Cain’s answer was firm, but things didn’t go as well as he thought. He cracked down on those who spread rumors and alerted them, but the rumor was still secretly circulating. Despite the difficult situation, he didn’t give up. For Ingrid, for the future of the kingdom.
Ingrid also did not stand still. She tried to move more actively and gain power. She was indeed a reliable princess. Yes, she was the kind of person who would later become queen and help establish the kingdom.
That was what Cain thought. On the other hand, Marquis Livre’s person came to Cain.
“He wanted to meet Sir Cain.”
In the past, Cain was someone they wouldn’t be able to talk to so easily. But since the times have already changed, Cain had to bow down to him and let him in.
“I’ll meet him.”
“Oh, ask the youngest princess to come with you when you come.”
“Do you mean Miss Luana?”
Cain clenched his teeth. He wanted to reject Marquis Livre because he seemed to have ulterior motives, but he couldn’t because the conditions the Marquis offered him were good. He was already struggling here and there and tried to decrease the amount of food to serve to the death squad, but no matter what, he couldn’t refuse the Marquis’ money and support.
“I’ll bring her there.”
In the end, there was only one answer.
“That’s a wise choice.”
The Marquis’ person replied with an unpleasant smirk. Unconsciously, Cain felt the contempt on his face and raised his hand to hold his sword, but he didn’t act hastily because he still needed Marquis Livre.
Cain sent in Marquis Livre’s person and found Luana.
Luana was still busy in the kitchen today. Next to her, several strong men were helping her, each with a smile on their face.
“What is our meal today?”
“Wild boar stew. Sir Luke caught a wild boar this time. I got some of that meat.”
“Oh, my God, it must be delicious!”
It was a very friendly atmosphere. He was reluctant to intervene but couldn’t postpone it because it was an important matter. Cain spoke to Luana.
“Let’s talk for a minute.”
“What do you want to talk about? Can’t you just do it here?”
“It’s an important matter.”
“Well, I’m almost done cooking anyway.”
Luana took off her apron and told the men who were helping her. She followed Cain out of the kitchen. After leaving the kitchen, they walked for a long time and headed to a remote place—a place where no one could eavesdrop.
“What’s really going on?”
By then, Luana was also very curious about what Cain was trying to say. Cain sighed deeply and turned around and asked.
“Do you know the Marquis Livre?”
“I don’t know.”
“He was quite famous in the kingdom.”
“If he’s famous among nobles, I don’t know.”
Cain paused for a moment to organize his thoughts.
“But why do you ask?”
“I’m going to see him this time.”
He goes to meet someone quite famous in the kingdom. He seemed to be related to the death squad. But Luana couldn’t figure out why he was telling it her.
“I see. Have a safe trip.”
“I’m not going alone.”
“Is sister will be going, too?”
“Miss Ingrid is not going.”
Suddenly she had an ominous feeling. If he was not talking about Ingrid, only one princess was left.
“Miss Luana will go with me.”
At that, Luana raised her voice.
“Because the Marquis Livre wants you.”
The moment he said that she got goosebumps. A nobleman who seems to support the death squad wants her. He must’ve tried to summon her not because he heard rumors about her excellent cooking skills. Besides, that person didn’t see Luana as a cook but as the youngest princess who inherited the royal blood.
“Oh, perhaps, that was not the matter you want to talk about, right?”
“Then, what kind of matter are you talking about?”
“Isn’t he the ambitious man who wants to get the rest of the royal family in his hands?”
Cain widened his eyes wide as if surprised by the words. Luana looked ordinary, but he knew she was smarter than he thought. Her words just stabbed him in the core. Luana, who saw that look, noticed everything.
“Most likely. Do you know that there have been bad rumors about Ingrid lately?”
He wanted to refute it, but he stayed calm just in case.
“It was the Marquis Livre who spread the rumor. He seems to be dissatisfied with Ingrid being queen. I think that’s why he is inviting Miss Luana as the next best option.”
