As soon as Luana realized that, she began to pay attention to the part where she came in contact with the duke. Her heart was beating so fast that it felt like it would pop out of her throat. Because of that, she tried to separate her thought about his body parts in her mind, but it was useless as thoughts about the duke naturally followed.
The duke looked at Luana, who kept moving away from him little by little. The red eyes staring at her heated up her face.
“Is it just my feeling? It seems like you keep avoiding me.”
“It’s just your feeling!”
Luana said firmly and stopped moving. She never imagined having such feelings for the duke because she knew she couldn’t be with him. She struggled to stay away from him, but when did this happen? She should’ve turned down the contractual relationship.
As she was racking her brain, suddenly, a slender finger poked her cheek.
“What are you thinking?”
“D- Do you think the river is pretty?”
“I don’t think so.”
“It is! It’s pretty because it’s shiny.”
“More than me?”
‘Why are you asking such a thing all of a sudden?’
Luana grabbed her clothes close to her chest with her hands.
‘Of course, you’re prettier than the river! Where is the river compared to your beauty? No one in the world is this lovely.’
Once she started admitting it, her heart poured like a waterfall. The world is beginning to look beautiful.
But some things bothered her. Will she be able to lift the duke’s curse? Her feelings will only be one-sided if the curse cannot be lifted. Luana thought it was upsetting and decided never to reveal her feeling to the duke until his curse was lifted.
‘I can do it!’
It won’t be easy to hide her feelings, but she thought there was nothing wrong with trying.
The duke stared at Luana, closed his eyes, and leaned lightly against her little shoulder. He doesn’t know what she was thinking with that bit of head. The duke wished he could understand what was on her mind. It was a pity that people could not read people’s thoughts. But the duke can’t force her to say what was on her mind either.
The duke opened his eyes again and looked at Luana’s eyes. The flowing river indeed was shining beautifully in the sunlight. But it wasn’t the river that caught his eyes.
It was Luana who smiled faintly. The duke was sure that if he fell in love with someone, it would be her. He has yet to see anyone who catches his eyes more than she does. And being together with her was the most comfortable.
The duke raised the corner of his mouth and looked at Luana, who was now looking dejected. She seemed to have stopped having her thoughts, and now she was just enjoying the river’s scenery. Her figure was so cute that his hand twitched unconsciously. He was about to poke Luana’s cheek again, but suddenly Luana raised her finger and poked him in the cheek!
“This time, I won!”
At the same time, she burst into laughter as she smiled brightly. He doesn’t know if what they’re doing is the correct way to date, but it was a lot of fun.
Except for the gaze that he felt from somewhere.
Someone was following him from the moment he left the mansion and arrived on the street. Usually, he would have caught him immediately, but he has endured it until now because he doesn’t want to. But he was slowly running out of patience.
“I’ll leave for a moment.”
The duke spoke softly and rose from his seat.
“Oh, okay. You must be in a hurry. See you later.”
Luana waved her hand from behind him. She seemed to have misunderstood something, but he didn’t really care. The duke strolled to where he could feel someone’s gaze on them. Behind a wooden box in an alleyway not far away, the duke caught a man who was just about to flee.
The curly brown-haired man panicked and shouted,
“L- let go! What are you doing?”
“You’re the one who was going to do something. Tell me, why did you keep following us?”
Until just now, the relaxed atmosphere surrounding the whole place disappeared and what filled the void was a terrible aura. The duke was still smiling, but it was an eerie one. The man froze, bit his lip, and came up with the best excuse he could have devised in advance.
“I- I didn’t follow you.”
“I followed the lady.”
An unexpected answer came. When the duke asked back in surprise, the man straightened his back and answered confidently.
“I fell in love with her at first sight!”
“When have you seen her?”
“I saw her when she came to the market before.”
As soon as he heard it, he immediately thought,
‘I shouldn’t have let her to the market.’
He even posted a knight for her, but when on earth did her catch this man’s eyes? The duke gritted his teeth.
