Chapter 18

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Elysia, who was about to follow Iker without knowing it, was startled by Aria’s words.

 

“Marquess, where are you going?”

 

Elysia bowed her head and whispered to Aria. She didn’t forget to close her eyes and smile.

 

“I have some urgent business.”

 

“Oh, I’m sorry. Bye.”

 

Elysia naturally left the hall as she was seen off by Aria, who blushed a bit, probably because of feeling sorry for disturbing her natural physical urge.

 

She could feel the gaze of some nobles following her, but she didn’t care. Now, even if someone asked her whereabouts, Aria would answer well.

 

‘Where did he go?’

 

After leaving the hall, Elysia looked for traces of Iker.

 

Fortunately, she could see him walking not far away.

 

She started walking after him as if by coincidence. She was going to ask him directly for an answer that didn’t come up no matter what she did.

 

Because he knew best whether he was staying still because he didn’t really know the situation or whether it was because of her.

 

She didn’t know where his destination was, but the thought of catching up to him made her step faster.  Fortunately, Iker’s steps were not fast.  No, it was slower than usual.  

 

She could catch up with him easily if she walked a little faster.  Elysia, who followed to some extent, opened her mouth and tried to call Iker.

 

 However, her slightly opened lips were closed again by the voices of the nobles coming from behind her.  She glanced back and saw two nobles walking together while talking. Count Blanky and Viscount Harderin.  They were aristocrats of the aristocracy faction.  And, unfortunately, they were also close aides of Duke Russet. 

 

 ‘D*mn it.’  

 

Elysia frowned as she quickly straightened her head.  If she caught Iker here and talked to him, there was a 100% chance that it would be immediately heard by Duke Russet.

 

The light of determination flashed in the eyes of Elysia, who had been in conflict for a while. Without hesitation, she turned to the left hallway.

 

 *** 

 

Iker, who was walking down the hallway, slightly frowned.  The presence of Elysia, who had been chasing after him, suddenly turned to the left.  After practicing martial arts for a long time, he reached a certain level, and he was able to figure out who was following, how many, and what the distance was.  

 

His eyes fell cold as Elysia quickly moved away from where she was.  

 

‘I think it’s because of those people.’  

 

The reason he didn’t say a word throughout the discussion in the meeting was to entice Elysia.  He was sure she would come to ask him out of interest because of his unusual behavior.  As soon as she followed him as he intended, he deliberately slowed his steps, hoping she would catch him.

 

He headed towards the bathroom instead of the usual resting room to give her an excuse if a problem came up when she was found with him.

 

It was a time when expectations were growing as the distance with her gradually narrowed.

 

Suddenly, the presence of the two nobles was felt. They were behind Elysia.

 

For a moment, Iker thought that she might give up catching up to him. And indeed, as Elysia turned to the left, his relaxed-looking face quietly cracked.

 

At the same time, a gentle anger arose at the nobles who appeared behind her and ruined his plan. 

 

In this case, isn’t it meaningless to even ask the emperor to drop the refreshments?

 

[Oh my, that’s a big deal. The Duke asks for refreshments and not talking about business. I never thought I’d live to see this. I’ll keep the secret, so let me know whenever you need it.]

 

When the image of the emperor who was talking with a chuckle came to mind, Iker’s forehead folded with a darker line. Of course, he knew why the emperor was being generous with him, but that didn’t mean it wasn’t burdensome.

 

‘Should I move from this side?’

 

Like Elysia, if he turned left at the fork road about 50 meters ahead, he could run into her.

 

But in that case, there was nothing to give him an excuse for where he was going.

 

Iker, who had been thinking about what to do as he moved slowly, slowly raised the corners of his lips, and joy came to his mind again.

 

The distant footsteps of Elysia began to come closer again.

 

She felt her stop as she approached him quickly. It was the fork road where he had been contemplating whether to turn left or not.

 

Iker deliberately moved towards the left wall and moved slowly.

 

As he approached the fork road, as if he had waited, two slender white hands immediately reached out and grabbed his collar.

 

Iker’s lips curled loosely.

 

****

 

‘What, why did he move so easily?’

 

Elysia’s deep purple eyes, who were holding Iker’s neck, trembled frantically.

 

Her plan was to get to the fork road before Iker and have him enter the hallway where she was standing. That way, she could avoid the gaze of the nobles who followed her.

 

But when she arrived first, there was no way to attract him.

 

Calling Iker had a high chance of being caught because of her voice, and if she grabbed his arm or jumped out and stopped him, there was a high chance of being seen.

 

While Elysia was struggling with a headache, suddenly the sound of Iker’s footsteps approached closer.

 

The moment she saw Iker appearing at the fork road, she became impatient and unconsciously reached out her hands.

 

It was only when she grabbed him by the neck that she felt a strong regret for what she had done, but it was already too late.

 

‘I don’t know.’

 

Hoping that he would not shake off her hands, Elysia pulled Iker with all her might.

 

However, there was no reaction she expected, and he was pulled to her like a person who had lost all his strength.

 

She couldn’t help but wonder.

 

‘What happened? Am I really that strong?’

 

Although she was drunk before and did the same thing, there was something very strange about tying him to the bed and pulling him by the collar now.

 

Elysia, who was in confusion, was startled by the low-pitched voice that fell as if whispering in her ear and raised her head.

 

“It seems that the Marquess has a hobby of grabbing me by the collar.”

