Author: lipzoldyck

 

“M-Make time…”

 

It’s not wrong, but it was just the perfect word to create a romantic misunderstanding for the listener.

 

There were also accurate and neutral expressions such as, “When will you talk to my younger brother once?” or “Which day of the week would be more convenient for counseling?”

 

Or at least, whisper in her ear so that others won’t hear it.

 

…Ah, is that even weirder?

 

Eleanor, feeling the gazes drawn in bewilderment, shed a glance of resentment at Kaidel.

 

“Ellen.”

 

Then a familiar voice suddenly intervened. The moment she turned her head, Adrian with a glass stood there with a firm expression on his face.

 

“Your Grace the Duke of Valentine.”

 

“Young Marquis Blake.”

 

The two exchanged ceremonial greetings. There was a strange tension between both of them.

 

Eleanor swallowed her saliva and looked intently at the two.

 

‘Was their relationship this bad in the first place?’

 

She doesn’t think she has ever heard of such a story.

 

Eleanor took this opportunity and stepped back to sneak out.

 

“You need to give me an answer before you go, Lady.”

 

“Come with me, Ellen.”

 

Then the two men’s eyes turned directly to her. Eleanor’s face flushed red.

 

Suddenly, everyone was watching the three of them. It was a blatant gaze that didn’t even try to hide their interests. But unfortunately, it seemed that out of the three, only Eleanor cared about it.

 

Eleanor quickly replied, judging that she wouldn’t be able to get out of the situation quietly.

 

“A week later, 2 o’clock in the afternoon would be good. Once again thank you for the gifts, Duke.”

 

Eleanor, who bowed her head toward Kaidel, whispered to Adrian.

 

“I need to get some air. Follow me to the terrace.”

 

***

 

“What is your relationship?”

 

As soon as they stepped out onto the terrace, Adrian asked without even giving her a chance to breathe. A faint irritability appeared on his face.

 

“What?”

 

“His Grace the Duke.”

 

“There isn’t any relationship between us.”

 

Eleanor shook her head with a calm face. But Adrian’s expression only hardened.

 

“If there isn’t any, why…”

 

“His Grace asked me to dance, and I agreed. It’s a ball. What’s the problem?”

 

Eleanor interrupted his words and answered firmly. Adrian noticed that her voice had softened and said in a gentle voice.

 

“The problem is that he’s the Duke of Valentine. You know all the rumors around him well. I’m just worried.”

 

Adrian took off his cloak and put it on Eleanor’s shoulder.

 

“There’s nothing to worry about. We met once for a reason, and that’s all.”

 

“Alright.”

 

Adrian nodded his head slightly. However, there was still an uneasy look on his face. Eleanor took a deep breath and added a brief explanation.

 

“You must have read the article in which Dwight was interviewed. He said he wanted me to help his younger brother.”

 

“Ah.”

 

“He even came to visit me personally, so it was hard to cut him off and say no. That’s why we decided to meet up and just talk. Look, is there anything wrong?”

 

Eleanor shrugged her shoulders exaggeratedly once.

 

Adrian looked down at the scenery below the balcony, silently, thoughtful. Then, as if he had suddenly remembered, he looked at Eleanor’s necklace and parted his lips.

 

“Is that dress and necklace a gift from His Grace?”

 

“Yeah.”

 

“I see.”

 

Adrian nodded slowly, but he didn’t respond. The unfamiliar figure from before had completely disappeared, and he had regained his usual leisure.

 

Moments later, Adrian turned his head to Eleanor and asked with a smile, gently closing his eyes.

 

“Next week, can I come too?”

 

“The day the Duke is coming?”

 

“Yeah. Enna misses you a lot. I think it would be good if you two met at least once.”

 

Eleanor thought for a moment, then nodded her head.

 

“Yeah, come with Sienna. The two are the same age, so I think it would be more convenient if they talked together.”

 

(I think ‘the two’ refers to Sienna and the Duke’s younger brother.)

 

Adrian’s face brightened.

 

“Thank you. Enna will love it.”

 

A cold wind gently ruffled Eleanor’s hair. Eleanor curled up with a slight tremor.

 

“Are you cold? Shall we go in?”

 

“It’s a little cold, but…”

 

If she went back into the banquet hall, she would be burdened with the gazes she would have on her. Eleanor whispered softly in Adrian’s ear.

 

“I want to go back a little early today. Can you go inside and call Dwight, please?”

 

“Of course.”

 

When Eleanor tried to take off Adrian’s coat and return it, he held her hand lightly to hold back.

 

“It’s cold. Wear it.”

 

“Then you…”

 

“I’m okay.”

 

Adrian shook his head resolutely, carefully buttoned his overcoat and locked it on Eleanor. He smiled contentedly as he fastened the coat so tightly that no dress could be seen.

 

“Done. Wait here.”

 

Adrian strode into the banquet hall. After watching him for a moment, Eleanor let out a long sigh.

 

It was a really tiring day. It had only been two hours since she arrived at the ball, but it felt like two days had passed.

 

‘I didn’t know that the Duke would ask for a dance.’

 

Eleanor, leaning against the railing and clenching her chin, recalled the past. She couldn’t even look up at his face properly, so all that was left was a faint sensation.

 

She was able to discover some unexpected aspects of him.

 

She thought she’d automatically hear, “Oh, it’s cold!” the moment she touched him, yet his hands were very warm. Rather, it felt a little hot.

 

A man who seemed to sleep at an angle when he slept, was surprisingly soft and graceful when he danced.

