“No, I do not.”
I shook my head vigorously.
I could not possibly say a word of truth that I had helped him.
Because the moment that I do, my parents are going to push Cassius and me to get married right away.
The reason I was not able to get married yet was because I was the heir to the Countess.
The heir was somewhat liberal in choosing whom they want to marry.
In the case of female heirs, most of the husbands became the son-in-law of, so there were many cases of marrying an aristocrat.
Hence, it was also not uncommon for people to get married late beyond the age of marriage.
But, if the subject is the heir to the Duke?
Then, the whole thing totally changes.
My parents were people who could do anything if they could make me a Duchess.
Not out of love for Evelyn Garneid, though for their own benefit since it would be such a huge deal to have an in-law as a Duke.
Although the heir seat was vacated because of me as Duchess…
Well, the two of them will still make it happen even if that is the case.
As soon as I had barely finished all the makeup, the butler knocked on the door.
“Duke Cassius Brudenell has arrived.”
Hearing that, my mother nodded at the butler.
She said as her sharp eyes stared at me.
“Do not let me down this time.”
I swallowed a sigh.
Her disappointment caused all of us to lose our heads.
More precisely, we are going to be burned alive—
After a while, I arrived at the drawing room.
“Duke Cassius is waiting for you, Young Lady.”
I entered the drawing room, not hiding my irritation at the uncomfortable shoes and dresses.
Even more irritating, Cassius Brudenell looked very healthy.
Unlike the original story, his wounds did not heal properly, so the hope that he might be weak went to waste.
“It’s been a while, Evelyn.”
At his words, I frowned.
“Two days… and you said it’s been a while?”
“Two days feels like a long time to be separated after being cared for by you every day.”
There is the Cassius Brudenell response I’ve come across over the past few weeks.
Now, I have also learned something.
That is, if I do not have something to answer, I do not force myself to answer because if I only come up with an answer, I am only going to get caught up with Cassius.
“How is Miss Ophelia doing?”
“Why are you talking about her?”
At the sudden mention of Ophelia, it felt as if my breathing was suffocating.
“Obviously, you already promised not to visit Ophelia.”
“I just wanted to say hello.”
“I do not even know how that dirty girl is doing.
I’m not interested in her.”
I answered as firmly as possible.
“You came to see me.
That being said, it is rude to ask about my family’s illegitimate child.
I am sure you do not know that.”
For a moment, it seemed as though Cassius was pondering about something before he slowly opened his mouth again.
I was terribly nervous.
I could not predict what would come out of Cassius Brudenell’s mouth.
Whatever word comes out of that mouth, I just have to keep my composure.
“At first glance, it seems that Young Lady hates her half-sister.
But, why do I…”
The corners of Cassius’ lips drew a seductive arc.
“…Doesn’t it look like a mother bird trying to protect her cubs?”
My head was spinning.
Up until now, even if he had simply pretended to be interested in Ophelia, it was now clear.
Cassius Brudenell was clearly targeting Ophelia.
Just like the original…!
I do not really remember what I said after that.
Though I seem to have stuttered some illogical answer, while Cassius just smiled quietly.
After that, only meaningless conversations continued.
He then eventually returned with a promise that he would come again.
I immediately ran up to find Ophelia.
Even though my feet hurt, I did not care.
Ophelia, who was still embroidering, jumped up from her seat.
“Sister, you came…”
I was out of breath.
“Sister, what is going on?”
“Get your stuff.”
‘We absolutely must run away.
We have to run away.
I must protect Ophelia from that demon…!’ Thoughts were tangled in my head, and I could not make a rational decision.
“Prepare as simply as possible.
We have to leave right now.”
Ophelia asked as she widened her eyes.
Seeing that innocent look gave me a headache.
“Later—I will explain later.
We have to run away now.”
I bit my lip tightly.
How am I going to talk to Ophelia?
The future awaits, she would be captured by Cassius Brudenell.
That is why we have to run away from him.
“Right now… I cannot explain it yet.”
Ophelia opened her mouth calmly.
“I do not care where I go.
I think it would be really great to live together with my sister.
But… I do not think this is right.”
I barely resisted my urge to shoot at Ophelia and tell her to stop talking.
“The Count and Madam will also find sister… If you get caught this time, then you are really…!”
I cut off Ophelia’s words coldly as I could no longer stand the common sense of this child.
Don’t you really understand what situation we are in right now? Don’t you see?”
My voice grew louder and louder, while Ophelia was still calm.
“Sister, calm down.
Here is water, so have a drink…”
I shoved away the water with her hand, then stared at Ophelia.
Her big eyes were shaking with astonishment and anxiety.
Only my reflection was reflected in it.
I bit my lip again.
It was because I realized the cold reality.
“You, too… You think I’m crazy.”
Couldn’t bear to see her reaction, I buried my face in my hands.
If even Ophelia thinks I’m crazy…
I really wanted to throw all this away.
It was only because of Ophelia’s blind trust and affection that I was able to endure until now.
As I heard Ophelia’s friendly voice, a slender hand touched my shoulder.
“Please look at me.”
I slowly raised my head.
There, I could see that Ophelia was gazing at me with a worried face.
Like a flower waving in the wind, her lips trembled.
I do not doubt you.
Never, I would never.
Of course, I do not think you are crazy.
How could I, sister…”
I know that she was not lying to reassure me.
…My only sister sincerely believed and trusted me.
Tears welled up in my eyes, and I parted my lips slightly because if I made any noise, only ugly cries would come out.
Ophelia continued resolutely.
“If there is anyone who thinks you are crazy, then that person is crazy themselves.”
I sniffed my nose.
“…Everyone but you thinks so.”
“Then, I guess the only normal people in the world are my sister and me.”
I slumped down on the sofa as I choked up on what I was going to say.
Perhaps Ophelia noticed that she handed me a glass of lukewarm water that I had refused earlier.
“It’s just water.
Then… I’ll be packing.”
Saying so, she rose up from her seat and began to pack her own little luggage.
I breathed in slowly.
What happened just shortly before drove the fear and panic out of my head.
Fortunately, now, breathing in and sitting down allowed me to think straight.
Ophelia was right.
We could not just run away like this.
Moreover, I am the heir of the Countess.
If I were the second or third child, I could simply get rid of the issue by getting married, so my parents might not be reluctant about me running away as much.
However, the heir running away?
This was not an issue that could be left alone.
Moreover, if I get caught… This time, I will truly be locked up in a mental hospital.
‘…I may be able to come out, but only after a mental transformation.
Still, I could not sit still and give Ophelia to him quietly.
‘It is even worse to let Ophelia run away alone.’
It would be as if handing her into the hands of Cassius Brudenell…
With the support of my parents, we were both able to move, though we had to go somewhere where Cassius could not keep up.
Even if I were to advertise to the whole empire that I am there, it would still be a place where Cassius would not follow us…
‘Wait a minute…’
Something flashed through my mind.
Hurriedly, I leaned my body towards Ophelia.
“Ophelia, have you ever been to the sea?”
She shook her head.
“I’m not feeling well these days, so I’ll have to go to the sea to recuperate.
Will you follow me, too?”
Her eyes widened, and soon became wet with a hint of understanding.
She kept on nodding her head several times.
“Sea… I love it.
I cannot believe I am going to go to the sea with my sister!”
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The corners of my lips rose obliquely.
‘Why haven’t I thought about this until now?’
As an excuse for recuperation, I can go to a port in the warm southern part of the country and catch any ship.
If possible, by a ship with the longest sailing period.
Because Cassius Brudenell would be so sick he could not even put his feet on the ship!
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