YCKTML Chapter 28
After a strategic meeting with the commander of the Imperial Knights, Rupert went back to Chloe’s barracks.
Chloe, who was still pale, sat on the bed in the dark room as she watched Rupert enter.
“Why are you up? You should rest longer.”
“I’ve had enough rest. Rupert, the brooch… Did you give it to your wife?”
“Yes, I did. Why would you prepare all that? You’re too kind.”
Rupert sat on Chloe’s bedside, stroking her soft brown hair, before assisting her in lying down.
Chloe, who had been quiet, smiled weakly and said, “You gave me the ring, and I felt somewhat guilty… But, Rupert, if you were nice to her, maybe she’d hate me less.”
“But she already had a necklace that looked like it. It was all for nothing.”
“…is that so. But it’s the thought that counts.”
When Rupert heard that, he pulled back his hand stroking her hair and looked away, seemingly lost in thought.
Chloe, noticing the shift in his mood, called him. Rupert stroked his chin and muttered as if he was talking to himself, “No… She doesn’t hate you.”
“Rupert? What do you mean? How can she not hate me? She was the one who threatened my safety in the first place.”
“That may be true, but I don’t think she hates you now. Chloe, don’t worry about it.”
Rupert draped a blanket over Chloe’s body and stood up. “I’ll be back in the evening. Get some rest.”
Although his words were kind, Chloe could feel a subtle difference from the way he was leaving.
He would usually pat Chloe for quite some time, then kiss her goodnight whenever she was sick in bed.
Chloe, who watched him leave, raised one arm and revealed a magic stone bracelet indicating her identity.
After being adopted as Count Andron’s daughter, she was given a new bracelet. Originally, the magic stone was a brilliant and transparent gem, but Chloe’s had a subtle murky color inside.
“How long will it last this time? And she has a necklace…”
The corners of her lips rose, and she lowered her arm. Then she fell dead asleep again.
Sitting in front of the mirror, I was wearing an unusually modest dress. Lia braided my hair and left a few wisps to frame my face.
We were aiming for an undecorated look.
Soon the eve of the hunting competition was to begin.
On the eve, nobles dressed like commoners and dropped proper etiquette to play freely. It reminded me of ‘Yaja Time’ from my world because we’d be interacting with each other regardless of status.
They lit a bonfire, sat casually, drank beer that commoners drank, had a barbecue party on one side, and danced in pairs to exciting music on the other side.
Men sparred with their bare hands, and sometimes, men and women would secretly enter their barracks after making eye contact.
They said that the casual atmosphere on the eve of the hunting competition was part of tradition.
Nowadays, many people traveled together, weapons were well-developed, and people were more skilled, so there weren’t many deaths.
But in the past, only a small number of people were sent here to fight the monsters. So they drank, sang, and danced the night before the hunt to dispel their fears of what was to come the next day.
The custom continued to this day and has developed into a play culture for the nobles. As I listened to the story, I thought the nobles really worked hard and enjoyed themselves.
“Madam, close your eyes for a moment.” Lia powdered my face and applied a light-colored lip gloss on my lips. “Is this alright?”
I took the hand mirror that Lia had given me and tilted my face as I stared at the reflection.
Erin looked good with heavy makeup because of her attractive features, but fresh makeup looked just as good since she was still young. Her hair tied high added to her liveliness.
“Yes. Thank you, Lia. Good work.”
When I exited my barracks, people were already out and about. Everyone was dressed comfortably and freely, unlike their usual attires. Seeing the bonfires and the flushed faces most likely due to alcohol, it was clear that they were enjoying themselves.
On one side, musicians played accordion and saxophone, and people danced cancan to the sound of castanets.
As I was contemplating where to go, I found the Marchioness of Raphael waving at me. Relieved, I was about to make my way to her until someone blocked my way.
“Wow, Lady. Are you having a good time?”
Who was this? A drunken man holding onto a bottle of wine approached me. He must be a nobleman, but I wasn’t sure since I hadn’t been to many social events yet.
“Enjoy yourself,” I said to dismiss him, but he didn’t give up and followed after me.
“Today’s the night before the hunt. If you get to know me, I’ll give you my score. What do you say?” He pounded his chest and smiled to himself.
I was almost by Mrs. Raphael’s party, but this man wouldn’t leave.
It was an informal event, so some people might go overboard like this. I didn’t really mind.
Unless you do this to me.
“You have nothing to be ashamed of, Lady.”
When I refused to answer, he tried to grab my wrist. The audacity! I quickly pulled my hand back and smiled.
I must have hurt his pride because he suddenly said in a loud voice, “Heh, I heard your husband has a lover. If you continue acting so snobbish, you’ll end up sucking your own fingers, alone and discarded.”
I was suddenly filled with anger and shame. I tried to refuse nicely, but I couldn’t stand it anymore and sharply said, “You don’t really look in the mirror, do you? You’re not my type. I’d rather suck my pretty fingers than dance with some knight to get points.”
I waved my fingers at his face. I could hear muffled laughter here and there.
The man blushed and growled. Then he suddenly took a few steps back and started taking off his gloves. Hmm?
I wanted to avoid any more fuss. I turned around and tried to escape, but the man became more agitated and raised his voice, “Hey! Where are you going?”
About ten steps away from me, the man threw a glove, but it hit a passer-by. I recognized him and my eyes widened.
Enoch narrowed his eyes and hissed, then turned to the man, pretending not to know anything.
“I didn’t know I was going to get a glove while passing by. Are you challenging me to a duel?”
The drunk man jumped back. No matter how intoxicated he was, he didn’t seem to be ignorant of the Imperial Crown Prince’s identity.
“Ack! N-no, that’s not it.”
It was hilarious. I took a step back, covering my twitching lips with my hand.
“Who are you?”
In a hurry, the man kneeled on the floor, banging his knee. Ow! That must hurt.
“M-my name is Ron Brindel, the second son of Earl Brindel.”
“Right, Sir Ron. Stand up. You applied for a duel, so I have to respond. Ah, ignore the fact that I’m the Crown Prince.”
“No, I, I didn’t mean… That woman…” The man pointing at me bent his fingers as his words trailed off.
Enoch looked in the direction he was pointing and shrugged. “There is no way you would have challenged the Lady over there to a duel. Then, it had to be me. I don’t know why you hate me so much, but I will humbly accept your challenge.”
“Come on then. I won’t hold you accountable if I die today by you.”
People gathered around as if they had an exciting sight to see.
“What are you waiting for! Ron! His Highness said he didn’t mind! Fight!”
Enoch was in a clumsy fighting stance and flicked his fingers as if provoking his opponent. Then Ron, who was trembling, slowly got up, wiping his legs.
“Are you really not going to punish me for this?”
It really looked like there was going to be a duel. What should I do? Can I leave this as it is? But it was already too late. People were already betting on who would win.
“Waah! Ron, I’m betting on you! Fight properly!”
“Kyaa! Your Highness, you can do it!”
Most of the women cheered for Enoch. Regardless if they thought he had a chance of winning or not, they seemed to be cheering for him because of his good looks.
Ron looked bigger, but Enoch was still Enoch. Ah, you can’t use magic here, can you?
As I looked around, half worried and half cheering, my eyes met Rupert on the other side. And next to him was Chloe, her arms linked with his.
He looked like he had something to say to me, but I got upset and looked away.
After all, the root cause of this was him!
 야자타임 (yajataim) is when Koreans treat each other the same and speak informally to one another, regardless of age and position. They sometimes do this for fun or as an ice-breaker.
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