Esbaden's Prodigal Son (1)
Huge thanks to SKIP_A_BEAT for the kofi! (2/2)
“Pu ha ha ha ha!”
The result was very successful.
Layla sat down for a while and smiled, wiping away her tears.
“He’s been acting like an ice giant, but that was all a bluff!”
“Rather than pretentiousness, I think he may have been unaware of his alcohol consumption limit.”
Dooha continued to speak while moving the quill.
“Nobles are not allowed to drink more than a certain amount of alcohol, after all.”
“Was there such a rule?”
“I heard it in the etiquette class, too.
They say that it is against the rules and manners for nobles to drink enough to get drunk.”
“They are living a strict life… the high-ranking people of this side.”
Layla got up and brushed off the hem of her skirt.
“Oh, did you meet that person yesterday?”
“The Duke’s cousin.
They said he was coming to dinner yesterday.”
“Yeah! How was it? Was he that handsome as the rumour had been?”
“Well, he was handsome, but he wasn’t to my taste.”
“What did he look like?”
“He was like a flower.
He had a pretty, handsome face.
His manners weren’t bad either.”
“After all, since that man is like a flower, he has to be careful for those that see him.
The eyes of the maids are accurate.”
Layla licked her lips as if regretting it.
“Madam should have had such a man as her husband…”
“Don’t say nonsense like that.
The Duke is also handsome.”
“Hey, the Duke has a very stoic personality.
On the other hand, that person has a very good personality.
He is said to be very sweet, kind, and well mannered.”
Dooha wanted to ponder for a moment before continuing.
“But Daniel didn’t seem to have a very good personality either.”
“Yes, he looked like he hated me.”
“I’m sure he’s the bad guy.”
To Layla, anyone who hated Dooha was just a bad guy.
No matter how handsome and talented they were.
Dooha smiled slightly at her maid’s answer and got up from her seat.
“Where are you going, Madam?”
“I want to go to the library.”
“Uh, if it’s a book, I’ll borrow it-”
“No, there is something I want to find out for myself.”
She left her room, resisting the maid’s urge to follow her.
To find the answer to the question that had been bothering her since yesterday.
‘Is nobody there?’
When she arrived at the library, Dooha looked around for the librarian.
Yet, let alone the librarian, she couldn’t find even a human shadow.
Eventually, she decided to find the books that she needed on her own.
She walked around the three-story building, and the library, filled with books on every wall, was astonishing in its grandeur.
She took her steps slowly, smelling the old paper.
If there was one good thing about her coming to the Empire, it would be that she was able to access a lot of books.
This was because in Bashal, where she lived a life of attention, books were treated as useless objects and few people owned them.
‘If it were a duke’s family tree, it would be somewhere here.”
Dooha came closer to the corner of the bookshelf.
It was the moment she stepped inside, pasting an old sign that read ‘Family History’,
“Heh, Young Master, ha.”
An ominous sound that didn’t fit the place resounded in her ears.
At the sound of fabric being crumpled and rough breathing, Dooha stepped forward without realizing.
Because of that, Dooha made eye contact with the source of the sound of the breathing.
As soon as their eyes met, the aristocratic woman screamed at her, grabbing her clothes and running away.
A chuckle was heard from behind Dooha, who had been staring blankly at her.
“It’s embarrassing that Madam found out about it.”
A voice that resembled a clear iron sound.
Dooha slowly turned her head.
The main character of the voice, who had come close to her, was looking down at her.
White-blonde hair that came down to his shoulders, with dark green eyes that seemed to be lush with greenery, alongside his bright facial features.
Dooha opened her mouth unwittingly at the unfamiliar appearance of a familiar person.
The man removed the smudged red mark from his mouth with the back of his hand and pointed at the bookshelf behind Dooha.
“So, how do you feel about watching other people’s play, Madam?”
A bright red ruby earring dangled from the right ear of the man who smiled brighter than the sunlight, reflecting the light.
The man’s true identity was Daniel van Esbaden.
Surprisingly, he was self-deprecating even after Dooha caught the scene of him having a secret affair with a woman.
What the hell was he thinking, doing something like that with a woman in the Duke’s library?
She looked at him with eyes saying that she couldn’t understand at all.
Daniel looked at her as she looked at him and smiled at her, who looked neat and naive.
“I didn’t expect to see you again so soon.
Nice to see you.”
Dooha, whose face was bright from embarrassment, quietly opened her mouth.
“What do you mean?”
She spoke her words as she looked at Daniel’s half unraveled shirt.
“I didn’t know that the person who claimed he was sickly enough to be late for an appointment would be a lustful person who disregards time and place.”
For some reason, she felt like the reason why he was late was the same as today’s, not because he was late for an appointment that evening due to being sickly.
He spoke with a smile on his face at her two words.
“I don’t think that word suits me.”
“I think it’s a very appropriate word for someone like you in a place like this.”
“The word ‘horny’ doesn’t mean ‘a man who brightens up a woman.’”
