Chapter 17 - Don't Forget
Act 3. Pretending to be in Love
“Your Excellency, is something wrong? I couldn’t hear your response.”
Hearing Thomas’s question, Venio shook his head, wearing an inexplicable expression. Theodore checked Venio’s face briefly and tilted his head, for Venio, the Grand Duke, was looking off into the distance again as if in deep thought.
“Excuse me, Your Excellency?”
“Yes, what is it?” replied Venio after a slight pause.
Theodore observed Venio with a doubtful expression, then let go of what he wanted to say and simply proceeded with his report.
“You wanted me to look into the secrets of the 3rd Duke’s family.”
Venio looked at the stack of reports that Theodore quickly handed to him. He wondered if he could get Laila Estevan’s information from them. Although he had his doubts as Laila was an illegitimate child, seeing how they’ve neglected her and kept her hidden, there was a great possibility that any information about Laila would be kept top secret. So, the reports that Theodore brought him might reveal more information about Laila.
‘To be able to find out others’ internal affairs in such a short amount of time, sure enough, it’s important to invest in people of high caliber.’
He didn’t need to do it, but he wanted to know.
Venio tapped on his desk, seeming to be thinking about something, then shook his head slowly.
“I’ll go through them later.”
His tone was slightly gentler than usual. Theodore was gobsmacked. Normally, the Grand Duke would go through everything immediately instead of putting things off. Then, he would say to him, ‘Theodore. I often think that giving you an assignment is akin to going on an adventure. You always lay yourself open to attack, just like now.’
And after saying that, the Grand Duke would push the reports away.
But today, he didn’t say anything like, ‘Even though it might be better if I just do it myself, please do it again.’
What the Grand Duke said at that moment was, “Good job. You may leave.”
Theodore bowed deeply to hide his shock, shouting inwardly, ‘I can’t believe good days like this are actually happening to me!’
After his happy subordinate went out quickly, Venio was left alone. He let out a deep sigh, then began thinking about the night before.
On that moonlit night, it was he who snuck in like a wild animal or like a thief. And there was the pale and pure woman who could blind one from just looking at her. Then, that woman cried, and he comforted her.
And he started a contractual relationship with her, a woman who never smiled once even when she was standing before a man who could be called perfect.
It was driving him crazy. He wanted to laugh out loud. No, he actually wanted to scream like a monster even though he had never even screamed when he was a child.
“This must be what being embarrassed feels like,” he muttered coldly. The more he thought about it, the more inexcusable it was.
“I was too impulsive.”
He couldn’t believe he had snuck into a different family’s residence. If the emperor found out, he would probably sob while saying, ‘I never raised my younger brother to be like that.’
It didn’t really matter to him, but it would matter to the lady he was making the visit to. Venio shook his head hard as the pale woman kept resurfacing in his mind. Then, he gave a dispirited laugh as if in surrender, and muttered, “Laila Estevan.”
Laila. The name meant ‘night.’ He quietly muttered her name. The name that meant ‘a dark night’ didn’t seem to fit her as she seemed all blurry. Her name seemed more vivid than herself.
But as he kept saying her name, it didn’t seem so bad after all. No, it was actually more than good. And that was the problem.
“Did I go insane overnight?”
He gave a hollow laugh at his ridiculous thought.
“Was I even in the right mind to have made such a contract?”
The contract was indeed rather interesting, but it was not his taste. He didn’t really need to do something like that. He thought about the tick and became a little more settled.
While it was true that his actions were impulsive, it wasn’t as if he hadn’t thought it through. In fact, as he had been thinking about the red tick from afternoon till night, he had made the decision based on his rational thoughts.
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