Chapter 1. An Accidental Encounter
Nelia walked to the back of the bookshelf where Zenuit was, and asked in a hushed voice.
“What is it?”
Nelia asked, but Zenuit always had an apathetic face whenever she called him with eyes wide open.
“Showing affection in such a public place.”
Nelia’s ears quickly turned red.
“What do you mean by that……..”
Zenuit put his hands together, looked dazedly into the air while muttering in a flattering voice, as if imitating her.
He changed his eyes to flat again while unclasping the arms that he had gathered in the center.
“You did that just now.”
“When did I look at His grace ike that…….!”
“Yeah, you’re better to look at. That man is worse.”
Zenuit glanced over the bookshelf.
“Right. Regardless of the fact that I’m here or not, he would look at you with a sweet gaze as if honey is dripping out of his eyes, and I feel like becoming a bee drowning in honey.”
“……Don’t say such things with those human eyes of yours.”
“He often touches you.”
“What do you mean by that?!”
“Well, he would touch your cheek or hand. And his eyes always look like he’s going to gobble you….. UMPH!”
Nelia hurriedly closed Zenuit’s mouth.
Even though Zenuit has gotten old, it was very strange to hear such a thing when he was in form of a child.
When Zenuit became more docile, Nelia took her hand off his mouth.
“Don’t say such weird things when you are in the form of a child.”
Zenuit murmured, ‘I just said according to what I saw.’ and he said again to Nelia with squinted eyes.
“Anyway, it’s not good to be seen by others, so try to refrain from expressing your affection when you’re both in public.”
“…….. All right.”
Nelia felt her cheeks heated up. Therefore, as if attempting to change the subject, she asked about the book in Zenuit’s hand instead.
“Is it fun to read books after a long time not doing it?”
“Do you think I would enjoy an illustration book such as this at my age? And on top of that……. How can you draw Sigrid so ugly like this!”
Zenuit shouted while pointing at the illustration of Sigrid in the book.
“You’re not even included here, why are you so angry about this? And……. Sigrid has became so old that they have no choice but to draw him like this because no one has ever seen him in person.”
“Sigrid is much better than this. I know better because I……. attended and stayed by his side.”
“All right, all right.”
It’s nothing to make a fuss about, why is he so angry?
On top of that, Nelia had a question for Zenuit.
“What kind of person was Sigrid when you served him?”
“I heard you were Sigrid’s subordinate. You must have known about Sigrid well, haven’t you?”
“……… That’s true.”
“I’m curious about something. How was the greatest dragon in the world?”
Zenuit squinted his eyes for a second.
“Hmm……. His personality……. I think Sigrid’s personality changed a lot before and after she met Elena, his wife.”
“Oh, right. I read in the book that she was a great wife.”
“On top of being his wife, Elena was everything in Sigrid’s life.”
The woman whom the God of Wrath loved so much…….
Upon listening to Zenuit, she felt that he might have been much more like a romanticist.
He must have been considerate to Elena, right?
“Then, what about their sons? What did their existence mean to Sigrid?”
Nelia recalled the tragic story of his sons.
Carl, the second son, was pure-hearted like his mother, Elena, but his first son, Shilin, was the opposite and always got angry because not only his look, but his personality also exactly resembled Sigrid.
And Shilin was envious of his brother, Carl, therefore he was cursed by Sigrid.
‘The back side of the book was torn apart, so I couldn’t find out what kind of curse he was set upon.’
It’s no wonder that Nelia is curious.
What kind of relationship has Sigrid and his sons had ever since? She wondered.
Zenuit didn’t say anything for a while, as if he was trying to recall old memories in his head. Or he might not know such a personal part of his master’s life.
Although Zenuit said he was the one and only subordinate of Sigrid, how could he know everything about him?
“It’s okay if you don’t know. I was just curious…….”
“Sigrid cherished both his sons.”
Zenuit answered in a subdued voice.
“Shilin, too…….? Even though Sigrid has set a curse upon him.”
Zenuit stared at Nelia with an uncharacteristically solemn face.
Nelia was worried that she might have asked something she ought not asked.
His stomach was growling.
A loud noise came from Zenuit’s stomach.
Nelia rubbed her forehead.
After Zenuit whined about being hungry, Nelia eventually had to seek understanding from the duke and they moved to the nearby park.
They were originally going to drop by the park, but they came much faster because of Zenuit.
Nelia and her company sat on the large cloth laid on the sunny part of the ground inside the park. After she opened the basket that Ton had handed over to her in the morning, there appeared many foods such as sandwiches, grapes, and milk to eat.
“Wow, sandwich! I’ll eat this.”
Zenuit looked at the sandwich, mouth full of drooling saliva.
During his stay with Ton in the mansion, he have been exploring various foods, and now he seemed to have known most names of the foods.
When Nelia handed over the sandwich to Zenuit, he began to eat right after receiving it. She thought he was really hungry, therefore he ate very fast.
Nelia handed the sandwich to the duke as well.
“Your Grace, hurry up and eat it.”
“Thank you, Nelia.”
The duke originally didn’t have much appetite, so he ate anything moderately.
Even now, she noticed that he didn’t seem to want to eat the sandwich. It was a bit early for lunch anyway.
On the other hand, he was looking at Zenuit, who devoured the sandwich in a hurry, as if he was amazed.
“Zenu eats really well. He will grow taller quickly.”
