Episode 12: A Bet and An Oath (V)
「If there is anything you want to say, just say it.」
「I’m bored and it’s frustrating.」
His gaze, which had been buried in the documents all along, finally turned to Canaren.
Looking at her talking as if she had been waiting for him to speak up first, she really seemed to have held it in.
Yulif put down his pen.
Canaren, who was hovering around like a bee in search of honey, rested her face on the table.
「You haven’t moved for over an hour.
Why are you doing, enjoying it all by yourself?」
From the day Yulif spoke with her in the Hwira language, Canaren’s voice opened up.
It was obvious that she had opened her heart to Yulif.
When he had a little break, he listened to her babble as if he felt sorry for how she had endured the stuffiness all this time.
Or, on the contrary, she might be chattering like that to relieve the frustration that had accumulated.
When Yulif talked to Canaren, he deliberately used the Hwira language.
It was to give her even a little sense of stability.
It was a lie to say that he could only say simple things.
His Hwira skills were top-notch.
「Then I want to work too.」
「It won’t be fun.」
「It’s better than staying still!」
Sit down over there.」
Canaren grabbed a chair and sat down.
Yulif turned over a few papers on his desk, picked the appropriate one, and handed it to Canaren.
Canaren became terrified when she saw black letters densely fill the white paper.
Yulif pretended not to see it and said calmly
「You wanted to work.
So, come on.」
「But… Can you please give me something else.」
「That has the fewest letters.」
「Lies! Yulif is a liar.」
Canaren slammed both her hands on the table and stood up.
She clasped her chin with one hand and grabbed the paper he was reading with her other hand and waved it– flutter, flutter.
Unfortunately, what he said was true.
Compared to what was in front of Yulif, there was plenty of blank space for drawing on Canaren’s paper.
Yulif’s eyes, looking at Canaren’s contemplative face, contained a faint smile.
「Would you like to exchange it with me?」
「No, no! I’ll do it with this.
I like this.」
A smirk leaked out.
Yulif adjusted his glasses and again focused on the paperwork.
Canaren reluctantly picked up her pen, but she wasn’t confident she could read the letters with skill.
Besides, she was reluctant to scribble something with her pen on these papers, as Yulif did.
Although there had been a few occasions where she took over her mother’s work, it was possible because it was village work that Canaren knew well.
She couldn’t handle matters related to Yuliif’s estate on her own accord.
Eventually, Canaren put her pen down and collapsed on her table in protest.
Her ruffled hair was spread out across the table.
Through his glasses, Yulif’s eyes reached the tip of Canaren’s trembling hair.
Her hair was very long and thick.
Her faded, completely white tips were scattered like feathers.
He carefully lifted Canaren’s hair with his pen-free hand.
「What if it touches the floor?」
「I want to tie it up or braid it up, but there is nothing suitable.
Should I just cut it? Yulif, have you ever cut hair before?」
「Isn’t it a waste to cut it?」
「It’s growing again.
Oh, I also need to trim my wing feathers…」
Canaren mumbled as she laid down.
Yulif thought of two pairs of wings that shone like the sun in the night sky.
It must be frustrating not being able to fly properly even with such large and strong wings.
It was normal for him to be locked up in his office or laboratory, but for her, it must be the most boring time.
He put down his pen and took off his glasses.
「Would you like to look around the garden?」
「But you said you were working.」
「It seems that someone’s boredom and frustration has been spreading.」
「Wow! Let’s go now!」
You can’t just leave like that.」
Canaren was on the verge of running out.
Yulif held onto her.
She wore a modest, thin dress close to a pair of pajamas.
It bothered him that so much of her pale, delicate skin was exposed.
The clothes ordered by his assistant would only arrive tomorrow at the earliest.
She wouldn’t want to wear a dress from the imperial palace because it was like it was Deltinus’ dress.
Yulif opened the closet door, which had nothing but dull men’s clothes.
Pulling out his cloak, he wrapped it around Canaren.
「I want to see the lake in the backyard.」
There was an indescribable joy in Canaren’s voice.
Wouldn’t it be great if she could talk to Yulif in Hwira by that lake, which was similar to the lake near her village? Just imagining it was very enjoyable.
Yulif didn’t answer as he was concentrating on fixing the cloak.
The impatient Canaren spoke once more.
「The lake that Yulif told me about, it’s an artificial lake!」
Then Yulif nodded his head.
Excited, Canaren took the lead and opened the door.
As he looked at her long, drooping hair, something popped into Yulif’s mind.
Yulif opened the desk drawer.
「Yulif? Are you very busy? If so, it’s okay if you don’t go.」
Yulif took what he had pulled out of the drawer and put it in his pocket.
And he followed Canaren, who walked out lightly as if dancing.
The separate palace was grand, and compared to the barren main palace, it was brighter and more luxurious.
