his daughter like a tyrant businessman, but he could only grieve when the royal family collapsed and he couldn’t save her himself.
He was left angry with himself, who had no power in the past.

He felt both rage and despair at the same time, but there was nothing he could do in that situation.
So, at her wedding, he only congratulated her.

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He wished Chloe a good life.

He wanted her to live happier than anyone else.

But then…

‘The Chloe I saw earlier looked emaciated…’

It was to the point that she looked as though she was sick.
She looked terribly ill.
And he heard that she wasn’t on good terms with Eric Aslan, that Aslan didn’t treat Chloe like a true wife and wouldn’t even go back to the north to stay with her…

Maybe that’s why it hurts.

Wouldn’t something that plagued the mind eventually affect the body?

William was endlessly worried.
While wondering whether he should send a letter to Chloe, he received her telegram, and without even pausing, he ran out to meet her.

The carriage halted to a stop.
He tried desperately to calm his pounding heart as he walked towards the mansion, following the person who had come out to greet him.
And now, he arrived at the drawing room.

“You’re here?”

Chloe smiled brightly as she welcomed William.
She was the same as always—as beautiful and as elegant as before.

Noble and upright.
Nothing has changed.

“It’s… been a while, hasn’t it?”

“What do you mean it’s been a while? Didn’t we see each other not too long ago?”

Chloe chuckled and led William to the sofa.
Chloe asked if he’d like a cigar, but he refused.
He couldn’t possibly smoke in front of Chloe—she looked even thinner than when he saw her at the ball.

Heeding Chloe’s orders, a maid poured tea into William’s cup, then eventually left after doing so.
Then, Chloe spoke slowly.

“It’s not anything big, but I have a favor to ask of you.”

William nodded immediately.
Then, Chloe spoke.

“Can you lend me some money?”


“There’s a small silver mine under my possession.
I don’t have money to continue its operations so it’s been at a standstill for a while, but it can start again soon.
I’ll give you that mine.”

Chloe continued.

I’ll pay it back somehow.”

“Wait, wait—”

William cut Chloe off there.
While touching his forehead, he sighed heavily.

“I don’t understand, Chloe.
Why do you need money? …Why do you look so nervous?”

Chloe observed the growing anxiety on William’s expression.
Although she hadn’t seen him in such a long time, she missed the endless kindness that he always gave her.

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“I’m going to get divorced.”

Even with a helpless tone, Chloe sounded determined.

“I’m so, so tired.”


* * *



William was completely taken aback.
He didn’t think that Chloe would say anything like this.

The Chloe he knew was a woman of principle and propriety.
She would never deviate.

She lived her life ordinarily.
Even as nothing in her world was ordinary, she tried to live ordinarily either way—a path that would never deviate off the tracks.
She always pursued such a life.

But divorce?

It was far from what he believed Chloe would want.
It was a path that was completely opposite of what she aspired—something completely parallel and out of reach to the life she wanted.

William’s heart was racing.
He liked and admired Chloe’s upright beliefs, but at the back of mind, it was true that he hoped she would step out of that path one day.

The thought of being an accomplice to her deviation made his mouth water.
He leaned forward and placed his elbows over his knees.

“Have you really thought of it?”

I’ve been considering it for a long time now.”

Truthfully, it was a bit of an exaggeration to say that it was ‘a long time’.
However, Chloe’s remaining life span wasn’t much anymore.
That’s why for her, even a few months of time was ‘a long time’.

I’m acting strange, aren’t I?”

Chloe said with a low chuckle.

“Everyone would say that.
There’s no better husband than the Marquis.”

“…The Marquis is the future of this country.”

“Yes, but not my future.”

She shook her head firmly.
At this, William exhaled heavily.

“Once the Fourth Princess gets married, I’ll get divorced.”

“Elizabeth? Why?”

William asked reflexively, but he soon sighed.
Then, he nodded.

“The marriage talks between Elizabeth and the Marquis.”

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The second prince was secretly supporting the marriage between the Fourth Princess Elizabeth and Marquis Aslan.
Then there came the endorsement of Chloe’s divorce.
William already knew this.

“Yes, you’re right.
However, my husband doesn’t seem to want it.”

So just as Chloe said, only when Elizabeth married someone else would Chloe and the marquis divorce.

William’s forehead was wrinkled.

“But for the time being, it’ll be difficult because there’s no other marriage prospect for Elizabeth.

And he smiled helplessly.

“Who would want to marry a princess of a fallen royal family?”

“Don’t say things like that.
No matter what anyone says, the royal family is still alive.”

The royal family is already drowning in debt, so even the bank came to urge us to pay.”

As he said this, he recalled how the bankers raised their voices while clamoring for the overdue bonds.
He placed his chin over his interlocked fingers, then, he breathed in and out slowly.

“But I still have my territory.”

He was referring to the inheritance that he received before.

“If I sell that, I can give you the money.”


Chloe bit her lower lip.

If she were her usual self, she would have told him not to say that.
But things were different right now.
She couldn’t let go of the rope she’d barely managed to grab.

“I know I’m shameless, but I’m grateful for it.
Thank you.”


William also nodded, smiling as though he understood Chloe’s feelings.
But soon, that smile fell.

He looked at Chloe with a stiff expression.


He spoke carefully.

“What are you going to do after you get divorced?”

“…I’m not sure.”

Chloe thought about how her life would be after the divorce.

“I’m thinking of going to the west coast.”

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“The coast?”

I’ve never seen the ocean.”

She wanted to see the ocean just once before she died.
It might not be too bad to die there, immersed in the atmosphere while looking at the ocean.

She imagined herself standing on the shore.

Airships would hover in the sky while parasols would scatter throughout the sandy beach.
A robot would ask if she’d like to buy some ice cream.
Then, she’d watch the waves hit the coast while eating sweet vanilla ice cream.

She imagined the vast blue ocean before her, her feet soaking in the waves.

“I think it’ll be fun.”

Chloe smiled sincerely for the first time in a long while.

And for a moment, William’s breath stopped short.
He was dazzled by Chloe’s smile, but he soon managed to return to his senses.
He leaned forward again.

“Will you be alone?”

Chloe didn’t quite understand what he meant by that question.
She tilted her head to the side.

“What do you mean?”

“That is…”

William continued speaking with a rather nervous expression.

“I’d like to ask if you have any thoughts about remarrying.”

He loosened his interlocked fingers, wiping his sweaty palms on his pants.

“If you do…”

—Knock, knock.

But his words were cut off.

“May I come in?”

Because Eric was outside the room.

While William looked over towards Chloe, trying to read her countenance, there was no choice but to let Eric in.
The door opened wide.

“I apologize for not being able to greet you, Your Highness.
I was out because of work.”

“It’s alright.
I’m here at Chloe’s invitation.”

“My wife’s invitation?”

Eric’s brows were raised.
He stared at Chloe for a moment, and he turned to William.

“Then is your conversation over?”

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