YCKTML Chapter 58
After calming down, Chloe and Rupert moved to the sofa.
Rupert pretended to drink the tea Chloe had served and put it down. Chloe watched him and fiddled with the cup in her hand.
Chloe sat next to Rupert and said sadly, “But Madam is too mean not to understand how you feel… It’s hard to believe, especially considering what the old Erin Spilet was like.”
Rupert shook his head slowly. “No, I’ve been ignoring her for too long. Even though I knew… Yes, I was too indifferent to her to blame her.”
As Rupert closed his eyes and recalled the past, Chloe’s lower lip curled slightly as she bit it then released it.
To carry out the prince’s command to retrieve the Magic Stone Cave, Rupert and Erin’s relationship had to improve, and Erin needed to transfer ownership to Rupert.
But when she watched Rupert troubled by his feelings for Erin right in front of her, she was filled with jealousy.
In any case, the second prince’s orders were absolute.
If this plan with Rupert failed, she would have to go to the Crown Prince.
Although she saw an opportunity a few times, Enoch wasn’t an easy subject to lure. And above all, Chloe herself wanted Rupert. The reason she messed with black magic was to have him in the first place.
Chloe gripped the teacup to hide her trembling fingertips.
Rupert, who had been quiet, said, “But, crucially, she changed because of the Crown Prince.”
He hunched over, resting his elbows on his knees. He clasped his hands together, and his eyes lit up condescendingly.
Chloe’s silence an affirmation, Rupert’s tone became harsher. “As the Crown Prince, he already has everything he could have with his noble position, but he wants something else. The Crown Prince didn’t like Erin looking at me. To take away the only thing I have left…”
Rupert sighed and shook his head again.
That was all he could say. No matter how much hatred and jealousy he had in his heart, it was a different matter to say it out loud.
Even when he was out of earshot from him, the blood oath remained in place.
It was this powerful even when they’re apart, so it was much more when he’s in front of the Crown Prince. He would barely stare at him, but when he did, he would end up bowing his head when he met his emerald eyes.
The best thing Rupert could do in that situation was not to make eye contact with him.
Chloe scooted closer to him, and rubbed his arms and shoulders to comfort him.
“…the Crown Prince is so mean to you, Rupert. But, nevertheless… Are you going to continue to support him?”
Rupert turned his head and stared at Chloe as she spoke. Then Chloe said, “Oops,” and smiled awkwardly.
“I don’t mean anything by it. Don’t get me wrong.”
Rupert sighed and played with Chloe’s hair.
“No, Chloe, why wouldn’t I have thought of that?”
“But what I want has nothing to do with it. I’m stuck in what my godd*mn ancestors did. Even my father seems to have endured it without any complaints…”
“You never know, Rupert.”
“Well, you’re right about that. I don’t know. There may have been someone like me. But the bottom line is that my family is still not freed from the blood oath.”
Chloe, who had been listening to him quietly, pondered for a moment then said in a low voice, “Then if… If you could break the bond of the oath, would you do it?”
Rupert looked at her cautiously at her question and shook his head. “Is there even such a way? If there is…”
“Of course it won’t be easy, but if, there is.”
“…If there’s such a way.” Momentary anticipation flashed through his disappointed smile. “Then I will try to solve it even if I have to risk everything I have. Whether I support the Crown Prince or not, I don’t like the feeling of unconditionally bowing my head.”
“…I see.” Chloe lowered her gaze, a dark glint flashing in her orange eyes.
“But the wind is the wind, so I don’t really expect anything.”
“If you earnestly wish it, it will come true…” Chloe leaned on Rupert. Rupert smiled bitterly for a moment as he looked at her with his eyes closed.
“More than that, Chloe.” Rupert kissed her forehead, tucking her hair gently behind her ear. “If it’s too much, don’t push yourself too hard.”
Then Chloe smiled and turned to face him. At that moment, she decided to change her mind.
Unless Erin had feelings for Rupert, it would be much quicker and easier to use another method.
Night finally came.
“If Count Melaton really wants to save the Duke…”
As I wandered around the garden that Eliana was taking a walk in earlier, I quietly fell into my thoughts.
I looked around to see if I’d run into anyone, but the place seemed deserted.
As I threw fish food into the pond, I struggled to organize my thoughts. But, far from being collected, my heart was getting more and more frustrated.
I grabbed my head and sat in front of the pond. Why didn’t I think of this until now?
If the Duke died now, Rupert would benefit the most. In that case, he could inherit the title and territories of His Grace without argument.
‘But I didn’t sense that Rupert was trying to kill His Grace. I have no idea what he’s thinking, but he didn’t have a trace of that burnt scent. Besides, that burnt smell saved the Duke’s life.’
After one time or so, that burning odor was thickly spread throughout the mansion, but only in certain situations and people.
‘Which one is Chloe?’
I was sure I smelled it on her, and I saw her smile the moment she collapsed. Some might say that alone was not enough evidence, but I had a strong feeling Chloe had something to do with it.
But I was still uncertain how she was involved. At first glance, I thought she might want the Duke to die for Rupert, but she also had a close relationship with Melaton.
‘Besides, there’s that smell, too.’
But even if Chloe fooled around with Melaton, what could be the reason for her smell?
I don’t think I’ve heard or seen Chloe come and go to the Duke’s room.
Maybe I should ask Eliana about it. No, I was leaving soon, so I shouldn’t get involved.
While I was thinking about it, suddenly something flew and hit me hard on my back.
I had been squatting in front of the pond and was on the verge of falling into the water. I flapped my arms to balance myself, but it was in vain.
As the tip of my nose nearly touched the surface of the pond, an arm grabbed my waist. A heavy yet gentle scent wafted through the air.
“O-oh. Your Highness? What brings you here?” I asked, his arm still around me.
It must have been quite heavy to carry a person using only one arm, but he casually lifted me and placed me on the ground.
Holding his arm lightly, I looked around.
“Count, what were you doing there? It was really dangerous.”
“Thank you for saving me. But wasn’t there anyone here?”
Enoch took me a few more steps back from the pond and said, “For now, there isn’t.”
“For now? Something hit my back. Ah, then maybe it wasn’t a person…”
I was confused, not knowing how to explain the situation.
Enoch’s expression stiffened, then he turned his palms upwards. A small tornado roared in his hand, and it expanded and grew like a typhoon.
The strange thing about it was that my clothes didn’t flutter at the wind blowing so hard in front of me. Then, as the wind continued to blow, a black bird suddenly fell to the ground from the big tree behind me.
“…Ah! A bird!”
As I trembled in shock, the wind calmed down. Enoch trudged forward and lifted the tip of the bird’s wing.
“Is it dead? Why is that bird…?”
“It’s not dead.”
The bird in Enoch’s hand flapped its wings a few times but didn’t budge. Its eyes looked red, which made it a little creepy.
When I tried to reach out, Enoch warned, “If the Count touches it, it will most likely die.”
“…What?” My hand stopped mid-air. Puzzled, I stared at him, but he only gave me a meaningful smile.
“But it’ll have a comfortable death.”
I observed the bird a little more closely. What had been hidden by the red eyes gradually became visible. It was pitiful to see a bird flapping its wings helplessly.
To live a hard life and face a comfortable death. Somehow, it reminded me of the Duke.
When my eyes met Enoch’s, he placed the bird in his hands and said, “The decision is yours.”
“What happens if I don’t touch it?”
“It will be used until its body reaches its limit.”
Hesitating at his words, I gently stroked the bird’s body. There was that smell that I had gotten used to now.
And the bird flapped its wings once, then quietly closed its eyes.
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