Author: Eica Editor: Eica

Chapter 8

 

It was when Liv was just about to climb the stairs in the center to get to her room.

“Miss!”

It was the maid who handed Liv the book. She ran with a happy expression on her face as if she had been waiting for Liv to arrive.

“How was the book?”

“It was so much fun.”

“Right?”

The maid’s face brightened and she spoke softly.

“I was worried that you might think it’s not fun, but I’m glad. I have a lot of other books, would you like me to lend you?”

“I’d appreciate it. I didn’t cut in your reading sequence, did I?”

“No, I’ve already read it all. And for a while, everyone was talking about Aiden.”

Aiden was the male protagonist in the novel.

“But he’s a playboy, isn’t he?”

“He’s a playboy, but he only looked at one woman later on. I really like that. Everyone’s taste has changed to a brown-haired man.”

Liv and the young maid went up the stairs together.

“Really?”

“Yes, I used to like men with dark hair like me, but now I like men with brown hair like Aiden. What about you?”

Black hair flashed in Liv’s mind.

“I, well…… If I had to say, black hair?”

She opened the door and Liv motioned for her to come in. As the maid followed Liv into the room, she saw a well-made wooden desk, giving off a quiet atmosphere.

Liv opened the desk drawer, pulled out a square box, and handed it to the maid. The maid received it with a curious expression.

“Can I open it?”

“Sure.”

When she carefully opened the box, she saw a row of pebble-sized chocolates lined up neatly. The maid looked at Liv with wide eyes.

Chocolate was expensive, making it difficult for the common people to buy.

“It’s in return for lending me an interesting book. Share it with the other children.”

Liv loved chocolate so much that her desk drawer was always full of chocolate.

“Thank you. Miss! I’ll eat well!”

The maid thanked Liv with a very excited face.

“Here.”

As Liv handed the book, the maid quickly received the book with her other hand, nodded and left the room.

Liv opened another box of chocolates, put one in her mouth and sat down on the chair. The chocolate melted thickly in her mouth. Liv picked up a pen, savoring the chocolate flavor that filled her mouth. Then she began to write intently on a blank piece of paper.

She never missed a day of writing. The thoughts that came to mind that day, a short poem, and the appreciation of reading a book. The subject was varied. Writing was Liv’s only hobby, along with reading.

 

*

 

“Oh, Count Rayleigh.”

Anton greeted Rayleigh with a pleasant expression. Liv, who thought that they would not be able to meet until next month, was surprised that they met sooner than expected.

Rayleigh greeted Anton and looked at Liv. When Liv greeted him with a welcome expression, Rayleigh’s expression changed to that of a fresh young man. Anton did not miss that expression.

“The food will get cold. Come this way.”

The three of them were seated in a huge hall with a variety of food lavishly laid out.

Thanks to the skillful chef, the food was very tasty and the atmosphere was pleasant.

“What do you think about Hale’s seafood dishes?”

“It’s worth bragging about. It’s one of the best seafood dishes I’ve ever eaten. I envy you for being able to eat this fresh seafood because the sea is right next to you.”

“If the Count makes up his mind, he will be able to eat Hale’s fresh seafood every day.”

Despite Anton’s meaningful words, Rayleigh just smiled, pretending not to know.

‘I’m sure you’re interested in my daughter…….’

Impatient at Rayleigh’s vague attitude, Anton decided to take a risky gamble.

“Oh no, I forgot.”

When Anton looked at the butler standing by the door, he approached.

“What time were we supposed to meet?”

The butler, who had been with Anton for a long time, read his mind at once and matched the false rhythm.

“It’ll probably be tight even if you leave now.”

“Oh no, oh no.”

Anton, with his hand on his head, looked at Rayleigh with an apologetic expression.

“Count, it seems…… I made a mistake. Either this person or I are getting older, so we often get confused about our appointments. The Count contacted me first, so I was happy to make an appointment for a quick meal. Now I just remembered my previous engagement.”

Liv looked at Anton with a stunned face.

‘How could my father who morbidly hates to have his honor tarnished make such a mistake……!’

On top of that, the other person was a Count. It was hard to believe.

The butler just kept his eyes down with an expressionless face. Liv was the only one who was bewildered.

Despite Anton’s rude behavior, Rayleigh looked at him with a soft smile rather than feeling displeased. But there was an obvious sneer mixed in it. He seemed to have noticed Anton’s trick of leaving him and Liv alone.

