YCKTML Chapter 49
What was that.
Why was Enoch hugging Chloe?
Of course, I could see with my own eyes that Chloe suddenly fell, and that’s why Enoch embraced her. But my heart couldn’t easily accept it.
Seeing the two of them so close reminded me that Enoch was the second male lead in the novel.
Even though their feelings were already far from the original, anxiety still flooded in.
Meanwhile, Rupert stuck to me like a leech.
“Look at that, Rupert. Your lover is down.”
This was all Rupert’s fault. Instead of taking care of his lover, he’s following me and saying useless things.
Rupert looked startled when I pointed in Chloe’s direction as if it was only then that he had seen her.
At that put, Enoch was about to put Chloe down on the chair. And when I say ‘put,’ I mean it. He just placed her there unceremoniously, and she looked like she was about to slide off.
Rupert looked at me and at Chloe, then walked over to her.
He straightened her, shook her gently, and looked at Enoch with a gaze I found quite disrespectful.
“What’s wrong with her?”
“I think she drank too much.”
But, Enoch, who answered him, did not bother to look at him as he continued to stare anxiously at me.
Seeing his embarrassed expression, looking as if he wanted to make an excuse, comforted my heart for a moment.
But Rupert, uneasy, looked at the two of us and eventually embraced Chloe.
“Excuse me for a moment.”
It was a relief to see him trudging towards the annex. That’s right. If you’re going to talk nonsense, just go in there and don’t come out.
“I’m sorry, Your Highness. It seems that something happened while I was away.”
At my words, Enoch waved his hand to deny it but suddenly changed his attitude.
“No… That’s right, Count. So, don’t leave your seat.”
While his tone was firm, yet his eyes fluttered to and fro, and he clenched and unclenched his fists, revealing his uneasy feelings.
Pretending to be sulky, I turned away from him.
“Why? You looked so sweet?”
“I… Count, it’s not like that…”
He couldn’t even hold me and instead hesitated behind me. As I turned my head slightly, I was surprised to see him closer than I thought.
My face, which had barely cooled, became warm again. I bowed my head and awkwardly said, “Ahem, Your Highness. First of all, would you like to go see the Duke first?”
“That would be nice.”
I approached the table of nobles without making eye contact with him.
It was to say goodbye. They stared at the Crown Prince with disappointment, but they couldn’t do anything about it.
“Then take your time. I’ll go in first.”
Anyway, the real reason he came here was to visit the Duke. I walked ahead, but I strolled alongside him when we entered the building.
As we made our way, I felt a little pathetic. I, too, was jealous that Enoch had touched Chloe when I was still Rupert’s wife anyway.
It’s not like I could accept Enoch’s heart.
“Count,” Enoch stopped and called me in a soft voice.
A little calmer than before, I turned to him.
“I was nervous. They said I was going too far.”
“I should thank His Majesty.”
“…I made the request first. As soon as I received the Count’s letter.”
My mouth opened slightly as soon as I understood the meaning of his words. Flustered, Enoch looked away before turning back to me again.
“However, there’s something I want to find out about that lady. Even if you see something, I hope you don’t misunderstand.”
“What… do you mean?”
“Shh,” He raised his index finger to his lips.
I wondered why he was doing that, then found out why a moment later.
The sounds of footsteps coming up the stairs grew louder. The source of the noise was none other than Eliana.
When she spotted us, her pace quickened, and she bowed to us. She then walked ahead as if to guide us.
From here on, it seemed right to accept her guidance. After all, she was the one who looked after Duke Clifford’s wellbeing.
Still, it was really worrying. Who was poisoning him?
After Eliana knocked, we entered the room to see the Duke sitting alone. He sat on the bed, rummaging through the papers, his gaze fixed on it. He was lying in bed just yesterday, but now he looks much better.
“I told you not to go, but did you have to go there to eat just because they called for you?”
Anyone who heard him nagging could feel his affection for her.
“I, Your Grace,” Eliana hesitated as she called the Duke.
