Claire swallowed dryly, with the man still holding her by the shoulder, but the question was soon resolved.


The man tugged on the purple glass necklace around Claire’s neck, causing her to take a step forward.


It meant standing very close to the man.


Claire’s eyes shifted around, not knowing what to do.


Why was he so interested in such crude tinted glass? Was she being punished for doing things that didn’t suit her?


…Maybe he was the owner of the necklace.


The man eyed the tinted glass carefully.
It looked like he was looking for a sign that it was his.


If this was the owner, she should return it, since she just picked it up off the road.


So, right now, she needed to unclasp the necklace and give it back.


But how?


In her hands was the meat and butter she bought to eat with Isabelle.
It meant that there was no hand free to unclasp the necklace.


Her hands were clammy with sweat from the tension, but she knew better than to stand there.


Claire mustered up her courage once again.


“Uh… look, I don’t have my hands free right now, but would you mind holding these for me?”


The man’s gaze bore into her.


Claire felt herself shrinking under his gaze.
She hadn’t thought of herself as timid, but apparently that wasn’t so.


“You’re the owner of the necklace, aren’t you? I’ll untie it and give it back to you in a moment.”


The man’s brow furrowed for a moment, then he took the two bundles from Claire’s arms with a grim face.


Claire quickly brought her hands to the back of her neck and tried to unclasp the necklace, but her hands slipped.
Her hands were slippery with sweat.


She wiped her hands on the hem of her skirt and tried again.
Just when she thought she was close, her hands slipped again.


The man was watching her with a cold stare.


If this didn’t work, should she ask the man to untie it for her? She took a deep breath, hoping it wouldn’t come to that.


Stay calm, Claire.


Calmly, ignoring the man’s stare, she reached up and found the clasp on the necklace.


She couldn’t let her guard down just because she was so close.


Claire tried carefully, this time with her fingernails instead of her fingertips.
On the third time, she finally succeeded.


She handed the necklace to the man with a sigh of relief and got her things back.


She wished he’d let her go now.
She felt very uncomfortable doing this in front of this man.


She thought they were done with each other, so she should just be able to say goodbye and leave.
Just as she was thinking that, the man’s mouth opened.


“Where did you get this?”


Claire hadn’t done anything wrong, but she felt like she’d done something bad.
Claire responded calmly.


“I picked it up.”




“In the birch grove.”


“Birch grove?”


“The birch grove surrounding Count Norton’s estate.”


“If you find a jewel, shouldn’t you report it first?”


Claire, who had been intimidated a moment earlier, felt increasingly uncomfortable with the man who had been snapping at her from the beginning of the conversation.


She knew she was wrong for not reporting the property, but she wondered if she deserved to be interrogated like this.


All of that was interrupted when he told her it was a jewel.


Claire looked up in surprise.


“A jewel?”


The necklace was dangling from the man’s hand.


“Yes, a jewel.
Did you think it was colored glass?”


“Yes… Of course I thought it was colored glass.”


Not a word came back from the man.
Only the sharp purple eyes that seemed to pierce Claire.


The man was suspicious of her.
Claire felt like she wanted to hit his chest.


Just as she was about to protest, the man looked away.


“Well, you’ve never seen jewelry before.”


“I didn’t realize, really.
I’m really sorry if you’ve been looking for it for a long time.”


The man replied with a nonchalant tone.


“It’s okay, ignorance is not a sin.”


Despite his assurances, Claire felt bad again.


Of course she was ignorant.
It wasn’t normal for commoners to see jewels, which were the exclusive property of the nobility.


Claire’s mouth twitched in frustration.


“Then why did you keep talking nonsense earlier?”


Before she could finish speaking, a slender man wearing glasses hurriedly approached them from behind.


Clive! You’re late for the meeting, what are you doing here?”


“I have to go.”


“What is that necklace?”


The man with the glasses asked.


“My grandmother’s memento.”


A memento.
Claire immediately felt like shooting herself in the foot for not reporting it as lost and found.


“Granddame Caitlin Norton?”


…Norton? Did he just say Norton?


Feeling lost, Claire’s gaze flickered back and forth between the two men.


Claire bit her tongue.
He was aNorton.


Suddenly she realized why he looked so familiar, even though she’d never seen him before.
She had seen the man’s picture in the local newspaper in Shadehill.


He was the second son of Count Norton.


Her memory was fuzzy, but she remembered the first young master being a gentle person.
So, this must be the second son.


Clive Norton.
Once she realized his identity, Claire could see why she felt like she was being interrogated.


No wonder, perhaps.
He was the High Constable of Shadehill.


Claire bit her tongue.


Suddenly I realized why he looked so familiar, even though I’d never seen him before.
I had seen the man’s picture in the local newspaper in Shadehill.


He was the second Earl of Norton.


My memory is fuzzy, but I remember the first master being a gentle person.
So it must be the second.


