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My Male Lead Uncovered My Inner Thoughts (8)
Somehow I felt a little excited about seeing him. Thinking of briefly exchanging some greetings, I went towards the front of the flower shop. But the one there, who was examining flowers with a serious look, was a red-haired man whose menacing appearance would put a pirate to shame.
Gasp! I hesitated, then hastily turned around… and bumped into someone.
The books dropped with a thud.
“I am sorry, Miss.”
The person I had bumped into was one of the soldiers from the Marquis’ family. The soldier picked up the books and handed them to me.
“It’s fine. It happened because I turned around suddenly.”
Perhaps hearing the minor commotion, the Marquis shouted out in a cantankerous tone of voice, “Don’t pick fights with people. Just because you four idiots want to crowd around me and follow me around…”
It was too late to make my escape. I came face to face with Balthazar Claude, who had just straightened himself up to his full height. He truly was like an enormous walking door.
The Marquis’ height towered off into the distance. He put on an act, pretending to be happy to see me.
“Why, if it isn’t Adeline Sinclair.”
“… It’s Anastasia.”
He said that on purpose, of course. As expected, I really don’t like this guy!
“Did you also come to buy flowers?”
“That is… I saw the soldiers and thought Ash was here.”
And he had been bent over, so I hadn’t been able to see his huge body.
“It’s good for me. Come here.”
It’s not good at all!
Sadly, there was no way to escape now. I approached hesitantly. The Marquis spilled his predicament while looking at the flowers in front of him.
“My wife asked me to buy some purple flowers. But I don’t know if she meant light purple, purple, or dark purple.”
“Then, can’t you just buy one of each?”
It was something like ‘I didn’t know what you’d like, so I prepared a bit of everything’, but the Marquis wasn’t enthusiastic about my suggestion.
“I don’t like it because it seems like you’re just trying to gloss over the actual problem.”
D-did I get caught?
I decided to show a little more sincerity.
“Did you say you were going to put them in a vase?”
“Who do you think I’m giving these to?”
The Marquis is buying flowers for his wife… not for her to keep, but to give to someone else?
Feeling a vague sense of unease, I quietly put up my guard.
Now that I think about it, Carnelian Claude used flowers back when she was making plans to poison her former husband. Of course they wouldn’t sell highly poisonous flowers in such a public place, but what if the Marquis had misunderstood Carnelian’s intentions and ended up looking for the wrong kind of flowers here?
“It might be helpful to know who you’re planning on giving them to.”
My posture was fairly rigid. The Marquis narrowed his eyes.
“What’s this? Why are you poised to run away? Are you afraid that I might poison someone?”
“One of my goals is to make Ash turn over a new leaf.”
In other words, it would all become useless if his parents got into trouble… The Marquis, who was able to follow my meaning, let out a boisterous laugh.
“Since we’re already on the subject, let me ask you one thing. Are you being nice to Ash so you can try to screw him over later?”
I made a bewildered expression.
“I think of Ash as a friend.”
“Well, for now I also think of William as a friend.”
… Excuse me?
I was suddenly speechless. Still chortling, the Marquis readily explained the situation since I was practically vibrating with anxiousness.
“I heard that the flowers would be given to Duchess Bliss. But since she has an allergy to pollen she can’t touch them directly and can only view them from a distance. Well, I was asked to bring her flowers that resemble her daughter. Even extremely common flowers are fine. They say she hasn’t seen her daughter in over five years.”
I tilted my head to the side. Duchess Bliss, the mother of Lynettia Bliss, frequently suffered from a myriad of minor illnesses, so she remained in their territory full-time. But Eonni had yet to visit the tender-hearted and tearful Duchess even once.
In fact, Lynette-eonni didn’t have a good relationship with her father or her mother. Rather, it was the Emperor who doted on her and took care of her more than her actual parents.
Anyway if that was the case, there was no reason I couldn’t help. Duchess Bliss, whose personality was completely different from Eonni’s, was immensely timid. She wasn’t the type of person that Carnelian would bear a grudge against.
Readjusting my mindset, I scrutinized the flowers on display and, without much difficulty, I was able to pick out the round, ball-shaped flowers that Eonni often wore as a brooch.
“Then, this one!”
It was a distinctive flower that looked sweet like fluffy cotton candy and pointy like a hedgehog that was curled up. Looking closer, tiny flowers could be seen clustered together to form a sphere.
“Lynette-eonni often wears a brooch that looks just like this flower. I think it’s called Allium?”
“Eonni?” The Marquis responded in an amused tone.
My face flushed slightly.
“Okay. I’ll go with this.”
The Marquis bought all of the Allium without even pretending to hesitate. Thinking that the Marquis was finally about to leave, the owner of the flower shop enthusiastically wrapped up the flowers.
“You trust me?”
“You seem to be close enough to use that form of address for her, so I’ll count on you this once.”
I studied the Marquis’ face. Even though he looked like he was in good mood now, he was basically like a ticking time bomb that could explode at any moment.
Since it seems that our business is over now, I can go, right?
“I’m glad I could help. I’ll just be on my way.”
I sketched a bow and then turned around.
As I made my way through a gap between the soldiers and walked out, the people outside looked at me in a completely different way than before.
They hadn’t seen me in a while. They were probably scared, right? Yeah. I get it.