Daniel slowly buttoned the buttons up one by one with his long, white fingers.
Unlike the Duke, his soft and slender fingers were fine and beautiful.
It was as if they were meant for playing an instrument rather than for holding a sword.
“I don’t reveal my dark side.”
He tucked his last button-down and tilted his head to the side.
His fine platinum hair, tied in half, flowed softly as he moved his head.
“Women reveal the man who I truly am.”
Dooha stood blankly in front of his confident smile, unable to find anything to say.
“There are many women who hang on me, but I am the only one they hold onto.
Rejecting all of them would also be quite embarrassing.”
As Daniel clasped his two fingers, the pale pink cloak that had fallen by his feet flew up and landed on his shoulder.
“I was lucky today.
Thanks to Madam, you saved me from all of the trouble.”
Obviously, he was advancing with the woman, the two of them having been face to face with each other in front of her.
If he had been thinking of rejecting the woman, he wouldn’t have done that.
‘…It wasn’t my mistake either.’
Dooha looked at Daniel with confused eyes.
The smile resembled cosmos blooming in the field, but the laughter had a sharp hostility to it.
On the other hand, Daniel smiled politely towards Dooha, who looked at him with a vigilant eye.
“By the way, what did Madam come to the library for?”
“I have something to find.”
“Can I help? I know this place better than a librarian.”
“…I’m sure you are.”
Daniel smiled perplexedly at the Duchess’s eyes, which were mixed with a bit of disillusionment.
“Don’t get me wrong.
I am also a person who knows time and place.”
Such a person was hanging out with a woman in the library in broad daylight.
Dooha clicked her tongue inside her mouth and turned her body away from him.
“Madam, tell me what book you are looking for and I will find it.”
I can find it.”
“I want to help Madam, as a way of apologizing for showing an embarrassing sight to Madam.”
Daniel had a rather persistent aspect.
He clung to it without losing his smile until the end, even though he showed the whole world that he hated Dooha with his whole body.
There were no leeches.
In the end, Dooha chose to receive his help instead of avoiding him.
“I’m looking for the Duke’s family tree.
I think it’s over here.”
Daniel’s gaze sharpened slightly at the words “family tree”.
“Why are you looking for the family tree?”
“…I don’t think that there was any need for me to tell the librarian why I was looking for any book.”
I was rude.”
At the sound of Dooha’s sharp voice, he took a step back.
“There is only one family tree, so it’s easy to find.”
Daniel snapped his fingers, picking up his coat and putting it on.
A small scarlet flame flew from his delicate fingers and a huge book flew over from the corner of the library.
He grabbed the book that flew to him with one hand and handed it to Dooha.
“Here it is, Madam.”
As Dooha accepted the family book, Daniel asked a question, as if he had been waiting.
“Do you have any questions about the Duke’s family?”
“There are a lot of things to ask.
I was not born here.”
“Come to think of it, you’re from Bashal yet you’re really fluent in the Imperial language.”
“Because I studied before I came here.”
It must have been difficult to learn both the Basalin language and the Imperial language because of the different systems.”
Dooha, who was flipping through books, raised her head at Daniel’s words.
“Do you speak Bashalin?”
“One of my hobbies is learning other languages.”
He paused for a moment, then spat out a few words in Bashalin.
“Nice to meet you, you’re pretty.
Dooha burst out laughing at his clumsy pronunciation and childish words.
She didn’t think that she would hear Bashal’s language coming out from anyone’s mouth, except for Layla’s, in the land of the Empire.
As she burst into laughter, Daniel continued his words with a smile as well.
“I once tried to learn Bashalin, but it was not easy.
It’s so different from the Imperial language.”
“Not bad for someone who learned to get skills to seduce a woman from Bashal.”
“That is true.
It seems that I have only increased the misunderstanding again.”
Dooha looked at him with an innocent smile and opened her mouth.
“By the way, may I give you a piece of advice?”
“As long as it’s advice from the duchess.”
“You don’t have to try to be liked by the people you hate.”
At that moment, Daniel’s face, which had been smiling the entire time, cracked.
The corners of his mouth that were raised like an overturned boat and the sharp eyes that had a sad smile in them slowly changed to being expressionless, as if they were finding their place.
“…What do you mean by that?”
“I read a lot of things well.
Books, wind, mood, many things.”
Dooha continued to speak as she looked at his pale face, whose smiling expression had disappeared.
“I know you don’t like me that much.
Still, I don’t know why you’re continuing the conversation with me like this.
I don’t think you did yesterday.”
“…You seem to be misunderstanding something.”
“I hope it’s a misunderstanding, too.
I don’t want to set up a date with my husband’s only cousin.”
Dooha put the family tree on her side and fixed the hem of her skirt.
She smiled at Daniel, who was staring blankly at her.
“Thanks for your help, Daniel.
Well then, bye.”
With a slight nod, Dooha left the place like a passing breeze.
Behind her back, only Daniel, who was chasing her blue skirt with his eyes, remained.
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