Adele quietly looked at the basket he was holding. Noah gently held out his hand.
“Do you plan to sit there the whole day?”
Adele took his outstretched hand and stood up slowly. Noah clasped her small, delicate hands as he strode forward. Even if she asked him to let go, he wouldn’t release her.
Adele, now tired of arguing with him, gave up and just soundlessly followed him. Then she thought of something, “Where are we going?”
“Why? Do your legs hurt?” Noah turned back and looked at Adele. She shook her head as she saw the faint concern in his eyes. “Tell me if it hurts.”
Adele nodded and looked at Noah’s broad back, their clasped hands, and suddenly thought of summer two years ago.
‘Hey, little boy. Do you know where this is?’
Inside the duke’s castle in an unmanaged garden, Adele followed after a smaller-looking Peter and asked him. Peter pointed to the brook in an excited voice.
‘Look there, pr-pretty!’
‘Oh, yes, it is. But child, we must go to the Maktus castle.’
‘Oh. Follow me.’ Peter pointed in front of her.
Adele sighed and shook her head. She shouldn’t have asked directions from a child who hadn’t yet learned how to communicate properly. She had just arrived at Maktus Castle alone for her engagement.
The maid who was supposed to fetch her in front of the castle gate did not come even after 30 minutes of waiting, so she entered the castle. She thought of asking the knights for guidance but decided against it. Their job was to guard the gates after all. She thought she would reach the mansion by walking along the road, but she realized the castle was too big.
Well, it wasn’t too much of a surprise. In the end, it was the castle of the Maktus family who boasted the greatest wealth in the entire continent.
Her title was low, and her family barely even managed to enter the top-tier households. Their status was too different in comparison to the prominent Maktus family. When Adele was wandering on the road, she met a little boy, Peter, and she followed him because he said he knew the way.
Adele immediately regretted her decision.
‘Ah. I shouldn’t have believed him.’
“Oh! There’s a flower here!” Peter picked a forget-me-not and handed it to Adele. She smiled and patted his head, thinking that was quite cute. ‘Are you giving it to me?’
“Yes!” He answered with a cheeky grin.
“Thank you.” Adele mumbled as she took the forget-me-not from the child. She could recall that she may have also been given a forget-me-not by a boy before but, when was it?
When Adele got up, she tilted her head. Peter was already in the verge of crying.
Peter was crying as he pointed behind Adele. At the receiving end of the child’s finger stood a man with raven-black hair. The man was looking at her with an expression of disbelief.
Beautifully tanned skin under dark black hair. Straight, sharp features and red lips. Beautiful golden eyes that glimmered like amber jewels.
This man is so handsome. Adele was speechless and looked at him, and shook the thoughts out of her head.
“Uhm, nice to meet you.”
He just stared at her.
“My name is Adellia Liliand.”
Adele blinked at the man’s words. He knew? Ah, seeing that he brought a sword, he must be a knight of the Maktus family. He must have heard the instructions from his master about me. Adele said with an awkward smile.
“Can you tell me where the Maktus castle is? I have lost my way.”
Adele looked at Peter and grinned. When the child saw Noah, he trembled and suddenly started crying.
He then ran away, leaving Adele and Noah by themselves.
“Little boy, wait!”
As Adele tried to hold onto the child who was about to take off, she felt the warmth on her other hand. When she turned her head, a man was holding her.
“Yes? Ah, yes…”
It was embarrassing to hold his hand, but Adele didn’t say anything as a bumpy hill immediately caught her eye. The man took the lead and started going down, Adele took his hand and followed.
If the way was crooked, he would support her with his hands. He walked slowly over the bumpy area, controlling his strength so that Adele would not fall.
The man said no words. He just grabbed her hand and looked back at her every once in a while. Adele blushed every time she saw his handsome face.
As he was walking, a brook appeared, and Adele was perplexed.
“My dress would get wet.”
When Adele stopped as she saw the stepping stones, the man submerged his legs into the stream without hesitation, standing next to the stones.
Splash! He gently grabbed her hand.
Adele took the man’s hand and started crossing the stepping stones as he guided her across.
The deeper the stream, the slippery the stones became. She grabbed the man’s hand tightly. He stopped in his tracks and looked at back at her.
“Are you tired?”
“No. It’s just a bit hard to walk in these. You must be more tired than me.”
When the man smiled instead of answering, Adele felt her heart pound for some reason. Why was she so excited about something like this? However, his smile did seem kind of nice and also kind.
As she blushed, she came down from the last stepping stone and her feet were placed on solid ground, she saw his calves were all wet.
“Oh my… I’m so sorry. It’s my fault you were drenched.”
Instead of answering, the man took the lead again. There was a fence surrounded by roses, and there were stems along the way that haven’t been cleaned up yet. He motioned for Adele to get a bit further away.
As Adele took a step back, the man drew his sword and cut the stems. She swept away the fallen stems with her feet when it brushed past her, then she followed him.
“Why did you come here?” He asked.
The man turned and looked at Adele. She was happy with his question and smiled brightly. He stared at her face and then turned around.
“As of today, I will become the fiancée of the Maktus family. I have visited the castle for this reason.”
The man abruptly stopped walking and glanced back at her. She blinked at his sudden stare.
“Yes. I will be meeting my fiancée for the first time today.”
The man raised his red lips at Adele’s words.
Oh, how beautiful. How could a man’s smile be this dazzling? She looked at him and bowed her head to hide her blushing face.
“Saved my time of not having to find you.”
Unable to fathom his words, she spoke out. “Sorry?”
He didn’t give an explanation and just continued to silently trudge forward.
Adele took note of the surroundings and asked, “By the way, is this the right way to the castle? I don’t think we’re going in the right direction.”