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* * *
The banquet ended late at night. I was exhausted, eventually going back to my room followed by Dame Joan and Annette.
Rashid was at the banquet for the entire duration, perhaps he didn’t want to leave after my foresight stimulated the guest’s admiration for him. I was already tired, and the longer I remained in the same space with that bastard, the more he got on my nerves.
‘But the day is finally over.’
I let out a sigh of relief, nearing the door of my room.
I turned my head in surprise. Then I saw Ian was standing in front of the door, leaning against the dimly lit wall.
“Oh my goodness!… Since when have you been here?”
Even I could tell that my voice sounded off.
‘Where have you been?’
How annoying and burdensome, I have been dealing with your brother alone!
Of course, even if Ian was there, I wouldn’t have been able to rely on him. Rather, it may have been even more of a pain because there would then be two people who were focused on me.
That is still part of his role as the Holy Knight Commander. Lucian stood by me instead, Ian never showed.
Is it because you were tired? I glared slightly at Ian, my undesirable emotions were unwavering. It was only a sidelong glance, but Ian sighed softly, as if he had noticed.
He said as he walked out of the darkness. I was a little surprised, I didn’t expect him to apologize so politely.
“Her Holiness Cardinal went into a critical condition. I couldn’t leave her side… I thought she might be dying.”
My words escaped me and I pursed my lips. I wasn’t aware that was happening.
I remembered Her Holiness Cardinal who crowned me during the day was being supported by priests, but I didn’t know that her body was in such a serious condition.
“Right… Are you okay?”
“For now.” Ian said so.
He slowly closed his eyes and opened them. I noticed slight fatigue under Ian’s eyes.
Her Holiness Cardinal had taken care of Ian since he was a child when he joined the Holy Knight Division, and she was like a second mother to him.
“On a different subject, I heard that you gave his Majesty a foresight.”
As expected, the story already reached him. I rubbed my forehead. I didn’t mean for it to be taken as a word of blessing, but it was vague enough to be believed as one.
“Are you upset?”
“It’s certainly encouraging that you’ve finally begun dipping into your foresight.”
I broke away from his gaze. After giving Rashid’s foresight, other people kept stealing expecting looks at me.
Is Ian also going to ask about his foresight? What should I say if he does?
Ian’s voice fell on me, who was agonizing for a moment.
“When you foresaw where my father’s remains are…”
I almost choked on my spit. Nervously, I focused my gaze back onto Ian, who was talking about our first meeting.
“…Did you see anything else?”
“Something else, huh?”
“For example… another grave next to it.”
I realized it the moment I heard it. What Ian was asking about was the grave of his mother, the former Empress.
It was said that the previous Empress died mysteriously when Ian was young. There were many opinions that an autopsy should be done, but Rashid just buried her in the Imperial Grave, saying they could not touch Her Majesty.
Does Ian also want to retrieve her mother’s remains?
“I’m sorry. I didn’t see such a detailed scene, it was fragmentary information that came into my head.”
“Is that so?”
When I lowered my eyes, Ian no longer pried further. The atmosphere surrounding him today felt heavy.
Heavy, and… somehow bleak. Then Ian looked at me again after a while.
I could not find any unnecessary feelings in his blue eyes.
“More than that, you’ve never asked. Why would I want to know where the remains of Her Majesty The Empress lie?”
My heart pounded at the abrupt question. In front of this person, I couldn’t put my guard down for even a second.
I spoke with a smile on my face, as if nothing was wrong.
“Well, Sir Ian must have his own good reason. There should be some secrets between husband and wife.”
Ian raised an eyebrow slightly.
“Does that mean you’re keeping a secret from me as well?”
“Ha ha. It’s just… There’s no way that I don’t have any secrets. How can you be honest about everything?”
“Sometimes I think about it.”
Ian, who had suddenly came closer to me, looked down at me and said,
“It was a gamble to have you by my side.”
“It’s a strange thing. I don’t normally like taking chances.”
I guess so. Ian had a personality that would only bet on things that were certain. He was the most cautious person in his work.
“Nevertheless, I’m quite curious about how this contract will end.” He whispered in a low voice like a snake crawling on the floor.
“I hope I don’t regret anything.”
I looked up at Ian, slightly trembling and spat out the answer.
“Our contracts will surely remain beneficial to each other.”
“I hope so.”
