Chapter 77 - The Answer
“I have something urgent to discuss with him, so please refrain from staying too close to the carriage.” Despite ordering her escorts decisively, her soft tone wasn’t forceful. Max gazed at Jubelian while thinking that her voice was pleasant to the ears.
‘Now that I’m observing her in these circumstances, she’s very different.’ Jubelian had always been excessively considerate towards him, which made her seem somewhat naive. But now that she was acting refined, as expected of the only daughter of a duke who bowed to no one but the imperial family, Max was no longer worried that someone might take advantage of her kindness.
“Although I trust you all, there will be consequences if someone eavesdrops on our conversation,” she said. It was an unfamiliar sight to see her exercise her authority, but Max became relieved. ‘It seems like she won’t get sucked into any trouble at least.’ After the carriage door closed, Jubelian met his gaze.
“So why did you leave that day without saying anything?” she asked.
Max became flustered by her question, even though he rarely found himself taken aback. ‘Shoot, what should I say?’ he thought, remembering what she had said before. “Then I must run away.” He couldn’t tell her the truth that he was the crown prince if she was just going to flee.
“It’s none of your business,” he said, his voice somber from the thought of her running away.
Jubelian let out a sigh instead of pressing him for an explanation. “Alright. Then, what’s your answer for the contractual relationship?”
Max hesitated before he could respond. There was something that had been bothering him ever since she first asked him, which was why she wanted to start a contractual relationship with him specifically. “There is something I need to ask you before I decide,” he said, hoping the stifling feeling inside of him would dissipate once he heard the reason.
“Okay, go ahead.”
“Why did you suggest something like that to me?”
“By ‘something like that’… do you mean the contractual relationship?”
“Yes,” Max responded, clenching his fists with an unknown source of tension. Jubelian’s expression became more serious and her red lips parted.
“That’s because… you’re my father’s precious disciple?” Unlike his expectations, her reason neither praised his appearance nor his swordsmanship skills. Max scrunched his face at her absurd answer. ‘She’s trying to date me for a trivial reason like that?’ Disappointment and anger strangely surged inside of him. ‘I can’t believe I’m wasting my time with a woman like her…’
If she were anyone else, he would have angrily lashed out at Jubelian for trying to use him, but he found himself unable to do so because… Well, he was looking at her. He felt his irritation subside the longer he looked at her. ‘Why on earth am I being swayed… by a woman like her?’ Consumed by a sense of shame, Max frowned with a downcast gaze.
“There’s also another reason…” When he looked up, he saw her smiling sweetly. “You’re the only person I’m comfortable with to ask this favor from.”
Comfortable… Max felt that way with her as well. “I see,” he said. His sour mood immediately disappeared upon hearing that she felt the same way with him. He was filled with joy as his heart fluttered warmly. There were more questions he wanted to ask, but he didn’t want to think about them anymore. ‘Yes, this is good enough.’ Max smiled without realizing it.
* * *
I suddenly saw him smile in response. ‘Why is he smiling?’ For some reason, it gave me a pleasant feeling. ‘I mean, it’s no secret he’s handsome.’ Although I didn’t want to admit it, I couldn’t help but acknowledge that he was my type. ‘He might have a vile personality, but I wouldn’t mind being in a relationship with someone with a face like that,’ I thought. It was then I realized that I still hadn’t gotten a decision from him.
“I answered your question, so shouldn’t you answer my request now?”
He nodded in response and said, “Alright, I’ll accept your request.”
I smiled brightly, relieved that I had finally found a way to avoid my predestined death. “Thank you. How much do you want for compensation?”
He furrowed his eyebrows and spoke coldly. “I don’t need any. I’m just doing this to pay back what I owed you.” When he finished speaking, I almost pictured him as an angel. Now that I was beginning to save money and become more aware of my finances, this would help me sustain an independent life in the future. ‘So what if he speaks without manners? He’s too kind.’
I wrapped my hands around his, deeply moved. “Thank you. I’m looking forward to our collaboration.”
He scowled in response and said, “Alright. I get it, so let go of my hands.”
I had no intention of letting go of his hands, however. “What do you mean? We have to act like lovers from now on… It will be difficult to explain if you act halfheartedly!”
‘Because my life depends on this humorless act.’ I swallowed the last part of my sentence and stared at him as I continued. “Now that we’ve decided to be in a contractual relationship, you must hold hands with me, lock arms with me, and address me affectionately. Do you understand?” He looked at me with a hardened expression when I finished speaking. “Say something,” I said.
He sighed in response. “Alright,” he quietly muttered. I raised the corner of my lips and proceeded to discuss something else that was essential for the start of a legitimate relationship.
“By the way, I don’t think you know my name yet, but—” I was about to tell my father’s disciple my name because he always called me by ‘you,’ but he cut me off.
“Jubelian,” he said in a clear voice. I widened my eyes. “I know what your name is,” he said.
My heart quivered when he spoke in an earnest voice, but I soon realized something and frowned. ‘Wait, why does this guy keep calling me ‘you’ when he knew my name this entire time?’ Although I was disgruntled by this fact, a bigger problem posed.
You are required to login first