Chapter 20 – Karus’ Plan
After the meeting with Lawrence’s assurance of taking her to the Nakran Empire, she had been in a good mood. And he had been working their plan.
Alice laughed out loud when she heard the rumors floating around in the social world. She didn’t even hear the words of the marquis screaming about what had happened. The main content of the gossip was that Lawrence, who fell in love with Alice at first sight, was courting her.
“My lady, the Duke of Littenverk has arrived.”
“Where is he?”
“He is in the drawing room.”
“I’ll be down soon.”
She laughed out loud knowing that he seized the chance of visiting her while the Marquis was away. With the appearance of the powerful man, the attitude of the servants around her became more polite but she did not change.
As she entered her drawing room, Lawrence smiled broadly at her.
The sound of his voice gave her goosebumps, making her brush her arm. She thought he had a handsome face, but with that face, it was a face that no one could help but fall in love with. The tenderness that overflowed from his blue eyes made her heart pound.
His bright golden hair gleamed in the wind, and his flawless face was like a sculpture. The smile on her lips was so graceful that anyone could say he was beautiful. The drawing room lit up as he smiled on his face, which properly blended the elegance and nobility of an aristocrat.
“You were supposed to call me by name. Call me by name, my dear.”
(TN: The amount of sugar I ate is choking me now— cough, cough…)
‘Since when did you say that?’
Alice held out her hand as she swallowed the words she couldn’t bear to get out of her mouth. The back of her hand heated up when Lawrence’s lips touched it.
“I needed to be patient because I missed you early morning, my dear. You are not angry that I did, my dear?”
“It can’t be. I am also glad that Lawrence is here.”
“I heard that beauty sleeps a lot in the morning, but my dear really have a big heart to make time for me.”
Alice, who caught her expression on the verge of collapsing at the moment, struggled to keep her smile. She had no idea he would be of this kind. Although he said it was to bring her safely to the Nakran Empire, he was the kind of person who would stop for nothing.
‘Was the contract that important? Or the diamonds?’
She was told that it was important, but she had no idea what the Diamond of the Abyss was supposed to be for, so she couldn’t guess. What would happen if the diamond didn’t reach to Stella, the Crown Princess?
Karus hit the desk after hearing the aide’s report. When the bang sounded, the eyes of the aide who was reporting next to him trembled.
“How did this happen? Alice Hamilton?”
Karus suspected that Lawrence’s stepping into the Erha Empire wasn’t just because of the birthday party of the Crown Princess. Thinking that there must be some other reason, he tried to intercept the Diamond of the Abyss that Lawrence was supposed to give as a gift.
But the diamonds are gone, and Lawrence is gone. And for what?
“Is he crazy?”
“I heard that he visited the Hamilton Marquess this morning as well.”
“He can’t go there for no reason.”
“He said it was love at first sight.”
He was Karus, who knew Lawrence better than anyone else. He was never that blind about love at first sight. Asking if Lawrence was insane was actually already a stupid thing to say.
“There must be a reason.”
He wasn’t the type to move without any gain. Karus’s thoughts reached Alice therefore Alice Hamilton has something.
‘Could it be that she has the diamond?’
Was he trying to seduce the woman and steal her diamonds? Karus, who suddenly made a guess close to the truth, jumped up from his seat.
“I have to go.”
“I need to meet Alice Hamilton.”
“Your Excellency! The next schedule is to meet Her Highness the Crown Princess…!”
“It’s none of my business to meet the Crown Princess.”
The person who wanted to meet in the first place was also the Crown Princess, not him. The power of the Erha Empire had already shifted to Karus. Even if the crown prince had noticed, it would be difficult for him to regain the power that had already been taken from him. Under these circumstances, it was obvious that the crown princess would request a private meeting with him.
‘I’m sure she would ask to take good care of the crown prince.’
Otherwise, she wouldn’t even ask him to meet her. After drawing a rough conclusion, Karus concluded that it was more important to go see Alice.
As he left the office, he felt a knight follow him. Iron-Blooded Knight Lesir. He was a knight of the Marquess of Hamilton, and after becoming a knight of the duke’s family, he was out of the duke’s family.
“What is going on?”
“Please give me a task!”
