Chapter 3:

Stupid Man

Hated by the Evil Lady

The way Giselle stared at him was unlike any expression he had ever seen her make.

He thought she would just look at him with her usual sickeningly cold face, but no. It was like she was looking at a bug.

Even Lucien himself knew that what he just did was not a very gentlemanly thing to do. But what could he do? It was like all of Lucien’s common sense went out of the window the moment he sensed any kind of hostility against Clara.

“Lu, what are you doing?!” Clara whispered out loud—pretty much making whispering kind of useless. “You’re going to be arrested for lese-majesty!”

He knew that, but how was he supposed to let what just happened be? He loosened his grab on Giselle’s thin wrist nevertheless. Her hand seemed to be… trembling?

Giselle sighed and let go of Clara’s hand, so now it was only Lucien’s hand holding onto hers.

“Well? When are you going to let go, Lord Renand?” Giselle asked while looking straight into Lucien's eyes.

Lucien was sure now. He wasn't mistaken back at the boutique—Giselle really did glare at him that time. The proof being, she was doing the same this time.

"Duke Karron!" Clara exclaimed in panic, jolting both Lucien and Giselle back to reality and causing Lucien to finally let go.

Clara was kneeling on the ground and Siegfried was in front of her, kneeling while holding onto his head like it was in great pain.

"Don't touch him!" Giselle shouted when Clara was about to put her hand on Siegfried. Lucien felt like that was the loudest he had ever heard Giselle speak.

Giselle approached Siegfried and whispered something into his ear. He seemed to say something back, but only Giselle could hear him.

The princess then turned her head towards Lucien and Clara again, looking as dignified as ever, as if she didn’t just raise her voice prior to this.

"Lord Renand, will you please help Duke Karron up and take him somewhere he can rest? Lady Benois, I would appreciate it if you would refrain from touching him," Giselle said, looking like she was intimidating both Lucien and Clara with her glare.

Clara flinched when she said that.

"M-My apologies, Your Highness," Clara said, her head hung low as she lowered her body for a bow. From the corner of his eyes, Lucien could see that her entire body was trembling.

He frowned and glanced at Giselle.

What is her problem? What in the world is going on? Lucien thought. But first, he needed to give a hand to the Duke.

Lucien held onto Siegfried's arm as he propped him up and was about to bring him to an empty room.

But Clara was just standing there, making a weak smile while shaking her hand.

"Go ahead, I will stay here for the time being," Clara said.

On the other hand, Giselle didn't even spare a glance at her. It was like the two ladies were avoiding each other's eyes on purpose.

Along the way to the guest room, Lucien’s head had considerably cooled down and he realized the gravity of what he just did.

“Call a doctor,” Lucien gave an order to a servant as he laid Siegfried down on the bed. The young Duke was still sweating but he didn’t look as tormented as he did before.

Giselle was just standing by Siegfried’s side while wiping the cold sweat from his face with her handkerchief. She looked calm, but also concerned.

“Your Highness,” Lucien called out to her. He didn’t even bother checking whether he got her attention or not when he suddenly made a deep bow. “I apologize from the depth of my heart for what happened earlier.”

Giselle didn’t say anything, so Lucien kept his position as he continued.

“As agitated as I was, I should not have done such a thing,” Lucien said as he closed his eyes and gritted his teeth. If he could beat up the him from five minutes ago, he would. “Please punish me as you see fit.”

It took a while before Giselle finally spoke up.

“Yes, I suppose it was truly beyond my expectation that the heir of Marquess Renand could be so idiotic in nature,” she said.

Lucien blinked.

Did he hear that right?

“I do not want to get any more involved with a foolish man such as yourself, if I have to be quite honest, but I suspect my attendants had probably seen what happened and would report it to His Majesty,” Giselle continued. Contrary to her sweet voice, all of her words were dripping with poison.

Lucien didn’t know how to react upon hearing this contrast. He was too confused and humbled to even make any response.

“Raise your head,” Giselle finally commanded.

At her words, Lucien lifted his head. She wasn’t looking at him and was just putting all her attention on Siegfried. With how calm her face looked, Lucien wondered if she was truly worried about her cousin.

“Punishment, is it?” Giselle said. She then looked at Lucien dead in the eyes before continuing. “If I tell you to never meet Lady Benois anymore, will you comply?”

Lucien flinched at her question. Never meet Clara anymore? That would be unthinkable. She was a great part of him—his family. How could he ever do such a thing?

To his savior?

“No need to make that face. It was just a joke.” Giselle scoffed as she turned her attention back to Siegfried, who was on the bed.

Only then did Lucien realize what a face he must’ve made as he touched his face in an effort to ‘fix’ it.

The servant then returned, bringing along the march’s designated doctor with him.

“I shall return to the tea party now. If Siegfried is still not awake by the time we finish, I shall be the one to bring him back to his territory later,” Giselle said as she made her way out of the room. Lucien was just watching her leave in a daze before he realized and ran after her.

“Your Highness!” he called out to Giselle. She stopped in her tracks, letting him catch up to her in the meantime.

“What about my… punishment?” Lucien asked. He was always a stickler for the rules. He knew that if she just let him off the hook like this, he would be haunted by it for days to come.

Giselle didn’t answer for a while, looking like she was in deep thought. After some time, she finally spoke up, “Come to the Imperial Palace in a week’s time by yourself. I will tell you then.”

With that, Giselle started walking away again, leaving Lucien behind her.

The Imperial Palace…? Lucien thought. Why there? Why in a week? Why not now?

A ton of questions appeared in his mind, yet for now he needed to go back to the room where Siegfried was.

“So? What’s wrong with him?” Lucien was pinching the bridge of his nose as he entered the room again.

“W-Well, my Lord,” the doctor stuttered. He was blinking in confusion as he took the stethoscope out of his ears. “There is nothing wrong with him.”