Chapter 9:

The Future She Saw

Hated by the Evil Lady

Lucien burst the wagon door open the moment the carriage stopped. He was holding Giselle in his arms with a frantic look on his face. The servants who were waiting for their arrival looked shocked to see Giselle unconscious.

"Call for a doctor at once!" he yelled to the servants as he carried Giselle out of the carriage and rushed her to her room.

He waited anxiously until the doctor finished examining Giselle. He just lingered idly behind the doctor, not caring whether that put an unnecessary pressure on him or not.

"I'm afraid I can't find anything wrong with Her Highness, my lord," the doctor said. "It might just be a case of overworking. Has she been pushing herself as of late?"

Lucien frowned. Maybe she did, maybe she did not. He wasn't sure. He didn't really pay attention whenever she did something that didn't involve him.

He should have paid more attention, he thought.

At times like these, Lucien wished he had the power to heal like in the legends.

Magic used to be common everywhere in the world. However, the number of magic users dwindled over the years that now, only a select few had the power of magic inside them. Healing magic was one of the magic that hadn't been seen for centuries.

When Lucien was small, he used to fantasize about being a magician who could cast powerful offensive magic. When he found out that it was impossible, his dream shifted towards becoming a knight who would brandish his sword to protect his loved ones.

He kept up his training until he turned fifteen, when he realized that he was best at using his brain to contribute to the nation, not by swinging a sword.

Lucien took a glance at Giselle’s face. She looked much better than earlier, but the color hadn’t fully returned to her face yet.

When he noticed her shifting in her place, he immediately rushed to her side.

“Your Highness? Can you hear me?” Lucien asked. Giselle slowly opened her eyes to take in the incoming light. “I’ll call the doctor right back—”

Lucien was about to turn around and leave the room to call the doctor over again, but he halted when he noticed that Giselle was holding onto his wrist.

“No need. I—” Giselle sat up with a scowl on her face. She then looked up at Lucien with a rather serious expression. “I have something to tell you.”

Lucien nodded and went down on one knee by the bed to meet Giselle's eye level. He didn’t know what this was about, but it must be something urgent judging by her face alone. She looked hesitant at first before she finally opened her mouth.

“Lord Cheshire Nomal… He’s dangerous,” Giselle said. Lucien was confused, but what she said next puzzled him even more. “He has been laying the grounds to establish a trafficking ring. If your sister goes to the ball with him…”

Giselle faltered. Her exhausted eyes darted elsewhere and she wouldn’t continue her words. The growing silence began to frustrate Lucien.

Along the way, he noticed that she might be talking about the future that she claimed she could see. Lucien was originally determined to not pay any heed to her foresight business, but it was a different case if it were involving his sister.

“If she does, then what, Your Highness?” Lucien asked after he couldn’t take the silence anymore. He leaned forward to Giselle to urge her to talk, his hands gripping onto the blanket without him realizing.

However, Giselle’s lips were still set in a straight line as she continued to refuse to talk.

“Your Highness!” he finally raised his voice.

“...She will be trafficked to another nation along with some other ladies on the day of the ball and…" Giselle said carefully before pausing, her eyes peeking at Lucien to gauge his reaction. "...lose her life en route."

Lucien clenched his jaw. His head was going numb. What she said was hard to believe, but he also basically didn't know much about Cheshire Nomal to say otherwise. As much as he wanted to say it was impossible, Cheshire Nomal's reputation made it difficult for him to voice it out.

"...You need some rest, Your Highness," Lucien said as he stood up and turned around. He couldn't bear to look at Giselle as he did.

"...You don't believe me," Giselle said, as if she already knew the answer without even having to ask.

He wanted to. He wanted to believe that Giselle was a good person after all. He wanted to believe that she wouldn't lie about it just for the sake of it.

But in doing so, it would be like he believed his sister would die.

There was no way she would. Anyone might, but not his family.

Lucien's head was in such turmoil. He clenched his fists and began to make his way to the door. He felt like he would say something rude to Giselle if he stayed any longer.

"Lord Renand," Giselle tried to call out to him, but he ignored her and kept walking. He was about to grab the doorknob when he heard her shout, "Lucien!"

Lucien flinched. Hearing her say his name for the first time made him stop in his tracks. It was clear that it was her sign of an order. That was why he had no choice but to obey the princess, despite not turning around to look her in the eyes.

"Please do not worry, Your Highness," Lucien said as he turned the knob and opened the door. "I will still come to work tomorrow. I just… need some time."

With that, Lucien left the room and closed the door behind him.

He didn't know how he got home that day. He vaguely remembered the Imperial carriage sending him home, but he couldn't recall the events that led up to it.

His family's butler was the one who greeted him when he arrived home.

"Where is my sister…?" Lucien asked him in a daze as he looked around.

The butler was puzzled. The last time his young master asked something like that, he was just a little five-year-old boy looking for his beloved older sister. The butler made a fond smile thinking that Lucien must've especially missed his sister today for some reason.

"Young Lady has not gotten home yet ever since Lord Nomal came to pick her up for a little outing this afternoon," the butler said.

Lucien paused. He turned to look at the butler with an expression of disbelief.

"Who?" he asked. The butler was once again confused at his reaction.

"Lord Cheshire Nomal, sir. The Lady's partner for the upcoming ball," the butler said. He looked a bit nervous, afraid that he might've said something wrong.

All kinds of scenarios went through Lucien's head. This was already pretty late at night. Where could they have gone?

He might've acted like he didn't believe Giselle's words at all, but what she said had been deeply etched in his mind.

He's dangerous.

If your sister goes to the ball with him…

Lucien felt shivers on his back. No, in the first place, it might just be that Giselle was targeting Cheshire Nomal on purpose. He was a playboy, so it was possible that she held a grudge on him for playing with her feelings or something. That wouldn't be unthinkable for Giselle, who was always rumored to be a vicious young lady.

But was she really? Lucien thought back on his interaction with Giselle so far.

She might be aloof and harsh at times, but she didn't strike him as the type to hold a grudge to the point that she would accuse anyone carelessly.

She felt rather detached and uninterested, even.

Moreover, as far as he knew, all the malicious rumors surrounding Giselle were centered around her absolute infatuation with Duke Siegfried Karron. Would she really be involved with the man who was known as a casanova of the empire?

Just as he thought that, he heard laughter from outside the door. Lucien immediately headed towards the door and burst it wide open, surprising the people on the other side of it.

It was his sister, Cecile, who was about to reach the front door to their mansion accompanied by her partner for the upcoming ball.

Cheshire Nomal.