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Before Vivian went to study abroad, she was very depressed because she didn’t want to leave her home.
She wanted to pester her father, Count Lector, until studying abroad was no longer an option, but it was the Emperor’s idea.
‘I was afraid to go to an unfamiliar place.’
‘Thinking about it now, I was stubborn.‘
Studying abroad gave Vivian a lot of valuable things. One was the mentorship and friendship with her teacher… And another was meeting Roger for the first time in her dreams.
“At first, I really didn’t want to go. I hated having to say goodbye to the people I loved. I was also afraid to stay alone in a new place.”
“At what age did you start studying abroad?”
Roger’s eyes widened in surprise. It was a rare expression for him.
“Before you came of age?.”
“Yes. So, my father tried to convince His Majesty to put off studying abroad until I came of age… His Majesty wanted me to learn how to control my powers as soon as possible, so it was no use. I was very resentful at the time.”
“Are you still resentful now?”
“Rather than resentful… I’ve accepted it. Even if I resented His Majesty, my pain is a thing of the past. Anger doesn’t change anything.”
Roger smiled softly as if he was indulging in nostalgia with her.
“What is the Lady’s teacher like?”
Vivian crossed her arms and let out a sigh.
“He’s a good person.”
“Well… to be perfectly honest? I will never meet someone as honest as my Master.”
“More honest than Tainy?”
As if he couldn’t understand her statement, Roger linked it to someone they both knew well. Vivian rubbed her chin and then shook her head.
“More honest than Sir Tainy.”
“You mean there is such a person?”
His eyes sparkled with more astonishment than before. His reaction felt exaggerated, but at the same time understandable.
Vivian burst into laughter at the sight of him. Roger tilted his head, not knowing what was so funny. Vivian said it was nothing and concentrated on writing her letter again. Roger silently watched what she was doing without interruption.
After some time passed, someone knocked on the drawing room door, breaking the silence.
“Miss, I forgot to tell you.”
It was Hamel.
“What is it?”
There was an envelope in her hand.
“This is the letter the Count sent last week.”
Vivian’s parents wrote once a week to their only daughter in the West. Originally, they sent a letter a day, but scaled back to once a week when Vivian, who was tired of writing, asked them to.
She wasn’t ignorant of her parent’s concerns, but writing daily was more arduous than expected.
“If it’s alright..… May I bring you some tea?”
While turning to leave, Hamel saw Roger and was startled. Despite her reaction, Roger did not remove his gaze away from Vivian. In response to Vivian’s affirmative answer, Hamel hurriedly served fragrant tea and left the parlor.
Vivian held out a steaming teacup to Roger.
“Please drink. You may have gotten cold from the rain, sir Knight.”
Roger accepted the teacup with a light nod.
“If it’s the Count, you mean Count Lector?”
Vivian briefly skimmed the contents of the letter. It was filled with worry. The questions her parents asked were always the same. Are you eating well, sleeping well, and are you injured?
“It seems that letters come frequently from the Capital.”
Roger, who had been watching her read the letter, spoke up. Vivian answered immediately without much thought.
“My parents were very worried about me going West.”
‘It was a bit excessive though.’
“Was it because of the beasts?”
He took a sip of his tea and asked calmly. She opened her mouth, still reading the letter from her parents.
“It would be great if that was all. Not only the beasts, but also the knights. They have a lot of worries.”
Before traveling to the West, Count Lector, who was strongly opposed to her going to the West, came up with hundreds of excuses as to why she couldn’t go. His biggest concern were the knights, who had a poor reputation in the Capital. She belatedly realized she had just said that in front of the commander of those knights and hurriedly shut her mouth. Vivian covered her mouth with her hand and stared at him.
Suddenly, he grabbed her hand and removed it from her face with a smirk.
“What are you so upset about? I am well aware that the reputation of the Knights of Eckhart is bad.”
His blunt tone sent shivers down her spine.
‘I’m such an idiot!‘
If she had been alone, Vivian would have slapped her forehead. She desperately tried to backtrack to save herself embarrassment, but it only made him more angry.