The Duke glanced up at us, and as soon as he saw Enoch, his eyes widened.
“His Highness, the Crown Prince…? Is that you?”
“That’s right, Duke Clifford. How are you?”
As Enoch approached him, the Duke trembled and tried to get up. Seeing him struggle, Enoch assisted him to stay in bed.
“It’s alright. Don’t overdo it.”
“What brings you all the way here?”
“Aren’t you a loyal subject of the Empire? His Majesty sent me because he was worried.”
“This old man… As you can see, I couldn’t move until yesterday, but today I’m feeling a little better. Still, I’m glad to be able to sit and see Your Highness like this.”
As they talked, I turned to Eliana and asked, “What happened?”
“I don’t know either. He worsened rapidly a few days ago but got better after the Young Master and Young Madam visited yesterday.”
It’s a relief that he’s feeling better, but Enoch looked at the Duke at me, his expression thoughtful.
I mouthed, ‘Why?’
Enoch merely shook his head.
Eliana came closer and fussed over the Duke’s hair and clothes. “It was really tough. He suddenly passed out…”
She sighed. I watched as she continued to take care of the Duke meticulously, her genuine concern for him evident in her hands and eyes. Then, it wasn’t Eliana.
“Duke, I’ll call for a priest if necessary,” Enoch offered, but the Duke slowly waved his hand.
“No, you don’t have to call a priest just because I’m old. Say hello to His Majesty for me.”
“Alright. If you change your mind, please let me know.”
“Rather than that…” The Duke hesitated for a moment before continuing. “About my son. If he’s being incompetent or causing trouble for the Empire, please hit him anytime, Your Highness. It’s okay to do that.”
It was the first time the Duke had mentioned Rupert. Hearing those words, I realized that the Duke was truly a loyal servant of the Empire. But, on the other hand, I also realized that he must not have been a caring father to Rupert.
“Rupert is… He’s a great knight, Duke.”
The Duke neither denied nor affirmed those words. He only smiled faintly and placed his hand on Enoch’s.
“Anyway, I’m relieved to see His Highness all grown up. Now I can comfortably close my eyes.”
“Duke, don’t say that. You have to live a long time and share with me your opinion.”
My hands clasped together, I watched the two of them from behind Enoch. Duke Clifford looked at me for a moment with his wrinkled eyes.
“I’ve been forced to draw the relationship, but… I still don’t know if it’s a good thing.”
Enoch didn’t respond to those words.
Soon, the Duke waved his hand, and spoke to us in a tired voice, “Well, I think we need to get some eyes on the boy. I hope you enjoy your stay at this castle. Please stop by at least once before you go, Your Highness.”
“Of course. Then please rest.”
Eliana rushed over and laid down the Duke, and Enoch and I watched him in bed for a while before leaving the room.
After walking a few steps, Enoch stopped for a moment and said, “Count, can I talk to you for a moment?”
I nodded and led him to a small parlor close to my room on this floor. I didn’t use the drawing room on the first floor to avoid the eyes and ears of the people who came and went.
After asking Jenny to serve tea, we sat down on both sofas.
“It’s about the magic stone mine.”
As soon as I heard the subject, my eyes widened, and I straightened. He looked like he wanted to smile, and continued, “As soon as you come to the capital, you can go to work in my office. And….”
“You want me to work directly in your Highness’s office?”
Enoch raised the corners of his lips and nodded.
“I’ll officially announce it in the name of the Imperial family. And we will hire separate investors and miners to invest in initial capital. Then, the Count will come and see the interview in person.”
When he explained a specific schedule, it felt like something was finally starting. I wanted to go to the capital as soon as possible.
Perhaps he knew how I felt, because Enoch comforted me with a kind tone, “Once the announcement has been made, we’ll need time to gather anyway. Just relax. Of course, it’s not going to go well with me.”
“Why, Your Highness?”
At my question, he crossed his arms and shook his head sullenly. “Are you asking because you really don’t know?”
I just looked at him blankly.
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