Chapter 48 - Rumors
The woman parted her red lips and swept her long, red hair to the side. “Oh my, it’s been a long time!” The voice belonged to Fresia, the owner of Blooms Salon. She greeted the man with smiling eyes, but the man responded bluntly.
“I see that you’ve been letting filthy nobles pollute this place.”
“It can’t be helped. They like to talk about other people.”
The man smirked. “That’s a pretty honest thing to say for an information guild master.”
“Obviously the guild will go under if I don’t keep a sense of reality,” the woman lightly joked. When the man poured himself a glass of liquor and drank willfully, she frowned. The drink he had casually poured was as expensive as an entire estate. ‘He’s a heavy drinker too…’ Although it was very wasteful for him to chug down the expensive beverage, she was powerless against her financier. Instead of scolding the man, Fresia directed her attention towards something else that she had been meaning to talk about.
“You usually hide your feelings well and never treat other nobles as human beings. Why are you so angry today?”
The man coldly dismissed Fresia’s observations. “I simply told some barking dogs to be quiet because they were annoying me. That’s all.”
‘He’s become strange since visiting Duke Floyen’s mansion.’ The woman sighed. Although she didn’t want to criticize him any further, she was determined to protect her master — that meant preventing him from behaving as he pleased. “I hope you will be more careful about your behavior from now on,” she said.
The man sat on the couch and took off his mask, revealing a youthful face. “Dig deeper into the rumor about Lady Floyen.”
The woman frowned. “Do you mean the rumor about Lady Floyen’s secret meetings with a lover she cannot reveal?”
“Yes.” There was a chance that he might become responsible for her in the future. When he thought about that possibility, the man felt an odd sensation in his heart. “I want to know every little detail about her,” he said without showing any sign of affection.
‘Why is he looking after her… Maybe he’s trying to find the duke’s weakness?’ Fresia stared at the young man with a puzzled gaze for a while, then lowered her head. “I will serve you to the best of my abilities, Your Highness Maximillian.”
* * *
After getting dressed without seeming like I tried too hard, I stepped into the drawing room. The young man waiting for me possessed blond hair and a handsome appearance. His bored expression lit up as soon as he saw me.
“It’s been a while, Lady Floyen,” he greeted me.
“Welcome, Lord Rowen.”
The man stepped forward and bowed politely. “I apologize for seeing you so abruptly without prior notice.”
“No, guests are always welcome. Please have a seat.”
He smiled as he looked at me. “Thank you for your hospitality.” The young man had blue eyes and blond hair that shined like threads of gold. He was even more charming when he smiled. Although he couldn’t be compared to Mikhail, he was nonetheless a handsome man who lived up to his reputation.
‘There are many handsome side characters in this novel,’ I observed. I suddenly thought about my father’s disciple. ‘Although his personality sucks, he’s probably the most handsome person I’ve ever seen.’ There were times I would blankly stare at him sleeping under my bed in the morning, wondering if this was a dream.
‘I hope he’s not starving for food out there. He should be doing well, right?’ I sighed upon realizing that my father’s disciple was the cause of the unpleasantness I had felt since this morning. I indulged in such thoughts for a while until a low voice called me.
‘Oh, right.’ I became reminded of the current situation and I directed my attention back to the esteemed son of Count Rowen, a fair and handsome man.
“Please bring us some refreshments, Merilyn.” When she left to do so, we became alone in the drawing room.
“I must tell you why I visited, my lady.” His reason was obvious. He probably came to thank me for becoming his partner and wanted to get acquainted with me before the banquet next week.
“What is it?” I asked.
“I was actually very surprised to receive a letter from you. You’re rather different from what I’ve heard.”
‘What does he mean by ‘heard’? Who did he hear from?’ “What do you mean?” I asked with bewilderment.
He looked at me with an embarrassed expression. “Do you know what kind of rumors are being said in high society these days?”
‘Rumors? I stayed at home all day, so there’s no way I would know any.’
“I haven’t been to any social gatherings lately. What are the rumors about?”
He hardened his expression and sighed. “It’s said that you are deeply in love with another man. That’s why I was surprised when I got a reply from you.”
“What?” ‘I’m deeply in love? What kind of nonsense is this?’ All this time, I had been reading books at home and wandering around the mansion. Even when I went out, an entourage of knights would escort me. Since I spent most days living in seclusion, I couldn’t possibly find the chance to be in a relationship. I was confused by this ridiculous rumor when a thought suddenly occurred to me.
‘No way. Did someone see my father’s disciple enter or leave my room through the window?’
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