Chapter 20:

Yellow Roses

Hated by the Evil Lady

Lucien’s stomach was too full to sleep.

He didn’t know how he managed to pass the day. Throughout the tea time and dinner, he just let Clara and Cecile do the talk while he just sat there with a smile, continuously stuffing his mouth with food. His hand just kept on reaching for the food—both because of how delicious they were and because of the nerves.

Both Giselle and Siegfried didn’t talk much either throughout all that, but it didn’t seem to deter the two excited ladies.

During dinner, Lucien found out that the Count of Benois was currently away on business. Apparently, it had something to do with his latest business venture of winery.

“Duke Karron just arrived yesterday to discuss a little more about our engagement ceremony,” Clara said earlier during dinner. Her face was full of smiles and her cheeks were rosy as she looked at Siegfried.

Lucien even felt like he saw a hint of a smile on Siegfried’s face after Clara said that. He wasn’t sure if that was just his eyes fooling him or not though.

Now that he knew why Siegfried was at Clara’s house, Lucien couldn’t help but take a glance at Giselle afterwards.

What was she doing here then?

Lucien sighed. He was already in the guest bedroom now, staring at the bed provided for him. He should be getting ready to sleep already, but somehow he didn’t want to. He felt like his stomach would burst the moment he lay down.

He took a glance outside the window and wondered if maybe a walk outside would make him feel better. The moon looked bright and the sky seemed clear tonight.

Lucien then put his coat on and made his way to the garden. Since he’d stayed over for a lot of times already (with Cecile as well), he already knew his way around this house.

He felt the night chill as soon as he stepped outside the door to the gardens. Even though it was already spring, it was still cold at night.

He made his way to his favorite place in the entire Benois’ garden, the yellow rose bed. The reason he liked it was simple—he was the one who gifted the Countess and Clara the very first yellow rose bud.

It always filled him with so much joy to see how well they’d been taken care of to the point that they had multiplied enough to fill an entire bed.

But when he saw someone crouching by the yellow roses bed, Lucien stopped in his tracks. It was dark, so he couldn’t see who it was. He wondered who, other than him, would go out here so late at night.

Lucien took his steps towards the yellow roses bed again, curious to see who the person was. Judging by their slim silhouette, he guessed that it was either Clara or Cecile. They did love yellow roses as well, after all.

The person seemed to hear Lucien’s steps as they turned their head to face him.

“Your Highness?” Lucien said in surprise when he saw who the person crouching on the ground was.

Giselle stared at him from below before she stood up without saying a word. She dusted off her skirt and straightened her back, as if nothing happened just now.

“Lord Renand,” she said with a nod, her arms crossed.

Lucien was wondering why she would be out here at this hour when he saw Giselle’s shoulder shivering a little. She only had her dark gray spring dress on without any outerwear over it.

Just like Lucien, Giselle was also wearing the same outfit she was wearing earlier. It seemed like she came straight here after dinner as well.

Lucien took off his coat.

“What are you doing here, Your Highness?” he said as he placed his coat over Giselle’s shoulders. When Giselle only stared at him in silence, he tilted his head.

Giselle turned her head away from him, opting to look at the ground instead.

“Just trying to get some fresh air.”

“I see,” Lucien nodded. Seeing her wearing his coat, he was once again reminded how much smaller she was compared to him, even though he wasn't tallest guy around. Giselle looked like she was buried in his coat, like she was bundled up in a thick blanket.

His eyes then shifted towards the yellow roses bed in front of them, a slight smile blooming on his face.

“Pretty, are they not?” Lucien asked again. This time, it was Giselle’s turn to tilt her head at him.

Lucien pointed at the yellow roses.

“Clara—I mean, Lady Benois took care of them really well,” he said, a hint of pride evident in his voice.

Lucien stole a glance at Giselle from the corner of his eyes since she wasn’t responding to him. Contrary to his expectations, Giselle was actually showing a little interest in the roses.

Her usual frown had disappeared from between her eyebrows and her eyes were curiously widened as she stared at the bed of roses.

Seeing that sight put a smile on Lucien’s face. For once, Giselle actually looked like a girl her age. She suddenly felt a lot more approachable now.

But that thought quickly left his mind when her face immediately turned back sour as soon as their eyes met.

“What’s so funny?” she asked with a glare.

“Nothing, ma’am,” Lucien shifted his gaze away, his smile completely gone from his face as he cleared his throat awkwardly.

He felt like he was back at the academy, getting scolded by that one strict professor of humanities for talking to his seatmate in the middle of class.

He didn’t know why, but it always felt like he was constantly in the wrong whenever he talked to Giselle. Maybe it was her position as the imperial princess, or maybe it was the way she looked at him like he was a parasitic worm.

“So, Your Highness… How do you like being here so far?” Lucien began talking again in an effort to break the ice between them.


Lucien stared at her. Giselle just opened her mouth and closed it without saying a thing. He sighed and turned his attention back to the rose bed, thinking that he wouldn’t get a response, as always.

“Horrible,” Giselle suddenly said. Lucien quickly turned to look at her again. Horrible?

Giselle, with her arms still crossed, looked even harder to read than usual. The frown was gone from her face, only apathy remained.

“I just don’t understand why Siegfried would be so fond of spending his time here with such a boring, mushy woman,” she said.


Lucien was having a hard time registering what Giselle just said. Before he could even process it, Giselle continued speaking.

“She’s too meddlesome, always asking unnecessary questions,” she complained, her hand waving dismissively. “It’s so obvious that there’s just nothing in her pretty little head.”

Giselle then turned to Lucien, who was still standing there dumbfounded at everything he heard. A smile finally formed on her mouth, but it didn’t reach her eyes. In fact, anger and hatred seemed to fill her gaze instead.

“A two-faced bitch who’s so desperate for love she would jump into the bed of someone she just met.”

At her remark, Lucien clenched his fists and gritted his teeth. Giselle didn’t mention any name, but it was obvious she was talking about Clara. After all, no other woman was a host of this residence.

“Your Highness—”

“What?” Giselle cut him off before Lucien could even say his piece. “Did that aggravate you?”

Lucien didn’t say a word and just glared at her. He was holding himself back—all because he felt like he would say something he’d regret if he opened his mouth.

“Livid, aren’t you? Of course you are. Everyone loves her after all,” Giselle said with a mocking laugh.

Lucien just couldn’t understand why Giselle was saying all this to him. What did Clara ever do to her? Why would she hate her this much?

The only thing he could think of was the rumor about her feelings for Siegfried.

“Your Highness, if you only came here to get between Clara and—”

Before Lucien could finish speaking, Giselle suddenly crouched down at the speed of light.

It all happened so fast. Lucien blinked and was about to ask what was wrong when she also pulled him down to the ground.

“Shhh!” Giselle put a finger over her lips as a gesture for him to shut up. Her gaze was not directed at Lucien, but at whatever was in front of them. Naturally, Lucien had to look in the direction she was looking at.

He squinted his eyes when he tried to see the couple of shadowy figures from afar. When his eyes could finally discern who they were, he almost let out a gasp.

They were Clara and Siegfried, but something was wrong.

They looked like they were arguing with each other.