At that moment, Felix asked a question.
His expression did not change much, but somehow it seemed that the word “sadness” was written all over his face.
If he had a tail, it would have been drooping1.
“I’m not going to hug!”
It sounded really strange since I mixed the two different words ‘hug’ and ‘move’2.
I was embarrassed for no reason, so I had yelled.
Felix then stared up at me with his clear cat-like eyes.
I met the gaze of his light blue eyes through the glasses.
Perhaps because the transparent material reflected the light from the chandelier, the eyes sparkled like jewels and seemed to hold a halo of tens of thousands of colors.
When I came to my senses, I was reaching out towards him.
Not only did I reach out, but I dived into his sturdy arms from the merry-go-round.
“I got you.”
Felix said, holding my waist tightly with both hands and lifting me effortlessly.
Now that I thought about it, he said that he was a sorcerer, so no matter how heavy it was, it would feel like air.
What the hell was this? It was me who received help, but he smiled so brightly it was as if he had the whole world. My face heated up for no reason because he looked so happy.
…… Anyway, these brothers and sisters.
The feelings of melancholy vanished in an instant, and a bubbling excitement filled its place.
When I was with the perfect siblings, I always felt happy beyond measure3.
‘Why was a human, like me, so weak to temptation?’
I couldn’t hide my mixed feelings, but Felix, who looked at me like a child, spoke as if he was worried.
“Irene, even if someone gives you something to eat, you shouldn’t follow them.”
I wanted to answer, but I couldn’t.
From Felix’s point of view, it probably looked like that.
If you’re pretty, I’d follow you. If you’re rich, I’d follow you. And, if you give me food…….
Still, it didn’t mean I would do that to everyone. I carefully observed people first.
Even if Lucas were powerful, rich, and handsome, if he asked me to follow him, I would kick him without hesitation.
Though, this was a hypothesis that was impossible to establish in the first place.
So the bottom line4 was that Felix was purely a good person and…….
“That, that strange look.”
‘You were the one who had attacked me with your eyes and the moist gaze! It was irresistible!’
“But I guess you wouldn’t understand that.”
Felix said with a smile.
I felt like I had been treated like a fool.
I wanted to ask what else I didn’t recognize, but seeing that grim painted-on smile5, I didn’t think he would tell me.
These days, I was now able to read the subtle nuances, even if it was the same smile of the angel Felix.
Such as a suppressed smile, a shy smile, a scornful smile, or a displeased smile.
Without directly showing any negative reaction, he would usually respond with a smile, so it took considerable effort to read these subtle differences.
And that was the smile he had while he held me, after I flew into his arms, and said, “But I guess you wouldn’t understand that”.
If I added up Kim Hee Soo’s6 age, this treatment was unfair since I’d be much older than Felix.
“Would you like a kiss?”
He then asked while tilting his head.
Did I hear it right? His expression and voice were plain, so the words did not match.
Naturally, my gaze turned to his cheeks which were white and smooth like marble.
How could you make such ridiculous demands so naturally? Was it because I kissed Claudia’s cheek on the last day of the empire’s foundation day banquet?
If you were thinking of copying everything Claudia and I did, you’d end up having to sleep in the same bed as me!
I put my hand on Felix’s shoulder, stretched out my legs, and asked him to put me down.
Felix looked disappointed, but he put me down on the floor and returned to the main point.
“It’s belated, but it’s most likely that the Duke of Lamberg was the one who ordered the assassination and poisoning.”
I thought so, too.
Lucas was generally a person who was biased toward his own feelings. Therefore, he was always in a hurry to look at the trees in front of him, missing the mountains7.
It was unlikely that he would make a calm and quick decision.
Additionally, Constantine8 was once a paladin before becoming the Lord of the South.
There was no way a paladin, who was tied to the temple, could quickly buy people and send an assassin.
Besides, he had not been completely blinded by love and gone crazy yet.
He would not violate the doctrine and forsake God until all the male heroes joined hands.
Therefore, Benjamin met all the conditions, and there was no one else who was suspicious.
