Chapter 15:


Hated by the Evil Lady

Throughout the way to Cheshire Nomal's hideout, Lucien stayed silent. However, unlike what he did back in Giselle's office earlier, he was more alert and calm this time.

It was because he was ever so slowly loading the cartridges into his treasured revolver, one by one, with an icy cold stare in his eyes.

"You can hold a gun…?" Giselle asked. She was sitting on the opposite side of him in the same carriage.

Lucien nodded while still loading in the cartridges.

"Not as good as my mother, but yes," he said.

He didn't even have the time to wonder why Giselle was so surprised. He was too busy distracting himself with his gun to keep a calm mind.

After the cartridges were all loaded, he clicked the cylinder in and cocked the hammer, fully preparing it for a fire.

Lucien kept his head down as the carriage made its way to their destination.

Cheshire Nomal's hideout was actually located in the borders of the empire, in a territory owned by a noble from another country, the Scherz house.

If he wasn't mistaken, Lucien saw the name Scherz in the investigation report on Cheshire Nomal.

That was the name of the married noblewoman who fancied Cheshire Nomal when he was studying abroad in the past.

Could they still be involved with each other?

The moment the carriage stopped, Lucien’s focus returned to the situation at hand. He opened the door and got off the carriage, but suddenly stopped in his tracks.

He turned around and it turned out that his bad feelings were right. Giselle was also in the middle of getting off the carriage behind him, looking determined to go along with him.

“Your Highness…?” Lucien said while tilting his head in confusion. Giselle mirrored his gesture and tilted her head as well, as if she didn’t understand what the problem was.

“Your Highness, are you trying to come with me?” Lucien asked.

“Is there a problem?” Giselle asked back. Lucien sighed and nodded. He gently took a hold of Giselle’s hand in both of his as he looked up at her while she was standing on the carriage step.

How could she ever think about following him into a dangerous place when her hand was so small and dainty?

“A lot of it, in fact. Please stay here, Your Highness. It’ll be dangerous,” he pleaded, his eyes looking concerned. The knights seemed to agree with him as they nodded their heads.

Giselle raised an eyebrow. She looked like she was contemplating it for a bit while staring at her hand being held by Lucien before she nodded her head.

“Fine. I guess I won’t be of help anyway. Just…” she faltered a little and hesitated before continuing, “Do a good job.”

Lucien let out a sigh of relief and gave her his best business smile as an answer. That was just like her to say that. He then let go of her hand, turned around, and marched inside the small, modest hut in the middle of a forest along with several knights.

It was not a sweat for them to invade in even though there were some people guarding the hut inside.

Without anything holding them back, the knights managed to clear the path for Lucien to go straight into the basement, where Cheshire Nomal was holding the ladies captive.

The moment he saw Nomal holding onto his sister—whose hands and arms were tied in a rope—as soon as he opened the door, Lucien felt his blood boil. He immediately stormed in and grabbed Nomal by his collar.

“Get away from my sister, you bastard!” Lucien said as he pulled the guy backward. He didn’t even give Cheshire Nomal a moment to respond before he raised his gun and pointed it at the fallen man, all while extending his arm in front of his sister to make a shield for her.

Fear looked evident in Nomal’s eyes while he was in the face of a gun.

“Hold on, Lord Renand! This is a misunderstanding!” he shouted with his hands raised up, like he was surrendering.

“A misunderstanding? A MISUNDERSTANDING?” Lucien repeated Nomal's words with an expression of disgust on his face, putting more emphasis on each syllable every time. It was baffling he still had the gall to say that with all this evidence lying around!

Cheshire Nomal still brazenly nodded nevertheless.

“Yes. You don’t understand, everything I’m doing is for their sakes! They will be much happier with the people who are going to pick them up tomorrow. Free of their responsibility as a noblewoman, free of poverty… Isn’t that what you all told me you wanted? Right?” Cheshire Nomal said while he desperately looked at Cecile and the other girls behind Lucien.

“Shut your damn mouth!!” Cecile shouted with so much fury to represent the other girls as well, as the only one who could speak up. “I never wanted this, and I’m sure these other ladies never wanted this either!”