As one walk around the exterior decorated with pure white marble and gold, which had been treated with preservation magic to prevent fading, one would arrive at a small lake at the back of the annex.
Rare flowers were always in bloom around the artificial lake that had been dug out and filled with water. There was a small pagoda built on the back of the lake that was chosen as a tourist attraction because people can see the scenery of the imperial palace at a glance.
It was close to the separate palace and there were many things to enjoy, so it was popular with the empress, concubines, and others from generation to generation.
「The weather is really nice today!」
Canaren was just not excited, but rather, extremely excited.
She always thought she was going to die living under the stuffy ceiling, so she gasped as she looked up at the sky with the sun shining brightly.
She said that a few days ago, when she and Yulif walked in the night sky, but the mood of the sky during the day and at night were completely different.
Wind blowing from all directions, the scent of flowers carried by the wind, the very soft sound of flowing water… There were things around her that she couldn’t help but love.
「It’s the first time since I met Yulif.
I think there are more flowers in bloom than back then.
How about you, Yulif?」
「What is that? Actually, you don’t remember that day, do you?」
A light smile was mixed with a complaining voice.
Canaren soon lost interest in Yulif and was busy looking up at the sky.
Her slightly red cheeks looked soft and sweet like a peach.
‘How can I forget the day I first met you.’
His memories of that day overlaid on Canaren as she walked while humming.
The wind, wet with moisture, brushed against his face.
Yulif woke up from his thoughts and looked around him.
Before he knew it, he had walked out of the main palace and stood on the shore of the lake in the garden.
He sighed inwardly.
He has a strange habit these days.
Whenever he gets a little distracted in the Imperial Palace, he would walk towards the shore of a newly sponsored lake he didn’t know about.
If it was his favorite place, he would have thought so, but it was the opposite.
Yulif hated lakes.
To be exact, he hated water.
Because he hated the water, he hated the sea and thus, he hated lakes.
He didn’t even like fountains.
He should just finish the report as soon as possible and return to his territory.
Due to frequent appearances, work piled up like a mountain.
After coming to this conclusion, Yulif turned away from the lake.
It was a bright and clear voice.
It had a strange power to make anyone curious about the owner of the voice.
Yulif’s head turned towards it as if it was natural.
A woman in a simple but neat dress was looking around the garden frantically.
Her blonde hair curled up as if it was melted with gold.
Even though she was not wearing a pair of earrings, necklace, or at least a ring, the woman shone brightly.
She seemed so lively and beautiful.
It was clear that his head had gone wrong when he went on a magic rampage in a cold area.
Yulif’s face twisted into a grimace with a violent momentum.
Many tried to force his attention, but it didn’t go their way and usually they would give up.
At first, he didn’t feel much or moved by looking at any woman.
They were nothing more or less than a stranger passing by.
It must be an illusion.
With that in mind, Yulif turned his gaze to the woman once more and seemed to hear a strange thump.
The woman was looking at the lake with a dark face.
Was it because his expression has changed? The lively figure was gone.
It was as if the woman was sad and missing something.
Or maybe she was resenting someone.
She seemed like a fresh girl, though she looked a little bit older.
Yes, she must have just turned 20.
Yulif, who was not delicate, had a complex expression on his face that was difficult to understand at first glance.
However, he wanted to move a little closer to see her.
His body reacted honestly.
He moved as if he had been waiting for her for a long time.
He approached her with one of his hands on his chest.
Yulif was a bit bewildered to see his body moving instinctively as if he was arbitrarily out of control.
“Did they intentionally create a garden where there is a lake?”
The handmaiden who came with the woman had a cold tone and expression on her face.
She seemed unwilling to hide her dislike for the women.
Still, the woman was speaking kindly and cautiously to her maid.
Yulif became angry for no reason.
Who the hell was this woman that even her maids were being careless?
“It is an artificial lake.
They dug a hole and filled it with water.”
Yulif didn’t realize what he just did until the gazes of the woman and the maid were tingling on his skin.
It was he who answered, not the maid.
Yulif let out a long quiet sigh.
I apologized for not knowing that you were resting.
The maid stuttered in panic at the sudden situation.
Why was the duke, not the empress, walking around this place?
Whether she hurriedly bowed her back or not, Canaren couldn’t take her eyes off Yulif standing in front of her.
It was not enough to say that he was handsome.
The subtle purple eyes were mixed with a deep and cool hue, creating a unique atmosphere.
His slender, tall nose and protruding jawline looked like a perfect sculpture.
A dignified uniform in a non-luxurious line made his strong body that was covered with muscles stand out more.
A strong masculine scent emanated from Yulif.
Regardless of gender, Canaren, who has only lived among the beautiful but somewhat fragile Hwira tribe, was astonished.
How could he be so beautiful yet overbearing?
The atmosphere was so different that Canaren was completely unaware that he looked exactly like Deltinus.
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