Turns out I wasn’t the only one surprised by her reaction.

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“You.”

The Crown Prince, holding a book on his side, rushed toward us.

“Are you just going to leave?”

“Yes.”

“You came into my garden and were so loud, though?”

I was seriously going to say ‘So what?’ to him, but I deliberately held myself back.

He looked at me with a mocking gaze that was quite unpleasant.

“Do I have to apologize again?”

“Of course! Because I’m still mad at you!”

A thin vein appeared on Rere’s forehead.

“Who are you to say that to my mom!”

I already knew who that child was, so I tried to avoid conversation as much as possible.
But Rere clearly had a different idea.

Rere was a child who couldn’t stand injustice.

“Ha…? Did you just speak informally to me?”

“Who the hell are you?!”

“Me? I’m the Crown Prince of this country!”

“So what do you want me to do?!”

…Huh? This seemed off.

Rere did not budge at all even when he revealed his identity.

“What? Aren’t you scared of me?”

“Yeah! I wasn’t scared of His Majesty the Emperor.
So why should I be scared of you?”

“Ha….?”

The Crown Prince looked tense due to the turn of events.

“You’re the one who started talking informally to me.”

“Ah, is that so? Turns out the Crown Prince is not that great.
Seems like no one ever tells you how they feel.
How pitiful.”

Rere was being her usual self, but was she allowed to say this?

I looked alternately between the two children for a moment.
It was fortunate that Rere was indifferent to the Crown Prince, but this worried me somehow.

I was worried that the Crown Prince would be furious and decide to harm Rere.

“…You.”

But the mood was quite strange.

I expected him to be furious, but he looked at Rere with an unreadable expression.

I stood close to Rere in case anything happened.

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“Yeah?”

“What’s your name?”

“Me? Little Bunny!”

“…What?”

“I don’t want to tell my name to someone who treats my mom badly! Mom, let’s go!”

Rere grabbed my hand before turning around.
I thought the child would have a lot to say, but she dragged me without hesitation.

“A-Are you going to leave already?”

As soon as we got out of there, the maid approached us as if she had been waiting.

“We are going back now.”

“How about looking around more?”

The maid looked over my shoulders anxiously.
Perhaps the Crown Prince was looking at us right now.
At times like this, I have to be more assertive.

“Yeah.
Is there any reason for us to stay here any longer?”

“Not really….”

“Then we shall go back.”

As the maid hesitated, I passed by her confidently.
A deep sigh came from the back.

“I…”

“We’ll go back no matter what you say.
Don’t hinder us.”

“No, it’s not like that….”

“The path is this way, right?”

“Ah.”

…I knew it.
That’s why Rere kept tilting her head next to me.

Why wouldn’t you tell me sooner if we’re going the wrong way?

So I let out an embarrassed cough and quickly turned around.

“I see.
The path here is quite difficult.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who went the wrong way like this.”

“…Mom.
Lying is a bad thing.”

“…Rere.”

“Just be honest.
Why can’t you just say that you got lost?”

As if trying to loosen up my tense face, Rere grinned and held my hand tightly.

“Rere, are you an honest child?”

“Of course! I’m so honest!”

“Really?”

Meanwhile, the maid walked in front of us with her shoulders drooping.

We walked for quite some time.

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“By the way, Rere.”

“Yes!”

“About that child, no, the Crown Prince, don’t you have any impression of him?”

Whether your heart was pounding, or you felt something new when you first saw him.

“Not at all! If anyone ever treats Big Bunny badly, I will hate them wholeheartedly, even if it was Luca!”

“Really?”

“Yes! Rere is an honest person!”

It was different.

At that moment, a smile spread across my face.

Perhaps I could change the future now that the most problematic part had been resolved.

“Why? Do you like the Crown Prince? If Mom wants it, I will try to like him a little!”

“No! I don’t want that!”

“Thank goodness.
Actually, I hated him.”

“You mean the Crown Prince?”

“Yeah!”

I’m sure Rere was supposed to like him from the start.

“Why didn’t you like him?”

“Umm…He’s handsome! But I didn’t like what he said.”

“Did you?”

“Yes! I don’t know if it was a long time ago, but…I have zero interest in him right now.
By the way, Mom.”

“Hmm, yeah?”

Rere smiled brightly, swinging our hands back and forth.

“I think it’s true that our taste changes as we get older.”

“R-Rere, are you getting older?”

“Yes! I’m five years old!”

I nodded with a smile when Rere stretched out her cute little fingers.

“You’re right.”

“The Crown Prince was my type when I was four.
Now I like people who are similar to my mom.
I’m sure my taste has changed!”

My face got brighter because there seemed to be a way to avoid Rere’s tragic future in this bloody novel.

“That’s a relief.”

“Mom’s taste might change, too.”

“Huh? My taste?”

“Yes! Mom hates my daddy, right?”

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I scratched my head awkwardly at her sharp remark.

“It’s not that I hate him….”

“But it’s true that Mom hates Daddy.
But who knows if Mom will come to like my daddy someday.”

“How long do you think it will take for Mom to like your daddy?”

“Uh…well…”

She stopped for a moment at my words and folded her fingers one by one.

“Uh..fifteen years!”

“F-Fifteen years?”

“Yeah! So Mom can’t run away from me even if Mom doesn’t like my daddy, okay?”

“Okay.
I’ll stay with Rere even if I don’t like your daddy.”

“Yeah!”

By the time we reached the door where we met the Emperor earlier, I saw the Duke and the Emperor had come outside.

“Oh, Princess and Duchess? Are you done looking around?”

“Yes! I’m done playing!”

“Did you like the garden?”

Rere looked at me before nodding.
Then she bowed slightly to greet the Emperor.

“Thank you for letting me enjoy the beautiful scenery with my mom.”

“Hoo..! The Princess is so adorable.
I’ve never felt anything like this because I only raised my son, you see.”

In fact, the Emperor’s eyes turned affectionate at the sight of Rere.
As if he was really charmed by Rere.

I knew my daughter was unbearably lovely, but I would never give her to that guy.
I would never let Rere be associated with the Imperial Family.

“Then may I go back now? Your Majesty the Emperor.”

“Oh, are you leaving already?”

“Yes.
I thought Rere would be tired because it’s her first outing after so long.”

“Yeah! Mom, hug me.”

“Okay, my daughter.”

I leaned down and held Rere at once.

“Seeing the Princess like this makes me want to have a pretty daughter.
Daughter is fine, or maybe a daughter-in-law who is like a daughter sounds good, too.”

Daughter-in-law, my ass!

If he wasn’t the Emperor, I’d like to spit out a bunch of swear words.

As if she would be your daughter-in-law! What kind of nonsense was that!

“Your Majesty seems healthy enough to have a daughter on your own.
Because a daughter’s a daughter, and a son is a son.
There’s no daughter-in-law who’s like a daughter in this world.”

I tried to say it in the most refined and polite way possible, but the Emperor’s face was still crestfallen.
The same was true of the Duke.

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“I see.”

“Did I perhaps make a mistake, Your Majesty?”

I pretended to be clueless and bowed my head hastily.
As if he couldn’t say what was on his mind, the Emperor only forced a smile.

“There’s no such thing.
Then you should head back now.
I hope the Duke will consider what we talked about earlier.”

“Yes, Your Majesty.”

The Duke was obviously displeased by something.
He led us to greet the Emperor again and then returned to the carriage.

He didn’t say anything on the walk back.
Even so, that didn’t make me feel uncomfortable or anything.

“Rere, when we get home, I’ll make you a flower crown.”

“Yup! Make me a flower ring, too!”

“Okay!”

The Duke occasionally turned his head to our conversation but had been silent for a long time.

We just walked and walked.
At last, after getting into the carriage and departing, he opened his mouth.

“I think it’s better for you not to come again to the Imperial Palace.”

“Are you talking about me?”

“Yes.”

“I don’t have any intention of visiting.
And I won’t let Rere visit the Imperial Palace again.”

“We have no choice.
It is His Majesty’s will.”

“Are you a dog?”

“What did you say?”

“Are you a dog that blindly obeys its owner and wags its tail no matter how badly it is being treated?”

“Leona.
I think you’re crossing the line because I’ve been nice to you lately.”

“I think it’s you who’s crossing the line.”

Rere looked up to me without saying anything.
So I stroked her head while keeping eye contact with him.

“Since it’s the Emperor’s will, we must obey it no matter what.
Is that what you’re trying to say? Are you willing to throw away the promise you made to us?”

“That’s….”

“I’m sure you said, ‘If Rere doesn’t want to go after going once, I won’t force her anymore’.”

“I did say that, but Rere hasn’t decided on anything.
And regarding the Crown Prince…Rere, you’re going to the palace to meet the Crown Prince again, right?”

At that moment, the Duke’s eyes were filled with expectation.

“Rere, please think carefully.
He’s sweet, handsome and kind.
On top of that, he’s the Crown Prince of this Empire.”

“I know.
I met him already.”

“Did you meet him?”

“Yes, I did.
And I’ve made up my mind.
I won’t go to the Imperial Palace again! My mom doesn’t want me to do that, and the Crown Prince is not that attractive.”

“H-Hold on, Rere.”

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