Chapter 1. An Accidental Encounter
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Within Nelia‚Äôs sight was a white snake coiling itself.
The snake‚Äôs eyes were closed as if it was in the middle of sleeping.
Where was Duke Hart and, and why was the snake on the bed?
Nelia looked around the room. Then she found the clothes underneath the blanket.
The clothes were similar to those worn by the duke. She had to lift the clothes to check it out.
Before that, Nelia eyed the snake warily.
“Since you’re still sleeping…” ‚ÄėBecause it‚Äôs still asleep‚Ä¶‚Ä¶.‚Äô
Moreover, the snake‚Äôs face looked quite stumpy, unlike the poisonous kind.
When she tried to bring up his short knowledge, it was said that poisonous snakes such as viper have a triangular face.
Nelia carefully extended her hand to pick up the clothes so that she could avoid the sleeping snake.
It was the same as what Duke Hart had worn earlier. Moreover, this was his underwear‚Ä¶‚Ä¶.
Nelia dropped the clothes she was holding in frustration. Nelia hurriedly closed her mouth while looking at the snake again.
The snake, as if awakened at her loud voice, was already staring and blinking at her.
‚ÄėD*mn it, I‚Äôm screwed.‚Äô
She had never seen a snake up close before. She had never gone to a zoo in her previous life.
What‚Äôs a zoo? She rarely saw a zoo in the movies because even the TV at home was broken in the middle.
However, she could assume this snake looked a little different from the ordinary snake. Rather than thin, its body felt plump and short.
‚Äė…….The longer I look at it, it‚Äôs strangely cute.‚Äô
It was even more so because it looked clumsy while trying to coil itself up even more.
The snake‚Äôs eyes gradually became clear. Then it hurriedly uncoiled itself in surprise. It seemed to be panicking because it got flustered.
She didn‚Äôt know if it‚Äôs just her, but she felt like the snake glanced at her as if reading her countenance.
Nelia moved her body back without taking her eyes off the snake as she watched the creature in front of her.
‚ÄėIt looks cute, but it might bite.‚Äô
She should not provoke it as much as possible.
But then, she dropped the medicine-contained glass bottle she was holding onto the bed.
She retracted again. She had to pick up the bottle she had dropped on the bed again.
Nelia extended her hand carefully again while standing on her guard in case the snake might bite.
The snake definitely didn‚Äôt understand it, but fortunately it was nice and meek.
Finally her hand touched the bottle.
As soon as she picked it up, the snake‚Äôs gaze fell on the bottle. And it suddenly flicked as if it had been stimulated by something.
Nelia stretched out her hand to becalm the snake.
‚ÄúWoah, woah‚Ä¶‚Ä¶..! Easy there‚Ä¶‚Ä¶? Don‚Äôt move.‚ÄĚ
She didn‚Äôt know what had provoked the snake, but it seemed extremely agitated.
The snake reacted when she picked up the medicine bottle, but did it know what this medicine was for?
‚Äė…….. It‚Äôs not possible.‚Äô
Since she has gone through a lot of dynamic events lately, her head seemed to wander.
‚ÄėMore than that, where had Duke Hart really gone off to?‚Äô
And what‚Äôs with this snake‚Ä¶‚Ä¶.
Looking down quietly at the snake, Nelia thought its characteristic seemed meek, and it could be the snake raised by Duke Hart. Some people did own reptiles such as snakes in their house.
The people in the Andrian Empire didn‚Äôt seem to be fond of snakes, but the duke had such a peculiar side of him that she didn‚Äôt know.
Nelia thought it was strange while putting the medicine bottle on the desk. The snake straightened itself up, but luckily it didn‚Äôt strike at her.
Nelia suddenly realized that snakes were kind of familiar, as if she had seen it somewhere. She had never seen a snake in her entire life, yet a strange sense of deja vu encouraged her curiosity.
‚ÄėThis snake doesn‚Äôt seem like the aggressive type‚Ä¶‚Ä¶.‚Äô
When Nelia turned on the light beside her, the bed immediately became bright. Thanks to it, she was able to take a good look at the snake.
‚ÄėIt wasn‚Äôt white.‚Äô
The color of its skin was close to silver.
Moreover, she thought the snake‚Äôs eyes were somehow lucid, but turned out it had silver eyes similar to glass beads, unlike ordinary snakes that mostly have black eyes.
Perhaps, that was the reason why she didn‚Äôt feel disgusted at the snake.
Rather, it appeared heavenly and made her gawk in awe.
Nelia stared at the snake for a while, forgetting that she had to leave the room.
The snake stood and crawled over the blanket, leaned into her. Then it got in front of Nelia in an instant.
Nelia winced in surprise at that moment, but the snake didn‚Äôt strike at her as she expected.
Nelia stretched out her hand carefully. The snake approached her slowly and tapped her hand with its head.
