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Watching Elysia and Rashian arguing, Iker slowly opened his mouth. The low, deep, heavy voice had the power to focus people.
[I think I once said that a request that does not consider the other person’s position is like coercion.]
Fortunately, the third prince immediately retreated at Iker’s words. And Rashian apologized to her that he was overdoing it. When that happened, it was Elysia who felt awkward. So she said it’s okay, and decided to leave.
Then what did Iker do?
He told her to wait a moment and took a step towards her.
Even though it was only one step, he was standing right in front of her, perhaps because of his long legs.
When Elysia, embarrassed by the sudden close distance, unknowingly tried to back away, but Iker raised her hand toward her.
His body’s scent, which Elysia had now become accustomed to, rushed in, and his long, manly fingers touched her hair.
For a moment, Elysia froze.
Even though it was just a slight touch, a strange shiver ran through her body, starting from the place where his finger stayed.
Perhaps it was because of Iker’s intense golden eyes that were fixed on her face and did not fall off, a sensual and dangerous atmosphere that was not strange heated up flowed between them.
The moment Elysia thought this was dangerous, his hand slipped away from her. At that moment, a small leaf was caught between his fingers that caught her eyes. The eyes of the man who looked down at Elysia were languidly folded.
[It must have fallen on your hair while you were shooting. It seems that this fellow also fell in love with the Marquess’s skill. That was a great skill. Be careful going home.]
It was definitely a polite smile. As always, a clean smile with no frills.
But, strangely, it felt lewd. Enough to stimulate her feelings, which were hidden deep inside her body.
‘He’s a mysterious man indeed. Was he born that way?’
Otherwise, there was no way to explain it. Elysia herself was the one who has absolutely high experience with the opposite gender, so why was she always being swayed by him?
“Oh, I don’t know. I just don’t want to get involved.”
Elysia shook her head as if trying to shake off her thoughts and started moving again. She hoped her life would be quiet in the future.
But things didn’t go the way she wanted them to.
At the time Elysia returned to her residence, an incident that would make the empire noisy was starting quietly in a bar in the capital.
Paparazzi Hudson McCullen, called “Crazy Dog,” looked down at the glass in his hand thoughtfully.
His glass, which normally should have already been empty, was filled with alcohol.
‘I don’t know why it bothers me so much.’
The day after the banquet held at the royal family, Hudson’s eyes shone sharply as he remembered a young man* coming out of the Duke’s* residence. (*It was Elysia who disguised as a man when she left Iker’s mansion after they accidentally (or not) slept together)
He was a young man with a slender physique, whom Hudson couldn’t see his face because the man had his hat pressed down, but he was not tall enough to be considered too thin.
It was the first face Hudson had ever seen as he had been closely watching the Duke of Deimos for over six months.
‘Is he a new servant?’
As he turned his gaze away without a second thought, he realized that something was bothering him. After another long examination, he found out what strange feeling he had felt.
The clothes the young man was wearing were the same as those worn by Duke Deimos. In other words, it was not the clothes the servants wore.
Hudson had a hunch. The young man was not an ordinary person.
Hudson thought he should check the young man’s face. But before he could move, the young man got into the carriage and left.
‘Who was that young man? What’s his relationship with Duke Deimos?’
Like the rumor that circulated for a brief moment, he smirked as he speculated that the Duke of Deimos might be gay and that the young man might be the Duke’s lover.
It was nonsense. Duke Deimos is gay?
If he really was, the scandal would have erupted sooner. Hudson wasn’t the only one paying attention to the Duke’s every move.
It was when Hudson sighed and lifted the glass and brought it to his mouth. Someone pulled the chair opposite him and sat down.
“Oh, I’m so tired. Why is it all so quiet these days?”
It was Hudson’s friend Eddie Muffin, who worked for the Herald Times newspaper.
“What is the deadline?”
“I barely finished. The editor still doesn’t seem to like it, but what can I do? I have nothing to pay, so you have to pay for it. A drink here!”
Eddie shouted loudly to a passing employee, drooping and grumbling as if exhausted.
“Marquess Camellia is quiet these days. Only when she’s in love will there be a good article to write about. Tsk.”
For the Herald Times, a newspaper specializing in gossip, Marquess Elysia Camellia was an important article.
Just putting her scandal in a newspaper would increase the number of copies sold several times.
“It will be soon. Didn’t I say that I hadn’t left my position for more than a month?”
“Right. It will be soon.”
Eddie nodded at Hudson’s words, then straightened his droopy body as if thinking of something, and opened his mouth.
“Come to think of it, something strange happened.”
“A few days ago, I went out to Marquess Camellia’s residence in the morning, and a young man was walking there. But somehow it felt strange, so I bumped into him on purpose. Trying to see his face. But, to my surprise, it was Marquess Camellia.”