He came to the duchy with the ambition of stepping into a new world, but the only job he was entrusted with was to stand guard for the duchy. Lesir could not accept his situation and confronted Karus but Karus walked away without even looking at him.
“Not now, but next time.”
“Did you say next time?”
Karus, who was waving his hands as if to drive away a nuisance, opened his mouth to Lesir again with a sudden thought.
“Ah, you. You were in the Hamilton Marquess, right?”
“Yes. That’s right!”
“Then follow me.”
Since he was on the way to the Marquis Hamilton, he might as well gain some information about it, so he gestured to him.
Karus, who was accompanied by Lesir talked about this and that, but it was only useless information. He was fed up with the vague remarks about being a money-grubber or having a bad personality, closed his mouth, and Lesir, feeling the changed atmosphere, also shut his mouth.
‘I thought he was useful and brought him in.’
Reputation on the battlefield may have been great, but it was meaningless now without war. Bringing him was supposed to look better than to have him next to the Marquis who was only crowned with money.
Karus remembered the idea he had when he first brought Lesir. From the beginning, Lesir was intended to be used for other purposes. In the meantime, he had forgotten Lawrence’s whereabouts and analyzed it, but he did it anyway.
“Yes, Your Excellency.”
“Will you be loyal to the work I will entrust you with?”
“Well then, fine. wait for now I’ll go back to the duchy and tell you what to do.”
Karus was pleased to hear Lesir’s words. He was growing tired of being in charge of the duchy. He had no pride in being a marquis, but he was paid well, and he was not a duke.
The Duke’s House was a place where knights were paid differently if they were not in charge of important work. Lesir, accustomed to the opulent paychecks of knights, could not keep up with his spending and, later, might have to borrow money from a moneylender.
‘I wouldn’t have moved if I knew the salary would be this low!’
It was a situation where he had already borrowed money from the knights of the Marquis family he had worked with before, and he was gradually pushed to his limit. It was also the reason he caught Karus today.
‘It’s fine though. Since he will entrust me with an important task.’
If that happens, he will be the one who holds both money and fame. Lesir’s imagination added delusions. Karus’s horse slowly headed towards the Hamilton Marquis. Lesir, who was familiar with the way he was going, asked him.
“Where are you going, Your Excellency?”
“The Marquess of Hamilton.”
It was an answer he had already expected, but when Karus answered, Lesir’s expression crumpled.
‘No, no. I’m more successful than the knights there.’
There were many people who would mistakenly believe that he had become an escort knight for the duke if he were to enter the family of a marquis with Karus. He seemed to be returning with success, so Lesir, who considered it fortunate, opened his chest wide.
It looked like a clumsy duke was proud, but at least Lesir’s expression was full of pride that he had become a knight of the duke’s family. The knight guarding the front gate of the marquis looked at Karus and asked.
“What are you here for?”
“You know who this is! This is Mr. Karus of the Duke of Shellington!”
Lesir stood up and shouted at the polite question of a knight who his colleague once. At his shout, the eyes of the people around him gathered, and the face of the knight of the Marquess of Hamilton heated up.
“A Duke. Please show me your seal to prove your identity.”
The knight was taken aback but he had to do his duty, so he calmly responded however, Lesir raised his voice more.
“To not know the face of the person who leads this country’s only ducal family! Are you still a knight of the Erha Empire?”
Karus did not stop Lesir from talking nonsense. Even if he didn’t step forward, he wouldn’t hurt Karus. If he made a mistake, it would have been something to draw the line saying that Lesir had done it alone.
The knight of the Marquess of Hamilton continued to stand there with a red-hot face. Seeing him not stepping aside, Lesir shouted again in a loud voice.
“Are you getting out of here right now? How dare you not recognize the duke!”
Joy flashed in the eyes of Lesir, who was screaming loudly. In the meantime, the persecution of the ducal family for being a knight who betrayed his lord flashed through his mind.
‘I just made the wrong choice.’
From the beginning, the Marquess of Hamilton did not have the dignity to be his lord. The moment Lesir, who did not know such a person and wanted to erase his past as his master, opened his mouth again, he heard a thin but firm voice.
“Hey, what are you doing here?”