The elegant face with some expressions removed was unexpectedly stuck in his mind.
After a brief silence, Noah opened his mouth.
“I think Cordelia is a wonderful and kind person.
However, I will reject the proposal you mentioned.”
From the moment they first met until now, he’s admired her all along.
He couldn’t say that even as an empty phrase in response to the question of whether he might dislike her.
“It’s true that I have favorable feelings towards Cordelia.
However, it’s not the kind of emotion that makes me want to pursue a romantic relationship.”
That’s why, even more so, he didn’t want to add any flaws to himself in her eyes.
He hadn’t lied, but he felt anxious, and his mouth went dry.
Noah wanted to close his eyes tightly and suppress the urge, but he continued to scrutinize Cordelia’s expression right in front of him.
Cordelia’s reaction was quite unexpected.
Cordelia replied kindly and removed her hand from his.
There was no room to feel regret at the touch that slipped away.
“Since we’re in this situation anyway, and we have to see each other until the magic is undone.”
Cordelia folded her playful gaze and smiled, lightly placing her index and middle fingers on his lips before pressing down on his lips with those fingers.
The somewhat rough yet tender sensation fully reached the tips of his fingers.
Noah’s face, which just blankly stared at himself without any reaction, was undeniably cute, but Cordelia wasn’t about to indulge in that cuteness.
She could understand his feelings, but honestly, she found it vexing.
“I’ll work hard from now on.
Get your heart ready.”
“Ready to be handed over to me! I’m not the kind of person to especially wait for someone like this.”
Of course, she didn’t forget to deliver the decisive blow.
“Oh, and don’t tell me you’re so selfless by drawing such a picture!”
‘What’s this drawing?’
She saw it when their body changed again.
The drawing of herself sitting in the grass field.
The passion that surged through the calm and beautiful drawing was vividly felt.
She wasn’t a fool, and she wasn’t oblivious.
She could easily guess what the person who drew this thought about her.
Cordelia pretended not to know anything.
Of course, it was also because her sister’s birthday was just a day away… but she hadn’t mentioned it precisely for moments like this.
She might not know much, but she certainly didn’t plan to lose in this playful exchange!
Noah’s face turned bright red in an instant as she unexpectedly pulled out the hidden trump card and launched a surprise attack.
There were no separately burning sweet potatoes.
“T-That, that, that’s…! No, it’s a misunderstanding!”
If only he could always act cute like that.
With such thoughts in mind, Cordelia stretched her body.
“Oh, speaking of it now makes me feel relieved.
Let’s go eat.
There’s a restaurant nearby that has a nice smell.
Shall we go check it out?”
“Oh, that’s great timing.
I was hungry too.
You live around here, Cordelia?”
“I’m looking forward to what kind of food there will be!”
Ignoring Noah who was practically screaming his excitement, Cordelia pushed against Linus’ back and walked outside.
Standing dejectedly beside Noah, Tiren stuck out his tongue.
“Wow, that young lady is something else.
She’s always a handful.”
Noah’s eyes turned slightly redder as he quickly turned to Tiren.
He couldn’t hide the mixed emotions in his eyes.
“Why were you just standing and watching? You should have helped!”
“Well, it seemed amus… I mean, it didn’t feel like the right atmosphere to intervene.”
When Tiren broke the tension, Noah shot him a betrayed look.
He was as guilty as ants, but the way his face was still flushed, it was a little easier to see why Cordelia looked so pleased.
Why is this guy so cute even though he’s grown so big?
His large hand haphazardly tousled Noah’s hair.
Noah rolled his eyes as if to complain.
“You like meat, don’t you?”
“I’m not a little kid who’s into that stuff anymore.”
“I heard a good dye came in from overseas this time.
I’ll get it for you.”
“…What color is it?”
“Red and purple.”
Noah remained silent for a moment.
It seemed as if Tiren could almost guess what thoughts were crossing Noah’s mind, and he added casually,
“Don’t you think you’d get along well with that young lady?”
“Stop teasing me.”
Noah’s sigh conveyed immense distress.
Tiren responded with a soft chuckle,
“Are you alright?”
“I won’t be alright.
I’ve already made up my mind.
Even so, my answer wouldn’t change.”
“Enough with the melancholy talk.
Should we also leave, Uncle?”
Noah drew a kind line, putting aside his complicated feelings.
Tiren, for the sake of his nephew, put on his mask once again.
“Yes, I’ll follow.”
* * *
Having transformed their bodies, they now had to return to the capital.
While it was somewhat regrettable, Cordelia thought it would be refreshing to head back.
Until she heard Tiren’s words.
Lady, you’re seeking a husband, aren’t you?”
The spoon that Cordelia was using to stir the simmering stew stopped for a moment.
“Who’s saying such things?”
The rumor has spread throughout the capital.”
Linus, who had been quietly nibbling on bread beside her, gestured casually.
An invisible barrier unfolded around them.
It was a barrier that only provided soundproofing, so even if a passerby were to come by, it wouldn’t be easy to overhear.
