Chapter 17

 


Why does it have to be that way?

 

It was a little absurd, but it sounded fun, so I said the first name that came to mind.

 

“Are you Lord Balon?”

 

“No.”

 

“Then Lord Illizai? If not, Lord Logan?”

 

I tried to name a few sons around my age whose ranks were greater than the Count. But they’re all wrong.

 

What on earth is this man’s name?

 

There was a feeling that I had to find it out.

 

“Please give me a hint.”

 

“The hint is my hair.”

 

Hair?

 

I looked at the man’s hair. 

 

Blue hair, shining brightly under the sunlight, gently fluttered in the wind.

 

When I just looked at his hair and barely got the hang of it, the man curled up his lips. 

 

“You are very smart but ignorant on the other side.”

 

“Are you making fun of me?” 

 

“No way.”

 

The man rested his chin. He thought for a moment, then flicked his finger.

 

“Let’s do this. Find out my name until the banquet.”

 

“It looks like you’re attending the banquet.”

 

“Of course.”

 

Then, it was right that he was a noble whose rank was greater than the Count. Since nobles whose ranks below the Baron couldn’t attend the Emperor’s coronation party. 

 

More than that, when I thought about attending the banquet, my mood that had improved so much went down again.

 

A sigh came out.

 

“Don’t you want to attend the banquet?” Asked the man, who noticed my mind like a ghost. 

 

He already caught me. Even if I denied it, nothing changed. So, I nodded softly.

 

“Yes.”

 

“May I ask why?”

 

If I attend the banquet, I’m sure other nobles will whisper to each other when they see me and Philen.

 

Words that I couldn’t say rolled around in my mouth.

 

I sighed and looked at the ground.

 

Unless Philen was brainless, he wouldn’t attend the banquet with a handkerchief embroidered by Cecily. But that didn’t mean he was going to attend with my embroidered handkerchief. I had no intention of giving it to him. 

 

Seeing he was a nobleman who made his first social debut without a handkerchief, it was a perfect topic for nobles who like to gossip.

 

My mind darkened at the thought of being cut mercilessly by them. And aware of that, the thought of forcing a smile in front of them made me disillusioned and bit my lip.

 

“The Lady has all the bad habits.”

 

The man’s cold fingertips touched my lips.

 

I was startled and pulled myself back.

 

With an awkward look, the man raised his hand. “I’m sorry. I was afraid you’d blight your lips. I surprised you, My Lady.”.

 

“Ah, no.”

 

I was surprised, but if I said yes, the man would be embarrassed, so I shook my head.

 

“I was just surprised because I was thinking about something else. There is no need for the Lord to apologize.”

 

“That makes me feel a little at ease.”

 

“I hope you do.”

 

“May I ask what you were thinking?”

 

As I stared at him silently, the man hurriedly added. “I didn’t ask you with a strange thought. I’m just worried because My Lady’s complexion isn’t so good, so don’t get me wrong.”

 

My complexion doesn’t look so good, huh? 

 

I swept my face. Unfortunately, I couldn’t see for myself what kind of face I had.

 

“It’s nothing. I was just worried about the party.”

 

I couldn’t help but say that I was worried, and I couldn’t say it honestly, so I replied roughly.

 

“This party is my first social debut, so I have a lot of worries about it. What if I make a mistake?”

 

“Because of the long war, there are many ladies and lords who had this party as their first social debut.”

 

The man spoke slowly, taking my hair off my face and letting it go. 

 

“So don’t worry too much. My lady will surely be able to do well.”

 

His kind behaviour and tone of voice calmed my anxious mind. I smiled lightly and looked at the man.

 

“My Lord is very kind.”

 

“Is that so?”

 

“Yes. You must be popular with other ladies.”

 

“I’m very popular, indeed.”

 

As if it was only natural, the man who admitted my words turned mischievous.

 

“But I’m only doing this for people I’m interested in. I don’t do this with people I didn’t interested in.”

 

People. 

 

It would have been burdensome if he said ‘women’ that he’s interested in, but it wasn’t burdensome at all when he said ‘people’.

 

Rather, it made me feel better that he seemed to see me as a person, not just a Lady.

 

“You speak so well.”

 

“I’m flattered.”

 

After that, while we were having a few more trivial conversations, I saw Duke Williot’s carriage down the hill.

 

It’s time to go, huh? 

 

Too bad. I wanted to talk a little more with this man.

 

“Are you sure you want to have that handkerchief?”

 

Before I left, I asked the man once again if he was willing to give back the handkerchief.

 

The man slowly opened and closed his eyes. “Do you hate me having the handkerchief?”

