PCP – 78

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“·····Hi.”

Damia smiled with a face that was half asleep, greeting him in the morning with a slightly husky voice.

Her natural face looked softer than usual.

There was no sign of guilt or regret on her lovely face.

Instead, after her greeting, her eyes lowered down shyly and little dimples appeared on her smiling cheeks.

Akkard felt dizzy as if someone had whacked him in the head. However, Damia did not mind his reaction, assuming he was dazed upon waking up in the morning.

‘He probably approached me for work.’

Damia remembered Akkard’s conversation she overheard via the communication channel. With whom she presumed to be the crown prince, had told Akkard,

“If you stay close to her, you’ll have a chance to approach Cesare. Naturally, it would be easier to investigate the Great Temple!”

It was only then that Damia finally understood why Akkard, who had nothing lacking, would pursue her.

At first, she thought it had just been a desire to play with fire or lust. She reckoned it was dangerous to be woven with such feelings, so Damia had kept pushing Akkard away.

But it turned out that this was a part of his operation. Damia was Cesare’s step-sister nonetheless and the object of his obsession. Standing by her side was bound to increase his success in capturing Cesare.

‘So that’s why Lord Akkard had chased me around.’

Otherwise, if not, why would he follow a boring and inexperienced woman like herself?

Damia swallowed a bitter smile, convinced.

Ironically, her low self-esteem protected her heart from Akkard. When she thought he was having sex with her for work, she even felt relieved.

‘Maybe this kind of relationship is not bad either.’

Akkard and herself had the same goal. In that regard, Damia hoped their relationship would change in the future.

Now she understood his ‘real’ purpose. Therefore, Akkard would not push her too hard as before. She is now a partner pursuing a common goal, rather than prey for Akkard to target.

In the meanwhile, it would not be bad for Akkard, who likes sex, to get a little pleasure, and for herself to be comforted by his body heat.

‘Anyway, it’s a short-term relationship.’

After his mission was complete Akkard would return to his southern estate and the capital. So there was nothing to lose in this exchange. Those were Damia’s insights.

Naturally, she was completely unaware of Akkard’s heart starting to pound loudly against his chest and his mouth going dry. Rather, when piecing her rationale together she felt relieved.

Motivated, she set her sights on her next objective. Damia, who wrapped the sheet around her body, spoke awkwardly.

“Um, this may be a little brazen for a guest to bring up,”

she smiled brightly like a flower at the still dazed Akkard.

“Can I get some breakfast?” [t1v: ha! Priorities]

***

They were eating. All major events had to start after filling the stomach.

Damia began to eagerly savor the well-prepared breakfast in front of them.

She wasn’t usually a glutton but she couldn’t put down her tableware. Soup full of cream and potatoes, well-baked bread, fresh butter, eggs, and bacon. Even though it was a regular meal she had had often, it seemed to have a particularly savory taste.

Perhaps Damia was so hungry because she had used up too much energy last night.

“Eat slowly,”

advised Akkard briefly, while he pushed a cup of black tea with milk towards her.

Damia looked into his eyes to thank him. Yet the moment they made eye contact, Akkard had quickly turned his head and avoided her gaze.

“····?”

Was it just me? Damia tilted her head and put down the bread. She was now somewhat full, it was time to bring up the questions that she had been wondering about.

“Sir Akkard.”

Akkard, whose name was called, looked at her, but it hadn’t been a straight forward look into her eyes as he had done in the past.

Damia imagined his eyes wandering somewhere in the middle of her eyes and cheeks—a very subtle change.

However, she had no authority to force his gaze elsewhere and decided to continue with her original purpose.

“Now that we’re on the same boat, can I ask you frankly?”

“What?”

Akkard asked with a countenance that no longer contained the sharp vigilance he had before.

Damia was relieved. It was a good sign.

“That day, we overheard a conversation in the locker. Do you happen to know what “thing” Louise was referring to?”

Damia asked seriously as she leaned forward, asked seriously.

The day when Cecil— her most precious friend— was scheduled to drink tea with Louise Perria, was just around the corner.

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