Ch. 28 Are You A Philanderer? (2)
Quite some time had passed while they arranged their contract and had their conversation. Because Elena had given the slip to the family knights, she was concerned that her family would be worried.
“Let’s just leave it as is, and when we need anything else we can simply add to it. If we want to change anything, we both have to agree to it.”
At the bottom of the contract, Elena wrote that more content could be added or removed with mutual consent. Most of what she thought was important was already sorted out, so now they needed to refine the details.
It was time to finally decide on the consequences that would result from breaking the contract.
“What will you do if you cannot keep these terms?”
“Well…What do you want from me?”
In fact, the majority of the contract was in favor to Elena. There were only two things on her mind: first, that she had to commit to becoming Carlisle’s woman after she was elevated to empress, and second, that she would do one thing he wanted. Carlisle had no other difficult conditions, but Elena wanted to protect the contract.
“Speaking of which, I don’t know if I have anything that will satisfy you…”
“Hmm…then promise me one thing. That you will not hate me for whatever I do when you can’t keep your promise.”
“Don’t you have confidence?”
Carlisle somehow looked dangerous sitting across from her with his arms crossed. Elena’s instincts were warning her. Something was ominous. It was a simple condition, but somehow she felt more unsettled than she would be risking her life. She didn’t resent him for not giving any details, but her imagination left her unsettled.
‘What are you going to do?’
She pushed down her uneasiness and nodded.
“Alright. And no matter what you do, I will not hate you.”
There was no chance that Elena would break the contract anyway. Rather, she was more worried if Carlisle failed to abide by the terms.
“What about you, Caril? What will you do if you don’t fulfill your contract?”
“Whatever My Lady wants.”
Elena thought for a moment, looking down at contents of the paper. She made a decision in her heart then replied to him in an even tone of voice.
“Put your life on the line for my family.”
Carlisle looked astonished at her reply. It had to be from his point of view. However, Elena was more interested in accomplishing her original purpose instead of punishing him.
“I have a father, an older brother and a younger sister. Promise me they won’t die before you, Your Highness. If you cannot keep that promise, give up everything you have as a royal member of the family.”
It was much more specific and frightening than the vague terms he offered. She wondered about his willingness to accept them, but he nodded idly.
She decided to not question it. As has it been so far, Elena was been busy writing things down before Carlisle changed his mind. From the start, it was important to bring this contract in a more advantageous direction for her. It didn’t matter what Carlisle was thinking.
She pushed the contract towards him.
“Please sign in the blank space below.”
Carlisle picked up the pen without hesitation and placed his signature at the end of the contract. Somehow the sharpness of his script seemed to fit his personality. When Elena finished signing at last, she gave each of them a copy of the contract.
“Ah, we have to come up with a story to convince others of our marriage. Why don’t we have our first meeting as a dance?”
“Then, shall we make it love at first sight at the ball?”
Carlisle’s eyes lifted in amusement.
“That’s not bad.”
“Yes, I’m glad you think so. So next meeting–“
“Are you going back home as soon as we’ve finished here?”
“The family knights are a concern. I’ll have to be back home in time.”
“It’s troublesome to keep meeting at someone else’s place. It would be better to be wed as soon as possible.”
She wanted to get married quickly, too. But Carlisle’s tone sounded as if he didn’t want to part ways just yet.
‘…Are you a philanderer, too?’
His voice had a casual lilt, but he seemed to know how to stir up a woman’s heart. Did he habitually speak like that to other women too? Elena shook her head carelessly at the thought.
“If you plan to attend the ball, then you must be going to the capital city.”
“Yes, I will.”
“Then make haste. I also have to leave soon as I have some business in the capital city.
Elena had planned to move to the capital city as soon as possible so she could protect Carlisle in case of danger. But then Carlisle said the exact inverse of what Elena was thinking.
“I am anxious to leave you here alone. So I’ll see you again in the capital as soon as possible. “
Elena didn’t know how to respond to his worried tone, so she gave a simple reply.
