Chapter 12


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“I got to know a wonderful artist. I hope we’ll get along well.”

 

“…”

 

Ines looked down at the extended hand for a long time.

 

And.

 

“Yes, I look forward to your kind cooperation. Your Excellency.”

 

Holding his hand, Ines smiled brightly.

 

It was a pure smile without a single speck of lies.

 

Enoch, who was staring at that smile, suddenly opened his mouth. 

 

“You know what, Countess Brierton?”

 

To Ines who tilted her head, Enoch spoke playfully.

 

“This is the first time the Countess has such a bright smile.”

 

“…is that so?”

 

Ines touched her lips without realizing it. Her lips, touched by the tip of her finger, drew a large arc.

 

 “Iknow, right. I’ve never smiled so much….”

 

Ines nodded with a feeling of relief

 

 “Thanks to the Duke, I’m smiling after a long time.”

 

And Enoch.

 

Somehow, he felt like he was caught off guard.

 

He couldn’t even guess what this feeling really was. His brow slowly narrowed.

 

***

 

Enoch personally took Ines to the front door.

 

“Go back carefully.”

 

“Have a restful night, Duke.”

 

After saying goodbye, Ines, who was just about to get on the carriage, suddenly turned around. 

 

“Oh, I forgot.”

 

“Yes?”

 

Ines rummaged through the bag, then took out a handkerchief and handed it to Enoch.

 

It was the handkerchief that Enoch lent her at the New Year’s ball the other day.

 

“I was really grateful then.” 

 

Ines, who smiled brightly, got into the carriage.

 

In the open window, Ines bowed her head once more and the carriage began to run.

 

Enoch glanced down at the handkerchief.

 

A faint scent drifted from it.

 

It was the scent of Ines.

 

Enoch looked down at the handkerchief for a while, then smiled and folded the handkerchief and put it in his pocket. It was a strange pleasant feeling. 

 

‘I’m very satisfied with this deal.’

 

He had to admit it frankly. He didn’t expect much at first, but surprisingly, he was offered a very attractive deal. In fact, the “fame” that Ines offered as consideration was already an overflowing element for Elton magazine.

 

Because Elton was the kingdom’s leading media company, it had a solid readership, and it had a strong financial base. But the fact that Countess Brierton, who was as pretty as a flower in a greenhouse, made such a proposal.

 

It was very interesting. Furthermore.

 

Countess Brierton had never been in politics, so she probably didn’t know…There was a benefit that Enoch gained by helping Ines.

 

That was, moving away from unwanted political attention. Edward, the current King and the older brother of Enoch, was the eldest son of the previous king and the perfect member of the Lancaster family.

 

But there was a time when Edward’s throne was threatened. That was when Enoch was still a young boy.

 

“Even though Prince Enoch is young, he is so outstanding, wouldn’t it be okay to delay Prince Edward’s appointment as Crown Prince?”

 

“Yes. I think we can make a decision after Prince Enoch grows up a little more.”

 

Some aristocrats gathered and argued.

 

It was unknown if they really wanted Enoch to take the throne, or if they were talking nonsense like that to keep the Lancasters in check.

 

However, it was true that young Enoch suffered extreme stress in the meantime. Enoch had no intention of seizing his beloved brother’s throne, and caused him trouble.

 

However, the previous king was determined to make Edward the king even if he was worried about the siblings, and he thought the problem would be closed like that. Nevertheless, the nobles persisted.

 

Even if Enoch tried to live his life without paying attention to politics as much as possible, the nobles kept chasing Enoch from time to time.

 

“Duke of Sussex, isn’t it time for you to slowly enter politics?” 

 

“Anytime, just say it, we are always waiting for you.”

 

In that way, they secretly formed a faction centered around Enoch and tried to keep the king in check.

 

So Enoch was determined to help Ines.

 

‘A divorce lawsuit is filed by Countess Brierton, one of the most prestigious families in Lancaster.’

 

The reputation of Count Brierton, a rising newcomer to the kingdom’s art world, was, in fact, achieved by establishing the Countess as a substitute painter.

