Chapter 7

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“Ah!”

 

Surprised, Ryan looked back.

 

The Duke of Sussex, Enoch Fitzroy von Lancaster.

 

The man who Ryan desperately wanted to try to speak with somehow was looking at him with a sullen gaze.

 

 “The paintings that Count Brierton recently published are quite good, so I came here to say hello.”

 

Blue eyes like the sea touched Ines for a moment, then turned to Ryan

 

“This is my opinion, but the Count, rather than the Countess, should give more consideration to the face of the family.”

 

“Ah, Duke.”

 

“No matter how intense your emotions may be, it’s true that it’s you who raised your voice at a banquet hosted by the royal family…”

 

Enoch’s eyes bent gently.

 

“I don’t think that will help Count Brierton’s face in any way.”

 

“…!”

 

Ryan’s face was dyed bright red like a ripe tomato. At the same time, Enoch continued to speak softly.

 

“Besides, as far as I know, the beginning of the Count’s achievements in the art world was your marriage to the Countess. Isn’t that right?” (*Tell the little boy, Enoch! 👏🏽)

 

For a moment, Ryan froze on the spot.

 

“I believe that the Countess’s help so far can be attributed to the considerable achievements the Count has shown so far.”

 

“That, that……”

 

“Also, it doesn’t look very good to treat your wife harshly like that in front of people, even if it’s not for that reason.” 👏🏽

 

After saying that, Enoch greeted Ryan with a slight wink of his eyes.

 

“Then have a good time.”

 

Enoch excused himself just like that.

 

Again people surrounded Enoch.

 

Among those who were struggling to somehow get a glimpse of Enoch’s interest.

 

Ines looked at Enoch’s back with widened eyes.

 

‘He recognized my efforts.’

 

Until now, no one recognized Ines’ efforts. More precisely, she didn’t even care at all.

 

That may have made her even more clingy to Ryan. The time when she was desperately hoping that her beloved husband would smile, adapting herself to her husband’s every move, taking into account his tastes, and even dedicating her whole life to Ryan.

 

‘The Duke knows.’

 

Somehow, her heart pounded, and Ines bit her lips gently.

 

The first person who recognized Ines’ existence.

 

And now she…

 

‘I want to be recognized by His Highness.’

 

As an independent artist with works containing her own signature.

 

Not Count Brierton, but Ines Brierton.

 

She wanted to be recognized.

 

****

 

A cheerful waltz could be heard in the distance through the closed glass door.

 

“Ha..”

 

Leaning on the balcony attached to the ballroom, Enoch let out a long sigh.

 

‘I’m tired.’

 

Contrary to the splendid appearance of enjoying a party all night, in fact, Enoch didn’t like a lot of people.

 

In fact, the reason he attended this New Year’s banquet was because of the request of his brother, the king.

 

<How long do you plan on living single? You should get married now and settle down.>

 

<No, I have no intention of getting married yet… >

 

<Still, make sure you attend this banquet. Who knows you might meet a lady you like.>

 

He couldn’t overcome the King’s nagging, so he attended, but he wanted to go back to the duke’s house and rest.

 

Enoch gently pulled the pocket watch out of his pocket.

 

It was the time when he was judging whether he could leave the banquet hall without notice.

 

“Hello the Duke of Sussex.” 

 

A calm voice was heard.

 

Enoch glanced back.

 

“Countess Brierton?”

 

A woman with a graceful appearance like a snow-covered birch tree politely bowed to Enoch. At the appearance of a person he had never expected, Enoch looked somewhat startled.

 

Ines Brierton.

 

Since the Brierton was one of the most prestigious families in the kingdom, Enoch also knew a bit about Ines.

 

Ines was the only heiress of the former Count, and was once called the kingdom’s best bride. He heard that after marrying Ryan, she had been living a quiet life without even going outside. But what was strange was that after the marriage, the Count became a rising artist.

 

In fact, there were not all artists who appeared like a comet like that, but usually famous painters who had been interested in painting since childhood. 

 

However, as far as he knew, Ryan had no interest in painting at all when he was young, but Ryan suddenly showed his genius by sweeping numerous art exhibitions.

 

So Enoch guessed.

