Orion looked very flustered.
He couldn’t hide the shaking of his pupils, as though he didn’t know I was visiting the duchy.
“Are you on your way after finishing your duty”
“Ah, that, that’s right.”
He stuttered in his answer then he carefully asked me.
“What made you come here”
I paused at his question, then answered truthfully.
I came to use the material in the library for a moment.”
I can’t believe I just used the library without the owner knowing.
Somehow, I felt as though I was caught doing something wrong.
However, the one who brought me here was Sir Rune.
Furthermore, I only know by now that Orion wasn’t aware of this, so there’s no way this is my fault.
“It is because of my advancement exam.
Sir Rune said he would help me, so I visited the library for a while.”
He nodded as if he had remembered, then his eyebrows went up.
“Ah, the exam.
You said you take an exam, right Wait, Sir Rune Bayhan Rune”
“He asked for absent because he was sick, but really this bas .
At my question, Orion lowered his blazing eyes and closed his mouth.
Looking at the creases line in his nose bridge, I reflexively apologized.
I have used the library without permission beforehand.”
You can use it whenever and for whatever you need.”
Excuse me, I don’t want to do that.
There was no reason for me to visit the Duchy without reason.
I didn’t know why, but he stared at me in desperation.
“There is room to stay over, although it’s shabby as it might be.
I have also employed a new chef.”
“I don’t stay outside.”
Even if the pressure of the exam was extreme, I didn’t want to stay up all night and struggle alone in someone else’s library.
He became silent at my words, as if hesitating.
Orion then glanced at the sky.
As the sun had set and it was becoming dark, shadows fell around the area that glowed scarlet.
Then, once again, he broke the awkwardness between us.
“Did you have dinner”
“If you want, how about having dinner then going back”
Every word of his was spoken with care.
I felt strange when I saw that he was frozen from nervousness.
I thought the one who should be nervous was me.
I nodded as I remembered that Sir Rune told me to treat him in a friendly manner.
And so, a smile bloomed on his mouth.
We walked slowly, heading toward the dining room.
“The library is large and wonderful.”
“I’m glad you think so.
It’s nothing much, but my ancestors worked hard on it.”
“The mansion also looks fancy.”
“Again, I’m really happy that you think so.
The main house of the Duchy is even larger and fancier.”
The conversation that showed off the Duchy’s wealth continued.
While we walked through the hallway, there were proud smiles on the face of every servant we met.
I felt awkward, following Orion around the mansion.
I never expected this kind of atmosphere.
Didn’t the high nobility in novels usually grow up fiercely and coldly due to family discord
A world where noble descent and pure blood was important and where survival was determined by their abilities— a world with the law of the jungle.
And I was nothing but an existence akin to a little stone that had rolled into this Duchy.
To someone like me, the gazes given by all the people in this mansion were too warm and soft.
I felt like I was the one lacking emotion here.
I would have been more glad if they would treat me coldly and formally.
In the distance, the voice of the very passionate chef could be heard.
“A grand dinner! The dish that ensures that you won’t step a foot out of this mansion after taking a single bite!”
The shouted words as though bringing this entire mansion to quake made me regret my decision to have dinner here.
* * *
The moment I entered the dining room, I had a hunch that something was wrong.
The big candlelights in the middle of the table, rose petals scattered upon the floor, the shiny tablewares made of pure gold— all that was waiting for us.
The thought was subconscious.
I looked to my side.
Orion was smiling proudly while Sir Rune avoided my gaze.
I calmed myself down.
Because I had said that I would have dinner, I had to take responsibility for my words.
Hang in there.
No matter what, let’s try to finish this dinner nicely.
As I shouldered the burden and embarrassment and seated myself on a chair, the dinner began.
As expected, the dishes served by the chef flaunted fanciness that didn’t lose to the sparkling tableware and the awkward petals.
The dishes that the chef poured his heart and soul into had melted the moment it touched my tongue.
When I was about to admire its taste, an exclusive piece of music under the command of the bandmaster was conducted next to us.
Every time I raised my fork, the melody of the violin filled my ears.
I can’t believe this could be so much of a burden.
If encumbering someone in this manner could be considered a talent, then this was pure talent.
I tried my best to focus on eating.
Eventually, I could feel the music had gradually toned down.
As I raised my head, I saw Sir Rune wink before leaving the dining room along with the people who had played the instruments.
In this place where the Duchy’s servants left stealthily, only Orion and I stayed.
The maid who was the last to leave closed the door softly.
“Actually, I .
As I began to speak, Orion turned his head.
“I don’t understand why you care for me so much.”
He paused in his movements.
His blue eyes stared at me.
Orion really was a wonderful person.
Regardless if he was kind or not, he always overturned my expectations and surprised me.
Perhaps that was why I always got carried away.