I stood by the corner of the banquet hall and watched the dinner on the table. I couldn’t help but be amazed at the table that was set and filled with the menu that Duke Kyron had personally ordered. Of course, I would have been more impressed if I was the one who had set the table.
The deer meat and the vegetables that were glazed and served with sauce were giving off a smell that would make it impossible for any person to lose weight.
Duke Kyron signaled for me after I was mesmerized at the Northern dinner table that was served before me.
He winked fiercely at the food in front of him and I only realized his intentions a beat later.
‘Ah! That’s right, I’m a poison taster!’
Duke Kyron made the excuse of making me into his personal poison taster to keep me from leaving his office during meal time. I couldn’t stop the chuckle from leaving my mouth when I realized that I was too late.
However, I tried to muster the most solemn look that I could do as I approached the table.
This piece of well-marinated deer meat had a taste that would take away mankind’s, and not only those who diet’s, reason. I really wanted to have one more bite but when I realized that Chaers and the elders of the East were looking at my chewing lips in unison, my reason finally returned.
When I quickly composed my face, one of the elders spoke up.
“Poison taster… This is quite unsavory…”
But Chaers was the one who replied in my stead.
“We had a stomach ache in the East.”
I swallowed my food as I spoke solemnly with my bowed head.
“Please enjoy your meal, Duke.”
Duke Kyron smiled strangely while I stepped back, whether it was towards me or towards the guests and their entertainment was something that I did not know.
“Well then, shall we?”
The awkward silence in the room was broken by Duke Kyron’s words and the table began to become noisy.
Duke Kyron would immediately change the subject when the topics would lead to talks about the new administrators. For example, how the village chief of Movale was working hard to restore the village.
“I should have paid more attention to Movale. Chaers.”
He looked disapprovingly at Chaers. And Chaers immediately bowed his head and answered. He looked like he had done something wrong.
“I’ll send word to them immediately tomorrow. Duke.”
Then, the flow of conversation was cut off. The elders repeatedly lost their opportunity to reveal their intentions in front of these two fantastic partners.
I noticed a crack showing in Gaurin’s considerably patient expression.
By the end of dinner, when liquor started to pour in, the first drink from Duke Kyron’s bottle had to be drunk by me, the woman who tasted for poison. I would have been sad if I did not get the chance to taste it since it was a high-end liquor but the problem was that I was getting drunk.
When I saw that the atmosphere was heating up, I excused myself and came out to sober up and take a rest.
The white moon that completed the Northern view was coldly shining over the garden that laid beyond the corridor.
It seemed like the heat on my cheeks were slowly going down as cold air blew on my face while I leaned on the railings.
“Is Sir George doing well?”
Gaurin approached me without a sound. It looked like he also came out to get some fresh air. I couldn’t help but close my mouth when I saw him near me.
He probably knew George. After all, there was no one in the North who did not know of ‘Harpel’s Shield’, George.
I answered him as dryly as I could.
“Yes, he’s well. Was the food to your liking?”
“I would even want to stop by Harpel Castle often. No, perhaps I could also live here.”
You want to become an administrator and come to the castle often for reports? Not a chance!
He must have believed that I was an easy opponent. Since he, a person who had been managing his expressions perfectly earlier, was showing his true self in front of me.
“That’s a relief. The servant will show you to your room after the banquet.”
I tried to leave silently but Gaurin took a step forward and blocked my way as he continued to speak.
“The duke was wise to have a poison tester with him. He’s quite a precious man so there’s no harm in always paying attention to the things around him.”
Now, I believe this guy is trying to make my acquaintance. Perhaps, he’s trying to get some information from me since I was a close aide to the duke.
“It’s good that he has a loyal maid like you by his side. I saw that you didn’t even take your eyes off of the duke while he was eating. You’re the kind of person that the duke truly needs.”
You… You were looking at things like that too? What the hell does this guy want to say?
I stared at him angrily. Everything he said just sounded like what a traitor would say to me. His face still remained expressionless and his sturdy physique was actually making me feel a bit scared. I even felt it more clearly since we were the only ones left in this dark corridor.
Anyway, I did not want to spend any more time with him. Even though he could see the disapproval and disgust on my face, he still spoke to me casually.
“You dress a bit plainly compared to your pretty face. That’s wise. But if it were up to me, I would give you the East’s Young Lady Sash. It would look perfect on you.”