Zenuit took a big bite of the sandwich and shot a sideways glance at Duke Hart.
“Yes, I will grow to be bigger than His Grace.”
“You might be.”
Duke Hart smiled softly.
Zenuit was able to devour the sandwich in an instant and patted his stomach afterwards.
And now he was sleepy, so his eyes appeared to be drowsy.
‘He is really hyperactive.’
Soon after, Zenuit was laying down with his head resting on Nelia’s knee.
Nelia looked at the tired Zenuit, who had fallen asleep before she even got to answer.
“It’s a nice day to take a nap because the weather is nice.”
On the other hand, Duke Hart smiled at the sleeping Zenuit. The smile made him look like he was in a good mood.
“Since we came out together for the first time in a while, I wanted to talk to Zenu in order to get to know him better, but I’m a bit sad that he fell asleep.”
Contrary to his words, the duke didn’t appear to be really……. Sad, but was it just her?
“Nelia must also be hungry, hurry and dig in.”
Duke Hart held out the sandwich toward her.
But Nelia shook her head because she didn’t have much appetite.
“I don’t eat, so it’s fine.”
The duke didn’t give up and handed Nelia a grape.
“Then, you better have some of this.”
The sandwich felt a bit too heavy for her, but she thought fruit would be fine because it’s light.
Nelia murmured, ‘Alright then…….’ and tried to take it, but the duke took back his hand faster than her.
‘What is he doing? He should hand it to me.’
Nelia stared at the grapes in his hand that were also taken away from her reach.
“I think it will be hard to move because Zenuit is using Nelia’s leg as a pillow, so I’m going to feed you.”
Nelia shook her head.
“It’s okay! I can use my arms freely.”
It has nothing to do with not being able to move her legs and eating grapes in the first place!
‘It must be because he wants to feed me…….!’
Duke Hart’s smiling face was too fascinating to face a rejection.
‘How can he look so cool with that smile……!’
Upon realizing that Nelia’s unresponsive figure was a sign of permission, Duke Hart brought the grapes to her mouth.
There it goes!
The grapes disappeared into Nelia’s mouth. She took a moment to savor the sweetness, and it was when the duke touched Nelia’s lips with his finger.
Nelia trembled out of surprise.
“Wh-what are you going to do?”
“There’s grape juice on your lips.”
“I can just wipe it…….”
Nelia spoke out of embarrassment, but the duke only raised the corners of his lips and a leisurely smile appeared on his face.
After Nelia digested the grape, the duke tried to feed her again…….
Zenuit tossed around and turned while letting out a small noise. Nelia accidentally hit the duke’s hand out of surprise.
“I apologize, Your Grace.”
“…… It’s all right.”
Quite contrary to his answer, the duke was staring at Nelia’s hand.
Nelia somehow felt a deep sense of deja vu in the current situation. She felt like this situation had been repeated quite often lately.
However, she just couldn’t help it because she was concerned about Zenuit’s words back in the library earlier that asked her to refrain from showing affection.
Zenuit woke up right at that moment.
“When did I fall asleep……..”
Zenuit, who was rubbing his sleepy eyes, quickly came to his senses and the surroundings became rowdy again.
That’s why Nelia didn’t even notice.
The fact that the duke was even more quiet than before.
“Zenu, be careful!”
Extinguishing the warning, Zenuit began to run around the park.
“Wow! That lake is huge!”
“What’s the name of that flower?”
“Look at that bird, the yellow color is so bright!”
She understood that the environment and nature that he got to see again after thousands of years must be fascinating, but she wished he would be careful, but Zenuit seemed to have no intention of doing so.
Thanks to Zenuit, Nelia had to follow him around and satisfy his curiosity.
Nelia thought she was ignoring the duke too much for a moment, but he was the one who asked her to show him around the park first.
At that time when saying so, Nelia felt the duke’s tone was weak, but she was occupied by Zenuit, who already ran far away again, and had no choice but to draw her attention somewhere else.
As she followed Zenuit, who was running, she realized they were crossing through the forest path of the park where there were less people around.
Nelia was dragged around by Zenuit to wander aimlessly in the park. She felt like walking a disobedient dog.
But Nelia soon realized something.
Zenuit didn’t just ignore her…….it’s that he didn’t listen for f*ck sake.
Zenuit, who was far ahead, suddenly came into a halt. In front of Zenuit, who stopped in his tracks, stood a man with a ferocious expression.
It seemed that Zenuit, who was running around frantically, bumped into a man.
The man slowly dragged his gaze down and looked at his shoes, before lifting his eyes again and spoke to Zenuit.
“Do you know how much the price of this shoes is?”
Zenuit, who was running around all over the place, seemed to have stepped on the expensive shoes of a random man.
When Nelia saw the deep cut in the man’s eyes, she realized that he wasn’t just an ordinary person.
Moreover, his big body resembled a bear, so he appeared to be very threatening.
“Why are there so many dangerous fellas in this park?”
This park is the place where Ton was kidnapped and taken away last time.
Nelia thought she ran out of luck today and stepped forward hurriedly, covering Zenuit from the man’s sight.
“I’m deeply sorry. My brother must have accidentally stepped on your shoes. For the compensation, I will give it to you.”
After Nelia said calmly, the man opened his eyes more ferociously than before.
“Compensation…….? These are shoes that aren’t even available for a few pairs a year.”