Chapter 19

 

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“But is there a lot of space to relax here? Both Marquess Camellia and the Duke suddenly disappeared.”

 

“I don’t know. Both of them are frequent visitors to the Imperial Palace, so they may have their own secret space.”

 

“Hmm, the two of them aren’t together, are they?”

 

Elysia let out a silent moan.

 

Count Blanky’s thoughtless words stabbed her conscience without mercy. Beyond being together, now she was being held in Iker’s arms.

 

‘I can’t get caught.‘

 

She listened with anxiety, but was relieved by Viscount Harderin’s words.

 

“The Marquess went to the left a long time ago. I don’t know which way Duke Deimos went, but how can the two enemies be together?”

 

“Yeah, it can’t be. Come on, let’s go to the bathroom before the meeting starts again.” 

 

The footsteps of the two men began to be heard again, and they slowly moved away from the hallway.

 

After the sound had completely disappeared, Elysia, who was exhaling a breath of relief, stiffened her body at the sound of the low-pitched voice in her ears.

 

“It seems that my collar is what the Marquess likes.”

 

“What?”

 

Elysia raised her head wondering what Iker meant, and was startled to realize that her two hands were still holding Iker’s collar.

 

“Ugh!”

 

Her eyes trembled slightly as she quickly released her hands and back away. But her body didn’t even move.

 

Elysia’s bewildered gaze slowly turned downwards on the man’s strong arms wrapped around her waist.

 

“I, I’m sorry.”

 

Perhaps he felt her gaze on his arms, Iker released his arms and took a step back. It was a simple attitude, without the slightest bit of clingyness.

 

It was so neat that there was nothing to say, so Elysia answered with a cough.

 

“Hmmm, that’s fine. Thanks to this, we avoided a difficult situation.”

 

“Then I’m glad. But what was the Marquess trying to ask me? Seeing how you grabbed me by the neck, it seemed urgent.”

 

“No, that’s … !”

 

Elysia, who had moved her lips a few times because she couldn’t think of any excuses, let out a sigh and bowed her head deeply.

 

“I’m sorry. Even with ten mouths, nothing can be said.”

 

“It’s okay. I didn’t even feel bad. So what were you trying to say?”

 

‘What, is this man really a grown man? Why doesn’t he get angry?’

 

Elysia, who was stunned for a moment by Iker’s generous reply, quickly regained her consciousness. It wasn’t the time to be like this.

 

“Why didn’t Your Excellency say anything about the agenda that I brought up in the meeting earlier?”

 

Iker pondered for a moment at her question and then opened his mouth slowly.

 

“Did you need my opinion on that matter?”

 

“Usually, when I only proposed an agenda, didn’t you immediately object to a rebuttal? But today it’s strange that you just say still.”

 

Iker’s gaze fell quietly on Elysia’s face.

 

Whether he was trying to understand the intent of the question, but his eyes were intense and hot enough to be burdensome.

 

Unknowingly, when Elysia lowered her eyes, a question came back, not an answer.

 

 “It’s strange. If I stay still, isn’t it good for you, Marquess?”

 

“That’s true, but….”

 

“But?”

 

There wasn’t a long question, but Elysia could understand what Iker was asking.

 

There is an opportunity for the agenda to pass, so why is she chasing the reasons?

 

But she just had to wonder because he was Duke Deimos, not anyone else.

 

‘This man, does he really have no idea what the agenda is? Or is he pretending not to know? Or is it really because of me?’

 

Elysia narrowed her eyes. She couldn’t tell what he was thinking just by looking at his eyes and expression.

 

So she asked in a suspicious voice.

 

“Is it because of me that you stay silent?”

 

“What do you mean?”

 

“I’m asking if you’re looking after me just because I spent the night with you.” (Elysia)

 

A faint smile appeared on Iker’s lips. It was very charming, but mysterious with unknown meaning.

 

“So you thought I was silent in the meeting because we spent the night together and came after me to check it out.” (Iker)

 

“Well, if I were to summarize it, yes.” (Elysia)

 

“Is that a problem?” (Iker)

 

“What?”

 

“I’m talking about me staying silent. As I said before, shouldn’t you be more than happy? It’s an opportunity for the agenda to pass safely.”

 

Elysia was momentarily speechless. What Iker said was not wrong.

 

Politics was a place where lies were basic and conspiracy tricks were prevalent. A place where they would do anything for their own benefit.

 

So, as he said, it was right to view it as an opportunity and rejoice.

 

If this case was something that could be passed, she would have pretended not to know it and let it pass.

 

But the problem was that this agenda should not be passed.

 

Thinking she had to stop it somehow, she strengthened her eyes and said firmly.

 

“It’s because I don’t like it.”

 

“Hmmm?”

 

“As I said last time, I don’t like having personal feelings mixed with my work. If the agenda passes, I think I will feel dirty.”

 

She thought that she might have said it too harshly, but somehow the man in front of her didn’t seem to care much. He had been kind to her since that night and always smiled.