Ooooh. He’s trying to bribe me sneakily.
It seemed like Gaurin was a bold and tactless man. He was the type of person who believed that whatever he wanted should be done regardless of what the other person thought.
Ugh. I hate this.
“Please excuse me. I have to work and stay by the Duke’s side.”
Gaurin looked like he still had something to say to me but he did not stop me anymore so I walked away coldly.
I went back to the banquet hall and made sure that there was no shortage of food or alcohol on the table. Then, I went back to my chair that was placed by the wall.
Duke Kyron’s gaze flashed by me for a moment but he just naturally turned towards the elders as he continued to have the conversation with them. Instead of looking at him, I made eye contact with Chaers, who was already staring at me.
Then, he got up and went outside to get some fresh air. I realized that he was now in the corridor outside so I quickly followed him. No one cared about a maid in the dining hall so all I had to do was to move quietly.
Just like I had expected, Chaers was talking to Gaurin, who was just about to return to the banquet.
I quickly hid myself by the corner as I peeked at them.
“Did you come out of the banquet out of boredom?”
Gaurin only smiled when he heard Chaers’ words.
“Are you disappointed that the words that you were waiting for did not come and go as you pleased?”
Only then did Gaurin stare at Chaers.
“I can see for sure that Duke Kyron had become a lot more sensitive because of the incident with Administrator Hallisa. None of the previous dukes had a poison tester.”
“Ah. That maid.”
Chaers had never called me ‘maid’ until now. He had always called me naturally by my name so it felt very strange to hear him address me as ‘that maid’. To be honest, it felt a bit unpleasant and bad.
It occurred to me that he hated me far more than I thought. Well, perhaps I hated him even more than he hated me.
Well, come to think of it, he would never find me pleasing to the eye since I am standing beside the duke more than him, his strategist. After all, I’m just a maid.
“Did you annoy her back in the east?”
“This is my first time seeing her.”
Both Gaurin and I looked surprised even though we were in two different places.
“Hmm. That’s strange. I thought there might be a reason why she doesn’t like you so much.”
I bit my lip. I couldn’t help but feel the goosebumps on my skin. It seemed like Duke Kyron had relayed my words to Chaers.
Gaurin asked politely as if he did not know how to react to his words.
“Are you talking about me?”
“I think that’s the only reason he’s delaying his decision on Gaurin-nim even though I supported you.”
Gaurin spoke lowly in answer.
“Are you saying that the lord of Harpel Castle is easily swayed by the words of a maid?”
“Not at all.”
Chaers raised both of his hands as he denied his words exaggeratedly.
“Just like what Gaurin-nim had said, the Duke had become more sensitive and suspicious as of late and the maid that stayed with him all day hates you. That’s all I wanted to say to you.”
Chaers turned to the banquet hall before adding to his words.
“And I think that you’re the right person for the East.”
I quickly returned to the banquet and sat down on my chair. I made sure to return before Chaers did. My heart was pounding so fast and I was a little out of breath. I took deep breaths to manage my shallow breathing and hurried expression.
The scene I just saw was completely devastating.
I thought that Chaers just hated me but it seemed like I did not mean anything to him at all. But…
Chaers came back inside and sat down. I turned to avoid eye contact with him as much as possible but my heart did not calm down at all.
In the original work, he was loyal to Duke Kyron. He was a strategist and tactician and a friend to the duke who stayed with him until the end. I wondered if such a person who had that character could betray the main lead or perhaps it was only me that he had betrayed.
I did not know if it was because he was jealous that I stayed beside Duke Kyron to the point that he would refuse me leaving his sight but this was just too much. I could feel the tingling signs of a headache from Chaers’ betrayal. I felt deeply afraid of how and where this story was going to go.
Meanwhile, I could feel Chaers staring at me from the table once again. I looked hard at Duke Kyron to avoid making eye contact with him.
Duke Kyron called for me while laughing. I felt flustered when he called for me so suddenly but I saw him opening a new bottle so I quickly went to his side.
In the meantime, Gaurin had also returned to the banquet and sat down by his seat.
When I went to Duke Kyron’s side to taste the first drink of the bottle, I made eye contact with Chaers. He stared at me with a grin so I just stared at him as I placed the emptied glass on the table.