YCKTML Chapter 42
Just before entering the barracks, I looked back for a moment. Rupert looked at me with a face stained with anger and betrayal. His eyes were red, and he looked like he was about to cry.
Why are you looking at me like that?
I was so startled that I couldn’t move. I only came back to my senses when I saw Chloe grab his arm.
“Rupert, come on. Let’s go,” she said, pulling helplessly. Rupert remained frozen as a wooden doll but was dragged away.
I couldn’t believe a person like that could make such an expression. I almost misunderstood for a moment. Even so, it wouldn’t change anything.
With a small sigh, I finally came into the space prepared for me. It was easier to breathe because I had finally escaped people’s eyes.
I sat down on the bed and closed my eyes for a moment. I didn’t even notice my fingertips were shaking. With a deep breath, I looked down at my hand again.
Although I had planned everything based on the novel, I really didn’t expect to achieve what I had. Moreover, more than half, if not more, was done with Enoch’s help.
But, I was happy. I was thrilled that I had done something. I couldn’t make a sound because I didn’t want people outside to hear, but I clasped my hands tightly and let out a silent shout into the air. I was rich!
“I, um… ahem.”
“Ack,” I turned my head, startled by the coughing sound from behind me. Enoch, halfway through the curtain.
He covered his mouth with his fist, seemingly desperate to hold back his laughter. My whole face burned, no doubt completely red, and I turned my head away.
“If you want to laugh, you can laugh.”
“Oh, haha, no. You looked so happy,” Enoch said, finally laughing as he went inside the barracks. Maybe it was because I had spent the day at his secret camp, but being in the same room wasn’t so awkward.
I stood to prepare the water for the tea. When I scooped some tea leaves, I noticed that they had already turned black.
I sniffed the can and tilted my head. It didn’t smell weird, so was it because of the moisture?
Enoch reached out his hand as if asking for the tea leaves.
“I think the tea leaves are spoiled. It’s only been a day. What’s wrong with it?”
“It’s better not to drink it. If you want tea, I’ll call for a person…”
“No, it’s fine. I’m going to clean up here,” I said as I sat across from Enoch.
In this calm atmosphere, I stared quietly at him– neat black hair, beautiful eyes that reminded me of emeralds, a high nose bridge, and sharp jawline, and broad shoulders and narrow waist.
As I continued to look at him, his bright smile muddled my thoughts.
How would my life change after I get divorced?
Although I had the rights to the magic stone cave, it would still take time to make a profit, pay off my debts, and get a divorce.
I would safely get divorced, earn money, get my own house, but then what? Would I retreat from society and live in solitude or enjoy the splendid single life and stir up the social world?
Then what would Enoch do then? Who would Enoch– who had feelings for me– have as his Crown Princess?
I shook my head at the endless thoughts. Even though a mountain’s worth of concerns was in front of me, there was no point in thinking too far ahead.
Furthermore, my life right now was complicated enough as it is, and the uncertain future with the Crown Prince only added to the confusion.
While I was lost in thought, Enoch, too, was staring at me. I cleared my throat, ignoring the significant look he was giving me.
“What brought you here? Do you have anything to say?”
“Yes, Count. I think I have to go back to the capital a little early because I have something to do.”
“Oh… I see.”
Looking at it from afar, the Crown Prince always looked busy. Now, the people should know that the crown prince is so diligent. He would probably be a good Emperor.
It was a pity he had to leave. When would we see each other again?
“By the time the magic stone mine development is in full swing, we will set up a seat for Count.”
“A seat…? Oh.”
“Didn’t you say you wanted to participate?”
“That’s right, but I didn’t think you would make a separate seat for me.”
“You will need an official position to work.”
I nodded lightly at his explanation.
Enoch gazed at me, his hand on his chin. He pursed his lips and was about to speak, but instead, he closed his mouth.
Eventually, I asked, “Why?”
“I happened to hear it, uh… that you’re planning to divorce,” he answered in a much lower and careful voice than before. Listening to him, I could see why he hesitated. I calmly waited for him to continue.
“I think it would be better if you didn’t go to the Duke’s house. You’ll have a hard time if you keep bumping into Rupert.”
