“I’m fine. If it’s because of me, you can go somewhere else, or if I bother you, I will go somewhere else. I’ll let the two of you talk.”
At Valletta’s blunt words, Carlon Dephine’s gaze full of blame fell on Duke Leon.
Why was he feeling a strange sense of guilt even though he had not committed any sins?
Valletta tilted her head at the brief and very short answer. Carlon Delphine patted her on the shoulder and pulled the chair out.
“He’s saying that we can take a seat.”
“Ah… Thank you.”
She didn’t know where in his short answer was that nuance, if it’s on his personality, the person who has known him for a long time would know.
‘By the way, if it’s Duke Leon…’
It was the first time she was seeing his face, but she had heard his name before.
The other Duke and the Empire’s sword. In all the battles and wars that he went to, it was said that he had a hundred wins and zero losses.
At the same time, she was told that he was chivalrous, faithful and had a good reputation since he did not oppress others and did not wield his power recklessly.
Not only that, it was said that he, who was from a humble fallen aristocrat yet was able to obtain the title of the Duke with his own hands, was a literal inspiration for countless people.
He was an idol for many swordsmen as it was said that no one dared to compare to him in terms of swordsmanship or power either from within the Empire or from many other existing countries.
That was all the information she had heard while she was locked up, so she doesn’t know how many of those words embody him.
`There should be at least a ten year gap between him and Carlon Delphine, right?’
They seemed to get along pretty well. Of course, Carlon Delphine was older than him.
‘And he is also the person who recognized Therion’s talent.’
It seemed like he was the one who passed on the name Leon to Therion. Valletta, who was silently rubbing her chin, glanced at Duke Leon.
‘It was also said that he’s a man of few words and quite a drinker.’
He was very picky when it comes to alcohol, so when it was discovered which drink he favored, she would hear the servants in the Delight mansion whispering that they should buy one before it becomes expensive.
“What are you thinking about?”
“I was thinking about the stories about Duke Leon.”
Displeasure was well expressed in one word. Carlon Delphine just shrugged.
“First of all, it’s a banquet, not a public place.”
“No one’s here.”
“I think you drove them all away, Duke.”
It was a more relaxed tone, but it didn’t mean that the issue with honorifics had been completely solved.
Duke Leon let out a low sigh, but he no longer berated him nor forced him to do anything.
“Baby… No, I will protect Valletta.”
He looked at Carlon Delphine without saying anything.
His expression may look blunt to others, but Carlon Delphine could feel the blame in his gaze.
“It’s already beyond control. It’s not easy to back out of something I have already decided a long time ago.”
At Carlon Delphine’s added excuse, Duke Leon didn’t say anything and just poured another glass of strong whiskey.
The whiskey pouring into the well-crafted glass had a pungent smell of alcohol.
Valletta looked curiously at the half-emptied bottle of whiskey.
It wasn’t because she didn’t know what it was, but because it was something she had never tasted, even in her previous life.
As if Duke Leon discovered Valletta’s thoughts, he moved the bottle to the other side.
At his stern words, as if talking to a child, Valletta blinked and took her eyes away from the bottle. Feeling embarrassed, she rolled her eyes once and gently nodded.
‘Do I look that young?’
Carlon Delphine was also like that when they first met, but Duke Leon was not that much different. Strangely, both of them treated her too much like a child.
“But Your Grace, I’m also an adult…”
In the end, Valletta lightly gave up and shrugged her shoulders.
In fact, she could not understand why she couldn’t. It was, after all, her body and she’s an adult, so do they have the right to restrain her?
She wanted to argue with him, but she didn’t want to color their kindness with hostility.
“His Majesty, Emperor Cainus Slaines is now entering! Crown Prince, Mlrode Slaines and the president of the Alchemist Association, Gillian is now entering!”
Carlon Delphine and Duke Leon stood up at the sound of the voice heard from outside. Valletta too, rose from her seat with a nonchalant expression, trying to turn a blind eye to her beating heart.
All the aristocrats and servants in the banquet hall stopped what they were doing and bowed. Valletta followed and moderately bowed her head.
The door opened and the sound of footsteps was heard.
