Chapter 19:

In Distress

Hated by the Evil Lady

Lucien didn’t know how Cecile could act normal in this circumstance.

He was pretty sure that she once said she found Duke Karron terrifying. But now? Not a single trace of that could be seen. She looked right at home in between Clara and Siegfried.

Meanwhile, Lucien was with Giselle a few steps behind them. This, too, was Cecile’s doing.

“Lucien, you should escort Her Highness,” she said a few minutes prior. “I shall have Lady Benois and Duke Karron on each side as my escorts.”

And that was how the current situation came to be. Though, forget escorting, Lucien and Giselle were only walking side by side.

He took a glance at Giselle. She was facing down as they walked, so all he could see was the crown of her head. She didn’t say a word earlier when they met, only a little nod of acknowledgment.

He supposed that if she wouldn’t speak up, then he shouldn’t as well. Lucien sighed inwardly, his gaze directed ahead again.

Observing Cecile, Clara, and Siegfried from behind made him notice one thing.

Clara and Siegfried looked awkward with each other.

“Are they not getting along…” Lucien wondered in a whisper.

But that seemed to be loud enough for Giselle to hear, as she immediately raised her head to look at him.

Her sudden move startled Lucien a bit.

“They’re getting along just fine,” Giselle suddenly retorted with a frown.

While Lucien was blinking in confusion, Giselle picked up the pace and passed him by, leaving him behind by himself.

He watched the back of her head in wonder. What just happened? It sounded like Giselle was a little irritated at him.

But wait, shouldn’t he be the one irritated at her? She told him to wait for further contact, but didn’t do so even after nearly a month. He knew that his employment with her was merely a volunteering on his part at best, but couldn’t he have at least gotten a thanks?

Lucien grumbled in his mind as he followed his companions from behind.

The room Clara led them to was the drawing room of her house.

“Please wait here while I get you some tea and snacks,” Clara said with a smile, mainly directed at Giselle as the one with the highest status in this room.

“I’ll help you,” Cecile said as she left the room with Clara arm in arm.

The drawing room with only Lucien, Siegfried, and Giselle in it was unbearably silent. Each of them were standing by awkwardly in the room—Siegfried was standing in front of the Benois’s family photos, Giselle was sitting on the 3-seat sofa, and Lucien was sitting upright on the armchair next to it.

It had only been a few minutes, but it sure felt like eternity to Lucien.

No one would say a word to each other. The only noise Lucien could hear in the room was the ticking sounds from the clock on the wall.

That was when Lucien knew he had to take matters in his own hand.

He glanced at Giselle, who was sitting in the middle of the sofa with her arms crossed. She really looked like she owned the whole sofa with the way she posed.

He decided to talk to her first since he knew Giselle better than Siegfried. He put on his best polite smile before striking up a conversation with Giselle.

“Have you been here for long, Your Highness?”



That’s all? was what Lucien thought when silence fell on them, a smile still present on his face.

Giselle didn’t even look at him. She was even looking like nothing just happened. Did Lucien actually hallucinate talking to her? Shouldn’t this be the part where she elaborated more on her answer?

But that was on him for even expecting Giselle to be hospitable. She was quite literally the person who didn’t contact him for weeks after getting angry at him out of nowhere. He should be the one keeping an open mind here.

“Then when did you…?”

“This morning,” Giselle said curtly before turning away, making it plainly obvious that she didn’t want to converse further.

Lucien then took a glance at Siegfried, wondering if he should switch his target to him instead. Siegfried was staring at the family photos like he was studying the most legendary artifact in the world.

Lucien had seen Siegfried multiple times at the academy, but they’d never interacted with each other back then. Despite being in the same year, they were each concentrated on different things. Lucien on administration, and Siegfried on arts of battle.

They were as different as night and day, but since Siegfried was now Clara’s fiancé, Lucien thought that maybe he should try to get closer to him as well.

“You seem quite taken with the photos, Your Grace,” Lucien began.

Siegfried didn’t answer nor spared a glance at Lucien. At the moment, he was bending down to look at one photo better.

“Your Grace?” Lucien called out to him again, wondering if he couldn’t hear him.

“Huh?” Siegfried finally responded, his head turned to Lucien.

As usual, Siegfried’s red eyes were a sight to see. His eyes were one of the main reasons he was called the “monster duke”, but this wasn’t always the case.

Vivid red eyes were the characteristics of the Duke of Karron family members and used to symbolize strength, bravery, and leadership. However, ever since the previous duke and duchess passed away, Siegfried’s eyes had turned dull and menacing. Since he was also active in the battlefield, some people had testified that seeing his blood-crazed eyes as he slaughtered the enemies gave them nightmares for days.

As an ordinary person like everyone else, Lucien also couldn’t help but flinch when Siegfried’s red eyes looked straight at him.

“Oh, no, you just looked like you’re very interested in the photos,” Lucien said, trying to maintain his expression so that he wouldn’t look intimidated.

“Aah… Yes,” Siegfried said before turning his attention back to the photos. Lucien thought he was going to ignore him like Giselle did, but he actually continued, “Do you know how old Lady Benois was here, Lord Renand?”

Lucien blinked, unable to believe his ears. Did Siegfried actually respond to his attempt at conversing? THAT Siegfried?

“Yes! That photo was when she was eight, I believe,” Lucien began to say in his enthusiasm.

“I see,” Siegfried muttered. A small smile appeared on his face as he looked at the photo of little Clara clad in a thick winter coat, making her look as round as a ball. She was smiling as bright as the sun even when her nose looked red due to the cold.

Lucien was amazed to see Siegfried smile for the first time ever. He usually thought Siegfried was brooding and unapproachable, but now he looked just like any guy their age.

Guess he really loved Clara. Maybe the awkwardness he saw earlier was just because they were still getting to know each other.

“Actually, my mother was the one who took that photo,” Lucien continued babbling. He was too excited to have a conversation in this quiet room. “Both of our families went to this winter resort up north for a vacation and—”

“Lord Renand,” Siegfried cut him off without even looking at him.


“I think that’s enough.”

“Oh, understood,” Lucien said as he lowered his hands and rested them neatly on his lap. A hospitable smile was still visible on his face.

Someone save me. Lucien pleaded in his head.

Just in time, the door opened, revealing Clara with a tray of tea and snacks. Cecile was right next to her as the one who opened the door for her.

Lucien had never been more glad to see his childhood friend and annoying sister again in his life. He was starting to feel like crying just now.

He immediately stood up and approached them, taking the tray from Clara while trying to ignore the glares coming from behind him.

“Sister, why didn’t you help her?” Lucien said just about anything that came up first in his mind.

“Hey, this much is normal for one person to carry! And didn’t you see me holding these?” Cecile huffed as she lifted the two teacups on her hands.

She was right. The tray only contained a teapot, three cups, and a plate of snacks. That was normal.

But Lucien ignored her and went over to put the tray down on the coffee table.

“Did you have a nice conversation with each other?” Clara asked in a whisper.

It took Lucien a good second before he could give her a bright, meaningful smile.