 

Elysia’s face, which met Iker’s soft gold eyes tinged with a gentle light, glowed with embarrassment, and her eyes moved around.

 

Not once, but twice, she grabbed the Duke by the neck, so she couldn’t even say anything anymore.

 

“That……I’m sorry. There is something I really want to check with the Duke, ahhh… !”

 

The moment Elysia’s eyes widened as she made an urgent apology without even thinking of letting go of the hand holding the Iker’s collar, strong arms wrapped around her waist and pulled her, while she felt her feet lifted off the ground.

 

Her vision changed. All of a sudden, she had moved behind the large pillar next to her a while ago, and was in Iker’s arms.

 

All she could see was his white shirt.

 

As she lifted her head in an unexpected and bewildering situation, she stiffened as it was. A mellow woody scent, reminiscent of a damp forest drenched in rain, permeated her nose.

 

It was the scent that made her even hotter on the night of the banquet.

 

Recalling the intense pleasure of that time, Elysia’s deep purple eyes suddenly turned cloudy. But she soon came to her senses. Now wasn’t the time to think about that.

 

“What … !”

 

It was when Elysia raised her head and tried to get angry.

 

Iker’s hot breath reached her lobe, and the man’s deep, low voice rang quietly in her ear.

 

“Shh. Wouldn’t it be difficult for the Marquess to be found by them….?”

 

“….”

 

Elysia raised her eyebrows wondering what the noise was, but when she heard the faint sound of conversation along with another footstep, she stiffened.

 

It was Count Blanky and Viscount Harderin who were walking behind her earlier.

 

As she held her breath, the conversation grew louder as Count Blanky and Viscount Harderin approached the fork road.

 

She couldn’t know exactly what they were talking about because she didn’t hear from the beginning, but it seemed to be about the issues that have heated up the capital lately

 

Elysia, who tried to listen to their conversation with her ears pricked up, suddenly hardened like a statue.

 

They were talking about her.

 

“By the way, where did Marquess Camellia, who was walking in front of us, go? Suddenly, she disappeared.”

 

“I do not know. Maybe she went to the resting place over there?”

 

Elysia clung tightly to the man holding her with a sense of crisis that she might be caught. A satisfied smile appeared on Iker’s lips, but she didn’t notice. She just kept her ears open and listened to the voices that were being heard.

 

Fortunately, their subject was moving away from her whereabouts. However, the changed subject wasn’t nice to hear either.

 

“By the way, Marquess Camelia is so pretty and smart. Being arrogant and sharp is also attractive.”

 

“Marquess Camellia is a beauty recognized by the Empire.”

 

Elysia’s expression changed to sour.

 

She always felt it, but it was really unpleasant to hear things about her appearance from the people she disliked, whether it was the good or the bad.

 

Meanwhile, the words of Count Blanky continued.

 

“I like her in a suit better than her in a dress. Somehow, the moderately voluptuous chest, the thin waist that seemed to fit in one hand, and the curvature of the body were clearly revealed, making it even more lewd.”

 

‘This crazy b*stard.’

 

Elysia’s pretty face was crumpled at the obscene talk about her.

 

She, who was swearing at Count Blanky inwardly, flinched at the sensation of the air cooling for a moment. Strangely, the ambient temperature suddenly seemed to drop by one degree. There was no way that was going to happen when she was in a man’s arms.

 

‘What is it?’

 

She was confused, but pricked her ears at Viscount Harderin’s voice.

 

“Excuse me, Count, but I think you’d better not go around and say that.”

 

“What do you mean?”

 

“Don’t you know that His Highness the second Prince wants Marquess Camellia? He even warned no one can touch her. If your words accidentally get into his ear, lightning might fall.”

 

At Viscount Harderin’s words, Elysia’s eyes rose sharply.

 

She knew that the 2nd Prince wanted her, but she didn’t think he would have said such a thing, so she cursed inwardly.

 

‘He’s saying something funny. Why do I belong to the second Prince? Is that why the nobles of Duke Russet haven’t been flirting with me?’

 

Her hands, which were holding Iker’s collar, trembled.

 

Elysia’s blood pressure rose vertically as the rude talk continued about her and the second Prince.

 

‘Just those humans!’

 

Elysia, who was grinding her teeth inwardly, stopped breathing when the two men stopped their footsteps at the fork road.

 

‘Why did they have to stop there?’

 

Elysia’s purple eyes that were wide open moved back and forth in panic.

 

 ‘I hope they don’t come this way.’

 

Forgetting her anger just a moment ago, Elysia quietly examined the situation. She was unaware that she was still clutching Iker’s collar.

 

“Why are you suddenly stopping?”

 

Viscount Harderin asked Count Blanky. There was a sense of prudence in the lowered voice than before.

 

“A little while ago, Duke Deimos was also in front of us. I’m wondering if he’s nearby.”

 

“Duke Deimos was in front of us? I had no idea.”

 

“That’s possible. Because Marquess Camellia was between us and Duke Deimos. They both disappeared in the middle.”

 

“Yes. You’re right. There’s nothing wrong with being cautious. I’ll make sure to be more careful in the future.”

 

“I’m glad you said that.”

 

‘Is it too late already? I heard everything.’

 

Elysia, who was raising her lips crookedly while listening to their conversation, was nervous again at the words of Count Blanky that followed.

 

***

 

*This couple is so cute lol. And Elysia curses all the time 😂