Chapter 5

Translator: Alice

Editor: SoaringPeaches

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Huge thanks to Senna for the kofi! (1/1)

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At first glance, the tall man appeared to have a slender build, but closer inspection revealed a physique of remarkable muscularity. Elaborate designs adorned his pierced ears, and rings and bracelets decorated his fingers and arms. With his sleeves rolled up, a striking black tattoo stood out on his forearm, its intricate details a feast for the eyes.

 

At first, Eileen found it strange that he was dressed in civilian clothes and accessories. When she saw his tattoos, she found the man unrecognisable. Eileen looked at the man in disbelief and cautiously called out his name.

 

“…Sir Diego?”

 

The man looked at Eileen, his cigarette almost falling to the floor.

 

“Hi!”

 

He hurriedly spat the cigarette out of his mouth and stomped it out with his foot.

 

“Why on earth is the Miss here? And what’s with the clothes?”

 

“You really are Sir Diego!”

 

Sir Diego was the Grand Duke’s knight who had bought a rabbit doll as a gift for Eileen, as Lotan had mentioned beforehand.

 

“Yes, it is me. We’ve already established that. But why are you here? Anybody drag you in?”

 

Diego’s eyes were wide in panic, as if he were ready to pull out a gun from his arms at any moment. Instead of answering, Eileen checked the store sign where Diego was leaning against.

 

It was a shop. Mind you, it was a shop that sold alcohol as well as accommodation.

 

(Ed. note: Think love hotel. He, he, he.)

 

“…”

 

She turned back to Diego without saying a word. Diego looked at what Eileen was reading before he went into panic mode.

 

Diego protested vehemently to Eileen as if he were dying of injustice.

 

“I swear it’s not what it looks like. Absolutely not, miss! I was on duty, I swear!”

 

“…Here?”

 

“No, d*mn– Ah for f*ck sake. This is batsh*t insan–”

 

He slapped his hand over his mouth before he could continue further.

 

“I’m sorry, Miss. Please forget that. I didn’t mean to–”

 

“It’s okay!”

 

Diego groaned and grabbed his head. After a mental breakdown or two, he extended his arm to Eileen in a dejected tone.

 

“Allow me to escort you back, my lady. Let us talk before we go downtown.”

 

“You said you were on duty.”

 

“Is there a more important duty than escorting Miss Eileen?”

 

He offered his arm again, but Eileen shook her head. Before he could forcefully drag her out of the alley, she spoke honestly.

 

“I’m here to find my father. Do you know where he is?”

 

Diego’s expression twisted, and Eileen instantly knew. He had a fiery temper and struggled to suppress his emotions.

 

“You know.”

 

“Hah.”

 

Diego let out a sigh before waving his hand. Suddenly, a man in shabby clothes jumped out of the shadows of the alley.

 

“Tell them the lady has arrived.”

 

“Yes sir.”

 

When the man disappeared into the store, Diego gently grabbed at Eileen’s sleeve.

 

“Come here. If anything happens to you on this crazy street, I’ll be stomped to death.”.

 

He led Eileen into the shop where he had been leaning a few moments before. She was frightened by the unfamiliar environment. Still, she knew that Diego would not let anything happen to her, so she let herself be guided.

 

Despite the gaudy exterior, the interior was all right. It felt like an ordinary inn and restaurant. There were only a few tables with customers, and they all seemed to be the Grand Duke’s soldiers. As soon as they saw Diego, they jumped to their feet and saluted.

 

“Sit down, sit down.”

 

Diego waved his hand again and pulled a chair for Eileen to sit on.

 

“Would you like some hot chocolate? What about some warm milk with honey?”

 

“…Beer, please.”

 

“B-Beer?”

 

Diego was startled when he heard the word beer. He vanished while muttering to himself.

 

“Our Baby Miss… all grown up… drinking beer…”

 

Still, he accepted the situation and returned steadily with a large glass of beer and some fruit. Eileen felt a burning sensation as she downed a beer. She put down the half-empty glass and spoke again.

 

“I know that you know. Spill the beans.”

 

Diego stayed silent.

 

“You can’t say because you can’t say, or…”

 

The wooden stairs creaked and twisted. A man with an unbuttoned shirt, dishevelled hair, and piercing eyes walked slowly down the stairs. His lips parted gently as he spoke to the youth.

 

“Eileen, you should be angry with me.”

 

Eileen, frozen with the glass of beer in her hand, managed to find her voice.

 

“…Your Excellency the Grand Duke.”

 

Tomorrow was the Victory Ceremony. The morning paper dedicated several pages to coverage of the Grand Duke’s event. It was reported that he would tour the provinces for the benefit of the country. And yet, here he was, supposedly the busiest man of them all.

 

Eileen, who had been looking at him in disbelief, quickly shifted her gaze elsewhere. Otherwise, her face would have turned a brilliant red.

 

Cesare’s unkempt appearance gave off a strange aura. It was unusual to see someone so at ease wearing casual civilian attire rather than their usual uniform. It seemed even more apparent because his buttons were undone, exposing his collarbone.

 

He walked leisurely and sat down in front of Eileen. Eileen, who had been in a daze the entire time, noticed her disrespect and quickly rose from her seat. Diego and the other soldiers were already standing up and holding a straight posture.

 

His gaze moved to the table. Cesare chuckled when he saw the half-empty beer glass.

 

“Have you been drinking?”

 

Eileen covered her lips with the back of her hand. Talking while reeking of alcohol was not only unladylike, it was also the worst.

 

In fact, Eileen did not like to drink. She would have rather had hot chocolate or milk with honey. However, she didn’t like being treated like a child by Diego, so she simply opted for the most ‘adult’ drink.

 

She regretted it all.

 

“Maybe a little…”

 

Eileen gently grasped the hem of her clothes. She clenched her fingernails so tightly they turned white. She truly felt reprimanded.

 

“I have a question.”

 

“Ask away.”

 

Permission was readily given, but Eileen could not open her lips. Cesare bowed towards Eileen.

 

His shadow engulfed Eileen completely. Feeling the stark difference in stature, Eileen unconsciously held her breath. She lowered her eyes, unable to look directly at Cesare.

 

“What’s wrong? You can’t?”

 

She was not sure if it was just Diego, but she was reluctant to share personal stories in front of unfamiliar soldiers. Cesare smiled and spoke softly to Eileen, who was still hesitating.

 

“Shall we talk alone?”

 

The flirtatious tone was sweeter than honeyed milk. Eileen answered meekly, her cheeks tingling.

 

“Yes…”

 

Her eyes snapping upwards, she quickly regretted her answer.

 

Cesare had embraced Eileen.

 

“Y-Your Grace!”

 

“You said we should talk alone.”

 

He held the adult woman as if she were a small child and walked swiftly up the stairs. Eileen struggled in panic.

 

“I can walk on my own!”

 

“Some of the stairs are damaged by time. It is dangerous, so be good.”

 

“But, but…”

 

Cesare pressed lightly on Eileen’s struggling back. Feeling the large hand, she stiffened like stone. He gave light taps. Cesare continued as she calmed down, as if praising her.

 

Eileen felt helpless and was dying of embarrassment. Cesare continued to treat her as if she were a child, and the comparison will haunt her forever. What’s unforgivable is the fact that no one here found the situation odd.

 

Neither Diego nor the soldiers had the slightest raise of an eyebrow. They thought it was only natural for the Grand Duke to carry Eileen upstairs.

 

It was all Cesare’s fault.

 

‘Why does he always have to make such a scene?!’

 

Every time he set an example like that, everyone followed suit, causing chaos in their wake. Of course, she was frequently carried around as a child, but Eileen was now a mature woman. 

 

‘I could’ve skipped two or three broken wooden steps by herself, thank you very much!’

 

But now that she was in Cesare’s embrace, it would be pointless to try. Eileen gave up and wrapped her arms around his neck, no questions asked.

 

The touch of his strong, muscular body made her heart pound. She was afraid that he might hear it.

 

Fortunately, when they reached the top of the stairs, Cesare immediately let Eileen down. With hesitant steps, she followed in his wake.

 

They arrived in a room decorated to look like a reception room. Normally, she would have looked around, but she couldn’t. She was too aware of his presence.

 

Eileen, who had been glancing at Cesare without really seeing him, was startled when their eyes met directly. When she jerked, Cesare chuckled, his long eyelashes fluttering.

 

“I haven’t done anything yet.”

 

He gestured for Eileen to take a seat on the sofa and then made his way to a shelf on the other side.

 

“Would you like some cookies? There’s no tea.”

 

Who was she kidding? Pretending to be mature in front of him was pointless. 

 

Eileen let out a meek, “Yes.”

 

But why was there no tea in a ‘reception room’?

 

She looked around the room with interest, but her confusion faded as Cesare brought over individually wrapped cookies atop her knees.

 

He sat across from Eileen, his arm resting on the back of the sofa.

 

He gazed at Eileen, crimson eyes searching her.

 

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Notes

N/A

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