The voice, while unknown to others, resonated clearly in the ears of the man standing nearby.
His nonchalant expression turned into one of astonishment, then quickly transformed again into a look of shock.
“Just a moment.
As far as I know, there’s only one person who would call me that way.”
Cordelia might be in danger.”
Rather than explain himself further, the man added urgently, and without further questioning, he pulled Noah back, his sword drawn and his voice booming.
“What do you say, more blood?”
Some of those who seemed like leaders among them tried to step forward, but were held back.
At some point, the man had drawn a dagger, and he clenched it in his hand, which was covered in flowing blood.
“No, we’ll step back for now.”
With so many watching eyes, and given his order to prioritize the safety of his subordinates, the leader, who had been observing the guards joining them one by one, began to speak.
“Miss, if you ever need to find us, come to [Dios Aparateiro] in the heart of Rete.”
Leaving behind these enigmatic words, he wrapped his injured hand and stepped back with his subordinates.
Finally, Noah turned to the man who had saved him, Tiren, and their eyes met, causing Noah to catch his breath.
Tiren’s smile appeared gentle, yet his gaze was sharp as if he could see through him.
“By the way, where did the rest of the group go?”
“They, they went that way!”
As the forgotten situation came rushing back to him, Noah quickly looked for Cordelia and hurriedly walked forward.
However, after only a few steps, he spotted figures approaching from a distance and came to a halt.
Cordelia, with just a hint of playful hesitation, was walking towards Noah.
He had been wearing an expression akin to being caught by his mother before he could come up with an excuse to avoid getting scolded.
However, his anxious look quickly transformed into a smile as he stopped in his tracks.
“Sorry, I was being too assertive.
Are you al—”
Before she could finish his sentence, Noah dashed into Cordelia’s embrace, pulling her tightly against him.
Caught off guard by the sudden hug, Cordelia stiffened, her body going tense.
After all, Noah had never held her like this before.
Isn’t he mad? Cordelia was about to ask, but she quickly closed her mouth when she noticed Noah’s face, looking up at her with a telling expression.
Ah, she shouldn’t throw a wrench into the mood right now!
“Are you okay? Are you hurt anywhere?”
His eyes were filled with concern, and Cordelia felt all of the bitter feelings she’d felt earlier melt away.
Look at this, she likes him a lot.
Oh, were you worried? They captured me as a hostage… I mean, they set it up to summon you.
Do you have any injuries?”
But I hope you won’t do something like this again.”
Even with his affectionate tone, Noah’s firmness left Cordelia with little choice.
She couldn’t argue, even if it were her own body involved.
Of course, Noah wasn’t angry with Cordelia for her actions involving his body, but she had no way of knowing that as the person involved.
“A tearful reunion, it seems.”
Amidst this contrasting mixture of emotions, the sound of applause came from behind Noah.
Tiren, after briefly exchanging greetings with his guards, strode over to them with a lively pace.
“We should have caught at least one of them.
Based on their accent, they seemed to be from a neighboring country.
They could serve as a quite plausible loose end for diplomatic purposes.”
Noticing Tiren’s interjection with a hint of annoyance, Cordelia’s train of thought came to a halt.
But soon, her eyes widened dramatically.
“No, why are you here!”
The closest confidant of the king and the most notorious playboy in high society.
Can you believe there’s such a playboy around in this world? If womanizing were a sport, he would win the championship hands down.
Cordelia, who generally had a good relationship with his family, couldn’t quite fathom his antics, but it didn’t matter.
He wasn’t someone connected to her, at least not anymore.
“Hey, didn’t you hear the conversation?”
Seeing the man scratching his cheek, Cordelia was so taken aback that she couldn’t find the words to speak.
She quickly glanced at Noah to see if he had noticed anything, but he appeared as calm as usual.
Then, seemingly realizing his stance, the man hastily let go of the hug and stepped back, a gesture that was rather endearing and made her want to hug him tight again.
But that wasn’t the issue at hand.
Pressing her aching temples as if trying to alleviate the pain, Cordelia spoke.
“What conversation… Wait, don’t tell me, the person they mentioned who would contact us?”
“That would be me.”
“No, why out of all the people here, does it have to be you? You’re…”
The mastermind behind Noah’s household downfall!
His original name was Tiren Borderois.
He was the eldest grandson of the Marquis Borderois, but he had abandoned his title and position.
Instead, he became a close confidant of the then Crown Prince, later becoming a notorious troublemaker who caused issues for the Marquis.
On top of that, he was the person who handed over his entire family to the king, a bitter fact that made him a despised figure.
Seeing the individual who played a decisive role in the fall of the Marquis Borderois, Cordelia’s voice involuntarily turned pointed.
He might be considered a top-ranking courtier with great contributions to the royal family, but in high society, his reputation was far from positive – he could probably create a forest with all the rumors about him.
Interestingly, Tiren just shrugged as if this was all familiar to him.
“Protecting Ian is my role.”
“You seem to enjoy protecting, don’t you!”
As Cordelia playfully scolded him without reservation, Tiren raised his eyebrows like a wet dog.