 

Elysia stared blankly as Iker’s well-defined, attractive lips were raised slightly.

 

“You’re worried too much. Didn’t I say mixing emotions with work is immature? You can rest assured that nothing like that will happen.” (Iker)

 

A low, soft voice, quite different from the blunt voice in the meeting, landed in her ear. It seemed to stimulate somewhere deep in her body because it was a deep low tone.

 

‘This feeling is not very good.’

 

Even if the body, not the mind, reacted, it was not good for her anyway. Because her opponent was a person whom she should not be entangled with.

 

Elysia decided to quickly finish the conversation and leave.

 

“I am glad you said that. Then I think it was my fault, and I look forward to your opinion. Thank you for your valuable time.”

 

After constantly spitting out the usual polite words, she bowed her head with courtesy and turned around.

 

No, she was going to turn around. If Iker hadn’t called.

 

“Marquess.”

 

“Yes?”

 

Elysia was startled by his call.

 

When she looked to see if he had anything to say that could be reproached, Iker raised his finger and pointed at his neck.

 

“Shouldn’t this be fixed before you go?”

 

What his finger pointed to was a silvery cravat, almost loose and disorganized, tied around his neck.

 

Looking at Iker and the disarray cravat alternately, Elysia sked cautiously.

 

“Did I do that?”

 

“Is there anyone other than the Marquess who would hold me by the neck?”

 

The corners of Elysia’s lips trembled at Iker’s smiling reply. It didn’t look like there was any hole to get out of.

 

While she was bewildered, Iker raised his hand and unwrapped the cravat with her long fingers.

 

As Elysia took the cravat he had held out, Iker slowly leaned towards her.

 

“Because I’m not used to doing it alone. I hope the Marquess can help me.”

 

His intense golden eyes hidden under black eyelashes were dyed with anticipation.

 

On the other hand, Elysia, who looked down at the cravat, was in a state of panic.

 

With the cravat in her hand, she rolled her eyes frantically, but she spoke carefully just in case.

 

“But sir. Did you know that I’ve never worn a cravat?”

 

It was a way of saying that she didn’t know what would happen if he left it to her, a beginner. But her opponent was strong.

 

“Is that so? Then I guess you should take this opportunity to try it. I will gladly be your first-time partner.” (Iker)

 

Elysia, who looked at the cravat held in her hand and Iker’s neck alternately, sighed as if she had given up.

 

‘Ah, I don’t know. Maybe it’ll work out. It’s just a cravat.’

 

But she didn’t know the reality was different.

 

A small tendon was caught on Elysia’s forehead, who couldn’t tie the cravat properly. It was already the fifth time she tried.

 

‘No, why doesn’t it work properly!’

 

Even if it was the first time, it didn’t make sense that she couldn’t even tie the cravat.

 

Elysia clenched her teeth and tried the sixth time, but she had no choice but to admit that she slacked skills.

 

At this point, Elysia wanted to start the meeting, so she gave up on tying the cravat and opened her mouth.

 

Whether it was because she was embarrassed to see the man who kept bowing down, or because she was sorry, the words came out timidly without her own knowledge.

 

“Did I not tell you? I never tried it before. What a waste of time.” 

 

Elysia, who held out the cravat again, sighed softly.

 

If it was any other time, I would have called the maid to ask for help, but if it were now, strange rumors could arise.

 

“Let’s do this. I will go first and hand the cravat to the maid. Then, Your Excellency followed after a while and said that you lost your cravat…… ”

 

“Wait, Elly.”

 

Iker’s large hand gently grabbed her arm, who was talking about a plausible way with her head rolling in her own way.

 

Elysia’s body, who had turned her head to see what was going on, stiffened as it was.

 

His hand, which was moving down her arm, rubbed against her fingers as he took the cravat from her. Even though it was a meaningless touch, the place he touched was strangely tingling.

 

Unknowingly holding her hands tightly, she was startled by the low-pitched voice in her ear and quickly opened her hand.

 

“I think I’d rather do it myself than use a stranger’s hand.” (Iker)

 

When she looked up, she saw Iker tying the cravat around his collar himself.

 

Confused, Elysia blinked her big eyes and opened her mouth.

 

“A little while ago, Your Excellency said you couldn’t do it alone…”

 

“I think I said I wasn’t used to doing it myself. I didn’t mean that I couldn’t.”

 

“Oh….”

 

Elysia, remembering Iker’s words, twisted her eyes slightly.

 

As he said, he said he wasn’t used to it, but he didn’t say he couldn’t. In other words, she had misunderstood it herself and was being indecent.

 

‘No, if you stick your neck out like that, of course I’ll think you can’t do it!’

 

While she was grumbling inside, Iker began to tie the cravat around his neck.

 

Elysia’s gaze reached the long fingers of the man who slowly and delicately made a knot. Although it was a simple movement, it felt strangely sensual.

 

Her eyes, which had been resting on Iker’s fingers, slowly moved upward.

 

The moment she moved her gaze to his sharply chiseled chin and a high nose bridge, intense and beautiful golden eyes met hers.