Author: lipzoldyck

 

After returning to the room, Eleanor realized that she was still wearing Kaidel’s cloak.

 

“I should have returned it earlier.”

 

She draped the coat over the back of a chair and smoothed out her wrinkles. Then she felt something rustling in the pocket.

 

“What is this?”

 

Eleanor said, putting her hand in the pocket and pulling out something she caught. These were two tickets to a play that was past its performance date.

 

Eleanor, who was looking at it silently, suddenly remembered what Jonathan had said to her.

 

[Did you enjoy the play?]

 

[A play? Oh, you mean opera?]

 

[Few days ago… No, no.]

 

Eleanor instinctively knew that this was the play he was talking about. She muttered softly.

 

“Why didn’t he ask if I wanted to go and watch it together with him?”

 

Eleanor unfolded the slightly crumpled ticket and placed it on the nightstand. She crawled into the soft blanket.

 

She was now familiar with the crunchy feel of the sheets and the slightly stiff pillowcase. So much so that just her head touching them can make her fall asleep in an instant.

 

However, she couldn’t sleep.

 

Eleanor, who was looking at the coat hanging on the soft chair and the ticket on the nightstand, turned around and lay down. Then the door leading to the room next to her came into view.

 

She strangely couldn’t take her eyes off the door, which she had never noticed before. For she knew who was beyond that door.

 

‘Don’t worry about it and just sleep.’

 

When she turned to the right, the coat and ticket were found, and when she turned to the left, the closed door got on her nerves. Eleanor pulled the blanket over her head.

 

At that moment, the scent of Kaidel on her pajamas gently tickled the tip of her nose. It was an unexpected ambush. She never thought his scent would seep into her clothes in just a few minutes.

 

‘Ah, please!’

 

Eleanor buried her face in the pillow. After struggling for a while like a fish thrown onto land, she was barely able to fall asleep.

 

It was a strangely muggy night.

 

***

 

Kaidel, who stayed next door to her, was also unable to sleep until late at night.

 

Kaidel entered the room and immediately unlatched the door separating the two rooms. The door had been locked for so long that the latch was stiff and slightly rusty.

 

After a quick wash, Kaidel pulled back the blanket and lay down on the bed. Naturally, his body turned towards the Duchess’ room where Eleanor was sleeping.

 

Yes, the Duchess’ room.

 

A strange smile appeared on Kaidel’s lips. Jonathan, who had already noticed Kaidel’s feelings for Eleanor, must have given her that room on purpose.

 

‘Could she be sleeping, I wonder.’

 

He was lying on his back, staring at the closed door, lost in thought. Although it was just a wooden door, strangely, his heart pounded.

 

It was an amazing thing. There was only one person sleeping across the room, yet suddenly everything surrounding him felt new.

 

“Sweet dreams, Ellen.”

 

Eleanor’s name that he secretly called, tickled him. Kaidel, who unconsciously blushed, slapped his cheek with his palm.

 

“Come to your senses, you idiot.”

 

***

 

The power of habit is a scary thing. Kaidel, who woke up at 5 o’clock as usual, thought for a while.

 

He opened his eyes anyway, so should he get up. Or should he stay in bed until seven, as Eleanor said.

 

Kaidel turned awkwardly and looked toward the door.

 

‘Eleanor is probably still sound asleep.’

 

Kaidel’s lips drew a soft line. Just imagining Eleanor’s face sleeping with her eyes closed made the fatigue of the business trip go away.

 

The hour hand pointed to six o’clock. Kaidel couldn’t stand it any longer and got up, starting to get ready to face Eleanor. He was pacing in front of the closet with a serious expression.

 

He had no clothes to wear.

 

“Are these the only clothes I have?”

 

He wanted to look cool, but he also didn’t want to look like he cared too much. It had to look reasonably natural yet angular, elegant yet comfortable.

 

So, he needed to feel like he was dressed up as if he was dressed up, but not like he was dressed up.

 

“It would be better to just wear a shirt.”

 

When you don’t know what to wear, it’s best to stick to the basics. Kaidel picked up a pure white shirt and buttoned it up one by one.

 

Kaidel’s hand stopped. A new worry consumed him.

 

‘How many buttons do I undo?’

 

Filling it up all the way to the end felt like he was overly dressed up. It got a little better when he solved one thing, but it seemed a bit frustrating.

 

When he undid the second button, his collarbone was exposed. And when he boldly unwrapped another one, his firm chest showed off its presence.

 

Two buttons, or three buttons.

 

Kaidel was intensely conflicted between a subtle temptation and a less subtle temptation. He sat down on the edge of his desk with three buttons undone.

 

‘Anyway, what does it mean to have to do it?’

 

A slight furrow appeared between Kaidel’s smooth eyebrows. He slowly tilted his head, looking toward the door.

 

Before he knew it, it was seven o’clock, the time he was scheduled to meet with Eleanor. At that time, he started to hear something coming from beyond the door.

 

Thud.

 

Kaidel jumped up at the sound of hitting something blunt.

 

“Ouch. Ugh…”

 

Then, the faint sound of Eleanor whining was heard. It looked like he hit the furniture. Kaidel frowned.

 

‘Is she okay?’

 

Kaidel unconsciously grabbed the doorknob. At that time, a knock on the door was heard from across the room.

 

“Kaidel, even if you go in…”

 

Before Eleanor could finish her sentence, Kaidel swung open the door. Eleanor widened her eyes in surprise at the sudden sight of his firm chest in front of her.

 

“…Will it work?”

 

Eleanor swallowed gulped.

