Reaching out to the other side, Nezar picked up the teacup that was rolling over the map.
Then he grabbed a teapot whose presence I didn’t even notice and poured some tea into the cup.
Seeing that the warm vapour was barely visible, it looked like the tea had been left untouched for a long time.

“After all, it’s okay as long as the other person doesn’t know, right? Then you can do as you please without upsetting anyone.”

It was an unexpected answer.
No, this was not advice in the first place, was it? It was just straight-up telling me to act in an underhanded manner!

“Somehow, it sounds like you have said this a lot.
How accustomed are you to deceiving people?”

“Not at all.
It must be your illusion.”

“I don’t think so though…Does Nezar often deceive people? After deceiving them, did you hide it until the end?”

Nezar let out a short chuckle at my question.

“That’s what the weak do, Kate.
The weak must please others since their social position is determined according to the perception of the people around them.
So if you have complicated things that trouble you, don’t waste your time racking your brain, you’d better tell me instead.
There is no better way for you than to use me.”

I pretended to be okay, but it felt like my body was heating up and I was sweating heavily.
Maybe it was because my back was in contact with the sofa.
Or it could just be me hallucinating.
Nevertheless, it was as if Nezar had read between the lines and spilled my inner thoughts.
It became difficult to meet his gaze for some reason, so I quickly lowered my head.
That shudder aside, Nezar’s words, which gave me a feeling of embarrassment, raised heat over my face.

“Are you caring that much because I’m your fiancée?”

Nezar, who was drinking tea, rolled his eyes over to look at me.
His red eyes, which were already low-saturated, were now completely dark like the night sky.

Only then did I realise what was so strange about him.
Nezar had not once properly moved his facial muscles throughout the conversation with me today.
Perhaps he tried to smile, but in truth, he only forcefully pulled the corner of his mouth for a few seconds, so it looked more like a smirk.
And he had maintained a persistent stiff expression from the moment I first stepped into the drawing room.

Is there something bad going on?

He blinked slowly with a serious expression on his face, then removed the teacup from his lips.


“Real-, really?”


Shocked by his words, I jumped up from my seat.
How come he did not deny it with a casual expression like he usually did?

“Are you sure you aren’t overdoing it? At times like this, even if it was out of courtesy, you would never say that! Isn’t that right?”

Nezar laughed briefly.
But it was literally only for a brief moment, and then a deep sigh fell from Nezar’s lips.
Unlike before, it was a shaky breath.
Seeing that he did not even bother to open his mouth due to being drenched in exhaustion, I silently rested my body on the sofa again.
No matter how hard it got, he had never shown his weak side in front of me.
But today’s Nezar looked quite precarious, as if the tightrope he had been walking on was reaching its limit and about to snap.

“I heard you went out to meet Caron Entera?”

“I met her by chance back at the Imperial Palace.
Lady Caron invited me personally.
She even wrote it in a letter.
Isn’t that great?”

As I spoke, the corners of my lips rose. I think we should be close enough to be called friends, right?

“I think I’ve heard someone said that talking about men is essential for women to get closer.
Did you and lady Entera have a conversation about Lord Pancion?”

I shook my head.
No matter how much I wanted to speak about it, I was not devilish enough to dwell on some older guy right in front of his own sister.

Besides, since the Entera siblings were not real siblings, there would be no openly dissing each other between them like how I did with my brothers.
But again, that just proved they weren’t that close, which made it even more difficult to bring that up.
In the first place, talks about brothers would be meaningless unless it was about shaming and bashing them.

“Anyway, we decided to spend two days together in Ezellot.
If it’s okay, why don’t Nezar go see her with me too?”

It was a golden opportunity from heaven.
Caron Entera, from the borderline region, and the heir to the throne, Nezar Audrine Caval.
If the fateful first meeting began at this point when the two were sharing the same space…

But would Nezar easily concede that she was a beauty? Nezar Audrine Caval, the solemn judgemental being, the unison of sole rational reasons and criticism? After thinking it through, the assumption of Nezar and Caron meeting might not be a very likely situation.

“That was what you had to talk about with Sir Pancion?”

As always, Nezar was very sharp.
He remembered every word I had said, every action I had shown.
The feeling of being completely seen through each time I faced him was probably due to this.

“You don’t want to meet her? Lady Caron is the most beautiful girl I have ever seen.
If Nezar meets her, you might fall in love with her at first sight.”

“It sounds like you fell in love with her at first sight.”

As expected, Nezar had no interest in Caron.
As proof of that, Nezar’s gaze was still on the map on the table, not me.
I spoke in a more enthusiastic voice to divert his attention.

“Well, I bet I would have fallen for her if I were a man.
Lady Caron is like a descended fairy… Because every time we make eye contact, I often lose the sense of reality.”

Is-, is this a little too much?

Although there was some exaggeration, more than half was true.
Even though her beauty had been halved now because she was wearing clothes as ragged as an old straw mat, if she dressed up properly, she would be able to attract everyone’s attention even at a ball.
However, the person in question was Nezar.
He was the owner of a steel heart, who was used to treating women like stones.

Urgh, I’m frustrated to death.
It’s going to be a long way ahead.

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