Never had Alexei imagined that his mother and sister had been mistreated until the first time he saw them. Because it was his grandfather, Sergey, who made them live in the villa.
Sergey was the only person who could control his grandmother. He was the single man in this family deserving of sincere respect. But due to him successively holding essential positions in this country such as the Duke and the Prime Minister, he had to leave the imperial city because of his busy schedule. Naturally, it would be hard for him to stop her from misbehaving all the time. So he gave his daughter-in-law another villa and took steps to prevent his wife from doing anything. In fact, Alexei's mother and daughter should have received more than enough more expenses and not face any difficulties in life.
However, after the death of his grandfather, his grandmother secretly laid off the servants of the villa and stole their living expenses, making them unable to live a decent life. Not only that they couldn't take a step outside, but they also lacked basic necessities such as food and clothing.
Alexei, who should've taken over the role of protecting his mother and sister from his grandfather, was nothing but a ten years old child. He didn't notice a thing.
When he first met Ekaterina, the girl was standing beside their dying mother. She wore shabby clothes that were even too small for her skinny body. Even though she was the daughter of the Duke.
And Ekaterina was looking at Alexei with frightened eyes.
When they met again half a year later, she grew into a beauty, not even a resemblance of that skinny figure left. But she didn't speak to Alexei. And Alexei understood why, so he didn't force her to talk.
Then she came to the imperial capital and suddenly collapsed. It made Alexei's chest stuffed with worry, but then... when she regained consciousness, she reached out to him and asked him to hold her hand.
Even if Ekaterina forgave him, Alexei didn't plan to forgive himself. And he swore to do anything for his sister.
"She's truly a gentle person. We just talked a little bit, but I could see that she has a bright and cheerful personality. Her magic power is powerful and her appearance is beautiful. The color of her hair and eyes is the noble blue, just like the blue rose of Yurinova.
His Imperial Highness Princess Mikhail enrolls in the same year as Miss Ekaterina at the academy, so they should have many opportunities to meet. Elisabeth Yurimagna is still ten years old, so Miss Ekaterina has a significant advantage. I believe she can aim for the seat of the Empress."
Although the people in the empire had various color of hair, blue-haired children were often born in the imperial family, so it was considered a noble color. In addition, the coat of arms of the Three Great Dukes' family had flowers of each family's symbol.
Yurinova was a rose.
Yurisein was a lily.
Yurimagna was a narcissus.
From here, the power struggle of the Three Great Dukes was named the Battle of Blue Flowers.
Alexei shook his head. "No, Ekaterina won't enter the imperial family. Yesterday, she told me that she doesn't want to marry into the imperial family where Grandmother grew up."
(I heard that the His Imperial Highness would enroll in the same grade as me. Mother wished that I will meet him and become the Empress when she was alive. So that even Grandmother has to bow to me... But Mother and Grandmother are no longer here. I don't want to go near such a cold place. I want to concentrate on my studies quietly without involving myself with the imperial family.)
Novak shrugged. "...As a lady of a noble family, her marriage is her duty to raise the family. I'm afraid she has to work hard for it."
"But His Highness and Ekaterina are close to each other in blood. It's complicated. I'm not saying that they can't get married, but there are high chances that noisy guys will appear. In that respect, Miss Elisabeth is clearly in advantage here.
Instead, we should give up and watch the broke Magna to has financial difficulties for the marriage preparation. It's more efficient to leave them ruining themselves rather than fighting them. If I lend them money for the dowry with a high-interest rate, I can hold down Magna's neck even when Vladimir took the Duke's position in the future."
Alexei was rather talkative. To be honest, he was also in conflict with Vladimir, the eldest son of Yurimagna who's a year younger than Alexei. But his real intention was clear. He didn't want to let go of his cute sister after they finally could talk to each other like a pair of siblings.
"I understand." Novak nodded with a chuckle. Noticing Alexei lifting his eyebrows to him, he added, "I mean, Miss Ekaterina's feelings might change once she meets His Imperial Highness Mikhail. I heard that he also has an elegant and beautiful appearance."
"...Hm." Alexei didn't refute. He only frowned. "Fine. If she wants His Highness, I will fight a duel or start a war with Magna. Even if I have to give all of Yurinova, I'll make her the Empress.
Everything Ekaterina wants will be hers."
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