“Hello… No, young lady’s face eh…”

Lubart gave a surprised look instead of saying hello.

“Hello, Lubart.”

“How did you end with that face?”

“I saw my father some minutes ago.
I had some business at that time with him.”

“So you’re saying the Viscount did that?”

He suddenly got angry, so there was no time to escape.”

“Should I ask the attendant to bring you some medicine?”

“Then could you tell them to bring the medicine to my room? I have other urgent matters right now.”

She gave Rubart a glimpse of the child on her back.

“Why are you carrying Lord Deliam on your back?”

“He was surprised to see my face.
He couldn’t stop crying easily, so we’re going to go to the garden and take a walk.”

“I see.
I see.”

“But you must be a little busy these days?”

This was the second time she had met Lubart directly.
Of course, she had seen him halfway through the mansion, but each time he was busy going somewhere.

I’m a bit busy with the banquet preparations.”

“…A banquet?”

“It’s because His Majesty’s birthday banquet is scheduled to be held at the imperial castle in two days.”

In an instant, her mind flashed… If it’s the Emperor’s birthday banquet, wasn’t it the day when the Duke becomes obsessed with the original heroine?

“Then are you busy preparing the Duke’s outfit?”

“There are other things, but that part is almost done.
I have about 50 pieces just in case.”

Huh? 50 suits?

“…Truly, you are preparing passionately.”

“Of course not.
The Duke should shine more than anyone else.”

In Lubat’s eyes, she could see his will burning brightly.
Contrary to his appearance, he had an unexpected side.
She smiled inwardly and nodded his head.

Then prepare well.
I’ll move on.”

After parting with Lubart, she went outside and took a walk in the garden.
The child’s crying was much less than when he was in the drawing room.
Fortunately, the upgrade seemed to be working.

“You know, Liam.”

Go on.”

“How were you in that room?”

“That’s the truth…”

According to the child, he saw her through the window during class going into the mansion with the Viscount, he said.
Then, feeling uneasy for some reason, he ran out during class and hid in the drawing room in advance.

“Did you?”


There was no more crying in the child’s voice.

“You must have been very surprised.”

“Elia’s father is a very bad person… I don’t want to see him anymore.”

I think so too.”

As she walked and talked with the child, she found herself deep in the garden before she knew it.
It was the moment when she wanted to go back soon.
She took a deep breath at the sudden familiar smell.


The cloth that the child stayed in became loose and the heavy back became lighter.
The Duke who appeared out of nowhere took the child into his arms and held it.
He just looked down at her without saying a word.
Was it her imagination that the dark red eyes look strangely sunken?

“Why… are you…?”


Instead of answering, the Duke turned around and walked away.
She let out a breath only when he was completely gone and out of sight.
After the Duke walked away, she seemed to be able to catch her breath.

He seemed upset about something…

Recalling the expression on the Duke she had just seen, she turned around and returned to the garden.
She came here in the first place to appease the child, so she didn’t have to be here anymore.
She frowned at the bitterness she felt on the way back to her room.
When she touched her cheek, she felt that it was quite swollen.
It seemed to last quite a long time even with medication.

She sighed and opened the door.

Her mouth fell open at the scene unfolding before her eyes.
While she was in a daze for a while, she was dragged in by the ladies-in-waiting.

“…What is all this?”

“These are the things the Duke sent.”

“The Duke sent you?”

“Yes, it is.”

Inside the room, there were baskets and ice packs piled up.
What the hell happened in that moment? The ladies-in-waiting put her on the bed, dazed, and began to smear something on her face.

“What are you doing?”

“What I’m applying now is herbal powder mixed with purified water.
You have to close your mouth to apply the powder.”

She quickly shut her mouth at the lady-in-waiting’s words, and the powder was smeared on her lips as well.
The cloth was covered again and a bag full of ice was placed on top.
No matter how much treatment was overdone, she thought…

“Do you get better soon?”

“I think it will help.”

After the treatment, the limbs were rubbed by the ladies-in-waiting this time.
She didn’t know why the massage was done, but it was nice because it was cool.

She was a little sleepy.
Her body was getting tired, but was that so…

“If you’re sleepy, it’s okay to sleep.”

“Can I?”

Of course.”

She nodded at the maid’s words and closed her eyes.
Immediately, her consciousness sank and she was sucked into the swamp of sleep.

* * *

She didn’t know how long she slept.
It was hard to open her eyes at the feeling of her body weighing down on her.
She was about to fall back asleep wondering if she needed to wake up now, but she felt a gaze from somewhere.
She started to get confused as to whether this was reality or a dream at the sensation of her body floating on top.
Was it like an extension of the dream she had last time?

When she thought so, it started to make sense.
That’s right, if it’s a dream, it wouldn’t be strange to feel this gaze.
Then, she felt something very lightly brush her cheek.
She could have ignored it, but strangely, it kept bothering her.
She barely lifted her heavy eyelids.

But it was only a slight opening.
Something black and red shimmered through the very narrow gap.
It was like looking into the dark red eyes of the Duke.

Even in reality, she was tired of watching the Duke day and night, but why did she have to see him in her dreams?

“…In the world… the most… incalculable… Duke…”

It seemed like she said that without even realizing it.
After that, consciousness faded, and the sleep came.

