Chapter 14

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‘That night?’

 

She realized immediately what Dustin was asking, but Elysia deliberately pretended not to know.

 

“When was that?”

 

“The day of the Imperial Banquet.”

 

“Oh, that day.”

 

“I looked for you to talk, but I couldn’t see you.”

 

‘You’re kidding me, right? You want to talk with my body?’

 

Elysia swallowed the swear words that had risen to her throat as she thought of Hal’s words about the 2nd prince’s men searching for her that night.

 

If the 2nd prince’s men had found her then, the situation now would have been completely different.

 

If they had spent the night together, he would have acted selfishly as if she was his own woman.

 

For once, Elysia wanted to praise herself for holding Duke Deimos instead and opened her mouth.

 

“I left the banquet hall early because I was not feeling well.”

 

The answer was as brief as usual.

 

She wasn’t foolish enough to say that she fell into his trap and was intoxicated.

 

Dustin also kept his expression unchanged, as if he knew she would say something like that.

 

“That’s why you couldn’t see you.”

 

“Yes. I’m sorry I left without saying hello.”

 

“The Marquess’ body is more important than the greeting. However, Marquess….”

 

He spoke generously as if he understood, then immediately asked a question.

 

“Did you leave the banquet hall and return to the Marquess’ residence immediately?”

 

The question seemed to be asked without any intention, but Elysia did not miss the sharp look hidden deep in his eyes.

 

It was the kind of look that would bite back at the slightest sign of abnormality.

 

‘That’s right.There’s no way he’ll just let it go.’

 

Elysia replied nonchalantly, swallowing the bad words that were spilling out.

 

“No, I lost my mind for a while after leaving the banquet hall, but when I woke up, I was sitting in a corner of the imperial palace garden. When the sun rose, I hurried home unnoticed.”

 

“So you were not inside the Imperial Palace, but in the garden?”

 

“Yes. Is there something wrong?”

 

She knew he was digging for the truth, but when she asked him while pretending not knowing, Dustin waved his hand lightly as if to say, “Don’t worry about it.”

 

“No. I was just curious as to why you lost your mind. The Marquess couldn’t have been drunk.”

 

“The cocktail I drank had Helis in it. I have side effects with it.”

 

Elysia began to tell facts and lies with a calm look. Because she needed an appropriate disguise to hide the fact that she had slept with Duke Deimos.

 

Dustin raised an eyebrow at her answer and clicked his tongue.

 

“What’s Helis? Didn’t you check the ingredients for this banquet? I heard that you always check.”

 

“I checked multiple times, but the list doesn’t have it.”

 

“But it was only in the cocktail that the Marquess drank? That’s strange. How did that happen?”

 

‘You brought it, you b*stard!’

 

Elysia felt a moment of annoyance at Dustin’s hateful look as he asked curiously, as if he knew nothing.

 

If she hadn’t known him for a long time, she would have been fooled by his acting skills.

 

That didn’t stop her from showing her emotions, and the corners of her eyes flinched a little as she endured the tantrum.

 

 

“Are you familiar with Baron Jonathan Triel?”

 

“You’ve heard of him.”

 

“Helis was in the cocktail he gave me. Apparently, it was deliberately brought in from the outside. I suppose that means he knew that I had Helis’ side effects.”

 

After pausing for a moment, Elysia looked at Dustin to observe his face then continued.

 

“It’s strange, isn’t it? There are only a handful of people who know that fact, so how could Baron Triel have known?”

 

She didn’t have any proof that Dustin was involved, but even if she did, she wasn’t in a position to say anything about it, but she felt that stabbing him like this would make things a little easier.

 

Of course, it didn’t work.

 

“So that’s what happened. I had no idea. But why did you quietly return to your residence? If you had told me, I would have caught him and punished him severely.”

 

“I was lost in the garden, or maybe I was just rolling around, but I got into a terrible mess. I looked like a crazy woman. So I couldn’t walk around the Imperial Palace like that.” 

 

Elysia lied without hesitation, and she didn’t feel the least bit guilty about the man in front of her.

 

But Dustin’s words almost made her swear again.

 

“Even if it was a disorganized appearance, I’m sure the Marquess still looked charming. It’s a shame that I couldn’t see you.”

 

‘What are you talking about, you crazy man?’

 

Elysia smiled, thinking that it was also an ability to make her swear dozens of times a day.

 

“I’m grateful Your Highness said that, but I’d rather you didn’t see it. Is there anything else you want to ask?”

 

 “Not about that day, but what happened to Baron Triel? Because of the Marquess’ personality, I don’t think you would have left it alone.”

 

“I went to catch him right away the next day. But, I couldn’t find him. I think he went into hiding.” 

 

Even though she knew where Jonathan was, Elysia pretended not to know. If she told the truth, it might involve Duke Deimos. Fortunately, Dustin didn’t dig any further.

