< — The Capital’s High Society(1)– > (3)
It had been a few days since Lucia’s entourage arrived at the Capital but no rumor of their arrival had spread. Hugo asked Lucia to rest and stay out of society’s gaze for a little while longer. So, Lucia spent these couple of days in very relaxed manner.
She knew this break wouldn’t last long so she was enjoying it as much as she could. She had her lunch, looked around the mansion and went for a walk in the yard.
There was a fairly large plain of land between the gates and the entrance to the mansion. Instead of a garden, numerous trees were planted to obstruct one’s vision from seeing the inside of the mansion. And since there was a small pathway in between, it was nice for taking a walk.
The sudden loud voice made Lucia jump in surprise. When an eye-catching man unexpectedly appeared in front of her, Lucia plopped down on the spot.
“Ah, Did I surprise you? It’s me. Me. We haven’t seen in a long time, yes?”
The eye-catching man was Roy Krotin. Lucia grabbed his outstretched hand and stood up. To Lucia, Roy was special connection. She hadn’t known at the time but if it wasn’t for Roy, she wouldn’t have been able to meet Hugo.
It was Jerome’s role to manage the guests and with Jerome’s shrewd personality, there was no way he would have let her meet Hugo until she was judged to be a proper guest. Back then, Jerome was absent just in time and Roy acted as he pleased, allowing Lucia to meet with Hugo.
At that time, if Lucia had been unable to meet Hugo and was turned away, she wouldn’t have had courage to visit again. It was the help of the heavens and at the same time, it was Roy’s help.
“Since you’re the Duchess now, should I be little different? But I don’t really know that stuff.”
There was no malice in Roy’s grinning expression. Lucia grinned back.
“It’s fine. Do what you are comfortable with. It’s a pleasure to meet you like this after a long time. I have been wanting to give you my thanks.”
“Thanks? For what?”
“If not for Sir Krotin, how could I have met his Grace the Duke? It is thanks to Sir that I became the Duchess.”
“What…I didn’t…really do much…”
Roy sheepishly scratched his chin. Actually, the fact that he burst into laughter when Lucia proposed to Hugo always weighed on Roy’s mind. He never intended to ridicule her. It was just that the situation itself was very funny but people usually tended to perceive the opposite of his words and actions.
But when he heard her thankfulness instead, he felt a little awkward and happy.
‘Why does this man have such a bad reputation?’
In her dream, Roy Krotin was famous as the ‘Mad Dog’ and Lucia had no exact line of contact with Roy so she could only know him from the rumors. But after meeting Roy personally, she realized he was very far from the notorious individual described.
He was cheerful, blunt and if one treated him with good will, he was sure to return the favor.
‘There is little to be trusted in these rumors, huh.’
According to the rumors surrounding the Taran Duke, he was a ruthless monster without blood or tears. And now, the rumors surrounding her were completely groundless.
In her dream, she got a lot of information about the circles from the rumors, but now she thought about it, most of them were probably lies.
Lucia made a small commitment to herself to not listen to rumors in the future unless she had directly met the individual concerned.
“I hear you have been the escort of His Highness the Crown Prince. Is it okay to be here at this time?” (Lucia)
“Okay or not, I won’t do it anymore. Even if it is Lord’s orders, I won’t! Do you know how hard it is to not go anywhere and just escort for more than a year? Even if it was fun to kill assassins from time to time, I want to quit right now.” (Roy)
“…Ah, I see. It must have been hard.”
“But, what of my Lord?”
“He’s not in. He went out.”
“Darn. I ran over to have a round with my lord cuz it’s been a while.”
“…A round? Do you mean fighting His Grace the Duke?”
“Mm? Hahaha! It’s right to call it a fight. A duel is a fight too.”
“Ah…a duel. Isn’t that dangerous?”
“There is no danger. We aren’t amateurs either. It’s only dangerous to those that swing the sword carelessly. Haven’t you ever watched a duel?”
“I have not. But His Grace might get hurt…”
‘Puahahaha!’ Roy burst into loud laughter.
“Hurt? Ah, even saying that is absurd. There is no one in the world that can hurt even the fingers of my lord.” (Roy)
‘Is he really such a great knight?’ (Lucia)
Hugo’s physique overwhelmed that of a knight’s. But maybe because Lucia had never actually seen him wield a sword, it didn’t feel real to her. She ran a workshop in her dream so she knew a little bit about those that were called Knights.
