Chapter 1. An Accidental Encounter
Woken up from her sleep, Nelia asked with a face that seemed somewhat irritated.
“Your Grace, you’re not taking the medicine secretly, are you?”
“The medicine for transformation prevention.”
The duke replied with a grin.
“I don’t eat it. Because there’s already an adorable human medicine beside me.”
Despite the smooth answer, Nelia still looked at the duke with doubtful gaze.
‘But why is he the same as when he takes the medicine?’
She was embarrassed to say this, but the duke was extremely and physically strong.
She wouldn’t reveal her experience and talked about it any further.
At first, she thought it was because the duke was taking enhancement pills.
But from the experience she got yesterday, he looked the same even though he didn’t take medicine anymore.
“Why do you ask that question?”
“…….. It’s nothing.”
Nelia got up from the bed, pretending to be fine while attempting to hide her red face.
Glancing at the clock, she seemed to have overslept again today.
Even though it was the weekend, she had a lot of work to do.
“Your Grace, stand up and get ready. You’re supposed to go to the library.”
Nelia was promised to go to the library with the duke yesterday.
The reason was because she knew only the chosen one could invoke Elena’s Tears after talking to Zenuiet, who was trapped inside Elena’s Tears.
Of course, she couldn’t tell the duke about this, so she wanted to look for books related to Sigrid to find a way to solve the curse properly.
Actually, she was planning to look at most of the old books in the library related to Legend of Sigrid.
Leighton said to find such information in an old book, so she thought there might be a hint in the book.
‘…….Although the source of Leighton’s book is unclear.’
The best way would be talking to Zenuit, Sigrid’s follower, again, but she couldn’t gain access back to Elena’s Tears right now.
Because Elena’s Tears was in Carlos’ possession.
The dinner from yesterday was a mess, so it would be uncomfortable to see Carlos in the future.
Therefore, even if it took a long time, she chose to look for hints in the library.
She thought of something that seemed necessary to release Zenuit from Elena’s Tears, and if she found out, she thought that would make it possible to get Zenuit out of Elena’s Tears.
At last, Zenuit mentioned, ‘Holy Tears’ or something like that……..
Nelia went to the largest library in the capital with Duke Hart, while pondering on what Zenuit had said.
‘So the biggest library was in the Imperial Palace.’
After telling the duke to go to the biggest library, she mindlessly followed the duke, and was shocked that their destination was the Imperial Palace.
At that moment, what happened with Carlos at the Sala came back to her mind like a nightmare.
Nelia eventually pulled Duke Hart on his sleeve before entering the library.
“I’m just saying, but wouldn’t you feel uncomfortable meeting His Highness from now on?”
She didn’t think Carlos would talk about what happened on that day ever again, just as the duke said, but it bothered her. With the fact that he had a terrible personality.
“Nelia, His Highness and I have been uncomfortable with each other from the start. So it didn’t matter if it would get worse.”
The duke had a knack for telling unusual things as if they were normal.
“But in His Highness’ case, the good news is that he will no longer bother Nelia.”
When she was suddenly mentioned, Nelia blinked in confusion. The corner of the duke’s mouth was raised loosely.
“There’s nothing we can do about the bugs getting tangled with the flowers, but we can’t do anything other than to wait and see if it’s a harmful insect.”
“What are you talking about……”
“I just told him to promise that he won’t bother Nelia.”
Then the duke smiled.
“If your worry has lessened, shall we go now?”
Nelia wondered how the duke had made Carlos to say such a promise, but the duke was quite firm in his attitude so she had no choice but nodding her head.
‘…… Things have gone awry.’
It was a good thing that Carlos didn’t come up anymore to bother her, but she was afraid there would be no excuse to take a look at Elena’s Tears again.
She didn’t know what happened, but Elena’s Tears was in Carlos’ possession now.
However, Nelia’s worries disappeared when she set foot inside the vast imperial library. She had come all the way here, but she couldn’t just return empty-handed just because of her worries.
Now she had to busy herself reading the books to find information about Elena’s Tears.
In order to find the books related to it, Nelia separated from the duke and went to the area where the ancient books were grouped.
Old books were crammed and grouped together. Among them, there were some books related to Sigrid.
‘Leighton also found out that the only chosen one is able to invoke Elena’s Tears among these old books…….’
Nelia took out the books related to it one after another and looked through them.
She wondered if Zenuit was mentioned in these books, but there was nothing.
‘Is he really Sigrid’s subordinate…….?’
Her suspicion about Zenuit being the villain who deceived the main lead in the half end of the original story that she didn’t read might be reasonable.
Nelia veered off and decided to focus on Elena’s Tears.
There was quite a lot of information about Elena’s Tears.
‘Since it’s one of the pride of the Andrian Empire, isn’t it…….?’
As she turned the pages, Nelia found an article explaining the appearance of Elena’s Tears.
One the day of the dinner event, there was a small cut in a round shape carved on the back of the gemstone when she looked at it closely.
Nelia wondered if the cut might be explained in it.
This was written in the book.
[Elena’s Tears are the type of jewel that has never been seen before, and its bluish feature reminded us of a fine crystal and blue ocean.]
She already knew this.
Nelia continued to read it, hoping the round cut in the gemstone would be mentioned.