“The Duke’s a man of good intuition. Even if he had laughed at the remark because he thought it was a joke, he must have realized that Chloe’s words were sincere.”
If he were aware of that, he would have researched what Claudia liked and manipulated her that way.
“He was planning to deal with Irene as quickly and surely as possible before it was too late. When it buds, you either trample or tame it before it grows. It’s the way of the Duke.”
Felix already knew about Benjamin’s disposition as Claudia had experienced this, so he could bring me one step ahead9.
I thought to myself about what would have happened if Felix had arrived a few hours later……. The theory caused my shoulders to tremble.
“So that means I’ll be face-to-face with the most promising candidate who tried to kill me?”
Moreover, the meeting was proposed by him first.
How thick was the leather10, and was it possible for there to be an accident?
‘What are you going to say?’
Firstly, let us listen to what great things he had to say.
With that thought, I headed to the Duke’s mansion with Felix.
It was like being out on a limb11, but it was reassuring to have Felix, who was the best wizard.
And since he had already failed to kill me once, it could be predicted that he wouldn’t go straight for it again.
But the encounter with Benjamin was worse than expected.
‘This kid’s a smoker.’
He was biting the rolled cigarette at the tip of his mouth.
White smoke leaked out from his red lips, and he sucked it back in with each breath.
Now that I thought about it, there was a description of Benjamin holding a cigarette in his mouth. It said that all kinds of grass were mixed as needed and then rolled up and smoked.
However, when I saw the parlor’s interior filled with smoke, I was urged to turn the place upside down12 and had to bite the inside of my cheek to refrain myself.
Honestly, it didn’t matter at all whether or not he smoked a cigarette in his own house. It was a personal preference.
But how could you invite guests and do that?
He tossed away all of the basic etiquettes. Did it go with a cigarette butt13?
‘It definitely seemed sexy in type14…….’
Now that I thought about it, it was impossible to be sexy while openly smoking and for non-smokers to experience secondhand smoke.
I frowned and trembled with annoyance, and Felix made a similar expression to me, then slightly waved in front of my face.
I wasn’t sure what kind of magic he used. But a refreshing scent and fresh air flowed in, and I felt like I could finally breathe.
Felix said firmly with a smile of contempt.
Of course, only I could read the subtle differences. To others, it would have seemed like a bright smile.
At his call, Benjamin tilted his head and spoke to himself.
“Oh, unfortunately, I couldn’t prepare an ashtray.”
It was as if he was asking, ‘What are you going to do?’
Benjamin held a cigarette in his mouth between his middle and index fingers and smiled like a large beast.
And without hesitation, he exhaled smoke over Felix’s face.
Oh my God, what the hell was that?
I was amazed, but Felix didn’t blink even when the smoke covered his face. He just responded with a stiff smile without even moving.
He reached out his hand and extinguished the burning flame of the cigarette with his fingers.
His unflinching eyes were cold.
“Are you ready now?”
I was appalled at the sound of something burning. I quickly grabbed Felix’s hand and examined it, but he was fine without a scratch.
He seemed to have used magic.
“This one’s got a temper.”
Benjamin looked at Felix and me alternately and then smiled as if he understood before he sat down on the couch slowly.
If this had been before I met Claudia, he would have been handsome enough to enchant me with the atmosphere of boredom and danger.
He spoke aloud.
“I’d like to give you a piece of advice. There are many different kinds of medicinal herbs in the world with various effects, so be careful.”
Various effects? I couldn’t understand the real intention behind Benjamin’s sudden remark.
Were there any harmful substances in the smoke?
Before he gave us secondhand smoke, he was also working hard, so it didn’t seem like that.
“I heard you called for me.”
I said bluntly despite the bubbling irritation.
“It seems you have some business…….”
“Oh, it’s nothing much. I just called you to get along.”
His comment was so absurd that I pulled my head back. Did you mean to imply that this fight was a new type of friendship?
There was no physical evidence that he tried to kill me.