“I’m seriously falling in love with her.”
“What were you looking at that time?”
“I saw her walking around the market happily. I fell in love with her lively look!”
“No, you’re not.”
The duke let go of the man he was holding and said in a cold voice,
“She has a lover.”
“Just because she has a lover doesn’t mean she can’t go out with someone else!”
The man spoke enthusiastically. He acted as if he had fallen for the princess, doing his best not to arouse suspicion from the duke. Even if he died because of this, he could not harm his other colleagues.
“Luana is already crazy about me.”
“That’s a mystery! I- I will not give up!”
The man was persistent, and the duke looked at him unpleasantly.
‘Should I kill you?’
He was a duke who always chose to walk around the battlefield. He can snap one or two people’s necks without guilt and would not be punished for that. Judging by this man’s attire, he doesn’t look like an ordinary commoner, but he was not a noble from the empire either. Then the story will end up easy. The duke reached out to the man again, and there was an eerie atmosphere between them.
And then, he heard Luana’s voice.
“What are you doing here?”
At the same time, he paused. As soon as the man noticed it, he fled from his death. The duke, who would have caught him quickly, did not catch him.
“Didn’t you go to the bathroom?”
“No, someone suspicious kept following me, so I tried to check.”
“Someone suspicious? So is it resolved?”
“No, he ran away.”
“Oh, I’m sorry. Is it because of me?”
Luana was flustered and apologized to him.
“No, it’s not like that. Not really.”
The duke stared at Luana. The light sky blue eyes and hazy hair color. The overall impression is similar. She has the appearance of a royal bloodline, cute and lively, but his first impression of Luana wasn’t cute nor pretty.
But there were times when she sparked, like when she was cooking, eating, or buying ingredients. It just so happened that the man saw her.
“That man fell in love with you at first sight.”
Luana’s eyes widened at the sudden words.
“Me? Are you sure?”
“I’m sure. I heard we]]you two ran into each other when you went to the market last time.”
Luana slapped her palm with her fist. At that time, she encountered a member of the kingdom’s death squad at the market. She thought maybe it was him. If so, the story that he was in love with her was highly likely to be a lie. Perhaps he used that story to avoid suspicion. Thinking about it that way, it all made sense.
“Yes, someone picked up my coin when I dropped it.”
“It is dangerous to deal with strangers. You don’t know what that person might give you.”
“It wasn’t a very dangerous situation.”
“You still have to be careful.”
Unlike usual, the duke kept on talking.
“He said he fell in love with you at first sight. Vyan said you would never know what someone would do when they fell in love.”
“That seemed unlikely.”
Above all, that man’s love was a lie. But if she says it right away, he might discover that man is a member of the kingdom’s death squad. So Luana naturally smiled and muffled her words, but the duke did not.
“No. Do not go to the market in the future.”
“What? You can’t do that!”
‘Why are you saying that all of a sudden?’ Luana waved her hand in embarrassment.
“There is no guarantee that a man who is in love with you wouldn’t appear again.”
“People can fall in love with anyone!”
“You might fall in love with someone else?”
The duke frowned and shut his mouth tightly. It seemed like he didn’t like something.
“Then there might be another man who will fall in love with you.”
Why does this happen? Until now, she used to secretly go to the market while living in the royal palace, but no one really fell in love with her. But now it can’t happen! She wanted to refute, but the duke seemed to have come to a conclusion.
“Next time you go to the market, I’ll go with you.”
“Why is that so? I have the freedom to shop too!”
“So, why don’t we go together? Or take more knights.”
“Then you make other people uncomfortable!”
“What does that have to do with anything?”
“Why it doesn’t matter?”
The good atmosphere was long gone. After fighting for a long time over the issue of going to the market, the two returned to the mansion without being able to reach a conclusion. The debate continued over dinner. As time passed, the knight darkened.
TL/N: Thank you, Kroissant, for the support on ko-fi! <3