Gorgeous red hair flowing down, mysterious and alluring purple eyes filled with embarrassment.
He couldn’t get a closer look at the face because of the hat she was wearing deep, but that alone was enough for Eddie to know the identity of the young man.
Eddie’s words raised questions in Hudson’s eyes.
“It’s strange. Marquess Camellia disguised herself as a man?”
“It’s not just that, she pressed her hat down to cover her face. Marquess Camellia is not the kind of woman to cover her face like that.”
Hudson frowned upon hearing that the face was covered with a hat. Somehow, he felt a sense of déjà vu.
Didn’t he also see a young man with a hat covering his face in front of Duke Deimos’s residence?
When he thought about it, the man’s physique seemed closer to a woman than a man.
After a moment’s silence, Hudson turned to Eddie.
“When was that day?”
“It’s the day after the imperial banquet.”
Hudson’s face hardened when he confirmed that the date was the same. There was little impatience in his voice when he asked again.
“Tell me the details of the appearance of Marquess Camellia that day.”
“She wore a navy blue beret, a white shirt and black trousers. But, why is your expression like that?”
Eddie, who was answering from searching his memory, looked at Hudson’s face and tilted his head.
His friend was pulling the corners of his mouth long up to his ears, as if he had picked up a lump of gold while walking down the street.
“Has the editor left work?”
“Huh? He was there when I came out, so maybe he’s still there.”
Eddie answered with a bewildered look and looked at Hudson in bewilderment as he jumped up from his seat.
Hudson took some money from his pocket and placed it on the table, winking outside the bar.
“Get up. I need to see the editor-in-chief right now.”
“Why all of a sudden?”
“Go and I’ll tell you. Come on, follow me.”
Seeing Hudson moving ahead, Eddie sighed and followed.
And the next morning, the front page of the Herald Times featured an article that would surprise everyone. It was the beginning of a major scandal that would turn the capital upside down.
Elysia, returning happily from early morning training with Hal, was called by Lulien. Lulien held out the newspaper to her with a serious expression, as Elysia came to the parlor in a hurry to find out what was going on in the morning.
Elysia glanced at the newspaper and had a puzzled expression.
“Isn’t that the Herald Times? I haven’t had any scandals lately.”
At Lulien’s words, Elysia’s purple eyes, who looked down at the newspaper, shook violently as if they had met a storm.
It was because of the headline that decorated the front page of the Herald Times.
[Marquess Camellia, the leader of the aristocratic faction, has a secret meeting with the Duke of Deimos, the head of the imperial faction?!]
Elysia, who had unwittingly spit out abusive language, hurriedly started reading the newspaper article. Her lips trembled as she read it quickly.
It was written that she disappeared from the banquet and was seen coming out of the Duke of Deimos’ residence the next morning disguised as a young man and immediately returned to her residence.
There was even an illustration. It was an illustration of a person dressed as a man, hiding his hair with a hat.
Above all, the words at the end of the article were a spectacle.
[In tribute to the rare playgirl, Marquess Elysia Camellia, who even included Duke Deimos, who had never shown interest in women, on the list. Will the Duke of Deimos become a one-time partner or the lover of the century?]
A rare playgirl? Lover of the century? Elysia couldn’t help but burst out laughing.
While laughing, Elysia lifted her head at Lulien’s words.
“I don’t even know…..”
Elysia, who was frowning in bewilderment, a forgotten memory suddenly popped into her mind.
“Is it that man?”
The day after the banquet, she got on the carriage and left the Duke’s residence, and got off at a place far away from her residence.
It was to avoid the public eye.
But in the process, she bumped into someone who came out of nowhere, and her hat fell off, revealing her red hair.
That man who was exaggeratedly crouching down and apologizing, quickly skimming through her. She thought he was a paparazzi or a reporter for a newspaper.
But she didn’t think he would know where she came back from, so how did he find out?
Elysia, who was biting her lower lip, not understanding, sighed deeply at the gazes of Lulien and Hal, who were staring at her.
“That day, I bumped into a man in front of the house. The shock took the hat off, revealing my hair, and the man must have been a journalist. He must have recognized my identity by the color of my hair. But I don’t know how they knew I came out of the Duke’s residence.”
After hearing Elysia’s answer, Lulien and Hal were deep in thought. It was Lulien who spoke first.
She said cautiously.
“Like you said, they can’t write an article like this just by seeing you in front of the mansion on that day. Then there is only one possible scenario.”
“What is that?”
“The paparazzi and the reporter who was stalking Duke Deimos’s mansion had seen you closely. And perhaps the two of them talked to each other. They can prove that you’re the same person by the clothes and hat you wore.”
Elysia had an absurd expression on her face.