Author: Missme Editor: Missme

I exhaled deeply. I looked through the window and realized that we were almost home.

“I’m going to introduce you to my friend as a private tutor, therefore having a status is preferable. So, for the time being, I’ll present you as a lady from the family of Viscount Siehn.”

“Siehn?”

Perhaps because it was her first time hearing such a family, Thalia tilted her head.

“It’s a family from the Krenberia territory. Because the Viscount family’s bloodline was cut, I was given the title of Viscount.”

When a lineage is cut, the title is usually restored to the emperor. However, if the family has indirect lineage, the title is assigned to and administered by the indirect family line.

It’s advantageous to hold many titles since I’d have more opportunities to speak in the Imperial Parliament. That is why, even if I could afford to keep the title, I would never give it up.

That is, after all, why I was awarded the title Viscountess Siehn.

“On paper, you will be the Viscountess Siehn’s sister.” You can also go by your given name, Thalia Siehn.”

“Thank you, but I will go with Rhaya, My Lady.”

“Rhaya?”

“It’s the nickname Louis used to call me with.”

“All right, then. Because you’re so thin, Rhaya Siehn, we should prioritize your recovery.”

“Yes…… thank you, My Lady.”

The carriage came to a halt.

Karpel got off first and reached out to me.

His expression was one of discontent and dissatisfaction.

If you’re going to be irritated like that, go alone. Why are you insisting on escorting me?

I stepped out of the carriage slowly, fearful that Karpel might break my finger on his hand.

Karpel didn’t even provide assistance to Thalia, who had been left.

Thalia faltered when she got out of the carriage, maybe because she felt dizzy.

She was caught by a knight near her before she collapsed.

Karpel, with his low tone and voice, said to me as I looked at him anxiously.

“Just so you know, I don’t plan on forgiving you for what you did today.”

Karpel’s aggressive tone took me by surprise. I’m not sure what I did wrong with Karpel.

Still, I wondered whether I should ask if there was something I had done incorrectly. As I turned to glance around, I discovered Karpel gazing at Thalia with a displeased expression on his face.

Thalia dropped her head after that.

“Yes. I apologize.”

‘He wasn’t upset with me.’

I’ve been saved!

I beckoned to the maids who were unloading the stuff from the carriage, relieved.

“Don’t let whatever you learned about Nina through your investigation get out. I don’t want to become engaged in anything problematic. Please provide a guest room for Viscount Lady Siehn. Tell my father that if he has any questions, I will speak with him individually.”

All the servants seemed to halt at the same time when I stated “Viscounts Lady Siehn.”

It was only natural for them to be embarrassed when I presented someone as a noble lady who had been lying in her filthy maid outfit.

Everyone, however, quickly disguised their discomfort.

“Yes, My Lady.”

I waved my hand at the maids as if to order them to leave when they answered.

Everyone bowed respectfully before approaching Thalia.

“I will escort you to your room, Lady Siehn.”

“Ah, yes. Ducal Princess Krenberia, thank you for saving me today.”

“Don’t mention it.”

Despite the fact that she appeared to be unfamiliar with Siehn’s name, Thalia greeted me with an exquisite gesture fit for a noble lady, then followed the maids inside.

All of the employees entered, and I was ready to enter when Karpel blocked my way.

Karpel’s piercing gaze turned to me. I grinned brightly when I saw him like that since I assumed he wouldn’t scold me.

“What did you do so well that you believe you deserve that smile?”

Because I haven’t done anything wrong?

He scolded me just when I believed he wouldn’t.

“You’re old enough to understand that you shouldn’t share a carriage with strangers.”

Oops, that was wrong.

But just because the person I was attempting to save turned out to be an assassin doesn’t make it my fault, right?

And also, I don’t believe I did anything wrong with Karpel.

However, I was taken aback and flustered, so I was grateful that he came to my rescue when I couldn’t think of anything else.

“Karpel.”

“Say it.”

“Thank you for saving me.”

Karpel kept his mouth shut as if it were absurd.

I smiled and shook the fan in front of Karpel that my father had made.

Milky white Karpel, Universe Beauty Karpel!

It was nice to see the letters ‘Karpel’ written on the fan.

“What’s on the fan?”

“The Strongest Karpel.”

“……”

Without realizing it, I responded.

