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   “Princess Rosemarie?!”

   I stood up from my chair with a clatter, and turned around in a panic.

   Rose, you big fool…!!


   Klaus chased after me.

   Hearing the uproar, the duo in the greenhouse poked their heads out.
   Seeing my ghastly state, they immediately understood something was wrong, and became alarmed.

   “Wait a, hey you, what’s wrong?!”


   Lutz rushed over and shook my shoulders.

   “What happened? We won’t understand if you don’t tell us!” he said.

   I considered his words.

   But, I couldn’t. I wanted to confess everything, but in this situation where I didn’t even have someone to talk to, it was pure torture.

   If I told them, the danger posed to them would only increase.

   “I just remembered some urgent business…”


   “I’m sorry. I’ll have to excuse myself for today.”

   Lutz seemed to want to say something, but I removed his hands and smiled at him.
   Holding back my impatience, I took my leave, walking as normally as I could. I felt their gazes on me, but I didn’t turn back to look.

   “Princess Rosemarie, where in the world are you headed?”

   “To meet…”

   Hilde, I replied in a small voice, and Klaus moved in front of me to block the path, a harsh expression the like of which I’d never seen before on his face.

   “I cannot assent.”

   Klaus was usually sweet on me. He happily granted my wishes, and almost never denied or refused me anything.

   The only time that guy would ever go directly against me was probably when I was putting myself in imminent danger.


   “I cannot allow you to place yourself in danger.”

   My shoulders shook.
   Klaus just said it was “dangerous”.

   “You knew.”


   In other words, Klaus knew Hilde was on treacherous footing. If he knew, then it only stood to reason his commander did as well.

   And yet, why?

   “…don’t you protect her?”

   “She is not my charge.”

   You should already know, his eyes reproached me, stone cold.

   In the kingdom’s eyes, she was one of the traitors.

   The enemy could not risk having their movements here known. If they prioritized secrecy, then the girl would definitely be abandoned. They had divided interests, after all.


   THMP. THMP. My heart beat unpleasantly.

   Eyes wide, I was on the verge of fainting.

   Right now, I was trying to influence the fate of a person.
   That truth terrified me more than anything else.

   Let’s say, for example, Hilde had indeed done wrong.
   Even if I didn’t personally get involved, it didn’t change the fact that I could have done something.

   I was close to getting forced into watching a 15 year old girl die without lifting a finger to help.

   The burden was crushing.


   My voice escaped out of me hoarsely. I automatically hugged myself, and noticed my body was shaking uncontrollably.

   I’m scared. I’m scared, I’m scared, I’m scared…!
   How in the world do you make the right decision? As a princess? As a human being?

   Overcome with fear, I couldn’t think at all. My mind was blank, and nothing came to me.
   Klaus had kept silent until now, but when he saw how I shook with fear, his expression gentled.

   “Let us return, Princess Rosemarie,” he said, indicating the path we had come down.

   The soothing sound of his voice took away all my thoughts. I felt like it was comforting me, gently blocking my eyes and ears. There’s no need to see anything scary. There’s no need to hear, it consoled.

   “The ones important to you are those boys, and not the girl, are they not?”


   Guided by his voice, I turned around.
   I took a step toward the greenhouse.

   Unsteadily, I took a step. Then another, just like a puppet.

   He was right. The ones I wanted to protect were my precious friends.

   That’s right, no matter how you tried to pair her up with the boys, her life was no match for theirs.
   I’ll listen to Klaus, and do what he tells me. I’ll choose them.

   I couldn’t believe I’d be so despicable.


   My legs came to a halt, and my head hung down in shame.

   “Princess Rosemarie…?”

   I was so frustrated, so lost, I was about to scream.

   I was afraid to both go forward and turn back.

   I hated both options. I didn’t want to go either direction.
   Whichever way I went, I’d want to save them. I was greedy, selfish, and self-centered. I wanted to help, to save everyone.

   I never wanted to say there was nothing I could do.
   I didn’t ever want to let the matter of someone dying end with a few words.


   I don’t want to become someone like that…!!!

   But, what should I do?
   There was a limit to what I could do by myself with my insignificant power. Even if I held the title of a princess, I had no real say in anything. I couldn’t influence anyone.

   What am I to do? My back was against the wall.
   Was there anything…

   “If there is something causing you worry, please consider calling on me for assistance before you act.”

   The memory of his voice played through my head.

   “I will help you without fail.”

   “Sir Leonhard,” I whispered, sighing.

   “Did something happen?” Klaus stared at me in wonder. It seemed like he hadn’t heard me.

   I spun on my heel and walked away, pretending not to see the greenhouse.

   “Princess Rosemarie!” Klaus raised his voice.

   He placed himself in my way again, and I glared at him.

   “Klaus, step aside.”

   “Even if it is by your command, that alone I cannot obey.”

   “I do not seek her out.”

   “Then, where to?”


   Impatience threatening to run away, I held back my growing irritation, and opened my mouth to speak.
   But, before I could say anything, a figure appeared behind Klaus and my focus shifted there. Eyes widening, and I studied that petite frame from head to toe.

   A beautiful girl with long, straight flaxen hair, and veridian green eyes. Even from a distance, I could tell her skin was ashen. She chewed on her lips, her hands folded out front, and the air she gave off was so tragic it made you worry she would throw herself in the water.

   The one who just appeared was the person at the center of my emotional upheaval. At the sight of Hilde Kramer, I couldn’t conceal my shaking.

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