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Lyle’s eyes followed the gazes of the ladies-in-waiting, full of anticipation and expectations in their sparkling eyes.
A man and a woman were in the middle of a beautiful garden full of pale pink roses. Medea and Baron Ian Hestia were standing side by side and sauntering.
Baron Hestia, whose cheeks were red from what they were talking about, stared at Medea in confusion. His sweet face, reminiscent of a young boy rather than a man, blatantly revealed his overt infatuation with her at a glance.
Even though such an expression wasn’t directed at them, the maids were watching with longing. But how about Medea, who was right next to him? Even though Lyle couldn’t see her countenance from his vantage point, she was the object of the baron’s affection.
Lyle became anxious. He tried to peek at Medea’s face, but it could not be seen from where he stood. Then, unconsciously, his face hardened.
He strode into the garden. In his presence, some of Medea’s maids turned to him.
The lady-in-waiting covered her mouth and pressed her lips together, probably embarrassed by the loud exclamation she had inadvertently let out.
Medea and Baron Hestia also turned to look at her loud cry. Medea found him and brightened.
Internally, Lyle felt a little relieved by her delighted expression, but he was still full of anger. He knew it was Baron Hestia’s first day working as the Empress’s escort, but he was displeased the baron was spending time one-on-one with her instead of waiting in the presence of the other guards.
As he approached hastily, Baron Hestia hurriedly offered his greetings. Medea looked at Lyle, her eyes twinkling.
“…… Why is the baron here? I saw your knights at the entrance.”
“I wanted to ask him something about Luke, so I asked him to accompany me.”
Were they talking about his brother-in-law? It made sense in his head. What could they do in such an open garden? Weren’t all the attendants watching?
Even though he knew it all rationally, his heart was boiling.
‘Was I such an ugly man?’
He also knew that by using the aphrodisiac of the imperial elixirs, Medea could only reach the heights of pleasure with him, and no other man would be able to give her the same.
But his heart was chilled to the core.
‘Why am I like this? Medea is…….’
Ah… … .
Medea was no longer the person who declared her love for Lyle, clinging on to him nor eager to get his attention. Instead, he now loved her and even got her pregnant, but she had never once told Lyle that she loved him.
When he had whispered the words “I love you,” she happily accepted his confession, but the words “I love you, Lyle” never came out of Medea’s mouth. It was just his one-sided sentiment.
‘Medea, do you still…… love me?’
Lyle had seen Medea’s past infatuation as obsession, not love. If she had loved him, she wouldn’t have been able and unilaterally force and coerce him to do what she wanted and ignore his feelings. Instead, he was hurt, and his trauma was disregarded…… Lyle had been convinced that the feelings Medea had harbored for him were not love.
But today’s Medea was not desperate for Lyle’s love. She had cared about his wounds and considered his emotions but never asked for love. She just received what she was given without expectations.
The moment he realized it, Lyle’s heart sank heavily. It occurred to him that Medea had accepted his confession not out of emotional sentiment but to live and retain her position as Empress.
In order to adapt to survive.
The Empress accepted her position and slept with Lyle, but…… That didn’t mean she loved him. It was entirely possible that Medea’s heart could reside somewhere else.
Lyle regretted appointing Baron Hestia as the Empress’ knight. He felt that no matter how much Medea had begged him, he should not have allowed it.
If she fell in love with Baron Hestia… even if it was one chance out of a thousand, or one in ten thousand…..
Lyle stood silently with a stiff frown as Medea called out to him, puzzled. Then, blinking and waking up from his ruminations, he looked at her and then at Baron Hestia, kneeling beside her. He had the urge to smash that fair face.
“Baron Hestia. Were there any difficulties on your first day?”
“Everyone has treated me well, so I’m still… … .”
Contrary to his kind words, Lyle’s expression was cold. Medea tilted her head.
She wondered if that look was because he was interested in the main character, Seira, but because she was a ‘man’ and that might mean he would be having an affair—did his feelings get twisted and repressed, so it came out as hatred towards the culprit, Seira?
‘Well……. Maybe it’s too far of a stretch,’
A simpler, more straightforward hypothesis would be Lyle was jealous of Seira…… However, Medea, who recalled Lyle’s cute jealousy shown in the original novel, was befuddled.
‘Why does he look so bad and offended…… .’
The dilemma of his jealousy appeared in the original story after their relationship had become one of lovers. Currently, Lyle had only repeated his confession to Medea unilaterally, and they were not in love with each other.
The situation was different from Lyle in the original work, which had already won Seira’s heart and only revealed his jealousy at a cute level in order not to reduce his standing in her eyes. Realizing that he had not won Medea’s heart, Lyle’s jealousy was as different as the sky and the earth from the novel.
“Your Majesty, are you alright?”
Lyle, staring at Baron Hestia, was startled by Medea’s remark. He was conscious that he was glaring at Baron Hestia but was unaware that he had been showing such blatant displeasure.
“Oh, no… … .”
I’m jealous.…… Lyle was ashamed of his foolishness and stupidity. Yet, despite him occupying the noblest seat with the Emperor’s grand honor and dignity, here he was, jealous of a provincial baron.
The maids cheered with a shriek at the sight of Lyle blushing. Shy, handsome men were the best!
At his momentarily bewildering reaction, Medea was only more baffled. He looked good, but why was he shy now?
Feeling the gazes of the maids who were watching with shining eyes in the distance, Medea walked up to him.
“You look tired. Let’s go in, Your Majesty.”
Naturally, Lyle wrapped his arm around her shoulders and glanced at Baron Hestia. If he had any sense, he would know it meant that he should keep his distance.