Home Post 950-chapter-174


In the training ground of Duke Icard’s residence, where Kallaudin left first to attend to his duties, Evan was once again sparring with Nathan.

It was because he still had some energy left.

“Young Duke, please go easy… I’m not like the Duke!”

Nathan, who was struggling to parry Evan’s attacks, now expected to be completely overwhelmed and closed his eyes tightly. Nevertheless, no matter how long he waited, the fierce onslaught did not continue.

Because of that, he cautiously opened his eyes, expecting the attack that have completely stopped.

“Young Duke? Why—”

Evan, who would never stop if it were a usual situation, completely halted his momentum, sheathing his sword in its scabbard. He even stood up straight, tidying his hair.

Smiling slightly at Nathan’s bewildered expression, he finally opened his mouth.

“Laria seems to be coming.”


Nathan sighed lightly as if he had survived.

Lifting his gaze into the distance, he could indeed see the bright pink-haired Laria walking towards them. Even though she was a tiny figure that could only be seen if they squinted, Evan seemed to have recognized her even in the midst of sparring with him.

“Very… impressive to sense her presence even from so far away, Young Duke.”

“We’ve been friends since she started taking her first steps.”

“…First steps? Lady Laria is one year older than you, Young Duke.”

“Still, we’re pretty similar. Laria’s muscle development is slow, and I’m fast.”

“…Well, the facial muscles are certainly different.”

Nathan, subtly emphasizing that Evan looked older than Laria, smiled and glanced at his master as he continued.

“Lady Laria seems to be getting more beautiful.”

Despite thinking it was a somewhat cheerful topic, Evan responded with a creepy expression.

“Don’t have weird thoughts about that child, Nathan. If you’re going to think like that, take your eyes off right now.”

“Child? Lady Laria is one year older than you, Young Duke.”


As he quickly realized that Evan’s words had hit a dead end, Nathan playfully added.

“Hmm, Young Duke, do you happen to like Lady Laria?”

Evan chuckled as if he couldn’t believe what he was hearing. His expression clearly conveyed a message: ‘Don’t say such nonsense.’

“What are you talking about? We’ve been friends since we started walking.”

Saying so, looked at Laria, who was waving from a distance, as he went on, “It’s just that we know each other better than anyone else, and if I haven’t seen her for a long time, it feels empty, and I can easily recognize her anywhere.”


“Everyone thinks Laria is innocent, though I know better than anyone that she’s not that kind of girl.”

It was true that Evan knew a lot about Laria. Despite everyone thinking of Laria as innocent and gentle as a squirrel, she was extraordinarily clever.

Still, her brother Fred had never given her the opportunity to spread her talents because he had laid out all the ground for Laria in advance, even in the children’s small social circle.

However, lately, he couldn’t help but feel tired, thinking of Fred, who now cast wary glances at him. They used to get along quite well when they played together, but at some point, Fred began to intervene in their conversations, creating discord.

Seeing he didn’t come today, Evan felt quite relieved.


Nathan tilted his head.

“So, you don’t really like her that much?”

“Of course not. It’s just that when she smiles, it makes me feel good because we’re close friends…”

Evan mumbled while imagining Laria’s smile before a faint smile appeared on his face. His expression naturally softened.

“Even if she smiles brightly, if she seems a bit sad, it feels strange.”

“Can someone feel sad while smiling?”

“She smiles while spending money when she’s sad. She says crying doesn’t solve anything. The more upset you are, the more you need to shift your mood with something expensive.”

After saying that, he looked directly at Nathan and firmly added.

“So, don’t say such ridiculous things. Liking her, what nonsense.”

Aahh, yes…”

Nathan scratched the back of his head and stepped back. It was now really time to discreetly leave. Evan had started to dislike it when someone intervened while he was with Laria, even if that person was Nathan, his closest.

In the distance, Laria was waving her hands, her bright laughter filling the air.

Evan tilted his head and smiled brightly.


* * *


Laria had met Evan before even arriving at the training ground. He approached her with great strides.

“The weather’s nice, Laria.”

Evan spoke as he looked at Laria in front of him.

“Should I tell the maids to prepare for a picnic in the back mountains? I feel like having something sweet after practicing with the sword. Let’s eat some sweets while we go.”

“Huh? A picnic?”

Hearing her question, he shrugged his shoulders and replied.