When Elena made to get up, Carlisle stood up from his seat first. He took the lead without saying anything and escorted her outside. Elena quietly walked behind him in his care.
“I have someone to introduce you to before you go back.”
“Who is it?”
“One of my subordinates. His abilities are commendable. You need to conceal your skills, so if someone follows you like today, let him deal with it.”
“You don’t have to be so attentive…”
“Anyone would do this for their future wife.”
Elena tried to refuse Carlisle’s excessive kindness, but he blocked her with a single motion. In the end, it was such a good offer that she decided to accept it.
“Thank you. I won’t forget your kindness.”
“Make sure you don’t.”
Normally, one would humbly say that it was not necessary to do so. An amused smile spread on Elena’s face.
For a moment it felt like Carlisle was hesitating about something, but soon the expression on his face cleared. Elena thought it must have been a mistake and dismissed it.
It was then.
Before she knew it a man suddenly appeared before both of them.
At first sight he had dark blue–almost black–hair. His pale skin, stone-gray eyes, and long fringe gave an air of gloominess about him. It was a graceful yet ordinary face, something that didn’t catch her eyes at first glance and could easily be forgotten. Elena’s instincts from a lifetime past told her this man was as dangerous as a sharpened blade.
He addressed Elena with a stony expression.
“How do you do.”
There was something very unique about his flat voice. Rather than a knight who showed his face in the open, he was like an assassin lurking in the dark.
“Say hello. This is Kuhn Kasha. This is my subordinate I told you about earlier.”
“Hello, Sir Kasha. I hear you’ll be the one to protect me. I’m Elena Blaise.”
Kuhn stared wordlessly at her. As far as first impressions went, he seemed a little arrogant.
There was a blunt sound. Carlisle had swiftly kicked him in the shins.
“Do it right. The moment you run from her side, you die.”
“I’ll keep it in mind, General.”
There was not even a grunt of pain from Kuhn Kasha, as if he was accustomed to this kind of treatment.
After hearing Carlisle’s chilling tone, Elena saw at him with different eyes. He was completely different from when he spoke to her earlier. Carlisle seemed to notice her gaze on him and spoke up.
“There are some people under my command who don’t listen to my words at times.”
She wanted to say “Is that an excuse?”, but she thought it better to simply nod.
“At least it’s easy to become comfortable with his silence. We can’t go into Blaise Castle, but Kuhn will still be somewhere nearby so you can summon him if you need to.”
Perhaps it was because Carlisle delivered a kick to his shin earlier, Kuhn spoke up.
“Then I’ll call the carriage.”
Carlisle nodded silently. Despite his good looks, he seemed to have a rough side, possibly from his time on the battlefield.
As soon as the carriage arrived, Elena gave a brief farewell to Carlisle before stepping inside.
“I’ll be leaving now.”
She was just lifting her feet to board the carriage when Carlisle held his hand forward to help her inside. She accepted it as good etiquette dictated.
When it came time for their hands to part, Carlisle didn’t seem to want to let go.
Elena turned her head in puzzlement.
Carlisle was looking straight at Elena with deep eyes, then he slowly pressed his lips on the back of her white hand. It was a common greeting among the nobles, but this was something different. This was from a prince to a young noblewoman.
The area where Carlisle’s lips touched her skin seemed to burn. Carlisle spoke to the stunned Elena.
Elena’s body was flushed as she rode in the carriage. It shouldn’t be a big deal, but she couldn’t get out of her head the fact that Carlisle kissed the back of her hand. Kuhn had been watching the scene from the side too, but he had not spoken a word. Carlisle was right about his reticence.
“Is His Highness playful by nature? “
Carlisle had smiled at her pleas today, and had seemed to enjoy teasing her by kissing her hand.
Kuhn, who had been watching Elena, replied in a low voice.
“In my assessment of the General, he is never playful.”
“Oh, I see…”
Somehow it was strange. It was as if he was only showing that side of himself to Elena.