Chapter 2

 

***

 

IlDexter was the aide who had just informed Blake of the outsider’s arrival. He was a young man with brown hair who wore glasses and was one of the few pure-blooded Imperials in the Duke’s castle, not of barbaric blood.

 

He smiled perplexedly with his handsome face. Then he asked again. 

 

“Excuse me, Your Highness. I’m sorry, but I must ask you again. Are you going to wash this lady yourself?”

 

“I see your ears are still not working properly. Yes, I’m talking about this lady.”

 

 “I’d rather the joke be that my promotion is closed.”

 

“That’s also true.”

 

“Can I just leave my resignation in the office then?”

 

Of course, Blake didn’t mean to do anything about Lily. Blake’s face was thick with cynicism.

 

Well, since he lifted her up and carried her directly to the bathroom, wouldn’t that be the same as washing her?

 

The reason he had said something that could be misinterpreted was because he hoped Lily would be perplexed for once. But still in Blake’s arms, Lily replied casually. 

 

“I’m not Lady.”

 

Blake wanted to grab the back of her neck as soon as he heard those words again.That was a really uninteresting way to act.

 

“Is that all you have to say? And if you’re divorced, you’re a Lady again.”

 

He threw away the feeling that she was familiar to him a long time ago.

 

He didn’t seem to know the young lady, Lily, at all.

 

That way, his personal illusion would be correct.

 

“And let me warn you, you will be in trouble if you talk back to barbarians. Isn’t there a fairy tale about that?”

 

“Barbarians—so I’m guessing you’re referring to the people of the dukedom who also eat people, right?”

 

Despite being the same country, there were many different ways in which the Empire discriminated against the Duke.

 

As a result, whether they actually were or not, the people of the duchy were truly stamped with the image of being “barbaric”.

 

Lily asked,

 

“Do you have a preference for that? What is the aesthetics of human flesh?”

 

“Not at all.”

 

“Perfect. This clears up the blush between us.”

 

“I’m sorry, but will you come back after a day or two? In the meantime, I’ll think about whether cannibalism can be to my taste.”

 

The man felt a strange desire to conquer.

 

It was strange to feel this way about a woman he didn’t know well.

 

‘What kind of woman could be so strange?’

 

The people he hated the most were the nobles of this country. A tribe that was extravagant and always spoke ill of others.

 

‘It’s strange that they would call us savages when they are more savage.’

 

Lily Hedwick that socialites envied the most.

 

It was natural for him to want to score.

 

The act of pouring out his senses to that woman was an illusion that began there. That was what Blake believed.

 

At the same time, Lily looked around the bathroom, unaware of Blake’s inner thoughts. Blake held Lily, holding her waist with his big hands.

 

Her thin waist was wrapped in half and she could feel the firm and thick muscles of the man over the winter clothes worn in layers.

 

It didn’t bother Lily much, though, so she was able to concentrate on her bath.

 

She eyed the rough white tiles on the bathroom floor.

 

“I was curious because it was a castle in the mountains, but I liked the Gothic style. It’s more desolate than an ordinary mansion, but I think that’s what makes it rather special.”

 

“Well, the people from the capital didn’t like it because it’s a rugged castle… but they have different opinions.”

 

“Well, it’s a shame that only people with no eyes came to visit.”

 

“Every once in a while, an official of the Imperial Palace will stop by the Winter Castle. For example, they’re investigators. Though they always looked uncomfortable, as if they were just here to do their job.”

 

Blake sarcastically spoke in a low voice.

 

“But what do you want me to do? Our method of survival is like this. We have to hang meat in the kitchen and display barrels in the hallway to keep the water from freezing in cold weather. Without tapestries, though, even that is useless.”

 

Steam from the hot water pooled in the bathroom.

 

While the faucet spewed water out of the white bathtub, several maids poured hot water from a wooden bucket.

 

IlDexter asked.

 

“The bath is ready, Your Highness. Then…..?”

 

 

It was the end of the word that included the question of whether Blake would really wash Lily himself.

 

Fortunately, Blake handed Lily over in a straightforward manner. The two maids warmly accepted Lily as she was handed over like a package.

 

“Now then, wash up and come out. We’ll continue talking afterwards.”

 

Lily folded her eyes, smiled and said goodbye.

 

“Have a good night, Lord Blake.”

 

“Excuse me, but it’s night. It’s an appropriate time for an uninvited guest to come unannounced.”

 

“I made an appointment with Lord Blake’s father.”

 

“How come you never yield a word?”

 

Lily tried to apologize for misleading him, since she didn’t dare to try to win. But Blake was intimidated by what else embarrassing words she would say with her innocent face.

 

So he didn’t listen to her anymore and went on his way.

 

“Bye then.”

 

He quickly exited the bathroom with his huge body. IlDexter nodded to Lily, laughing as he broke into a cold sweat. Then he hurriedly followed Blake.

