After Laria fell asleep, Evan sneaked out of the room.

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He came out to train, even if it was only for an hour in the middle of the night because he was absolutely short in time for sword training after spending so much time with Laria nowadays.

He still couldn’t believe that she was going away soon.
He had been trying to spend more time with her up until now.

Heading to the training grounds where there was no one around, Evan heard someone sobbing in the forest.

“Who is it?”

When Evan asked calmly, a servant sprang out in surprise.

“Cobb?”

It was Cobb who was crying his eyes out.

“What’s going on?”

He whimpered and hesitated to answer but eventually replied with a squint.

“That’s because a woman… played with me.”

“Played you?”

“Yes… I thought it was going well with her, but she was meeting with various servants of the Duke’s residence… and my purity was trampled.”

“Oh, my God.”

Thinking about it, he thought Cobb said there was a woman he was getting along with the other day.

“Rob in prison, Ivan in the kitchen, Kayburn in the garden were all entangled with her…”

“That’s too bad.”

Evan gave him soulless consolation, thinking he should go his way.

There seemed to be a very flirtatious woman at the Duke’s mansion, though it had nothing to do with him.
All he wanted was for Lariat to get better and keep being with her like this.

It would be okay to be by her side even if she didn’t get better, but Evan didn’t want Lariat to suffer…

“Serena… that sinful woman… should have known that if she is pretty in my eyes, she would know that she’s pretty in other people’s eyes, too…”

Evan’s expression as he tried to step away was dark.

“Yes, Serena is a good person.
There’s a lot to learn, a lot to observe from her.
She’s a completely soulful doctor!”

Who has Laria been learning from?

 

* * *

 

Suddenly, Evan started to act even stranger.

“Laria, are you interested in seeing another doctor?”

Indirectly, he asked me several times a day about having a doctor other than Serena.

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“Why?”

“…It’s just, I feel somewhat uncomfortable.”

His expression was very serious.

‘Oh, I didn’t expect him to have a better awareness than the villain.’ Though, of course, I could turn the question around to my advantage easily.

“No doctor had cured me as much as Serena.
I can feel my illness getting better after I met her, even when I was in the County.”

“But…”

“Don’t you want me to get better?”

Saying so, I dropped my shoulders and asked weakly, and in the end, Evan couldn’t say anything more about Serena.

“…Phew.”

However, the number of times he swept his hair and muttered to himself increased.
I figured he was still unhappy about it, but Evan couldn’t say anything to me.

“I should have gone to the medical academy.”

“Huh?”

“If I had studied hard, I might have a license by now.”

“.…”

“I’m sure I would have graduated first…”

The medical academy was where the commoner people would go.
I didn’t understand what he was talking about.
After learning that he couldn’t keep Serena away from me, he began to pressure me in other ways.

“I learned something from Ludva’s accident.”

That was something good.

‘Please realize that everything Ludva said was bullshit!!’

“Really? What is it?”

He answered my expected question seriously.
“A man who holds your wife in his heart can’t be left alone.”

“…Huh?”

“It’s a generation after generation of continuous trouble.”

“Well, that’s right, but…”

“Never be merciful.”

Ludva’s incident seemed to have left a strange mark on him.
And thus, Evan had become too wary of another man being attached to his wife.

‘Is that why you’re delaying the date with Redian, the painter, more than before?’

I tilted my head, confused.

As expected, do I remind him of Matilda?

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‘It’s just… it seems to be common here.
Even Godmother thought of me as Matilda while she was looking at me.’

Evan’s red eyes twinkled eerily, and I felt as if I was watching Duke Icard when he was younger.
Serena was right.
The best answer was to move away from them before getting too attached, even though it may be a little harsh.

“Laria.”

“Hmm?”

“I’ve ordered extra finest bedding and decorations for the Villa since you said you wanted me to fill the villa up with things of good quality.
I also got the Oklasia tree, though that one was a little difficult.”

Even though I mentioned it passingly, I couldn’t believe he actually remembered it all…

‘What’s wrong with him? He is so nice…’

“Oh, thank you.”

“I’ll be there often.”

‘…You don’t have to go there often.’

“Never be nice to another man.
Don’t laugh, and don’t get along with them too well.
Okay?

“All right.”

“You can’t read fairy tales to them.
You can’t stroke their head, and also don’t buy them Ganache.”

“Why?”

“Because no matter if a woman has a husband, they can hold you in their hearts, like Ludva.”

“Evan.”

I sighed deeply.

It seemed that Ludva’s influence was significant.
Well, as expected, it wasn’t something that I could easily get away with as it left a deep scar in Evan’s heart.
Still, I needed to do something to fix this because he was showing a serious delusion.

“Don’t think about it like that.
I’m not an easy person, and I won’t give a damn about any other people.”

“Huh?”

“Isn’t that right? How light-hearted do you think I am to fall for such actions? Don’t worry about it.”

