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CWITB | Chapter 13: Surprisingly Kind


“This time, shall we compete with that?”

Rosalie pointed to a dagger-throwing stall that caught her eye, and Derivis nodded. The two immediately started playing. Whoever hit more targets would win.

‘D*mn it.’

Rosalie cursed under her breath. She lost by a narrow margin.

Despite dragging Derivis around and conquering every game they encountered, it was always a close call. The smile never left Derivis’s face as he watched Rosalie, who was obviously upset.

“Too bad, Duchess.”

“You don’t sound disappointed at all.”

As they walked down the street, Rosalie’s steps became increasingly awkward. The pain in her feet forced her to slow down. Apparently, the new shoes Emma bought didn’t seem to fit well.

‘Ugh… This body is too delicate.’

Rosalie’s fair skin was thinner and more delicate than a normal person’s, so it bled easily. Unable to walk anymore due to the constant pain and wanting to buy a pair of comfortable shoes, Rosalie looked around for a shoe store.

“Excuse me for a moment.”

Derivis, who was next to her, gently picked her up. Rosalie squirmed in surprise at the sudden embrace, but Derivis’s arms didn’t budge.

“Your feet hurt.”

All eyes were on Rosalie as she was carried like a princess. Feeling embarrassed, she lowered her head. Derivis carefully put Rosalie on a nearby bench and left, telling her to wait for a moment.

Before long, Derivis reappeared, holding a pair of plain slippers and some simple medical supplies in both hands. 

He knelt on one knee in front of Rosalie, lifted the hem of her dress, and gently placed her feet on his lap.

“Tch, that’s a lot of cuts. And you were still walking with this.”

Derivis clicked his tongue as he looked at Rosalie’s feet which were covered in wounds. It was impressive that she was able to walk with them.

“I’ll do it.”

Rosalie tried to pull her foot away, but Derivis stopped her.

“Stay put.”

He held her ankle so she couldn’t move and skillfully applied the medicine and wrapped the bandages around her feet. Then he carefully put on the plain shoes, being very gentle to avoid irritating the wounds.

“How does it feel to have a Crown Prince kneel before you, Duchess? It’s the first time I’ve ever knelt to someone other than the Emperor.”

“I think you’re a surprisingly kinder person than I thought.”

Derivis let out a small laugh at Rosalie’s tasteless reply. Normally, in this situation, people would have been drooling with praise, but her reaction seemed like she didn’t care.

“I’m glad to hear that.”

After the other shoe was changed, Rosalie stood up lightly. She thought bandaging it was overkill, but she was satisfied that she didn’t feel any more pain.

“Thank you for the shoes. I’ll wear them well.”

It was comical to see the plain slippers on her pretty dress. Derivis spoke as he looked at the slippers.

“Should we go to another shoe store and buy some real shoes? I just got these from a street vendor I saw.”

Derivis’s words were spoken to accommodate Rosalie. If it were an ordinary noblewoman, she would have been ashamed to wear plain slippers with a dress. She could have criticized a man who bought such shoes.

“Is that necessary?”

“If the Duchess doesn’t like it.”

“Comfort is the most important thing.”

Without paying attention to her shoes, Rosalie looked around and spotted a street vendor who hadn’t started the game yet.

Then she dragged Derivis to the street vendor. Rosalie’s khaki eyes, which were already burning with the desire to compete, her shoes forgotten, somehow seemed cute to Derivis.

“Come to think of it, when I first left the palace, there were street vendors lined up like this.”

“Did you enjoy the game back then?”

“No, it’s my first time enjoying it too.”

Rosalie looked at Derivis, who was slowly shaking his head. He always had a relaxed attitude, but upon closer inspection, he seemed a bit excited.

“How about coming with Sonia next time? You’ll enjoy it more.”

“No, it’s enough to have fun with you. Sonia is a good friend, but she’s too boring to play with.”

Rosalie turned her head slightly at Derivis’s immediate rejection. Now that she thought about it, Sonia was the first to fall in love with Derivis, and he fell for her much later.

Thanks to Rosalie’s change in behavior, the novel’s plot had not yet started, so he still felt that Sonia was just a close friend.

‘Well… Right now, what concerns me more is the territorial war rather than their love story.’

However, Rosalie had no intention of forcing them together. She had no sense of romance and no ability to play cupid at all. Intervening without any ability could prove to be a nuisance instead.

“How about that game this time?” 

At the suggestion of Derivis, who discovered a new game, Rosalie took the lead and strode out. 

Watching her like that, Derivis suddenly realized that he was unusually excited and raised his hand to cover his mouth. Without realizing it, a smile had formed on his lips.

⊱⊱⊱────── {.⋅ ✧✧✧ ⋅.} ──────⊰⊰⊰

After burning the day away playing street games, Rosalie didn’t return to the mansion until after dark. She collapsed onto her bed and muttered.