* * *

When she woke up the next morning, her whole body was sore.
Why was she so sore? She thought she slept soundly… As she raised her upper body, something fell.
When she checked, it was a bag of melted ice.

She went into the bathroom and stood in front of the mirror.
A thick patch of cloth had been pasted over her cheeks and over her lips.
When she gently peeled it off, the green herbal powder came out.
Could she wash it now? After washing her face, she rinsed off the herbal powder with water.
She wiped her face dry with a cloth and looked in the mirror.

“It seems to be working.”

Her cheeks had sunk a lot, and her chapped lips had healed quite a bit.
While looking at the mirror for a while, she heard the sound of the door opening and pushed her face out of the bathroom.


The child who had been looking around the room ran towards her.

“Are your cheeks okay?”

“Yes, I’m fine.”

“But is it still swollen?”

The child twisted his eyes in a somber expression.
She smiled and touched the child’s cheek.

“I’m fine, Liam.
I’m more worried about your swollen eyes?”


The child shyly covered his eyes with his hand.

“It’s okay.
You don’t have to cover it.” 

It’s swollen and ugly.”

“You’re not ugly at all.
Aren’t you just cute?”


You’re cute like a baby fish.”

“I’m not a fish…”

The child lowered his hand and pouted his lips.

So, baby deer?”

“That’s good.”

Only then did the child’s lips draw an arc.

She thought both were cute creatures, but he didn’t like crucian carp.
She secretly laughed and checked the clock hanging on the wall.
It was time to go for breakfast.
Just then, a belly button rang loudly from the child.
The child bowed his head in shame.

“Let’s go eat soon.”


She left the room and headed for the dining room, holding the child’s hand.

* * *

She glanced at the Duke sitting across from her and eating.
Why did he look so bad? Was it because of the mood?

She tilted his head and continued eating.
It didn’t seem like he was asking what happened with the viscount.
There’s nothing in a hurry, so she would tell slowly. 

She diligently put food on the plate of the child who was eating well.
Then, she raised her head to the sound of a chair being dragged.

“Are you leaving already? You haven’t eaten much.”



He stared at her with his mouth tightly shut, then he left the restaurant in a hurry.

“Liam, why would the Duke be like that? He seems to be in a worse mood than usual.”

“Wouldn’t it be because of the banquet tomorrow?”

“Why is that?”

“My father always gets into a bad mood when it’s time to go to the imperial castle.”

When she listened to what the child said, there was a certain point.
As much as the Emperor kept the Duke in check, the Duke didn’t like the Emperor either.

She nodded and looked at the child drinking the water.

“Do you want to stop eating now?”

My stomach is full.”

“Then let’s go out now.”

She got up from her seat with the child, opened the door, and came out.
On the way to the room, she caught Lubart hurriedly heading somewhere.
Did something happen?

That was about the time she almost reached the room.

The Duke and Lubart were having a serious conversation in the middle of the hallway.
Judging from the fact that the Duke’s eyebrows were slightly furrowed, it didn’t seem like a good story.
It seemed like it would be better to go through the hallway quickly.
It was the moment she tried to quietly pass them by.

“Young lady, wait a minute.”

She looked back at Lubart’s call.

“Yes, Lubart.”

“Have you ever attended banquets before?”

Almost none.
Why do you ask that?”

“If you don’t mind, may I ask you to attend the banquet as the Duke’s partner?”

“…As his partner? If you’re talking about the banquet tomorrow, you don’t need a partner.”

“I am also very embarrassed, but it is because a message just came from the imperial castle today, the day before the banquet.”

“What was written on it?”

“When attending a banquet, it was written that all unmarried nobles must be accompanied by a partner.
All attendees must wear masks.”

Lubart’s words were full of incomprehensible things.
In the book, there was no talk of masks with partners at the Emperor’s birthday banquet.

“Why isn’t it written down?”

It’s a difficult situation, so I was talking to the Duke.”

“It doesn’t matter much to attend the banquet itself, but…”

She glanced at the Duke.
The problem was that the Duke would obediently send her out of the mansion.
Wasn’t she still in a state where she just listened to the conversation between Lubart and the Duke without saying anything?

“What do you think, Duke? In the current situation, I think it would be better to take Lady Elia.”

The Duke, who looked at Lubart for a while, opened his mouth.

“Then prepare.”


“All right.”

After that conversation, the Duke turned and walked away.
She was taken aback by the attitude of the Duke, who accepted it surprisingly easily.

“Elia is going to the banquet too?”

I guess so.”

“Then, will you wear a very pretty dress?”

“I guess so?”

“I’m really looking forward to it.”

A blush bloomed on both of the child’s cheeks.


“It’s Elia a pretty dress.”

“Then I’ll finish preparing tomorrow and show you first.”

The child smiled brightly at her words and nodded his head.
She asked towards Lubart standing next to her.

“Then what can I do now?”

“First of all, I want you to take care of it.
I only have one day, so I’d better do it now.”

Lubart summoned the maids who were not far away and gave them some instructions.

“Then follow us.”


She looked back as she followed the ladies-in-waiting.
The child stood next to Lubart and waved his hand.
She, too, waved at each other and followed the ladies-in-waiting.

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