Chapter 6 – Encounter (2)
With his low call, a different clerk hurriedly took out the cookies from the display case which displease Alice, clenching her fists.
“I called the clerk first!”
“I’m sorry, but the clerk I called brought out the cookies first.”
Alice found that his expressionless face is more of a reason to hate him so she stepped closer to him.
“Wasn’t I the one who beckoned first?”
“Ri, right, Miss.”
The clerk who guided her inside stuttered nervously and fortunately, there were no other customers than them so no one was there to watch as the situation unfolded. The owner of the bakery then approached them but Alice motioned him slightly and nothing missed Lawrence’s eyes.
Lawrence had been keeping an eye on her Alice from the moment she entered the bakery shop. The reason she went to the sweets shop on the outskirts of the capital was because there was someone who liked cookies there. His aide, Plein, asked him to do so.
“Please, let’s go get some snacks. Those cinnamon cookies are right there! How could something so delicious exist in the world!”
“Do your duty properly. How did you find the princess?”
“Haa, my brain as of the moment is not functioning as it lacks sugar, Your Highness.”
Lawrence contemplated whether to shout at his aide, but he forced a smile as the attendants inside the Erha Empire were watching him. In the end, he decided to rationalize things as today ‘Diamond of the Abyss’ will be finished and he will go out eventually.
‘Although they’re not merely diamonds.’
The Diamond of the Abyss was a very unique gem. It was a black jewel in the Nakran Empire, the same color as the hair of the imperial family, that was said to bring health and happiness to those who wore it. The jewel was strictly prohibited from being exported under the strict control of the Nakran family, so no one could find it.
‘I can’t imagine giving such a jewel to the crown princess of the Erha Empire.’
Lawrence thought that it was a ridiculous plan but it was what he needed after hearing the Crown Prince whom he served. The jewel was a disguise to hide the Crown Prince’s plan of searching for his sister. A trick to hide that Lawrence was searching for her lost sister.
Although the Diamond of Abyss was a precious jewel, it was nothing compared to the bloodline of the Nakran family. Daniel Nakran, the crown prince, could have given anything more to find his younger sister, and it was here in the Erha Empire that he finally got a clue. That the princess is hidden in an aristocratic family in this empire.
“She has a necklace her mother gave her. You can tell by looking at that necklace on her. That necklace symbolizes the imperial family.”
It was absurd to think that such a necklace would be worn around the neck of a noble lady of the Erha Empire. He added urgently to Lawrence, who was looking at Daniel with an absurd look.
“The necklace has a special device. There is a red jewel, the color of the imperial family, in the middle, and the pattern glows red when it meets it.”
What Daniel handed over was the ring he always wore. Upon receiving his ring, Lawrence put it on his left fourth finger. He tried to put it on his little finger, but the ring was too loose.
“Please find her.”
Lawrence bowed to Daniel who asked him since it was the real reason he came to Erha Empire. Lawrence’s eyes, which had been watching each and every noble lady, turned to Alice again.
‘This person was also one of the candidates.’
He shook his head when he thought of the image as Alice laughed maniacally in the garden outside the Banquet Hall. Even if she was acquainted with the owner of this shop, the situation is entirely different. If Alice was a person who hides her true face and waits for the right time, he might need to change his judgements then.
“Young Miss, that doesn’t mean that the snack I ordered first will be yours.”
“No, what are you talking about! Because I was going to buy it first!”
Plein was standing beside Lawrence, silently watching the situation with an expression that says that his master will not stay still by the words that Alice just blurted. Lawrence took a step towards Alice yet that one step was powerful.
Plein flinched by that powerful movement but Alice was different. She raised her proud chin, glaring at him with her piercing eyes. He deliberately did that to see her reaction and she was cute that she pretended that she was fine.
‘She looks like a cat.’
(TN: Well, another one getting whipped.)
Her haughty and dignified posture was similar to the cat raised by Crown Prince Daniel. That cat who would stand up and hiss if she didn’t like someone.
“Then can I loudly say that the daughter of the Marquess of Hamilton came dressed as commoner here?”
“I beg your pardon?”
“It turns out that this store is run by the Hamilton Marquess?”
Alice’s expression changed at Lawrence’s words. He was sure when he noticed the expression on her face that quickly cooled. Her expression passed for a moment, but he couldn’t go wrong.
He said it as if he knew the owner, but his prediction was right.
‘This bakery shop also belongs to the Hamilton Marquis?’
I had heard rumors that the Marquis of Hamilton had great talent as a merchant. There were many items brought in from the Nakran Empire through Hamilton. However, there were no rumors that his daughter was involved in running the store.
‘It must have been hidden.’
It was evident that he had moved from behind rather than deliberately. The words whispered in her ear were so small that only Alice and Lawrence could hear them. Alice looked around her, whispered, smiling as she closed her eyes. Her red eyes suddenly widened with a captivating light.
“Keep it a secret.”
Alice waved her hand as if it couldn’t be helped. It started with useless stubbornness, but to show all the cards she had from the beginning. Alice bit her lip at her unexpected mistake. It was her mistake that she had been confined to her house for the past four years and that she was immature in dealing with people.
‘I was too restrained.’
Alice didn’t come out of the marquis to the extent that she wondered if it was necessary. As if something happens when she leaves.
‘It even happened.’
Every time she went out, as if she had waited, something strange happened. It was a very minor thing, but Alice got on her nerves and waited until the original work was finished. Since the original story was over, she had to get out of this Erha Empire as quickly as possible. Alice, realizing her mistake and determined to make up for it, straightened up her expression in an instant.
“The cookie is done.”
Lawrence called Alice who was about to pass by. Alice turned around, her face filled with irritation.
“Your calculation is wrong.”
“I’ll give you the cookie, so let’s talk.”
“Talk? What business do I hav—”
Alice shut her mouth as Lawrence’s eyebrows raised. It’s been a while since someone caught her weakness, but she forgot about it. What if she finds out that Alice was connected to the Hamilton family business? If she goes to the next empire after that? Of course, nothing good could happen.
There was also a space in the store where you could sit and drink cookies and tea. It was a space created based on Alice’s opinion that it makes no sense that there is no place to enjoy teatime in a shop that caters to nobles.
‘I never thought I would sit here.’
The first time she went out, she became so tired. Alice wanted to get out of this store as soon as possible.
‘Should I run away now?’
As she continued to stare at the door, Lawrence winked at Plein. Recognizing its meaning, Plein approached the door and stood. As if she knew Alice would run away from there.
Lawrence, who accurately grasped her intentions, tapped his fingers on the table and pointed to her to sit down. Alice took a deep breath and sat down.
“I am surprised that the young lady is the owner of this store.”
“I am not the owner.”
Alice, who was afraid that anyone would hear her, answered with gritting teeth. It was still early, so it was fortunate that it wasn’t crowded. If people find her, the daughter of the Erha Empire, sitting with her foreign duke…
Alice was the one who wants to escape to another empire. That too to the neighboring empire, the Nakran Empire.
‘Does this means that he might be able to help her?’
Alice, who had cleared away her hesitation so far, pulled her chair closer. Lawrence was taken aback by the sudden change. Alice whispered as she brought her face closer to Lawrence, who was sitting still.
“So, what do you want to say to me?”
Her changed demeanor left Lawrence speechless. He was caught speechless because he just wanted to have a conversation with a woman who might be the princess. That’s why he had such an active attitude towards her. Lawrence, who flinched at her change, straightened his body as she was about to fall behind him on his own.
She was completely different from when she came out defensive earlier. Alice twinkled her eyes; she knew what she wanted from him. What would a foreign daughter want from him?