Unlike the temple in the Kingdom, the temple in the Empire was very large. Though the interior was not fancy, the white marble and the glass installed in the window were of high quality. In addition, each one of them was strangely reverent and sacred. Normally, Valia would never take her eyes off such elegant scenery, but now the situation was different.
“This way, milord.”
She stayed quietly in the Marquess’ arms. Rather than quietly, the expression of being hugged like a corpse would be right. Valia was actually not even able to breathe comfortably.
‘What if I’m really heavy?’
It was only natural for her to have this concern as he came in bringing her from the backyard. However, the Marquess walked in big strides without any signs of difficulty. After some time, they were able to enter a guest room.
“I will bring some simple snacks to quell your hunger”
The Marquess nodded at that priest. When the priest closed the door and left, only two of them were left in the spacious guest room. Valia prepared to get down. However, when the Marquess showed no sign of letting her get down, all she could do was to fiddle with her fingers for no reason.
‘Why isn’t he putting me down? Should I tell him to let me go?’
The problem was that it was awkward to talk to him. Fortunately, the Marquess soon let Valia go. However, it was a bit embarrassing as he did not put him down on the floor or sofa, but on the bed. Anyway, Valia crouched down and prayed over and over again for him to go quickly.
Valia wanted to be left alone as soon as possible. She wanted to be left alone and roll around in the blanket. If one was too embarrassed, one could stay up all night reflecting on the embarrassment. Valia was full of confidence to spend the day. But God was cruel.
The Marquess did not go. Not only that, he even sat next to Valia. She could not dare to face his gaze, so she just took a small deep breath.
Hanging her head down as if she had done something wrong, Valia saw a male’s hand.
Oh my God.
To be exact, a hand that was heading for her body. At that moment, 50,000 thoughts passed through Valia’s mind. They were in a bedroom. The cape that covered her body had long been dropped in the backyard. Now, she was wearing low-cut clothes. Valia held her breath. The speed at which the hand approached looked very slow in her eyes. When the Marquess was about to touch her, Valia closed her eyes tightly.
“God is watching you.”
Schuden paused for a moment and looked up. Valia saw his red eyes up close for the first time. Captivating red eyes with light edges. At one point, his red eyes shone delightfully.
Soon, he burst into laughter.
“I think you misunderstood.”
“I was just trying to fix your clothes.”
Valia’s face heated up. This was all because she was not immune to men. That was why she had a ridiculous misunderstanding! Having blamed herself more than hundreds of times, she barely opened her mouth.
“Be-because I’m dressed like this…I misunderstood your intention.”
“I’m not rude enough to treat people differently depending on how they dress.”
Schuden simply responded. He raised the string that fell down on her shoulder without touching her skin.
“Are you going to talk without looking at me?”
Only then did Valia raise her face. Even though he was just there to fix her clothes, he was still at an excessively close distance.
For a moment, Valia suffered from a strange vision, in which all the backgrounds were turned to black and white and only the Marquess was in color.
“What’s your name?”
Valia looked at him without answering. To be more exact, she was close to being mesmerized. She had seen him in the past, but not this close. It was rare for a man to be this good-looking. The Princes whom she saw when she worked in the Imperial Palace were also good-looking, but they could not stand up to this man. He was not just good-looking. His wide shoulders that told people what a man’s body was like and the back of his hand that somehow looked tough and strong…
However, the Marquess interpreted Valia’s silence differently.
“I have been rude to a lady. My name is Schu…”
Just when he was about to say his full name, Schuden swiftly shut his mouth. He had no arrogance or any kind of overconfidence in his reputation. However, he was also aware that she was a noble in the Kingdom.
After the Marquess of Garth made a reputation as the devilish murderer in the continental war not long ago, his name became more famous than any country’s royal family. The Marquess did not intend to reveal his identity yet. There was no particular reason. He just wanted to talk comfortably.
He had recently attended a banquet hosted by the Imperial Family recently. The royal families he met there generally responded in two ways. They were either shaking or clinging to him. Neither one was anything that Schuden preferred.
“Just call me Schu…for now.”
The woman blinked and smiled. Valia obviously knew his status from her past experience. However, it was fun to see that he was lying through his teeth. Surprisingly, the pronunciation of ‘Schu’ was cute.
“Schu. That’s a pretty name.”
Pretty… The Marquess who had never heard of such a compliment in his life just looked at her without saying anything. The woman, who had only blinked, did a double-take and finally opened her mouth.
“My name is Valia Dean.”
