YCKTML Chapter 55
Viscount Therien, who had been staring at Enoch’s back, suddenly spoke in a much lower voice, “But it was dangerous, letting her into the room.”
His gaze then shifted towards the eastern part of the building. Enoch shrugged, moved away from the window, and turned to Therien.
“I didn’t let her in. She sneaked in last night.”
Therien didn’t even blink at his excuse.
“You know, you left me alone, didn’t you? Thanks to you, I was hit by the incense.”
There was no way that a person as strong as Enoch could not have detected such a low-quality magician sneaking in. However, it was also true that it was dangerous to have been so complacent.
“I didn’t know they’d come wearing such a troublesome thing. Maybe they used it because things didn’t work as they’d planned, but if Count hadn’t come to wake me up, I would have overslept even more. I only noticed it later, but the Count seems to be much more sensitive.”
In the midst of this, Enoch expressed his admiration for Count Spillet. His admiration sounded more like boasting about one’s person than just pure respect.
This was why Viscount Therien didn’t believe the Crown Prince when he said he didn’t trust her.
“Then… What did the witch say?” Therien didn’t mention the name, but they both knew who he was talking about.
Raising his eyebrows, Enoch said, “She wanted to join forces.”
“An enemy of an enemy is a friend, and she told me to let her have Rupert. Then she thought it would be nice for me to have the lonesome Count.”
Therien almost laughed. “She’s pretty naive for a witch.”
“Yeah. So, I guess she’s just listening to someone’s orders and naively using black magic,” Enoch muttered sadly, yet the corners of his mouth raised. Unlike his tone, his eyes showed no sympathy.
The fact that she had dabbled with black magic was proof of her greed. Being naive was a different matter.
“Obviously, you refused.”
“It was interesting, but not enough to join hands with someone so dirty.”
“You were quite honest.”
Enoch crushed the carpet with his feet and kicked it. There was something like ash under his feet.
“Count Spilet saw what she was doing last night. The thought that she had defiled the Count’s eyes, I guess I became more sincere without realizing it.”
His words suddenly annoyed Viscount Therien, but in the end, he gave up and decided to just get used to this conversation.
“So what are you going to do next?”
“…the Duke’s life is already coming to an end. Surprisingly though, she’s not after the Duke’s life. I’m jut helping out with guiding things. As long as Count isn’t in danger…”
“Is it okay for Rupert to become Duke as he is now?”
Enoch smiled, then he turned and looked out the window again.
The flag of the Clifford duchy fluttered outside the window. With a white shield on a red background, the family’s symbol meant the ‘protector of the Empire.’
Long ago, the Clifford family pledged allegiance to the first Emperor, archmage Rikephoros, and generations after generations made a blood oath to continue that.
Still staring at the flag, Enoch said, “For now.”
Whether they liked it or not, Cliffords would remain loyal to them unless they released their oath.
The next morning, after stopping by the Duke’s room, I slowly walked down the hallway in a daze.
The Duke looked much better than he did yesterday. I couldn’t believe his health had gone back and forth like this. Was that why Enoch said to observe his condition for a day? Thanks to that, we ended up not calling the priest.
There were only a few priests with healing powers, and they were incredibly busy as they traveled all over the continent to make use of their divine powers. So, even if one was a member of the Imperial family, they could only call for a priest if it was really urgent.
Still, it disturbed me that the Duke’s condition changed from day to day, and not because of his age or an illness.
But all I knew was a fragment of information from the novel. So while the situation was strange, I couldn’t think of a clue.
The scent that only I could smell, did that have anything to do with the Duke’s condition? But I didn’t have enough knowledge about it to judge it.
“I should ask him one more time.”
I didn’t think he would tell me this time, but I couldn’t help it. Enoch was the only one who knew about this.
My pace quickened as soon as I made up my mind. As I quickly descended the stairs, I ran into the maid, climbing up with two teacups on a tray.
The teacup was filled with a dark liquid?
What was it? For a moment, I hesitated.
The moment I passed by the maid who bowed to me, I deliberately tapped her shoulder and walked ahead.
The tray shook, and the two teacups fell to the floor and shattered. The maid, bewildered, looked at me in resentment.
I looked her straight in the eyes, and then the maid looked down.
“What’s your name?”
“…My name is Lenin, Madam.” The disrespectful gaze disappeared, and she clasped her hands together and bowed.
Then I smelled it again. I couldn’t tell if the smell was coming from the maid or the spilled tea.
“Where did this tea come from?”
“From the kitchen… I was on my way to deliver it. It’s brewed with tea leaves and medicinal herbs as it is said to be helpful for the Duke’s condition.”
In a roundabout way, she was blaming me for ruining something precious. I nodded slightly but didn’t change my expression. “I see, but don’t take things without a doctor’s prescription.”
“This is what Eliana ordered.”
Frowning, I spoke in a more stern voice. “Which do you think has more seniority in this family, me or Eliana?”
“…that, it’s Madam,” Lenin stuttered.
“Then go up. Deliver my message to Eliana, as well.”
Lenin bowed her head deeply once more and tried to clean the shattered glass on the floor.
“Leave it. I’ll call for someone to clean up.”
She straightened, nodded, then made her way upstairs. After watching her climb up and disappear into the hallway, I leaned over, tapped the wet floor with my fingers, and pressed it to my nose.
There was the smell of bitter herbs, not no hint of that burnt scent.
“Am I being sensitive?”
I got up, shook my hands, and sniffed around, but I couldn’t smell it anymore. So, was it really from Lenin?
I bit my lip and rushed down the stairs. I went straight to the Crown Prince’s room and knocked.
“What’s going–” Enoch immediately opened the door, and his eyes widened when he saw me. Did I knock too hard? “–Count, what’s are you doing?”
“No, rather than doing–”
“Once inside,” he said, opening the door and stepping aside. I managed to keep my mouth shut as I entered the room.
The smell from yesterday was completely gone.
“Please sit. Would you like a cup of tea while you’re here?” He asked as he poured tea leaves in the teapot.
I noticed that the tea leaves weren’t something I had seen before upon closer inspection.
“The tea leaves must have been brought from the Imperial Palace.”
“You have a good eye. You’re right.”
“The scent is slightly different…”
Enoch poured tea into the cup and glanced at me. “Tea is the perfect item to deceive someone. So, regardless of other things, I tend to prepare tea leaves separately wherever I go.”
He talked as if he knew what I had just gone through. Was it a coincidence?
Anyway, it made sense. Enoch was a prince, and it seemed his life got threatened frequently. He would naturally have to be cautious.
“Thank you,” I said as he handed me a cup. The fragrant, minty aroma cleared my jumbled thoughts.
He sat across from me and stared at me. As if he was expecting what I was going to say, there wasn’t a hint of impatience on his face. Rather, I was the one who had this feeling of urgency.
I took a sip of tea and looked down. Where should I start?
“What do I have to do for you to tell me?”
“When the time is right, I will tell you.”
Enoch gave a small smile, his eyes drawing into arcs.
Despite his characteristic soft smile, he remained firm. But this time, I wasn’t going to back down easily.
“It would be too late. Because I want to know now.”
He certainly seemed to want to talk, but he didn’t. Then, it’s useless to persuade him with words. I didn’t come all the way here and leave without getting what I needed.
I wiped the smile on my face and coldly said, “I guess you can’t… I see. I’m sorry, Your Highness.”
I put the cup on the table and stood. I deliberately didn’t make eye contact with him.
And as expected, Enoch immediately got up with me. As I watched his relaxed expression disappear, I internally sighed in relief.
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