HAPPILY EVER AFTER(6)
After telling the coachman to head to the Muiller Bakery, the two young men climbed onto the carriage. Shortly after the carriage departed, Bruno’s shoulders trembled as he tried not to laugh, but he couldn’t help it and burst out laughing. Infected by Bruno’s laughter, Damian began to laugh as well.
“Mother is really amazing. Who else can send the Duke of Taran on an errand to the bakery?”
“Only Mother can do it.”
“Do you know what surprised me the most during my stay at the ducal residence? That the strongest person in the house wasn’t His Grace the Duke but mother.”
Damian agreed with Bruno as he chuckled. His father was definitely a much stronger and taller man, but his much smaller mother kept winning in the strength department. When Damian was young, he could not understand it. And now, rather than saying he understood it, it had just become an expected thing.
He had never once seen his mother raise her voice or get angry. In his memories, his mother always had a smile on her face. However, there were times when his mother turned expressionless. That particular sight was truly scary. When that happened, even his father was well behaved in front of his mother.
“Let’s not forget the dollhouse case too. Mother got rid of the dollhouse that His Grace had put so much effort into, overnight.”
It was the first time Bruno realized the Duchess’ face could actually be so scary when she welcomed all three males back that evening without her usual warm smile on her face.
[I have dealt with the dollhouse matter. As a matter of fact, I went to meet Her Royal Highness in the palace today. Honey, let’s talk for a bit.]
For some reason, Bruno couldn’t help but think that the Duke’s back looked small as he followed the Duchess up to the second floor that day.
‘This guy definitely grew up well watching his parents like that.’
Bruno had no warm memories with his parents. His biological father always put his greed first, and his birth mother wallowed in self-pity so she was always depressed. When he heard the news of his father’s death, he didn’t shed a single tear, and when he was abandoned by his mother, he felt like just giving up.
So every time he saw the affectionate couple at the ducal residence, a sight he could never imagine at home, he felt strange and envious of Damian.
“Any news from Chris?”
As soon as Chris graduated from the academy, he left to travel with only a bundle on his back.
[I want to leave my footprints on every corner of the world. It has been my dream for a long time.]
Chris didn’t leave any word of his destination or even when he would return. Marquis Philip got the news late and angrily tried to get back his son, but Chris’ escape was as slippery as an eel.
After that, there was no news from him, then a few months ago, one letter arrived from an unknown source. It was a short greeting letter, saying ‘I’m doing well’.
“If you don’t know, then there’s no way I’d know.”
Bruno frowned at Damian’s calm reply.
“Send people to find him. If you don’t use your power as the Duke’s heir at a time like this, when will you use it?”
“I know where he’s going.”
“Oh really? If he doesn’t attend this time, he forfeits his title. Does that kid not understand seriousness?”
Aside from paying taxes, titled nobles were obligated to attend a regional meeting held twice a year. It was a duty that you couldn’t be exempted from, without special circumstances, such as war. It was described as a meeting, but in reality, it was closer to a banquet. It was a place for asking each other about their wellbeing, and resolving small issues, if there were any, through their connections.
Failure to attend this aristocratic meeting at least once a year would be understood as you failing your duties as a noble and the procedure for deprivation of your title would proceed. If Chris didn’t attend the meeting that would be happening in two months, it would be exactly two consecutive absences.
“Who knows, he might be thinking it’s a good thing. He did say going to those noble meetings was more nauseating than an exam.”
“I don’t know why I’m more stressed over the guy’s issue than he is.”
Bruno heaved a long sigh and looked out the window, feeling annoyed.
“Probably because he is most indifferent when it comes to his own issues.”
“That’s what I want to say. I mean, how can there be talk of forfeiting a title? Something so ridiculous is about to happen in front of my eyes. Won’t His Grace the Duke be angry about this? He did personally request the title from His Majesty, after all.”
“My father won’t care about something like that. He’ll probably think of a way to retrieve the forfeited title. That way is much simpler than getting someone to go capture Chris.”
“…that way is simpler, huh?”
Bruno was tired and stopped talking. Now he knew why Damian was so nonchalant about this. He thought he had gotten used to it but sometimes he couldn’t keep up with the vastly different ways the duke father and son thought.
The carriage stopped in front of the Muiller Bakery.
The two young men getting out of the carriage paused at the sight of the pink signboard. They had a very ominous foreboding. Then again, the cake’s name wasn’t exactly ordinary.
“…I’m feeling more and more like he shifted this over to us.”
Damian was also thinking that might be the case.
The inside of the Muiller bakery was quite spacious, and it was filled with female customers who were either ordering a cake or seated at a table eating a cake. The area, which was filled with the chattering of women suddenly became quiet. Everyone’s gaze was drawn to the two handsome young men that had just entered the shop.
Damian and Bruno were both accustomed to being looked at by a considerable amount of people, but at this moment, their faces were so hot that they wanted to turn around and go back this instant.
The interior was as pink as the signboard outside and the decorations were like entering into another world. The colorful flowers, drooping laces, sweet smell that filled the air, and the scorching gazes of the women glued to their face, made their head spin.
For a while, the two young men stood at the entrance, like they were frozen.
The moment Bruno took a slight step back, Damian quickly grabbed him. Before he could turn around, his arm was swiftly caught by Damian.
“Are you sure you won’t come here again? If you’re going to go by yourself when that time comes, I might as well do the assignment Father gave me this time.”
Bruno gave up on running away. He could never come here alone. It was better for the both of them to come here twice, than for him to come here once and alone.
After taking a brief glance of the interior and verifying where the place to order was, Damian was about to walk over, but then he flinched. His eyes trembled at the back view of the woman who was talking to the staff at the counter.
Ashen blonde hair.
Damian unconsciously moved quickly, approaching her, then he grabbed the woman’s arm and turned her around to face him. The woman’s murky brown eyes shook with confusion.
Her eyes were not clear green. And on a closer look, the hair color was different. Her hair was a much brighter color.
Damian immediately let go of the woman’s arm and apologized for his rudeness.
“I’m sorry, lady. I mistook you for someone else.”
As he watched his friend from afar, Bruno clicked his tongue.