Chapter 31 – Puppy love, first love (2)
The Hawk family had specialized in sculptural arts for generations. At the time of the construction of the Epesia Duchy’s castle, the person in charge of the architecture was an ancestor of the Hawk family.
As a result, all members of the Hawk family had shown outstanding talents for sculpture over the generations. It went without saying that Selvan also had an outstanding competence in this regard.
More than that, artists in the same field would be left in tears when compared to the quality of the family’s artworks.
Right now, Selvan was carefully examining the sketches he had drawn in advance. They were simple sketches that had no detailed outlines, but they were enough to express the beauty of a woman’s figure.
“…There’s something missing.”
Even as he emulated his subject’s beauty in his sketches, he wouldn’t be satisfied because the artist’s soul running in his veins would awaken from slumber.
Selvan contemplated it for a moment, narrowing his eyes as he stared at the sketch while he was lost in thought. In his mind, he saw Julia smiling beautifully.
He pictured Julia with her hair and eyes that resembled the sunset, and Selvan smiled as though he was in a good mood just thinking about her.
It was silent in the studio because there was no one else besides him. After Selvan agonized for a long time, he finally opened his eyes—the time that seemed short had actually passed too quickly as it was already nearing dawn.
Selvan rose from his seat, and with a closed fist he hit his stiff back a few times. It was a testament to how long he had been sitting.
Walking towards the terrace, he opened the door and a cool wind was brought in along with the scent of the sea. Selvan rubbed his arm as he looked up at the sky, sighing.
The beautiful milky way could be seen throughout the sky and down towards the sea. The way the stars were poured down from the sky towards the dark sea was spread out at the same time.
At the breathtaking sight, Selvan closed his eyes. It was a sight that would ignite any artist’s soul, and it was enough to inspire.
Selvan then smiled as he opened his eyes once more. He got his inspiration.
He hurriedly returned to his canvas and nodded as he looked at his sketch.
His final piece was now ready, and with this, he smiled pleasantly.
Julia woke up at dawn, feeling the energy of the morning while sorting through the energy within herself.
After the day when numerous souls passed through her body, Julia became perplexed with the strange energy she found inside her.
It was a different energy than she had. It was something she had never felt before, so Julia tried to cleanse it every morning. But strangely enough, it wouldn’t move according to her will.
“You’re here again, Lady Julia.”
The guards stationed at the castle spire called out to her as she was breathing in the early morning air.
While she was basking in the cool air, they greeted Julia when she opened the door and went in.
She visited this place in the morning, and the soldiers had since grown accustomed to it. The early morning for them was the start of a hectic day at work.
It was pleasant for them to meet the beautiful Julia there, conversing with her, too. Then, thanks to her counseling and advice to them, her popularity only increased day by day.
“It’s very cold today.”
“It’s going to rain tomorrow, Lady. It’ll be cloudy all day, so please make sure that you take a raincoat with you if you’ll be going out.”
Julia smiled and nodded at the soldier’s helpful remarks. Then, another soldier spoke to Julia.
“Lady Julia, just as you advised last time, I boiled some mugwort and crushed it so I could apply it to my shoulder. After I did this, my skin ailment disappeared. How did you come up with this solution?”
“It’s just some knowledge I picked up here and there. But I’m glad it helped you.”
“Some knowledge?! You don’t know how grateful we all are for all your help, Lady.”
“You flatter me too much.”
With a big smile, Julia waved at them, who were standing with their feet apart at their stations, regular distances away from each other.
The soldiers then naturally closed their lips and straightened their backs, standing still without any movement. There was not one foolish soldier who tried to get close to Julia, who always meditates here at dawn.
They just watched her do it quietly.
With her back to the cold wind as she struggled to cleanse her energy, Julia began to move again. But the soldiers on patrol opened the door, and in came another person.
“Now then—huh? Lady Julia, you were here?”
At the soldier’s voice, Julia let out a low breath as her concentration broke, then she turned around with a small smile.
“You must be cold… With such thin clothes, please, you must go back inside. His Grace is looking for you.”
When Leo was mentioned, Julia’s expression slightly wrinkled. Considering that he was looking for her so early in the morning, the first thing she felt was worry about what he’d do this time.
“His Grace is asking the Lady to have breakfast with him. He knows that you’re always here, so His Grace gave me clear instructions…”
When Julia’s brows furrowed, the soldier began to make as many excuses as possible. Julia sighed and nodded, then she trudged down the spire. Seeing this, the soldiers sighed.
“Hey, do you think the Duke is interested in Lady Julia?”
“It looks like that. But the Robinharts family is already well known for their appearance, so it’s not strange to say that the Duke’s interested in the Lady. Even if it’s just a Viscounty, with that family’s beauty…”
“Indeed. And the Lady also has remarkable skills along with a great personality. I can tell just by her speaking politely to soldiers like us.”
“Right? It would be great if His Grace and Lady Julia end up together.”
“Of course. It’ll be good for us, too.”
While the soldiers were chatting amongst themselves, Julia had already arrived through the doors of the dining hall.
