After Duke Kyron and Chaers got off of their horses, the servants in charge of the lake immediately led the horses away. Some were setting a fire by the lake while some were preparing the food.
It was a relief since Duke Kyron could immediately warm his body if there was a chance where he needed to be pulled out of the lake. In fact, today was the day when Duke Kyron would almost drown in the lake. Since the flooring of the boat that was anchored and left unattended all throughout winter had grown old and fragile it would immediately break and sink once weight was placed on it.
In the original, his men would find that the place in the water where the boat was supposed to float on was clean and spotless. When everyone was devastated at the fact that the boat was gone and the Duke was nowhere to be found, the Duke would swim out of the lake and proceed to faint under the eyes of everyone.
Eventually, the Duke would get pneumonia. And in this time and age where penicillin was something that wasn’t invented yet, pneumonia was like a death sentence. Of course, the Duke would miraculously recover thanks to his absurd physical strength but his suffering would continue to the point that he would almost be poisoned while he was getting treated.
After going about for days, it seemed like I was already approaching the beginning of the original work. From now on, there was no time that I could waste.
“Duke, shall we go together?”
When Chaers spoke, Duke Kyron, who was sitting on the boat, glared at him fiercely.
“Me and you? Together?”
Chaers just shrugged as he pushed the Duke’s boat to test if everything was alright.
Well, that was true. It would be inappropriate for two men to ride on a single boat. Chaers gazed at the lake as he spoke to me.
“Arielsa. Prepare something for the Duke when he returns.”
However, I couldn’t hear what Chaers told me. My gaze was trained on Duke Kyron’s boat that was gliding towards the center of the lake.
“Yes. I’ll prepare it right away.”
I went on the deck after answering him perfunctorily before climbing at the other boats. I was somehow able to start rowing but if I was honest with myself then I would tell them that I was scared to death. The Duke’s boat would be like that because it was written in the original but I did not know whether the other boat was fine.
Will I be able to survive in this freezing northern lake with the swimming skills that I learned in elementary school?
I was afraid that I would be the one who would die of pneumonia first but… I still rowed with determination as I screamed in my heart.
I’m going to get the Duke out of here!
Chaers ran to the deck with shock plastered on his face. If I left it there alone, then the deck would collapse and I would not be able to get on this boat. I rowed towards my death as I shouted back at Chaers.
“I have to ask the Duke about what he wants to eat!”
Chaers gave up as he tiredly stopped at the end of the deck. Meanwhile, his appearance slowly faded away from my sight. Somehow, I felt a bit better when I got so far away that I could not even hear him swearing.
At first, the boat shook and was unstable due to the waves from the water but I quickly got used to it. The dark blue sky was hanging above my head as I rowed in this freezing lake. From time to time, I could hear the birds singing. It was so peaceful that it almost lulled me to sleep. Somehow, I could understand why Duke Kyron liked this peculiar stillness. If the person that managed such a huge estate needed the time to think alone, I thought that there really was no other place more perfect than this place. I was left in a daze for a moment before I came back to my senses.
I was a bit curious about the temperature so I dipped my finger in the water. But it was so cold that my head almost shriveled and ached.
I can’t let our male lead fall into such a cold lake! This is a matter of a possessed spirit’s pride!
So I double checked that Duke Kyron’s boat was safe.
“Heok! Du, Duke…!”
But when I looked afar, there was no boat floating in the middle of the lake. Even the surface of the lake was calm and glistening brightly under the sun.
I rowed desperately hoping that George’s physical and muscle potential was also dormant in Arielsa’s body.
I came to the area where I last saw the Duke’s boat was floating on but my voice only echoed in the cold and icy lake. The lake where my voice faded away into silence was so quiet that I felt scared.
I quickly took off my coat. My heart skipped a beat at the thought that I might get a heart attack if I jumped into this cold and icy water in this state. But my hesitation quickly disappeared. A person was dying now!
Suddenly, the Duke’s wet head popped out of the water as he grabbed the boat that I was on.
The boat shook along with the wind as I moved briskly to look at him.
“Are you alright?”
“Do I look okay? Go the other way, Arielsa.”
I leaned heavily on the other side of the boat so Duke Kyron could climb on the boat. He looked like a wet towel as he climbed on the boat. That was all that I could think of as I looked at his wet appearance in those thick clothes of his. Of course, if he was a towel then he was the brightest towel in the world.
