Chapter 17 – A Wavering Heart
Alice was convinced that he indeed was hiding something when his face turned red and stuttered.
The Marquis had no talent for deceiving others. He was too honest with the managing, often to his detriment. A man must also know how to properly conceal a lie in the truth, yet the Marquis was too naive.
‘He’s too soft.’
He was a good man ever since she stepped forward and worked with him. Although, he changed little by little, he was at the top, but previously was such unremarkable.
The Marquis’s eyes shook at Alice’s determined words.
“What are you hiding?”
Alice couldn’t hold back her curiosity at the sight of the Marquis who continued to show his uneasy face. The marquise, who kept his mouth shut, seemed unwilling to answer her, but she did not give in.
‘I’ll hear it somehow.’
“What is it?”
“It is nothing!”
The words he said right away as he was sweating profusely were more suspicious. Alice’s eyes twinkled and the Marquis swallowed his dry saliva.
“What is it?”
“Then, I will ask the Duke.”
“My father says it’s nothing, so I have to meet the Duke of Littenverk.”
“Why are you meeting the Duke?”
Alice ignored the Marquis’ words and prepared to go out. The Marquis continued to speak next to her, but she ignored it.
“Are you going to stay? I’m going to change clothes, though?”
When the Marquis, frightened by her unrestrained behavior of changing clothes, rushed out of her room. So, she was left alone in her room, giving her a chance to think calmly.
The Marquis’s demeanor and expression, which she had never seen since she possessed this body, restored his coolness after shuddering with embarrassment. The fierce reaction of the Marquis, whom she had never seen before, disturbed Alice. When a bright light poured out of the open window, she stared at the light and was lost in thought.
‘It’s like hearing a voice that I haven’t heard in a while…’
The plot was over so why did she hear that voice? As if that voice had been waiting for her for a long time.
“It disappeared when Lawrence approached.”
The voice followed her all along, but died the moment Lawrence came to her side and spoke to her. At that moment, voice died down.
‘If this is the case, I have no choice but to go further. To Nakran.’
“I need to meet him.”
She must meet Lawrence Littenverk and ask him to get out of here immediately. Alice pulled out her pocket which contained the diamond of the abyss, which she had hidden in her jewelry box. Looking at it with her determined eyes, she went out of her bedroom but her nose stumbled a man’s upper body.
“Where are you going?”
Alice’s face lit up as she looked up at Benedict. She thought that if she went with Benedict, the Marquis wouldn’t stop her either.
“I have to go out.”
“The Marquis told me not to let you go out.”
“I must go out.”
“You must not leave.”
“Then Sir Benedict can go with me.”
Benedict’s eyes narrowed as he lowered her eyes and whispered softly.
‘Does she know how she looks like to me now?’
Casual wear that looks lighter than the banquet dress, her red cheeks without face. He couldn’t tell if it was the blush or the excitement of going out, but her pink cheeks looked good.
Benedict licked his lips, hiding the corners of his mouth from rising involuntarily. It was fortunate that Alice kept her head down. If she had seen the look in his eyes, she would have tried to run away from him.
“Will it be different if I go with you?”
“At least my father will be relieved.”
“I’m going to the Duke of Rittenberg.”
Plein reported next to Lawrence, who was flipping through the papers.
“I researched each one.”
“Hmm. Is this all about Alice Hamilton?”
“Investigation about Hamilton was difficult.”
“Investigating was hard when you had already investigated the Imperial Family of Erha EmpirE?”
“Hamilton was a bit strange.”
“Weird, you say?”
If Plein had to choose, then it must be the Hamilton family that was the most difficult one to investigate. He had never encountered such a tight-lipped servant, and unbeknownst to him, they were all loyal to Marquis of Hamilton.
“It’s because their mouths are heavier than the knights of the imperial family.”
Lawrence’s hand, which had been flapping the papers as he listened to Plein’s words, stopped moving. His head turned and their eyes met, and Plein swallowed his dry saliva.
“Since when has my aide been so incompetent?”
“Your Grace. I am serious. They are impenetrable.”
“So, you’re saying you can’t?”
His eyes were cold staring at her and realizing that if he said no, he might be kicked out of the Nakran Empire and hit by a mountain of work, Plein hurriedly lowered his head.
“I will find out.”
As Plein fled the room, Lawrence threw away the papers he was holding. He felt uncomfortable for some reason. The movement of his fingers as he tapped his index finger on the table stopped.
He thought he would calm down if Plein fled but he didn’t get what he wanted. He sighed.
After meeting Alice, nothing went according to his plan. In the bakery shop, to the entrusted jeweler. She was the person who intervened his plans.
Maybe she was the ‘Princess’ he was looking for. That was why he was even more irresistible. If there was any chance, he should have taken her when she asked him to leave the empire and go to Nakran.
“If I was sure.”
Lawrence listened to the words that came out of his mouth. Somehow, Alice’s tender eyes, which were trembling and shedding tears, occupied his mind. He had been like this after seeing her in that state, and taking her home.
Her face was stuck in his mind.
Lawrence slapped his hand down in frustration. He seemed to come to his senses a little as his tingle ran up his palms. He was doubtless that he will never heed women, but what the hell was this?
‘She was not even from Nakran.’
To be interested in a woman from another empire, one with whom he was not very close. Lawrence’s eyes lit up with a cool light. He pondered hard about what could be the reason he was interested in Alice was that she might be the Princess he was looking for.
“The other women have already been checked.”
It’s already been two weeks since he entered Erha Empire. The duty to find her princess was continuing, and all the young ladies who were nominated for that were checked. Although they looked similar, their origins were clear, so they couldn’t be princesses. With such, Alice was the only one left.
There were only two banquets left for the crown princess. After those two, he would have to return to his empire, Nakran. He didn’t want to go home having accomplished nothing; he couldn’t disappoint the Crown Prince who had entrusted him with the task and given him the Diamond of the Abyss.
‘The empress is already targeting her, but it can’t be done.‘
The situation in the Nakran Empire was also complicated. The legitimate successor was unable to use his strength due to the power of the empress. He needed the imperial family to give him strength. So, the Crown prince wanted to find her younger sister who had been lost ever since she was a child.
Partly in search of her blood, the Crown Prince needed her as a means of rallying the forces he needed. An arranged marriage to someone powerful. And that someone was yet to be determined yet. He had to be sure that Alice was not the Princess so these strange feelings will be at ease and wiped away.
The dizzy feelings were eating away at his heart before he knew it. He brushed her hair wildly to wash off Alice’s face, which was haunting his mind and as a result, his clean and tidy hair became unkempt.
He thought it was no big deal. His job was to find a woman; a Princess and take her back to the Empire. In the process, he never expected to meet a woman who made him feel strange. What would happen if Alice was the younger sister the crown prince had been looking for so much?
“It won’t be.”
His voice filled the room he was in, but somehow it was powerless. Should he hide her existence from the Crown prince who was looking for her for an arranged marriage? Startled by the sudden thought, Lawrence shook his head vigorously.
“It shouldn’t be.”
His distraught mind continued to waver, and even he could not comprehend his mind.
His gaze shifted to the scattered papers on the floor. And strangely, they represent his heart. Lawrence frowned and studied the papers. The shaking paper was the same as his heart.
“It can’t be.”
Lawrence denied his heart. He assumed that his interest in Alice was due to her chance of being the ‘Princess’ which was because of his important task, and not his personal selfishness.