Flinching, her shoulder trembled slightly.
“You’re Valletta, right? If I’m right, raise your head for a moment.”
She let out a low sigh and shook her head. The Crown Prince suddenly approached her. Reinhardt was like that, and so was he.
Everyone was bowing their heads in the same way, so how on earth did he find her in such a huge crowd?
Milrode’s eyes widened.
‘He doesn’t look hurt anywhere.’
It seemed like there was no mistake that Reinhard returned him with limbs intact. He hadn’t lied about anything like this even in the past.
“You’re safe, no… so you’re back. I missed you.”
Milrode did not hide his delight and embraced Valletta.
Valletta’s eyes slightly widened at the sudden embrace.
The strong arms that hugged her were soon startled and quickly moved away.
“I-I’m sorry. I was so glad, so… my mistake.”
Milrode rubbed his flushed face with no mercy. She wondered if his skin was peeling off.
Feeling a little sorry, Valletta lightly shrugged.
“No, It’s okay.”
“I heard you ran away from the Magic Tower. You’re not hurt anywhere?”
As Valletta raised her head and looked over Milrode’s shoulder, she saw the Emperor with a strange expression, and a one-eyed man in a splendid cloak.
There were three people that came in, one of them was the Emperor, and the one in front of her was the Crown Prince, then perhaps the one-eyed man was the President of the Alchemist Association.
‘His name was Gillian, right?’
He was wearing an eye patch on his other eye. Seeing that he was wearing luxurious clothes, he was definitely different from the other alchemists who hide and wear robes.
“But how did you get here…”
Only after his excitement had subsided and the situation had cleared, did Milrode ask belatedly.
Valletta glanced at Carlon Delphine standing beside her. Before she knew it, Carlon Delphine held up his head and had an appropriate answer prepared.
“I was protecting Valletta, no, Lady Delight who ran away from the Magic Tower.”
“Ah! Thank you. Thanks to Duke Delphine, I was able to reunite with her again.”
Milrode accepted Carlon Delphine’s nonchalant words with no hint of doubt.
That kindness of Milrode’s was probably his advantage, but that same kindness was of no help to Valletta at all.
“Don’t mention it. I was surprised to see her in the missing poster and found her after personally searching, so I took a few days off.”
“I see. You’ve worked hard.”
After speaking enough, Carlon Delphine backed away lightly. He didn’t add more words than expected.
Milrode looked at Valletta with a happy expression. Valletta simply lowered her head with indifferent eyes and bowed again. Milrode’s expression slightly darkened.
“Let’s go to our seat, Milrode. It’s nice that you get to talk to your fiance for the first time in a while, but you can’t let the others continue bowing their heads the whole time.”
“Ah, yes, Your Majesty. I‘ll see you a little later, Valletta.”
Milrode clenched his fists, looking at Valletta who just continued bowing her head and didn’t say anything. He doesn’t know why she isn’t looking at his face properly.
Even the cruel fellow who rose to the seat of Magic Tower’s Master met his eyes properly.
‘… Come to think of it, she still didn’t call my name in the end.’
Each time she would avoid it by saying ‘When the time is right’, but she hadn’t called his name even once. And it was the same today.
He seemed to be the only one happy about their reunion. A bitter taste filled his mouth.
“Come on, we should show a happy expression on this pleasant day. Let’s all raise our heads and enjoy the banquet.”
As soon as the Emperor granted permission, all the aristocrats, who were bowing, straightened up at the same time.
The moment they all raised their heads, all the eyes on the people gathered in one place.
“And if you don’t mind, Lady Delight and Duke Delphine, how about having a chat with me?”
Instead of answering, Valletta turned her head to look at Carlon Delphine. Carlon Delphine smiled and bowed.
“It will be our honor, Your Majesty. However, I would be more than happy if you would let my friend, Duke Leon, join our seat.”
The Emperor glanced at Duke Leon standing next to him, and gladly nodded.
“If that is what the Duke prefers, then so be it. Do what you like.”
Duke Leon let out a low sigh once the permission was given. He gently rose from his seat and headed to the table prepared in the upper area.
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