Apollonia cursed to herself.
A banquet held in commemoration of the princess’s coming-of-age ceremony.
In other words, a good day to lure someone away without being noticed.
Everyone was paying attention to the banquet hall.
He’d seemed drunk and not in his right mind, but that must’ve been part of his plan.
To pick a young maid and bring her to the banquet with him, under the pretext of her attending him.
It was obvious where they were going now.
As she reached the Serbia Garden, she saw two shadows slip through the darkness.
The smaller figure was trying to resist the larger, but it was no use.
Apollonia thought about calling out to them, but changed her mind.
The garden wasn’t even hers.
What was the point of trying to protect it
“Your Royal Highness…”
She was jolted out of her thoughts by a familiar voice behind her.
She turned around to see Nisha, Gareth’s younger brother.
“Why aren’t you in the banquet hall” he asked her curiously.
He was a child who hated crowds and noise, and he must’ve been out to breathe the fresh air.
The moment Apollonia saw his face, an idea crossed her mind.
“I’m looking for my hair ornament.
I think I accidentally dropped it in the Serbia Garden.
Would you mind helping me look for it”
She pointed to the spot where Gareth might still be visible from.
Unlike his mother and brother, he was still young and pure.
He nodded, and ran towards where she pointed.
A moment later Nisha ran out.
He looked shocked.
“Your Highness! In-inside… there’s a person!”
“What do you mean by a person Only the imperial family can enter that place.”
“I’m telling the truth! There was a person inside! What if there’s a thief”
Nisha’s young face quivered as he clutched at her arm.
She looked down at him, and tried to put on a terrified expression.
“If there’s really a person… is someone breaking into the imperial palace!”
Nisha’s eyes widened.
“Then… I have to inform Prince Paris..”
As soon as Apollonia nodded to him, Nisha ran back to the banquet hall, and tugged at Paris’s sleeve, who was chatting with some people in the hallway.
The young man who turned to look at Nisha looked similar to Gareth, but had much more delicate features.
Paris Vianas Ferdian.
The next emperor.
The man, who had blond hair like Apollonia, was surrounded by other young men close in age.
He’d been born with light brown hair, but the color changed after his mother’s death.
The emperor had claimed the late appearance of his royal trait was because Paris was a late bloomer.
In fact, there were many people whose characteristics manifested late, so everyone believed his words.
“What’s going on, Nisha”
Paris and the nobles around him drew their attention to the child.
Exactly how Apollonia had planned.
“I saw people in the Serbia Garden! There must be a thief!”
“Calm down and elaborate.
Was there only one person What did they look like”
Apollonia patted Nisha’s hair to sooth him.
“It looked like a man and a woman, Your Highness.”
Paris’ face turned dark.
He already knew the intruder was Gareth.
He’d always overlooked Gareth’s intrusions.
But as long as Nisha claimed to see the shadow of a woman as well, it was hard to defend Gareth.
Admitting that he allowed women to enter the late Princess Elenia’s beloved garden would ruin his reputation.
“Let’s summon the guards!”
Without knowing Paris’ thoughts, the nobles around him were furious.
“A thief in the Serbia Garden! How dare they try to touch Her Majesty’s belongings! They must have a death wish!”
“If they’re a thief, why would they go to the garden I’m sure it must be a guest who got drunk, and went the wrong way.”
Paris tried to placate them, but the guests wouldn’t let it slide.
“But Your Highness, the garden is a maze.
It would be difficult for anyone who didn’t know the way to find the entrance.
Even if they’re not a thief, it must have been premeditated by someone with ill intentions.
We need to make sure this never happens again.”
They rushed to the imperial garden, Paris, Apollonia, and Nisha following behind.
As soon as they reached the entrance of the garden, they heard a woman’s voice.
But the scream that ripped through the air was so strangled they could barely understand her words