YCKTML Chapter 52
At first, I knocked carefully, but I didn’t hear anything from inside the room.
‘Are you still asleep? You don’t seem to be the type to sleep in.’
At this rate, I’ll have to go alone. I knocked hard on the door once more.
“Your Highness! Are you awake? If you don’t come, I’ll just go on my own!”
But when I knocked on the door, I could smell the same scent I had just smelled from nearby. I had a little ominous thought.
I turned the doorknob, but it didn’t open because it was locked from the inside. I looked around, but there was no one around, the hallway still engulfed in silence.
“Your Highness, I’m going in!”
I lifted my skirt, thinking I would just kick the door. But, just as I was about to lift my leg and kick it, the door suddenly opened.
My body tilted forward, and Enoch grabbed me as I was falling. I couldn’t even feel embarrassed because the thick burnt smell immediately assaulted my senses.
“Your Highness, have you slept this whole time?”
Blushing, I kept my gaze on his face. He looked as if he had just woken up, but he was still so handsome. His black hair was ruffled, and tight muscles peaked through his loosely draped nightwear.
I looked into his eyes, trying my best not to look down.
Was he still half-asleep? His slightly cloudy eyes blinked a few times before becoming more alert. He was still holding my arm.
“You must have been exhausted. Will you rest more? I can go alone.”
“No, no,” he replied urgently, shaking his head.
Enoch also seemed to smell the strange scent. After inhaling deeply, he frowned.
“It smells weird, doesn’t it? I’m not imagining it, right? Especially in this room…”
“Thank you for waking me up… I think it will be okay. I’ll get ready and go, Count.” He smiled at me and slowly let go of my arm, stroking his palm along my skin as he did.
“Oh, okay. But you’d better ventilate. Where and what are you burning–?”
“Please wait a moment.”
Enoch pushed me out of the room before I could finish speaking and closed the door. Did he hate showing his disorganized side?
Anyway, I headed to the drawing room to wait for him.
“Young Madam, I heard you called for me. I hope you slept well,” Richard, whom I had called in advance, greeted me.
“Richard, there’s a burnt smell in the castle. Are you burning something?”
“Burnt smell? We always incinerate trash outside the castle,” Richard sniffed around and tilted his head.
“Over there, the area around the Crown Prince’s bedroom was especially strong.”
Richard went around the area I mentioned, smelled it, shook his head, and returned to me. “I don’t know, Madam.”
“… Can’t you smell anything?”
“Yes, not at all. But just in case, I’ll come back in the afternoon and look around.”
I’m such Enoch smelled it, too, but Richard didn’t? Does Richard have rhinitis?
After a while, Enoch arrived, dressed in an immaculate black uniform, his messy hair slicked back.
“I’m sorry for keeping you waiting.”
“It’s alright. You’re properly dressed.”
“Well, we’re going to see someone important.”
Without answering that, I strode forward. Richard went out first and stood by the carriage outside.
But Melaton rushed out from behind.
“Your Highness! You must be leaving now.”
“That’s right. See you later.”
Enoch’s attitude toward Melaton had changed. He had treated him amicably yesterday, but now it was the complete opposite. Of course, no one would fault him for it.
“Uh, um… Yes.”
Melaton looked flustered, but eventually bowed his head.
“Have a safe trip. Take care of His Highness,” Melaton turned to me and said.
Soon, Chloe approached from the other side. She appeared in bright clothes with a refreshing smile on her face as if nothing had happened last night.
“I guess you’re going somewhere.”
It was ridiculous that she wasn’t making eye contact with Melaton.
“Yes, I am going to visit my father’s grave.”
“Oh, how nice. After all, you can’t ignore the bond of blood even with a father like that.” Chloe smiled sadly, hitting the first blow. Ha, you’ve crossed the line involving my parents.
“Well, I’m a noble. Respect for parents is fundamental. Like anyone else, I wasn’t taught to switch to another family as soon as my parents died.”
I didn’t hesitate to point out that Chloe became Count Andron’s adopted daughter as soon as Count Verezian died. Seeing her expression cracking was quite satisfying.