With a sigh, I called out to the person following behind me.
In an overly casual manner, I glanced back at the man who was walking two steps behind me.
With deep-set eyes, a prominent nasal bridge, and an unconventional physique, the Marquis was sufficiently menacing even when he was just walking around.
He really doesn’t look like Ash at all…
“Why are you following me?”
“Do you hear that you’re overly self-conscious a lot?”
Despite his words the Marquis, who had overtaken me, aggressively snatched the books that I was holding.
Uwahh, my body feels lighter! That’s much better!
“Why didn’t you take some flies with you?” 
Ignoring me as I glanced around, the Marquis indifferently asked, “Where are you headed?”
“Are you going to come with me?”
“I have a little time.”
It was an unexpected windfall. Although it was natural to question the kindness of someone you weren’t close to, this person was an uncomplicated guy who did everything on impulse, so it was probably fine to make a slight exception.
He wasn’t so low as to harm a defenseless person for no reason and Duke Friedrich was far away right now, so there was really no need to turn him down.
I had long since completely forgotten to be wary of the Marquis. Excited, I pointed to the ice cream shop that I hadn’t been able to give up on.
“Well actually, I wanted to eat some ice cream.”
The Marquis was stunned when I suddenly became lively.
“Aren’t you even a little shy?”
Ignoring him, I darted over to the ice cream shop.
“One ice cream, please!”
The clerk, who was poised to smile at me, turned pale when he saw the Marquis following behind me.
“Hurry it up. I’m worried someone will start to think you’re not William’s little girl. Buy me a strawberry flavored one.”
Tsk. I’ll buy you one this time, but only because you carried my stuff.
“One for that old man too.”
“I can hear you.”
Haha! Even though I said it quietly…!
While the clerk trembled and scooped our ice cream, the Marquis absentmindedly looked over the books that I had purchased.
“What did you buy these for?”
The way the Marquis treated me was sloppy, barely adequate, insincere… Well, those words were fitting. Maybe that was why I answered him somewhat honestly.
“There’s someone I’d like to look into. He seems to be fairly well-known, but I’m not really sure.”
I was momentarily conflicted. Perhaps there was no one more suitable to ask about Kylis than Balthazar Claude. Of the people who knew me, few had as little interest in me as the Marquis did.
And what if there’s nothing in those books regarding Kylis? Then I would have to get help from someone else, so wouldn’t it be better to ask the Marquis?
Somehow it seemed like the Marquis wouldn’t be particularly surprised even if I told him I was in the middle of investigating a serial killer. He probably didn’t think about what I said much in the first place…
Eventually I opened my mouth to speak.
“H-he’s called Kylis…”
I paid close attention to the Marquis’ reaction. But the Marquis simply took the ice cream from the clerk, who held it out to him with trembling hands, and passed it over to me without much of a change in his expression.
“That’s a name I haven’t heard in a long time. Ash admired him a lot when he was young.”
“I guess he was a really bad person or something…”
With a look of unease, I took a taste of my ice cream. The Marquis collected his ice cream and we slowly made our way towards the spot where my carriage was located.
“But I don’t think he’ll be in any biographies of notable figures. I heard references to him were banned, even in books covering ancient history.”
No wonder his name never showed up no matter how hard I searched!
Distraught, I lowered my gaze. The Marquis didn’t ask why I was looking for information on Kylis and he didn’t look down on me when I said that I didn’t know who he was. I took heart from his straightforward attitude.
“So how can I find out about him?”
“I’m sure Ash has some relevant books. If you’re curious, do you want to head over now?”
I thought about immediately nodding my head in assent, but I made a sullen face instead. I had a foreboding premonition that if I overdid it now, I would end up being sick for three full days.
“Later. I’m exhausted right now.”
Once again, the Marquis didn’t seem to care much.
“Well, I’ll leave it there for now. Have fun.”
Having arrived safely at the carriage, I thanked the Marquis.
“Thank you for all of your hel…”
“Yeah. Just go.”
The Marquis left without listening to the end of my sentence. Well, he truly was someone who just acted as they pleased. At least, conscious of his reputation, he had held himself back somewhat. His natural personality was more unrestrained.
By the time I alighted from the carriage I was on the verge of collapsing.
I left the books with Ilina, who had come to greet me, and tottered away.
S-sleepy… I want to go to bed…
Rubbing my eyes, I had only just entered the residence when a man, who was refreshing like spring sunshine unlike me who was crumbling away, came into view.
Despite jumping at him like a zombie, Adele didn’t shake me off.
What a nice smell! He smells fresh and full of life!
I clung to Adele and breathed in his citrusy scent to my heart’s content. I was finally able to pull myself together a bit.
“What have you been up to? Did you finish your talk?”
“I will tell you about it later. You should rest first.”
I took Adele’s hand and followed as he led me. Adele tucked me into bed. I was unable to even keep my eyes open properly. I felt the warmth and the soft texture of my blanket. At that moment I could vaguely hear Ilina’s voice.
“Miss, you should change your clothes, then go to sleep.”
“I’m really sleepy, Ilina.”
I barely managed to get out those final words. And just like that, I fell asleep.
 The Marquis is asking why she didn’t take any attendants with her, presumably to carry her things. But he’s essentially calling the attendants a swarm of flies that buzz around them