Chapter 10:

Teddy Bear

Hated by the Evil Lady

The first son and heir of Duke Nomal, Cheshire Nomal. With his short brown hair, round face, and tall stature, people say that he reminded them of a big teddy bear. Just like the other Dukedoms in the empire, he too had black eyes to signify his relation to the Imperial family.

He didn’t have the most handsome face like Duke Karron, but he had quite a strong body and gentle smile that would captivate any lady he met. Lucien had heard about how gentlemanly Cheshire Nomal was whenever he was with a lady, how his bashful smile invoked their motherly instincts, and how his firm body made them want to stay in his warm embrace forever.

Lucien had never paid him much attention prior to this. Why would he, when he never had anything to do with Cheshire Nomal? It wasn’t as if he was one of the ladies dreaming of interacting with him at least once.

That was why this was Lucien’s first time meeting Cheshire Nomal face to face.

Both Cheshire and Cecile looked really puzzled at the way Lucien suddenly burst the door open in front of them. Cecile’s hand was placed on Cheshire’s palm, most likely because he was in the middle of escorting her home.

Both their faces looked a little flushed and there was an air of joy around them. It seemed like they had a great time together before Lucien came out and disturbed whatever was going in between them.

"What's wrong?" Cecile asked, breaking the awkward silence between them. Her voice sounded gentle and concerned, but her eyes were glaring daggers at Lucien.

"Oh, no, it's just…" Lucien glanced at Cheshire.

He was a little bit shorter than Lucien, but had a bigger silhouette overall.

Cheshire flashed his child-like smile at Lucien.

"My apologies for the late introduction. My name is Cheshire Nomal, the first son of the Duke of Nomal," he said as he extended his hand towards Lucien.

"Ah… Yes, it is a pleasure to meet you, Lord Nomal," Lucien said, taking his hand in his and giving it a firm shake. He made a look full of suspicion at both Cheshire and Cecile.

It was like the seed of doubt hadn't been able to stop growing ever since Giselle planted it in him.

"If I may ask, where did you two go that you're only coming back now?" Lucien asked. He tried his best to smile, but he didn't know whether it looked awkward or not.

"Oh, I apologize for taking out Ceci—I mean, Lady Renand for too long," Cheshire said as his eyes met Cecile's. They then smiled at each other as if hearts were flying out of their eyes.

Seeing his sister like that was starting to give Lucien goosebumps.

"We just took a stroll at the park before getting dinner. Does that satisfy your curiosity, Lucien?" Cecile was the one who answered Lucien's question. It was like her eyes were telling him to stay out of her business already.

Lucien stared at her for a moment before turning away from her.

"Thank you for escorting my sister home, Lord Renand," Lucien said out of courtesy.

"It is my pleasure. I should be the one to thank her for being willing to accompany me today," Cheshire said as he patted Cecile's hand that was resting on his palm. "I still find it unbelievable that the lady ruling over high society would even cast a glance at me."

"Oh you…!" Cecile lightly hit Cheshire's arm in embarrassment, but the joy was obvious on her face.

It was getting harder and harder for Lucien to maintain his smile. Not because of his suspicion, but because of the cringe. Why did he have to see his sister acting like this? He sighed inwardly as he looked at the two of them together.

Maybe the Princess interpreted her vision wrong. He had no way of knowing whether what she was saying was the truth or not anyway.

"Well then, I'll have to take my leave now. It is very nice to meet you, Lord Renand," Cheshire said with a little bow. He turned to Cecile and looked at her like a lovestruck little boy. "See you at the ball, my lady."

He placed a kiss on the back of Cecile's hand before going back to his carriage.

It took a good while after his carriage was gone from sight that Cecile finally stopped swooning.

"Alright, what was that?" Cecile said as she turned to Lucien with a glare.

"Uhh, how about we go in first?" Lucien said, both his hands raised up like he was surrendering.

"We're not going anywhere until you spill what you're up to," Cecile declared. Her eyes were squinting at him full of suspicion.

Lucien scratched the back of his neck as he tried to look for an excuse.

"I'm just wondering how he's been treating you?" Lucien said. The question mark at the end of his words should have been an obvious suspicious point, but Cecile's eyes were already lit up like she'd been waiting for him to ask.

"Very wonderful, I must tell you! Why, he has been very accommodating to me. I don't think I've ever seen him act like this to the other ladies—" Cecile continued to blabber about how much this was a dream come true for her.

Right, Lucien forgot that Cecile was always dreaming of a prince charming, much like Cheshire Nomal was. Even though she was already twenty years of age, she couldn’t let go of that dream of hers.

However, Lucien knew that as naive as Cecile’s dream was, she wasn’t the type of person who would fall for others’ lies so easily.

For now, he decided to trust and respect Cecile’s choice.

“—also, you won’t believe what happened today. We encountered Lady Mondia today and the look of jealousy was so obvious on her face when she saw me and Cheshire getting along so well with each other! Ha, serves her right,” Cecile continued to talk without any sign of stopping.

The Lady Mondia she mentioned was a daughter of Marquess Mondia. If Cecile wasn’t around, she might even have become the one ruling high society instead. She had always been at odds with Cecile since they were young. It had been so puzzling to Lucien how much they didn’t get along. He wondered if there was any particular happening that made them treat each other with such enmity.

“Okay, okay, I get it. Let’s go in now, Sister,” Lucien said as he grabbed Cecile by her shoulders, turned her towards the door, and pushed her inside their manor from behind. If he’d let her be, she was surely going to go on all night. Cecile was protesting that he was the one who asked about her day, but Lucien just ignored her.


Giselle had been in her office since the sun rose earlier today. She couldn’t fall asleep, so she figured she should just get started on work early.

Her eyes kept going to the clock on her desk and the door—when was Lucien going to come? He promised yesterday that he would still come to work today. Did he change his mind?

Should she just tell him the truth if he really wouldn’t believe her?

But first of all, she needed to remember more details. The information she currently had wouldn’t be enough to change anything. The only thing she remembered was what was going to happen on the day of the ball, not the details surrounding it.

All she knew was that the massive-scaled disappearance of young noblewomen on the day of the ball Princess Giselle organized would propel the whole story forward and be the first step to the upcoming conflicts.

Giselle stared at her desk in a daze before shaking her head. No, she was not going to let that happen. For the sake of THEIR happy ending, Giselle was prepared to do anything to let them go through everything as smoothly as possible. Most of all, she didn’t want to just turn a blind eye and let such a horrible thing happen to those women when she knew it would surely happen.

As if it was on cue, the door made a clicking sound and opened right after. Giselle immediately rose from her seat to see who was entering.

It was Lucien, coming to work at exactly 9 o’clock as usual.