YCKTML Chapter 47
“Rupert, your heart must be broken because the Duke is sick,” Enoch offered words of comfort to Rupert, who was standing next to me.
“I will engrave the Emperor’s consolations in my heart.”
Instead, Rupert thanked the Emperor who sent him, not the Crown Prince in front of him.
To me, the intention was too obvious, but on the surface, there was no problem. After all, the Crown Prince came here because of the Emperor’s orders.
“Of course, I’ll deliver it to him when I return.”
The short conversation ended with the Crown Prince tapping Rupert on the shoulder.
Anyway, now I had to be the hostess of this castle, so I walked a little ahead and said, “This way, Your Highness.”
But Rupert came up to me and tried to hold my hand again. Then, while I flinched a little, Enoch turned his head to look at Chloe behind him.
“So, Lady Andron was also here.”
“Yes. I greet Your Highness the Imperial Crown Prince.”
As a result, Enoch naturally escorted Chloe, who was alone. Yet, as I stared at that scene, something in my heart went cold.
“Come on. You have to guide.”
I glanced to the side to see that Rupert didn’t seem to mind what was happening.
Wasn’t he jealous that another man was escorting his lover and such a handsome prince at that? Was I jealous, too?
Even though the thought startled me for a moment, I continued to walk at a leisurely pace, maintaining a gentle smile on my face.
It was warm thanks to the sun shining brightly, but fortunately, it was cool under the shade of the tree. After escorting Chloe there, Enoch bowed lightly and came closer to me. At the same time, I let go of Rupert’s hand.
“Sit this way, Your Highness.”
The nobles were wary of each other and chose seats close to us according to their rank.
“Your Highness, you look taller every day. My nephew is like that, too. Seeing the two of you together makes the Empire’s future seem brighter,” Count Melaton Clifford said as he sat down to the Crown Prince’s left.
I was to Enoch’s right, and next to me sat Rupert.
One seat was empty, but it looked okay. While servants came and went carrying bread and appetizers, a shout suddenly came from a table a little away from us.
“There is no place for you! Did you come down here knowing where you were?”
It was the table with Chloe. I looked up to see what was going on and saw Miss Eliana.
I didn’t call her on purpose because I thought something like this would happen if I did, so why was she here?
“I am… They told me to come down.”
Viscount Marend asked in a sharp voice, “Who are you?”
“The maid serving His Grace…”
Then Chloe got up and led Miss Eliana to her seat.
“There must have been some misunderstanding. But how can we just send someone back after coming down like this? Since she is serving the Duke and is by his side, I ask for your understanding, Viscount.”
I didn’t know why she was asking for his understanding. Did you pity her for being a lover, as well? And I certainly didn’t call for Miss Eliana.
Chloe led Eliana and had her sit on her spot. The newcomer looked around pitifully, looking completely helpless.
“Then where are you going to sit, milady? There’s no room now.”
Chloe smiled awkwardly and looked around, saw the remaining seat on this central table, and lowered her gaze to look away.
“…Well, I don’t think I can sit there.”
Upon hearing it, Rupert stood up and pointed to the remaining chair and asked me, “Can I let her sit here?”
I stared at Rupert in disbelief then turned to Enoch. While I was contemplating what to do with his rude behavior, Enoch nodded lightly in my place and said, “There’s space left, so she can come over here.”
Since Enoch had said so, I had nothing to say. Instead, I looked into his eyes as I gripped my fork, and Enoch slightly raised the corners of his mouth.
Chloe approached and bowed to those seated and then sat down in a chair that Rupert had taken out.
“You worked hard. You probably couldn’t sleep well last night.” Rupert sat down again and praised me for my hard work, but the nuance of his words was strange.
“No, it’s all thanks to the hard work of my subordinates. And I slept very well last night.”
“That’s right. You always sleep well.”
What the h*ll was this guy talking about? We’ve never slept in the same room.
I cut the steak on my plate into small pieces and looked sideways at Enoch. Enoch glanced at me with a thin look, tilting the glass of champagne into his mouth.