Clive Norton.
Once she realized his identity, Claire could see why she felt like she was being interrogated.


No wonder, he was the High Constable of Shadehill.


Since he was the owner of jewels, which are exclusive to nobles, he must be noble.
Claire was overcome with resentment, and wondered why he was speaking in a plain manner when he was a nobleman.


Claire involuntarily took a step back quietly, hugging tightly what was in her arms.
The desire to run away was mounting inside her.


“Ed, get the woman’s personal information.
This could be stolen.”


“Theft? All right.”


Clive, who said that ignorance wasn’t a sin, decided Claire was a suspect.
She told him she’d picked it up, but he thought it was stolen.


The man called Ed pulled a notebook and pen from his jacket.


Clive didn’t care what mood Claire was in; he checked the time nonchalantly.


“I’ll be off to a meeting.”


Clive’s gaze flicked briefly over Claire.


Claire, who was left behind, was only released after Ed wrote down her personal information, including her name, age, home address, and where she works.


She pleaded that she didn’t steal.
Ed said he didn’t think she was a thief.


She might get a reference check, but no big deal.


No big deal, he said in a nonchalant tone, but she didn’t believe him.




When Claire returned home, she was shaken and exhausted.
Isabelle, who’d arrived before Claire, turned on the gas light.


“Claire, what’s wrong with your face? Did something happen?”


Claire pulled out a chair at the kitchen table and sat down.
Isabelle came over, looking concerned, and stroked her cheek.
The touch was soothing.


“Just a glass of water.”


Claire looked stunned, and Isabel quickly poured her a glass of cool water.
Claire gulped it down without pause.






Claire stood up from where she’d been leaning back in her chair.


“I bought meat.
Let’s eat meat first.”


Revitalized by the glass of water, Claire began to chop the meat.


“Aren’t you going to tell me what happened?”


“I will, but first I’m going to eat some meat and get some strength.”


Isabelle laughed, as if it couldn’t be helped.
She watched Claire’s back as she stood up, turned on the stove, and pulled out the pan.


Such a spunky little sister.


Isabelle peeled and sautéed the carrots and potatoes.
She added them to Claire’s roast beef and it was a lovely dinner.


They finished dinner, catching up on their lives as if nothing had happened.


“Sis, can I sleep with you tonight?”


“For free?”


“You had a nice meal earlier.”


“It was delicious.”


Isabelle smiled.


After washing up and changing into their pajamas, they lay side by side in Isabelle’s bed.
The bed was small, so they were forced to lie close together.


Isabelle stroked Claire’s wavy hair over her shoulder.


“What happened to the necklace?”


It was a question she’d been meaning to ask since earlier.
Obviously, the necklace she’d left in the morning was gone by the time she returned.


Perhaps the reason she came back distraught was because of the necklace.


“The owner took it.”




Isabelle looked at Claire, wondering what she was talking about, but Claire was staring blankly at the ceiling.


“It wasn’t colored glass, it was a jewel.”


“That was a gem?”


“He said it wasn’t a sin to be ignorant, and not knowing the difference.”


“Who said that?”


“Master Clive said that.”


“Clive? Who is that?”


The name had never been a topic of conversation between Claire and Isabel, so Isabel didn’t immediately recognize who it was.


“The Count of Norton’s second son.
High Constable of Shadehill.
Master Clive Norton.”


“The necklace belongs to him?”


Isabelle looked up, a little surprised.


Oh my God, it was a keepsake from his grandmother Caitlyn Norton, who passed away the year before last.”




Isabelle sat up in surprise at the name of Caitlyn Norton.


Claire was still staring blankly at the ceiling.
Her complexion was visibly pale.


“Why was her taste so simple that you make people mistake it for colored glass?”


“…But, since you gave it back, maybe it’s okay?”


“No, I don’t think so.
He thought it might’ve been theft.
I might be accused of being a thief and be taken away by the police.”


“Did he send you home?”


“He wrote down my name, age, address, and even the fact that I work at Lemon House.
I might be dragged along on the way to work tomorrow.”


Her face looked as if she’d already been imprisoned.


“Do you know what they do to jewelry thieves? Do you think I can walk back on my own legs? No, I mean, do you think I can come back alive?”




Isabelle tried to cut her off, but Claire continued to mumble.


Maybe this is the last night I get to spend with my sister?”


Unable to let Claire’s increasingly imaginative mind wander, Isabel pinched her arm.
Very hard.


“Ouch! It hurts, sis!”


Claire wondered what was wrong with the normally upbeat girl.


“Because you’re talking nonsense.
Now shut up, and get some sleep.”


“I can’t sleep because I’m worried.”


“You’ll sleep, staying awake won’t solve anything.”


At Isabelle’s sobering words, Claire shut up and closed her eyes.


Yes, she thought.
Maybe after a night’s sleep, all of this will be forgotten.
She fell asleep with that hope.

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