“I understand. I just came to eat today, so you don’t have to worry too much. Judging from your expression, it seems to be very important, so you may go.”

“Thank you. Count. Let’s have a proper conversation next time. Liv, please take good care of the count.”

“F, father.”

‘Are you really leaving like this?’

Anton hurriedly left the hall before Liv could even get up from her seat.

The atmosphere, which was as soft as flowing water, hardened in an instant.

‘What on earth was father thinking……’

Liv, who had been staring at the door where Anton had exited with bewildered eyes, looked carefully at Rayleigh. Rayleigh looked thoughtful as he cut the clam on the plate with a knife.

“I’m sorry, Count Rayleigh. This has never happened before……”

“It’s okay. I’m worried that the Lady is uncomfortable eating alone with me.”

“No way! I was just worried that the Count might have been offended…….”

It was the first time Liv had ever experienced such an absurd thing.

‘Where in the world can you see someone who has an appointment with a guest and just disappears. And my father who always talked about noble values?’

“It must be very urgent.”

Rayleigh took the knife and placed the trimmed fish on the plate.

“By the way, didn’t you decide to call me by my name when we were alone?”

“Ah……”

“Never mind. I am rather happy that there is one less mouth to eat delicious food.”

At his playful words, Liv gave a slight smile.

She looked at the door where Anton disappeared, sighed deeply inside, and then focused again on her meal.

 

*

 

Rayleigh was a man who had the ability to put others at ease. Thanks to this, it made Liv feel like she was talking to an old friend throughout the meal.

After dinner, Rayleigh suggested going for a walk, saying it was a pity to say goodbye after the meal. Liv readily accepted it, and the two walked through the garden inside the mansion and continued their unfinished conversation.

Since Liv spent most of her time in the mansion, she was curious about the outside world. The one who asked was Liv, and the person who answered was Rayleigh.

While Liv was enthralled with his speech that moved freely between seriousness and lightness, she didn’t know how much time had passed. Their conversation continued like water from a fountain gushing out continuously.

They decided to take a rest on a bench on one side of the garden.

Rayleigh, who couldn’t see the garden properly because he was talking to Liv, finally looked around the garden. Then, a fountain in the middle of the garden caught his eye.

Although there was no significant difference from other fountains, the fountains here looked special. Hale’s stone pattern was the first thing that caught his eye.

“Do you like the fountain?”

“It’s really unique. The appearance is no different from the fountain in other gardens, but it looks like that with just one pattern. Lady Ragnell may not be very impressed by it, but it keeps my eyes on it.”

“You seem very interested in architecture.”

“Yes, I like it. Although I’m a businessman now, I used to want to be an artist. In particular, I was very interested in sculpture and architecture.”

“Aren’t you sad that you gave up on the path of an artist?”

“Rather than regret, it is now just a memory of the past. I have come too far to go back that way.”

Liv asked him aloud, unable to hide her disappointment.

“…… have you ever been to the square?”

“No. I haven’t been there.”

“Then, next time you come, how about going to the square? There is also a fountain there, and it feels different from here.”

“Hmmm……”

Rayleigh hesitated for a moment, then looked at Liv.

“Are you coming with me?”

“Yes?”

“It’s because I like watching it together with someone more than watching it alone.”

Is it because he has many similarities with her? The conversation she had with him was enjoyable, and even though this was the second time she had a proper conversation, there was no discomfort. Liv nodded, and Rayleigh smiled contentedly.

 

 

Not long after Rayleigh left, Anton came in. As soon as he returned to the mansion, he looked for Liv first for some reason.

“What did you talk to Count Rayleigh?”

“Just…… We just had a normal conversation.”

“Didn’t you say you wanted to see him again next time?”

“……We decided to go to the square together the next time we meet.”

Anton, who looked at Liv with a firm expression, began to laugh. It was the first laugh he showed Liv.

“Well done! You’re still not very useless!”

Anton patted Liv on the shoulder and climbed the stairs with a smile on his face.

Heat rose near the shoulder where his hand touched. Liv released the tension she had when Anton’s hand approached her. She couldn’t figure out what kind of useful thing she had done that made him so excited.

 

Author's Thoughts

Hello, everyone~! Eica, here. If you find any mistakes, please do not hesitate to inform me. And, I'm sorry in advance for any mistranslations that might occur.

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Eica

A lazy cat who wants her honied indolence back. NOTE: Updates will be sporadic. Any of my novels will be updated randomly.

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