“Having tea time inside the main building is too dull. Someone always interrupts us.”

“Ah, but let’s skip the picnic.”

Laria smiled slyly, tilting her head.

“I’ve greeted you and seen your face, so I’m going back to the main house now. Actually, I came with Mom to have tea time together with Lady Matilda.”


“I was going to ask you to come along too, but I didn’t know you find tea time boring. I’ll ask the maids to bring you some candy on my way. See you later!”

Since everyone in the mansion knew he liked sweets, it was an acceptable request to anyone. Evan hastily grabbed Laria’s wrist as she turned around, cheerfully saying goodbye.

“N, no. Let’s go together. I actually find boredom quite enjoyable these days. It’s good for mental relaxation.”

“Is that so?”

“…And I feel like having cake rather than candy.”

“Oh, then let’s go together. It’ll be nice. Everyone will like it.”

That way, the two of them headed back to the main house to join Matilda and Esther’s tea time. On the path through the garden, Laria stretched and opened her mouth again.

“Should we walk a bit slower? Your pace is too fast.”

“Ah, really? But wasn’t there something urgent?”

“Well… I did say we’d go straight there, but maybe we should give Mom and Lady Matilda some time to talk openly? My parents had another big argument yesterday.”

A slight shadow fell over her purple eyes.

Seeing that, Evan slowed his steps and silently observed her profile. No matter how she tried to seem nonchalant or cheerful, whenever she made such comments, an unavoidable shadow cast over her.

With a soft sigh, Laria continued.

“If your parents have a great relationship, you might not understand… but I’m having a hard time adapting to this.”

Evan gently pressed her pink hair at those words.

“Why force yourself to adapt to unhappiness? Feel free to struggle. Tell me everything to get some relief, even if it’s just a bit. Don’t hold it in. You’re still young, and…”

“Treating me like a child again?”

Laria looked up at Evan, who was much taller, with an incredulous smile.

“You know well, right? Even if my appearance triggers protective instincts, I’m not an easy one to yield to others.”

“But there’s no such thing as being old enough to not throw tantrums.”

“You’re really not saying that, are you? And I’ll be coming of age soon. It’s time for me to start a family.”

Looking into Evan’s red eyes, Laria shook his hand playfully as she persisted, “Don’t you know? After I debut and officially enter society, they say marriage proposals will pour in. Some in society even consider it quite an important indicator.”

Evan retorted bluntly to her playful remark.

“Who does something tacky like debutante balls these days?”

“My mom said she would make my debutante ball the most glamorous. That’s why I’m going to discuss it with Lady Matilda now.”

“Ah, I guess I misspoke about traditional events being tacky.”

Laria chuckled slightly but continued to walk slowly. She even took the time to admire the flowers in the garden.

Evan cleared his throat and handed her a yellow wildflower that had caught her gaze for a while.

“It’s not that I’m looking forward to it. Somehow, on that day, I don’t think Father will come… I’ve already given up on the expectation of him being loyal to the family. Still, if he doesn’t show himself at such formal events, rumors will spread in society.”

“Why does that matter?”

“It may not be important to you, though it is to me. Even if I don’t expect an escort from him, just him coming late and staying in his seat would be nice, but that’s my biggest worry.”

While inserting the wildflower he handed her into her bracelet, Laria uttered.

“After all, even without Father, I’ll be quite refined that day, so the influx of marriage proposals won’t get affected that much.”

“…Well, you won’t take those marriage proposals seriously, will you? Marriage proposals sent to you, who just turned twenty-year-old, must all be crap.”

“If it’s for political leverage, they arrange marriages even at twenty. What’s wrong with that?”

“That’s such an absurd statement. The trash idea of suggesting arranged marriages between children should be excluded from discussions.”

“Still, if there’s no guardian, it’s a common story, and…”

“So, are you going to take those marriage proposals seriously?”

“Why are you so interested in marriage proposals? You can’t even receive them since you’re underage.”

Upon hearing this, Evan’s pupils shook significantly. It was an expression of a variable that he had never even considered, as they had always comfortably spent time together as peers.

“Got it, Evan?”

Laria chuckled playfully.

“This older sister is entering the world of adults first. You just wait while sucking on candies.”

Even though it was a clear joke, Evan couldn’t force a smile. He simply watched Laria’s leaving figure, delaying his steps and staring blankly at the butterfly fluttering away.