Lucien scoffed when he saw how dumbfounded Cheshire Nomal was after Cecile said that. He looked absolutely ridiculous and pathetic.

“Just shoot him!” Cecile said, fuming.

On one hand, Lucien was glad his sister was still as spunky as ever. On the other hand, she seemed much too riled up right now. He did, however, agree on one thing.


Lucien pulled the trigger.

The mark on the ground left by the bullet in front of Cheshire Nomal’s crotch let out a smoke.

The knights entered the room as soon as they were done subduing all of Cheshire Nomal’s men. After they apprehended Nomal, who was shaking in fear, Lucien turned to his sister.

Cecile was hanging her head low. Lucien proceeded to borrow a sword from the nearest knight and carefully used it to cut off the rope tying up Cecile’s hands and legs. The other girls were also rescued by the other knights in the same way.

“Sister…?” Lucien called out to Cecile when she still wouldn’t raise her head despite having been freed from the rope. “Oh—Oh no.”

Lucien immediately pulled Cecile in for a hug when he saw that her shoulders were shaking and tears were flowing down her cheeks. She was just crying without a sound, and that broke Lucien’s heart even more.

He almost never saw her older sister looking so sad and vulnerable. In his eyes, she was always strong.

Maybe he should have just let the bullet hit Cheshire Nomal after all. Lucien clenched his fist as he thought that.

They stayed there for a while even after the others had gone out. Lucien gave Cecile a moment to calm down before they exited the basement and the hut as well. He let her rest her hand on his arm so he could support her walk.

As soon as they got out of the hut, Lucien spotted Giselle pacing back and forth by the carriage from afar. He wondered if there was something wrong. When Lucien and Cecile got closer, Giselle noticed their presence and quickly turned her head to them.

Lucien didn’t know if it was just his feeling, but Giselle looked… extremely relieved to see them. That was just for a split second though, for her face returned to its icy exterior as soon as he blinked.

“Your Highness.” Cecile was the one who spoke up first. She gave Giselle the most beautiful curtsy. “I give you my utmost gratitude for helping to save me and the other ladies here. I must apologize for troubling you.”

“There is no need to apologize, Lady Renand,” Giselle said. Her gaze shifted to the other carriage, where Cheshire Nomal was held in custody. “It is someone else who has to.”

Cecile nodded in agreement while giving a stink eye in the same direction. She then let out a sigh before smiling at Giselle again.

“My brother is going to escort Your Highness to the ball tomorrow, is he not?” Cecile asked. Giselle looked a little flustered at her question. She wasn’t going to bring up anything about the ball in front of Cecile since she knew the older girl wouldn’t be able to come, but Cecile was the one who brought it up instead.

“I shall make sure that he is going to be the best escort for you in exchange for your grace today,” Cecile said with a chuckle.

Hello? I’m also here? Lucien wanted to say, but decided not to when he saw how much fun Cecile was having teasing him. He sneaked a peek at Giselle, but she actually looked obviously at a loss at how to respond to Cecile. She just gave her an awkward smile and a small nod.

It was already dark when Giselle’s carriage drove both Lucien and Cecile back to the Renand residence. As soon as they alighted, the servants from the Renand residence all rushed forward to help Cecile go to her room.

Cecile gave Giselle a slight bow before letting herself be escorted by the maids.

And so, Lucien was left alone with Giselle in front of the carriage. The Renands’ butler also stayed behind, but he was standing pretty far away from them to give them some privacy.

“Thank you for today, Your Highness. Please let me apologize to you once again for my unsightly behavior early in the day,” Lucien said with a bow.

“It’s fine. Come early tomorrow so we can discuss the rundown of the ball one last time,” Giselle said before turning to get inside the carriage again.

“Certainly. May you have a safe trip back,” Lucien said, still in a bowing stance. He straightened his back and closed the door of the carriage the moment Giselle settled inside the carriage.

“And, uh…” Giselle faltered. Lucien tilted his head and moved closer to the carriage so he could hear her better. “Good work today.”

Lucien blinked in surprise before giving her a soft smile. “You too, Your Highness.”

With that, Giselle didn’t respond to him anymore and just told the coachman to depart to the Imperial Palace.