Home Post 1274-chapter-178


The citizens brought by the previous Duke were staying in a temporary residential area. In the meantime, all efforts were concentrated on creating a permanent home for them on the island.

Despite having promised a vacation, Lucian’s life became busier than ever.

As the Capital had been the center of the empire, it was necessary to reorganize the businesses there and relocate them elsewhere. Moreover, the return of the Duke to Leon made the territory noisily busy in a different sense.

Invitations flew in, and Lucian received several proposals for marriage. I kept my promise to stay within his sight and sat in a spot where I could see the marriage proposals that were coming in for him.

Viewing portraits of ladies in their most confident poses and dresses turned out to be more unpleasant than expected.

As I sat on the plush sofa that dominated the office, I nibbled on fruits laid out on the table.

Lucian, seated at his desk working, occasionally looked up to check on me. Each time, I met his gaze and smiled gently. His persistent glances didn’t bother me, perhaps because I harbored a similarly twisted possessiveness. It was the portrait I was holding that irked me more.

‘…Why do marriage proposals keep coming in?’

Annoyed, I quietly gathered the proposals and shoved them into a subspace pocket. I planned to dispose of them in a trash incinerator later.


Even though I did it in secret, Lucian chucked, his shoulders shaking, having caught my act. This drew the attention of his aides and secretaries, who then looked up at him.

“Let’s take a break.”

He said nonchalantly.

“Yes, Your Duke. We’ll take our leave for lunch then.”


Lucian, watching me while tapping his chin in thought, instructed his aide.

“Everyone’s been working hard. Let’s call it a day.”

The unexpected command from Lucian, who was usually compulsive about schedules, surprised his aide.

“…Yes, understood.”

As the aides and secretaries gathered their belongings to leave, I turned my attention to him approaching me.

“Ray, how about a walk after lunch?”

“Sounds good.”

My response made him smile until his eyes curled up. Recently, he has been smiling more often—not just any smile, but one that conveyed a sense of comfort and ease. Of course, he always did in my presence, but now, he even occasionally smiled in front of others.

‘…Ah, was that why the marriage proposals increased?

Perhaps it was his previously stoic demeanor that had kept them at bay before.

Oh, how irritating.

As I absentmindedly squeezed the subspace pocket tightly while glancing at him, he took a seat in a relaxed position and crossed his legs.

His soft hair brushed my shoulder.

“The peaches are really sweet. Want some?”

Even though the peach season had passed, the sugar-preserved peaches were delicious, making them my recent snack of choice.


He opened his mouth naturally at my words and made me giggle. I cut a soft peach with a fork and fed it to him, watching his sharp jawline move.

“Want more?”

He nodded in response to my question. Every time this happened, I felt an urge to bite him because of his cuteness. Despite his size being much larger than mine, why did he seem childlike to me? Was my aesthetic sense fixed on him?

I decided to pick up the bowl of peaches and feed it to his mouth one by one. He seemed to not care much for sweets but enjoyed fruits quite a bit.

After feeding him the last peach, he leaned back against the sofa and looked at me.

As he rolled the peach in his mouth with his mouth slightly open, he suddenly grabbed the nape of my neck and pulled me towards him.

Before I could say anything, his lips met mine.

I thought I knew what to expect, but then a sweet piece of fruit slipped into my mouth before the hot flesh followed and pressed the fruit onto my tongue.

The crushed fruit slid down my throat. I nearly dropped the bowl I was holding but managed to catch it. The sticky juice was smeared all over my hand. After thoroughly exploring my mouth, Lucian pulled away and noticed my messy hand and dress.

Seeing him looking like a cat that got into mischief yet came to cuddle made it impossible to scold him, even though I felt a boiling frustration inside.

Unsure what to do with my sticky fingers, Lucian suddenly grabbed my hand.

“What are you doing, Luci?”

“I made a mistake, so I’m taking responsibility.”

He licked the back of my hand with his tongue, cleaning off the peach juice as if intending to lick every bit from my fingers.

“It tickles!”

The sensation was hot and ticklish.

As I tried to pull my hand back, he held it firmly, not letting go. Instead, he drew closer, making me lie down on the sofa unintentionally. Before I knew it, he was on top of me.

He smirked and licked my fingers clean of the juice.

Each time this happened, it made me shiver. It was strange. His actions were so seductive that I thought I’d go mad.

If he set out to seduce someone, surely no one could resist his charm. From his fluttering black eyelashes to the glimpse of his red tongue and the way his throat moved as he sucked the juice, there was nothing about him that wasn’t enticing.

Like being sucked dry by his breath, I could only watch his actions.

“Now it’s clean.”

The stickiness was gone, replaced by a different kind of stickiness. He expressed his affection with his entire body. Although he was always tactile, his recent displays of seductiveness were something else.


I sighed deeply. What should I do with this man who was tempted at every opportunity?

“Shall we go upstairs to wash and change?”

He suggested while pressing his nose into my cheek. The look in his eyes showed that he’d follow me into the bath.

“It feels stuffy.”

“I’ll take you there.”

Lucian lifted me up as if he had been waiting for the moment. I naturally rested my cheek against his chest.

Despite everything, being with him was when I felt happiest.

After washing and changing, we had lunch on the balcony and then went outside. We strolled through the garden together, holding hands. Like the mansion in the Capital, this place, too, had roses of every variety, though there was one enchanting spot not found there.

A maze made of rose vines.

Passing through red, yellow, white, pink, and blue roses, we reached the innermost part where the black roses, the emblem of the Duchy, bloomed.

There, a small table and chairs just for the two of us were set. With macarons and iced tea taken from our picnic basket, we indulged in the rich scent of roses. Being surrounded by black roses matching his hair color wasn’t a bad feeling.

I rested my elbows on the table and comfortably admired the lush roses.

“Luci, I’ve been curious about something.”

“What is it?”

He lifted his teacup, locking eyes with me with an intense gaze. Even such a simple action seemed to make him cool.

I asked him, resting my chin on my palm.

“In both the mansion in the Capital and here, did you cast some sort of magic on the roses? They don’t seem to wilt.”

“They’re under a preservation spell.”

“That makes sense…”

I recalled the ever-blooming rose garden at the Capital’s mansion. While being segregated by color, it always maintained its full bloom. As Lucian stretched his long arm to pluck a single black rose, he effortlessly stripped it of its thorns and gently tucked it behind my ear.

“You look beautiful.”

Really, how was I supposed to react when he did things like that with such a face?

I was going crazy with excitement.

Such ordinary actions became extraordinary when he did them. Feeling my cheeks heat up, I instinctively pouted and pressed my cheek with the back of my hand.



“Do you know the meaning behind the black rose?”

“…No? What is it?”

I realized that flower meanings were universal here, too. I hadn’t paid attention before. What could be the significance of the black rose?

Still resting my chin on my palm, I watched him as his gaze deepened.

He mirrored my posture, leaning closer with his face on his palm. His golden eyes, now clearly visible, glanced at the black rose by my ear before meeting mine again. His look was intense as if he had seen something profoundly satisfying.

He murmured in a low voice.

“You are forever mine.”

Pleased with his own declaration, he smiled broadly and spoke again, this time rolling my name off his tongue eloquently.

“Ray is forever mine.”

Just a change in subject, but my face felt like it was on fire. It was probably redder than the red roses we saw on our way here.

As I attempted to hide my flushed face, Lucian firmly grasped my hands.

“You’ll be that for me, right?”

Oh, really…

Stop doing this with that kind of face.

…My heart’s going to burst, Luci.

Tears welled up from a mix of embarrassment and happiness. Life went on as usual, yet so profoundly different.