As I was about to speak, Count Melaton Clifford intervened without notice, “As expected, it’s warm because of the sunlight, Your Highness. How does the champagne taste? Isn’t it a very mellow scent?”
“It’s champagne made from grapes harvested in the Clifford estate. The amount of sunlight is good, so now is the perfect season.”
Enoch put down his champagne glass and stirred it lightly. His lips were raised, but his eyes were cold.
Oh, I don’t know. I eventually put a glass of champagne to my lips. The sweet scent and bitter taste mingled together in my mouth.
Enoch asked, “How about the Count, do you think it tastes good?”
“Ah, I’m fine with it, too.”
“That’s a relief. Then I’ll pour you another glass.”
The Crown Prince himself picked up the bottle and poured it into my glass. W-what, why are you doing this?
When our eyes met, Enoch showed a pretty but mischievous look.
Could it be… was he jealous?
“Eat this too. You’re too skinny.” Rupert suddenly sliced the baked potatoes from his plate and placed them on mine.
I didn’t really like potatoes. So I didn’t know why Rupert was trying to take care of me without even knowing that.
In the meantime, I could see Enoch’s eyes turning toward Chloe once in a while. Come to think of it, I felt that Enoch was particularly concerned about Chloe.
As soon as I saw Chloe, I understood why. Today, she was pretty. I thought the bright dress would be appropriate for a fancy ball at night, but it looked even better under natural light.
Cherry-colored red lips, a modest gaze, and gentle hand movements showed that she was the female lead.
But she, who was quiet, suddenly said, “Madam… What are you going to do with the magic stone mine you found?”
“Why are you curious about that?”
“I just…” Chloe glanced at Rupert and wiped her lips with a napkin. “Madam is lucky, so I think it’s a great pleasure for the Clifford family. Congratulations to both of you.”
Chloe looked at Rupert and Melaton alternately.
I put down the fork and knife I was holding and looked at her with a smile on my face. I could endure her touching my husband, but I couldn’t stand her touching my money.
“Strange. His Majesty recognized it as something owned by Count Spilet. Well, I’ll still accept your congratulations for me. Thank you, Lady Andron.”
“Isn’t it right to manage the couple’s property together?” Chloe asked, pretending to be innocent with that wide-eyed look on her face.
“Is that so? Well, I was wondering if His Grace would like me to manage the Duke’s estate? What do you think?” I asked, turning to Rupert.
Taking over the finances of the townhouse and taking care of the Duke’s household were two different things.
It was a matter of becoming the de facto ruler of the duchy.
“Let’s talk about that later. I don’t think this is the right topic for this party, Chloe,” Rupert scolded Chloe and cautioned her.
Again, the reaction was as expected. There was no way that this wary young master would suddenly hand over the management of the Duke’s estate. I didn’t mean to receive it. I had no intention of getting it either.
Most of the conversations that came and went after that were trivial. However, one thing was oddly worrisome– Melaton was expressing a subtle interest in Chloe.
As he drank, he tapped her wrist with his hand and said, “Milady’s wrists are thin and pretty. Is this bracelet opal? It’s such a mysterious color… It goes really well with your fair skin.”
“Thank you, Count.”
And Chloe didn’t show much displeasure from his actions.
The stranger thing was Rupert. He didn’t care when his uncle was harassing Chloe. Rather, he was preoccupied with arguing with Enoch over me.
“I couldn’t tell you then, but thank you for saving my wife, Your Highness.”
“It’s nothing. You don’t have two bodies, so how can you take care of two women? Thanks to that, I caught a monster and won first place.”
Enoch didn’t hold back either.
The bread I was eating got caught in my throat, and I coughed while covering my mouth with a napkin.
At the same time, a glass of water and juice were held out in front of me.
“Count, are you okay?”
“You should eat slowly.”
I couldn’t stand this anymore, so I jumped out of my chair.
“Well, I’ll be out for a second.”
I felt like I was constantly being swayed by others. This really wasn’t like me. Fanning my red face with my hands, I rushed out of the scene.
Want to read more? Head over to Ko-fi to access the next chapters.