“Count Andron has cared for me for a long time… He felt sorry when I lost my father and welcomed me to his family. He’s a good person,” she muttered, lowering her gaze as if she were sad. It was Chloe’s signature look, the damsel in distress.
“…Is that so? Although considering things, he doesn’t seem to have much interest in his daughter, Lady.”*
“What do you mean?”
Enoch stared at me with interest while Melaton looked away as if it wasn’t his business. How hilarious.
“She’s such a beautiful young girl, but he doesn’t seem to care for her. With you there, the precious young daughter of Count Andron is in second place, so there’s nothing for you to worry about.”*
“Madam, what you’re saying is…”
“…Maybe he sees the Lady as his lover? Seeing as you always go there on your own.”
As she was with Rupert now, even if Chloe switched to Melaton’s side, she would still be nothing but a mistress. Pleased with Chloe’s distorted expression, I decided to make the final wedge.
Even for mistresses, being a lover of a married man was different from being a lover of an unmarried man. It was mainly commoners who became unmarried men’s lovers. Unmarried nobles were conscious of their reputation in society, so they didn’t date, and if they did, they tended to hide it.
This world saw ‘dating after marriage’ as perfectly acceptable and was the norm. It didn’t fit my values, but that’s how it was.
“The Clifford duchy has a lot of people and a lot of eyes. You know, the backyard garden is great for taking a walk at night.”
Chloe’s eyes widened at my words, and Melaton’s face had flushed red.
I smiled brightly at Enoch’s beautiful emerald eyes and said, “We should go, Your Highness. We’ve been delayed a lot.”
“I’ll take you.”
In the midst of this, Richard stayed in his spot and bowed to us politely.
Enoch took my hand as he escorted me up the carriage, then followed suit. Jenny loaded the luggage into the carriage’s compartment and climbed into the back with Richard.
I stared at the window behind the departing carriage to see that Chloe had not moved even a single step from her spot. I stared at her for a moment, then turned around to look ahead.
We’re on the way to the former Count Spilet. Suddenly, I wondered about Enoch’s thoughts.
“Has Your Highness seen my father often?”
“I wouldn’t say often, but I did see him. He was one of the families who supported me along with Duke Clifford.”
“I see. What kind of person was my father like?”
Enoch stared at me and said nothing for a moment. I waited quietly to give him time to think.
“I remember him as a serious and thoughtful man. He was so until his first wife… until she died.” Enoch spoke carefully, still staring at me.
The first wife he must be talking about was Erin’s mother.
“Then after she died?”
“As you know, he seemed to have changed a lot since he married his second wife and the group he spent time with had changed.”
I didn’t know, but I nodded anyway.
Come to think of it, Erin still had family left. I didn’t know if I’d call it ‘family,’ but the Count had a second wife and a son. I’d have to look into it later when I’d get a chance.
With that in mind, I looked out the window and saw the tombs gathered inside the low fence.
We must be near.
It was a cemetery, but the atmosphere wasn’t so gloomy. The trees and lawn were well maintained, and there was a small park and benches on one side.
“You just have to go and show Madam’s token.”
At Richard’s words, I went to the family shrine and showed him the Clifford token. The gatekeeper then bowed and opened the closed fence.
Jenny came over and handed me a bouquet of flowers, and Richard led me to the former Count Spilet’s grave.
「Arthur of the Spilet family rests here.」
The tombstone only had a short phrase without any modifiers. In the first place, no one would have been able to write his whole story.
I stood in front of the tomb and its headstone, laid down the bouquet, and bowed my head.
Enoch stood next to me silently and gave a brief salute.
In that short time, many thoughts crossed my mind.
This was Erin’s father. What should I say, having taken over her body?
Erin died because of the debt he had passed on to him. And now, that debt was mine. Erin’s fate was tragic, but I didn’t feel sorry for her.
‘Come to think of it, Erin doesn’t even have a grave.’
It wasn’t that I didn’t feel sad about it. I just hoped that the father and daughter would meet in heaven and have a conversation.
*Not 100% confident with this translation. Please take it with a grain of salt.
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