Chapter 63 (Discovered)
After her training with Doha, Lariette led her tired body back to the city.
Once their stealth class ended, Doha expressed that he had taught her everything about concealing oneself, so he began teaching her other practical skills.
Despite benefitting from the new skills she learned today, the rigorous training she underwent depleted her. Moreover, she recalled his actions while he was training her.
– Rie, just a little bit more, yes?
– No, I can’t do it anymore…!
– I’ll be gentle. Let’s do it one more time, Rie.
His smile was as gentle as a delicate flower but had the mouth of a devil when he persuaded her to do more matches.
When she thought of him wanting to do “more” until she collapsed from exhaustion, she felt a chill run down her spine. Lariette shivered and then trudged forward to her destination.
Even though she was worn out, she didn’t head straight back home because she had something to buy in the city.
Having prepared the items she needed for her solo travel, there was no need to add more. Instead, she wanted to buy a gift for Asrahan.
‘I remember that he would wear the cravat brooch I bought last time whenever he could.’
Lariette smiled warmly, thinking of Asrahan being appreciative of her gift. She was feeling regretful though. If she had known that he would frequently use it, she would have bought a better one instead of buying something from the market.
And unfortunately – or fortunately – the black brooch eventually broke. Apparently, Asrahan had forgotten his own strength and would caress it too often.
Lariette burst into laughter when she recalled how adorable he looked when, with a poker face, he confessed that he ruined the precious gift she had given him. So before she left, she decided to give him a better present.
Recently, she learned from Jenvier that several exquisite merchandises had arrived. If she claimed that they were exceptional items, then it must be remarkable.
Finding it embarrassing to ask her to reserve it for her, Lariette just stopped by the boutique even if it was inconvenient. Artiz’s products were sold out quickly, so she must come in haste.
“Oh, Lariette, you came?”
Jenvier greeted Lariette with a bright smile. Taking note of her expression, it seemed that she was concerned about her leaving first at the last tea party.
“Jenvier, thank you for letting me know in advance about the newly arrived products.”
“What do you mean? You should fully appreciate having Madame Charbet as your friend and her benevolence.”
At Jenvier’s witty reply, Lariette let out a soft laugh. When she smiled, Jenvier smiled reassuringly and brought out the new product.
She placed a luxurious case on the table. Lariette believed that it wasn’t a brooch given how big it was.
Wearing protective, white gloves, Jenvier carefully opened the lid, revealing the necklace inside.
The chain was made of platinum which had a subtle glow; attached to it was a round pendant. She also observed that the embellished centerpiece appeared to be quite expensive.
“I thought pendant necklaces will be popular soon. Inserting pictures inside it is too old-fashioned. You can have the jewel, which symbolizes the other person, affixed inside.”
“Isn’t it pretty? The jewelry that came with it is also of top-tier quality.”
Jenvier smiled proudly and showed the jewels one by one. As she had said, it was an outstanding product. The jewel inside was of small scale. Nevertheless, it was unsullied and its cut was stunning.
Among them, the Sapphire stone caught Lariette’s attention. Its clear, blue hue reminded her of the color of the sea, and the color of Asrahan’s eyes.
“This! I’ll buy this.”
“Oh my, that’s an excellent choice.”
Despite making an impulsive purchase – disregarding how expensive it was – Lariette still decided on it without hesitation. And besides, it was worth it. Considering what Asrahan had given her so far, it was improbable for her not to give back.
“And because you are my friend, I will give you a special discount!”
“No, I will buy this at full price. I want to.”
At Lariette’s answer, Jenvier was baffled. Among the nobles, some were proud of receiving a discount, but she knew Lariette was not the type.
However, Lariette was quite adamant, and Jenvier eventually gave up trying to convince her.
Lariette wanted to give Asrahan something special. Even more so when she thought that they would separate soon.
She hoped that whenever he saw this gift he would think of her even on rare events. She wished that she would be remembered by the man she loved the most even when she was gone. It was impossible to buy such a gift without paying its price.
‘I wonder if Asrahan will like it?’
Lariette smiled happily, imagining how pleased he would be once he received it.
* * *
Lariette took the neatly wrapped gift and left the boutique. As soon as she resolved her worry, she felt at ease.
‘I have to go home right away.’
She had finished her training with Doha, and she had now bought her present. All that was left now was to go back and claim her well-deserved rest.
Imagining herself laying her weary body on her soft bed had her grinning. Her physical strength had been running low for a long time, her limbs were already throbbing.
With her bed as her goal, Lariette quickly moved to her feet, briskly approaching the awaiting carriage.
But at that moment, something unexpected happened; an unwanted situation for Lariette, who wanted to return quickly.
Someone abruptly appeared from behind and crashed against Lariette’s shoulder. However, the person just continued walking without even apologizing to her.
Lariette glared at the man’s back, clutching her tingling shoulder. And that was when she realized that something was missing.
The bag she had with her until recently had disappeared. Not only her bag but the gift she just bought was gone.
Lariette quickly raised her head and stared at the person who had just hit her. As soon as he heard her cry, he began to run away.
Similar to what happened on the day she met Asrahan, she couldn’t understand why the thieves kept targeting her. Did she look like an easy target?
Lariette chased after the thief. The distance between them was already wide; it was impossible to catch up to him if she just run. Lariette had learned magic in preparation for this. In no time, she would be able to capture him.
Alas, the vines that sprouted from the ground in the direction of the thief did not thrive much and immediately shriveled.
