Baron Carter was the librarian of the Imperial Library.
He was a man in his mid-twenties whose daily routine started and ended with tidying the library.
Meanwhile, Rose had never been to a library other than the one at Honeywell Manor, and as there was no particular need to fill out rental and return paperwork at home, she ran into trouble as soon as she arrived.
Rose took a deep breath and approached Baron Carter.
The baron was at work at the bookshelf, managing the library's borrowing and returning.
“I—I'm here to return the book.”
Could you please bring it this way and tell me your name?”
Baron Carter, who belatedly checked Rose's face while receiving the book, was immediately frightened.
“Ro— Rose Honeywell?!”
The baron's voice echoed loudly in the quiet imperial library.
When a knight guarding the library cleared his throat in warning, Baron Carter hurriedly lowered his voice and backtracked.
“Sorry, I'm sorry, Lady Honeywell, I have been rude.”
“No, that's alright, I have come to return this.”
“Yes, yes, I will return it right away!”
Baron Carter could not hide his doubt as he answered.
…Did Lady Rose Honeywell ever borrow a book here?
Maybe she borrowed one when I left my shift?
He opened the handwritten book, which recorded the list of rentals.
And after confirming the name of the person who borrowed the book Lady Rose returned, the baron accidentally raised his voice once more.
“The Marquise of Rosenberg?!”
The guard's stinging eyes burned holes in his back.
The baron shrank his shoulders and turned to face Rose, who was standing in front of him.
Why did Rose Honeywell return the book Marquise Alison Rosenberg borrowed?
Baron Carter, who tried to guess the connection between the two, felt his head ache with an upcoming headache.
He smiled kindly and made a quick decision to stop thinking about things he will never know the truth about.
The return processing has been completed.
Is there anything else you need?”
She requested that I borrow a new book while I returned this one.
There are many new books, what type of book are you looking for?”
“She said she doesn't have any specific genres in mind.”
“…Is this a book for Marquise Rosenberg to read?”
The baron looked through the list of new book titles, searching for an interesting book that would be suitable to recommend to the marquise.
…If I handed over a book that the marquise ended up not enjoying, this might come back and bite me.
What should I give her?
The baron's fingers, which were going through the list in detail, paused at the title of a certain book.
Excited, he turned to the Rose of Honeywell.
“How about the history books? There's a new collection that has been updated recently, there is also an illustration in the middle, so it is probably the best thing to read these days.”
“Great, then I'll borrow it.”
The book may be—“
The baron got up from his seat and headed for the cart where the unorganized books were stored.
After rummaging through the cart, looking for a book, he turned around with an embarrassed expression.
“It looks like the book has already been shelved.
Just wait a moment, and I will bring it to you.”
Rose looked at the myriad of books in the cart and shook her hand.
You seem to have a lot of work to do.
I can find it myself.
Just tell me which one you're looking for.”
Perhaps he was really busy, the baron quickly scribbled on a small piece of paper and handed it over with a brightened face.
“This is where the book is.
If you find it, come here to find me, and I will help you process the rental.”
Rose politely bowed her head to the baron and walked in the direction stated in the note.
A blush appeared on Baron Carter's face as he watched her go deep into the Imperial Library.
“I never thought I would actually get to see the Rose Honeywell.”
Returning to his seat, the baron's shoulders began to subtly shake as he hummed a song quietly to himself.
Immersed in his lullaby, it took him a moment before he felt a presence at the entrance to the library.
Hesitantly getting up from his seat, he looked at the entrance with his heart in his throat and watched a figure enter, accompanied by the knights.
Baron Carter practically climbed over the desk as he roared.
“I greet the Sun of the Tristan Empire!”
It was an extremely rare occurrence for Russell to appear in the Imperial Library, as he usually read books using Wells when he borrowed them.
Baron Carter hadn't seen Russell in person, though he worked in the palace for nearly five years.
Huh? But didn't they say there was an important meeting related to the debutante today?
In the past few years, whenever that meeting was in session, it started early in the morning and ended late in the day.
Curiosity set in, but he stopped his thoughts again.
Bent in a 90-degree bow, the baron heard the voice of his emperor speaking to him.
To maintain the courtesy of the Imperial Library, Russell's voice was very low.
“Hmm, has she not come here by any chance?”
The baron exclaimed in surprise, and his back straightened with a snap.
Silently, he pointed in the direction Rose had earlier taken.
“Lady Honeywell headed to the location where there are books relating to the history of the Tristan Empire.”
“Has she been here for a while?”
“No, she arrived only a short while ago.”
When the emperor sighed in relief, the baron felt confused.
Russell gave orders to the escort knights to guard the library entrance before he headed deeper into the library, in the same direction as Rose.
Watching the emperor's back fade into the shelves, the baron muttered.
Why is His Majesty looking for Lady Honeywell?”
But no one answered his question.
As the number of books stored in the imperial library was large, the range of divisions was also vast.
“History of Tristan.
It took a long time to pass through shelves classified by type, such as plants, science, nature, and art, before arriving at the place the imperial librarian had pointed out.
“There are so many books about the Tristan Empire!”
Rose took another look at the note.
The title of the book the librarian recommended was “Abaddon of Tristan.” Rose read the titles of the books listed in alphabetical order.
“Abaddon of Tristan.
Abaddon of Tristan?”
Rose carefully examined the title of the book, her gaze traveling across the bookshelves before abruptly stopping.
