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"Don't touch her!" Enough said.
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Episode 171. About 10 months (48)
"I don't want this kind of help. It's my job, so why are you interfering? What's so difficult about carrying files? Do you think that I'm here to play?"
Eventually, at the end of my speech, I screamed.
I saw the passers-by stop for a moment and stare at us. Theodore smiled kindly, beckoning them to go as if nothing had happened.
Haaa… Looking down at me like this!
One thing that I really appreciated was recognition.
"I'm here to work as an Aide!"
I should shout once more.
He looked at me with a surprised expression and hugged the file close to his chest.
"Do you know what time it is?"
Whether I was screaming or not, he asked the time out of nowhere.
"It's ten past six."
"How is this relevant…!"
“I hear that an Aide leaves the office at 6 o'clock. Therefore, even if I help you now, it does not interfere with your work. Hahaha. It couldn’t be more logical. could it? Come on, let's go."
Logical? Haaa… What a brainless comment…
Then, he turned around and started walking again. Shoulders back, head held high and his gait more aristocratic than ever.
I was stunned by the absurdity of the situation, but I persevered and quickly ran after him.
I was about to grab his arm again…
Theodore smiled as he stretched his arm out to the side.
Heavens. Was this really just a game for him?
I was really dumbfounded and stared at him blankly as Theodore, heading towards the Second Imperial Palace, stopped and looked back at me.
"… Aren’t you coming?"
"This is the last time. Viscount Theodore Morgana Stuart! I hate things like this. I don't like unwanted favours, and I don't like you helping me this way because you think I'm weak. This is only my third day here and I don’t want to get help from others already. I want to do everything with my own hands. So, please give it back."
Frowning his brow slightly, he seemed to ponder for a moment before answering.
“I can’t believe you’re saying that… All right.”
'Ha…' I sighed as I walked over to him and stretched out my arms.
I should have known better….
“Then I will carry them and escort you until the entrance of the Second Imperial Palace. When we reach the entrance, I will give them back to you, My Lady. Then, to others, it will look like My Lady carried everything herself! Haha. Such quick wittedness!”
‘Go rot in hell. Is your head a field of flowers?’
I was seriously contemplating taking my hidden axe out.
"No. Why on earth…?”
He leaned his upper body toward me scrutinizes my face.
“Do you know how tired you look right now? Why are there dark circles under your eyes every time I see you? Is it because of me? It’s actually aging you a few years.”
“What does that have to do with the Viscount? Come on…!”
But before I could finish my words, Theodore moved the files to his left hand without listening to me.
He immediately reached out his right hand towards my temple.
Startled by the sudden gesture, I pulled back slightly. But Theodore's arms were proportionate to his stature.
It was preferable of course, but…
“Your hair keeps fluttering and I wanted to do this from a while ago…!”
But Theodore's hand never reached my temple.
A big hand grabbed his wrist while a voice suddenly burst out.
"… Don’t touch her!"
As I looked up, I was surprised to see that Second Prince Kyle, sporting an icy expression, was the voice’s owner.
Theodore, his wrist held by the Second Princes’ hand, looked at him in surprise.
"Ah… Your Highness!"
Prince Kyle lowered Theodore's hand, standing naturally halfway in front of me.
At the same time, Theodore took a step back and greeted him.
"I, Theodore Stuart, greet the Second Prince, future of the Empire...!"
Before Theodore's greeting could be finished, the Prince turned his head slightly to the side without moving and asked me.
"What's going on?"
"Ah. He said he would carry my files."
“Did you ask him to carry them?”
“They looked heavy, so I stepped in.”
But he asked me again, paying no heed to Theodore.
“I asked if you asked for his help.”
Only when I answered did Kyle look at Theodore.
"Interfering with work of the 2nd Imperial Palace is like interrupting me. What right does the young lord have to act this way?"
He didn’t refer to Theo by his title, but as a member of the Duke’s family.
It should have been very embarrassing for Theodore, but he smiled very naturally, as if unconcerned.
“I’m sorry for that. It was rash of me, Your Highness.”
“Are you saying you’re not feeling sorry for the way you made her look while she’s working?”
The smile faded from Theodore's face.
“Because of my relationship, I mixed my private feelings with public affairs. I apologize, Your Highness."
“Apologize to my Aide.”
The Prince's voice was dripping cold.
Even I felt embarrassed as I stared blankly at Theodore standing in front of the Second Prince. I hurriedly took a step forward.
"Oh! Never mind. Well, that will be…!"
But Kyle went right back in front of me and blocked my view, as if to hide me from Theodore's sight.
Then, he turned his head halfway toward me and spoke quietly.
