Chapter 5:


Hated by the Evil Lady

"May I ask what exactly I will be doing?" Lucien asked with a careful tone. Meanwhile, right next to him, a maid was pouring tea into his cup.

Although the wind wasn't blowing too hard in this pavilion, it didn't feel too hot either. Was temperature control magic installed in this pavilion?

"Take notes, accompany me through inspections, and accommodate my meetings, for a start," Giselle said as she waved the maid away after she was done pouring tea.

After the maid bowed and left, they were now left alone once again.

"I suppose I have no choice, then?" Lucien asked again. He didn't even touch his freshly poured cup of tea.

"No, you do not," Giselle said. Her black eyes focused on him, like she was observing his reaction.

He was asking the obvious. Giselle was not asking for his help, but commanding his help as his punishment.

Even though Lucien should be busy as the heir of the Marquess, he really had no other choice. Once again, he felt like choking his past self for making questionable decisions in the spur of a moment. He let out a sigh.

"I will do my best," he finally said. After getting that out of his chest, he felt relieved enough to grab his teacup and sip on it.

"You will start today," Giselle announced.

It took all of Lucien to not choke on the tea he was drinking. After coughing it out for a second, he looked down to check on whether his attire was good enough for work.

He sighed in relief when he realized that his brown suit should be more than adequate.

"Understood," he said.

Then they just sat there in silence, occasionally sipping tea while enjoying the garden.

Seeing how Giselle was not telling him to do anything yet, Lucien assumed that meant she wanted to enjoy her tea time first. He must admit, it did feel nice to drink tea surrounded by such pretty flowers.

And as much as he hated to admit it, it also felt unexpectedly nice to have the company of the princess, who wasn't the type to bombard him with questions and interrogations like his sister would.

He then shifted his eyes to Giselle. He didn't notice it before, but her eyelashes were pretty long. It felt like they were covering her eyes when she would cast her gaze downwards as she drank her tea.

The wind then blew over a flower petal, which then landed right on Giselle’s head. The princess herself didn’t seem to realize this, as she still looked unbothered in the midst of it all.

“Pardon me.” Lucien stood up and extended his hand toward Giselle’s head. He grabbed the petal from her head and smiled when he managed to get it off.

As he looked down, he saw Giselle being stunned with widened eyes as she looked at him. Although her eyes usually looked dark, for a second, Lucien could see the light in them.

Only then did Lucien realize that he was invading her private space. Again.

“My apologies! There was a flower petal—” Lucien stopped talking when Giselle raised her hand.

“It is fine,” Giselle said. She’d returned to her usual collected self, Lucien noted.

He awkwardly scratched his cheek as he thought back on the expression Giselle just made. It was an expression he'd never seen before. In fact, he didn't expect that she would be shaken just by him getting close to her.

Oh no, what if that just made me even more of an eyesore to her? Lucien thought in panic.

"Seeing how you’ll be spending a lot of time with me until the ball, I think I ought to give you some information about myself," Giselle said, snapping Lucien back to reality. That was the cue for Lucien to put on his best business smile as he listened to her, lest she would catch him off guard again.

“I know the future,” she said.

Lucien’s smile twitched, but he tried his best to not let it falter.

None of them said anything for a good few seconds. Was it actually an imperial joke? Just when Lucien made the resolve to let out a laugh on courtesy of her, Giselle continued.

“I am aware you might not believe me, but you’ll likely find out along the lines anyway if you are going to spend every day with me,” Giselle shrugged.

Lucien wasn’t sure how to react to this information. Moreover, how was that supposed to affect him in any way or form? …Hold on, what did she just say?

“Every day?” Lucien repeated what Giselle just said.

“THAT’s what got your interest?” she raised an eyebrow at him, like she was looking at a rare animal. “Yes, every day.”

Lucien opened his mouth, seemingly about to make a retort, but decided against it in the end. “...Understood,” he finally said.

Such was the life of a subordinate, after all.


Surprisingly enough, although Giselle said that she would make him start work today, she only gave him several documents for him to look through back home. Except, the catch was that he had to be finished with reading them all by tomorrow.

He supposed he had no choice. The ball was going to be held in merely around two weeks, after all. It didn’t stop him from sighing in the carriage home when he saw the pile of documents in his lap, though. Fortunately, Lucien was a fast reader. This would be a cinch for him.

When Lucien finally arrived home, the person he found in his study—where he was about to spend all night reading the documents Giselle gave her—was not his sister, but a girl with blonde hair.

“Clara?” Lucien called out. The blonde-haired girl turned around, and she was indeed his good friend with blue eyes, Clara Benois.

“What are you doing here so late?” Lucien said as he looked around, trying to check whether anyone else was there. He then turned back to Clara and smiled. “You’re engaged already, you should be more cautious.”

“Oh, you’ve heard about that,” Clara said, her cheerful smile quickly disappearing.

Her change in expression obviously didn’t get past Lucien.

"Is something wrong?" he asked as he took a seat across from her.

"Oh, no, it's just that this engagement…" Clara trailed off. She looked hesitant for a second before her expression turned back bright. "Nevermind. It's all fine!"

"Don't say that, you're obviously not fine. How long do you think I've known you for?" Lucien said, a frown forming in his forehead as he leaned his body forward to show that he was paying attention to her.

It was definitely concerning that such an upbeat and rambunctious girl like Clara would look this timid. If it was the usual her, she would definitely face everything with a positive outlook.

Yet her look just then… The way she looked hesitant…

When he had a sudden realization, his eyes widened.

"Did Duke Karron force you into this engagement?" he asked, a visible anger building up in his eyes.

It would all make sense if that was the case. Their sudden engagement, the way she looked right now. Lucien clenched his fists. He had to calm down—he needed to get her confirmation first and foremost.

“What? No! He’s not like that!” Clara waved her hand in panic. “It’s just… he’s so popular, so…”

She pressed her hand on her flushing red face. Hearing that his suspicion was unfounded, Lucien let out a sigh of relief and loosened his clenched fists. He still had his doubts, but it didn’t seem like it was the worst case judging by Clara’s reaction.

At the very least, she did look like she was in love with him all right. Lucien smiled when he looked at how red Clara’s face was as she fanned it with her hand.


? What was that again?