Chapter 1. The fiancé is back
I had eaten with Kalian several times so far, but never once alone.
Because Baron Delrond was always with us, but not today.
Baron Delrond hadn’t come to work yet, so Kalian and I had breakfast alone.
It felt burdensome to be alone with him. And it was even more burdensome considering what happened last night.
I was glad he didn’t ask about yesterday…
Still, wishing that Baron Delrond could be here, I took the bread and looked at the empty seat to Kalian’s left.
Perhaps he saw my gaze, Kalian asked while drinking wine.
“You seem to miss Ver, don’t you?”
“No? You were looking at Ver’s seat the whole time we were eating.”
Did I? I don’t think I saw it that many times.
Feeling awkward for no reason, I tore the bread.
Kalian picked up his wine glass and opened his mouth again.
“Is a man like Ver your type?”
…what else is he talking about?
As I looked at him, confused by his sudden question, Kalian smiled mischievously.
“You were looking at Ver’s seat so desperately, so I asked you just in case.”
Ah, he’s teasing me, huh?
Rumor said that Kalian was a ferocious person who didn’t smile often, rough, and mercilessly cut things he didn’t like.
But the Kalian I met was not like that.
He had a good smile and his personality was gentle enough.
I made several mistakes, but he was generous and forgiving.
In addition, he was so playful that I had been teased by him over and over again.
I won’t be teased this time.
He must be teasing me frequently because I keep getting teased.
I quickly fixed my expression and answered calmly.
“If Baron Delrond was my type, would Your Majesty build me a bridge to cross over personally?”
[T/N: Build a bridge to cross over means to improve relationships between people; set up a date.]
Kalian asked as if it was ridiculous.
“Are you serious, Leila? Do you really like men like Ver?”
Of course not. It’s not that Baron Delrond wasn’t really my type of man, but to be precise, I didn’t have a type of man that I liked.
Because before those values were formed, I was engaged to Philen and joined the Duke of Williot.
And of course, there were men who I didn’t like.
I came to my senses at the sound of snapping fingers.
Oh my. I was thinking about something else again.
I was about to apologize in a hurry, but Kalian spoke faster than me.
“Seeing you take it seriously, it seems that men like Ver are really your type.”
…hmm? What is he talking about?
“I’m telling you for your sake, but you should give up on Ver. Ver is not as good a man as you think.”
Kalian’s misunderstanding continued.
“Contrary to his appearance, he has a bad personality and has a dark side.”
Is that so?
“Is that all? He doesn’t bathe often as well.”
“He looks clean.”
“It’s just his appearance. It’s completely dirty inside.”
Kalian firmly denied it.
“Certainly, Ver and you don’t match.”
“Am I not good enough for the Baron?”
“Why do you say that?”
“Is it not?”
“No. Ver is infinitely not enough for you.”
On what standard does he say that?
I was curious and wanted to ask, but someone knocked and came in.
It was Sir Hiltine. Sir Hiltine met my eyes and greeted me, bowing his head.
I, too, greeted Sir Hiltine by bowing my head.
Then Kalian glanced at me, a little surprised.
What’s wrong with him?
“What’s going on?”
Hiltine approached Kalian and whispered into his ear.
His voice was so small that even I nearby couldn’t hear it.
Kalian’s eyes flashed eerily.
A cold smile crept across his lips.
When I saw his face, I was suddenly reminded of his nickname.
The Slaughter Emperor.
…but shouldn’t there be smoke, there’s fire?
Kalian put down the cutlery he was holding.
It looked like he had finished eating, seeing that he put it neatly on the side instead of on the plate.
When I also put the cutlery down, Kalian said, wiping his mouth with a napkin.
“You can eat more.”
I wasn’t saying empty words, I was really full.
I just pretended to eat because Kalian hadn’t put his cutlery down.
“Then I will go back home now.”
Before I go home, I’ll stop by the office and take what I haven’t done yet.
With that thought in mind, I got up from my seat, but Kalian waved his hand.
“Wait. I’ll go with you.”
Don’t tell me, I don’t think he meant to go to the office together.
“If you’re thinking of taking me home, I can go by myself. If you could lend me a carriage…”
“It’s true that I’m taking you, but I’m not going out because of you, so you don’t have to refuse.”
Kalian smiled slightly.
“Because your house is on the way, I’m just thinking of going together.”
I couldn’t believe that that was the reason.
Making a wrong guess without ground, I bowed my head in embarrassment.
“Then, shall we go?”
Kalian got up from his seat and strode away.
I asked while following him.