Like a street cat that greeted people as if it got used to human‚Äôs existence.
Nelia held out one of her fingers to caress the sleek head of the snake.
The snake rubbed its head against her fingers in response.
‚ÄėThis snake looks like a puppy.‚Äô
Nelia thought this moment, right at that time, was unrealistic.
She came to deliver a medicine bottle to Duke Hart, but then she found out he wasn‚Äôt the one who occupied the bed, instead there was a snake.
Besides, the snake was different based on appearance and characteristics from ordinary snakes.
‚ÄėIs it some sort of intelligent animal?‚Äô
Because it was Duke Hart, she thought it was possible that he raised an intelligent animal.
‚ÄúI have to go now.‚ÄĚ
In case Duke Hart might get bitten by the snake, she would try to tell him when he came back to the room, but looking from its meek personality, it didn‚Äôt seem to bite people recklessly.
Nelia rose from her seat.
She was trying to walk when something caught on her feet. She forgot that Duke Hart‚Äôs clothes were scattered on the floor, and Nelia stepped on them, which caused her feet to slip.
Along with Nelia‚Äôs scream, her body fell backwards. She saw the snake crawling quickly and ran toward her.
She heard a loud bang on the floor.
But she didn‚Äôt feel hurt anywhere. And why did it feel so soft under her ‚Ä¶‚Ä¶‚Ä¶?
It felt as if there was someone under her‚Ä¶‚Ä¶.
There was really someone under her. Moreover, her vision was covered completely with the color of apricot, so the person under her was clearly not wearing any clothes to cover their skin.
Nelia came down from the body of someone under her in shock.
‚ÄúW, Who are you?‚ÄĚ
She was obviously alone in this room‚Ä¶‚Ä¶.!
Soon the familiar voice reached her ears.
‚ÄúNelia, it‚Äôs me.‚ÄĚ
Oops, this voice‚Ä¶‚Ä¶‚Ä¶?
Nelia involuntarily turned away. The silver-haired and chiseled man was obviously Duke Hart.
Her eyes suddenly headed south. Her eyes were met with a wide, hard chest.
‚ÄúI, I apologize!‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúThat‚Äôs fine. If Nelia likes it, you can see it as much as you want.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúWhat, what are you talking about!‚ÄĚ
Her head seemed to wander today, and as a result, she was spouting all sorts of ridiculous things.
‚ÄúH, Hurry up and put on some clothes!‚ÄĚ
Nelia said, not knowing how she was supposed to react at this moment.
‚ÄúI don‚Äôt mind, but I will do it because Nelia seemed uncomfortable.‚ÄĚ
What, he didn‚Äôt mind?! If he were a civilized man, he definitely should put on some clothes!
Duke Hart‚Äôs voice reached her ears again.
Nelia turned her head cautiously. He was dressed in a shirt and pants, just like his attire this morning.
‚ÄúBut from where did you appear‚Ä¶‚Ä¶.?‚ÄĚ
And in such a natural appearance like this‚Ä¶‚Ä¶..
She thought both of her cheeks grew warm at the thought of the unfamiliar feast of apricot color she saw earlier.
‚ÄėCome to think of it, the last thing I saw was the snake dashing toward me, but how did this happen?‚Äô
Nelia looked at her surroundings. The snake was nowhere as if it was just her mirage.
‚ÄúYour Grace‚Ä¶‚Ä¶‚Ä¶ There was a snake on your bed, is it the pet you‚Äôre raising?‚ÄĚ
Nelia averted her gaze to Duke Hart when she heard no answer.
‚ÄúThe cute snake‚Äôs skin was covered in silver, similar to the color of Your Grace‚Äôs hair.‚ÄĚ
He had an awkward look on his face.
Nelia suddenly felt a strange feeling of deja vu upon looking at Duke Hart‚Äôs face.
‚Äė…….is it just my imagination?‚Äô
The idea that the snake and Duke Hart‚Äôs face resemble each other.
Those silver bead-like eyes and that bewildered expression of his.
First of all, Duke Hart appeared at the same time as the snake disappeared.
‚Äė…….this wonderful coincidence.‚Äô
Nelia asked while staring at Duke Hart.
‚ÄúDon‚Äôt tell me, the snake from earlier‚Ä¶‚Ä¶..‚ÄĚ
She knew this question sounded stupid.
However, she wanted to make sure it was not like what she thought.
The duke dropped his gaze.
‚ÄúI was the snake from earlier.‚ÄĚ
Nelia‚Äôs mouth opened droopingly.
‚ÄėDoes it even make sense?‚Äô
She knew this was the world of fantasy, but how could someone turn into a snake?
‚Äú……. I know it‚Äôs hard to believe me.‚ÄĚ
The duke‚Äôs voice trembled slightly. It was the first time she saw him like that.
She read the sincerity from his appearance. He had no reason to pull this kind of prank in the first place.
