Vivian never dreamed that she would regret accepting the man’s request without much thought.
“Why didn’t you come with the other knights today?”
“Have a drink of this.”
“What’s the Capital like? It must be a wonderful place that cannot be compared to the West, right?”
Even with the delicious food, she couldn’t concentrate on her meal. Because all of her nerves were focused on a certain corner. She could clearly see Roger and the people around him.
Vivian thought that they would return to the mansion after a quick meal at the man’s quarters. That expectation was correct. What she didn’t expect, however, were many young girls at the man’s house. They welcomed Roger much like the man they had met in front of the carriage.
She was well aware that Roger had stopped by the village whenever he had time. But this… she didn’t know he was popular.
In fact, what bothered Vivian the most was that the majority of those around Roger were older women. Each of the women endlessly posed questions to Roger. While talking, they often touched his body. They particularly liked his broad shoulders and muscular forearms.
Every time she witnessed it, a hot flame flared up inside Vivian. Her face became stiff, and her feelings surged out of control.
“Does it fit your taste?”
When she lifted her head, the man who had invited them was sitting in front of her.
“Yes. It’s very good.”
Now she could see that the young man was quite tall. He appeared so suddenly earlier that she had no time to look closely at his face.
He introduced himself as Albert and made idle conversation. After they had chatted for a while, she suddenly saw a small hand pulling Albert’s waist.
“This is my younger sister, Marie, who was saved by the Knight yesterday.”
The little girl hid behind her brother, sticking her head out and glancing at Vivian. Her shy look was lovely. Thanks to that, Vivian’s face loosened a little. As she greeted her with her smile, Marie hid herself further, blushing shamefully. She was shy, but seeing that she was still here, she had something to say.
Marie pulled Albert’s collar toward her. Albert leaned his upper body towards her, and Marie whispered something into his ear.
“…You want me to tell her that?”
She didn’t know why, but Albert looked embarrassed. Marie nodded her head. Watching their conversation, Vivian tilted her head with a confused smile. Albert straightened his body and coughed awkwardly.
“She asked me to tell you that you’re as beautiful as a princess…”
Albert’s face burned, even though he was just relaying his sister’s words. Vivian was shocked for a moment by the unexpected compliment. After she recovered, she curled her lips into a smile and made eye contact with Marie, who was still clinging to Albert.
“Thank you for telling me that.”
Seeing Marie smiling brightly, Vivian then turned to Albert.
“And thank you for sharing.”
Albert’s behavior was quite interesting. With a playful smile on his face, Albert awkwardly grabbed the nape of his neck with a red face.
“It’s not an exaggeration. As soon as I saw you, I was shocked by your beauty…”
His hesitant voice was more shy than Marie’s. Seeing how he was unable to make eye contact, his compliment seemed sincere.
At that moment, a low tone pierced Vivian’s eardrums. Roger, who sat down in the empty seat next to her, announced his presence. Vivian, who looked over at him naturally, felt angry when she remembered him flirting with women earlier. His expression suddenly became hard.
Vivian glared at him with disgruntled expression.
“Why are you looking at me like that?”
The situation was so absurd that she almost burst out laughing. Until a little while ago, he didn’t care about her and was flirting with girls in the corner, but now he was angry she was being complimented?
Vivian glanced at Albert without answering Roger.
“I didn’t do anything for these people, so I feel a little guilty that I’m being treated like this.”
“No. If you are a valuable person to Knight, you deserve to be treated well. That wasn’t the only thing the knights have done for the village.”
Albert recited Roger’s deeds. Seeing that the bridge over the town’s central waterway was damaged, he repaired it with his knights. He also helped with construction, which had been slow due to insufficient manpower, and drove out mischievous municipal gangs who occasionally made a fuss on the streets.
She never dreamed that what he did every time he visited the village were things like that.
Roger was not able to win the hearts of the Western people without effort. A series of actions came one after another to build the trust he had today. They must have been physically and mentally afflicted for a while due to the appearance of the beasts and the absence of a lord, so the devotion that Roger showed must have been very moving.
‘That’s why everyone likes you so much.’
It completely shook the Capital and his reputation here. Everyone was busy avoiding him in the Capital, but welcomed him in the West. His expression, which looked angry, had a friendly atmosphere, so it wasn’t too bad.
‘… I hate it though.’
She knew that he had won the trust of Western people by his actions so far, but she didn’t want other women to approach him. She wished he hadn’t paid any attention to them and didn’t want them to touch him. Her petty jealousy welled up and flowed out of her mouth.
The meal was finished, so this was enough to show all the sincerity that she could as a superficial fiancée. Roger abruptly rose to his feet as Vivian dragged him by the sleeve.
“Let’s go back, Sir Knight.”
Vivian smiled forcibly. In the presence of Albert and the others, she didn’t want to be petty. She felt it was wise to leave quickly.
After brief goodbyes, Roger was dragged out by her small hands. He looked stunned until the moment they got into the carriage. Vivian blankly fiddled with her sleeves in embarrassment.
“…Sir Knight. Are you popular?”
Vivian crossed her arms and asked. Her eyes were sharp, like those of a cat.
“Especially with women.”
Her pupils gleamed fiercely.
“Sir doesn’t seem to care if anyone touches him.”
Earlier, she hated the hands of the women who touched his body so madly. She wanted to go to him right away and erase their touch until nothing was left. She couldn’t do that, which was painful. Roger, who was listening quietly, tilted his head as if he did not understand.
“What are you talking about all of a sudden?”
She snapped back in a thorny voice.
“A Lady is much more proper than that.”
Roger suddenly pointed at her. Vivian bit her lip as she was about to say something more.
“Was it fine that another man said you were beautiful? He had a very bright smile.”
His comment was so ridiculous that Vivian almost burst out laughing. She didn’t know how he heard that while he was talking to other people.
“Absolutely. It’s better than being called ugly, right?”
He ruffled his hair with a puzzled look. It was clear he didn’t understand why she was upset. Vivian was offended, as the expression on his face showed that he was no longer willing to talk.
After that, there was only silence in the carriage. It was because they were looking out the windows opposite each other and suppressing their rising anger.
* * *
Unfortunately, even after arriving at the mansion, her excitement did not subside. Roger didn’t know, but Vivian was still angry. It was because as soon as she tried to relax, she remembered his figure surrounded by women.
Normally, Vivian waited for Roger to get off the carriage first, but today she opened the door and got off herself. She didn’t want to see him from behind because of the emotions that rushed in like a tidal wave.
Vivian, who was running towards the mansion, suddenly stood in place. For some reason, she cared.
Roger, who got out of the carriage after her, saw Vivian standing still and stopped.
Vivian immediately shook her head. The image of him, who had embarrassed her with frequent jealousy, flashed through her mind many times. Then she came to the conclusion that her actions were absolutely not narrow-minded.
‘Yeah, this isn’t what I’m narrow-minded about. Rather…’
Vivian clenched her fists and spun her body around.
Vivian hurriedly ran into the mansion without giving him a chance to open his mouth. Roger, who was left alone, smirked.