Is he going to fall for such a ridiculous taunt?
Lila let out a deep sigh and shook her head. “There’s no way.”
Even though they looked down on him, Enrique was the Ahibalt’s Emperor. He was also older than Lila. Which meant he had more life experience.
But Lacias had sent Enrique a message indicating that she wouldn’t be going, so Enrique should come instead, if he wanted to see her. The exact sentence Enrique had sent.
Lila sighed again. She had no idea how he would respond, and it bothered her—so much so that she didn’t even realize someone was knocking on her door.
“Is no one in?” said a man’s voice.
She blinked, startled. “Come in.”
Lila scratched her cheek in embarrassment, realizing who the newcomer was even before he even came in.
“Uh…have you been well?”
“Yes, of course.”
It was Hizette. Lila felt a little embarrassed with him. He’d gone through the trouble of helping her run and settle down in Nixon Kingdom, only to have her return in the Wipere Mansion shortly after.
“Thank you so much, by the way.” She hadn’t had the chance to thank him properly before, but now she did.
Hizette lowered his head.
“I’ll give you everything back,” she said. “I have some money of my own. At the time, I couldn’t use it in case I was traced, but it’s okay now.”
Hizette’s gaze wavered.
“It’s okay,” he replied. “I don’t need to get it back.”
“Please. Just have it.”
“What? If you’re afraid that they’ll catch you helping me, then—”
“It’s not that. I just don’t want it back.”
It probably wasn’t easy finding a house in the Kingdom, even though it was in the suburb—a small house by the boat route, furniture to fill the house, enough money for food and other things.
Hizette must have spent quite a lot. Why was he refusing to be refunded? He wouldn’t say. Instead, he kept his head down.
Is he mad at me?
It looked more like he was in denial.
He must be disappointed that I came back so soon after he risked everything to help me.
Then why was he being like this? He wasn’t even scolding her or expressing his disappointment.
Maybe he’s feeling anxious?
Anxious that maybe he would be caught for helping her run away if he received money from her? It would be best to back off for now and show her gratitude once things had calmed down. It wasn’t Lila’s style to owe someone and live on, but it was hard to pay back when there was no one to receive it. She couldn’t pay him back if he kept refusing.
Lila gave up and shrugged her shoulders. “Then why did you come?”
“I’m just checking to make sure you arrived safely. It’s good to see that you’re okay.”
“Mhm, thanks to you.”
“No, thank you for being okay.”
Lila shook her head at his strange words. “Come to think of it, I didn’t get to bring back everything you bought for me.”
“That’s okay. It’s not much.”
“Ah, I see.”
Why is it so awkward?
The moment continued in silence. It wasn’t usually like this. Why was it so different today?
Probably because of Hizette’s expression.
It was the first time she’d seen his face like that. She couldn’t read his expression. Hizette caught her staring and lowered his head further.
“I’ll go back for now,” he said.
Hizette hadn’t shown his emotions until the very end. Not until he’d gone to a place he knew he was alone, and locked himself up.
He saluted and was just turning when footsteps reached their ears. They were drawing nearer by the second, it wasn’t hard to figure out who that joyful pattern belonged to.
“Mom!” said the newcomer. “Huh? It’s Hizette!”
Hir burst in, all smiles.
“My Hir,” Lila said, “what’s going on?”
“I came after studying because I missed you,” replied Hir, who spared Hizette only a glance. His eyes were fixated on Lila, clear as Lacias’s.
Hizette glanced back at Lila as she hugged Hir, bright grins on both their faces.
It was a perfect family. Hizette’s ideal complete family, something he’d always dreamed of.
If Lila wasn’t a good person.
If Hir was a bad child who would bully his guard.
If Hizette’s loyalty for Lacias was a little weaker.
If he was a bit more courageous.
He clenched his fist until his knuckles turned white.
Nothing would change, regardless. I’m just imagining things, and that’s bad for my mind.
Hizette bowed deeply again, figuring no one would care about him leaving. But as he was started to leave, he locked eyes with Lila. Her brows rose just then, and she waved at him.
It was a moment Hizette knew he would never forget. His heart normally seemed non-existent, but now it was pounding inside his chest.
He pushed down on his heart, panting hard.
“A garden dinner party.”
“Yes. He wouldn’t accept it easily. He even ordered us to attend.”
In response to Lila’s letter of rejection, Enrique had suddenly hosted a royal family garden dinner party, requiring all nobles in the capital to attend.
Lila relayed this to Lacias, who merely scoffed.
“What are you so scared of?”
“I’m just worried, not scared,” she told him.
“Lila, keep in mind that your husband is Duke Wipere. Someone who can rip as many invitations like this as possible. Nothing happened the last time. You saw that. We don’t have to go.”
Of course, she knew that Lacias was right. But she couldn’t get rid of the annoying feeling. Lacias stared at Lila’s face for a bit, then smiled and caressed it.
“You want to go and end it?”
“I don’t know. I feel like I do. Like I don’t know what I want.”
“You can however you want. I’ll always be by your side, anyway.”
Her heart was pounding. Whenever she was by Lacias’s side, she felt like she could really do anything.
Lila pondered for a bit. He didn’t intervene at all, but waited quietly for Lila’s choice.
“Then let’s go.”
Lacias nodded, not bothering to ask the reason.
“Many nobles will attend.”
“Of course. He ordered all the nobles in the capital to attend.”
“We’ll be the center of gossip.”
The wanted posters for Lila had been spread out before. It was already expected for people to discuss her when she showed up.
“Everyone is paying attention to us right now.”
Lacias squinted, like he was expecting Lila’s next words. He was still smiling, and she felt like a child being spoiled by a parent.
“I want a specific someone to get more attention.”
Lacias raised his eyebrows. “You’re talking about Hir.”
Her husband was quite good at catching