 

“Come in.”

 

Kaidel pulled out a chair and invited her to sit down. As Eleanor naturally sat down in the seat, he sat across and made eye contact with her.

 

“Did you sleep well?”

 

“Yes… Did you?”

 

“Thanks to you.”

 

Kaidel said, pushing a glass of water in front of Eleanor.

 

“You said you had something to say.”

 

“Yes.”

 

“It’s something important, or so I heard.”

 

Eleanor nodded.

 

“It’s about Demi.”

 

At that moment, Kaidel’s expression became serious. Eleanor took a gulp of water and opened her mouth with a determined expression.

 

“You’ve been worried a lot these days because Demi has withdrawn himself like before. So have I…”

 

Kaidel nodded his head. The smile disappeared from his lips.

 

“The two of us talked all night. And then I started to understand why Demi had been acting so strange recently and why he had been so closed off and withdrawn in the first place.”

 

“What was the problem?”

 

“It was because of the elders of your family, including Count Tafman, Kaidel.”

 

Kaidel’s eyelashes fluttered at Eleanor’s words.

 

“What…?”

 

One by one, Eleanor brought out the things she had heard from Demian. Kaidel’s face became even paler by the minute, and eventually turned almost blue.

 

“He has been holding it in by himself until now. It became a habit for Demi to hold back, and because he kept so much in his head, he couldn’t open his mouth.”

 

How should she describe Kaidel’s expression at this moment? Eleanor felt goosebumps rising at the sight of him for the first time.

 

Anger, shock, sadness… In addition, numerous emotions were swirling in his eyes. But the biggest and most intense feeling among them was none other than guilt.

 

Eleanor reached out her hand and placed it on the back of Kaidel’s hand.

 

“It’s not your fault you didn’t know.”

 

“No, it’s my fault. It’s my fault, there’s no room for excuses.”

 

Kaidel sank low and answered in a cracked voice. He roughly stroked his face with his other hand.

 

“I guess this is why Demi told me not to tell you.”

 

Eleanor muttered softly. Kaidel raised his head as if to ask what this meant.

 

“Demi was afraid of me telling you. He’s afraid you might be worried, if not for any other reason.”

 

Kaidel narrowed his eyes.

 

“Why…”

 

“That’s because he doesn’t want you to get hurt.”

 

She said, holding his hand tightly.

 

“He doesn’t want you to have a hard time because of him.”

 

Kaidel’s mouth closed tightly. He looked confused.

 

“It seems like you two don’t know each other, but… In my opinion, you’re very similar. It’s the same with your concern for each other, and the foolishness of trying to handle everything on your own.”

 

Eleanor let out a long sigh.

 

“What you need to do now is not blame yourself. It’s about preventing something like that from happening again and being honest with Demi.”

 

“Honest…?”

 

Eleanor replied, nodding her head.

 

“Say you love him.”

 

His eyes opened wide. She said, holding his hand a little stronger.

 

“You know best what to say, Kaidel.”

  

***

 

“This is nonsense! Someone is scheming to drive a wedge between me and Your Grace.”

 

Kaidel’s office.

 

Count Tafman ran wild all the way with his face turning red. As he stood up and expressed his resentment, Eleanor’s face flashed through his mind.

 

For such a sudden change in attitude, it was clear that that thorn-like woman had something to do with it.

 

“Could it be that rootless woman…”

 

“Count Tafman.”

 

Kaidel sharply cut off his maternal uncle’s words. Seeing that bloodlust was overflowing from him, the Count slowly lowered his tail.

 

“It’s true that I was harsh on Demian, but it was only for his education. I won’t tarnish Valentine’s name…”

 

“Did I entrust Demian’s education to the Count?”

 

Kaidel said, putting down the documents he was holding in his hand. There was irritation in his voice.

 

“It’s not that…”

 

“Valentine’s name is none of your business. And Valentine’s name was never ashamed of Demian.”

 

The Count, who was silent for a moment, asked in a calm voice.

 

“Are you planning to turn away all the vassals?”

 

Kaidel nodded her head once.

 

“If needed.”

 

“This is unwise. The family will be shaken.”

 

Kaidel glanced at his maternal uncle and smiled coldly.

 

“Valentine doesn’t shake that much.”

 

Soon, Kaidel took his eyes off the Count. He said, checking Jonathan’s notes on his desk.

 

“Leave right now. And you’re prohibited from entering the capital or duchy until Demian comes of age.”

 

“Your Grace!”

 

The Count’s face turned pale at Kaidel’s command.

 

It was a great shame for the nobles to be banned from entering the capital. This is because it is tantamount to a death sentence in social circles.

 

Kaidel spoke.

 

“This is the greatest mercy I can give.”

 

The Count began to beg in a subdued voice. At all costs, he had to prevent the ban on entering the capital.

 

“I’m Your Grace’s maternal uncle. Helena’s older brother. Don’t you know how hard I have tried to help you? Your Grace can’t treat me like that…”

 

“I know very well.”

 

Kaidel raised his head and made eye contact with him.

 

“That may be the only reason I’patient with you now.”

 

The Count’s mood cooled as he looked at his unwavering blue eyes. He sensed that no matter what he said, Kaidel’s feelings would never change.

 

Kaidel slightly tilted his head. It meant it was the end.

 

“I won’t see you off.”

 

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Comments (1)

  1. YA!! Protect the baby!!! And they’re so married omg I need them to get together asap. Like sorry Izmel you never stood a chance and Adrian you had a chance and you lost it. It’s time for Eleanor to be come a duchess.