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She recited a name that curled lightly in her mouth. His name was nice to hear, but it also felt oddly erotic and secretive.
When she reluctantly called his name, he let out a short sigh, frowning.
“Sometimes I really don’t understand you.”
“I also sometimes don’t understand you.”
“You don’t have to struggle to understand me or be guarded. In fact, I’d rather you act as you please without paying me any mind.”
He bit his upper lip after blurting out words that he had never planned on saying when—
Without knocking, the door to the study was thrown open. And beyond the roughly opened door was Gerald. He was in a uniform, glaring at Jurgen as if he were going to kill him.
“I heard that Lord Edelred was visiting.”
Startled by his sudden appearance, she tried to escape Jurgen’s arms, but he held her tighter.
“Gerald, did you miss me that much? Or … . your sister?”
Dahlia shook her head, feeling the arms muscles wrapped around the back of her head grow taunt.
“Sir Edelred, please release my sister. My sister has not fully recovered her health yet.”
“Health? Was my fiancée unwell?”
“Yes. Everyday, Freesia has been applying ointment because of the red spots that appeared all over her body.”
Dahlia’s eyes widened. On the other hand, Gerald continued his innocent explanation, still steady.
“I presume it’s from the food she ate at Bluebell House. Or maybe it’s because of that bird. Don’t birds carry germs?”
Unable to bear it any longer, Dahlia jumped from his arms. Her cheeks were burning red. Meanwhile, Jurgen bowed over, and hid his face with one hand, holding back his laughter.
Red spots bloomed all over her body. Birds must have carried germs.
What a naive and cute notion. Jurgen burst into laughter.
Gerald shrugged at Dahlia’s reaction as her face turned red, and she huffed, short of breath. He came over and grabbed Phone. The bird perched on top of Dahlia’s head chirped loudly.
“It is because of this bird. I will take it and set it free. So… .”
“Gerald! Let go of Phone right now—right now!”
Her face, which had been burning red hot just a moment ago, suddenly turned pale. Dahlia circled her sofa and ran after Gerald. Then, stepping into her tiptoes, she tried to retrieve the bird from his clutches.
“Let go of Phone! He doesn’t carry diseases!”
“Then, why did sister get so many spots on your body? Did you eat poisonous plants at Bluebell House?”
“It’s not like that!”
No matter how much Dahlia reached out on her tiptoes, Gerald’s hand gripping the bird could not be reached. His eyes deepened as he looked down at her as she frantically jumped in front of him. He also seemed a little confused.
Watching the pathetic situation, Jurgen got up and went behind her.
Then, as he grabbed her by the waist and lifted her up, Dahlia was suddenly able to reach Phone’s collar.
Her hair floated lightly. A few days before, she had colored his vision lemon-yellow, just as she had done on the swing.
As Lannister said, that goddamn bird.
For a moment, Jurgen could understand Lannister’s feelings. To deliberately get Dahlia’s attention and despite being able to escape, Phone pretended to be weak and let himself be held captive by Gerald.
Shrewd and cunning like a raven.
With Jurgen’s help, she snatched the bird from Gerald and held it dearly in her arms.
She kissed his beak and fluffy head, glaring at Gerald with piercing eyes.
“Just one more time—if you harass Phone again! Then… . I’ll use command magic on you too. Do you understand, Gerald?”
“Ha, then… . If it’s not because of the bird, what is it? Please explain, sister.”
“That, let me explain.”
In an instant, Jurgen’s face appeared before Gerald’s cold eyes. Really, it happened in an instant.
In fact, from Gerald’s point of view, it was an act close to an accident.
Jurgen’s head seemed to tilt, and a hard tooth touched the nape of Gerald’s neck. Goosebumps ran down Gerald’s spine as he felt his teeth scratching and sucking hard skin.
“Wha—what— what are you doing!”
He was startled and shoved Jurgen on the shoulder. But it was him who stumbled backwards and fell. Gerald, who had been pushed all the way to the entrance of the study and fell, gave a crackling noise, holding the nape of Jurgen’s neck where his teeth had touched with his hand.
“Sister! Di- did you do this to my sister?”
“Oh, Gerald Von Klose. We are already like a married couple.”
Jurgen looked down at Gerald, who had turned red like a burning torch, and gently wrapped his arms around Dahlia’s waist.
Then, Dahlia, distracted by Phone, finally turned her head. While ensuring the bird wasn’t hurt, she hadn’t the slightest inkling about what had transpired between the two men just moments before.
Upon finally finding the fallen Gerald, she looked at the two men alternately with widened eyes.
“Gerald, why did you fall?”
“Looks like his legs gave out.”
“Then it’s your karma for harassing Phone.”
Dahlia reached out to him. He spotted a lingering hickey on her straight collarbone through her open shirt.
Gerald jumped up without her help. Then he jerked away and quickly turned around with his cheeks and ears dyed red.
“Please join us for dinner. Father will be arriving soon too.”