However, Chaers just stared at me.
I heard a servant coming down from the roof and removing the ladder.
“Doubt? What should I be doubtful of?”
I spoke as slowly and as carefully as I could. I could even feel my head overheating as I tried to find the right words to say to the clever and cunning Chaers without breaking Arielsa’s innocent and timid persona.
“Doubting… about the fact that perhaps I was the one who blew a hole in the boat. Sir Chaers.”
Of course I knew that he meant to say that to me. But Chaers stared at me as if it was unexpected that I was the first one to say those words. But his following words were so lifeless that it seemed like he was just stating the facts
“You can’t do something like that. Arielsa.”
“I wouldn’t leave you alone if you did that. You know that, right?”
He spoke flatly as if the words that he said were not that big of a deal.
I could feel myself turning white in fright as he left me behind in the darkened greenhouse. I could hear a servant apologizing that he did not realize that we were inside after he went outside and opened the door.
Chaers held the door open as he beckoned to me. To be honest, with a smile like that on his face, he would definitely look like a gentleman.
“Arielsa. Come on out.”
I quickly suppressed my thumping heartbeat as I hurried out of the door. After seeing that I went out of the greenhouse, Chaers went back without saying another word to me.
I returned to my room as I started drying the reilis herbs that I picked up earlier.
Chaers did not seem to think that I tried to drown Duke Kyron. But it looked like he was suspecting that I knew that the accident was going to happen.
I would be suspicious of me too!
But it was better to say that my head was aching just like what Duke Kyron had advised me before. Just like what happened with the Duke, I could not judge whether it would be easier to just tell them that I gained a special ability after I had a glimpse of the afterlife. Either way, with Chaers’ personality, it would still be hard to make him believe any word I said.
“Shall I drop him off of a ladder too?”
But that was just a mindless thought. After all, he was an excellent bookkeeper and knight and I was just a person who couldn’t do anything.
I was sitting there in tears, lost about what I should do, when George came to find me.
He placed his heavy hand on top of my head without saying anything.
“What did that punk Chaers say to you?”
I wondered how George knew that Chaers went to see me to secretly threaten me but I couldn’t dare ask.
“The punk came to me and told me that he went and talked to you about the boat incident. He knew that I would not stand still if he was rude to you.”
“I can’t just let that punk go just because it’s his personality but I also understand him since there’s something bothering me.”
“Dad. I’m alright. I can understand what you’re thinking.”
He pulled up a chair and sat down eye to eye with me. He was checking to see if I cried.
“You… Did you really know that the boat was going to sink?”
I told him a lie.
He stared at me with a mysterious gaze as if trying to assess whether the words I said were true or not. Then, he spoke in a calm voice.
“I vowed to sacrifice my life for Duke Kyron. Arielsa.”
“Of course… Because my dad is a vassal of the Harpel family.”
I was afraid of where this talk was going.
“That’s right. My life belongs to the master of the Harpels. Even if there was no oath, I still like the Duke. In other words, the only people that I would give my life for is the Duke and you.”
“So whether you knew it or not, I was grateful that you saved him. You’ve done my job.”
George flicked my forehead as he stood up.
“Don’t make your dad worry. Tell me right away if Chaers was hard on you. One of these days, that punk…”
George went out of my room. I couldn’t hear the end of his words but I had the feeling that I would feel infinitely better if I listened to his words until the end.
The flick of his finger on my forehead hurt so much that I almost cried but it made me quickly forget the complicated thoughts that swirled around my head.
Does George already know the Emperor’s plot?
Even if my real dad were here, I would not feel more secure than when I was beside George. Because if it weren’t for him, Chaers would definitely treat me worse than what he did.
But when he said that there was ‘something that bothered him’, it kept me on my toes. This meant that Duke Kyron and his close aides were already aware of the Emperor’s hostility towards them even before the original events took place.
I took my newly picked herbs, as soon as they were moderately dried, to Duke Kyron’s office. I wanted to replenish the tea bottle and I also wanted to check up on him since I was worried that he had contracted a cold.
“Duke, it’s Arielsa. I’ll be coming in for a moment.”
But there was no answer so I just opened the door and went inside. I was the one responsible for managing his office so it did not matter whether I entered or not.
I quickly went to the console table to refill the bottle of dried reilis leaves. I also made sure to check one by one if the other teas were still fresh and good to serve.