Embarrassed, Lariette tried using her magic again. But at that moment, her head started to throb and hurt. The amount of magic she currently has was running low since she had expended it with her training with Doha earlier.
After confirming that no magic was coming out, Lariette started running like crazy. It was just a bag, but the gift she bought for Asrahan could not be taken away so easily.
Sadly, she couldn’t catch up to the thief because of how frail her physical condition was.
Ultimately, Lariette stopped and heaved heavily. She was already frazzled. Now that she had exhausted everything she got, her head felt like it was spinning.
Tears trickled down her face. Although she knew that crying would not solve anything and there was nothing she could do about the stolen items, weirdly enough, she couldn’t control her emotions.
She felt terrible that she would no longer witness the joy on Asrahan’s face. Moreover, she was sure it was God’s will to have her achieve what she wanted without any regrets, so she felt miserable about this incident.
But then, an unexpected person appeared.
The voice belonged to someone she had heard from somewhere before. Lariette lifted her head and looked up at the owner of the voice.
“… Sir Gerard?”
Asrahan’s escort, Gerard, was standing in front of her with a hesitant look on his face.
It was an unavoidable situation. Earlier, Asrahan had ordered him to keep her safe, but he was not allowed to appear before her.
But seeing his master’s lover desperately chase after the thief and the distress on her face, he couldn’t just ignore it.
Gerard tightly closed his eyes as he envisioned what would happen once he faced his master. Then, he quietly handed Lariette something.
It was the neatly and elegantly packaged case; one of the items that had been stolen just now.
“I couldn’t get the bag back because someone else ran away with it. I’m sorry.”
Apparently, the man had an accomplice. With one stolen item in their possession, they ran from different directions. Of course, for an excellent knight like Gerard, it wouldn’t be a challenge for him to capture both of them. But Lariette’s safety was his top priority; he couldn’t leave her for a long time.
Lariette took what Gerard had given her.
She would be lying if she said she didn’t feel sad about not recovering her bag. She barely spent her money when she bought this present. But she was more regretful because her notebook was in there.
In spite of not leaving any crucial information that may cause trouble if anyone saw it, she still made a list of things she wanted to do with Asrahan. She felt bad now that it was gone.
Nevertheless, Lariette smiled broadly at Gerard, leaving behind the sadness of losing the notebook. Appreciation came first.
“Sir Gerard, thank you so much! I bought this gift for Asrahan. But you can’t tell how sad I was when I thought I could no longer get it.”
“I just did what I had to do.”
Gerard politely bowed his head in reply. But the corners of his lips were twitching slightly.
‘If Master receives that gift, he will not interrogate me.’
He might even feel good if he reported to him that Lady Lariette cried when she thought she had lost it. Maybe Master would even give him a bonus!
But Gerard bit his lip, feeling pessimistic all of a sudden. He knew from experience that such reality was unlikely to happen.
‘No, let’s not say she cried. I’ll get in trouble for no reason.’
He could even be punished for making her cry. As long as it was about Lariette, his master would overreact even to the smallest things, so it was a possibility.
“By the way, what are you doing here? It’s the first time I’ve seen you outside.”
Lariette tilted her head and asked. She was so glad she got the gift back that she didn’t notice it. But how did he show up at just the right time?
“What did you come to town for?”
As if he was watching her from someplace.
“Ah, today is a day off, so I went out for a walk. I saw you from afar and was about to say hello, but it looked like something happened.”
Gerard said, trying to laugh as naturally as possible. The sudden question was so sharp that it felt like his heart was being stabbed.
‘She’s not going to notice it, isn’t she?’
His heart was pounding with fear. Unfortunately, however, Lariette’s expression did not show anything.
“Oh, is that so? It’s your day off, but I’ve wasted your time.”
“Don’t think like that. As I said, I just did what I thought was right.”
“Fufu, yes. Then go ahead, you should enjoy the rest of your time.”
Lariette waved her hand, telling him to go quickly.
Gerard felt a little embarrassed by that. Matter of fact, it wasn’t his day off. And since he had already revealed himself, it was easier for him if they returned together in the carriage.
“I’ll escort you back to the mansion.”
“No, it’s okay. You don’t have to do that.”
“Master will want me to do that too. Please help me not to be reprimanded.”
“If Asrahan reprimands you for that, I’ll say something. So don’t worry and go.”
Even when he mentioned Asrahan, Lariette was still determined. She was resolute to never cause further damage.
In the end, Gerard gave up trying to convince her and pretended to leave. In any case, Lariette said that she would even see him off, so she stood still and watched his departing back.
‘It’s a problem that you’re too kind. A big problem.’
Gerard clucked his tongue and moved on. Once he thought she could no longer see him, he hid in a corner and followed Lariette again.
Lariette walked with a smile on her face, hugging the present she had recovered. Even Gerard thought she looked very cute.
Soon, she got into the Kandel’s carriage. And it was the most troublesome moment for Gerard. By horseback, he had to use a carriage-free road just to follow the carriage she was on. It was exhausting, to say the least.
Such a path in the mountain was a tough road. In addition – regardless of being a highly skilled knight – concealing the presence of a horse was very difficult. He wished they could just go back together. Gerard was deeply saddened.
While he wallowed in his sorrows, inside the carriage, Lariette’s face was still inexpressive.
She was unaware before. But after her conversation with Gerard and examining his aura, she could definitely feel it now.
‘You’ve been following me all this time.’
Her cold eyes gazed out the window.
It was very clear who was responsible for it.
Her man must have ordered him.