Even from a distance, a book titled “The Abandonment of Tristan” was clearly visible.
It was clear to her that this was the book the librarian recommended.
There was just one problem.
The book was placed on the highest shelf of the bookshelf.
It seemed hard to reach even if Rose stood on her tiptoes.
A look of frustration crept over Rose's face.
“There must be a ladder around such a high bookshelf!”
Rose looked around.
There must be a ladder near here to help you easily get the books on the high bookshelf, but why can't I see it?
“Should I ask the librarian for help?”
It's a long way back.
After staring blankly at the book for a while, Rose gathered her courage and bravely approached the bookshelf.
She placed her hand on the bookshelf for balance and then rose to her tiptoes.
With the other hand stretched upward, her fingertips barely scraped the bottom of the book.
…I think I can get it out.
As she battled to grab the bottom of the book, her arms gradually numbed and her calves cramped.
Stubbornly, she refused to make a sound as she stretched her body to the limit and eventually succeeded in taking out the book.
Well, it would be more like dropping it than taking it out.
The problem was that, along the way, other books around it fell as well.
Books of different thicknesses began to fall on Rose's head.
Surprised, Rose hurriedly tried to avoid it, but unfortunately, her body refused the sudden movements.
Thinking of the inevitable, Rose reflexively closed her eyes.
The books fell to the floor with a dull sound.
Rose herself didn't feel anything.
I thought it would hurt my head a lot?
Puzzled, Rose slowly opened her eyes and found a large hand wrapped around her head, protecting it.
“Your— Your Majesty?!”
Rose's mouth dropped as Russell covered her head with both hands, trapping her between the tall bookshelf and him.
Rose's mouth dropped.
Looking at her disbelief, the emperor smiled happily.
“Where are you hurt?”
Russell's voice was soft and sweet.
Immediately, Rose replied subconsciously, unaware that she was being seduced by his pleasant voice.
“I'm fine, but Your Majesty, are you hurt? You got hit by the books protecting me.”
Russell slowly dropped his hands from her head.
Rose followed his hand with a terrified face, and their eyes landed on the back of Russell's hand.
As the book fell, the edge hit his hand, leaving behind a scratch.
It was a small wound, but the skin was split and there were small drops of blood.
Seeing the blood, Rose's face turned pale.
“Your Majesty! Your hand— Cut!”
The emperor was embarrassed by the wound on the back of his hand.
How could Rose be so scared of a single small wound?
Maybe it's because I'm her emperor.
Russell caught her attention.
“Lady Honeywell, I'm fine.”
I dared to injure the Emperor! We need to call the physician right away!”
Anyone who sees it will know that blood was spilled from Russell's flesh.
Silently, Russell reached out to appease Rose.
The Rose of Honeywell was in a state of panic, and without a second glance, the young lady abandoned the emperor and turned to run out of the library, entirely unaware of the comforting hand outstretched to appease her.
A short yelp later, the lady collapsed.
The emperor, reacting fast enough to hold her falling form, fell with her.
“Urgh! My Leg.”
The Rose of Honeywell grabbed her calves in agony, her actions gave Russell an idea of what was wrong.
“You need to quickly release those tight muscles.
I will help…”
Rose's long skirt was now wrapping her calves over the skirt, so Russell's hand stopped over her leg.
His hands were suspended over her legs.
He didn't know where to lay his hands, but he knew he needed to do something when he saw the sight of Rose's face contorting in pain.
Can you lift your skirt up for a second?”
Rose groaned and gripped her legs; a brief moment passed before she flinched with understanding.
Her snow-white face instantly flushed red.
“Yes? My— why my skirt?”
“I can't let your muscles relax with your dress in the way, please lift it up just until your calves.”
Even if he's an emperor, how could I pull up my skirt in front of a man?
Rose shook her head vigorously.
“I apologize, but I can't do that.”
“Then are you going to stay in pain?”
I wanted to leave it be, but it hurts so much.
Rose tightly clenched her lips to power through the pain, but eventually she was unable to bear it as her willpower collapsed.
“Then, please, I'll be in your care, Your Majesty.”
Reluctantly, Rose lifted the hem of her skirt.
The sight of the hem slowly revealing flesh beneath caused Russell to flush, feel embarrassed, and turn his gaze to the bookshelf.
Eventually, the skirt was pulled up to her knees, leaving Rose's pale, thin legs on display.
It's good that it's winter; at least my legs are covered by thick stockings.
“Which leg is injured?”
Russell took off Rose's right shoe and wrapped his palm around her leg.
His hands gently pressed against her toes and massaged her calves to loosen the knotted muscles.
His touch was as careful as that of a craftsman making pottery.
His movements were serious and honest, and Rose forgot her shyness in an instant.
Instead, she chose to spend her time admiring the man who was stretching and massaging her leg muscles.
His face lowered, and Rose glanced at his downcast eyes and sharp, straight nose.
She admired the gentleness of the hands that methodically removed the knots in her muscles.
Each time she saw such kindness, Rose was drawn back into the past.
She thought back to when her brother was stabbed and she could no longer reach him.
The emperor had taken the time to sooth her while she was lost in her panic-stricken state.
Rose's gaze moved to the crown of Russell's head.
Colored light passed through the stained glass in the Imperial Library and poured over his hair.
Brilliant silver hair caught the light and changed to a mirage of colors.
…Amazing Is it because he has silver hair?
Unconsciously, Rose slowly reached for that shimmering hair.
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