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    Early chapters of this series is currently being re-translated and proofread. So there may be discrepancies regarding character names, titles used, location names.

    Current re-translation status: Chp.1-25.

    Arsen’s demeanor shifted subtly at the mention of a secret. Though he was smiling, he made no attempt to conceal his displeasure. It was clear he thought, “How dare a mere viscount respond in such a manner to a prince’s inquiry?”

    Ian looked down at the child, his smile unwavering.

    ‘The malice is strikingly palpable.’

    A sense of wickedness surpassing mere cunning could be felt. They exchanged gazes in silence for a moment. Arsen laughed playfully, swaying his body from side to side.

    “Ahaha. Lord Ian seems like quite an amusing person.”

    “You flatter me, Your Highness.”

    Even if Arsen and Jin’s faces were identical, distinguishing between them posed no significant challenge. Their personalities were worlds apart. Arsen was always in full bloom, vibrant and lively, while Jin resembled ice that refused to melt in the shade. Calm, cold, and indifferent.

    “I made a mistake. I was found out because I smiled. Had I not, I would have succeeded.”

    Arsen mumbled regretfully, caressing his cheeks. He seemed to think he had been caught not by the dimples, but by the absence of ‘laughter’ in Jin’s behavioral traits.


    “Lord Ian. Please come inside.”

    “Will Your Highness Arsen be joining us?”

    “Your Highness? Why did you come out in this cold? Come here.”

    At Ian’s nod, the chief attendant gasped and draped her outer garment over Arsen’s shoulders. As if on cue, the child coughed briefly, “Ahem.”

    “You were exposed to the cold wind in that short time.”

    “When I heard Lord Ian was coming, how could I not wait?”

    Arsen smiled brightly, extending his hand. It was an invitation to hold hands and enter together. Ian politely declined the prince’s proposal.

    “My hands are cold and will only make Your Highness’s hands cold as well.”

    “Does Lord Ian dislike me?”

    “Of course not.”

    “Then hold my hand. With your right hand.”

    It was a command. At the child’s resolute words, the chief attendant bowed her head, urging compliance. Once he set his mind to something, he would not budge an inch. Ian carefully took Arsen’s hand, looking down at him. The child then beamed as if nothing had happened, pulling him along.

    “Let’s go in.”

    Creak! Thud!

    As they stepped through the door, warmth enveloped them. Despite the early hour, Dilaina was seated on the sofa, sipping tea, impeccably dressed. She smiled quizzically upon seeing Ian and Arsen enter.

    “Arsen, I wondered where you had gone.”

    “I went to greet Lord Ian.”

    Across from Dilaina sat Jin. Upright, maintaining his poise, unwavering. As his gaze met Ian’s, Jin subtly lowered his eyes in greeting. The shadow of his eyelashes, cast by the morning sunlight, elongated.

    “Lord Ian, please sit. Knowing you are preoccupied with work-related turmoil, this conversation will not be lengthy.”

    At Dilaina’s gesture, Ian sat down, arranging his coat. In contrast, Arsen scurried over to Jin, clinging tightly, and whispered quietly so no one could hear.

    “I held a mage’s hand.”


    Jin turned his eyes to look at Arsen. It wasn’t particularly surprising. Arsen always enjoyed being one step ahead of others.

    He wouldn’t have been satisfied with merely observing mana like the other imperial children. Thus, he had gone and directly touched the hand of a mage, one who had even executed Wesleigh.

    “Next time, I’m going to touch a mana sphere. What do you think? Impressive, right?”

    At his boastful words, Jin recalled his own memory with Ian. The warm, fluffy sensation of mana flowing between his fingers. If Arsen found out Jin had touched it first, what expression would he make?

    “Why aren’t you answering? Isn’t it impressive?”

    “…It is impressive. Arsen.”

    With a temperament that insisted on receiving a response, Arsen beamed and showed Jin his palm. As if to let him at least see it, even if he couldn’t touch it. At that moment, Dilaina cleared her throat, admonishing the two princes.

    “Princes, behave yourselves.”

    “Yes, Mother!”

    “…My apologies.”

    Although they received the same reprimand, only Jin’s shoulders visibly shrank. In that sight, Ian could find fragments of his own past. A radiant childhood, precious yet unrecognized, allowed to slip away. A time when, had someone properly guided him, he wouldn’t have suffered so needlessly.

    ‘Mages are rare, but most are of lowborn origin. If discovered, you’ll be cast out from the estate, so conceal it.’

    Cronie. A traitor, a nephew, and the only adult he could rely on when outside the palace. To young Ian, his every word was the world, the truth.

    ‘Speaking as a family member who has watched over you, not as a nephew, I say this. Ian, do you think you have the qualities of an emperor? You are merely a mage born into a noble family. If you seize the throne through the fortune of circumstances, you will undoubtedly be harmed. So, refuse the proposal.’

    In the end, those words proved true. Though he ascended to the emperor’s seat, Ian was brought down by rebellion, losing precious ones, including Naum. As much as he hated to admit it, Cronie was among them.

    “Lord Ian?”

    “Yes. Lady Dilaina.”

    Ian raised his head, smiling brightly. As if to show he hadn’t missed any of Dilaina’s words. She elegantly caressed the rim of her teacup, initiating the conversation.

    “You appear unwell.”

    “I haven’t been able to sleep properly due to the heavy workload.”

    “I heard you are also involved in the selection of the Ministry of Magic’s minister.”

    “That’s correct. At times like these, someone needs to take the lead on-site.”

    “And how has His Highness Mariv been? Has he offered words of encouragement?”