Duke Kyron stood up from the sofa. His hair was unkempt and his tunic was so disheveled to the point that I was already in full view of his clavicle. He glanced at me with clear disapprovement in his eyes before plopping back down on the sofa.
I sighed ruefully at the deafening silence.
This aura that’s mixed with his decadent beauty early in the morning? Thank you very much!
“Please forgive me, Duke. I thought that you were not here since there was no answer when I called…”
I approached the sofa where Duke Kyron was lying down and found Chaers sprawled on the floor. It seemed like the two of them were drinking all night.
“Fill the liquor bottle too.”
When I looked around, I could see the liquor bottles that were usually filled and lined up on the console table now rolling on the floor empty.
“Yes, Duke. And your meal…”
Duke Kyron pointed his chin towards Chaers before speaking to me.
“I’ll call for you when that punk wakes up.”
I stepped aside silently to make a medicinal tea that was good for curing hangovers. The smell of the tea was very nasty but Duke Kyron just drank it wordlessly.
I tried to ask carefully about what happened.
“Did something good happen…”
“Something good? Was there anything else other than nearly drowning in the water?”
Our male lead is making me hate him with words like this.
I turned to walk outside as I grumbled in my head when Duke Kyron suddenly spoke to me.
“Arielsa. There’s only a fixed range of things that people can understand.”
“What do you mean…”
“For example, George will accept anything as long as they’re related to you. But Chaers can only accept things that he can understand.”
Ah. So it was because of me.
There must have been a disagreement between Duke Kyron and Chaers over me. That was why they drank. In the original book, the two of them used to drink after they fought to make up with each other.
I caught a glimpse of Chaers who was still snoring in his sleep. I could imagine the sight of him unwavering as he argued about questioning me about how I predicted the boat accident. As long as the Emperor is Harpel’s enemy then they have to be careful about everything.
I gazed at him. He was unable to hide his hardened expression. It did not matter what Chaers thought. However, I wondered what Duke Kyron thought. That was what’s important.
He swept up his disheveled hair. The wind blew very strongly that it swept his tunic to one side, showing off the area near his clavicle once more.
You are so bad for my health.
Sweeping away my scattered thoughts, I spoke gently careful not to wake up the sleeping Chaers.
“How about the Duke…? How much can the Duke accept?”
He placed his head on the back of the sofa and stared at the ceiling. He looked like he was slowly brooding over something.
“What am I supposed to accept, Arielsa?”
“I just look at things as they are.”
“Don’t fool me. If you did that, then I won’t forgive you for anything at all.”
I choked for a second. However, just as I was about to answer ‘Yes, Duke.’, Cheers suddenly opened his eyes. I coughed to clear my throat before speaking.
“Sir Chaers. I will give you some tea that’s good for hangovers.”
I quickly handed him the tea before turning towards Duke Kyron.
“Will the two of you have your breakfast here?”
Chaers stood up in all his disheveled glory as he answered my question. Then, he looked alternately between me and Duke Kyron before going out.
White steam rose up from the teacup that was now left ownerless. The gaze that he used to look at me was so cold and fierce that all I could do was stare at the door in a daze for a moment.
Then, Duke Kyron said…
“Let’s do that.”
I quickly came out and told the kitchen maid to deliver the Duke’s breakfast to his office.
I went back inside to clean the bottles on the floor while Duke Kyron drank his tea with his eyes closed. He was leaning back on the sofa in a relaxed manner.
Chaers disturbing gaze couldn’t get out of my head but at the same time, it occurred to me that Duke Kyron had also worked hard to defend me just like this bottle of liquor lying on the floor. Chaers’ suspicion towards me was unsympathetic but was somewhat reasonable. Duke Kyron was also a ruthless and reasonable man so he should have definitely taken into account Chaers’ point of view. This time, he might have spent the entire night just to try to convince him to give up on questioning me.
I felt a complicated string of emotions. I felt a bit grateful, a bit touched but the rest was something that I was not aware of.
“Chaers don’t hate you.”
I stood up in surprise but Duke Kyron’s eyes were still closed.
I felt a bit offended since he seemed like he had read my thoughts in my head but at the same time I also felt a strange sense of relief. This was because it was the first time that there was someone who knew everything in me. It was also the first time that someone protected me without trying to use me or wield me in some way.
“I’m more worried about his personality.”
“Worry… we can do it together.”
I came outside with a bottle of liquor as I grumbled to myself slightly. I could somehow sense Duke Kyron’s slightly surprised gaze on my back.