“Hello, Prince Claus. My name is Alice Ferret, and I’m the daughter of Earl Ferret.”
“Earl Ferret?” I made a surprised expression. The Ferret family is one of the strongest noble families of the empire.
In the Arcadian Empire, Earl is the highest rank a noble can attain without being a member of the royal family. There are only three Earl families in the empire, The Ferret family, the Riea family, and the Carmell family.
The Riea family is closely related to the military and is very close to the current emperor. My stepmother, Lilia Riea, is the sister of the current head of the Riea family.
The Ferret family, on the other hand, is mainly involved in politics. This family is deeply entangled with the academics and ministers of the empire, but strangely, none of its members is in an important position.
As for the Carmell family, they protect the empire’s border from the Beastmen Alliance. This family is the oldest noble family of the empire, and they normally did not involve themselves with the politics of the empire.
Speaking of the Ferret family, I heard that Earl’s Ferret had a beautiful and sickly daughter, but from what I know, she rarely leaves home. I did not think I would meet her here.
“I heard before that Earl’s Ferret had a very beautiful daughter, but I now see that the rumors fell short.” I said with a smile.
Alice giggled sweetly when she heard my compliment, but the knight beside her frowned hard. I noticed that the hand touching the sword twitched slightly.
“Prince Claus is so charming. I also hear that Prince Claus was a very handsome and well-mannered man, and I can see that it’s certainly true.”
“Thank you for your words.” I replied gentlemanly. Alice then realized that the Knight girl was looking at me coldly and grabbed her hand. “By the way, she is Hannah, my bodyguard. I apologize if she is like that. I always told her that she should be more friendly with others, but she never hears.”
“I’m sorry about that, young miss, but my job is to ensure that you are safe from ANYONE.”
I feigned a slightly displeased expression, but I then shook my head with a smile. “Don’t worry, I’m not so petty as to care for the behavior of a servant.”
The knight girl wrinkled her brows and looked at me furiously, but I kept a calm expression and acted as though she was not here.
Alice smiled wryly and spoke to dissipate the awkward situation. “By the way, it’s rare to see a prince walking without escorts through the city. Are you going anywhere?”
“My aunt asked to visit her, and I didn’t want to take a bunch of servants with me.” I explained calmly.
“Oh? Prince Claus sure has a good relationship with your family.” Alice said.
I simply nodded with a smile.
Afterward, Alice smiled and talked about many topics with me for a while, and I answered suitably. Of course, it was not that she found me charming or fell in love with me at first sight. Instead, she most likely was trying to sound me out.
But after we conversed for a while, Alice finally showed her true intentions.
“Right, I heard what happened at Prince Claus’s party. I must say that I’m very sorry.”
I feigned a distressed expression and shook my head. “Please, don’t worry about it. Besides, my standing in the palace has never been good. The emperor’s words simply made it clear to everybody.”
Alice nodded. She then put on an expression of struggle and looked at me hesitantly.
Finally, she looked as though she made up her mind.
“Actually, the reason why I wanted to talk with Prince Claus was that I was a bit curious after I heard of your situation; but now that I met with you, I felt as though I made a new friend. If Prince Claus wants, I can speak with my father to see if he can do something about your situation.”
I made a surprised expression and looked directly at Alice’s clear eyes. She put on a brilliant smile and blushed slightly.
“Young miss, you can’t!” Hannah, the knight girl, exclaimed instantly. “It would be bad if the earl interferes with the imperial family’s matters!”
“Don’t worry, Hannah. I’m sure that father can afford to put a few good words for the prince.”
The girl knight seemed as though she wanted to say something else, but Alice looked at her with narrowed eyes, making her shut up with an unwilling expression.
“Then, what do you think, prince?” Alice asked me.
I put on a pensive expression, but in the end, shook my head. “No need. I don’t want to cause trouble to miss Alice due to my circumstances.”
Alice put on a dejected expression before smiling again. “Is it so? Well, prince Claus can ask me anytime if you think I can help.”
“I’m happy after knowing miss Alice’s intentions.”
Alice showed an innocent smile and blushed again.
We talked for another short while until I finally excused myself. I then left the carriage and continued my way.
Meanwhile, I was thinking about the things I discovered just now.
Once the prince left the carriage, Alice Ferret’s expression changed completely. Her innocente face turned pensive and her smile turned into a frown.
“What do you think about him, Hannah?” She asked with a calm face.
“… I did not find anything strange, but… Did young miss noticed something?”
“Nothing special. He has a bit of talent, but it’s less than the first prince. He was a bit wary of me, though. Any other person is his position would have agreed excitedly when I mentioned that my father could help him.”
“… Young miss, I don’t like him. It’s better if young miss doesn’t trust him too much.”
“You don’t like most men, Hannah. Don’t worry, I know what to do. Although this prince is nothing much, he will be useful to our plans.” Alice glanced at Hannah and smiled mysteriously.
But at that moment, someone interrupted their conversation. “Young miss, I think it’s better if you are not too close with that man.”
“Oh? What do you mean, uncle Aaron. Did you notice something?”
The old butler, that had entered the carriage after Claus left, shook his head pensively. “I didn’t. But I can’t shake the feeling that something is wrong with him.”
Alice seemed surprised after hearing the butler’s words. She then wrinkled her brows and shook her head. “Impossible. I did not find anything strange about him. Even his fate was pretty average.”
The old butler simply heaved a sight. “I don’t have young miss’s mysterious abilities, but I have the instincts I honed in countless life and death situations. And those instincts were screaming me that the young prince was very dangerous.”
Alice fell silent hearing that. She looked in the direction where Claus left with a curious light on her eyes.
“Could it be that I was mistaken?”