“How..how many knights are going….?”
Count Lector was unable to speak and washed his dry face. He looked like he imagined his daughter falling alone in a place he didn’t even want to think of. Vivian was reminded of Roger, seeing the Count, who was shaking.
In fact, the rumors that Vivian had heard countless times just before she went to study abroad were hard to reach.
There were three images of the man named Roger to her.
The figure in the rumour, the one in real life and the one in her dreams.
The three shapes were just like shells, but the ones inside were all different. Of course, what Vivian was most familiar with was the appearance in her dream. At the same time, she wondered if he also dreamed like her.
‘It’s just that I can’t even ask him.’
It was even frustrating that it was not easy to ask because it was a relationship related to hot love affairs.
Vivian came to her senses at the sound of putting down the teacup. Following the Count, she made eye contact with the Countess, who was worried about her.
“Yeah, Vivian. You don’t have to take all the responsibility.”
“I’m really fine.”
Vivian sighed because her parents still thought she was young. That’s understandable. The Count and Countess had yet to see how powerful Vivian was because they have never seen her use her powers.
“I don’t know exactly what you’re worried about, but even if I am in danger, I can handle it.”
Vivian raised her fist. The aura at first sight was strong.
Nevertheless, the couple’s worried appearance did not easily fade away.
“When the Emperor suddenly started talking about studying abroad and medals, I thought it was quite suspicious. But I didn’t expect him to make such a suggestion……”
Count Lector said with a gloomy look, as if the situation was all his fault. Vivian was overwhelmed by her parents’ actions to keep overturning what had been already done.
“I’ll go to the palace now……!”
“Father, Mother. You haven’t seen me use my powers yet, have you?”
The Count, who had turned his serious face into anger, stood awkwardly. Vivian raised her body because she thought it would be better to show it in person than to persuade him with words.
“Let’s go to the garden, don’t worry. I will take it easy.”
* * *
At the same time.
Tea time was still going on in full swing in the private room of the Imperial Palace. In fact, it was strange to call it a tea time, as tea was only poured into a cup, and none of it was touched.
The Emperor’s finger tapped lightly on the table as if they were playing a tune. Despite the subtle rhythm, Roger on the other side sat quietly as if he couldn’t hear anything.
Thinking he was a man like a stone, the Emperor slowly drank the tea.
“You don’t have to pretend to be engaged.”
As soon as he put the teacup down, the Emperor said that.
Roger’s eyes rolled and looked at the Emperor. Roger didn’t open his mouth, even though he quickly realized what he was saying. The Emperor, who was accustomed to his silence, did not bother to point it out.
“Isn’t it necessary to completely avoid the eyes of the nobles anyways?”
Roger answered after a while.
The Emperor laughed while nodding. The Emperor, who put the glass down neatly, looked at Roger.
To the Emperor, he was truly an unusual man.
When all the knights encountered the Emperor, they trembled and could not speak properly. However, Roger was no different from now when he had low status. Even then, he acted confidently as if he had nothing to do with the Emperor.
It was clear why the Emperor had him beside him, who at first glance might be considered arrogant.
Roger was strong. It was more reassuring to have Roger by his side than to have ten good knights with him.
However, the Emperor believed in Roger’s sword skills, but not in Roger himself.
He was a man who swung his sword faster than light, and if he looked away for a moment, he might attack his back casually. Above all, those cloudy grayish yellow eyes were even more creepy because the insides couldn’t be seen even after so many tries.
The relationship between the Emperor and Roger was a business solely for the benefit of each other. The Emperor was trying to escape from the numerous threats directed at him, and Roger…….
‘I don’t know….’
He doesn’t know what he wants or what he wants from him. That was also the reason why the Emperor felt uncomfortable with Roger.
A person whom he can’t control from the inside. For the Emperor, Roger was like that.
His actions yesterday, whose intentions were also unknown.
Even the Emperor initially tried to fake Vivian and Roger’s engagement in order to deceive the eyes of many people. But after a lot of thought, he came to the conclusion that there was no need to bother. Above all, when he asked Roger about his opinion, he also said no.
The Emperor dropped the engagement from the plan to proceed, and simply tried to convey the matter to Vivian.
But one day, Roger changed his mind. To be precise, it was after the banquet where Vivian first appeared.
‘I will do what you ordered last time.’
‘What did you say?’
‘It’s about pretending to be engaged to young lady Vivian Lector.’
After the Emperor heard that, planned the play, which was not even funny, ‘pretending to be engaged’.
‘Suddenly? Didn’t you say ‘no’?’