While they were uncompromising and simple, sometimes their temper exploded and then they were like angry bisons, ignoring what was in front of them.
‘He isn’t like a knight at all.’
She couldn’t feel the peculiar rough ambiance of a knight from Hugo.
‘Could it be because he is a Duke before he is a knight?’
Even though she had met a considerable amount of knights in her dream, she had rarely come across noble knights. Which also included a knighted Duke.
So she was slightly suspicious. Maybe the rumors about his military acts were more exaggerated because he was a Duke. In the first place, rumors were groundless so it was possible. If someone that knew the Duke of Taran heard her thoughts, they would be jaw-drop speechless.
A voice as sharp as day interrupted them. Jerome approached the two of them with a stiff expression. Roy gave a silly smile and his expression was awkward as he spoke.
“Hello. Long time.”
Jerome fixed Roy a sharp glare then he spoke politely to Lucia.
“Milady. If you go out without a maid, you may encounter some trouble.”
“Ah, you did say that before. I will make sure to be careful.”
Lucia inwardly rebuked herself for her thoughtlessness then she gave Roy a slight nod and began to head to the mansion, leaving the two men alone. Jerome watched until Lucia was inside the mansion then he turned to look at Roy.
“What is this insolence! That is the Lady of the House of Taran. She is not someone you can meet in a place where no one is around!”
This was the capital where one couldn’t know where eyes were hidden. All sorts of scandals in the Capital originated from incidents that didn’t amount to much initially.
“I am saying you should be a little more careful.”
“Oh, I said I’m sorry. Even though I haven’t seen her in a long time, she truly hasn’t changed so I was just glad to see the Duchess.”
“Personal feelings, whatever it may be, should not be expressed carelessly, to a woman who had a husband. Do not assume that Master will forever be generous. If a terrible rumor of Milady arises because of Sir Krotin, he will be very angry.”
“Hmm. But the lord hasn’t ever been angry because of a women.”
“That is not just any woman but the Madam. Watch your words.”
The sight of Jerome acting like a mother protecting her cub was so unfamiliar that Roy blinked in surprise. Jerome was not inferior to Roy in behaving impolitely to the Duke’s women.
If Roy was the outspoken one, Jerome was the one that quietly considered scrapping them. In that sense, the two of them were strangely in great sync.
But apart from that, there was a big difference between them. Roy displayed amusement and bad temper, while Jerome faced the women with utter coldness like a Duchess who had forgotten her duty.
Except for that, the two men were incompatible. They were like cat and mouse. The amusing thing was that Roy was much stronger yet Jerome was the cat. Whenever Roy caused trouble, Jerome came out with enormous nagging and criticism.
The Roy that was fine with Hugo’s tendency to beat him up when he was mad, would only shrink in front of Jerome. Roy acted as he pleased, with nothing to fear, and he felt an inferiority similar to admiration about Jerome who was always precise and unyielding in his actions.
“Does the lord to that woman…”
At Jerome fierce glare, Roy quickly changed his words.
“Does the lord…like the Duchess?”
“Mm. Then, if I am as before, will the lord be angry?”
One could only be glad if it ended with merely anger. Jerome was sincerely worried about Roy and was giving him a strong warning. If it was some other thing, Master would generously forgive Roy. But if it concerned the madam, there would be no forgiveness at all.
“Okay. Well, it’s alright, I also don’t dislike that wom…the Duchess.”
“How do I put this. She doesn’t give off a bad smell.”
“Smell? Do you mean perfume?”
The Madam wasn’t one to spray excessive perfume. In fact, Jerome also like this point of hers. The perfume of noble ladies was usually so potent that even if it was just two people, the smells got mixed up giving someone a headache.
“It’s not that…”
Roy was used to instinctively grasping the general temperament of a person when dealing with them. It was because of this that the Crown Prince took a fancy to him even though Roy was just staying at the Crown Prince’s side because of his lord’s orders.
Roy had bounded himself to Hugo for a similar reason too. The biggest reason was that he really liked his lord and the reason after that was because he didn’t particularly hate anyone that was around his lord.
“Anyways, it’s something like that. I get it now so I’ll be careful. I want to sleep till the lord is back. Where can I sleep?”