Chapter 73: Competition of love (part 2)

I felt sorry for Shael, but also grateful.

My gaze fell on Shael’s hand, which was gently placed on the table.

Unable to hold back, I held Shael’s hand.


Shael responded by shaking her body.

Duke Jespen and Duchess Enella, who were watching us, sent me a meaningful gaze.

Because Shael’s hand, which I was holding, was on the table, it meant that Duke Jespen and Duchess Enella could see our overlapping hands.

Of course, it wasn’t that important to me. I proudly held Shael’s hand and grinned.


What I heard was an exclamation from Duke Jespen. It was in response to the fact that Shael was not rejecting my touch.

Duke Jespen, watching us enviously, also held Duchess Enella’s hand next to him.


Duke Jespen had a mischievous smile. 

And, as if feeling a sense of competition, he looked at Shael.

This time he placed his hand on Duchess Enella’s shoulder. The distance between them was so close that it could almost be said they were hugging each other. Then he looked at me and Shael.

It felt as if he was saying, ‘You guys can’t do this?’, even though Duke Jespen didn’t utter those words. 

No matter how good their relationship was, it wasn’t proper to display such a level of affection in front of their daughter and her fiance.

Therefore, