* * *
Theon, who came out of the bathroom, checked the time once and got dressed.
“Are you leaving already?”
A faint light shone on the elastic, curved brown woman.
“It would be nice to play until morning. Isn’t it too bad?”
She rose from bed and smiled coyly at Theon.
“Did you not like me?”
Theon didn’t answer and just dressed silently.
Today’s meeting was a bummer. He had guessed it from the time he had entered the private residence of the Marquis, which was designated as the appointment place.
“His highness brought the southern dancers who came to the imperial family to perform, you know.”
The nobleman Theon met at the entrance laughed disgustingly and patted him on the shoulder.
“I heard that women with brown skin become more beautiful at night.”
He thought about going back after seeing the aristocrat laughing so much as if he’d seen something very amusing.
But they had already arrived here, and the others had seen him come. It’s been like this once or twice.
“It’s the famous scent that unmarried woman from the south use.”
He couldn’t help feeling frustrated by the situation even though he already knew this would happen the moment he entered.
Perhaps drinking alcohol with beautiful women in both arms wasn’t enough, they also seemed to have this strange scent to them.
“I’ll be going first.”
While Theon was holding back his anger at the sweet smell he was forced to endure, Harsian shook off the woman at his side’s hands and stood up,
“Maybe it’s because I’m a picky eater, but I’m not good with foreign food.”
The old men, who showed disapproval of Harsian’s unexpected behavior, laughed all at once.
“Next time, if you have something rare, please call me first. Of course, if I find something rare too, I’ll definitely invite you first.”
Harsian greeted them goodbye and politely left. This, too, contributed to Theon’s anger.
Someone here was holding it in and was still sitting, but he went out like it was nothing. He felt a sudden surge of anger for no particular reason.
In addition, it’d only been a few hours since the meeting began. By pretending he’d gotten drunk with the women, he pried off their hands one by one and left.
He truly left like a nobleman. There were people here who’d already unzipped their pants.
After he judged there was nothing to gain by sitting here, theon headed to an empty room holding the hands of a woman sitting next to him.
He solved the desire caused by the aphrodisiac scent the women wore and it lasted about an hour.
He could have slept more, but he wanted to think about the questions that plagued his mind before he’d arrived here.
“I liked it.”
While theon fasted his watch, the woman came up from behind and hugged him.
He could clearly feel the woman’s voluptuous and elastic body rubbing against his thin shirt.
“You look tired, so let’s play a little more and go to sleep, hm?”
Theon checked the time once again. It was already past midnight.
It was a late hour to meet someone, but he wanted to meet the other person even if it was late because he felt uncomfortable here.
And Theon had already secretly signed a deal with him, so this much should not be considered a disrespect.
However, it was true – as the woman said – that he was tired.
As theon slowly dressed as if he could not hear her words, the woman started to move more boldly.
She came before him and wrapped her arms around his body. Then she stuck her body to his, opening the buttons he’d fastened one by one.
Theon lowered his head and stared at the figure, opening his mouth.
“Get out of here.”
Theon shook off the hands of the woman touching his body, then he took off his shirt and lay down on the empty bed.
Theon didn’t realize he was tired until the woman told him.
However, after hearing what she said, his eyelids became heavy as if all the fatigue he had accumulated had come at once.
It’s late, anyway. Wouldn’t it be better if he slept a little?
Theon yawned and looked at the back of the woman who went out dressed.
He felt no guilt about rolling around with a stranger overnight.
Of course, not towards his wife and he did not feel that way even towards Leila, who’d disappeared.
I wouldn’t have done it if it hadn’t been for that scent mixed with aphrodisiac.
And in the process of Theon rising to the position of Marquis, this hadn’t happened just once or twice.
Why would aristocrats, who were rich and powerful – be they men or women – want to abstain?
This was natural for him. Even though he had never told Leila.
I don’t need to tell her. It’s better for her to not know.
So he didn’t feel any guilt.
Of course, he held no feelings for the woman whose face he would forget after this time.
Theon turned to the side of the bed and closed his eyes.
Leila was the only thing that was precious to him.
* * *
“Dogs and pigs!”
Harsian, no, Nivera, who lives under his name and poses as her brother, uttered abusive words to herself.
“Dirty old men.”
She didn’t experience something like this only once or twice as she lived the life her brother.
It had now become so natural to see women attached to her in the name of courtesy that it didn’t even amuse her anymore.