‚ÄúHowever, the snake from earlier is really my other form.‚ÄĚ
Nelia‚Äôs mouth opened droopingly. She felt like she had learned about a secret that she should never have known.
‚ÄúThat medicine Nelia brought to me is what prevents me from turning into a snake.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúWhy did you leave such an important medicine behind‚Ä¶‚Ä¶.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúIt rained and I forgot about it‚Ä¶‚Ä¶. I turned into a snake in the middle of it, so I couldn‚Äôt go there to get it.‚ÄĚ
So, that‚Äôs why‚Ä¶‚Ä¶.. He ate it consistently.
‚ÄúThen your low body temperature‚Ä¶‚Ä¶..?‚ÄĚ
Duke Hart slowly nodded.
‚ÄúSnakes naturally have lower body temperatures than humans‚Ä¶‚Ä¶‚Ä¶‚ÄĚ
One by one of her doubts in her mind related to the duke turned out to be true. There must have been a reason behind this.
‚ÄúDoes the clearance of the maids from recently have something to do with the duke turning into a snake?‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúThat‚Äôs right. I thought it was bothersome to let people stay in the mansion because the medicine I took hasn‚Äôt worked well recently.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúThen why did you keep the maids and butlers here as they were‚Ä¶‚Ä¶..?‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúThey‚Äôre from my main house, so I don‚Äôt mind because they already know about the secret. They are also loyal servants who have served the family for a long time.‚ÄĚ
Somehow‚Ä¶‚Ä¶. She felt like they were all well-trained unlike ordinary servants. They were all top employees from Hart‚Äôs manor.
Nelia seemed to understand a bit why Ton was extremely reserved about the information related to the duke.
‚ÄúThe people of the duke‚Äôs family already know about the duke‚Äôs secret‚Ä¶‚Ä¶.‚ÄĚ
Duke Hart‚Äôs gaze averted to the window.
‚ÄúYes, because this curse has been in the family for a long time.‚ÄĚ
Of course, for a person to become a snake was not considered a good thing, but the word was heavier than she expected.
‚ÄúThe head family of Duke of Hart has been caught under a serpent curse for generations.‚ÄĚ
The duke smiled helplessly.
‚ÄúThis time, the leading role who got trapped in the curse is me.‚ÄĚ
Even if she has to consider that he was the villain, the story of Duke Hart was indeed tragic. She didn‚Äôt find a heartless person like the book described him to be, but only someone who suffered from a serpent curse.
Luckily, he has been relying on medicine for a long time so he could prevent himself from turning and maintain his human form‚Ä¶‚Ä¶.
Nelia‚Äôs gaze landed on Duke Hart‚Äôs face.
‚ÄúYou can‚Äôt stop yourself from turning into a snake even if you had taken the medicine‚Ä¶‚Ä¶.?‚ÄĚ
The duke dropped his head, his silver hair hung loosely and covered his eyes.
‚ÄúIt hasn‚Äôt reached that point yet, but it will be soon‚Ä¶‚Ä¶.‚ÄĚ
Nelia‚Äôs palms were sweaty even though it wasn‚Äôt the problem that she needed to be dealt with.
Then she suddenly remembered when Duke Hart suddenly returned to his human form earlier.
‚ÄúThen how did you turn back to your human form just now?‚ÄĚ
The medicine bottle was clearly in her hold.
That meant he returned to his human form without taking the medicine.
‚ÄúI also have no idea.‚ÄĚ
The duke raised his head.
‚ÄúI just saw that Nelia was about to fall, and I thought I had to help‚Ä¶‚Ä¶..‚ÄĚ
So, isn‚Äôt that the reason why he was able to return to his human form?
It was as if he could return to his human form by courtesy of her.
Nelia frowned as her eyes met the duke.
What is this uneasy feeling‚Ä¶‚Ä¶.
The duke called Nelia‚Äôs name in a low voice.
The strange excitement was reflected in the eyes that fixed at her. Nelia seemed to notice the reason, so she stepped back at that moment.
‚ÄúNo, Your Grace.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúThat‚Äôs right. I return to my human form thanks to Nelia.‚ÄĚ
Why is he saying that!
Nelia was very awkward in this situation.
‚ÄúIt usually takes a whole day to return to my human form without taking medicine. But this time, I returned just after a few hours.‚ÄĚ
‚Äú…….. It might be a coincidence.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúNo, I know my body very well.‚ÄĚ
The duke was so determined that she was left with no words.
Nelia rolled her eyes around in helplessness, and that was when she heard Duke Hart‚Äôs low voice again.
‚Äú…….. I‚Äôm sorry. I made Nelia uncomfortable.‚ÄĚ
His expression seemed somewhat sad.
‚ÄúThe human being who turns into a snake‚Ä¶‚Ä¶. is obviously disgusting and nasty.‚ÄĚ
Why did he say that‚Ä¶‚Ä¶.