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Ilya covered her mouth with both of her hands and stared wide-eyed at Wells.

“What is Miss Titonsser doing here?”

To think it was Ilya who had been following me since earlier.

Wells, who laughed, noticed that both of the young lady's cheeks were flushed red.

She's up later than I would have thought.

Ilya and Rose were of similar age, so Wells would always invertedly think of his beloved sister who was left behind whenever he encountered Ilya.
It then caused him to speak out of worry.

“It's cold out here.
Miss Titonsser, you should go back to your room and sleep.
If you are to catch a cold, I am sure that Baron Titonsser and his wife would be worried.”

Still dwelling on his beloved sister, Wells hoped that Ilya would return to her room, but Ilya had a different idea altogether.

“Duke Honeywell.
Perhaps, if you are going on a walk, may I join you?”

Wells immediately refused her.
There was no way he would walk outside with a young lady who was not married, much less a young girl who was not of age.

“I'm sorry, but that sounds like the beginning of disaster.
Even if the two of us took a walk in broad daylight, there would definitely be scandals.
Taking a walk in the middle of the night would be even worse.”

Ilya, who was initially disappointed, blushed a deep red after catching his meaning.

“Ah—uhm—well then, I have something to say to Your Grace.
Can I say it here?”

“If you have something to say, it's alright to say it tomorrow.
Even if we leave the capital after hearing what you have to say, it will not delay our arrival at the capital.”

Wells glanced down at the girl.
He wondered if she knew that she would be sponsored by the Honeywell family and would make her social debut at the debutante ball held in the Imperial Palace.

It's been a while since the baron left my room.
Did he already talk to her? If he didn't, then she might be embarrassed if I brought it up suddenly.

Recalling his previous conversation with Ilya's father, he hesitated.

However, Ilya was faster and spoke her mind.

“Your Grace, when you go to the capital, please take me too!”

Her cry echoed in the vacant hallway.

Wells was surprised at her cry but recovered his senses quickly.
He covered his mouth, pretending to weigh his options.

I'm sure you want to go to the capital.
Looking at your eyes, it seems there are still fantasies you want to live out there.

“Ilya Titonsser.” 


“Your father and I had a chat.” 

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“My dad?” 

“Yes, you will be accompanying me to the capital tomorrow.
You will be sponsored by the Honeywell family and will attend the Imperial Family's debutante ball.”

The daughter of the Titonsser family was left speechless.
She appeared to be unaware of it and was taken aback.

Wells found joy in her moment of dumbfoundedness.

“Did father really ask for your permission?” 

The duke nodded in affirmation, causing Ilya to cheer as she jumped about.

“Kyaa! Thank you! Thank you, Your Grace!”

“You should thank your parents.
Even with the support of the Ducal family, it will not have been an easy decision for them to send their daughter to the capital alone.”

I will go to my parents' room as soon as the morning comes.” 

Laughter leaked endlessly from Ilya's lips.

Wells laughed lightly at the sight, then noticed that Ilya's coat was very thin. 

“Then I'll take my leave.
Good night, Your Grace.” 

“Wait a moment.”

Wells called for Ilya to stop and patiently waited for her to face him as he took off his coat and placed it around Ilya's shoulders.

“Wait, no, thanks, but…”

“These clothes were prepared here, so there's no need for me to bring them back.” 

“Oh, then I'll just go.”

Ilya walked away quickly.

“…I wonder if Rose is doing alright.”

Although Wells was the head of the family, Rose was the owner of the manor.

If Rose was uncomfortable with Ilya, though he kept talking about the baron, Ilya would have to find somewhere else to live.

“But then—” 

Wells sighed as he subconsciously looked in the direction where the baron's daughter ran.

The hallway was empty, her figure had long since run away. 

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“If the baron's daughter stayed by Rose's side, will Rose become happier?”


“The capital! Sponsored by the duke's family!” 

Ilya raced into her room; each step felt like she was flying.
She took a running start and jumped onto her bed.

Ilya, who had been stomping her feet and expressing joy with her whole body, pulled down the coat that was still hanging over her shoulders.

“Your Grace! You're so tall.
It's probably bigger than Barnes, who works in the forge, and your hands…” 

[TL/N: -_-] 

It was only for a moment, but Wells' hands briefly touched her shoulder as he placed the coat on her.
Ilya buried her face in the warm coat and rolled around her bed.


Rose woke up and slowly got up. 

Bright sunlight shone through the lightly drawn curtains.
The weather is quite different from yesterday's heavy rain.

After pulling back the covers and getting out of bed, she went straight to the window and pulled back the curtains.

She closed her eyes for a moment, waiting for them to adjust to the light.

She recalled the letter that had come last night during the violent storm.

It was written that Wells' carriage had overturned in the rain, so he would stay overnight in the nearby barony of Titonsser and leave the next day.

“It was inevitable for my brother to stop by Baron Titonsser.
Perhaps even if there is no heavy rain, there will only be a result of heading there.” 

She covered her mouth to prevent the rising bile from spilling out.

Tears welled in her red eyes, shining brighter than rubies caught in the sun's light.

“If so, does that mean that no matter what I do, in the end, my brother and I will die? No! It's not fair!”

Even if what happened in the past inevitably happens again, Rose will struggle to live to the end. 

Even if we end in death again, my brother and I will not die alone this time.

“Elliot Proud, wait and see.
I don't know what you're up to, but Honeywell won't be as easily fooled as it used to be.”

Determined, Rose clenched her fists.

Staring ahead, Rose caught sight of an oncoming carriage at the gate of the Honeywell Manor.

Realizing that the carriage did not belong to the Honeywell family, Rose narrowed her eyes and examined the carriage's markings.

It was the carriage of the Proud family.

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