The fragrant scent of mushroom soup soon entered her senses. Julia automatically followed that scent with her gaze, but her eyes soon turned to Leo.
“Did something happen this early in the morning?”
“No, it’s nothing. It’s just that you don’t seem to be eating breakfast these days, so I called you to eat together. You always eat fruits, right?”
“Eating fruits in the morning is better than any medicine…”
“Is that why you look so thin?”
Julia looked down at her wrists. Her thin wrists and ankles contributed to most of Julia’s slender appearance.
However, since she wandered around a lot, she had strong thighs. It was a secret that only she and her maid knew.
“I’m stronger than I look.”
“That’s what you think, Julia. You still have to eat well.”
As Leo smiled, a bowl of mushroom soup was placed in front of her, followed by some simple salad and bread.
Julia tore the bread and dipped it in the soup. After she chewed it, Julia spoke.
“There’s something I’m curious about?”
“What is it? Is it about me?”
“No, it’s about Selvan.”
Leo’s expression crumpled as he saw the sparkle of interest in her eyes. When she mentioned that she was curious about something, he thought it would be about himself, but here she was being curious about someone else.
And it was another guy, to boot. Someone handsome. Leo himself boasted of an objectively handsome visage, but Selvan was what women would call a prince rising on a white horse.
That’s why Leo knew that Selvan was also popular. Naturally, his expression hardened because of this.
Seeing Leo with a sour expression as he bit a piece of bread, Julia glanced at him with a questioning gaze.
“What do you want to know about him?”
“…Does he have a girlfriend?”
“What?! Why are you curious about that?!”
Leo, who had yet to gulp down his bread, widened his eyes as he shouted. Thanks to this, some chunks of bread were spewed out of his lips and onto the table.
Julia quickly moved away her bowl of soup as this happened, looking at him as though she was tired of his antics.
“Please don’t talk when your mouth’s full.”
“Is that important here?!”
Rather than reproaching him more about the spewing, Julia looked away. Leo stared at her.
“Why did you mention him all of a sudden?!”
When he went out to meet Julia yesterday, Leo instantly felt frustrated when he saw Julia and that guy talking so intimately together. Even so, Leo himself had gotten close to Julia now, so he believed that she would like him more.
But then she suddenly mentioned Selvan’s name, and right now, Leo’s eyes were about to shoot out lasers.
“I…I’m just curious.”
“Why? What do you want to know?”
“I, I told you, I want to know if he has a girlfriend, what his personality’s like, his hobbies… Stuff like that.”
Leo’s forehead wrinkled at her easygoing tone, as though she was saying something like, ‘I think I want some bread and fruit juice for lunch today.’
He wanted to shout again right then, but with enormous patience, he pressed down the urge and sighed.
“…Alright. Why are you curious about those things?”
“What do you mean why?”
Julia answered naturally.
“Isn’t it obvious that it’s because of interest?”
Olden, who was listening to their conversation furtively, made a subtle change in expression as he tilted his head to the side. Leo schooled his expression and leaned back on his chair.
“…Are… Are you also the kind of girl who only likes handsome faces?”
“What are you talking about?”
“There’s nothing good about him.”
Leo stabbed his bread with a fork as though he was hurt, then he spoke once more.
“You should’ve told me that you were curious for that reason. He’s a filthy, womanizing man who plays with women and changes them every day. He likes alcohol, and he likes drugs even more. No need to know more, right?”
Blinded by jealousy, Leo grumbled lie after lie, and as Julia widened her eyes, she held up one hand to touch her chin, worried for a moment.
Leo looked at her as though he couldn’t believe her reaction.
“Why are you reacting like that? If it’s this much, don’t women just usually stay away from that kind of man?”
“Well, that’s right. But…”
After repeating Julia’s last word, Leo leaned in closer to her. Then, as though she was done thinking, Julia nodded.
“Artists have some vices after all. It’s only a problem if he doesn’t change, so I’ll have to meet him and talk.”
“…Y-You’re going to meet¹ him?”
“Anyway, thanks for answering my questions! Let’s do our best today, too. Fighting!”
Dumbfounded as he watched Julia hold a fist up while cheering him on, Leo could only stare at her when she left the dining hall, a blank look on his face.
“Yes, Your Grace.”
“…Are looks everything when it comes to men?”
At Leo’s helpless voice, Olden pushed up his glasses and replied calmly.
“Is it different when it comes to women?”
A heated gaze fired up in Leo’s eyes.
“Selvan… I can’t forgive you! How dare… How impudent! How bold of you!”
The ire of a man blinded by jealousy was directed at the wrong person.
However, Julia was blissfully unaware as she smiled while she was on her way to meet Selvan.
‘Just trust me, Elisa. I’m a dating expert!’
It was a mystery why she thought of herself as an expert in this regard. Julia, who had never been involved with—let alone ever dated—a man in all of her 40 years, couldn’t even imagine what Leo was thinking right now.
‘I’ll be your cupid!’
Her delusion was formidable.
¹ The Korean word for ‘meet’ can also be interpreted as ‘dating’, that’s why Leo was more flustered after hearing Julia say this.
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