Home Post 996-chapter-37


“Coincidentally, the carriage I was traveling in as the Marquis suddenly stopped. It seemed the wheel had broken,” Helena explained.

“Oh dear.”

“Unfortunately, there was no one around to be seen. Even if I sent for a new carriage, it would undoubtedly take too long. The distance was too far to walk, and I was at a loss, but then, fortunately, the prince’s carriage happened to pass by.”

“What a remarkable story.”

“His Highness inside the carriage saw me and kindly offered to accompany me. I am grateful for his consideration,” Helena said gracefully, bowing her head.

“It’s nothing,” Claude replied succinctly.

Helena smiled, lowering her head slightly while neatly clasping her hands together.

If anyone in the world knew Helena Elizabeth El Barden best, it would be me.

Even as a Baron and Baroness, they wouldn’t know her soul as deeply as I do.

Everything seemed distant. My heart inexplicably trembled. I couldn’t tear my gaze away from Helena.

A faint blush lingered on her delicate face, which was adorned with an unwavering smile.

Even as her intertwined fingers rested calmly, they occasionally trembled like the wings of a bird.

A pair of emerald-like eyes sparkled with a different light.

The emotions contained in those eyes…

At that moment, Claude’s gaze met mine from afar. His face stiffened instantly.

“…Well then, congratulations on the engagement. Enjoy the rest of the evening,” he said hurriedly, attempting to retreat. Confused, Helena reached out her hand.

“Are you leaving already?”

“I’ve congratulated you in person. Isn’t that enough?”

Once again, his face adopted a casual expression. He even flashed a subtle smile.

“I have many people outside looking for me. Wouldn’t it be improper to stay in one place?”

The disappointed sighs of the women who had been waiting for him all day filled the air.

Helena’s outstretched hand fell into empty space.

“Well then.”

Claude glanced briefly at me before turning and heading to the entrance.

Before I could fully comprehend that he was leaving, my body moved on its own.

Pushing through the crowded people, I continued forward.

Turning his head, Claude noticed that I was following and quickened his pace.

The edge of his navy frock coat brushed against the door and disappeared.



Reedmore and Aila, approaching from opposite sides, called out to me.

Upon hearing each other’s voices, Reedmore and Aila looked at each other.

Reedmore addressed her, while Aila looked back at me and shouted, “You left Khalia alone?”

“Miss, you said you’d wait for me on the terrace, didn’t you?”

“Sorry, let’s talk later!”

I passed them both and continued on.

“Excuse me, pardon me!”

Pushing through the bustling crowd, I continued forward, but the wave of people seemed endless. Eventually, I snapped.

“Oh, could you please move!”

Only then did people reluctantly step aside.

As the commotion drew closer from behind, Felicia and Pogos glanced back with puzzled eyes that widened when they spotted me.

There was no time for greetings. I just passed by.

There was a scent of roses as I passed by the person who had been standing in front of them.

I didn’t see Helena’s expression.

I focused solely on catching the person who disappeared behind the door.

The corridor, upon swinging it open, was deserted.

The guests in attendance were either in the hall or resting in individual rooms, making it quiet.

“Where did he go?”

Even though I looked around, it was silent. It felt like it might be too late, a hint of frustration creeping in.

Footsteps echoed from the far end of the corridor.

Swiftly turning my head, I caught sight of the prince’s face peeking from around the corner where the corridor turned left.

Without hesitation, I chased after him. The footsteps, initially at a steady pace, gradually quickened as my pursuit intensified, eventually turning into a sprint.

“Wait a moment, please!”

Yet the prince didn’t stop. He cursed and shouted, “Why are you running away?!”

There was no response. Determined, I quickened my pace to keep up.

Now outside the mansion, Claude hesitated which way to go, looking left and right.

Turning back and seeing me chasing after him with determination, he frowned in annoyance.

He dashed to the left. This time, he was too fast for me to catch up.

“Should I pretend to trip and feign injury?”

The thought crossed my mind for a moment, but I quickly dismissed it.

If it was him, even if I screamed in pain pretending to be injured, he would surely continue without looking back.

Now we were racing through the maze-like pathways of the garden.

I couldn’t keep up anymore. My feeble stamina was exhausted, and the path turned into a dead-end.

