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    Translated by Translated by Tam
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    “Can’t I be curious?” 

     

    It was the kind of expression that would give her a hundred reasons not to say yes. She didn’t want him to put a hundred things on every reason she didn’t have, no matter how cold-hearted she was.

     

    With his help, she even defeated the Imperial Knights. She also got a strong gardener—.

     

    “Anyway, they’re not trusted knights. It’s clearly obvious. Isn’t it just that the fact that you did something strange in front of that jerk spread all over the place?”

     

    How can he be so accurate! Catherine pours out pure admiration at the amazing insight.

     

    “How did you know that?”

     

    Cesare smiled, gently unfolding his wrinkled brows.

     

    “I thought it would be the case if it involved Miss Phanya.”

     

    Is this meant to be a compliment or an insult? She decided that accepting the latter would just hurt her feelings, so she chose the former.

     

    Catherine turned around and sat at a chair far away from Cesare. Cesare filled the empty teacup with tea and pushed it to her as if he had been waiting. At this pace, people will believe there is a different owner.

     

    “Cesare.” 

     

    Cesare wrote down the answer to the low call and nodded his head.

     

    “You said it was obvious, but did you come all the way here to check?”

     

    The back of his hand, which had been moving smoothly, stopped.

     

    Catherine could see the black ink spreading on the paper from where she was sitting. Cesare looked at the tip of the nib with a subtle expression, neither stiff nor smiling. Then he answered back in a casual tone.

     

    “I have something to check, so I came with a double purpose.” 

     

    He took the pen off the newspaper.

     

    Phew. Catherine breathed a small sigh of relief in her mind. From what Cesare uses, the ink must be of the highest quality, but it’s a shame to waste it like that.

    ‘Double purpose.’ 

     

    What else did Cesare have to do with her? 

     

    “—1,000 Rid?”

     

    No matter how much she thought about him and the unresolved problems, she could only come up with 1,000 Rid.

     

    Cesare, who blinked quietly, asked again.

     

    “Are you asking for a loan?”

     

    How many days have passed and he forgot? His 1,000 Rid! 

     

    “No. You gave me 1,000 Rid to look for a new mansion. I was going to return it that day, but don’t you remember I left it here?”

     

    She kept those precious and stiff bills inside her wallet in case she ever meet him again. Catherine took 1,000 Rid and handed it to him.

     

    “Here. Take it this time.”

     

    Cesare’s exclamations became one beat slower. He belatedly realized that there were 1.000 Rid between the two, so he stretched out his long arms to grab the money.

     

    “I guess I really forgot.”

     

    If he knew this was going to happen, he should have pretended not to know.

     

    “No. Rather, I didn’t think you’d give it back.”

     

    “I’m not that shameless even if I don’t have anything.”

     

    “I know.”

     

    The kitchen was filled with an unknown heavy atmosphere. The reason is because Cesare smiled.

     

    Catherine looked at Cesare’s mood, wondering if she had made a mistake in her words. She had no idea what he didn’t like. The newspaper’s corners were once again stained with black ink.

     

    Cesare asked as Catherine’s tea cooled.

     

    “How’s the mansion?” 

     

    He didn’t ask out of curiosity. He seemed to be more interested in bringing up any subject to break the gloomy atmosphere.

     

    Catherine was happy with his intentions. At least it meant that Cesare didn’t want to offend her.

     

    “What exactly are you asking about?”

     

    “I think I’ve asked you before. Do weird things happen in the mansion that makes you tremble or confuse you?”

     

    Catherine remembered the face of Rose who had come to her room trembling late at night.

     

    “I don’t feel that way. Instead, Rose suffered quite a bit for a while. She said she kept hearing strange noises in the hall and had nightmares every day. Now, after moving the room next to my bedroom, strange things stopped like magic.”

     

    Damian’s room was put immediately next to Rose’s room, not on the first floor because it was impossible to ignore such a change. That’s why she said nothing special to him.

     

    “Is it because of the magic circle in the basement?”

     

    She didn’t like how Cesare kept his mouth shut as if he was just talking about the magic circle. Catherine was clearly the owner of this mansion, and because of that, she had a right to know about the basement’s magic circle—.

     

    ‘—Is it?’

     

    Even if there is, she has no right to force Cesare to reveal the identity of the magic circle immediately.

     

    Catherine pondered whether she should ask him directly on this matter or not.

     

    After looking at it for a few days, Cesare wasn’t a bad person, even though he was mean and secretive. Perhaps there was a reason. It means that her interrogation can actually harm her.

     

    “Hmm.”

     

    He raised his head. Cesare’s gaze was not on her, but on the window, the front door of her mansion.


    “You have a guest.” 

     

    Contrary to what he said, the front door was empty.

     

    “Is there anyone from the Paladin who can come to you?” 

     

    There’s no way. The only Paladins who knew Catherine were Carlos, who were forced to become lovers, and Percyville. But if there is anyone among them who will come back to her—.

     

    “I’ll go out for a while.”

     

    Maybe it’s that side. 