 

He knew better because he was a journalist himself.

 

Those topics were provocative enough to catch the public’s attention at once.

 

If Elton addressed those topics and revealed that Enoch also supported it.

 

The nobles who tried to appease Enoch somehow would also die down. Because there’s nothing more blatantly showing Enoch’s lack of interest in politics than being absorbed in other things.

 

Because of this, Enoch had already made up his mind to help Ines.

 

If he could add one more sympathy… The Countess of Brierton was a genius.

 

So far, he had paid great attention to the art world, and had discovered and supported some of the artists on his own. 

 

He had seen the paintings of many masters and developed artistic skills.

 

He prided himself on having good eyes. But no one had ever fascinated Enoch so much.

 

It was true that he felt sorry for Ines’s personal circumstances, but more than that, the reason made Enoch move in earnest was…

 

‘I can’t let this genius wither away, hidden in the shadow of the Count.’

 

It was because he thought that it would be a great loss to the art world of the kingdom in itself.

 

 ‘For now, let’s see if what the Countess said is true.’

 

Enoch gathered his thoughts and went back to the house. But apart from that expressionless face, Enoch’s heart was running fast with the excitement of meeting a new genius.

 

****

 

Late in the evening, Ines entered the townhouse of Brierton.

 

“Madam, you’re here!”

 

The maid walked over and welcomed Ines. Taking off the coat and handing it over to the maid, Ines asked a question involuntarily.

 

“What about Ryan?”

 

It was a question that had been etched into her mind all her life, almost like a habit.

 

At that question, the maid was instantly stunned.

 

“That… He hasn’t come back yet.”

 

As if she had done something wrong, the maid looked disappointed. However, Ines spoke casually and smiled. 

 

 “Don’t make that face, because I didn’t think he would come back in the first place.”

 

To be precise, it was a question that came out almost reflexively, but she felt a little sorry for the maid making that kind of expression. 

 

‘But, it’s good that Ryan is away every day, so I can go around freely.’ 

 

Ines was thinking positively like that.

 

Ines looked at the maid looking at her with a sad expression on her face.

 

“Madam… ”

 

 “I’m hungry. What’s for dinner?”

 

When Ines asked with a bright voice, the maid quickly changed her expression.

 

“Oh, you haven’t had dinner yet? Wait a minute, I’ll give the kitchen news…… ”

 

But then.

 

Thump! 

 

“Huh, Count?!”

 

Along with the sound of someone falling down loudly, the confused voice of the attendant rang out. Surprised, Ines and the maid looked back.

 

They caught sight of Ryan, very drunk, lying on the floor.

 

Ryan, who was shaking his head violently, looked up at Ines with sullen eyes.

 

“Ines?”

 

Ines, who looked down at Ryan with an amazing gaze, opened her mouth.

 

“Is it time to wander around drunk like this”

 

 “No, woman! If you have a social life, you will be like this…… !”

 

Ryan raised his voice to rebuke.

 

He drank so much that even his tongue was twisted. (*what a loser)

 

Taking a deep breath, Ines walked closer to Ryan.

 

“Wake up, don’t bother others.”

 

Ines, who was shooting like that, wrinkled her brow. It was because there was a strong smell of alcohol that made her head dizzy.

 

And there was…

 

‘The smell of perfume.’

 

It was a woman’s perfume.

 

A deep rose scent that could be clearly felt even in the smell of alcohol was strong.

 

Ines bit her lip and spoke to the servants.

 

 “I’m sorry, but can you move Ryan to the bedroom?”

 

“Yes, madam.”

 

It was only after two servants put strength together that they were able to lift up Ryan.

 

But Ryan’s words didn’t end there.

 

“Ah, let go of this!”

 

Ryan, who got drunk to the top of his head, was taken to the bedroom after a long struggle.

 

Feeling a throb in her head, Ines touched her temple.

 

“I’m so sorry. I don’t have the face to see you.”

 

“No. Madam.”

 

“It’s okay.”

 

The servants who answered that way had their faces and clothes all in a disarray from dealing with Ryan’s struggles.