“D*mn it. If only there were more shooting games, I would have won.”

Emma, who had grown accustomed to Rosalie’s monologues, paid no attention and filled a glass on the bedside table with water.

“Duchess, please get some rest early for tomorrow.” 

Rosalie immediately covered herself with a blanket at Emma’s words.

‘It was fun though. It was also amazing.’

She’d mastered the game, even gotten hooked on it, so she couldn’t lie to him later and say it wasn’t fun. With a sigh, the fluffy duvet wrapped around Rosalie and she quickly fell asleep.

Rosalie woke up early in the morning and headed with Toronto and Whitney to the training grounds. Toronto and Whitney looked sick of training every day early in the morning.

After finishing training, the three of them had a simple breakfast together. Usually, nobles don’t dine with common knights, but Rosalie insisted that it was unnecessary to eat separately, and Whitney and Toronto sat down with bewildered expressions.

“The personal knights of the nobility are not allowed in the palace.”

Toronto chuckled at Whitney’s worried words.

“Hmph, you saw it last time, why worry~ I keep saying this, but if it’s the Duchess, you should be more worried about the people who try to harm her. She has a dagger~.”

“No weapons are allowed in the Imperial Palace, you idiot.”

“Then she’ll break their necks with her bare hands~.”

As Toronto spoke without even swallowing the food in his mouth first, Whitney frowned.

“Do you want me to do it?”

At Rosalie’s sinister question, Toronto choked on his bread, swallowed hard, and hurriedly drank water, coughing. Whitney frowned even more at his frantic behavior.

⊱⊱⊱────── {.⋅ ✧✧✧ ⋅.} ──────⊰⊰⊰

When Rosalie finished bathing, she almost thought she had entered the wrong room for a moment. The room was littered with dresses that could have filled a coat rack, and shoes that covered the floor.

Rosalie scanned the room and turned to Emma, who was standing there with a smile on her face.

“Emma, what’s all this…?”

“You’re attending the capital’s ball after a long time, so this is just a small preparation! You said you would leave all the dressing to me before, so trust me and follow my lead.”

Emma clapped her hands, and the maids hiding among the hangers came out. Their eyes lit up and they pounced on Rosalie, and she broke out in a cold sweat for the first time in her life.

After changing into several dresses and sweating profusely while the maids put on her makeup, Rosalie’s makeover was finally complete.

“It’s done!”

Emma said proudly. The maids held a full-length mirror in front of Rosalie, and her eyes widened at her reflection.

Adorned in a glittering white dress and emerald jewelry that matched the color of her eyes, Rosalie looked beautiful. She made a small groaning sound at her unfamiliar appearance.

“It seems too flashy.”

“What are you talking about? The Duchess has strong and flashy features, so it suits you perfectly!”

The maids next to her vigorously nodded at Emma’s words. Emma always wished to adorn Rosalie, who usually dressed modestly, in a flashy manner. 

As Emma predicted, the extravagantly dressed Rosalie was so beautiful that everyone’s eyes naturally gravitated toward her.

“Okay, I should get going.”

Rosalie left the room. Martin, who was waiting at the door, didn’t stop complimenting her on her appearance until she was in the carriage.

The carriage headed for the Imperial Palace where the ballroom was held. Rosalie, who was alone in the carriage, got out of the carriage with the coachman’s escort.

She took a quick glance at the palace, which was twice as opulent as her own mansion, before stepping inside. The usher opened the door and announced her entrance.

“Duchess Rosalie Judeheart has arrived!”

Rosalie scanned the crowd of nobles who stared at her in surprise. When she caught sight of Bella’s sharp expression, she relaxed. Tonight’s ball would be the first time Bella and the Marquis of Windell would come into private contact.

‘And Countess Seth.’

Rosalie walked leisurely into the ballroom to find Countess Seth. But for some reason, Rosalie tilted her head, unable to understand why the nobles were paying attention to her.

“Is that the timid Duchess of Judeheart?”

“That’s impossible. She didn’t look like that before.”

Hearing the small talk among the nobles, Rosalie understood why the attention was on her. The old Rosalie always lowered her head and behaved modestly, unlike a noble, so it was surprising to see her current appearance.

“His Royal Highness, the Crown Prince, has arrived!”

The voice announcing Derivis’s arrival diverted the attention from Rosalie.

‘Nice timing.’

Rosalie breathed a small sigh of relief as the uncomfortable gazes disappeared. However, her relief was short-lived. It was because Derivis, who entered the ballroom, came straight to her, so more attention was drawn to her. Derivis’s eyes widened at Rosalie’s appearance.

“Yesterday’s shoes were beautiful, but your shoes today are even better.”

Rosalie remained silent at the playful compliment, unable to respond in her usual rude way due to the excessive attention of the nobles around them.

“Your Highness, if you’ll excuse me, I have someone I need to find…”

As Rosalie was about to slip away, she heard a voice call out to them both.

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