Ch. 177 Only Louise Sweeney (3)

The former queen smiled confidently and led Louise by the hands. Louise finally understood the “we” the king spoke of. The royal family would be officially welcoming Louise.

“She was intelligent, just as you are.”

She was speaking of Ian’s mother, the deceased queen of this country.

“The rumors about her were vicious. Even someone as brilliant as her became the subject of mockery.”

“…I see.”

“But she kept working proudly as a member of the royal family.”

Despite that, humans always targeted who they thought was the weak point. Even in the midst of the royal family, a commoner was the softest flesh.

The former queen’s grip briefly tightened around Louise’s hand. Perhaps it was a habit of anger, but the former queen’s face still bore a smile.

“Although the nobles of today will not acknowledge you, the historical records don’t tell lies.”

“I’ll leave the facts to them.”

Louise remembered the court officials who had diligently followed Ian.

“Your reputation will surely recover over time. You are someone you should be proud of. However.”

The former queen fixed Louise with a steely gaze again.

“This situation is still far from ideal.”

She spoke in a firm tone.

“None of the nobles will let you off easy. Be aware of any error or blunders.”

Louise bowed her head and muttered a reply.

“I…I wish I were a noble.”

She wasn’t ashamed of her status, but she wished she wasn’t such a burden on other people.

“Perhaps. But the fact is that you are not one. I like to work hard for my grandchildren anyway.”

Louise remembered how the former queen would secretly send Simon a birthday cake.

“Oh! Your carrot cakes were always delicious. I was fooled for years.”

“I’ll fool you a few more times in the future.”

“I…I look forward to it.”

The former queen’s tricks were sure to make the three happy.

“Louise Sweeney.”

“Yes.”

By then, the former queen’s movements slowed down, and soon the both of them stopped in the middle of the hall.

“As I’ve said before, you have to laugh, eat, and play a lot. Even more so as an adult.”

“…Your Highness.”

“Of course, since there will be a lot of work, it will be difficult to find time to play.”

The former queen gave a peal of laughter and left a light kiss on Louise’s forehead.

“Now, no matter what, remember one thing.”

“I am welcomed by the royal family?”

Louise answered quickly, but the former queen shook her head.

“The young Crown Prince takes after me the most. “

She took Louise’s shoulders and turned her around. In the distance, she saw Ian running towards her with a pale face. He must have dropped everything and ran when he saw the former queen lightly kissing Louise.

“He likes you, and I do too.”

She gave a half-smile and lightly pushed Louise on the back.

“Go ahead.”

Louise glanced back to look at the former queen.

“Go ahead. Go anywhere you want.”

*

*

*

Louise danced with Ian, of course, and enjoyed herself to the point of embarrassment. Afterwards, the pair headed towards an empty terrace away from curious eyes, and Ian immediately deflated like a rubber ball.

“Are you tired?”

Louise looked at him worriedly, but he shook his head. He stared at the spot on her forehead where the former queen left a kiss. Anyone could leave a blessing on New Year’s, but as with everything, there was an order to it.

“Mr. Audmonial.”

His title remained unchanged for the new year.

“You look upset.”

“I’m upset with my grandmother, Ms. Sweeney.”

He followed Louise’s lead in reply. Louise now realized why the former queen laughed so much. Ian’s reaction must have been amusing.

“You are mine.”

Ian made a stubborn declaration, even though no one asked.

“Your joints and muscles are mine, and your wide forehead is mine.”

“As I said before, I’m mine.”

“You have Ian Audmonial.”

He hadn’t brought a gift, so he gave his whole self. He took a breath and looked at Louise.

“Now I have to wait another year…”

“Wait? For what?”

“I wanted to be the first person to give you a blessing in the New Year.”

He brushed her forehead with his fingertips, and gave her a second, although late, kiss on the forehead. As his warm lips pulled away from her skin, he whispered his blessing to her.

“This is my first New Year’s with you. Every beginning is special.”

“Come to think of it, it’s amazing that there was still something we haven’t done together yet, Mr. Audmonial. We’ve known each other for a long time.”

“You may be surprised, but there’s still plenty you and I haven’t done yet.”

“We haven’t?”

Louise looked at him with widened eyes, and he simply laughed.

“Like what?”

“What indeed.”

He lifted her chin a little more, and their lips met each others again. This time they explored each other a little longer, and soon enough their light touches weren’t enough.

Kissing made Louise hyper aware of many things—the shape of the lips that formed gentle words, the heat of their breaths, the wet touch of teeth and tongues. Her thoughts grew blurry and her knees grew weak, causing her to lean into Ian’s body.

She vaguely remembered that the story “The Academy’s Secret Lovers” concluded with Stella’s graduation from the Academy. So now. This time here did not belong to the original story. It was out of it. Completely. Of course, the original story’s events hadn’t been followed for a long time, but Louise still felt a strange sense of liberation. She was no longer bound by villains or protagonists.

She closed her eyes a little more. From now on, there was only an unwritten, pure white sheet ahead of her.

Read the full chapter at ShainaG Translations or WordExcerpt.

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…Later.

Louise, who dreamed of a bright and hopeful tomorrow, suddenly remembered a phrase in her mind.

[Due to demand, an R-rated revised edition will be issued!]

The revised edition contained an extra story after graduation, which received praises like “The man’s body is hot!” followed by five star ratings.

By any chance, would Louise end up confirming that hotness?

“What’s wrong?”

Ian, sensing something was amiss, pulled away. Louise blushed to the tips of her ears and shook her head quickly. You’re crazy, Louise Sweeney. How could Louise have that chance?

“Oh, n-nothing.”

“It doesn’t look that way. What’s wrong? Hm?”

He cupped Louise’s face in both hands. He had been adjusting his lips several times, does his best to make her feel good. It only turned out to be counterproductive, however, and the heated touches only deepened her confusion.

Ian kept looking at her anxiously, so Louise tried a small lie.

“You know, I just…”

“Ah, are you afraid that the court officials will record this?”

“…What?!”

“Because if they don’t, they’ll be in trouble. This is the day the royal court officially acknowledges you.”

“B-but that means…!”

“I know, but they’re not bad enough to record secrets on the terrace. So you don’t have to worry. “

Ian offered Louise a reassuring hug and even patted her on the back. Louise smiled and tucked her face into his arms. It really was comfortable in this position. She could hear her favorite sound of his heartbeat underneath his clothes…

The chance to confirm his hotness…

Hmm. Well, maybe for the time being, they should be more tied to the original story for now.

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