“I heard a very shocking story not too long ago. He participated in a woman’s coming-of-age ceremony and danced as her partner.”
I was literally surprised for once.
“When I heard that story, I understood it with a broad heart. I thought it was just a hand held by him. His popularity is sky-high. As his woman, I am generous.”
I opened my mouth, taken aback by her shameless words. But Nerdika didn’t stop talking.
“But she didn’t stop there, and in response, she dared to declare in public that she was having a deep relationship with my man.”
Nerdika put her hand on the table and tore her eyes out sharply. Her jealousy alone revealed her hostility toward me.
“You know who I’m talking about, Lady Lawrence.”
“That was my story.”
“That’s right. That’s your story. A perverted woman who stole my man… She is the daughter of an insignificant viscount family called Lawrence Ajstain.”
“I beg your pardon?”
Insignificant? Did she think my family was insignificant now? My eyes were squinting. Among the nobility, even if they criticize the other person, they did not curse the family. This was the most basic courtesy. From a very young age, they were taught that no matter how low the rank, one should not disregard the other’s family.
The Empire was a country that had endured for hundreds of years. Of course, there were families that had been in place for hundreds of years, so no matter how low-ranking or small-scale, each had its own tradition and culture that could not be ignored. Therefore, it was only natural to observe the minimum courtesy towards the opposing family, but this woman moved her mouth as if she had forgotten that.
“Yes, I said it was insignificant. Is it weird? Ian is the head of the Grand Duke’s family, and I, too, will soon inherit the Duke’s line and become the Duke of Sapeldrick. Anyone can see that I’m more suitable for Ian than the daughter of a viscount.”
It was absurd. I never thought I would have such a low-key conversation. I couldn’t imagine. Even if they criticized each other, they thought that there would be a level-headed workshop, but I thought it was a waste of time sitting here, so I stared blankly at Nerdika, forgetting to get angry.
“So, please get out of here. Don’t flirt with other people’s man.”
Someone else’s man? Who would do that? In my heart, I wanted to treat her at the same low level, but if I respond in the same way as this woman here, I would eventually be at the same level. So, I spoke calmly and clearly.
“That’s an illusion.”
“I beg your pardon?”
“I’ve never flirted with a guy with a partner, unfortunately.”
“What nonsense now…”
“And it was he who started purring, not me. How different is that from someone who slobs at a low level?”
“… What nonsense…!”
“Nonsense is what comes out of your mouth, and lastly, there’s one more thing you’re misunderstanding.”
Now she was talking nonsense. Yeah, I was old enough to speak plainly.
“Artificial respiration is not a kiss.”
Who in the world thinks artificial respiration was a kiss?
“By the way, we kissed. It’s probably Ian’s first kiss too, right? Artificial respiration isn’t a kiss.”
I spat my last words into Nerdika’s hardened face.
“Ah! By the way, we didn’t do it once, we did it one more time. We did it twice, and the young lady did artificial respiration once.”
I raised the corners of my lips. Nerdika’s bewildered expression approached me with satisfaction.
“Did I win?”
It’s a bit childish, but what’s up? Better than losing. I didn’t want to be a loser.
* * *
Ian stared blankly at the face of Duke Bale Sapeldrick, who let out a long sigh. After making a seat without Lawrence, he couldn’t concentrate on the usual work because he sighed periodically.
He wanted to ask him what was going on right in his face, but he couldn’t say it easily because he looked like someone who had lost a family member right away.
In the meantime, one more sigh, and finally Ian could not stand it and opened his mouth.
“Duke. Why do you keep sighing?”
Bale looked up at Ian’s words, looked at his face for a long time in silence, then shook his head. Then he sighed again, saying the ground was gone again. Eventually, Ian’s eyebrows narrowed.
He sighed at the sight of someone else’s face, and when Ian opened his mouth to explain how rude it was, Bale jumped out at him.
“Hey, can I ask you something?”
A sudden question Ian leaned back with a smirk on his face. Bale, who had been staring at Ian’s slightly arrogant appearance, slowly opened his mouth.
“…What kind of relationship do you have with Lawrence, the daughter of the Ajstain family who came with you?”
“We will soon get married.”
It’s just Ian’s own opinion, but what about it? Rather than complicatedly saying that it’s such-and-such a relationship, it’s better to draw a line first. Then, Bale covered his eyes and said in agony.
“…Is that so?”
Again. What was he expecting and asking? Ian leaned over to his side, resting his elbows on the armrests of his chair. Then, resting his chin on the palm of his hand and waiting for the next word, Bale spoke up right away.
“Can I be honest with you?”
“Tell me. Well, at some point I noticed you have something to say so…”
Such a cheeky kid… Bale loved his daughter with all his heart, but… Since he was the only one he regretted right away, he just weakly opened his mouth.
“Nerdika likes you.
Bale’s eyes moved up and down again.
“It’s not a general crush, it’s love.”
“I know that too.”
“Yes. She sent more than 10 letters a month containing her heart, so how could I not know that?”