I expected Karpel to order me to stop talking gibberish, but all he did was gaze at me. Because it was dark, I couldn’t see Karpel’s face completely, but it seemed to be a bit red.

‘Is he like the word strongest? I guess he is.’

Karpel’s countenance remained unchanged, not smiling, and his eyes remained piercing, but the atmosphere surrounding him had changed. As if all the malice on him had been weeded out.

He became friendly with me, perhaps because I had been acting adequately and not troubling him.

As if a pollutant material transforms into a recyclable one.

As I folded my hurting arm, which was shaking while holding the fan, Karpel gripped my sleeve.

His touch, who grabbed me lightly as if to confirm I was there, felt itchy.

Karpel grasped my shoulder and sighed heavily before bending forward and delicately resting his forehead on my shoulder.

“I……”

It was clearly Karpel’s voice that came out at the end of his heavy sigh, which I was used to hearing. However, everything seemed eerily familiar.

He just spoke one word, but it was enough to convey his feelings as if he were grieving and in misery.

‘What is it?’

His voice didn’t sound like he was whispering to someone he didn’t really care for. I was perplexed by it.

My shoulder was being warmed by a man who looked like a pampered 16-year-old child.

Little boy, nothing special.

His hand curled around my wrist, holding my sleeves.

Karpel rubbed his forehead and gingerly held my wrist, as if it were little and delicate and could crumble at the slightest touch.

From my shoulder, his inner thoughts began to seep in.

My thoughts had become entangled.

The selfish thought I had been harboring before I remembered my previous life burst out.

 

“I want to be the only place Karpel can relax and rely on.”

“Karpel is cold to me because he wants to keep me safe. Because His Majesty had mercilessly slain his subjects, he acted coldly toward me in order to protect me.”

“Karpel belongs to me. I will defend him. Karpel can only be protected by me, Inaila Krenberia.”

 

Karpel was merely caressing me without any other intention, but I felt like those immature and selfish thoughts were eroding me.

Or did my thoughts become reality?

Was it merely a misunderstanding on my part?

I’m not sure if my persistence, which had been pressing him, caused him to swing like such.

Despite the fact that I knew it wasn’t his intention, I forced Karpel into a corner out of fear of his feelings abandoning me.

And I was trying to make people aware that he can only live like a human being if he relies on me.

So, does this indicate Karpel still cares for me?

I was stuffy because of the darkness. Because I wanted to see his face to confirm it.

“Karpel……” Karpel gazed up at me as I whispered his name. The touch that had been wrapped around my wrist likewise disappeared quickly.

He turned around with his lips twitching as if seeking an excuse.

The moment I moved to catch him, I lost the fan I was holding.

“Ah……!”

Karpel, who had apparently turned around, was already catching the fan.

Karpel was going to run away, but he was embarrassed because he caught the fan without even realizing that he pushed the fan to me. But instead of taking the fan, I took Karpel’s hand.

Karpel was attempting to move his hand away from me.

I expected him to attempt to shake my hand away, but I still held his hand in mine after a few seconds.

When his eyes met mine, there was no malice in them.

He just appeared embarrassed, as if he was at a loss after committing a major mistake.

Why… he didn’t look like he hated this?

What have I seen thus far?

I consider how my words and actions had put Karpel in a tough situation. But it didn’t appear to be the case now that I looked at him like this.

Was that to say that Karpel’s harsh and cold gaze wasn’t because he was hostile?

Was this to imply that it was just my misunderstandings? Was he truly behaving cold towards me in order to keep me safe from the Emperor?

I adored Karpel. It was Karpel who saved me, who was ignored by my father after my mother passed away.

Even if I couldn’t remember it clearly because I was still young at that time, Karpel, 7 years ago, was always kind and friendly.

I also remembered how pretty Karpel smiled. Maybe it was because I was still precious to Karpel at the time

Even when my grandfather helped the present Emperor ascend the throne by killing Karpel’s father, and even when my aunt became the Empress, we were still just a child who ignored all of what had happened.

However, as we grew up, that bond could not be maintained.

My family, Krenberia, was an enemy for Karpel.

On top of that, it is given for Karpel to hate me, since I was arrogant and selfish.

But, what exactly happened?

“Karpel.”

Karpel became tense and locked his gaze on me when I called his name.

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