Ch. 84 Everyone Listen (2)
After they were some distance away from the party, Carlisle, who had been following her without saying a word, finally spoke up.
“How far are we going?”
She halted and looked around. They were somewhere around the grounds where the party took place, but this was Elena’s first time in this area. She walked without direction, and they ended up in a scene where purple lavenders bloomed and a wooden bench was provided for anyone who wanted to enjoy the view.
“Maybe I speak to you here?”
Carlisle nodded then gave orders to Zenard, who was following behind them.
“Don’t let anyone approach us.”
“Yes, Your Highness.”
Zenard bowed his head then walked away at some distance. His behavior was completely different from when she acted as Len the bodyguard. He always looked disapprovingly at her then, but the expression in his eyes now was one of envy.
Carlisle gestured with his eyes towards the wooden bench.
As Elena approached the spot where he indicated, Carlisle took off his jacket and draped it on the bench. She paused. She knew from the beginning that Carlisle was extremely well-mannered, but the look in his eyes now was not the same when he looked at other people. Clearly there was some difference between the way he dealt with Elena and other women.
‘This gesture isn’t just for me, surely.’
She thought it strange if this behavior was reserved to only herself, so she shook her head and put her thoughts aside. That was not the point now. She wanted to know how Carlisle made his way all the way here.
“The rumors…when did you find out?”
“Not long ago.”
“Did you send Sir Kasha to me as soon as you heard? To make an appointment?”
“Yes. And then I came right away.”
She couldn’t imagine that that was it. She knew he was furious now, but how did he feel when he first heard the rumor? She paused for a moment before speaking.
“Lady Selby corroborated the times I was away from the mansion and based her rumors around that. I was afraid that you would expose my alibis–during the times when I first rescued you, when we went to see the opera, and when we went to Flower Bridge.”
Those were all the times Len was in action. If someone knew this they may start to piece together the evidence. However, there was no change in Carlisle’s expression, as if he already knew.
“Maybe. But no one else would think that your swordsmanship skills would be so good.”
“You should have told me in advance if you were going to reveal our relationship like this.”
She had put in so much work in preserving the story of the first meeting at the ball. She had sent Carlisle away when he met her halfway between the south and the capital city, and he bought a private box and rented out an entire restaurant to hide their identities. So far, the both of them had made the effort to give the impression that their first encounter was in the ballroom. But today Carlisle’s words had thrown everything into smoke. She was at a loss how to explain this to her family.
“I was just trying to hide our relationship, just in case my identity was discovered…”
“That would be the ideal situation. But if you have to choose between revealing your true identity and our marriage, then of course it would be marriage.”
“I don’t want your identity to be known, either. But will we let our marriage break down just because of these ridiculous rumors?”
Elena couldn’t find herself to respond. The breakdown of the contract marriage would be the worst of all. That was why the rumors that Helen spread were so painful.
“You should have asked me for help as soon as you heard the rumor. You should have discussed how to handle this with me.”
She had never thought to ask Carlisle for help. She was still not accustomed to opening her hands to someone in an emergency.
“…I’m sorry. I didn’t think of that.”
She didn’t give any excuses with her apology. The contract marriage was not hers alone. The misconceptions could have hurt Carlisle as well.
“If you know something, tell me next time. I almost killed all the nobles at the party for you.”
Elena could not see the joke of the man’s head rolling on the floor. She shot him a serious look.
“Don’t do that. If you kill people recklessly, you might be criticized as a tyrant in the future.”
“Tyrant? Is that what you think I am when I deal with those who torment my own? Is it not a punishment for the nobles who prey on the blood of others?”
His words were full of meaning. In fact, the power of the Ruford Empire came from military force more than anything else. Carlisle continued indifferently.
“And I don’t care what they call me. If they want to ruin your honor and ruin our wedding, then I won’t forgive them.”
Carlisle had not known her long, but for some reason he was absolutely convinced that the rumors about her were false. There was not a sliver of a doubt. A thought suddenly dawned on her.
“The rumors…what would you have done if they were true?”
She knew that this question was ultimately meaningless, but she was curious about his answer.
Carlisle’s eyes turned silently towards Elena. The instant she met his gaze, a chill ran down her back. His blue irises were so cold.
“…I would kill them all. All the men who came into contact with you.”
“What if it’s not one or two?”
“I told you, I would kill them all. And if you don’t stop, I’ll kill all the men on the continent.”
Elena swallowed dryly. His answer was beyond imagination.
” If I were the only man in the world, then perhaps you would look at me then.”
“…Wouldn’t it be best to just kill the one person and let that be the end of it?”
It was common sense. If you don’t like cheating, you kill the person yourself. It would be too difficult to deal with all the other men. Carlisle gave a low chuckle then looked at her with an enigmatic expression.
“Me kill you? That’s ridiculous.”
Elena was dumbfounded by his comment. Carlisle killed the man who gave a false testimony, and almost killed the other nobility at the party. And then he said he would kill every man on the continent…
It was strange that the only one he would not touch was Elena.
“Well, I’m thankful that you’ll save me in any situation. And because of you, the rumors will die. But I am a little worried who might be suspicious of my identity later.”
“I don’t like it either, but it can’t be helped. But now I’ve done this much, the story will soon be buried.”
She was impressed that Carlisle had thought this far ahead. Sometimes he acted so stubbornly, but other times he was meticulous.
“Shouldn’t we have taken the opportunity to punish the person who started the rumors?”
“This is enough for now. The rumors about me will disappear anyway, and all that will be left will be the tarnished reputation of Lady Selby.”
“…You are too trustworthy.”
Elena smile faintly. He didn’t seem to understand it yet, but she didn’t make this decision because she was weak.
“And Caril is too emotional. The Selby family is a powerful family. It’s not good to touch them now.”
This was a fight between the daughters, but if Carlisle went after Helen then Marquis Selby would be forced to move in as well. That wouldn’t help Carlisle. Now all of Elena’s choices were focused on making him emperor.
“If you become the emperor, we can pay back the remaining debt then.”
Only then did Carlisle understand Elena’s innermost thoughts. He gave a look of defeat, then after a moment he laid down with his head on her lap. His sudden actions gave Elena a start.
“Give me your lap for a moment. I rode three days and nights to see you.”
Elena didn’t know what to do, but eventually she looked down at Carlisle’s face and saw that he had closed his eyes. She had never looked at him up close before. Carlisle adjusted himself on her knee and spoke in a low voice. She wondered if he really was drowsy.
“I’ll visit your family soon.”
Come to think of it, she would have to explain her relationship with Carlisle when she returned to the mansion. They would find out soon regardless, and it was best if it they heard it from her first.
As she thought over what to say to her family, the sound of steady breathing came from Carlisle. Maybe he really was tired, and he had fallen asleep right away. She put aside her complicated thoughts for a moment and stared at his slumbering figure.
It was a relaxing afternoon.