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“No, that’s not it.”
Lucerne sat next to her this time. Elisha clutched her bed sheet. Like that, she looked up at him. His eyes fluttered.
“You are killing me.”
As his face drew close, Elisha felt his firm hands holding her shoulders. She stayed still. His nose brushed against the tip of her nose, and he kissed her behind the ear and cheek while caressing her back to soothe her.
“Have I ever been angry in front of you?”
“… … No. But I heard rumors… … . They said that if you get mad, people will surely die.”
“Did you imagine that would happen to you?”
Elisha silently agreed. He moved his face and stared squarely at her.
Lucerne said quietly.
“You are suspicious. Elisha. I am not stupid.”
“… … .”
“But I’ll put up with it this onetime. Because you… … .”
—Because you cried, Lucerne swallowed his words. One tear of hers made him withhold his better judgment and verdict, putting himself at risk. To the extent that he let her walk around in broad daylight, flaunting his weakness.
It was worth it.
“I do not know. So… … I’ll hold back for now.”
Even if this were the last delay, even if it were the last chance he gave Elisha, he would still do the same.
“… … .”
“I think the most important thing right now is to alleviate your fears so that you don’t get scared.”
Those words contained Lucerne’s bewilderment.
Elisha would have been shaken if she hadn’t just dreamed of her past in a haze. She had a hunch. But she still vividly remembered the pain of being shunned and scorned by Lucerne.
She acutely remembered her disgusting, hideous self. It was enough to taste that feeling once. But if she were to get hurt twice by the same man….
Even if it weren’t his fault, Elisha would helplessly and utterly collapse. This was a life she narrowly attained. It was her only chance. She didn’t want to put herself on top of that sandcastle. But, if she gave her heart, it would be all over.
‘It wasn’t even love,’
Elisha thought. Even then, that terrible heart of hers that Lucerne had taunted her with merely held interest. As long as Elisha owed him tons of money.
As long as she was a contract bride sold for a ransom, love could not sprout.
Lucerne said languidly.
“Shall we go home?”
Elisha nodded. She felt like she was about to burst into tears for no reason. Instead, she leaned her cheek against Lucerne’s arms.
But it’s also very peculiar, Elisha thought. She was frightened, but on the other hand, she didn’t want to be away from him.
The following day, Elisha recovered and was back to her usual form. Lucerne, Elisha, and his party decided to leave in the morning. It was early, so Illione was the only one to see them off.
“General, I can’t believe you are going back in such a hurry. It’s a shame.”
“If we take a break from training for too long, the knights will become useless.”
‘You’re going back because Elisha isn’t feeling well.’
Illione had that much sense. Last night’s love letter commotion had already spread in secret.
An aristocrat who fell madly in love with Elisha went crazy and wrote her love letters. Gossipers declared that she passed out because she was too ‘naïve’ and ‘innocent,’ unfamiliar with high society.
So Elisha’s reputation got better. She was so cute.
Elisha looked around while Illione and Lucerne were talking. Finding the shadow lurking behind the building was not difficult for her.
‘After executing a harmful stunt, sending reconnaissance. It’s precisely Carola’s technique.’
Elisha stepped into the shadows and approached. Her opponent turned around and found Elisha drawing near and was taken aback, stunned, and frozen.
“It’s too late to run away.”
“… … .”
“Hello, Miss Mimosa,”
Elisha greeted her calmly. Hiding in the shadows was Mimosa, Carola’s handmaid.
“Or should I call you Miss Mimosa de Gentel?”
“How do you know my name… … .”
“I’m sorry I couldn’t greet you yesterday. It was right before midnight, so, indeed, it was yesterday.”
“… … .”
Mimosa’s eyes trembled.
“What are you talking about?”
Elisha enunciated softly.
“I thought I might give you a tip.”
Mimosa looked dumbfounded. Elisha took out a gold coin from her bosom. It was an ordinary imperial gold coin.
“You should get this much. Mimosa has something big to celebrate, right?”