Chapter 53 - A Suitable Partner
Max’s foul mood improved when he saw her. He even became relieved when he found out that she had been downstairs. Now that Jubelian was smiling, Max felt his face burning. ‘Did I… catch a cold?’ Although he had never gotten sick after mastering swordsmanship, he had been busy roaming around and investigating the rumors about her. ‘If she sees me like this, she’ll think I’m weak.’
To prevent her from noticing his flushed appearance, Max quickly looked away and said, “Yes, so hurry up and tell me.”
“Well…” She hesitated for a moment. “There have been malicious rumors about me.”
Max clenched his fists. ‘I guess it was only a matter of time before she found out.’ He carefully observed Jubelian for any changes in her expression, worried that she might have been distressed by the rumors.
“I’m actually not worried about that,” she said. Any noblewoman would’ve been ashamed by such disgraceful rumors, but she didn’t seem to be.
“You’re not?” he asked.
“I have a clear conscience. Besides, a relationship like that is nothing to be ashamed of. It’s just…”
Jubelian smiled bitterly. “It seems like all the people who offered to become my partner will back out because of that.”
Max clenched his fists unconsciously. ‘Why on earth are those stupid people being swayed by such rumors? I would never do such…’ Max became surprised by his own thoughts for a moment. ‘What am I thinking…’ A sense of shame washed over him until Jubelian’s pleasant voice snapped him to attention.
“Of course, I wasn’t upset about that. It doesn’t matter whether I have a partner or not.”
Max sighed, feeling somewhat discouraged. “What are you so upset about then?” he asked sharply.
The woman’s eyes suddenly dropped. ‘Did I sound too harsh?’ He had never asked himself this question before, but he found himself reflecting upon his tone. His regret was fleeting, however, because the woman began speaking again.
“The problem is… my father made a list of prospective marriage partners. I ended up finding out about it.”
‘Prospective marriage partners.’ Max froze when he heard those unexpected words. “A list of prospective marriage partners?” he asked to confirm.
“Yes, I saw a marked-up list of noblemen from wealthy families. He didn’t even ask for my opinion, so it’s likely that he’ll force me to meet them.”
Max clenched his fists at the thought of his master. ‘He’s trying to marry his daughter off…’ If he had heard about this in the past, he would’ve praised his actions, thinking that his master had finally come to his senses. But for some reason, Max felt angry. ‘Is this the type of person you really are? Were you only pretending to care about your daughter in front of me?’ Max wore a menacing expression, inexplicably furious.
“That’s why I have to find a partner,” the woman said. “I don’t want to go on a blind date with the men on the list.”
Max unconsciously stared at her, unable to grow tired of her eyes no matter how many times he saw them. They looked like a field of periwinkle flowers scattered across a clear lake. He parted his lips, powerless against a strange impulse that constantly jabbed his heart.
“There could be a suitable partner nearby,” he said.
When she stared at him with quivering eyes, Max felt his heart tingle. ‘She has a good eye… seeing as how she turned to me right away.’ Max felt like he was going to burst into laughter if he let his guard down, but he hurriedly turned away the moment he realized this. ‘What am I thinking…!’
“You’re right,” she said.
“What?” Max stared at the woman, surprised that she had agreed so easily. She suddenly grabbed his hand with a bright smile. If he wanted to, he could easily shake off her soft, dainty hands, but he simply stared at her without moving.
“What was I thinking? There was a suitable partner all this time,” she said.
Max became alert and felt his mouth go dry. She was still holding his hand, which became increasingly warm. ‘Why am I nervous?’ He frowned at his body’s unusual reactions. ‘Because of a weak woman like her…’ Max glared at Jubelian, but the moment he met her eyes, he became embarrassed and hurriedly pulled away from her.
“I can’t believe you’re realizing this just now,” he said bluntly.
A bright smile appeared on Jubelian’s beautiful face. “I know, right? If it weren’t for you, I would’ve been worried for the rest of the day.”
His heart tingled with increasing intensity. ‘A partner… Although it will be bothersome, I guess I can do that for her.’ Max made up his mind to attend the banquet with her.
“A man who my father trusts and approves of… I will ask Geraldine,” she said.
Although the woman didn’t mention Mikhail or any of the men who had asked to be her partner, Max felt his mood plunge at the mention of a man that his master approved of. “Who is that?” he asked with irritation.
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