     

    Catherine left the kitchen and said the last word just in case. 

     

    “Ah. Even if the wall collapses, you don’t have to come out and see it. Just do it.” 

     

    Then she came out with the paper bag she had not thrown away again on her head. Through the small eye hole, Damian’s Straw Hat was visible. 

     

    “Where are you going?” 

     

    “Don’t follow me.” 

     

    “I don’t want to go out even if Lady tells me to follow you.” 

     

    “I mean no matter what happens, don’t come out—”

     

    Clank! 

     

    It was absolutely perfect timing. Catherine stared at the desperately exploding mansion wall and patted Damian’s shoulder with his eyes wide open. 

     

    “Do what you’ve been doing. It’s my personal business.”

     

    “—Is the wall collapsing? I just made a guess.”

     

    There, a man wearing a paper bag of bread identical to hers stood with his hands in both of his pockets. Catherine was dumbfounded for a moment. 

     

    “Hey, goat poop.” 

     

    The paper bag with a familiar voice suddenly waved its hand. 

     

    “No, I’ll take back what I just said. Pretend you didn’t hear it. Hey, Anne.” 

     

    Catherine snorted. 

     

    “Is there anything to cancel? You are the only person in the world who will come to someone else’s house and break the wall.” 

     

    The paper bag stopped in place as if it had hardened. There was no movement except for the rising and falling chest. Then, soon he raised one hand and scratched the back of his neck. 

     

    “As expected.”

     

    The man walks without hesitation and approaches closely. Catherine folded her arms and looked up at the paper bag, waiting for him to say anything.

     

    “Your voice sounded strangely familiar to me. I remember seeing your face once, but even thinking about it, it can’t be here. I thought I was a fool who couldn’t forget you.” 

     

    Catherine looked at him without a word. Then all of a sudden, she came to the idea that now this situation is very unnatural. She doesn’t believe she and Percyville are in a deep enough relationship for a forced reunion like this, is she? 

     

    “I’m sorry, but I’m not curious at all about what you thought when you heard my voice. If you’re done taking it out, why don’t you go back?” 

     

    “Why didn’t you come out?”

     

    His voice was calm. It was so calm that her ears were itchy. But Catherine knew very well what his attitude meant. 

     

    “Are you angry?” 

     

    The man was now blaming Catherine. They decided to leave together. Why did she abandon him when he decided to turn his back on all obligations and rights and disappear far away? 

     

    “I don’t understand. Why are you mad at me?” 

     

    “Am I mad? I’m purely asking you, Anne. Why, that day, you weren’t there.” 

     

    “Because I don’t want to.”

     

    Catherine was surprised that she was more determined than expected. Thanks to it, she was able to be sure. She no longer has feelings for this man.

     

    “You were like that, too.” 

     

    So even when she said these words, she didn’t feel naive. 

     

    “I wasn’t the only one who wasn’t in the place we promised. We all weren’t there.” 

     

    Though invisible, Catherine smiled brightly in the paper bag. 

     

    “I won’t ask why you weren’t there like you. Unlike you, I don’t have any regrets.” 

     

    A few short words must have offended him. The bag worn on the head flew far away by Percyville, who had strides. Thanks to this, Catherine had to face dark and deep red eyes in the torn hole. 

     

    Looking at each other so closely, she could recognize that the delicate physical at the time became very hard. 

     

    ‘Shameless, you weren’t there either.’ 

     

    Catherine recalled the scenery of the time that remained like a black-and-white picture in her head.

     

    At that time, the day when she went back from Phanya to Orléans.

     

    Catherine’s carriage was passing through an azalea flower garden where an old zelkova tree was half-bent.

     

    ‘Wait. Please stop.’

     

    The appointment time was only 10 minutes away. Of course, she didn’t mean to join Percyville’s foolish proposal. She was just purely curious. Will Percyville really come out? 

     

    Catherine stopped the carriage and stared still at the scenery.

     

    However, even after more than 10 minutes passed, the flower bed where the azaleas shook was quiet.

     

    ‘Did you lose anything here, Lady?’

     

    Her gaze, which had been on the book for a moment, looked at Catherine. Then Catherine turned her head to face her maid who had followed her. 

     

    ‘No.’

     

    Strangely enough, her heart felt heavy and light at the same time, very subtle. She simply thought of that. There must be times when people like Percyville regret what they spit out. 

     

    ‘The azaleas are so pretty. This is enough. Let’s go back.’

     

    From that day on, the day Catherine met Percyville never came. 

     

    There were too many changes compared to then. However, this seemed to be the same as before. Percyville’s thick and sharp red eyes.

     

    Percyville told Catherine.

     

    “You were prettier in the past.”

     

    “That’s why you were possessed.”

     

    “But not now.” 

     

    “I’m really sorry that I’m less pretty now.”

     

    Percyville, who closed his eyes quietly, melted with a boiling voice. 

     

    “—Damn it, why did you show up in front of me again? Are you really just trying to make me feel bad?” 

     


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    Tam

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