Usually, she would have brought just anyone to her room and kicked them out after giving them money.
But she didn’t expect them to bring about scents of aphrodisiac.
Niveria spat on the flower bed as she walked to calm herself down from its effects.
Then she desperately tried to think of something, anything else.
I guess he really doesn’t care.
The one who came to her thoughts was the marquis Theotron.
He didn’t seem to have slept well, but overall, he didn’t look like he had a problem.
His sleep-deprived face was one of the things that symbolized him so it didn’t feel like anything out of the ordinary of her.
The noble women, what did they usually say? She heard that his face was full of decadence.
At any rate, nearly two months had passed since Leila had left, yet he didn’t look agitated.
The same was true of the current affairs. There was no sign of anyone looking for Leila.
I guess you’ve already had enough of her after craving it for so long.
Nivera raised one corner of her mouth and laughed.
It was fortunate for her, but how tragic it was for Leila!
All that she was willing to go through for the marquis and now he doesn’t even look for her?
It’s none of my business.
Nivera shook her head slightly and entered the room in the annex.
“You’re here already?”
The woman who was sitting on the bed and reading by the small lamp on the table turned to Niveria.
“I thought I wouldn’t be able to see you today, since whenever you go to those meeting, you always come back late.”
The blonde woman with a body that seemed to be made only of bones, a pale face and dried lips gave a benevolent smile.
That was all it took. Nivera’s face, which had been wrinkled with discomfort until now, instantly became gentle.
Nivera laid face down on the bed. The woman sitting there stroked her hair gently
She felt like she was going to be able to live now.
“Did something happen?”
“Why did you lie down as soon as you arrived?”
“I was worried. Didn’t it hurt while I was out?”
The woman’s little laugh was heard in Nivera’s ear.
“Not at all. It didn’t hurt at all.”
The only person she could open her heart to and Niveria’s only friend in the world.
And Ione Kan Serios, the woman who was formally her wife.
Without her, Nivera’s world would have been so desolate.
“Don’t get sick.”
“Don’t worry, I’m going to manage to stay healthy somehow until my child comes.”
Nivera pouted her lips and raised her upper body.
“You’ll have to stay healthy for the rest of my life.”
“You know that’s too much to ask for, right?”
Ione laughed playfully. Nivera also grinned reluctantly at the laugh.
It will not be long before Nivera’s world becomes desolate.
* * *
Theon went out before the morning sun had risen.
Then, he informed the coachman, who’d been waiting for him outside all night, of his destination and stepped inside the carriage.
I feel better after getting some sleep.
Theon checked the time. He had about half an hour to talk to him.
After that, he had to go straight home and change his clothes.
On the mountain right next to his territory, a group of bandits had appeared and been causing trouble for months now.
In preparation for that, He’d increased the number of soldiers in order to subdue them and the Imperial family imposed sanctions on them.
They’d been arguing about it for weeks and today he had to go to the Imperial court.
Theon closed his eyes and reflected on today’s schedule throughout his arrival.
At the coachman’s words, Theon opened his eyes and stepped out of the carriage.
The guards guarding the gates of the mansion were the first sight to greet him.
“What brings you here?”
The guards asked Theon the usual questions that guards who worked for the nobility asked.
“What was his name?”
Theon stood with his arms folded and tried to recall the name that had faded from his mind for years.
However, no matter how much he went through his memory, he couldn’t remember it.
“Tell your lord that the Marquis of Karsha is here.”
The guards opened their eyes wide. The two guards looked at each other and opened their mouths hesitantly with a look of great embarrassment.
“The Count of Nerio is in the fief now.”
One of Theon’s eyebrows rose up.
Count Nerio was a man that Theon knew. He also wasn’t the man that Theon was looking for.
Before this, the man’s title had been viscount, which he self-proclaimed and he held no possessions or domain.
Theon looked around the mansion and the surrounding scenery.
Even though his name couldn’t be remembered, Theon remembered where he lived. It was definitely here.
“……Do you happen to know when Count Nerio moved into this mansion?”
The guards answered in a bewildered manner.
“I believe it was about three or four years ago.”
Theon couldn’t contain his anger and clenched his teeth.
Looking at the timing, he ran away right after it happened.
He was already at a loss as to where to find Leila, now he had to spend his time looking for something that wasn’t like the star she was.
The one-time godfather of Leila had become useless.