 

‘Is he good at everything he does when it’s related to body?’

 

Eleanor was silent for a moment.

 

And the Duke didn’t seem to be as terrifying as the rumors had been. Of course, her knees trembled unknowingly when she was still standing in front of him, but he was always polite.

 

Even when she stomped on his feet, he didn’t show anything unpleasant. Although even the gentle Dwight sometimes can’t stand it and gets annoyed.

 

“I don’t think he’s as terrifying as the rumors suggest.”

 

Eleanor, who mumbled a small subconsciously, shook her head in surprise.

 

This may be too hasty judgment. She doesn’t know much about him yet.

 

Come to think of it, Adrian was a little different today too. He, who always showed a neat appearance without being distracted, was acting a little impatient and harsh for some reason today.

 

Standing in front of the Duke, he had a sharp aura like an awl. It was a strange appearance to Eleanor, who had been watching Adrian almost all her life.

 

Although his kindness to put his coat on her and call Dwight for her was as usual.

 

“Why did he do that?”

 

Eleanor murmured a little and tilted her head.

 

Just then, Dwight’s recalled voice came from behind her.

 

“Ellen!”

 

“Dwight, I’m sorry, but today we’re a little…”

 

Before she could finish her words, he asked excitedly as he approached.

 

“Are you dating the Duke of Valentine?”

 

“What nonsense!”

 

Eleanor groaned at his absurd remark. Then Dwight flinched his shoulders and protested timidly.

 

“I mean, everyone is crazy about it.”

 

“All he asked was to teach his brother. Just know that this is all because of your mouth, Dwight.”

 

Huft. Eleanor let out a short breath and added in a low voice.

 

“Let’s talk as we go. I’m so tired.”

 

“I want to stay a little longer.”

 

“This is it? Really?”

 

Eleanor opened her eyes, and Dwight let out a deep sigh as if he couldn’t help it.

 

“Alright. It was just something I said. I think they’ll only talk about you, the Duke, and Rian if we stay here. They talk like they’ve got a real scoop.”

 

“It will wither soon. Gossip is usually like that.”

 

In a few days, it will be forgotten as if it never happened. That must be like that.

 

Eleanor whispered softly, ignoring the sensation on the nape of her neck.

 

***

 

However, why do anxious forebodings always match wonderfully?

 

[Who is the woman of the Duke of Valentine! An exclusive interview with an acquaintance!]

 

[The triangle love scandal that heated up the Bellium Empire!]

 

[Valentine and Blake, who wins?]

 

In either world, gossip is the problem. The yellow tabloid paper was crumpled into Eleanor’s grasp.

 

The first woman the Duke of Valentine asked to dance with. Marquis Blake boldly intervened between these two.

 

The article that wrapped the story of the three people like a rare romance novel was exciting. So much so that she couldn’t wait for the next article.

 

The article also said that it was the Duke of Valentine who gave Eleanor the dress she wore.

 

The problem was that everything other than that information was filled with the reporter’s imagination, which was far from the truth. What’s even worse was that the number of people who believe in it was increasing day by day.

 

Kaidel Idris Valentine.

 

Adrian Blake.

 

Two of the most popular men in the Empire were entangled in a woman’s issue, and it deserved to be noisy. The two have never had even though they don’t miss out on their looks, abilities, and family, haven’t they?

 

It’s all good, but why is she being caught between the two?!

 

Eleanor grabbed her head and swallowed her saliva.

 

“If only it was the truth, I wouldn’t have been upset.”

 

In reality, it was a healthy meeting that couldn’t be seen romantically, but obviouslu that no one would believe it.

 

Her plans to go out were also in vain as the reporters were standing in front of the house. The Count gave a firm warning, but nothing much had changed. It’s just more subtle and secretive than before.

 

It wasn’t incomprehensible that reporters rushed in with all their hearts, as a major scandal broke out in the social circle of Bellium, which had been quiet for a while.

 

“It’s clear that the world is making fun of me.”

 

Eleanor wept as she rummaged through the tray full of invitations.

 

Dwight, who is the cause of everything, left work late at night with a gloomy face after his first work at the Imperial Palace. It was so pitiful that even she couldn’t easily get angry.

 

‘Yeah. From now on, he will be in charge of the family work for the rest of his life, so I should stop complaining.’

 

She sighed in silence.

 

“By the way, why are the Duke and Rian not saying anything? They would suffer the most.”

 

Contrary to Eleanor’s expectation that they would respond with a strong rebuttal immediately, the Duke and the Marquis remained silent for several days.

 

“…Are they saying it’s nonsense not worth worrying about?”

 

As the silence grew longer, the rumors only became more established. At first, the Count laughed at the fact that it was just an incident, and now he was getting confused then even asked Eleanor what she thought of the Duke of Valentine and Adrian.

 

Eleanor could hardly comprehend the feelings of the Duke and Adrian. What the hell are those two thinking?

 

“Ah, I don’t know anything.”

 

She buried her face in the cushion. Rather, she hoped that as time passed, she would be able to see the two in person and hear an explanation.

 

But up to this point, Eleanor didn’t know. There’s still one big bomb left.

 

Author's Thoughts

this chapter is sponsored by Zya (2/4)

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Comments (3)

  1. She’s annoying, she really heard how bad it sounded, didn’t say anything in front of the crowd of “I’ll meet your younger brother for the purpose of teaching him…” and did nothing afterwards, like what were you expecting 🙃 like the story though, thank you for the chapter!