“.…”

I added, “If you think it’ll happen, this is utterly ridiculous.
Unless you think of me as a flirtatious woman who wants all for herself.”

“.…”

“Don’t you think so?”

“…Well, that’s true.”

Evan nodded grudgingly but looked somewhat uncomfortable.

Since I was leaving, it might have reminded him of his mother leaving.
Is that what he was thinking about? Looking at him, Evan was abnormally restless.

Evan chewed his nails and muttered to himself.

“…I’m so anxious.”

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I came to a conclusion.

Evan, whose mentality was worn out by Ludva, seemed to feel attached to me, and he needed reassurance at every single moment.

‘Well, he’s still a kid.’

But, just in case, it was also a good choice to stay away for a little while as well.
Out of sight, out of mind, out of reach, and away from Duke Icard’s company for him to get back to his original personality.

For a while, I thought about trying to avoid death by flirting with Evan in earnest, but he felt guilty for Duke Icard and I knew he would take his side in a decisive moment.

And, most of all, the father-son drama wasn’t my style.
Dramas were fun to watch, although I get seriously exhausted just thinking about it.

“Hmm, hmm…”

Of course, besides Evan, Duke Icard was also acting a little peculiar.
When I went to the office after being called, his voice resounded surprisingly.

“You don’t have an allowance.”

“Pardon…?”

“There might be a time when you require cash.
Especially when you’re not here, Evan won’t be there either if you happen to be in a hurry to ask for money.”

‘Hey, father… Did you forget about the horse race?’

Regardless, the more money, the better.
While thinking about what I would get, the Duke suddenly held out a sketchbook and colored pencils.

‘Sketchbook…’

I see.
I got it.

‘Oh, my.
It’s not like I really don’t have money.’

Drawing a harmonious picture for someone who could kill me in the future just to get some money was something a child without pride would do.

“Father!”

‘…And, I am that kid with no pride in front of money.’

“That’s right! You said you’d give me some pocket money if I drew for you, right?”

I clapped my hands enthusiastically as I accepted the sketchbook and colored pencils as if they were something precious.
As I drew the picture on the spot, Duke Icard frowned while stroking his chin.

“You seem to have a gift for art… should I get a teacher for you…”

“Really?”

I grinned widely as I pointed to one of the pictures.

“So, what do you think this is?”

“Seeing the hideous thing stretch…the torches of hell?”

“It is a tree, father.
What about this?”

“Seeing the impression of a scythe… is it the reaper?”

“…That’s father who held a sword.”

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Well, it wasn’t that wrong since he was the one holding my life in the line… So, his theory of art giftedness was easily dispelled.

While fiddling with the sketchbook, crying inside it was better quantity than quality, Duke Icard said abruptly.

“If you go to Borotna…”

“Yes.”

“To announce your arrival into the region, you must hold a banquet.”

“Oh… yes.”

“It can’t be helped because you’re not feeling well.
Since you are planning to stay there for a long time, you have to keep an eye on the local community.”

Societies! From what I had seen in the book, it was referred to as a battlefield without gunshots where there would be a lot of backbiting with the nobles.
A place where nobles who have nothing to do, gather and fight over nothing…!

“Someone told me that I’m cut for it.”

I had a lot of fun taking that short lesson from Olivia.

‘I think it’s going to be a little small since they are only a local socialite, so why don’t they just try to calm down and find other hobbies?’

“You’re gentle and tender, so I’m not certain if you’ll adjust well.
However, if you’re having a hard time, just close your eyes and get yourself away from those people.”

“What?”

“As long as you have Icard’s name, no one can say anything to you.”

Duke Icard continued bluntly.

“Don’t be so hurt, maybe a bunch of little kids would bite you for your weaknesses.”

‘They’re going to bite me if I show my weakness? Ah… that would be completely draining.’

“During the banquet, I will probably be too busy to attend…so I’ll let Evan go instead.
No matter how busy I am, Evan will be there to help you.”

‘You don’t have to ask Evan to go.’

“I don’t want to be a hindrance to Evan just because I’m sick.” I lowered my eyelashes and spoke in a mournful voice.

“At first, I was just happy to be part of Evan’s family with Father, but now I’m so worried that being sick will be a nuisance to Icard…”

‘…So, don’t send him often except for special circumstances.’

Duke Icard kept his silence and mumbled to himself.

“…What a kind-hearted person.”

And for a very long time, he didn’t say anything else.

Duke Icard glanced at me with a faint look, sighed, and looked out of the window.
Idly, he then grabbed the holy ring in the drawer and fiddled with it.

Nevertheless, he didn’t ask or talk about my condition at all, meaning that he was still determined to keep hiding the fact that I had a time limit… Or, at least that seems to be the case, judging from the way he was acting.

‘I don’t know exactly yet, but he still doesn’t care enough about me to give up the goal he really wants.’

I quietly finished my drawing, took the pocket of gold, and left the office.

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