But, after entering the mansion and confronting each other in the parlor, you want us to put aside our unfavorable feelings in just a few minutes and get along? Do you mean between your face and my fist?
If it were Benjamin, of course, I figured that he had called me for the purpose of pursuing my favor.
If that’s the case, in order to get Claudia’s favor, he would have tried to lure me to his side.
But he did not. He just spouted words of ‘let’s get along,’ and didn’t seem to have any intentions of being earnest. He was absolutely haphazard.
‘As if you were testing…….’
It was weird when I thought about it. If Benjamin were determined and thought to bring me to his side, he would not approach me in such a clumsy way.
Rather than asking for a meeting with me through Felix, he would have set off an incident where I had no choice but to leave the mansion.
And with the information he found out through Martina, he would have tried to impress me with my preferences. He would not have smoked cigarettes in my presence.
I wonder what the hell he was thinking. I spoke with vigilance.
“If you wish to get a little closer to me, at least refrain from smoking cigarettes in front of me.”
“Is that so? That’s strange. Others generally liked it.”
As he spoke, he half-closed his eyes and laughed boisterously. He believed that his smile was fatal and had no doubt about it.
Honestly, yes, I admit you were handsome.
If the crown prince was a statue-like man and made people feel awe, Benjamin was a man who stimulated, fascinated and attracted people.
However, having been surrounded by smiling angels, my eyes have already been purified. To me, he looked like nothing but a lump of contamination.
I replied with contempt.
“Your breath stinks.”
* * *
T/N: I love Irene ahahah.
Anyway, thank you again for your patience everyone! 💜(So sorry about the delay >_< my schedule’s been all over the place recently and it doesn’t help when you get these annoying migraines ;-; but all is good now!) Also I’ll try to refrain myself from doing too many footnotes ahaha. I swear I do more every week…
I’ll be changing the upload schedule to 2 chapters every Saturday/Sunday!! (This will work better with my schedule since I definitely won’t be able to TL this during the weekdays!) I hope you all are okay with this! Once again thank you and I hope you enjoyed this chapter~
1. Irene likens Felix’s body language to a dog. If a dog’s tail droops (i.e. is limp or doesn’t wag), it means the dog is sad (or hurt. But in this context, it means sad/disappointed.)↩
2. So for here the author says that Irene mixed the two characters: ‘아’ and ‘이’. Because she used 아’, she ended up yelling “I’m not going to hug”, but she intended to use ‘이’, which would have ended up being “I’m not going to move”.↩
3. The idiom ‘beyond measure’ means to a very great degree/extent.↩
4. The idiom “bottom line” means the most important fact in a situation.↩
5. A “painted-on smile” is a fake smile i.e. one with no true feelings behind it.↩
6. This is Irene’s name in her previous world before she transmigrated to this fantasy-romance novel. (This was mentioned in ch1).↩
7. This plays on the expression “(you) can’t see the forest for the trees” describes the scenario where you cannot understand/focus on a situation as a whole because you become too preoccupied with minor details. ↩
8. The third hero is Constantine, The Knight of the Empire, more specifically a paladin as he could use divine power. Sorry, my ch33 footnote made a mistake and said Benjamin could use divine power but he actually can’t! Constantine is the man of divine power (>_< so sorry if I caused any confusion!)↩
9. “One step ahead” is used to describe that someone/something is more prepared, advanced, or skilled. In this case, she has more information, so she can be more prepared.↩
10. This plays on the saying “(as) tough as (old shoe) leather” which means having great physical strength, health, or resilience. In this Irene is wondering how strong she and Felix was in this situation of facing Benjamin (and if they would be able to leave uninjured).↩
11. “Out on a limb” means to be in a difficult, awkward, or vulnerable position.↩
12. In this context, to ‘turn (something) upside down, it means to cause/introduce a significant change to something in an attempt to improve it or change its course.↩
13. Irene’s wondering if Benjamin tossed his etiquette away like a cigarette butt XD↩
14. Irene is referring to ‘in type’ as when the scene of Benjamin smoking was written and described in the original novel.↩
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