He turned his face to look at me. As puffs of cold air rose from his body. Before I could say anything, the Duke asked me.
“Why are you here?”
I paused for a moment. Perhaps this was the stupidest excuse that I could come up with…
“I forgot to ask you what you wanted to have for snacks.”
Duke Kyron just laid back in exhaustion as I rowed silently back to the deck. There was a great commotion when Duke Kyron appeared soaked to the bone on the deck. A blanket was immediately taken from the lake-side boat shed and the bonfire was made larger. I quickly removed the roasting meat as I heated the water.
Then, Chaers yelled at me.
“How did something like this happen?!”
“I don’t know well… the Duke just suddenly came out of nowhere…”
Duke Kyron, who was sitting by the fire while drinking warm water, spoke to him as if he was a bother.
“Chaers, we’re going back. Burn the rest of the boats.”
The servant in charge of the boat’s maintenance stood still with a pale and blue face. Chaers glared at him as if he could kill him with just his looks as he followed Duke Kyron. I quickly followed suit.
When we came back to the castle, I immediately ordered a warm bath. While Duke Kyron was bathing, I prepared clean clothes and placed them on top of his table. The thick leather pants were softer than they looked and the tunic smelled of sunlight. It seemed like the servants of the castle could do a better job than a maid like me.
My heart was still pounding at the thought of Duke Kyron falling in the water as he was even though he immediately popped out of the water. He did not seem to have caught a cold when he was throwing a tantrum earlier. But now, the Emperor would not be able to attempt to poison Duke Kyron under the guise of offering medicine for pneumonia.
It seemed like it was possible to influence the plot. The excitement that I felt when I confirmed this matter was extremely great. For a moment, I was even under the impression that Duke Kyron Harpel’s fate was in my hands.
It was at that moment when Duke Kyron entered the bedroom. His hair was drooping wet and he had only one towel wrapped around his waist.
I quickly went out of his way as I avoided looking at his eyes. I did not have the guts to openly appreciate his perfectly muscular body.
The scent of the ginger tea that I made earlier gently wrapped around the room. And since I was the one in charge of it, he asked me about it first.
“It’s ginger tea.”
“It’s a good medicine for your body. I asked Mr. Doctor for some earlier.”
“You’re really serious about tea.”
Duke Kyron approached me. He looked like he wanted to ask for an answer. I closed my eyes tightly as I shouted inside my head.
Clothes! Please wear some clothes!
But he did not move. Duke Kyron only sighed a bit irritably at me.
“Did you forget that you have to wait on me and dress me with my clothes?”
He was waiting for me to help dress him up.
Uwaaaa. I did say that I’d rather be the female lead than just a simple maid but now I’m sure that this is a much better place for me but…
I just mumbled to myself as I bowed my head down. Unable to wait any longer, the Duke took his tunic and dressed himself up. I followed him with the ginger tea to cover up the awkwardness. He roughly bundled himself up before sitting down on the chair and speaking to me irritably.
“Dry my hair.”
I held my breath as I placed the towel on his head. Then, I felt him relaxing under my hands as I quietly massaged his hair. He seemed quite pleased with the ginger tea too. I sensed a faint scent of enjoyment coming from him as I rubbed his wet hair with the towel.
It seemed like he was comfortable with my touch. He even left his body completely unguarded to me without any doubts. It was like I was someone that he believed in completely.
I felt a bit strange when those facts flashed in my head.
He was a person who was a hazard to my heart…
“Arielsa. How did you know?”
“The grandma at the market told me that ginger is the best way to warm your body. Ah…”
Duke Kyron, who was warmed up and bathed, grabbed my wrist that was wiping his wet hair.
“What I meant to ask was how you knew that the boat would sink. Arielsa Lockeman.”
His hold was firm. It did not hurt but if I lied or tried to run away, he could still easily break my hands. But I did not have the leisure to feel fear. His palms were burning through my wrist and my pitiful yet throbbing heartbeat was completely exposed to him. That alone would make him realize that I was lying to him. I had to tell a lie but…
“Don’t tell me that it was because of the snack. George’s daughter couldn’t be this much of an idiot.”
But he added more words as if he did not want to intimidate me.
“But it also took you a lot of time to memorize the addition table.”
I gasped when I realized that I answered him unconsciously.
“It’s just, just… I thought that I’d be in trouble if I did not follow the Duke.”
Duke Kyron’s grip on my wrist tightened and my body was helplessly dragged in front of him.