“Turn it off…”
Bale groaned like a dying man. He buried his face in his palms and asked in a dying voice.
“Didn’t you know? I thought it was Duke Sapeldrick’s job.”
“Well, doesn’t Duke Sapeldrick know better about that?”
Bale looked at Ian through his fingers. That damn guy! He once told Ian about Nerdica. He told him that Nerdika was not suitable as successor due to her greed and monopoly compared to her abilities. However, in the empire, the eldest son inherits the family line, so if Nerdika didn’t get married quickly, it would be a problem.
Ian remembered it exactly. He was also quick-witted and quick-witted. He was born in a warriors family, and he wondered if his brain was also made of muscles. Nerdika looked quite different from her father, so it was awkward at times. However, Ian thought that since it was true that she was resourceful, there was nothing wrong with being close to her.
“That’s over, anyway, Nerdika was shocked. She told you that she has a woman.”
“Well, since I’m a kid who didn’t budge from the rumors that I was revealing my sodomy, that could be true. But what can I do? I don’t think you want to tell me to abandon Lawrence and accept Nerdica’s confession, right?”
Bale shook his head as Ian looked at him with narrow eyes. He gazed at the end of the table with very sunken eyes. He looked upset and troubled. Ian also faced him and took a moment with his lips closed. In fact, Ian also understands Bale’s feelings. He was moved to hear how much effort Bale had made to have his first child.
Duchess Sapelldrick, who was naturally weak, miscarried her newborn child. Since she was diagnosed with infertility, the future for the couple has been bleak. But after five years of hard work, she had her first child, and that was Nerdika. So how could it not be precious? She was a hard-earned child, and she was even a daughter. Bale cherished her as if she was made of jade and gold, and she lived with his family every day, fearing that something would harm them.
His love for the eldest daughter was extraordinary, and even after her daughters were born, he could not stop worrying about Nerdika. He was so bubbly and let her do what she wanted to do, but in the end she found it to be a side effect of her. She has become the embodiment of pride, arrogance, and selfish jealousy. It was the fault of the Duke who had been completely wrapped up in her.
“If I knew what Nerdika was thinking, I’d be quick to talk. Please, no, of course, but can I just ask for a favor?”
“What is it?”
“Draw a line between her and you so firmly that Nerdika will fall for her affection for you. She will no longer have any lingering feelings for you.”
Ian opened his eyes wide and looked at Bale. It was an out-of-the-box favor for Ian, who tried to resolve the situation as best he could by understanding his love for his first daughter. He looked at Bale looking at him with a serious face, then smiled.
“I’ll do. By the way, would you mind doing that, Duke Sapeldrick?”
“Well, she’ll cry for the mansion to leave for a while, but that’s better. Shouldn’t she have a love affair and be rejected? Even if it’s a bit late, as a parent, we should do our best.”
Ian lightly clapped his hands and evoked his atmosphere.
“Now, shall we move on to the main subject?”
Afterwards, various stories about the situation came and went, and heavy air settled in the room. Duke Sapeldrick summarized the situation as he scattered the papers with a cool and sharp eye that made it difficult to see him as someone who had been worrying about his daughter just a moment ago. Ian completely asked Bale for his opinion and presented a convincing solution. Then, Bale accepted what was acceptable and boldly discarded what was discarded. Thanks to the two people’s amazing work skills, the agenda that had been piled up like a mountain began to show the bottom before I knew it. The thought flashed through Bale’s mind that he had given up his job at the chancellor’s residence in the imperial palace and was happy to meet Ian at his sister-in-law. In the imperial palace, they could talk about things that could not be shared.
Bale glanced at the stack of papers on the table and then changed the subject to take a breather.
“By the way, did you say it was the lady of Ajstain?”
When Lawrence was suddenly mentioned, Ian’s head lifted as he was looking at the documents. Bale grinned when he confirmed that Ian’s eyes contained doubt.
“There are only three people who are the most popular and famous in the Empire these days. One is Ian, another is Beralt, and the last one is Lady Lawrence.”
There was a name he didn’t like in the middle, but what could he do? Ian leaned back in the chair and pulled his chin to raise his gaze from bottom to top.
“Is that so?”
“Yes. It’s very hot. Well, you know that it’s natural that you’re popular now that you’ve escaped rumors that you’re a sodomy, right?”
Ian shrugged his shoulders.
“Thanks to Lawrence.”
“I see. I can’t help but say it’s because of Beralt. With the best groom gone, the next most promising groom is the Marquis of Akpensia. Isn’t that right? So he rose quickly. Well, except for the princes.”
Ian burst out laughing. Would others know what the Marquis of Akpensia had done to Lawrence recently? He shook his head slightly, thinking that people were seeing only what they really wanted to see.
“Then she must be famous as Laurencia’s twin sister, Ercia. She danced with him at her coming-of-age ceremony.”
Hello there! This is RJR. Thank you very much for reading.
Next post will be released on May, 18.
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