 

“Your Highness, what will I do if you leave me behind?”

 

‘So awkward!’

 

The scream became distant.

 

The rest of the maids approached Lily, looking embarrassed, wondering what they should do.

 

It had been a long time since they had taken care of a woman.

 

The Upus Duchy belonged to the Empire, but they were despised for being barbarians.

 

They were such Upus people.

 

They were large and solid, regardless of gender. They felt awkward seeing the frail Lily. 

 

“Let’s be gentle so she won’t break.”

 

“Keep that in mind.”

 

The maids said to each other as they exchanged glances.

 

Lily mumbled as she took off her thick wool cape.

 

“You don’t need to tend to my bath, I’m just like an uninvited guest.”

 

At that she let out a small yawn.

 

It was because she had walked for two hours in the heavy snowfall. Now that she was wrapped up in warmth, she naturally felt sleepy.

 

So Lily inadvertently forgot that she had to warn the maids.

 

That they might be surprised at what they saw.

 

“….!”

 

The maids opened their eyes wide while receiving Lily’s clothes one by one. Their gazes were fixed on the scars on her slender body.

 

***

 

It had been quite a journey for Lily to get here from the capital.

 

This was because the Upus Duchy itself was closed.

 

Pureblood Imperials were afraid to go to the Duchy and had to do a lot of legwork to find transportation.

 

Lily had to ride in several carriages even after she got off the train. Also, after walking through snowy fields, she barely reached the castle hidden deep in the snowy mountains.

 

The Duchy was a kingdom founded by the Upus, a wandering tribe at one time, but the empire despised them, commonly calling them “barbarians”.

 

Even though they had been in the same country for hundreds of years, there hadn’t been much human interaction.

 

Lily stretched with a refreshed complexion.

 

“Hm.”

 

She didn’t show it, but when she got out of the hot water, her fatigue melted away. Lily followed the servant’s lead and stood in front of the ruggedly patterned door.

 

“Master is waiting for you.”

 

There was a door plate with the wolf seal of the family engraved on it.

 

‘This must be the room where Lord Blake works.’

 

She could hear the sound of writing through the slightly open door.

 

Inside, she could see the interior of the rough and spacious office.

 

The pillar clock as only the necessary furniture remained, which ticked regularly and steadily. Lily found the place lonely and isolated, just like Blake.

 

The only sound was the flickering of the fireplace, which gave off a warm energy.

 

Blake was reading some papers at the middle table.

 

“Hm.”

 

He took his red eyes off the papers and raised his head.

 

“Took you long enough… Are the women of the capital always that slow?”

 

Blake had washed, too, and his clothes had changed.

 

His white shirt was tied at the bottom of his neck with a string, but a small opening underneath it revealed a firm chest.

 

Underneath he was wearing comfortable pants.

 

Lily didn’t dare respond to Blake’s pros and cons.

 

“The servants were kind enough to even give me new clothes, and they’re nice and soft. I ran away in a hurry and didn’t have anything to change into. I am grateful for that.”

 

He was indeed hostile to her.

 

It was only natural since he was from the Upus family. Lily also understood the pressure the Upus people were under.

 

But she could sense that he didn’t really hate her.

 

It would get better as time went on and they got to know each other.

 

Lily walked in and the door closed. Only the two of them remained in the office.

 

“Is it customary around here that clothes don’t cinch the waist so tightly?”

 

Then Blake’s gaze unconsciously scanned Lily’s body.

 

“Like I said, we’re all about life first…………”

 

He stopped speaking immediately when he saw her clothes were much larger than Lily’s body.

 

It was a dress made of thick apricot-colored fabric, but it was slouchy and showed her beautiful skin as it was.

 

It looked like she was wearing her husband’s clothes, and they seemed to be much bigger.

 

Blake tried his best to think of something else.

 

No, but how did she end up looking like that?

 

The reason Lily looked like that was simple.

 

The two maids who helped her bath had to give Lily the best quality of the clothes they had.

 

The maids took the dress from the room that Alfred, the butler, had bought for his daughter as a gift.

 

The problem was that the butler’s daughter had the magnificent physique of the Upus people. They had to give her the clothes their children would wear.

 

Blake pretended to be looking at Lily, concentrating only on the tapestry that hung behind her.

 

‘I should hurry up and buy clothes that fit her.’ Blake made up his mind.

 

“Anyway, tell me your story.”

 

He distantly suggested a seat on the other side of the desk.

 

“What would you like to know?”

 

Lily approached meekly.

 

And it was at the moment when she lowered her body to remove her chair to sit.

 

The dress that was just barely hanging over her shoulders tried to slide down.

 

“….”

 

Blake couldn’t stand it and quickly rose from his seat.

 

“Let me tell you in advance, it’s not my fault.”

Notes

N/A

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