 

“It’s not like that, it has Duke Williot’s crest engraved on it. It’s not something you can use anywhere, I’m telling you.”

 

I was worried that if he used it, he might cause strange misunderstandings to other people.

 

The man smiled clearly. “You don’t have to worry about that.” Then he leaned slightly and put his lips near my ear.

 

I was startled by the distance. It’s so close that I could hear the sound of his breathing. 

 

I quickly closed my eyes.

 

Perhaps it was funny to see me like this, so the man laughed a little and continued in a subtle yet bizarre voice. “I’m going to hide it where only I can see it and secretly use it.”

 

Soon his lips moved away, but my earlobe was hot as if he was still close.

 

I replied bluntly, touching my ears for no reason. “You make a peculiar statement that you won’t show it to anyone.”

 

“Haha, I’m a little bit peculiar.”

 

“My Lady!”

 

I heard the coachman calling me. Now it was really time to go.

 

As I stood up from my seat, the man grabbed my arm.

 

“I want to ask you one more thing.”

 

“Is it about taxes again?”

 

“No. It’s about the Lady.”

 

About me?

 

“What is it?”

 

“Do you have any plans to become an official?”

 

At his words, I looked at the man, slightly startled.

 

“Are you kidding me now?”

 

“I’m serious.”

 

There was no lie found in his plain answer.

 

“It seems that the Lord doesn’t know that women can’t be officials.”

 

At my answer, the man tilted his head slightly, as if he was wondering.

 

“I know there’s no such law.”

 

“There’s no law, but there’s custom.”

 

“It’s just a custom, is it absolute?”

 

That said, customs were sometimes more terrifying than laws. Because it made you embrace false hopes that you couldn’t achieve, and gave you a sense of despair when those hopes were shattered.

 

I had experienced it myself. So, I knew how great the feeling of despair was. I absolutely didn’t want to have the same experience again.

 

“I’d like to stop this useless conversation.”

 

I didn’t want to talk to him anymore, so I answered firmly and tried to stand up, but the man persistently asked.

 

“If the Lady had the opportunity to become an official, would you take it?”

 

I didn’t know why he’s so obsessed with it, but I answered honestly.

 

“Of course I will take it.”

 

At my answer, the man smiled contentedly and let go of my wrist.

 

“The answer, please don’t forget it.”

 

The added words were significant.

 

I wanted to ask what he meant by asking that kind of thing, and why he’s here. But the coachman just arrived up the hill to pick me up, so I had to turn around without asking anything.

 

*****

 

The man who spoke with Leila reappeared at the Imperial Palace.

 

The guards guarding the Imperial Palace, as well as the maids and servants, bowed deeply in surprise when they saw the man.

 

The man, who was walking without giving them a single glance, stopped in front of a room. And without knocking, he opened the door and went in.

 

Sitting at a desk full of papers, a young man, who was struggling with the documents, raised his head and looked at the man.

 

“Oh my God, who is this?”

 

The young man who found the man said sarcastically.

 

“Isn’t it our Emperor, Kalian de Cheffel Yousveldia, who left me with a lot of work and went out to play?” 

 

Seeing him sarcastically calling out his full name, he must have been very angry.

  

Well, he left so much work behind, so it was understandable.

 

The man, Kalian, smiled and picked up some of the piles of papers piled up on the desk.

 

“Did you finish a lot?”

 

“Do you think I’ve finished a lot?”

 

“I don’t think so.”

 

When Kalian answered in a goofy tone, the young man grabbed the back of his neck with a blushing face.

 

“Your Majesty, is Your Majesty’s dream to make me overworked?”

 

“No way. I cherish you so much.”

 

Cherish? What a bullsh*t! 

 

The young man screamed silently and complained to the man.

 

“Then why are you giving me so much work?”

  

“Because I trust you.”

 

“Then don’t trust me!”

 

The young man, who shouted in tears for a moment, hurriedly avoided his eyes when Kalian looked at him with cold eyes.

 

“Please, Your Majesty.”

 

The young man begged as he looked at Kalian with teary eyes.

 

“Please just fire me. Or, would you accept my resignation?”

 

“Rejected.”

 

Kalian refused immediately and checked the documents.

 

The young man endured the rise in his blood pressure and begged Kalian once again.

 

“If not, please hire another aide. How can I be the only aide when there’s so much work to do!”

 

“Ver, how can I when there’s no one to trust but you?”

 

When Kalian answered as if he was asking what was so obvious, the young man seriously thought about betraying Kalian’s faith. Then, even if he spent the rest of his life in prison, he didn’t have to worry about dying from overwork!

 

“However.”

 

Kalian put down the documents he was looking at and continued.

 

“I’ll have to hire a new aide sooner or later.”