Episode 24: The Duke’s Cabin (III)

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She slept to her heart’s content without trembling in anxiety, and when she woke up, the sun was setting.

Canaren looked at Yulif, who was beside her as if it was natural, and tilted her head blankly.

「When did I fall asleep……?」

「Not long ago.」

Yulif lied without saliva in his mouth.
The sun was already setting.

Since she couldn’t tell when she had fallen asleep, she just nodded her head.

「Aren’t you hungry?」

「I was fine, but after hearing Yulif’s words, I suddenly became hungry.」

「How about eating here rather than going out?」

Several times he felt the presence of armed soldiers bustling around.
Deltinus would unleash the men and try to find the two of them.
They wouldn’t be able to find his home anyway, so he had no reason to make Canaren uneasy by telling her on purpose.

「I like that.
Do you have anything to eat?」

「Is there any food you want to eat?」

「Can I say anything?」

「Let’s hear it first.」

「I’m curious about the food Yulif makes.」

He stared at Canaren for a moment, then stood up without a word.

He had searched the kitchen before she woke up, so he knew it was completely empty.
It was impossible for the supplies to remain in the house that he visited once every few months.

After he made sure that Canaren was sleeping deeply, he surrounded the hut with several barriers, and went out to buy fruits, vegetables, meat, and bread.

Canaren’s eyes widened as she watched him go to the kitchen.

「Are you really going to cook?」

「I can only cook simple things.」

「You said you couldn’t play the piano very well, but you were amazing.」

「It’s true.
Don’t count on it.」

「Can I watch?」

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Before he could answer her, she was already sitting by the table.
Yulif simply shrugged.

His hands were rough and clumsy in chopping the vegetables for the soup.
He was not really good at cooking.
Well, it was more amazing that he could cook even though he was a royal and a duke.

「When did you learn to cook?」

「I’ve been living like that.」

「I wonder.
Yulif is an imperial family member.
There must be a lot of people working for Yulif.」

「It’s necessary in order for me to survive alone in the mountains.」

As she was about to ask why he was alone in the mountains, Canaren bit her tongue.

It must have been because of Deltinus, who was anxious about not being able to kill Yulif.

Yulif probably didn’t live in the mountains voluntarily.
Deltinus must have sent him there.

「Was it, ever since you were little?」

Canaren asked hesitantly.
Yulif nodded his head as if it was nothing.

She wondered if this was really the case.

She hated the emperor more.
And she hated herself for asking a careless question.

「I’m sorry…….」


Canaren felt even more apologetic when Yulif asked with genuine puzzlement.

Yulif’s life must have been threatened from an early age.
Yet, how could he be so calm and unassuming?

Was it because Yulif was a strong person, or was he able to become that kind of person because he was strong?

Either way, Canaren was very slightly envious of Yulif’s strength.

「I can’t cook.
However, I can tell the difference between mushrooms and fruits.
Have you ever had a stomachache from eating the wrong mushrooms or berries in the mountains?」

In this case, it would be best to change the topic.
She was in a good mood from being far away from the emperor, and there was no reason for her to continue asking about a story which the emperor was involved in.

Canaren asked Yulif as he turned his back and started cooking again.



「I don’t eat what I don’t know.
I am not a child.」

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「You mean I’m a child?」

Canaren bit her lips.
She knew it was a joke, so she wasn’t mad.

The sound of Yulif’s grinning laughter was briefly heard through the sound of his cutting.

She began to detect a savory smell as they were having trivial, useless conversations.
Canaren was drawn to the scent and sneaked towards him.
The soup was boiling in the pot.

「Have a taste.
Careful now, it’s hot.」

The soup tasted as good as it smelled.
As soon as something warm entered, her quiet stomach roared for more.

「It’s delicious!」

After conveying a brief compliment, Canaren quickly returned to the tableside, fearing that Yulif could hear her stomach.

After a while, dinner was served.
The menu consisted of bread, soup, and grilled vegetables and meat that were cut into bite-sized pieces.

Canaren liked this better than a sumptuous meal at the Imperial Palace.
It was also the food that Yulif made himself, and the simple and unadorned menu reminded her of a meal at her village.

「I’ll eat well, Yulif.
Oh, will you go back to the Imperial Palace after you finished eating?」

「Eat slowly.
I will sleep here today.」


Did she hear it wrong? Yulif’s voice was heard once again in Canaren’s ears as she tilted her head.

