Time flies.

A little more than a month had already passed since Alistair stumbled into the Lily Palace and met his half sister, Belladonna.

Alistair had visited her a few times since then under the pretense of falling in love with her beautiful garden. But still, he couldn't figure her out.

His forgotten half sister. It was completely unexpected, but since she somehow appeared in front of him, he couldn't help but be curious.

The moment he faced the princess who barely reached his chest as she shone her amethyst eyes at him, a part of him was shaken.

'... She's different from what I've expected.'

Belladonna had that... peculiar air to her.

But the most unexpected thing is how she addressed him in a friendly manner and called him brother, like he was her long lost brother that she has been missing all this time.

He still remembered that day when his mother brought him to the late empress' funeral. A little girl who looked broken, yet he could see burning fury and pure hatred in her eyes as she gazed upon him and his mother.

But strangely he couldn't picture that little girl in this mature version of her at all. The same pair of eyes... yet so different.

It would be a lie if Alistair said he believed that she had pure intentions for approaching him. He wasn't that naive. But, even knowing that fact, it didn’t stop him from coming back to her again and again.

Alistair never cared about bothersome things. He couldn't afford to care, not when he was already a busy person.

But when he thought about her, and her breath-taking smile, and those deep, unreal eyes of hers, that looked at him warmly like she was truly happy to see him, he just wanted them to... stay on him.

Alistair didn't even look up from his paper when a figure that had been waiting in the shadows slowly stepped forward.

"Greetings to the Crown Prince," a man in a black cloak bowed in front of Alistair as he gave his greeting.

"Raise your head."

Having heard those words, the man stood up and took off his hood, revealing his flaming red hair and stoic silver eyes.

Osiris Callan, the Crown Prince's most trustworthy knight who specialized in infiltration and assassination. As the person who was hand picked by the Crown Prince himself, he had an extraordinary set of skills and abilities.

Osiris grew up in a mercenary guild. Ever since he was young, he had the talent to hide his body in a completely undetectable way by using mana.

The crown prince rescued the wounded and bitter Osiris, took the child who refused to go out into the world and made him his knight. He brought out the courage and bravery in Osiris. He entrusted Osiris with things that the Crown Prince could not officially do.

"Did you do what I asked?"

"Yes, Your Highness," the red-haired man nodded.

Osiris had been tasked to acquire information about the first Princess. At first, he thought it was a strange order, but he never questioned his master, so he just executed it anyway.

"So tell me, what do you think about the Princess?"

Osiris had been incognito, hiding to collect information about the Princess for the past month.

He was there when the servants purposely hurt her while covering the incidents up as accidents, and when they purposely gave her rotten food and abused her. He really wanted to do something, but couldn't, since his mission was only to secretly spy on the Princess for information.

He wasn't sure since when, but from some point, he had forgotten his real purpose and only focused on observing the Princess.

She was beautiful, intelligent and warm-hearted to the person she held dear to her. In this case, it was her nanny, Elle, and her brother, the Crown Prince. She had quite a foul-mouth though, he witnessed her using a colorful vocabulary more times than he could count on his two hands. It was quite amusing for him, actually.

But even with that hot-tempered exterior, he could see that she actually has a good heart.

It had been a long time since he had forgotten his hometown, but for some reason, the Princess brought him a lingering sense of nostalgia. It made him wonder if his life might have changed if he had someone like her next to him.

"I think she's a good person," he finally answered.

The crown prince raised his brow at his aide's answer. "I didn't think you'd say that."

Alistair was quite surprised. Osiris was a man who only followed his orders obediently and had no interest in other people. Osiris did not believe in anyone except for Alistair. It had taken Alistair a lot of effort before Osiris opened up to him.

Yet this man, whose heart was stained with a deep rooted distrust for people, praised a girl he had observed for merely a month.

"Did you find anything out of the ordinary?"

"From what I've observed, Princess Belladonna doesn't really have any connection to anyone or anything outside the palace. She spends most of her time in her study, and she doesn't have anyone close to her except her nanny, Elle Lowan. The other servants don't respect her and it seems like she receives a lot of..." He gritted his teeth as he spoke the last word. "... mistreatment."

This information finally caught the attention of the Crown Prince and he put down his paper. "mistreatment?"

"Yes, Your Highness."

A dangerous glint found its way into the eyes of the crown prince's expressionless face.

"How do mere servants dare disrespect and mistreat their mistress?"

"Pardon me, your highness, but it was most likely due to the fact that His Majesty, the emperor, has been neglecting the princess."

Alistair clenched his fist as he tried to suppress his anger. "Find out about every single one of them, their families, their hometowns, their dark secrets, everything. Except for her nanny. You know the drill."

"I understand," Osiris bowed, then left the room as silently as he came in.

Alistair sighed and massaged his temples. "Princess Belladonna," he whispered under his breath.

As he unconsciously recalled her platinum blonde hair flowing down like threads of gold framing her pale face which had the shine of a full moon, he tapped on the table lightly.

"I think I should visit her soon."

He turned back to the papers on his desk and began reading them more carefully than before.

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