[If there’s one flaw in such a perfect jewel, it would be the cut in the back. It was said that the cut is not a scratch caused by impact, considering the shape of the circle was perfect. It is known to have existed since the discovery of the gemstone.]
The suspicious cut has existed since it was discovered.
Then there seemed to be a reason for its existence. Nelia stroked her chin while racking her brain.
The duke approached her.
“Nelia, did you find anything?”
Nelia answered while closing the book hastily.
As she said earlier, she didn’t intend to speak about Elena’s Tears with the duke yet.
There was no need to rush yet, and she feared that another conflict would arise between him and Carlos about Elena’s Tears when she brought it up.
“Shall we call it a day and return? The library will be closed soon anyway.”
Why did the time go by quickly? When she looked out the window, the sky had already tinged with red shine.
Nelia had no choice but to put her lingering regrets aside.
While walking back, the anxiousness in her mind crept up again.
Charlotte’s arrival in the capital meant to be a sign that the story of the original book would proceed earnestly soon.
If things happened according to the original story, Charlotte would run into Carlos, who was doing inspection on the street.
The two would fall in love and start looking for Sigrid’s heart together.
‘No, let’s not be too anxious.’
In the meantime, Nelia also had something on her mind, like a prickly thorn in her throat.
It was a different type of anxiousness than the worry about losing Sigrid’s heart.
Nelia glanced at Duke Hart who walked beside her.
Silver hair swayed serenely along the steps he took. It felt mystical seeing him walking under the red sunset sky. Whenever there was a chance, she would look at him absentmindedly.
The cause of this anxiousness was this man.
She tried not to be bothered, but when Charlotte appeared, she unconsciously wondered about the duke.
Perhaps, he would fall in love with Charlotte.
Nelia internally sighed.
‘This foolish feeling.’
Charlotte hasn’t even met the duke yet, and she was already worried about it in advance.
Nelia averted her gaze from the duke and walked with downcasted eyes to the ground.
This feeling was strange.
It was the feeling that she had never felt before.
Her heart was pounding and accompanied by a strange sense of discomfort.
Now that she thought about it, she and the duke were not engaged, and if the duke were to marry a different woman someday, she couldn’t do anything about it.
But, she would obviously curse a lot when thinking about the night they spent together.
When she was busy with her perturbed mind, the duke approached and lowered his body to be on the same level as Nelia’s eyes.
“Nelia, your complexion doesn’t look good.”
Concern was permeating in the duke’s eyes.
Nelia stared at him.
She suddenly felt upset when imagining this worried gaze would be directed to someone else.
However, Nelia reluctantly put aside her thoughts and answered him, as she couldn’t express this mysterious feeling.
When they returned to the ducal residence, Ton came out to greet them.
Seeing his improper steps heading to the gate, he must have been waiting for the duke and her for some reason.
When Nelia called his name, Ton walked to the duke and her in a brisk pace, wanting to confirm their return.
“You’ve returned. There’s a guest for Nelia inside.”
It was the duke, not Nelia, who asked such questions. Duke Hart’s voice emitted an unexpected sense of wariness.
“I don’t know either, but I heard she’s your friend, so I invited her to the drawing room.”
‘Don’t tell me it’s………’
Expecting to see someone she had in mind, Nelia pointed to her forehead. She asked cautiously.
“By any chance, is her name……. Charlotte?”
“Yes, that’s right.”
Her head was already a mess because of Charlotte, and she visited all of a sudden like this.
Rather than being flustered, she felt like losing her mind. She had been worried about the duke and Charlotte meeting each other, but she never thought something she had been anxious about would unexpectedly happen.
“Is it truly Nelia’s friend……?”
The duke asked in a questioning manner.
It would be misleading to say that Charlotte was a friend of hers, but she might seem too heartless to say she wasn’t.
The duke’s eyes widened slightly at the flustered answer.
His expression seemed surprised.
Shortly after, the duke muttered, ‘Nelia had a friend…….’
Nelia said with a frown who got angry for a moment.
“Of course I also have a friend…….”
But Nelia couldn’t finish her remark.
Now that she remembered about it, Nelia had no friends in the original story.
Just like Leighton who had no friends, Nelia in the original story wasn’t really good in social relations due to her infantile personality.
After entering Nelia’s body as evidence, there was no one who came to visit her or pretended to know her.
The duke would surely know that fact. That’s why he said that.
“Did you have a hidden friend? I thought I’m the only one for Nelia……”
The duke’s tone showed a hint of sorrow.
‘Why do you want me to be a loner…….!’
Nelia was internally dumbfounded when the duke took her hand and led her inside.
“Shall we go in? I need to see Nelia’s only friend right now.”
The duke’s words evoked a strange feeling inside Nelia again.
‘The duke doesn’t know now.’
The person whom she would introduce as her friend was originally the duke’s unrequited love.
Chapters 54-58 is up on Kofi Shop
Unlock 5 advanced chapters here https://ko-fi.com/s/caa785d2a6
*As you know we are a free to read website and we only survive on ads. However, ads are not able to help us much longer and we are on the verge of disbanding. If you like what we do and have any spare, please consider supporting us to keep us alive. Your help is desperately needed.