I quickly traced the bumpy stone walls.
This is the right alley.
So, there must be a gap here somewhere…
Fortunately, I found it without difficulty.
When I pushed it with my fingertips, the brick came out slightly like a button.
As I grabbed the thick brick and pulled it out, a space like a wooden drawer was attached to the back of the thin brick.
An old, small metal key was inside of it.
I quickly took it out, put it in my dress pocket, and then put the brick back in its place.
I don’t know what the key is for.
It may be the key to the treasure chest or maybe a key that opens the door to a certain space.
What I want is only to meet the owner of this key.
Before Ian returned, I hurriedly turned back and tried to leave the alley, but I stopped and hardened my expression.
“Do you have anything to say to me?” I asked with my back on that person.
When I entered the dessert shop, a gaze followed me.
I thought it was a passing gaze because I didn’t feel it when I came out from there, but it didn’t seem like that.
There were only two possibilities.
If it’s not a passing gaze, it would be a gaze from someone who followed me.
Either they know me as Carbella Rudbihi or Blake Ariandel.
It was most likely the latter.
At this rate, they might have followed me until I arrived home.
I already told Ian that I don’t want to make things get bigger and make enemies already.
But it looked like I couldn’t do that.
As I turned around to check who followed me, that person let out a sigh of relief.
It was an unexpected but surprisingly familiar figure.
That person came one step closer.
“Your hair color has changed.”
I turned my head from side to side to make sure if that person was saying those words to me.
I don’t know why he’s here.
Seeing him in plain clothes doesn’t seem like he wanted to reveal his identity.
At that time, it was dark even though the lights were on, so should I brush him off?
“You must be mistaken because there are many people.”
When I said that, he tilted his head and soon denied it.
“That can’t be true.”
In fact, I didn’t even care if he found out about me or not.
He doesn’t even know my real name anyway.
And we’ll see each other at the banquet hall sooner or later.
“I can’t have mistaken you.”
He was determined about it.
As I stepped toward him, I could see his ears turning red.
Why can’t he hide his expression?
“You’ve been watching me for a while, right? I didn’t know that stalking was your hobby.”
“That’s not it.”
He blushed and swept his neck.
Then I took a step closer to him.
We were close enough that I could smell his body scent.
“Then what is it?”
I came close enough to the point that if he lowered his head, he could kiss me. Just as he was about to say something, a dagger was pointed at his neck.
At the same time, Valery’s expression hardened, and I took a step back.
Ian is back.
Rather than being offended, Valery made a small smile when he saw a dagger near his throat.
His hand was already on the handle of the sword.
“Get away from here, Lady.”
“Put it down.”
I didn’t want to die here.
If I don’t stop Ian, Valery’s escorts will come.
I’m sure they have been watching us from somewhere.
It felt like they were watching from afar in consideration for me.
Ian listened to me and gently lowered the dagger pointed to Valery’s neck.
Now that Ian is here, I can’t stay any longer.
I passed by Valery, who seemed to have a lot to say.
He grabbed my wrist.
It seemed like he had more to say, but I gently shook off the hand that held me.
“See you soon.”
With that greeting, I felt his gaze on my back, but I didn’t turn my head.
“I know that you already know about mother’s order.
Don’t point your dagger at anyone.
If you mess up, will you take responsibility for everything? You stupidly can’t tell the difference?” I said scornfully, rebuking him.
Don’t ever think that I will save you again.
“I’m sorry, but I’ll let Sir Shubart know about what happened today.”
“Is that so? Sir Shubart won’t say anything anyway.
Rather, the person who escorts me might change.”
When he didn’t answer, I turned my head to look at him.
Ian’s expression was stiffer than before.
“I don’t think you know about it yet, but my safety is not included in my mother’s purpose.
Don’t you know about it? My mother only cares about results.”
Apparently, Ian knew about my mother, but it seemed like he didn’t know too much.
I won’t do that anymore.
I was just checking who it was.”
* * *
My mother is in the North, and Sir Shubart is a busy person, so I had dinner alone.
Ian was next to me, but he never sat with me.
Sometimes I wondered if he ate.
There was a fairly thick sheet of paper next to my meal.
It contained information about the nobles.
Before going to the banquet, I had to memorize all of them.
Even if I know the original story, it’s been a long time ago since I read it, so my memory is not accurate.
Even when I took a bath, the papers were with me.
As I lay in the bathtub, I was busy memorizing them.
* * *
Ian was sitting on the sofa as if waiting for someone in the central room.
He used to wait there when he was given personal time because he shouldn’t be against the young Lady’s mood at home.
Then, he heard the sound of a carriage coming from outside.
He went to the window and checked.
It was the familiar Shubart’s carriage.
Ian got up from his seat and welcomed him.
“The young Lady is taking a bath.”
Are you adjusting well?”
“Then I’ll have to wait until she comes out.”
The men behind Shubart had brought a full load.
It looked like Shubart brought things that weren’t here yet.
Ian followed Shubart silently.
Sitting on the sofa, Shubart loosened his tie.
He leaned his back comfortably and called the maid.
“Bring me some water.”
“Yes, I’ll bring it in a minute.”
The maid blushed and disappeared quickly.
“Everything is fine, isn’t it?”
Of course, Ian was going to tell him what happened today.
He has always been like that and will always be like that.
Because that’s the reason he exists here.
The young Lady made a fitting dress today and stopped by the dessert shop.”
There should be more words behind that story, but he didn’t say anything more.
One corner of Shubart’s mouth was slightly raised.
I’m sure nothing would have happened.
Your duty is to risk your life to protect her.”
Shubart’s eerie voice pierced Ian’s ear.
Of course, Shubart couldn’t have known about it.
Ian felt cold sweat trickling down.
As a sign of reflection, he bowed his head toward him.
“… I’ll keep that in mind.”
* * *
When I was in the bathroom, I heard Sir Shubart had arrived.
I put on a thick shower robe, squeezed the water out of my hair, and went out.
The maid said I had to dry my hair, but after receiving a towel from her, I headed straight to the living room.
“When did you come?”
In the living room, Sir Shubart and Ian were together.
Probably reporting about today’s work.
“Did you eat the cake?”
I turned to Ian and asked.
“Yes, I did.”
I looked at Ian briefly and then returned to Sir Shubart.
“Ah, on the way home earlier, the cake looked delicious, so I gave it to Ian as a present.
I never did anything to him after he became my escort.”
I wrapped my hair with a towel and sat on the sofa.
Sir Shubart pouted his mouth and uttered with a discontented voice.
“You never bought me a cake.”
I know very well that he deliberately exaggerated his expression.
He seems to think that I’m still a child.
Then I smirked.
“Did I have to do something like that too between us?”
“Of course, I need it.”
“Then I’ll buy for Sir Shubart next time.”
“I’m looking forward to it.
Come and sit down.
Lucellai has a message for you.”
“Mother? She can’t come here for a while?”
“Why does it sound like something you wished for?”
I smiled slightly at Sir Shuabart’s mischievous response.
I miss my mother.”
Sir Shubart smiled and held out the letter with his index finger.
I took it lightly and sat down on the sofa.
The contents of the letter were concise.
The list of people I needed to approach at the banquet was checked again, and the words take care of myself were briefly written at the end.
She’s not the type of person who usually writes things like this.
Without realizing it, I smoothed the letter.
Sir Shubart spoke a few more words with me and left immediately.
Long after Sir Shubart’s carriage left, I entered the room and found Ian.
“Yes, my Lady.”
Ian, who appeared like a shadow, knelt in front of me.
“There was something I forgot to prepare because I was in a hurry to prepare the dress.”
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