“Umm, can I stop by the office before we go?”
“If it’s to pack your stuff, I’ll allow it, but no documents.”
I was about to say that I had to bring the documents, so I flinched and stopped.
Kalian, who stopped at the same time, frowned and looked at me.
“I told you to rest, you seem to have heard me in vain, huh?”
“If not so, there is no way you would dare to take the documents with you when I told you to rest at home.”
“I was thinking of going to work on it after taking a good rest…”
Kalian said firmly.
“I’ll tell the maids to bring your stuff. You will go right out with me.”
Kalian turned around and walked away as if he didn’t want to hear my answer.
I hurriedly followed him.
After standing outside and waiting for a while, the attendant brought out two plain brown horses.
Not a carriage, but horses?
I looked at Kalian in bewilderment.
“I apologize, but Your Majesty, I don’t know how to ride a horse yet.”
Hiltine rode one of the horses he had prepared.
“Excuse me for a moment.”
Kalian grabbed me by the waist, held me up, and put me on the horse.
I couldn’t believe he held a person up this lightly.
“I, I must have been heavy.”
As I was in awe, Kalian climbed up behind me and chuckled.
“Heavy? You’re too light. Are you eating properly?”
“But I can’t believe you’re this light. It’s unbelievable.”
Kalian reached out from behind and grabbed the horse’s reins.
As a result, I was naturally being held in his arms. I stiffened my body with a little embarrassment.
His body that touched my back kept bothering me.
“I should tell them to prepare your meals with high calories from now on.”
“Then my body becomes heavy and it becomes difficult to move.”
“It’s okay. You can be a little heavier.”
After answering indifferently, Kalian stamped his foot.
Hiltine followed Kalian, who was running lightly.
By the time we reached the gate, Kalian asked me as if he had suddenly remembered.
“Where is your house?”
“Young Lady has already left for work.”
It’s not 8 o’clock yet, but she’s already left for work?
I can’t believe it.
Philen frowned and asked the maid again, who had a familiar face but didn’t know her name.
“Did Leila really leave for work already?”
To be honest, she hadn’t come back from work yesterday, but Sarah calmly lied without blinking.
And Leila usually left for work at 7 o’clock, so it wasn’t a blatant lie.
Unaware of that fact, Philen sighed in annoyance and swept his hair up.
He wanted to check the truth of the rumor as soon as possible, but he was frustrated because Leila was not there.
Should I go to the Imperial Palace right now?
No. Even so, I can’t get into the inner palace where Leila works.
Even a duke had to get permission from the Imperial family to enter the inner palace where the Imperial family lived.
There’s nothing I can do. All I can do is wait for Leila to get off work.
“When does Leila get off work?”
“I don’t know.”
He thought she would get off work by 7 o’clock at the latest, but the answer he got back was ridiculous.
“Does that mean she had no fixed hours to get off work?”
“I don’t know about that either. I just know it’s always different.”
“Then I’ll come back at night.”
After notifying Sarah, Philen left the house and didn’t get on the horse right away, but looked over at Leila’s house.
The mansion with vine roses on the outer wall was quite small and pretty, but it was too shabby for the fiancée of Duke Williot to live in.
She was determined to make me lose my face.
If I meet her, I’ll take care of the house right away.
No, is that necessary?
She’ll go back to the estate with me anyway.
Philen looked blankly at Leila’s house and got on his horse.
He wanted to meet Leila quickly, so he rode a horse instead of a carriage. He didn’t even bring an escort knight.
When he turned around the corner to go to the Duke’s mansion.
“Here it is.”
A familiar voice was heard from across the alley.
This voice… Leila?
Without realizing it, Philen got off his horse and hid behind the wall, looking at where the voice came from.
A pair of a man and a woman were riding on a plain brown horse.
The man on the back got off the horse and reached out towards the woman.
The man was Kalian.
And the woman was Leila.
Leila took Kalian’s hand and gently got off the horse.
Kalian looked at Leila with a stern face and said.
“I’ll say it once again, never think of working. You have to take a good rest today.”
“You’re always good at answering.”
In his eyes, the atmosphere flowing between Kalian and Leila was unusual.
They didn’t look simply as the emperor and his aide to him. It seemed to be a deeper relationship than that.
For example, lovers…
Did she really become the emperor’s mistress?
I’ve never heard of an emperor taking his aide home with a horse.
Philen clenched his hand tightly, not realizing that his nails were digging into his skin until bleeding.
Blood from the torn skin dripped to the ground.
At that moment, Kalian turned his head and looked at the alley where Philen was hiding.