    Dilaina subtly cast her bait. She was asking if Mariv was Ian’s sponsor. This was to ascertain if Ian becoming the Ministry of Magic’s minister would benefit Mariv.

    “As it is an internal matter of the Ministry of Magic, no specific encouragement has come from the palace yet. It would be a great honor if Lady Dilaina were to be the first to do so.”

    With the current situation suggesting an alliance between Mariv and Gale, who had joined forces with the lower princes, Ian answered, leaving room for interpretation. At this, Dilaina unconsciously placed a hand on her chest, sighing in relief.


    “Are you all right?”

    Why is she reacting like that? Ian looked at her quizzically, but Dilaina merely shook her head.

    “Then, by any chance, has the head of the Mana Stone Management Department also joined your supporting forces?”

    “Lady Dilaina. You met with His Highness Gale.”


    Silence is said to be affirmation. Instead of answering, Dilaina closed her eyes tightly, furrowing her brow. Judging from her demeanor, it was evident that Gale had approached Dilaina, proposing a temporary alliance.

    ‘Come to think of it, I have no idea where Dilaina’s family of origin is.’

    Arsen and Jin were too young, and with older princes holding their ground, her internal palace forces were insignificant.

    However, Dilaina was a woman who had gained the emperor’s trust and fulfilled the role of empress. Moreover, the fact that there were no rumors about her background suggested that she was not only of noble birth but could also be royalty from a foreign country.

    “Yes. To be precise, Gale came to see me. It was the first time since entering the palace. I thought the situation must be quite difficult for him, but upon reflection, it seemed it wasn’t just his predicament.”

    “The more elders there are in the palace, the better. That way, Their Highnesses Arsen and Jin will have more to observe and learn from.”

    If the balance between Mariv and Gale is disturbed, the repercussions will fall upon the twin princes. Dilaina, even if she wants to remain a spectator, is in no position to do so. She realized that ultimately, siding with and supporting the rising power is the way to survive.

    “Gale told me that someone who could replace Wesleigh is hiding within the Ministry of Magic. Thus, I thought it would be one of the candidates for minister, but no matter how much I pondered, there was no suitable person.”

    She paused briefly to wet her throat before continuing.

    “Most are mere pawns without backing, and the only candidate I considered worth supporting was Director Chang.”

    Ah. The one backing Director Chang was Dilaina. Ian nodded slightly, as if grasping the situation.

    “But if you are Gale’s hidden card, that changes things. Is there any need to split the pie? I, too, shall actively support you.”

    “I am honored.”

    This would result in the birth of a Ministry of Magic minister simultaneously supported by the 1st Prince, 2nd Prince, 4th Prince, and 5th Prince. No one would dare voice any opposition. Ian suppressed a chuckle at Gale’s machinations.

    ‘You’re busy pulling strings here and there, Gale. Still, if we’re in the same boat, it would be good to at least give me a hint about such matters.’

    Without information sharing, there was no way to know the extent of Dilaina’s knowledge. Moreover, he had no idea what they had negotiated in their temporary alliance.

    For Gale, it was likely a temporary gathering of forces, but what about Dilaina? What had she gained? She wouldn’t have jumped in simply for the sake of maintaining balance.

    “So, did you summon me here to confirm that?”

    “That’s the most important thing. Right now.”

    Dilaina smiled faintly. The words “right now” carried many implications. Ian also smiled ceremoniously, bowing his head.

    “Once you become the Ministry of Magic’s minister, I will arrange another meeting.”

    “I will be waiting.”

    “When the time comes, you should know that you will have access to all the Ministry of Magic’s records. You should also know that once you learn, there will be no going back to a time of ignorance.”

    The Ministry of Magic’s confidential records likely contained detailed information about Arsen and Jin’s prophecies. Did it mean there was more beyond the revealed prophecies? Well, he would find out when the time came.

    Ian stood up, leaving only a calm farewell.

    “Whenever you require my assistance, please give the order. I will not forget Lady Dilaina’s glorious aid either.”

    “Those are reassuring words to hear.”

    “Then, I shall take my leave.”

    “Ah, have you heard about that?”

    Dilaina stopped Ian.

    “This is something I overheard at a gathering of noble ladies, not from Gale. I was curious if it was true or not.”

    “Please ask.”

    “There’s a rumor that Gale is engaged to a daughter of the Hayman family. Do you know anything about it?”

    The Hyman family. A noble family holding the heart of Variel’s finance in their grasp. With royal blood from a foreign country flowing through their veins, they were the cream of the crop. They were the perfect candidate to fill the void left by Wesleigh’s death.

    “I apologize. I am unaware of the matter.”

    “Is that so? That’s a pity. I understand.”

    If it were true, Gale was indeed a man who would not die easily. He could deliver a proper blow to the back of Mariv’s head, who was letting his guard down after nearly killing him.


    As Ian stepped outside, Dilaina became lost in deep thought, caressing her hair. Amidst the bloody battle between Mariv and Gale, it was always she and her sons who trembled in anxiety. Even if the situation was quelled for now, wouldn’t a time come when they would have to confront each other head-on?

    Before Arsen and Jin came of age, either Mariv or Gale would undoubtedly point their blade.

    ‘Mariv, Gale, and Ian.’

    Ian felt like the point where the gears interlocked. It seemed he must hold the key to simultaneously keeping both Mariv and Gale in check. If only he could wield it properly…

    “Mother, what are you thinking so deeply about?”

    “Hmm? It’s nothing, dear.”

    Dilaina stroked the head of Arsen, who clung to her affectionately, and then turned to look at Jin. Jin was still sitting in his place, gazing at his mother with indifferent eyes.

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