 

‘Is it because he was able to focus solely on painting without having to worry about anything while marrying the Countess?’

 

Of course, there were certainly some artists whose talents blossomed as the environment improved.

 

But even if Viscount Gott was a somewhat poor aristocrat, he might be able to support his son’s artistic talent..… .

 

Enoch, who had a questionable face for a moment, asked the question again. 

 

“What are you doing here, Countess?”

 

For a moment Enoch saw the green eyes that had been anxious like freshly bloomed buds quickly became sharp.

 

Ines raised her head straight.

 

“The Duke of Sussex.”

 

She seemed to choose her words for a moment, but then she looked straight into Enoch’s eyes and asked a question. 

 

“Do you know why my husband doesn’t paint portraits of others?”

 

“…”

 

“That…..”

 

Ines clasped her hands to hide her tension.

 

Her gloved hands were wet with cold sweat.

 

“It’s because he can’t draw.”

 

For a moment, Enoch’s eyes narrowed.

 

Ines swallowed dry saliva and looked into Enoch’s eyes.

 

‘Did I succeed?’

 

She had only one goal.

 

To present a topic that will interest the Duke of Sussex as much as possible.

 

‘At least… he will be interested in my words.’

 

Enoch had a great interest in art, and even found some artists to sponsor.

 

Also, Ryan was a rising star that Enoch paid attention to. So if the Countess suddenly declared her artist husband can’t draw, Enoch couldn’t help but be curious.

 

‘But I still don’t know if it’ll end in mere interest or turn into a deal that he will be willing to hold my hand.’

 

Ines felt her mouth dry.

 

After a moment of silence, Enoch answered.

 

“He can’t draw….”

 

The dark blue eyes narrowed coldly.

 

“What does that mean?”

 

“The paintings published in Ryan’s name are not actually painted by him.”

 

Ines continued, trying to keep her voice from trembling. 

 

“There is a real artist who painted for Ryan.”

 

“Can you prove that?”

 

“Yes.”

 

Ines nodded and searched the bag she was wearing on her arm.

 

Enoch looked at what she was doing, and what Ines had taken out of her bag.

 

‘Notepad and pencil?’

 

Enoch had a rather perplexed face.

 

However, Ines’ bizarre behavior continued. She laid a note on the railing and began to busily play with her pencil.

 

The sound of the pencil rubbing over the square memo paper echoed for a long time.

 

Then.

 

“Look.”

 

Ines handed over the memo.

 

On it was a drawing of Enoch’s top half body of his face to his shoulders.

 

Although the memo pad itself was small and could not be expressed in detail, it was Enoch’s face and body characteristics.

 

Above all.

 

‘This strokes.’

 

The strokes in which the sketch was drawn were very familiar.

 

Ines asked the question again.

 

“Don’t you think it’s a style you’ve seen before?”

 

Enoch narrowed his brow slightly.

 

“Count Brierton?”

 

“Yes.”

 

Ines nodded her head resolutely.

 

“The Duke of Sussex probably knows it well. Portraits are the best ways to make an artist famous in a short period of time.”

 

It was an effective work activity for the artist in many ways.

 

Photography was still not very developed, and the fact that black-and-white photos were only occasionally used in newspapers.

 

The most popular thing in this period was the portrait. Even in marriages between nobles, portraits were exchanged to understand each other, and besides, at least one family portrait was hung in the homes of nobles.

 

Thus, portraiture was the most effective way for a painter to make a lot of money, and above all, it was the fastest way to get noticed by the aristocrats.

 

But the rising star, the Count of Brierton, had never painted a portrait.

 

People gave all kinds of compliments to Ryan like that.

 

The eccentricity of a genius, the nobleness of a nobleman.

 

People said that it was wonderful that he was not obsessed with money.

 

‘Actually, that’s not it.’

 

Ines bit her molar teeth.

 

‘He can’t draw.’

 

Portraits had to be drawn with a model in front of them.

 

And the subject of the portrait could continue to check the process of the portrait being drawn. All the paintings that had been submitted under Ryan’s name so far had been drawn by Ines instead.

 

That was why Ryan couldn’t paint a portrait.

 

He feared that if he drew a portrait, his skills would be exposed.