[MY LIFE story could be the next hit shonen manga. Tags: time travel, reincarnation, action, fantasy, gender-bender. I should definitely exploit my struggles and use it to create money for my dream of becoming a lady of leisure someday.]
Gosh, since when did she have a capitalist mindset?
[I'm scaring myself.]
Neoma turned to Lewis who knelt beside her bed with a worried look on his face. She smiled weakly at him. "Don't worry, Lewis," she assured him. "I'm not dying."
She had been stuck to her bed for the whole day and she hadn't eaten anything solid yet. Aside from antidote, all she was ever fed was soup. Thankfully, she didn't feel hungry. Anyway, the sun just set and Stephanie had already changed her pajamas for the third time because she was heavily sweating the entire time.
Anyway, aside from the discomfort that she felt all day, she was still a little grateful for the "break" that she had. Her brain came up with a few ways to look for the Devil's Grimoire.
Disclaimer: she wasn't book smart.
But the memories of her first life surely helped her get this far. Plus, she had read too many m*nga and w*bcomics series in her past life. They served as her guide.
[I was raised by S*ilor Moon, w*bcomics, and Sh*nen J*mp m*nga series.]
Anyway, she had to focus on her mission while locked up in her room because she didn't want to think about sad things. Sad things like Duke Rufus Quinzel's "kindness" to her in her past life might not really be kindness. If the duke's older brother betrayed His Majesty, then his "loyalty" to the emperor could mean another thing.
[It could be atonement for the sin that Commander Quinzel committed against Papa Boss.]
"I think I'm feeling better now," she lied to drive the sad thoughts away, then she got up and leaned against the headboard. "Lewis, can you do me a favor?"
Lewis immediately stood up and nodded.
"Thank you, Lewis," Neoma smiled sweetly at him. "Please get me my writing tools."
"YOUR MAJESTY, Her Royal Highness sent a letter to you," Glenn informed His Majesty who didn't even raise his head.
Well, it was understandable.
After all, Emperor Nikolai was reading an important document.
[I wish he would pay more attention to Princess Neoma.]
As an emperor, His Majesty was a great ruler. But as a father, he had to say that the emperor hadn't gained the right to be called one so far.
"Read it," Emperor Nikolai ordered him.
"As you wish, Your Majesty," Glenn said, then he carefully opened the royal princess's letter.
He had to stifle a laugh when he scanned the content.
"What is it?" the emperor demanded.
When he raised his head, he realized that His Majesty was already looking at him. The emperor probably got curious when he held back his laughter. "Your Majesty, I'm afraid that I don't have the right to utter such words in front of you."
"Did the royal princess cuss at me again?"
He shook his head. "Thankfully, Her Royal Highness didn't cuss at you, Your Majesty. But the royal princess's choice of words is unbefitting of her position."
"It's fine," the emperor said. He was obviously very used to the way the royal princess would talk to him. "Just read it. We both know how the royal princess talks anyway."
"Are you sure, Your Majesty?"
He rolled his eyes. "Yes, so read the damned letter now."
[And he wonders why Princess Neoma has a bad temper?]
"I'll read it now, Your Majesty," Glenn said, then he cleared his throat. ""Dear, Papa Boss. Every inch of my small body aches like hell. Will you kindly bring the Royal Grimoire to my room? Don't throw tantrums, okay? It's for my job. I need it now. As in n-o-w. That's all. Ciao!"
Not that he knew what "ciao" meant.
His Majesty looked stressed after hearing the content of Princess Neoma's letter. "It seems like the royal princess needs to learn how to write a formal letter.���
"I think Her Royal Highness knows how to write a formal letter," he said with a smile. "The royal princess just doesn't want to use formal language on you, Your Majesty."
The emperor nodded in agreement. "She's treating me like I'm her friend. How rude."
[But you don't seem to mind it, Your Majesty.]
He suddenly remembered Princess Neoma's face when he showed him Lady Roseheart's photo. It was unusual. He also didn't believe it when the royal princess said that she was just sad when she realized that she would never meet her mother.
[That look wasn't sadness. Her Royal Highness looked shocked and scared. She wouldn't hyperventilate like that if she was just sad.]
Most of all, he noticed that she didn't even glance at His Majesty in the photo.
He felt like the one the royal princess called "daddy" wasn't the emperor but Sir Gavin Quinzel. But he couldn't wrap his head around it. After all, Princess Neoma had never seen the former commander before.
Not that she would have a chance to meet Sir Quinzel.
He felt a painful thump in his chest when he remembered how the lives of Lady Roseheart and Sir Quinzel ended.
[Stop], he scolded himself. [Don't sympathize with people who betrayed His Majesty.]
He decided to just shrug it off. Maybe the royal princess was just confused, considering how lost she looked last night.
"Let's go," Emperor Nikolai said, then he stood up and grabbed his jacket. "Let's grab the Royal Grimoire from the royal library."
Glenn smiled in relief. As he though, His Majesty could really tolerate Princess Neoma. There was still hope for the two to fix their strained relationship. "As you wish, Your Majesty."
"YOU'RE still alive?" Nikolai "greeted" the royal princess as soon as he entered her chamber.
"I'm sorry to disappoint you but I'm still alive and kicking, Papa Boss," Neoma said in a fake sad voice.
He just smirked at his retort.
When he reached her bed, he quickly checked on the royal princess from head to toe. If she could still talk back to him with her usual sass, then that meant she was really fine.
"Next week, we'll increase the dosage of poison that you need to take," he said, then he sat in the chair that Glenn pulled for him.
Amazingly, the royal princess didn't complain at what he said.
"Don't look at me like you're expecting a comeback from me, Papa Boss," the royal princess said. "Like I said, I know my responsibility."
He didn't comment on that. "What do you need the Royal Grimoire for?" He needed to know that before he handed her the book. "Just so you know, it's not something that even the royal prince could easily get a hold of. I'm merely making an exception because you said it's for your job."
"I haven't seen a grimoire in my life yet," she started to explain. "I mean, I know what it looks like. But I need to touch it and find out what makes it different from ordinary spell books. I figured the Royal Grimoire could share some similarities with the Devil's Grimoire. If I know what makes them special from other spell books, then maybe I'd recognize the Devil's Grimoire once I see it."
He nodded in agreement. "For a girl, you're quite something."
"Stop saying "for a girl,"" she snapped at him again, her eyes clear as she glared at him. "I don't need your backhanded compliment."
[There's that look on her eyes again.]
God, why did the royal princess have to inherit that lowly woman's eyes?
"Papa Boss, why do you hate me so much?" Neoma asked with a dangerous glint in her clear, round ash gray eyes that she got from him. "Is it because my mother hurt you really bad?"
Glenn, who stood behind him, gasped loudly.
Nikolai, on the other hand, suddenly felt numb.
Every time he was reminded him of that lowly woman, all he could think about was the day that she ran away with the treacherous commander.
"If I say that you're right, then what will you do?" Nikolai asked in a cold voice. "How will you atone for your mother's grave sin, Princess Neoma?"
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