I agreed with Enoch. Staying in the same house with Rupert was like living with a time bomb. But when it comes to human affairs, you have to organize things yourself.
“But I have nowhere to go right now. When I have enough funds, I’ll set up a townhouse then…”
“I will prepare a place for you to stay in the Imperial Palace.”
“It won’t be hard to do. Among those who work in the Imperial Palace, residences are provided for those who have difficulty commuting to work. When the Count is in the Imperial Palace, it’s easier to deal with each other, and…”
I blinked, looking at him intently to see if he was serious. Then I saw his neck turn red, and he looked away. His reaction made me feel playful.
“Hmm, are you thinking of anything more?”
Enoch flinched at my words. The redness on his neck rose to his face, and he wouldn’t look me in the eye.
“That…” He gripped his nape, closed his lips, and looked straight at me. “My heart is.”
His response caught me off guard, leaving me momentarily speechless.
Belatedly, I covered my red face with both hands, breathed heavily, and exhaled.
Was I anxious?
He’d been helping, protecting, and confiding in me the whole time, but I think I was still apprehensive.
After being betrayed once in my previous life, I was deeply aware of the uncertainty of the emotion of love, so it was hard to believe anyone who said that they had feelings for me.
But still, his words made me happy.
“Count Spilet? Are you upset?” Prince Enoch, who had always been confident, was carefully looking at me.
I took another deep breath and lowered my hand to face him.
What should I do? He was the Crown Prince of an Empire. Could this person be a part of my future? No, did I even have a place in his?
I couldn’t think of an answer that would assure me.
In the end, I looked at him with a calm face and raised the corners of my lips slightly, “Thank you for your consideration, Your Highness. Let me think about it.”
Anyway, even if I couldn’t leave the house right away, it would be good to have a place to stay just in case, whether in the Imperial Palace or anywhere else.
He smiled wryly at my polite attitude and lowered his gaze.
Yes, not yet.
I watched him get up slowly.
“Then, I’ll see you in the capital.”
At the short greeting, I nodded, and Enoch hesitated for a while before disappearing out of the barracks.
He’d only left the room, but now it looked exceptionally empty. I must have gotten used to his presence that the lack of it affected me so.
My heart was walking on a tightrope.
‘No, I have to hold on,’ I thought as my eyes remained glued to his chair.
After sitting in a daze for a while, I decided to call Lia.
“I need to pack.”
Fortunately–or unfortunately– since they thought I had died, they burned all the clothes I had brought to the hunt, so I had less than half of what I had to take with me.
I packed up with Lia and had a servant load it on the carriage. It seemed that Enoch had left first, just as he had said earlier.
One by one, people started leaving in their carriages. Has Rupert gone with Chloe? It’s kind of funny that I was worried about the husband I was about to divorce soon.
With that in mind, I was about to hold Lia’s hand to try to get on the carriage, but someone else grabbed my hand.
I sat inside and saw that it was Rupert. His previous heightened expression disappeared, and he looked as calm as usual.
Thanks to that, I was still able to have a normal conversation.
“You haven’t gone yet?”
“Let’s ride together.”
“…Why? How about Lady Chloe?”
“I sent her ahead because she wasn’t feeling well. I don’t have a carriage to ride.”
When I frowned and didn’t answer, Rupert sighed and said, “Please, I have work to do, and I have to go back to the capital.”
I was a little puzzled by his serious request, because I thought he would have gotten angry if it didn’t go his way.
I flinched again at his words. Why did this person become nice? Was he always this kind of person? Was it because of the guilt?
Shaking off the questions that bothered my thoughts, I looked out the window to avoid seeing him sitting across from me.
The imperial carriage set off smoothly.
I thought he would say something about the carriage, but thankfully, he didn’t.
After a long stretch of silence, he spoke unexpectedly in a calm voice, “Are you hurt anywhere?”
Startled, my eyes widened. I blinked, then answered, “No, I’m fine.”
Rupert then smiled faintly and nodded as if relieved.
His change in attitude flustered me, so I looked out the window that had just gotten dark. We were nearing the capital.
Before I knew it, most of the warm energy had disappeared in the air. The green fields slowly turned yellow, creating red waves in the setting sun.
Even though I felt Rupert’s gaze on me, I didn’t look at him until the end.
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