‘I decided that it would be better to follow His Majesty’s orders to avoid the eyes of others.’
Roger’s blunt answer ended there, but the Emperor sensed something elusive. Roger is a person who doesn’t take back the words he already spit out. How could he change his opinion like turning the palm of his hand like that?
Surprisingly, the Emperor, who was quick to think this way, was full of doubts. But he couldn’t say anything. Because with Roger’s personality, the Emperor expected that he wouldn’t answer straight away.
So, after the Emperor replied to Roger, he also asked Vivian for her opinion. Including the engagement case he was about to get rid of.
Vivian let out a deep voice as if contemplating for a long time, then heard the condition, and then her eyes lit up. Her blue eyes, resembling the clear skies, shone like jewels. The transparency indirectly showed that she had lived only a flat life so far.
The Emperor wanted her not to lose the light in her eyes as she worked in the West.
“Lady Lector will come back to the Imperial Palace in three days, so please introduce her to the Lord’s knights at that time.”
The Emperor always referred to the Knights of Eckhart as ‘Lord’s knights’. It was a word to imprint the fact that it was a knighthood made only for Roger.
“By the way, I don’t know if the Lady can stand it. Even if they improved a lot, the knights of the Lord are quite rough.”
The Emperor smiled, stretching his lips as if it was funny just thinking about it. Even if he said that, he had an attitude that it was just someone else’s business.
Roger quietly rolled his eyes, imagining what the Emperor was worried about. Then he drew a small smile that didn’t look like one. But the moment was too short and the smile was so faint that the Emperor did not notice.
As if reciting someone he knew well, Roger answered concisely.
* * *
Vivian swallowed her saliva.
It was something she couldn’t help but feel a little nervous about. The more she thought about it, the more she regretted it. It’s a shame that she just responded.
‘It’s about my father’s business and grandma’s illness, so I couldn’t reject it after all.’
The thought of rejection only came to her mind from her reluctance to deal with Roger.
Vivian shook her head. As long as she used her abilities to convince her parents, she had to do it. If the mission goes well, her father’s business will expand widely as if it has spread wings, and her grandmother’s chronic illness will get better.
Vivian clenched her fists, adding to her promise.
The place where she got off the carriage was the Northeast part of the Imperial Palace. Whereas the other places were bright with sunlight permeating everywhere, this Palace had an unfamiliar gloomy energy. At the entrance of the Northeast Palace was a golden plaque with the word ‘Eckhart’ written on it. Looking at the handwriting of the Emperor under the word ‘Eckhart’, it appears that it was awarded directly by the Emperor.
Vivian hesitated, and stood in front of the large, tightly closed door.
‘Should I just go back like this?’
‘Can’t I postpone it for just one day?’
A fierce conflict engulfed her mind.
Then at some point, footsteps were heard. The sound grew louder as he crossed the still silence. The whereabouts were inside the closed door.
Vivian realized that someone was coming out of the Palace and tried to hide, but it was already too late. Before she could properly hide, the door opened.
It caught Vivian’s eye. A terribly dark red hair that resembles a blood clot that is likely to flow through someone’s body. The face below it was still hard today.
He looked slightly surprised when he saw Vivian standing right in front of the door. But it wasn’t long before he came back to his original calm face.
“What are you doing here?”
“Well, I just arrived and I’m going in.”
In fact, she arrived 10 minutes ago and was hesitating, but Vivian lied without hesitation. Roger looked quietly at Vivian as if he were trying to tell if she was lying.
As the gaze continued without a word, sweat ran down Vivian’s neck.
Roger moved his foot back into the palace.
Vivian opened her eyes round with a puzzled face.
“Sir, weren’t you on your way somewhere?”
Roger, who acted as if he had left the palace a while ago, was going inside the palace again. Stopped at her question, he swept his hair back with a nonchalant face.
“Let me do an introduction first.”
He seemed to think he had a business to do but could not leave Vivian alone.
Having said so, he backed away from Vivian as if he had secured the way. When Vivian took a step forward, Roger naturally started to take the lead.
Vivian followed him silently like on the night of the banquet.
He was different from the rumors Vivian had heard. I don’t think it’d be weird if he was the one in the rumor to turn his back on her and disappear. Vivian thought quietly, looking at his back, the size of a palace she walked in earlier.
They just walked without saying a word for a while.
Vivian, if anything else, could see that he did not have a kind personality. It’s a yard where you walk together, but what’s the tightness of the front and back lines like the knights of the joining ceremony? It is a very effective method if the other party had intended to block room for conversation from the beginning.