"Receive it! You are the Second Aide from the 2nd Imperial Palace. Insulting you is akin to insulting me."
What insult? … Why was he making such a big fuss out of this?
“Apologies, My Lady. I was short sighted. Our special bond made me frivolous. I have caused you much trouble, My Lady."
I didn’t think it would be a good idea to stay here any longer, so I answered immediately.
"Ah… Yes. It’s fine. I accept your apology.”
Theodore reached out and handed me the file,s of which the Second Prince took half.
“I’ll check them out as we go, to save time.”
I tilted my head, but I didn't have anything to say if he wanted to look at the papers.
“Yes, Your Highness. Then, Viscount, I take my leave."
I bowed slightly as I fell in in the footsteps of the Second Prince who was walking in front of me. Then, Theodore raised his voice and called out to me.
“My Lady, since working hours are finished, I’ll wait for you.”
When I turned around in surprise, he continued with a bright face.
“Grandmother is very curious about your next visit. It would be good to hear directly from you since we met today. We can discuss our next meeting. As long as you don't have to work overtime, I'll take you in my carriage"
After thinking about it for a minute, I thought it was a pretty efficient way to save time.
Nevertheless, I gave a warning so it wouldn’t create a weird situation like today.
“Are you going to give me trouble again when you come to pick me up from work?”
“Oh, never. I will never, ever do that again."
"Okay. I’ll believe it! It can save time… Your Highness, is there anything left to do?" I asked as I walked up to Prince Kyle who was a few steps ahead.
However, there was no answer, only a tightly closed mouth.
"… There isn’t," he clipped.
I immediately turned my head back and shouted.
"Viscount, I'll see you at the entrance of the Palace in about 20 minutes."
Theodore smiled kindly again and nodded, and I followed closely behind Kyle, who was walking faster than usual.
“Your Highness, I’m sorry. Because I behaved wrongly. If you ever feel offended…!"
Kyle stopped for a moment and looked back at me.
"Stop it. You are staff from the 2nd Imperial Palace. That’s why I intervened. Don't make any assumptions."
I flinched under the chilly tone.
“Yes, Your Highness.”
The Second Prince turned around, and I worked hard to keep up with him again.
And to think I felt bad for rejecting you, you bastard.
I glanced behind me. Theodore was gazing at Prince Kyle and me, lost in thought.
Two days later.
Kyle woke up with a start and sat up, his back against the headboard. His whole-body damp with sweat, he swept his hand through his hair.
“Damn it, this is crazy…”
Tara appeared again in his dreams. But this time, it was a dream he didn’t like to recall.
This terrible dream that gripped him more each time…
A waterfall shrouded in mist. They were alone in a cave.
He grabbed her while she was trying to run away. He grabbed her again and again, but in the end, he was left empty handed.
All this because of the new character appearing at the dreary end. This new person who held Tara preciously as if she belonged there.
[Oh my, Your Highness. She said no. Please stop it now.]
Tara's eyes, while she was being crushed in a tight embrace, gazed at him, unexpectedly full of sadness and resentment, as well as a plethora of unidentified emotions.
He lifted her up, hugged her, turned to him, and smiled.
[My Lady and I are bound by a special relationship.]
It was Theodore Stuart, who had unsettled and aggravated him two days ago.
Theodore, holding Tara in his arms, took her in his lavish carriage that slowly drifted away.
“A special relationship? What's special about it? Ha… Damn. This is getting better and better.”
As Theodore lifted the file high yesterday afternoon, he doubted his eyes for a moment when he saw her running into his arms to grab the file.
Next thing he knew, he suddenly found himself standing between them.
He lost control again and was annoyed with himself for impulsively getting involved in this situation, but he also didn't want to leave.
He was rather upset with the ambiguity of it all, where he couldn’t openly be angry with either of them. It just made him more irritated.
That was two days ago.
His room was still engulfed in darkness. And his head felt fuzzy.
He sighed deeply as he roughly removed the sheet to get out of bed and wandered around the room.
'What am I going to do?'
He couldn't even count how many times he asked himself the same question.
Kyle had been doing his best to ignore her while working with her.
She did a pretty good job as his Aide with her amazing friendliness and adaptability.
She had an agile brain and good memorization skills.
She clearly organized her work, distributed her time efficiently, and prioritized the tasks well.
‘As expected, I hired a really good talent, so I should be happy with everything, but my mood gradually subsided.’
Roughly wiping his face dry, he approached the window and looked in the distance, where darkness still lingered.
“Everything is perfect.”
‘It's only my feelings that are the problem.’
“But why is she…”
He left the sentence incomplete. She… He couldn’t figure out what to say after that.