Chapter 27 - The Engagement
Act 4. Engagement
There was the sound of birds coming from somewhere in the distance. Around them, was complete silence. Laila couldn’t believe what she just heard.
Venio, sitting across from her, didn’t look harsh, but he was very serious.
“Did you just say ‘get engaged’?” she barely managed to ask.
“That’s right,” Venio answered.
“So, you are saying, we have to do that for me to be your shield?”
She didn’t know how this was related and wanted to ask, but couldn’t. The Grand Duke gave her a hazy smile as she looked at him in bewilderment, then adjusted her in his arms to allow her to be more comfortable.
Perhaps because something even more astonishing was happening to her, she naturally surrendered herself to his actions. Venio smirked when he noticed that. He was not going to let her continue to grow weak like this and at the same time, he was determined to gain some benefit as always. He thought he was doing all this because of his decision.
After thinking about his plan, he explained calmly to her, “As you already know, Laila, that woman would not let any lady who is the least bit acquainted with me be at peace. She will probably go crazy if she finds out we are friends. But…”
“As I see it now, while you might be prepared to endure what she would do to you, you don’t even seem to have enough strength to protect yourself.”
Laila lowered her head a little because she couldn’t disagree.
‘I thought I could endure it for a month, but it doesn’t seem like he believes that.’
Feeling a bit guilty, Venio continued quickly, “I’m not blaming you. It’s just, well. I just don’t want you to surrender to that woman.”
Actually, he didn’t want Laila to be killed by Nevira Bedelium or by her family after suffering so much because of them, but it was strange for him to say it to her.
‘This makes more sense if we are to be in a contracted relationship.’
Venio kept thinking like this repeatedly, but he was observing her face carefully. It didn’t seem like she was feeling upset or anything. He felt relieved without even realizing it and continued with what he was saying.
“You don’t have to win against her either. Do you know how many people she killed or hurt unnecessarily? As long as she doesn’t attempt to do such things, that would be enough. If I provide you with a position that would protect you from her trying to attack you, the problem will be taken care of easily. It’s just that the protection from the duke’s house wouldn’t be enough,” he said as he gritted his teeth, trying to hold back a smile.
She was persuaded by his words, but if anyone who knew Venio heard this conversation, that person would have been shocked. This was about an engagement. Although he was planning this whole thing because he loathed Nevira Bedelium, this had become a much bigger issue than it should have been. It might be much better to lodge an official complaint to the Bedelium house rather than to get engaged.
It wasn’t an engagement with not just a member of the royal family, but with the Grand Duke. It was certain that annoying rumors would spread even though it wasn’t an official engagement. Normally, Venio would not even consider such things as he believed he was perfect and being involved in something like this would affect his perfectionistic personality.
But as he didn’t reveal his picky and condescending behavior, Laila couldn’t find anything that was particularly strange. Though, that was because she was pretty much startled by his suggestion.
She was suddenly frightened. It was a word she thought she would never be involved with. Moreover, the person suggesting it to her was Venio.
Laila tried her best to calm her heart which was beating irregularly. After pondering over it deeply, she asked carefully, “So, Venio, if we get engaged, what would be different?”
The only type of cohabitation allowed in this country was when a couple gave the reason that they needed to familiarize themselves with each other before their marriage. Cohabitation was also used as a means of showing off a kind of closeness, whether short or long-lived.
When Laila’s thoughts drifted to the things that naturally came with engagement, she had to ask. She was nervous, but the Grand Duke responded with surprising composure.
“First, instead of staying with Estevan Duchy, you will be living at the Grand Duchy.”
Venio’s deep purple eyes narrowed slightly.
“Please be my shield as my fiancée, Laila.”
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