 

 “I see. I hope you are well.”

 

“Thank you for your concern, Your Highness. I’ll get going now.”

 

 Bowing her head lightly, Elysia thanked the second Prince and turned away. As soon as she left the office and closed the door, she glanced around and frowned. 

 

Dustin’s persistent gaze while she left the office felt unpleasant.

 

‘I’ll have to burn this shirt when I get back.’ 

 

Glancing sideways at her shoulder where his hand had touched her, Elysia quickly made her way back to the Marquess’ residence. 

 

***

 

‘The garden.’ 

 

After Elysia left, Dustin, sitting on the couch, smiled. 

 

He thought she couldn’t have gone far that night, so he only searched the interior near the hall, but he didn’t know she went out to the garden…

 

Of course, he didn’t believe her story one hundred percent.

 

 

Maybe she wasn’t the only one in the garden. Maybe she lied and played with someone else.

 

“Is this the fifth time?”

 

It was the number of times he had tried and failed to get his hands on Elysia in 3 years. She escaped his grasp every time, as if God intervened.

 

Looking at Elysia’s history of men, there was only one thing in common. A spectacular appearance and physique.

 

So with his appearance and physique, he thought Elysia would fall for him first, but she always had one thing to say.

 

[I don’t go out with men from work. It’s hard to control the emotions. Don’t you agree, Your Highness?]

 

Even though it was her belief, he knew that if they slept together under the guise of coincidence, there was nothing she could do about it. However, he had reached the end of his patience, as she slipped through his hands like a loach every time.

 

Even before adulthood, Elysia had captured his gaze, and now she was matured, she was perfectly to his liking.

 

So much so that he wanted to have her, even if it were not for the Duke of Russet’s advice that having her would bring him even closer to the throne.

 

If it wasn’t for the advice not to force her, he would have her already when she became an adult. Whether she wished it or not, he could impose what she didn’t wish for and imprint himself deep inside her.

 

“How annoying.”

 

When Dustin’s brow furrowed in frustration at not getting his way, a heavy voice came from outside the door with a knock.

 

“Your Highness, It’s Delman.”

 

“Come in.”

 

After permission was granted, the door to the office opened and a man in a knight’s uniform walked in.

 

It was Hoche Delman, Dustin’s closest confidant.

 

Hoche immediately approached the sofa, knelt on one knee in front of Dustin and bowed his head.

 

“You wanted to see me, Your Highness?”

 

On the night of the banquet, Dustin had sent Hoche to search the interior of the Imperial Palace near the hall. It was to find Elysia.

 

They didn’t find what he wanted, but then his minions made one disturbing report. Dustin remembered that.

 

“There was a room near the hall that you couldn’t check that day, right? You said that Duke Deimos was resting there.”

 

“Yes, Your Highness. We couldn’t check inside because Duke Deimos’ men were guarding it.”

 

“The others would have been suspicious, but the Duke’s vague. Isn’t the Duke not interested in women?”

 

Dustin clicked his tongue. It was Duke Deimos who was preventing him from ascending to the throne.

 

The Duke was just the head of the imperialist, but the emperor’s trust was too great. It was as if the Duke was the emperor’s son, not Dustin himself.

 

Moreover, Duke Deimos was happy to have the Duke of Russet’s support as the next emperor. 

 

Therefore, in order to put pressure on the emperor to give up the crown prince’s position, the fastest way was to remove Duke Deimos from the position of head of the emperor’s group.

 

The problem was that the Duke didn’t have a single weakness. Everything about him was so clean that it made Dustin angry. Not even a woman had ever associated with him.

 

Dustin had even tried to use women, who were famous for their beauty, and even deliberately let them approach the Duke, but all that came back was failure.

 

If the Duke had behaved rudely to the women, it would have been easier to ruin his reputation. But he had always been kind.

 

After a word or two of thanks, he walked away without time to catch him.

 

Dustin even let the unmarried lady seduce the Duke in his bedroom in the imperial Palace, but the result was the same. 

 

They entered and were immediately kicked out by the Duke.

 

In fact, when the women who had approached the Duke fell in love with him and hanged themselves, Dustin and the Duke of Russet gave up on using the method of using women.

 

Was he asexual? But did he reach out to Elysia? Even though she had the nickname “Imperial Flirt,” and was from the opposite faction?

 

Dustin’s eyes narrowed slightly. It struck a strange nerve, even though it was impossible to be rational about it. 

 

‘If that guy was a womanizer, it would have been easier to deal with him. Anyway, I don’t have any proof, so I guess once I do, I’ll have to move immediately.’

 

He slowly raised himself up on the couch and went to his desk. 

 

Although the possibility was very slim, in the unlikely event that Elysia had slept with Duke Deimos, he (Dustin) was wondering if he should take the chance to destroy the Duke first, or if anger came first.