Chapter 34 - Crocus Family
I sighed in relief. ‘I really thought my heart was going to jump out of my chest this time.’ I went back to my closet and opened its doors to find my father’s disciple sitting with a blank expression. “Excuse me. Did you just make that noise?” I asked.
He stared at me and asked, “Are you going to accept his invitation?”
‘…Why is he curious about that?’ Not only was it a strange thing to ask, but it wasn’t something I could answer right away.
“I’m thinking about it,” I said. The esteemed son of Marquis Crocus was clearly qualified to become my partner. His appearance was outstanding and comparable to that of Mikhail’s. He was also very popular due to his excellent social skills.
‘The problem is… I don’t know why such a person would want to be my partner.’ I sighed and saw my father’s disciple scrunch his face. “You should think about it carefully. Appearances aren’t everything,” he advised.
I gave him a dumbfounded look. This man had a difficult personality and meager social skills; his only asset was his remarkable appearance. ‘I can’t believe he just said that…’ I was still staring at him in shock when he turned towards me and asked, “What are you looking at?”
“You didn’t answer my question. Did you make that noise when Derrick was here?” I frowned.
He parted his lips then replied stiffly, “That’s none of your business.”
“Do you know that we almost got caught?”
“But we didn’t. That’s all that matters.”
I shook my head at his shameless attitude. “It doesn’t work like that. If you were caught, it would’ve caused a commotion and alerted the messenger downstairs. I could’ve been caught up in a scandal with you.”
In aristocratic society, a scandal with someone of a different status meant immediate ostracization. I personally didn’t care about what other people thought of me, but I was still living in my father’s house. He would hate me even more if I did something wrong. In the worst-case scenario that I was kicked out, I would have to face numerous dangers by myself. “I’m taking a big risk by letting you stay here. I would appreciate it if you were more considerate.”
He turned around to look at me again. His red eyes seemed to pierce through me, but I managed to meet his gaze without backing down. He finally avoided my eyes after we stared at each other for a while. “Okay,” he said quietly.
I was relieved to see that he at least had some conscience. “You can come out now,” I said as I reached out to him.
He took my hand and stood up. Then he stared at me with a determined gaze. “If such a thing were to happen… I’ll take responsibility,” he said.
‘Ha, why is he taking it so seriously?’ I couldn’t find it in myself to do the same and found his sincerity so funny that I ended up laughing. “Alright, but I doubt anything will happen.”
“You don’t know that,” he said as he pulled my hand slightly.
I looked into his bright red eyes. Oddly enough, it seemed that he was hoping that something would happen.
‘I need to hand this guy over to my father as soon as possible… When will he be home?’ I rarely wondered when my father would return home, but I couldn’t help it after spending so much time with the man in front of me.
* * *
Rumors about Duke Floyen working as an escort for the emperor had begun spreading in secret. It was only a matter of time before it reached the prime minister’s ears.
‘This will rouse the people’s resentment, resulting in the same thing that happened back then…’ he thought.
During the war with the Tezeria Kingdom 20 years ago, the young emperor had abandoned the imperial palace and fled from the capital. His people whom he deserted became distressed by their leader’s cowardice and pessimism.
In his absence, a young knight took the lead in defending the capital. He was Regis Floyen, a member of the Imperial Knights who was next in line to become a duke. Although many people told him to give up and run away, Regis annihilated the enemies who invaded the capital.
As the successor of a prestigious family that produced great knights every generation, he became known as a war hero who led the empire to a great victory. But where there is light, there is darkness. The emperor, who had deserted the capital, became known as a coward and traitor.
Many people criticized him and urged for his disposal, but Regis had turned the tables by expressing his support for the emperor. In present times, it was not an exaggeration to say that his rapport was barely maintained by his eldest son, the crown prince, who fought for the empire at the borders.
‘I need to see His Majesty.’ After realizing the crisis the empire was in, the prime minister entered the palace and asked for an audience with the emperor.
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