“No, that… I’m sorry, sir. I made a mistake.”
“Why are you apologizing for telling the truth? You didn’t make a mistake.”
He tilted his head as if he didn’t really understand the reason for her apology. His nonchalant attitude was rather frightening. If his plan was to fluster Vivian, he had succeeded. Now she was so embarrassed that she couldn’t make eye contact with Roger.
Roger put down his teacup, noticing her sudden silence. Then he slid closer to Vivian on the couch.
“Let me ask you one thing.”
It wasn’t until she felt warmth against her side that Vivian realized that he was sitting right next to her. It was too late to run away.
“Uh, what is it?”
Vivian answered as confidently as she could. At the same time, her heart was pounding. She had just made a mistake.
“Did you hear the rumors about the Knights of Eckhart?”
It was a less embarrassing question than Vivian had expected. Even though there was nothing strange about it, Vivian still began to sweat. She remembered the day before, when she asked Chen the same question. She saw how awful it had been for Chen, so Vivian hesitated to answer.
“The Knights of Eckhart were founded about three years ago. At that time, the Lady was studying abroad, so how did you hear the rumors?”
“At the end of every semester, I came back to see my parents. They always threw a small dinner party and invited family friends. There were quite a few girls my age.”
After dinner, their parents went to the drawing room to talk about business, and the girls chatted over refreshments. It was an informal tea party for those who had not yet debuted. Thanks to their meetings, even though Vivian was not in Mosbana, she knew all the rumors circulating the Capital.
She was unreasonably excited every time her friends talked about Roger. She didn’t know how exaggerated the stories were, but for some reason, his notoriety made her feel butterflies in her stomach.
He was her age but already so notorious, so how terrifying must he be! Roger Orpheus was such a person in Vivian’s mind.
“If it’s a rumor that young ladies are talking about, it’s obvious.”
Roger clicked his tongue. He was well aware of the rumors about him that had spread throughout the Capital. So he must have been very upset with her answer.
“Did you hear rumors about me?”
When it came to rumors about the Knights of Eckhart, the first thing that came to mind was the notoriety of Roger. He was said to have a cruel disposition, be able to commit evil deeds without feeling, and had an attitude of recklessness to the point that he was considered insane. Those were the rumors that followed Roger.
Vivian, who had been going through them one by one, didn’t dare to answer. Roger took her silence as a yes, and narrowed his eyes.
“You heard about me.”
“So, how about you, my Lady?”
She understood his question, but pretended not to.
“Am I like the rumors?”
Leaning his forward, he brought his face close to hers. The moment their eyes met, Vivian realized that he was genuinely curious about her answer.
It was something she’d been thinking about for a long time.
While traveling and getting to know Roger and his Knights, Vivian always thought the rumors were strange. They weren’t anything like the rumors she had heard. The knights were clumsy, but weren’t without compassion. The fearsome Roger Orpheus was more like a gentleman than a crazed dog.
Vivian looked into his eyes and spoke with conviction.
“When I saw Sir Knight…… you’re different from the rumors.”
The fire in the fireplace crackled. As if influenced by him, her lips became dry and her heart beat faster. She didn’t know why she was trembling like she was confessing her undying love when she really wasn’t talking about anything.
“Sir Knight, the rumors said you couldn’t be friendly, but… Sir Knight is very friendly.”
For a moment, an unexplained sense of déjà vu came flooding in.
‘When did I ever say this? Why does this feel so familiar?’
She had spoken with courage, but there was no reply. Vivian slowly raised her head. Her gaze mingled with Roger’s, who was still staring at her.
Roger stared at her as usual, as if he was trying to determine if her words were true. She always tried to be honest with him, but his eyes made her feel like a criminal being questioned about their guilt.
After a while, Vivian stiffened. It was because he had a soft smile on his lips. She had seen him smile often, but she’d never seen him smile so innocently. Even in her dreams, which were more familiar than reality, he had never smiled at her like that.
TN/N : Guys, I was really busy last month. I am really sorry and thank you for waiting. T-T. Also the ko-fi shop will be extended by 25 days.