I do know that Miss Cordelia isn’t exactly the type to hold back, but to see her looking so fierce on Ian’s face… It hurts even though I know the ‘essence’ is entirely different.
Can’t you go a little easier on me with the scolding?”
While he pretended to be composed, the corners of his lips curled into a mischievous smile.
Cordelia swiftly grabbed his collar and, putting all her might into it, narrowed her eyes while growling.
“Are you picking a fight with me?”
It’s Ian’s body, after all.”
He’s willing to fight her.
This man, does he even know what chivalry is?
Tiren’s mutter left her speechless, and she relaxed her grip on his collar.
At that moment, Tiren gently pushed Cordelia away and turned his gaze to the bewildered Noah.
“I have spoken to His Majesty the King.
If there’s anything you need, just ask.”
Cordelia was dumbfounded by the sight of him, who had one knee bent and was speaking in a dignified manner while looking at Noah.
What’s with this discrimination?
“Um… Please stand up, for now.”
Tiren, who had slowly risen from his seat, alternated his gaze between Noah and Cordelia as if he found their behavior strange.
There were many eyes to consider before delving into further conversation.
They returned to the inn they had arranged hastily.
After Noah entered the room he was assigned to and checked for any eavesdropping, the three finally exchanged meaningful glances.
Cordelia sat down in a chair, Noah on the bed, and Tiren, leaning against the door, stood watch.
Noah, the host of the room, was the first to speak.
“Haven’t you heard that our bodies have changed?”
“His Majesty is a rather tight-lipped man, he said I’d find out when I went to…… I never thought such a ridiculous thing would happen.”
Tiren, who had been looking back and forth between them, let out a long sigh.
There was a corner of his face that strangely resembled Ian when his seriousness faded.
For instance, his refreshingly stretched eyebrows or his healthy-looking complexion.
“First of all, Cordelia is the one in charge of this group, so I’d rather you follow her orders than mine.”
“Even if you hadn’t said that, I was planning to.
She’s a fun lady to tease no matter when I see her…”
He trailed off in a voice audible in the small room.
Cordelia was astounded.
She wondered if it was because he had lightly flirted with her every time they met at gatherings.
To think that someone like him, who still had so much popularity after getting married, was in the world—life was truly unfair.
Though she knew it was a trap, Cordelia couldn’t help but shout,
“No, why can’t you be more serious at your age?!”
As if he were a double-faced person with only a well-maintained face!
In response to the equally double-faced man’s remark, Tiren feigned a great deal of sympathy as if it were too much.
“It seems like you’re still quick to use your hands before speaking, my lady.”
Not a word came out.
Facing Cordelia’s wide-open eyes, he shamelessly responded.
Cordelia squinted her eyes slightly.
“So, do you have a complaint?”
“No, how could there be? It’s better to have someone jumping around like a freshly caught fish than a motionless stone.”
Is this praise or an insult?
“My uncle has a playful nature, so please understand.
Even though it might seem like this… he’s quite capable.”
Noah, who finally grasped the atmosphere, stepped in to mediate.
Only then did Tiren nod satisfactorily.
“Well then, well then.
So, what is it that you need?”
Cordelia, who was looking at Tiren with displeasure as he switched back to a serious expression as if asking when he had played a prank, suddenly blurted out.
“I’m searching for a magician from another country who could resolve this situation.
Without the temple’s knowledge.
And in about three days, Linus Sandria will join us discreetly.
Can you handle that?”
“If that’s the case, it would probably be quicker to request assistance from a guild.
It might be a bit risky, but guilds like ﹤Sollei﹥ or ﹤Aurote﹥ could arrange something.
Normally, it’s hard to find information without connections, but well, if we hurry, we should be able to meet them today.”
Tiren’s expression, as he spoke smoothly as if he had already prepared everything, softened with a slight curve.
“If it’s related to the scouting party, they’ll most likely be wandering around almshouses, so it would be best to approach them when they appear there.
If we select only the larger-scale almshouse facilities operated by the temple, we can come up with a rough estimate.”
Naturally shifting to a more respectful tone, he smiled at Cordelia.
It was disappointing that there was no way to catch him off guard, but Cordelia retorted, a bit chilly,
“What, how do you know all of this?”
“When you serve under someone like His Majesty the King, you learn the basics as you go.”
Was he being serious or joking?
In his wistful gaze, Cordelia could almost read the struggles he had gone through.
Well, among the King’s close associates, she had heard that he was the one who often ventured outside the most.
It was quite the opposite of Irenz Beanz, who was said to be more attached to the Treasury Department than his own home.
“Isn’t that too disrespectful to His Majesty?”
“Is there anything more disrespectful than this in front of him?”
“It seems you’ve ventured beyond the threshold of politeness as well.”
“Well, that’s because you haven’t seen someone who has truly crossed that line.”
Seeing the man shaking his head in exasperation, Cordelia was taken aback.
Her sister had mentioned in passing that all the people working under His Majesty the King were eccentric, and it seemed it wasn’t an exaggeration.
“Anyway, I’ll go find that referral.”
“What? I want to come along too.”
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