Ian laughed and left the room. Dame Joan and Annette, who had been waiting outside the door, came in and worried at the sight of my hardened face.
‘My goodness, this bastard.’
I slid against the wall, lamenting my situation. There are no days where I feel comfortable outside or inside this house.
* * *
“This… What’s all this?”
I looked at the things lined up in front of me the next morning, half out of my mind.
“We brought wedding dresses, jewelry catalogs and samples. Of course, these are just examples to reference, I will make a one of a kind dress for Lady Irene.”
Lady Mercy, from Mercy Dress Shop, said with a professional face.
“Thank you once again for leaving the wedding to me, it is a great honor.”
“I’m grateful… but do I really have to look at all of this today?”
Even if the catalog is excessively long. Mercy, who noticed my bewildered expression, said quickly.
“Just choose a few that you like, and we’ll find others that are similar.”
“Will there be a lower price limit again this time?”
“You don’t have to worry about this as we have only chosen dresses above the lower limit this time.”
I swallowed my saliva. This means that every dress in this catalog costs at least 20,000 Mars.
‘No. It was an engagement dress back then, but now it’s a wedding dress, so of course it would be more expensive.’
Let’s not ask what the lower price limit is for this dress. It’s bad for the heart.
After spending a long time looking through the catalog and pointing out the designs that I liked, Mercy was satisfied and left.
‘Spending all day looking at pretty things is a bit exhausting.’
All I did today was look at beautiful dresses and jewelry, but my jeans were gone.
The sun was still shining outside. It was around the time when a small desire raised its head, perhaps I should take a little nap.
“Lady Irene! The Commander is here!”
Good bye, my nap. I waved goodbye to the idea of taking a nap and greeted Ian.
“Hello, Sir Ian. What brings you here in broad daylight…?”
I stopped talking for a moment. Ian looked a little different today than usual.
‘What’s the difference?’
I soon discovered the answer while pondering. He wasn’t wearing a formal or tight suit today, just a loose shirt.
“In-in- that outfit, what brings you here?”
“What’s wrong being dressed like this?”
Ian’s gaze fell to his own body. He was unaware of the problem with his clothes. Feeling frustrated, I let out a sigh.
He is the Commander of the Holy Knights, how can he walk around in such a promiscuous outfit?
‘It’s just a shirt. Oh, the world is going to fall, it’s going to be ruined!’
Because areas like his neck and collarbone were more clearly revealed than usual, there was nowhere to hold my gaze. It was so manly that anyone could see, I beckoned him to come inside.
“Anyway, come in here quickly. By the way, what is the matter… No, what are you holding in your hand?”
I was taken aback when I saw what Ian was holding. He wielded a wooden sword in his hand.
Ian tossed the wooden sword at me. I looked at it with fearful eyes, receiving it in a state of bewilderment.
“Wow! It’s a very nice and heavy wooden sword. It has a good grip on it. Then I’ll return it to you-”
“I heard from Dame Joan that you trained with a wood sword.”
Dame Joan lowered her eyes as if she was apologetic when I looked at her with resentful eyes.
“Did you get so cramped that night just because you trained that much?”
“At that time, I just, uh, hmm, hmm. It was a sprain.”
“Don’t you remember that you were hugging me because you couldn’t even walk?”
That was because I was a little bit pissed off! I was upset, but I had nothing to say.
Ian clicked his tongue and put the sword in my hand again.
“Swing it around.”
“All of a sudden?”
“You must have learned the method from Dame Joan.”
I cried as if I was eating mustard and swung the sword.
It was embarrassing to wield a sword in a sloppy form in front of the only Sword Master in the Empire. Ian had a solemn expression on his face, which was unsurprising.
“Even your breathing is a mess.”
“I know how to breathe…”
I then made a hoarse voice, not realizing that it would be pointed out.
“Do you know how to breathe properly?”
“If I didn’t know how, I would have suffocated to death. How would I be alive?”
Ian looked at me as if only my mouth was alive.
“Haa. Please stay still.”
Ian sighed and walked up to me, his palms resting on my stomach. I was surprised and my body stiffened.
“Please breathe. Breathe from where my hand is.”
“It hasn’t even come to my chest now.”
“Oh my god!”
He said ‘again’ several times, but breathing from the stomach, which seemed easy, was not as easy as I thought. Ian looked at me with cold eyes.