YCKTML Chapter 22
Early in the morning, when Rupert entered the room, he was startled at what he saw but tried not to make a sound. Instead, he slowly made his way to the bed, keeping his steps light.
Erin was sleeping soundly on his bed. As he watched her, he still couldn’t believe it.
‘Why did I say that?’
He just told Erin to rest in his room, but he didn’t know she would really sleep there.
Rupert had never actually let anyone into his room. Chloe wasn’t an exception. Usually, he’d go to Chloe’s room.
It was because of trauma.
As a child, he remembered someone hiding in his room and trying to kill me, so Rupert hasn’t been able to let anyone else into his room yet.
It was foreign and awkward to hear the sound of this woman’s breathing in his room. But seeing her sleeping soundly, Rupert had the urge not to wake her up. He wanted to see a little bit more.
An uncomfortable but not unpleasant feeling confused Rupert.
It was a slightly different feeling from the pity he had felt with Chloe. Chloe was usually weak and often fainted, so he always treated her with care, as if she were made of glass.
But Erin was different.
‘I thought you were strong.’
So he left her alone.
To be honest, Erin was right that he didn’t know how to treat her.
Rupert couldn’t abandon Chloe, but at the same time, he cared about Erin. Although he was well aware of his inconsistency, he could not control it.
These days, Rupert couldn’t help but seek out and pay attention to Erin. But then, for some reason, he’d get angry. Now that he was noticing Erin, Erin didn’t seem to care about him anymore.
As if the sun shining through the curtains was disturbing her sleep, Erin groaned in her sleep, frowning.
Rupert walked cautiously, closing the gap between the curtains, and checked behind him. After confirming that the room had become dark, he moved back where he had been looking at Erin earlier.
The room was dimly lit, but he had no problem seeing as he was used to it. In addition, Rupert was an excellent swordsman, so he had much brighter night vision than the average person.
With that splendid sight, he stared at Erin’s lips, now slightly open.
Her red lips twitched with every breath she took, and the rose-pink hair that loosely framed her face painted a lovely picture.
‘I want to touch it.’
Rupert thought for a moment and then slowly reached out to her. Her hair was very soft as it easily wrapped around his fingertips.
Rupert stroked Erin’s hair a few times like that, then, as if shocked by his actions, stopped his hands and stepped back.
Then he quickly opened the door and walked out.
“So the Count is safe.”
“Yes, Your Highness.”
At the Prince’s office. Enoch was sitting at his office desk, receiving a report from someone.
The man in front of him was Viscount Therien, Enoch’s closest aide, and an outstanding knight.
Viscount Therien was originally a commoner but was selected by the Crown Prince for his skills and was awarded the noble title.
In public, he was one of the Prince’s escort knights. However, the mission of his team was quite different from that of a typical escort knight.
Ambush, stealth, infiltration, and assassination were the specialties of Therien and his men, and more recently, he was tasked with monitoring the Duke of Clifford’s townhouse and tailing Rupert.
“Any other report?”
“There’s definitely something. The Lord often visits social clubs these days. He didn’t hang out with other people there. It seemed like he’d go straight to the VIP room.”
Enoch just nodded without saying a word. Viscount Therien’s continued, “The woman was in and out of the slum a few days ago. What would a noble lady do there?”
“Did you figure out exactly where she was going?”
“I couldn’t get close because there was a magic barrier around it.”
“A magic barrier… She’s hiding something.”
Enoch raised the corners of his lips slightly and pondered.
In this world, magic was not exclusive to the Imperial family. If it were, it probably wouldn’t have been possible to maintain many magical power units.
Among ordinary people, magicians often appeared. However, to properly express their abilities as wizards, they had to study a lot, memorize complex formulas and memorize long spells.
On the other hand, successive emperors and princes who inherited the blood of the legendary archmage Rikephoros, the first emperor, did not need such modifiers or spells.
Of course, they also needed to study a little, but their abilities were unmatched.
“I also looked and saw that the grass behind the annex where she was staying was charred and withered.”
Enoch crossed his legs and leaned back on his chair. He stroked his chin as he murmured, “Things like that are usually related to black magic. Interesting.”
Viscount Therien glanced at Enoch. He expected the situation to become serious, but Enoch remained relaxed.
“I wonder if this has anything to do with Prince Breiman…”
“It would be hard to persecute a member of the Imperial family unless there’s concrete evidence. Rupert is also the Duke’s son. Keep an eye on them. And…”
It was then that Enoch’s confident tone faltered.
“The Count… What is she doing in that house? What time did she wake up in the morning?”
“…Pardon? Your Majesty, to inquire into Madam’s private life… Ahem, it’s ungentlemanly.”
“I know,” Enoch got up, muttering bitterly, and walked around the desk towards the door. “I know. It’s just frustrating.”
Viscount Therien kept his head down until Enoch left. And after he disappeared, he went out too. After that, he would return to his position again.
It was late in the afternoon when I woke up. I couldn’t figure out why I slept for so long, but anyway, I slept soundly and felt refreshed.
I decided to go to the library and take some time to think about what to do in the future. So I asked Jenny for tea, sat down by the desk, and pulled out a quill.
“In the original story, Chloe…”
Knock, knock, knock–.
I shuddered at the sound of the knock and quickly hid the paper I was writing on into the drawer.
Rupert and Richard entered my study together. What’s going on with you two?
Rupert looked displeased, and Richard determined. Rupert tossed the stiff wads of paper he was holding onto my desk.
“What is this?”
“This is a ledger that records the income and expenses of the townhouse,” Richard answered instead. My eyes widened, and I picked up one of them.
“Why is it here…”
“You don’t need to do it if you don’t want to. Even if you don’t have to take on this headache-inducing task, it doesn’t affect your living arrangements here.”
Although nominally managed by Rupert, in reality, it was probably managed by Chloe.
I came to that conclusion because the attitude of the servants, including the maid, Thelma, was too polite a treatment for a lover.
Naturally, those who hold the key to the safe would have power. But did Chloe just give up? Why are you giving this to me?
Perhaps there was Richard’s intervention, but did his appearance alone make such a difference in treatment? Would Chloe stand still?
“If you are having a hard time…”
“No, I’ll look at it.”
When I answered confidently, Rupert turned his head away from me with a puzzled look on his face. What’s wrong with him?
Richard nodded, pleased. “Okay, madam. Let me know if you have any difficulties. I will be here until the day after tomorrow.”
“… two days later? You’re leaving?”
It’s going away, Richard’s presence and support. I looked at him with a face full of regret.
“But the Young Master and Madam will soon go to the monster hunting contest.”
“Well, that’s right.”
Monster Hunting Competition? It was a significant event. I just didn’t know it was around this time.
If I had known, I would have prepared myself, but it was futile.
As I stiffened, Rupert strangely said, “It was held every year in the northern provinces, so why are you surprised? But, of course, this will be your first time attending.”
“Right, as you said, it’s my first time attending,” I answered back to hide my discomfort. Then I kicked them both out. “I want to look at the ledger. Can you please leave?”
Richard walked out, and Rupert looked at me suspiciously and left. As soon as they left, I took the paper I had been jotting down on the desk and looked at it.
“A monster hunting contest…”