Chapter 5 - Request
Laila was able to safely arrive at her destination thanks to the attendant’s careless, but detailed directions. Immediately, she started searching for a reddish branch amongst the trees of the garden. That tree was the place where the ‘Evil Duke’ usually liked to stay.
She didn’t move much as if she was really looking around. She was more of a detailed person and although it was her first time, she was acting well.
But when she discovered what she had been searching for, she couldn’t help the sound of exclamation that left her mouth. Laila stared blankly at the young tree that was changing to a slightly reddish color. The tree displayed a mysterious aura, as if a fairy was going to appear at any moment. This tree was named, ‘The Winter’s Gate,’ and it was famous for sprouting golden leaves during winter.
Out of all of the warm-hearted chapters from the original work, the tree was mentioned in a brief tale. The tale was about a fairy who fell in love with a wanderer, shedding golden tear drops every winter for the wanderer who passed away during winter.
‘It’s hard to imagine how the fairy would feel after losing a loved one, having to carry the sadness forever since a fairy never dies.’
But it was ironic how the sadness of the fairy was now seen as a beauty to others and it deeply ached Laila’s heart somehow.
After a few moments of staring at the tree and falling into a deep thought, Laila heard an unwanted guest’s voice while her eyes remained fixed on the tree.
“Do you like this tree that much?”
“You just seemed to be staring at it for a long time.”
Laila’s eyes were slightly wide as she was startled by the human shadow casting over her gracefully.
“Or are you shocked because of how big the tree is?”
Right at that moment, the moon light shone directly on them. She could tell that it was a man by his voice, but once she noticed his appearance, Laila’s breath caught in her throat.
The black hair and the slightly purplish eyes.
“It makes sense since it used to be called a divine tree a long time ago. It is beautiful and magnificent.”
He quietly said as if he was deeply thinking and approached Laila.
“Oh… Um… who are you?” Laila asked as she held her hands close to her chest, without realizing that her heart was beating ominously.
The good looking man’s tone of voice was respectful unlike his cold face.
“I am not sure if I’d see you again, but I should introduce myself.”
But it didn’t seem like what he was saying to her was disrespectful. This peculiar character was similar to only one person. Laila paid close attention to his lips as they parted.
“I’m Venio de Arsen. As I’m the Grand Duke, you could call me, ‘Your Excellency.’”
Laila slightly bit her shaking lips.
“You don’t have to tell me your name if you don’t want to. I didn’t even want to start a conversation with you anyway. Now, I should get going as I have to return.”
“Please wait, Your Excellency.”
When Laila called out to him, he stopped and looked back with an annoyed expression on his face.
“You have something to tell me?”
His actions were as graceful as falling water. Although his graceful behavior radiated from the top of his head to the bottom of his feet, the way she felt after seeing him was as if there was a large animal in front of her and she had no idea what to do.
His famous and complimentary appearance was not her focus anymore.
Laila didn’t know what to do as her body became stiff from his overpowering aura, but soon came to her senses after she noticed the murderous look on his face.
“Lady, my time is pretty valuable.”
Hearing his quiet warning spoken in his usual tone of voice, Laila recalled the descriptions about him. He was cold and prideful. He was also self-indulgent.
Compared to Laila, he was the complete opposite. It was because of that that Laila realized, in that moment, that he had to be the one.
‘If I could just suggest what I need from him.’
He was in the middle of turning away from her when Laila quickly spoke.
“My name is Laila, Your Excellency.”
“Hmm, I already told you that I’m not interested in knowing your name.”
“I’m part of the Estevan Duchy and my origin is not ambiguous.”
The Evil Duke, Venio, lowered his head a little after looking down at Laila with cold eyes.
“That is also the answer to a question that I never asked. Lady, what are you trying to say?”
His annoyance was revealed by his cold tone of voice, but his facial expression remained cold and bored.
It was too late for Laila to back down now.
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