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Eleanor led Van to her room. It was inevitable because she didn’t know what the condition of the other rooms was.
‘At least this room is neat.’
It was cramped, with old furniture and yellowed curtains, but it couldn’t be helped. She wanted to save as much money as possible and leave there soon.
Van had a pitiful, helpless expression for Eleanor.
She gave him a seat even though she wanted to tell him this was also where people lived. The bed was the only place he could sit.
Van sat down on the edge of the bed, thinking it was rude even to hesitate. Eleanor only stood three or four steps away, seemingly unwilling to sit down.
“What happened to the Grand Duke of Carlisle?”
In response to Eleanor’s inquiry, the expression on his face distorted into a furious grimace.
“I missed it. He used magic there once again.”
Perhaps the second magic Carlisle used was the one to open the gate. Eleanor had guessed that Van would be unsuccessful in his attempt to kill him.
Because the power that Carlisle possessed was ‘magic’. However, because he did not yet have his own guide, he would not have been able to wield his power effectively as Van did.
‘Neither of them came to find Charlotte; they came to find me instead.’
Following her encounters with the two men who had come to see her at the same time, Eleanor had a sneaking suspicion that they had gone back in time to the same date.
Then they had to find Charlotte, not her. She was an A-level guide.
Eleanor, on the other hand, was the one who came across Van and Carlisle first.
Carlisle didn’t understand, even if Van was. In the beginning, all he did was believe the rumours that he heard about the A-level guide and received minimal guidance from Eleanor.
Not only did Charlotte have a low matching rate with Van, but the matching rate with Carlisle was also the worst. It was something that could be inferred from Carlisle’s immediate search for Eleanor.
When Eleanor found out that, she almost burst into laughter.
Eleanor never seriously entertained the notion that Carlisle could have loved her either.
Even the portrayal of Carlyle in the novel that started it all was considered to be a form of self-deception.
He missed Eleanor’s guidance, not what he thought of himself. She thought that it would be the same for Van here.
She shouldn’t have expected feelings of love from the imperial family. They are only interested in receiving guidance from Eleanor and not Eleanor herself.
“……I’m sorry. Carlisle will surely be after you again.”
“Will it still be like that even though Lady Enrique is here?”
As Eleanor continued to speak, Van unexpectedly began to think about Charlotte. Eleanor consumed his thoughts, and he simply could not spare the time to consider Charlotte.
Eleanor and Charlotte were the only guides on the continent at the time, with the exception of Luria, the Empress. Van was also looking for an explanation as to why Carlisle had come all the way down here rather than travelling to the north, where Charlotte was located.
“Since I found this place first… What Carlisle wants is a young lady.”
If Charlotte had treated Carlisle in the same manner that she treated Van, she would not have allowed Carlisle to hold her hand until the two of them were betrothed.
She never went anywhere without her thick gloves on, not even when Van was there to go with her. Naturally, Charlotte did not readily permit Van to receive guidance even when he sorely needed it.
Van knew that Carlisle had a stronger blood connection to him than any of the other members of her imperial family. He had some reservations about the possibility that the matching rate between Carlisle and Charlotte was comparable to the one he had.
In addition, there was no justification for coming here because there was a guide who had a higher matching rate than herself. Carlisle wants Eleanor to be his guide. Charlotte probably comes in second.
Van thought about how Charlotte had guided him, which made him feel awful. He thought he still loved Charlotte, but she didn’t seem to.
After she guided him, she didn’t even like to touch him.
It was only speculation, but Charlotte seemed to have done so even under her guidance with Carlisle. If Carlyle had received the same guidance that he had experienced, then…
‘I must have been thinking of Eleanor. I must have gotten to that point where I was desperate.’
That was perhaps the reason why he showed up at the charnel house through the hidden underground passageway. If not, he has no reason to go to such great lengths after rising to the throne.
“If only the young lady would allow me… I want to protect the young lady.”
Eleanor stared at Van silently as he talked about ‘protection’ without mentioning the most crucial thing. After all, she thought that his ulterior motive was no different from Carlisle’s, although he was the male lead written in the original novel.
She didn’t see anything wrong with her life unfolding differently from the original storyline.
‘Carlisle won’t let me live anyway.’
He reasoned that it would be worthwhile to use, or that he would keep her alive for a few years to solve his grudge, but that she would be put to a brutal death in the end.
Because I had irreparably shattered his most cherished dream.
But instead of being afraid of Carlisle’s resentment, Eleanor laughed. She had drawn in the Duke of Armour with that power he possessed, and he kept Eleanor immobilized the whole time.
Because of her, all his hard work and dreams came crashing down.
Van, who once lost everything, will make greater preparations to cope with Carlisle. And then……
‘I’ll be by his side.’
All she had to watch out for was becoming exactly like the original. Eleanor couldn’t take it anymore.
“Is it protection? Do you have it?”
Eleanor asked, and Van glanced up at her with a soft gaze As soon as he sprang up from the bed, his previously lowered eyes shot straight up to the same level as her head.
But it was only for a moment. He soon got down on one knee before Eleanor.
“I won’t tell the lie that he doesn’t want a young lady. I also hope that Lady will be my guide. But… .”
The tip of his extended hand was about to make contact with Eleanor’s hand. Beautiful eyes that held Eleanor’s sighs met Eleanor’s gaze as he looked upward at her.
“I will make you to the position of the second most esteemed lady in the entire empire. So, I dare you to ask.”
Eleanor’s fingers were tightly entwined, pulsating with a fervent warmth. Without any resistance, Eleanor surrendered her hand to him.
“Make me your man. I’ll protect you and… I will serve you.”
Please do not turn your back on me.
He whispered, and Eleanor’s lungs ceased to draw in air. The aspect of him that uttered the words ‘I will serve’ shocked her heart and caused her to feel astonishment.
Because he was from an imperial family, the sovereign lineage was comprised of a ruler who held dominion rather than one who was subservient. In addition to that, isn’t he going to end up being the next emperor?
When I think about Carlyle, I can’t help but draw comparisons between him and Van because of how dissimilar they are.
Eleanor could tell his condition from their touching hands. He seems to have used his powers quite well, but that night he was unmatched compared to his state while confined in the dungeon.
However, he was in need of guidance.
Eleanor remained silent, pouring out her guidance as Van gazed up at her with his piercing eyes. His eyes seemed to lose some of their sharpness, and his eyes seemed to lose their keenness. As he leaned his cheek against the back of Eleanor’s hand, she unconsciously poured out guidance.
Perhaps that is the case. The guidance he received on that particular night was beyond comparison. The act of guiding solely through the tips of one’s fingers had its limitations, yet the success rate of matching was commendable, and the guide managed to make some headway.
At most, it would have been challenging for more than 8% of those considered.
On the other hand, if the region of the skin that is touched and touched is deeper, it is possible to provide greater general-purpose guidance. While she was using her powers, Eleanor murmured something to him.
Even for Carlisle, lying became more difficult with Eleanor’s guidance.
“Would you like to serve? A member of the royal family shouldn’t say that to me, a commoner.”
“That’s not true. Are you a… a guide……. My master….”
Is it just his unique taste?
Eleanor was sure Van’s match rate was much higher than Carlisle’s. Carlisle did not give her much of a response, even if it was just to guide him by hugging him or holding his hand.
He was the first to distance himself from Eleanor if she was in a bad mood.
Van’s face was now blushed, and his gaze was fixed upon Eleanor with an enamoured expression. But even though it’s not much more than a thought, it is like……
‘I feel like I’m in heat……’