Chapter 54 - A Suitable Partner
“Ah, he’s one of my escort knights. He’s also my maternal cousin, so I won’t have to worry about any rumors because of him. There’s no one else better suited for this job,” Jubelian said with a bright expression. She seemed so content that this problem was solved that she was unaware of Max’s foul mood.
Max’s displeasure gradually subsided. ‘If he’s a relative, I guess it’s alright.’ When he realized that he was relieved, Max twisted his expression. ‘What does this have to do with me anyway? I just need to learn more about my master’s weakness…’ As Max recalled his original purpose, the woman’s defenseless smile came into view.
“Thank you,” she said. Her smile was so radiant that the dull ache in Max’s heart was followed by intense pounding. When he became aware of this, he became afraid.
“I will be going now,” he said abruptly. If he stayed any longer, Max wasn’t sure if he could control himself. When he tried to leave, almost as if he was running away from something, Jubelian called out to him.
“Hey, wait a second!”
Instead of responding, Max glared at her fiercely, warning her to not come closer. Strangely, his heart throbbed when she seemed to understand this. Jubelian stared at him calmly and wore the same expression as she did when she saw him through the window today.
She proceeded to place some pouches on the floor before stepping back. “Take these,” she said.
‘What…’ Max checked what was inside and frowned. ‘Money? Why is she giving me this?’ He was about to throw the pouches back on the floor and tell her he didn’t need them, but he suddenly met her kind eyes. Her gaze reminded him of the times she had covered him with a blanket and given him food to eat. Max slowly lowered his arm.
“It’s not for free. As repayment, you can help me out if I ever need it,” she said.
Max had planned to never come back again, but he couldn’t bring himself to say that. He slipped the money into his pockets and prepared to leave the room.
“If you have no place to go, you can always come back,” she said. “Okay?”
Max impulsively nodded upon seeing her warm smile, as if there was an irresistible force controlling him.
* * *
‘Lord Boromir decided to give up after one word from me…’ Despite the easy obedience from the previous two men he had visited, it was a mistake to think that the last person would be the same.
‘So this is the foreign minister’s son?’ Regis coldly stared at the young man drinking tea in front of him, but he seemed to be relaxed.
“So, you’re warning me to stay away from your daughter because I don’t meet her standards, Your Excellency?” Although the young man’s smiling face was quite handsome, he was still lacking compared to Jubelian’s appearance.
“Yes,” Regis said. Despite his straightforward answer, the young man managed to remain calm.
“Well, it’s true she’s better than all the other ladies.”
Although Regis agreed with him, it didn’t mean he approved of the young man. “I clearly told you not to approach my daughter, Ronald Herman Crocus.” After giving this final warning, he stood up.
‘Now that I think about it, he was also on the marriage list.’ The duke was determined to revise the very thing that had been bothering him recently and prepared to return home to do so.
“You should change your mind soon. Your daughter will come to love me.”
In response to his boastful words, Regis turned around and stared at the young man. His eyes lowered when he imagined Mikhail’s fine characteristics on the young man’s face.
“Do you really think my daughter will like a lowly thing like you?”
The young man tried to maintain his composure, but he suddenly had trouble breathing through the oppressive aura of the unrestrained, transcendent being. ‘Is this Duke Floyen’s…!’ It seemed like the young man had pushed the duke too far. By showing interest in his daughter, he had wanted to bring the empire’s hero to his side for his family’s benefit. Although he tried making their meeting memorable, it had backfired.
“I have met a lot of people like you… opportunists who treat people like tools to get what they want,” the duke said.
From a young age, the young man had been taught by his father, the minister of foreign affairs, to never back down. He had learned to never be the first one to break a stare, to relax in any tense situation, and to always be confident and fearless. But despite years of practice, the young man was frightened by Duke Floyen’s chilling glare.
“Does my daughter seem easy to you?” he asked.
When he managed to apologize, the duke’s intangible energy loosened its hold on the young man. He stared at him coldly.
“One mistake is enough,” Regis muttered underneath his breath. Then he left the drawing room, his blue eyes filled with bitterness.
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