The High Priest put a considerable amount of wealth as the reward for the temple princess selection. Naturally, the Marquess thought that she applied to get the wealth. The value of wealth presented by the temple was enough to tempt a commoner, but most nobles would say the amount was too little considering they had to send their daughters to a dangerous place.
Therefore, he thought that a fallen noble—who barely had a title and had no conscience—sold his daughter for the selection, but he was wrong. The woman in front of him was more educated than she thought.
“Oh, I will also call you Sir Schu, then.”
“thePay no mind to titles.”
Schuden gave a short answer. After exchanging names, her appearance caught his eyes. Dawnlike silvery-gray eyes and long black hair with a hint of blue. Her skin was white and she was someone with a calm atmosphere.
Above all, what was impressive was her reaction. She almost fell down the carriage in front of many people, in a strange foreign country, but she barely had any change in her facial expression. She had an attitude calmer than most noblewomen in the Imperial capital.
As a matter of fact, it was not a bad thing for Schuden. As much as things that one can enjoy with the position as the lady of the House of Garth, she also had a lot to bear. Inevitably, she had to be resolute and, of course, not vulnerable. Perhaps that was the reason. The woman in front of him looked very much qualified to have the insignia of the Marchioness of Garth on her chest.
However, Schuden had a question.
“Let me ask you directly. Why are you applying to be the temple princess? No, a sacrifice selection must be a more familiar name. Anyway, why did you apply for this selection? As you know, this application does not give you much benefit.”
Valia already expected someone would ask her that question. However, she did not expect the person would be the Marquess. Valia took her breath calmly.
“This is the best option for me.”
Valia’s expression was somehow lonely. Her silvery-gray eyes were constantly resolute and closed when she was embarrassed. However, when her eyes turned distorted, Schuden felt strange.
“Does it not matter when you actually might die?”
“Sometimes it is better to die than to live.”
“That is not something that would come out of a young lady’s mouth.”
“There’s something that my grandfather used to say a lot. If there’s something that you want, leave and get it. Because only you can open your path.”
Carl was a mercenary with firm values.
“That’s a good saying. What do you want?”
Valia smiled brightly.
“It’s not big enough of a wish to be said to someone else.”
Schuden smiled after her. There was still a reddish color at the end of her ears, but she did not hesitate in giving her answer. Her appearance was somehow impressive to Schuden.
“Are you single by choice?”
“No…? No, I’m not.”
“Do you have an age when you want to get married?”
“No, not really…”
Schuden did not contemplate for long. Contemplation only brought distractions so it was his belief that it was better to cut something short. In that respect, the two had similarities but they did not know about that. He got up from his seat.
“We’re going to get married soon.”
“This will be one of the few days where you can still sleep alone, so I hope you get a good rest.”
Schuden left her alone in the guest room after he finished what he wanted to say. Valia sat absent-mindedly and blinked her eyes. As soon as she heard Schuden, she did not understand him right away. However, what he said was not difficult.
‘Oh my goodness.’
The realization came really late. Valia’s face also slowly heated up. She cupped her cheeks. It was hot because of the heat.
‘What did I just do?’
She got a sense of reality later. She had just met privately with the Marquess of the Gel Empire, Schuden Garth, on a bed. The content of their conversation was about marriage. Valia held back her scream and just rolled around the blanket.
[We’re going to get married soon.]
Her heart was pounding. She could not calm down at all. Was marriage supposed to be something this easy?
Valia expected the Marquess to ask her difficult questions one after another. And she thought she would have to go through interviews, take exams, and put up with such complicated procedures. Oh my God.
“Marquess of Garth…”
There were a few incidents in the middle, but it was fine. The end justified the means. While comforting herself like that, Valia released the tension and let out a deep sigh.
‘Still, that mistake earlier was so embarrassing.’
The Marquess tried to fix her clothes with good intentions, but she misunderstood him. It was fortunate that she had worked in the Imperial Palace for a long time to hide her expressions and emotions. If only Valia was a bit inexperienced, she would have fainted with the embarrassment. It was nothing that her face became reddened.
Valia sighed a few more times and hugged her knee. Then, she mumbled.
“How can his eyes look so…”
His attitude was polite, but only his gaze was really strange. His gazes were so strange that, unbeknownst to her, she could imagine touching him. It was not a dark gaze that was filled with lust. While working in the Imperial Palace, she saw numerous nobles, but there was never a man with such eyes. It was drowsy, louche, and kept…
‘I must be crazy…’
Valia covered herself with a pillow.
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