“What do you mean the next best option?”
“I don’t know the details.”
She had a few ideas, but Cain didn’t tell her the truth. He was worried that Luana would be shocked.
“Oh, God. Then I won’t go!”
“You can’t. There’s a lot of support at stake.”
“So you’re going to sell me?”
Luana glared at Cain. At that gaze, Cain felt his heartthrob, like he had just got stabbed with a bow. Even though he came prepared, his shock was greater than he thought. And with that point, he realized. No, he has been in denial about his feeling.
‘I may have a feeling toward this youngest princess.’
Otherwise, nothing could explain the feeling of pain nor the change of his emotion shaking like on the rough sea waves. But, he has to suppress his feeling because Cain had already promised Ingrid and decided to live for the kingdom. He needs to bury his heart forever.
“I won’t sell you.”
Cain clenched his teeth and said,
“I will definitely protect you. I’ll be by your side, so Marquis Livre doesn’t play any other trick. I promise.”
If the promise he made to Ingrid came from a sense of duty and loyalty to the kingdom, his promise to Luana was different. It was an oath that came from his deepest heart. But even when Cain said that, Luana couldn’t trust him at all.
‘It looks like you’re tangled with this Marquis Livre situation. How can you protect me?’
“Even if I don’t want to go, you will drag me there with you. Am I correct?”
Cain had no answer to that.
“Then I’ll have to get ready.”
Luana said so and turned around. Cain clenched his fists as he watched her walk from behind. At first, he must have acted with his principles in mind, but everything got more complicated.
Cain sighed deeply and slowly left the place.
A few days later, a small group of people left the hideout late at night. Among them, there was Luana. She walked cautiously down the dark forest path, fiddling with the pockets in her hand.
‘I’ll give it back to you.’
Shortly before leaving the hideout, Cain returned Luana’s pocket that he had been hiding all along. He said he gave her just in case, but his intention was clear.
‘You’re telling me to protect myself.’
He promised to protect her, but he could not be trusted. Still, she got her pocket back, so there were more things she could do. If there is an opportunity, she’d be happy to run away. Thinking about it that way, she didn’t feel bad as she thought.
As they walked further out of the forest path, a small black carriage was waiting for them. When Cain and Luana got on there, the carriage began moving. Cain’s expression was dark, and he didn’t talk to Luana either. She recalled what was in her pocket and got a glimpse of an opportunity to run away.
The carriage drove for a long time and stopped in front of a back alley. There, they changed the carriage one more time. They moved several times and arrived at the annex of a large mansion.
“You can wait here.”
The coachman said so and left. Now the only people left in the annex were Cain and Luana. He asked Luana as she took care of her pocket.
“Are you going to run away?”
“Didn’t you give it back to me for that?”
At that, Cain had a bitter expression on his face.
“It was just in case.”
That’s it. Luna pouted and sat on the sofa. Marquis Livre called the two of them, but he didn’t show up. He called the servant to ask, but he said he was busy.
‘Then, can you guide me to the room?’
He was a bad-tempered man. Luana hated this suffocating situation alone with Cain. Especially when he sometimes took a glance at her with a strange gaze. She had felt this feeling before, but she couldn’t recall.
After waiting for so long, Marquis Livre finally appeared. The man who combed his gray hair nicely came with an elegant smile. Ignoring Cain, he immediately approached Luana and held her hand.
“Nice to meet you, Miss Luana.”
Then he kissed the back of her hand and smiled with his eyes. He was a pretty handsome middle-aged man, but somehow she got goosebumps. If it had not been for manners, she would have pulled her hand and wiped the back of her hand.
“Nice to meet you, Marquis Livre.”
“Alto. My name is Alto. You can call me by my first name.”
He was speaking quite affectionately, but his yellow eyes were gleaming unpleasantly. It was like having a giant snake in front of her.