“The Queen has left a statement for you not to return to the Duke’s residence for the time being.
Suitors are coming one after another.”
“Pushing ahead regardless of my intentions, how cunning.”
Cordelia wrinkled her brow as if her appetite had disappeared.
Noah, who had emptied three plates of meat, eavesdropped on their conversation.
Amidst it all, his table manners were impeccable, not a single morsel of food out of place.
“Well, but it’s not like I can keep hiding forever.
Since Rick has caused such a commotion, I can’t avoid dealing with it.”
“The likelihood of that person changing his words now.”
“Duke Weichen? That makes sense.”
Tiren shook his head and tore into the meat clinging to the bone with his teeth.
Even Tiren, who was skilled in negotiations, hesitated to face Frederick Weichen.
Surely they were similar in age, and perhaps that was why it felt more comfortable to face his predecessor, Duke Weichen.
Cordelia, lost in thought, smirked and playfully tugged at the corners of her lips.
The sinister smile sent a shiver down the arms of the three men.
“Still, that place would be nice, wouldn’t it?”
“Our father’s estate.”
“You mean Duke Weichen?”
The location is good.”
While Noah and the brooding Linus were taken aback, Tiren’s eyes brightened.
“Oh, that sounds quite appealing.”
Isaac Weichen might have retired from active politics, but he was known as a man with unmatched political savvy.
Even if a tiger loses its fangs, it’s still a tiger.
In that sense, the estate where he resided, could be considered a relatively secure place to entrust oneself.
After all, he had inherited the ducal title, and Frederick Weichen, the unstoppable force, was his only opponent.
“Right? Besides, there’s something I want to ask him.”
“Something to ask?”
“Yes, something like that.”
Cordelia couldn’t blatantly state that her father was violating the law to someone who served the king.
So, she covered it up reasonably.
Noah, the only one who probably had a grasp on the issue, sipped his drink in silence.
“Oh, but honestly, the estate of my father can be quite boring.
There’s not much to do besides reading…”
Cordelia rolled her eyes at that.
There was an unnatural silence, like a water wheel that had stopped spinning, and everyone stared at her.
“It’s a big problem.”
“Anyway, there’s a big problem.”
After dealing with some issues, finally, the weight of an important concern crossed her mind.
She should have sent the next installment of her new story in a letter by now! With everything that had been happening, she had forgotten.
The problem was that she hadn’t written anything yet.
It felt as though Luther was there, shouting “Author!” and tearing up a handkerchief.
She should at least convey the news that she’ll be postponing the work, right? She did want to write, but with the unpredictable situation of body-switching, focusing on the work would be difficult.
Cordelia’s smoothly flowing thoughts suddenly came to a halt.
Hold on, just a moment.
If she made a mistake, she realized, Noah could see her writing, just as she could see his drawings.
That wouldn’t do!
Even imagining it made her feel embarrassed.
While her profession wasn’t embarrassing or anything like that, she didn’t want to blatantly show the results of these desires to a man she wanted to appear presentable to.
Indeed, working for a while longer would be unreasonable.
Yes, postponing is the wisest choice!
“Why are you acting like that all of a sudden? Your face went from pale to red, and now it’s turning pink.
Are you playing with crayons?”
“Linus, I… uh…”
“Crayons? I said it’s serious!”
“What could be so serious?”
“Well, there’s something!”
Linus gave Cordelia a look that asked, “What’s going on?” Cordelia didn’t directly address her skepticism but turned to Noah instead.
“Right, we’ll be taking Noah along too.
Is that okay?”
“Do as you please.
If you’re accompanied by guards, I have no objections.”
“But, my lady…”
“I’ll send a separate message.
Don’t worry, you can go without any concerns.”
“Noah, are you okay? I could come with you.”
She felt a pang of conscience, wondering if he had his plans as well.
Lowering his head and fiddling with his fingers, Noah nodded.
“It’s okay, I’m quite free at the moment.”
“You’re famous these days.
Everyone’s complaining about not being able to make appointments with you.”
“Even so… if I can work, I don’t mind where I am.”
With an answer devoid of hesitation, he placed the bracelet he had crafted from wildflowers on the table.
He had been picking flowers on their walk earlier, so she wasn’t sure when he had made it.
The bracelet looked particularly small in his hands, perhaps because his hands were large.
“You’re giving it to me?”
“I like making things, but I’m not very interested in wearing them.”
Noah calmly spoke, his face once again returning to the expression he had when he had pushed her away.
Despite this, Cordelia replied with a bright smile.
“Despite all of this, you quite like me, don’t you?”
“Yes, I hold you in high regard.”
Noah’s unwavering answer was as calm as a windless lake.
Whether he recognized the fact that they would continue seeing each other or if he had decided to draw a line instead of fleeing, it was clear in his eyes.
Seeing through his intentions, Cordelia could only smile even more.
If she could endure it, she would.
And eyes were watching the two of them.
Linus leaned slightly toward Tiren and whispered.
“Is that a good idea?”
“Well, it should be fine.
Peaceful moments continued to pass by.
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