ed with a heavy sound.

 

It had been a long time since Esbaden Castle, called the impregnable fortress, welcomed the entry of strangers.

 

***

 

“Are you the Duke of Esbaden?”

 

When a member of the Bashal tribe asked Baron with a grim expression and using his clumsy imperial language, Baron, as well as Claude, became contemplative.

 

Because of Leonhart’s handsome appearance, the attendant did not seem to have thought that he was the terrifying Duke of Esbaden.

 

“I am a knight serving the Duke.
This is Duke Leonhart Von Esbaden.”

At Baron’s introduction, the attendant glanced at the duke with unsure eyes.

 

Then he shook his head as if to wait for a moment and ran back.

 

After a while, someone from the procession ran towards the duke and his party, a smoke of dust forming following it.

 

The eyes of the three people, who had narrowed their eyes to see if the person running was an attendant, widened in an instant.

 

“Lord, lord! Avoid it!”

 

“What is this!?”

 

It was a huge white horse that attacked them.

 

The rider, who was running at full speed, twisted and stopped in front of the duke’s team.

 

A small seal fell from above.

 

Her true identity was a woman who was lavishly adorned from head to toe.

 

The woman walked in front of the duke with a light gait.

 

“Are you going to be my husband?”

 

Her voice was very mellow.

 

She did not act as if she was a princess of a country who had almost been sold for an alliance marriage.

 

It was before the duke even answered when the woman pulled her hood off without any hesitation.

 

The rich silver hair hidden under her hood poured down like a waterfall.

 

“I am going to be your wife, Dooha Yel Bashal.”

 

After her introduction as the princess of Bashal, Dooha smiled, her golden eyes shining.

 

“You can call me Dooha.”

 

The Duke, Leonhart, looked at her and involuntarily frowned.

 

Because he was so blinded by the sun’s rays behind her.

 

The Duke of the Krone Empire and the Princess of the Bashal Kingdom.

 

It was the moment when their relationship began.

 

***

 

The gifts and ceremonies that Dooha, the Princess of Bashal, brought with her were so rare that even the duke, who was the second richest person in the empire after the emperor, was surprised.

 

From the beautiful furs of animals that he had never even seen before, to rare gems that were hard to find on the continent, and embroidered silks filled with boxes.

 

Everyone in Esbaden Castle was astonished by the enormous amount of gifts.

 

“It’s surprising that they are surprised by only this.
The level of knowledge of the people here is understandable, isn’t it, Princess?”

 

“Layla, you better not say that.
There are a lot of ears here.”

 

At the words of her master, the maid, Layla, pouted.

 

Layla was of mixed ancestry, born to an Imperial father and Bashalin mother.
She said that as a child, she lived in the Empire.
When her father died of an illness, she returned to Bashal.

 

The reason she followed Dooha as her maid was because she was the one who knew the Empire best in Bashal.

 

“Heh, it’s hard to find an imperial person who knows about Bashal, even in the capital.” 

 

“Layla.” 

 

“Okay, okay.
I will shut up.”

 

But as soon as she told Layla that she wanted her to be quiet, Layla soon opened her mouth again.

 

“By the way, the one who will become the princess’s husband.
He is really handsome.
The men in Bashal were really ugly and sloppy.”

 

At her words, Dooha turned her gaze to the duke.

 

A strong physique, with blond hair that gleamed in the sunlight, and eyes resembling sapphires that gleamed dazzlingly.

 

Clear features that balance each other without a single error.

 

The silver armor that he wore all over his body frighteningly suited him.

 

“Isn’t that right? Isn’t he handsome?”

 

“Well, you’re always telling me that I am beautiful so…” 

 

“Ah, I forgot that the beauty standards of the princess are of a Bashal’s.
But, by the standards of the Empire, the princess is an unparalleled beauty…” 

 

“Yes, thank you for the empty words.” 

 

“Oh, but it’s true!”

 

Ignoring Leila, who was shrieking hard, she looked at the man who would become her husband.

 

To put it bluntly, the word “beautiful” was more appropriate for him than handsome. 

 

But he had a face that didn’t quite fit Bashal’s aesthetic standards.

 

Dooha looked away from the duke without an expression on her face.

 

“Layla, it doesn’t matter to me how he looks.”

 

“What? Really?” 

 

“The most important thing is to be able to have a good conversation.”

 

“Do not worry! The princess’ imperial language skills are at a very high level! Communication will not be a problem at all!”

 

Dooha didn’t mean it that way…

 

Dooha laughed at Lyla’s cute face.

 

“Yes, it’s because you taught me.”

 

“Hehe.”

 

Towards the end of their conversation, the empty wagon was filled with wedding gifts prepared by the Duke’s family.

 

A huge amount of gold bars, wheat, and barley that would not be lacking even if you ate it for your entire life. 

 

Looking at the carriage full of gifts, Bashal’s attendants smiled satisfactorily.

 

At the end of the offering exchange, the wedding ceremony proceeded quickly.

 

While still wearing Bashal’s bride uniform, Dooha held the Duke’s hand and headed to the chapel in the castle.

 

Because of the Bashalin belief of not believing in foreign gods, the priest did not attend their wedding.

 

Thanks to this, the wedding was held more simply, and the number of guests was small.

 

This was also because there were no guests on the bride’s side except for the attendants.
The Duke also invited no one except for those from close families.

 

“You two can sign this document.”

 

At the words of the marriage guarantor, the Duke and the Princess signed their marriage pledge without hesitation.

 

They finally became an official couple after exchanging slender gold rings studded with rubies and diamonds.

 

For a large-scale wedding that attracted everyone’s attention, it was a very simple wedding.

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