Summoning my last bit of strength, just before the prince disappeared into the dense bushes once again, I shouted, “Undine!”

Instantly summoned, the spirit erected a high wall of water in front of Claude.

The barrier, too wide to go around and too high to jump over, halted Claude’s progress.

With hands on my knees, I gasped for breath, exhausted.

“Huff, huff… I got you…”

Finally, Claude turned around.

Not a drop of sweat, not a sign of fatigue.

Instead of the carefree expression he had at the banquet, his face was now devoid of it, replaced by a clear expression of annoyance.

“Persistent, aren’t you?”

“Huff… You’re… equally persistent, Your Highness.”

Wiping the sweat from my forehead, I stood up.

Behind me, Undine was frolicking excitedly with the wall of water, and in front of me, he had nowhere to run when he faced me.

I interrogated my captive.

“Long time no see, isn’t it?”

He corrected me.

“You’re starting an argument.”

Claude sighed, crossing his arms firmly, unyielding.

If he had a conscience, shouldn’t he not be unhappy with me?

Since that night when the prince avoided me, my feelings had undergone three stages of change.

At first, I was worried that something had happened, then I became anxious that he didn’t want to see me at all, and finally, I felt irritated.

Claude Valentine seemed to be the type of person who easily gets irritated. That’s the impression I had.

Arguing with him was all too familiar and easy. Perhaps it was because of our first conversation.

“Don’t push me like that. I won’t run away.”

He raised both hands in surrender.

The garden seemed somewhat secluded from the central area where the engagement party was held.

The pathways were narrow, and although the grass sparkled, they stretched quite a distance.

It seemed like the perfect place for lovers to sneak away from the party to enjoy some clandestine rendezvous.

But our atmosphere was the opposite of lovers.

I glared at him, and Claude averted his gaze, turning his head to the side.

“Now, speak.”

“What do you want me to say?”

He muttered as if talking to himself, but it was clearly directed at me.

One eyebrow raised.

Such childish behavior for a man.

“Naturally, the reason you avoided me, and the reason you just tried to run away again.”

“I just wasn’t feeling well.”

“Despite that, you seemed to run quite well, don’t you think?”

“It’s because of my good basic stamina. If you exercised as diligently as I do, you could run well even when you’re feeling unwell.”

“Judging by how smoothly your tongue moves, it seems more likely that it’s not due to good stamina but because you’re really not feeling unwell.”

Claude closed and opened his eyes. Quietly, he asked,

“Why do you keep distancing yourself again?”


“I thought we were getting somewhat closer. But it seems like we’re back to square one.”

He remained silent.

Through many experiences, I had learned that opening Claude Valentine’s mouth was not an easy task. I waited patiently.

Instead of answering my curiosity, he responded to my question with another question.

“…And why are you chasing after me like this?”

“I said I’d return the handkerchief.”

“I don’t need it. Just keep it.”

“And what about the library key?”

“I don’t need that either. You keep it. Use it when you want to meet the spirit of a Martyr or when you need a hiding place. Is that all sorted out?”

“What would you do if you had the spare key, and His Highness couldn’t get into the dormitory and had to spend the night outdoors?”

“You just said I had good stamina, didn’t you? Don’t worry about me.”

“The thought of you sleeping outside in the dew breaks my heart.”

“Your heart seems to break quite easily. Here, borrow some glue and try putting it back together.”

The serious interrogatory atmosphere had suddenly turned into banter.

Suddenly, I realized that the headache and dizziness had disappeared as if washed away.

“And are you going to lend that and then refuse to take it again? You’re quite fickle. By now, it seems you enjoy throwing things away to others.”

“I only do that with you. Then, see if you can mend your broken heart by yourself.”

“It’s a pity that his highness doesn’t avoid you.”

“No, think about it carefully. If you look around, there are plenty of alternatives to glue.”

Being with Claude was like riding an emotional rollercoaster. Keeping up was challenging, but I didn’t mind.

“Stop talking nonsense.”

In the end, it was me who raised both hands first. A small laugh escaped my lips.

Claude’s expression changed blankly.

“You’re laughing, too.”


“It’s nothing.”

Although I could hear him mumbling something, when I asked, he avoided answering.

I chuckled. His profile, not looking at me, seemed faintly illuminated.