I was momentarily stunned.
Elvin’s face was still gloomy.
Looking at him, I could tell that I didn’t hear it wrong.
As a rule, a family should have the eldest son, so there was no way for Elvin to leave the Grand Duchy of Croix.
But didn’t he say it with his own mouth about leaving?
‘What’s going on with his family?’
I really didn’t know.
Elvin seemed to have a bad relationship with his family.
But wasn’t this kind of notification too sudden?
“What do you mean saying goodbye….?”
My voice trembled a bit because of bewilderment.
Elvin’s eyes widened as if puzzled by my reaction.
But soon a smile spread across his lips.
“Are you sad that I am leaving?”
“A little. May I ask what’s going on?”
“It’s not a big deal. There’s something I’ve been looking for for a long time, and now I’ve found it. If I could postpone it, I would, but they say it is not in good condition……”
Elvin’s complexion darkened as he continued his words.
Whatever it was, it didn’t look like it was going well.
When their eyes met, he spoke again with a nonchalant face.
“Anyway, I’m going to the countryside for a while.”
I felt sad for some reason.
When Elvin told me he wanted a friendship, I thought he couldn’t be a real friend.
But at the announcement of his departure, a corner of my heart already felt empty.
They said we wouldn’t know how our clothes would get wet in the drizzle, and as we had been seeing each other, I seemed to have grown attached to him.
“While I am away, you can find Noah if you need anything. I have ordered him beforehand, so he will do his best to help the princess.”
Elvin looked down at me with a complicated gaze.
He then pulled out something wrapped in a luxurious fabric from his pocket and held it out.
I made sure that no one was around and accepted the item he gave me.
I didn’t know what was in it, but it was a little heavier than it looked.
I opened it slowly and looked at Elvin with surprise.
“What is all this?
What was wrapped in a thick velvet cloth was a hairpin, a necklace, and a bracelet, a total of three ornaments.
The necklace had a simple design that wouldn’t stand out even if you wear it on a regular basis, but it had small jewels embedded in it and the workmanship was exquisite.
The hairpin and bracelet looked splendid and expensive were what Roxana usually wore.
“I can’t receive a gift like this on any day.”
I hesitated, then wrapped them up in the cloth and handed them back to Elvin.
But he didn’t seem to have any intention of getting it back.
“This is a break-up celebration gift. I want to congratulate you now, because I don’t think I’ll be in the capital at the time that happens.”
“How did you know?”
I realized that it was a stupid question right after asking.
It wasn’t surprising that Elvin knew about my breakup with the Crown Prince In advance, as Payne had been expecting it.
It was only natural for him to notice, as I had so far entrusted many things to his organization.
“I’ve heard of wedding or engagement gifts, but it’s the first time I’ve heard of a gift to celebrate a breakup.”
“Is it strange? Then I’ll give it to you as a commemoration of our friendship.”
As I felt every time, Elvin’s spending was too generous to accept.
No matter how wealthy he was, I had never seen anyone who would buy so much jewelry like this.
Even my fiancé, the Crown Prince, had never delivered gifts to Roxana so often.
If he was doing business for the sake of money, there would be nothing left.
So, did Elvin’s overflowing fortune come from the Grand Duke’s family?
Suddenly, I wondered if the Grand Duke knew of his son’s extravagant spending.
He probably didn’t know.
No matter how wealthy the Grand Duke was, if he knew, he could not let his son throw gold nuggets on the roadside.
“Aren’t you too generous? It might be my assumption, but you might go bankrupt giving me expensive gifts like this.”
I was seriously concerned.
But Elvin struck back with a light smile as if telling me not to worry.
“Are you worried? It is an honor for the princess to be concerned about me, but I am giving this as a friend, not as an owner of the organization.”
He looked at me tenderly and added.
“You don’t have to worry about that because I’m not doing this to anyone else.”
Did he know or pretend not to know? He was sometimes overly kind, and his words were overly sweet.
If he whispered such misleading words with a gentle face, most people would not fall for it.
“This is not just ordinary trinkets. Give me a moment, I will show you how to use it.”
Elvin held out his hand.
With a puzzled face, I handed over the items I had received from him again.
Then he took out the bracelet from inside.
“Hold your hand out for a moment.”
When I reached out my hand with a bewildered face, Elvin took off the bracelet I was wearing and put the new one on.
“If you push this part here, a hidden dagger will come out. It’s small, so it won’t have much effect on people, but it’s still useful if you’re in trouble.”
Elvin’s actions were as fast and natural as flowing water, and I didn’t even have time to stop him.
I looked down at the bracelet on my wrist and admired it. No one would have expected such a vicious weapon under its splendid appearance.
Elvin then took out the necklace and stood behind me.
Suddenly, I felt a thin, cold necklace string touching my neck.
“There is a whistle at the end of the necklace. I deliberately picked a thin, inconspicuous one, so keep it with you all the time if you can.”
The last one was the hairpin.
After helping me to put on the necklace, Elvin came back to the front.
A woman’s hairpin was in his hand this time.
Because of his beautiful features and his friendly atmosphere, I did not feel uncomfortable at all, even though he was holding a splendid woman’s jewelry.
The hairpin was a design that noble girls would like, and it was decorated with gems and fake flowers made of fabric.
