Chapter 16 - A Familiar Visitor
Act 2. Why are you doing this to me?
I had been spending most of my time in my room, enjoying the lifestyle of a homebody.
‘I’m bored,’ I thought as I eyed the clock. There were still two hours until dinner. I was thinking about what I could do in the meantime when something caught my eye.
‘The books my father gave me… should I read them?’
I didn’t know when he was going to give me another pop quiz, so I thought this was a good idea. I started with the tactics book. Although I expected it would be boring, I was pleasantly surprised.
‘Wow, what’s this?’ Anecdotes and clever war tactics were vividly described in the book. I felt like I was reading a heroic fantasy novel. The book was so entertaining and compelling that I soon forgot I was situated in an uncomfortable posture.
‘Oh no, my arm is numb.’
As I changed my posture, I felt something in my pocket. ‘Ah, my father’s pendant.’
I bookmarked the page I was on and took the pendant out of my pocket. The blue gemstone reminded me of the sea. The light that reflected from its surface scattered silver shards in all directions.
‘Should I just keep this? It looks expensive.’ Although I was tempted, I was too afraid that my father would find out. It would be better to give it back to him.
‘Since he spends more time in his office, I’ll go there.’ I left my room and walked through a long corridor lined with all kinds of decorative paintings and statues.
‘It’s always so clean here.’ The white marble floor was pristine because the maids frequently cleaned it.
‘They’re probably swamped with work every day…’
When I saw the gleaming armors lining the wall, I suddenly felt guilty about all the varnish I had bought. With such thoughts, I passed the drawing room and continued to walk towards my destination. I was just about to turn the corner that led into his office when I heard a voice.
“Don’t think of convincing me anymore.”
I stopped in my tracks. There was someone else with my father. ‘I feel like I’ve heard this voice somewhere before. Is it one of his servants?’
At that moment, I heard another voice. “It’s a warning, not a suggestion.”
If I wasn’t wrong, this apathetic voice belonged to my father. ‘But who would be talking to my father for such a long time?’ Even Derrick, our butler, would come out of my father’s office in less than an hour, which was already considered a long time. However, this person had been here for five hours, since I last saw my father.
‘It’s unusual for someone to be able to talk with him for this long.’
At that moment, the door to the drawing room next to the office opened with a creak. I quickly hid behind the corner. Fortunately, there was a pillar in front of me that further obscured their view. ‘He won’t be able to see me from there, right?’
I glanced at the corridor in front of the drawing room and saw my father and a young man in a black cloak.
‘Wow, he’s really tall.’ The man was even taller than my father, so he definitely exceeded average height. Even so, he didn’t look like a brute.
‘Hm… he looks familiar.’ I was about to realize something, but the man interrupted my thoughts.
“It’s useless to tamper with it.”
When I leaned further out to take a better look at the man, my breath caught in my throat. ‘Wow.’
I had grown up with my father, so I usually wasn’t impressed by handsome men. Even so, I couldn’t help but admire him. This man had black hair and red eyes that were slightly aloof and lidded as if he was drowsy. His masculine yet beautiful face was ethereal; he wasn’t just a handsome man, but comparable to a craftsman’s life masterpiece.
‘I’ve never seen someone who didn’t look subpar next to my father,’ I thought. Both of them possessed icy demeanors, but there was still a subtle difference. While my father composed himself sharply and intelligently, this man was darker and more dangerous.
An overdue question arose in my head. ‘Who is he? It’s my first time seeing him, but I feel like I’ve seen him before.’
I slowly observed the man again. ‘A black cloak with a hood and a claymore strapped on his back…’
He wasn’t a knight or a soldier because he was carrying a big sword. Using a sword like that near one’s allies could accidentally injure them. It was also unreasonable to label him as a thief or an assassin. Those were jobs that required one to blend in, which would have been impossible to do with a sword like his. With these options crossed out, I guessed that he was a mercenary or a wandering swordsman who had no restrictions as to which weapon he could use.
At that moment, my father placed his hand on the man’s shoulder. “Max,” he said.
‘Is that his name?’ My curiosity heightened because my father didn’t have many people he could call by name. ‘Who is this man and why is my father so friendly with him?’
I was trying to guess their relationship when my father suddenly glanced around. I quickly hid behind the pillar.
‘Whew, I almost got caught.’
After calming down, I frowned. ‘Wait, why am I hiding?’
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