「Stay here for a few days.」

Carnaren held onto her fork, staring blankly.
Her eyes, which had been blinking slowly, stopped for a moment.
She was contemplating Yulif’s words.

Today, here, she would sleep.
Not in the palace.

She only understood this not-too-long sentence after she repeated it in her mind five times.
It was so unexpected, and that made her even more happy.

「Is the Imperial Palace better?」

「That can never be!」

Canaren hastily denied it.
It was only after she cried out that she noticed the faint smile on Yulif’s lips.

There was no way Yulif, who took care of even the smallest details, could seriously ask such a question.

Canaren smiled broadly at Yulif.

「I know it’s inconvenient to have nothing.」

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「Even sleeping on a barren road would be more comfortable than the Imperial Palace.
Oh, I’m not saying Yulif’s house is similar to a street.
There’s a bed, there’s a pillow, and…….」

「Eat before it gets cold.」

The food that looked appetizing seemed even tastier.
It seemed that all the happiness in the world came to her just because she didn’t have to go back to the Imperial Palace.

Canaren eagerly ate the meat that Yulif gave her.
That was the best reward she could give Yulif.

「Yulif, you’re not eating?」

「I’ll eat.」

「You kept giving me some.」

Canaren glared at Yulif.
No matter how much she ate, as much food as she had eaten was placed on her plate in the blink of an eye.
It wasn’t an illusion, and this plate wasn’t a magic plate.

The cause was the man who was casually slicing meat in front of her eyes.

「Are you going to give that to me too?」

「Would you like more?」

「I’m full.
I ate a lot.
Please eat Yulif.」

「Isn’t it delicious?」

「It’s delicious! But I’m really full…….」

Canaren wanted to cry.
As she frantically took what Yulif gave her and ate it, her stomach stretched to the limit.

Upon seeing that, Yulif grinned.
He was teasing her again.


Canaren missed the timing to get angry over the meat as she stared at Yulif’s cutting an apple.

The rabbit-shaped apple was very cute.
Yulif, who was so big, shaved such a cute bunny.
And when she imagined that, she wanted to laugh out loud.
She barely held it in, lest he thinks she was sneering.

「Because I don’t know how to make dessert.」

「If you even made dessert, I would have passed out from surprise.」

While Yulif ate the leftovers, Canaren ate her apples bit by bit.
The sweet and sour taste made her mouth feel fresh.

All of the prepared food was gone.
She was somewhat embarrassed to look at the empty plates.
Canaren smiled shyly and said it like an excuse.

「Are you surprised? I usually eat a lot.」

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「I wasn’t surprised.
I was worried that you’re forcing yourself to eat it when you don’t want to.」

「I can’t force myself to eat this much.」

「You ate half of it.」

「Since you haven’t eaten much…… It was really delicious.
I think I will live well because I came out of the Imperial Palace.
I also cleaned my feathers, and slept soundly after a long time.
So I guess my appetite has returned.」

「That’s a relief.」

「Ah, I’ll take care of it.
Yulif, go and rest now! You worked hard to cook.」

Canaren pushed Yulif out of the kitchen.

Everything was clean except for the utensils used during the meal.

‘You must have been busy cooking, but when did you get rid of all this?’

The tools that were wiped clean without any grease seemed to show his thorough personality.

When she came out after organizing quickly, Yulif was sitting on the sofa with his eyes closed.
One of his hands rested on his chest, and the blue tattoo on that hand bothered her.

‘I don’t think I know much about Yulif.’

If she looked at the house, could she find out a little bit about it? At least his hobby.

Canaren looked around her quietly.
She naturally became interested in the bookshelf that she had overlooked earlier.

Almost all the books that filled the shelves were about magic.
As she quickly skimmed through titles that were difficult to look at, Canaren found something.

「Um, Yulif?」


「Can I read the books here?」

「Those are books about matter.
It doesn’t matter.」

「There are books that are not.」

Canaren took a book from the shelf and shook it.
The title was engraved on the cover.

‘There’s a book like that.
If it’s books, I tend to read this and that, so it’s not strange if I have one.’

Canaren thought so when Yulif didn’t respond; she brought the book and sat down next to him.
Her eyes were serious as she read the writing.

Yulif posed a question to her.
It was a half-impulsive action, and half a question he had been pondering for a long time.

「When did you learn the imperial language?」

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