However, if you look closely, the tip of the pin was sharp and pointed, enough to injure a person.
It was so elaborately crafted that it was a weapon with purpose, but it looked like a real ordinary hairpin.
Of course, it would not wither and would last longer than fresh flowers.
Elvin slowly raised his hands. He seemed to be trying to put it on my hair.
At his nearness, his male scent and clean skin hovered in the air.
I could feel his gaze reaching right over my head. I stood still and stared straight ahead.
As I was doing that, I saw a firm chest in front of my eyes.
On the left side of the dark wine-colored vest was the brooch I gave him.
I stopped breathing for a moment. For my heart threatened to rage out of its cage.
The hand that touched my hair was full of hesitation.
Even though it wasn’t hard, the work of inserting the pin was not finished even after a long time.
He was perfect and excelled in everything, but Elvin showed his clumsiness for the first time that he had never done anything like this before.
After a while, Elvin took a step back. He looked pleased as we looked at each other.
Of course it wasn’t perfect, but the effort he had been concentrating on for a while was imaginable, so I decided to leave it alone.
I could always ask Joan to fix it again. I reached out and touched my head.
I felt the cold touch of the pin that Elvin had inserted a while ago.
The touch of it was obviously cold, but somehow I felt warm.
“Thank you, but why are you giving me such a gift all of a sudden? It’s not just jewelry, it’s all things that are used for self-defense.”
“If you look at what’s going on inside and outside the Empire these days, things might happen sooner or later. The capital is safe, but there’s always danger lurking beneath.”
Elvin’s words seemed to imply something.
I asked with a puzzled expression.
“What do you mean? Have you heard something?”
“I’m not sure yet. It’s just my guess. I’m just hoping it’s nothing.”
Elvin said lightly, as if nothing special. But I felt uneasy. Come to think of it, Payne also warned me to be careful earlier.
The Empire was strong and more peaceful thanks to the Duke and Payne’s efforts to have it under control.
Neighboring countries had been quiet and the war had just ended, so for the time being, it seemed to be safe.
In addition, the imperial castle, where the emperor resided, would be protected by the imperial guards even in the event of a problem. And there was Duke Lillian. But there must have been some reason for Elvin to say that. I had to watch out for things outside the empire, not just the imperial people. I was already tired of thinking that danger was everywhere.
“Anyway, there’s nothing wrong with being careful.”
I nodded meekly. Elvin continued giving me serious advice.
“When going out, even if it is cumbersome, always bring an escort and carry all the things I’ve given you.”
“I’ll keep your words in mind. But you’re acting like you will never come back. Don’t you think so?”
Elvin raised the corners of his lips.
Unlike me, who was serious, his expression was easy and light.
“How’s that possible? I’ll be back within this year, so don’t worry.”
Wait, this year?
Looking at my surprised face, Elvin with a pleasant smile.
“Seeing that the princess misunderstood, I think my explanation was insufficient.”
“Are you sure you didn’t tease me from the beginning?”
“Well, but it sure feels good to have the Princess worry about me.”
With his calm and relaxed reaction, I could be sure that Elvin did it on purpose.
He had been teasing me from the beginning.
When I saw Elvin’s smiling face, my body stiffened.
I looked at him, trying to remain calm.
Of course, my facial expressions weren’t very good.
“Have I offended the Princess? I’m sorry for causing any concern.”
“Not much. Think as you please. You’re free to have illusions.”
“I thought the Princess was worried. Is it really just my illusion?”
Having experienced his famously bad character once, I could see why people shun him.
“Ah, I didn’t know that the princess thought so much about me. Had I known, I would have tried to find another alternative instead of going to the countryside myself.”
I couldn’t answer him anymore because of his playfulness, so I ignored his words and walked away.
I heard footsteps from behind.
Although I was walking at a fast pace, he followed without difficulty using his long legs.
Of course, in the meantime, he didn’t rest his mouth.
“Is the Princess going to make another friend while I’m away?”
“Well, I might.
“It’s something I have no control over, but if the princess gets closer to her new friend while I am away, I will be very upset.”
I responded with no sincerity.
“While we’re apart, won’t our friendship change? I wonder.”
“It is said out of sight, out of mind.”
“I’ll have to work harder when I come back to make up for it then.”
As we got closer to the banquet hall, I could see more and more people gathered. Apparently, the auction had not started yet.
Looking at the clock on the wall, I still had a few minutes to spare.
“Young master Croix.”
When I turned around, Elvin stopped talking. I asked, looking at his bewildered face.
“When exactly are you coming back?”
“The earliest will take about a month, and it may be half a year, maybe more the longest.”
It was much shorter than I expected when I first heard about it, but it was still a long time.
“Did the Grand Duke allow it?”
“Does it matter?”
“No. Anyway, be careful.”
One advantage of being with Elvin was that I didn’t have to deal with annoying people approaching.
Thanks to that, we were able to talk quietly while we were together. But there was trouble coming. I saw the Crown Prince approaching this way with a hard face from afar. Looking at his face, he looked like a husband who had caught the inappropriate scene of his wife’s affair. The sound of his footsteps in the empty hallway seemed to signal the beginning of war.
“What were you two doing here?”
*Not gonna lie, this chapter is the best out of all the boring chapters. Love Elvin and Roxana’s playful interaction.