8. A Lying Conspirator
—Why is this happening?
Due to the weight and the warmth transmitted to my shoulder, it felt terribly awkward. I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t even move my fingertips.
Occasionally, the wind would cause Philip’s hair to caress my neck. At the same time, a sweet-scent graze my nose.
…How much time had passed?
In the corner of my vision, I saw a maid bringing us teapot. The moment she saw us, though, she turned back.
The maid must had misunderstood the situation in various ways. I was certain she was going to gossip with other servants. Surely, meeting them in the future would be embarrassing.
When I tried to come up with something to say, he was the one who opened his mouth first. I was just starting to wonder how long would we stay like that.
“Thank you for coming today. I’m glad.”
…Why would he say such a thing now!?
He muttered while burying his face in my shoulder. I could only muster a confused, “Y, you’re welcome.”
A few minutes later, Philip, who slowly raised his face, asked if we should return home. Then, the two of us walked side by side to the carriage that would send us back to the mansion.
Afterwards, our gazes never met.
Three days had passed since then.
When I was leisurely reading my favorite book in my room, I heard a knock. Afterwards, “Milady, there’s a guest.” Could be heard.
Albeit no one was scheduled to visit me today.
There was only a limited number of people who could visit without prior notice. I went downstairs, expecting it to be Jamie who would always come with a man.
The guest was said to be in the hall, instead of the drawing room. At that, I tilted my head. When I stepped inside the hall, I reflexively retreated.
In there, was the person I didn’t want to meet the most as of the present.
“Hello, my cute Vio-chan, I missed you.”
While waving his hand toward me, he sat cross-legged on the sofa.
Why is he here!?
“…I’m sorry, who are you?”
When asked, he showed a stern look, which then transformed into a dejected, but also dazzling, smile.
“You don’t seem to remember me. Just now, I’ve heard about your predicament from uncle. How difficult must it be! I’m your cousin, Rex.”
—Rex Duran. A cousin whom was five years older than me, born from a count family. Said to be the first genius that had been bestowed upon that kingdom after decades or even hundreds of years. He was currently serving as a civil officer at the royal castle.
He was also very popular with women. Not only was he a smooth talker, he was good-looking—he had blond hair and blue eyes. Despite so, our relationship had always been rocky.
After all, the man had a ridiculously bad personality.
By the way, Philip had been on good terms with Rex ever since they were children. They also seemed to go out to eat on a regular basis.
“Is your body alright? It may get worse later, so be careful. Ah, it made my old wounds throb…”
“Thank, you for your concern…”
Relaxing as if it was his own house, he said to the maid. “Ah, right, you don’t have to brew any tea for Viola.”
“We’re going to leave this room, so please head there.”
After saying so, Rex got up from the sofa and approached me, who stood at the entrance of the hall. Then, with a smile, he whispered into my ears. “After all, you’d get into trouble if we stay here?”
With that one sentence, I understood everything.
I quietly followed him and headed towards my room.
This is exactly why I didn’t want to meet you!
Eventually, we reached my room. After the maid had prepared the tea, Rex instructed her to leave. I sighed deeply when I realized I ended up doing everything he told me to.
“Hey, why are you faking amnesia?”
After we were alone, he said so while smiling. His eyes were shining—just like a child who had gotten a hold of new toy.
In the first place, I didn’t plan on deceiving him. After a slight pondering, I asked.
“When did you notice?”
“The moment we met. The second you beheld my face, your expression scrunched up in disgust? If it’s truly our ‘first meeting’, then you wouldn’t be making that kind of face when meeting someone as fine as me.”
The man before me said such a thing with a straight face.
“I’m not joking, I’m being serious, here. Also, when I mentioned my old wounds, you didn’t hesitate to look at my left arm—even though I didn’t say anything.”
“As if you can fool me! Don’t even try! Not one has ever succeeded before—and if they did, that’d be considered a miracle.”
When I couldn’t reply with anything, Rex persisted upon asking “Why?”
After a brief silence, I decided to spill the beans. Otherwise, he might resort to something extreme.
Rex, who heard I faked amnesia to break my engagement, burst into laughter. Even more so when he heard of Philip’s outrageous lies.
He laughed to the point of tears, before blaming me. “Why didn’t you tell me such an interesting story right away!?”
I wished he’d listen to himself.
“Even so, that guy also did something extreme!”
Rex muttered such a thing while wiping the tears around his eyes.
“Philip doesn’t even realize that your sloppy acting is a lie! …Well, considering that he’s always been like a broken machine when he’s around you…”
“No wonder he came up to me the other day, asking me about your favorite dating spots this late into the game.”
I looked up at Rex, who muttered as if he was convinced of something.
When I asked what was his answer to that, Rex answered nonchalantly.
“As if I know where your favorite dating spots are! It’s not like Philip would bring me along, anyway. So, I made stuff up on spot—that in reality, you love fishing at the river. You’re also crazy about catching bugs in the forest.”
“Wait a minute.”
I really wish for him to stop.
It seemed that the man before me was the reason for Philip’s sudden fishing invitation. I was truly glad he didn’t choose the latter.
In the first place, Philip had asked the wrong person! He couldn’t tell that Rex was being moronic as usual! Was there nothing I could do!?
Although to be honest, fishing the other day was truly enjoyable.
In other words, he only had the best of intentions when he invited me to go fishing. That moment when he was perplexed after seeing me fumbling with the fishing rod, he must had been truly confused. It turned out that he wasn’t acting…
…Albeit I felt a little guilty for doubting him, what about his dozen other lies?
He made me doubt which was the truth, and which was the lie.
When I told Rex we did end up going fishing because of his ‘joke’, he laughed again—
“—I can’t breathe!” He said. “That’s what I liked the most about Philip!”
“No, what you like is making fun of people…”
Afterwards, he seemed to calm down. After briefly sipping his tea, his eyes returned to me.
“So why do you want to break off your engagement?”
“Why, you ask…”
“It’s not like you hate Philip.”
In the past, I did tell Philip I hate him. But, as of the present, I didn’t think those words held true.
I wanted to break our engagement because I was aware of not only how unworthy I was—but also the fact that he despised me. Above all, it felt awkward and suffocating when I was with him.
The corners of Rex’s mouth rose when he saw me silently pondering.
“Don’t worry, because he certainly won’t do you any harm. If you still enjoy reading those books, then why don’t take this great opportunity to start over and try to fall in love with him?”
Rex’s gaze was directed at my fluffy romance novel—‘My Only Prince <3’ that I had read and left on my desk. He was sticking his nose into my business too much!
“H, how noisy, even though it’s none of your concern!”
“It may not be my concern, but I’m on your side, Viola.”
I glared at him—what nonsense!
“In the first place, what’s the purpose of your visit?”
“Oh, right, I had almost forgotten.”
He pulled an invitation out of his breast pocket.
The moment I saw Rex’s smile, and also the engraving of the wax seal, I had a terribly unpleasant feeling.
***T/N: SO OUR PHILUC LOVE AND SOCIAL INEPTNESS ARE PURE ALL ALONG–!!!!! FOR DOUBTING YOU, IM SORREH–!!!!!!! *KNEEL
BUT, NEXT TIME, ACTUALLY TRY TO COMMUNICATE PROPERLY WITH YOUR PARTNER, KK!? ASK HER DIRECTLY ABOUT IT!!!
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