After spending hours persuading my friends, ready to act first as they were, my mental fatigue surged up.
Thanks to the holy water, my condition was better, but it wasn’t enough to vanquish my distress.
“First of all, the priority is to know the exact situation in the Temple.
There will be someone who will investigate it so it won’t spread out.”
I agreed with Bertin that the Temple would probably pay a visit soon.
“Don’t do anything for the time being.”
I extracted promises that they were not to track down and torture Trevor, nor were they to search for the ten sacred items of the continent.
Rany and Zen’s expressions turned menacing, as though they were somewhat dissatisfied, but I responded strongly.
“Otherwise, our friendship is over.”
“You guys are the ones who are mean.”
I didn’t want to wreck the peace of my world anymore.
I rejected Rany’s invitation to go home together.
I saw a familiar carriage after I trudged out the back gate.
The horses welcomed me with a snort.
I wanted to quietly avoid this situation, but I had no excuse.
I owed so much to Orion.
I used his library, ate his food, and I also had one of his people act as a tutor for me.
He had given me so much, so wasn’t it wrong for me to just take it
I boarded the carriage meekly, with a heavy mood.
With a smiling face, Orion greeted me before telling me the reason he came this far away before I could ask him.
“Father and Duchess have just returned from their wedding trip today.
He invited you to have dinner together.
Is that okay”
“Lord Duke did”
He flinched when he heard my way to address the Duke, but he pretended to not notice it.
There was nothing I could do about this.
In my whole life, the position of a father had always been empty.
I never had a question about that, nor I had a feeling that I needed one.
Moreover, I realized from the wedding that the Duke was an excessively great man.
From the bishop who personally held the congratulatory speech for the wedding, to the messenger sent directly from the Imperial family, as well as the congratulatory gifts arriving from each territory.
“Ah, that .
Amidst this awkward atmosphere, he continued to talk.
“Anyway, the two of them came back safely.”
“Because it was their honeymoon.”
Of course they would return safely.
* * *
A maid guided me on behalf of Orion, who went to change clothes upon arriving in the Duchy.
“This way, Miss.”
As I entered the dining room, I saw a lovely couple who were all but glued to each other.
Surprisingly, the well-mannered Duke had no problem with showing public affection.
Familiar with my mother’s display of affection, I sat in the seat where I was guided without minding them.
Perhaps because she was happy to see her daughter after a few days of separation, my mother jumped up and sat next to me.
Her cold hands touched my cheeks.
“Your face looks so puffy.”
“You slept fitfully again because of the exam, didn’t you”
I fell silent while my mother grabbed my chin and turned my face around.
I thought rather than the exam, it was more of an after effect of the curse, but I didn’t want to show it.
After scanning me thoroughly, Mother let go of my chin.
“Did you enjoy your trip”
Mother nodded with a satisfied expression.
At that time, Orion, who had just arrived at the dining room, sat at the empty seat next to me that wasn’t occupied by my mother instead of the empty seat next to the Sir Duke.
You should sit there.
Noticing my gaze, he nodded.
“We shall start the dinner.
Marianne is hungry.”
After many twists and turns, the dinner began.
With the sound of tablewares clinking and a light swallowing sound of food as a background, the Duke spoke.
“Have you two got closer I was very worried because Orion is very unfriendly.”
I couldn’t believe what he had said.
As expected, it was rare for a parent to really know about their child.
Orion is unfriendly, he said.
Mother gave a light glance at me then spoke.
“And my daughter isn’t cold.
The problem is she hardly speaks of what she likes or dislikes.”
“Tell me if you have favorite foods.
Next time I’ll order to prepare it for dinner.”
Immediately after the Duke’s word, Orion replied.
“For the desert, you can give her orange juice.
In the afternoon, she seems to enjoy black tea more, but she prefers salty meat pie to scones for the snack.
She mostly skips breakfast and enjoys a simple salad for lunch.
Since it’s exam season, I think she should eat more because her diet looks insufficient.”
Even my mother, who usually never showed any response, was taken aback.
Next to us, I saw the butler’s gray mustache twitch a bit.
The Duke put his spoon down then he looked at me with a gaze I couldn’t fathom.
“Seems like you got along well with each other.”
I raised my voice, trying to change the topic quickly.
“How was the trip I heard you visited Cornwall District.”
Mother covered her mouth then laughed.
She pushed the perfectly emptied plate before giving me a meaningful smile.
“How could there be time to walk around outside during the honeymoon”
“When we’re so busy enjoying it inside.”
The playful statement made Orion quietly stared the ceiling with reddening cheeks.
The gentle Duke faked a cough and laughed as though he couldn’t help it.
Orion, who was restless after Mother winked, couldn’t speak about anything since then.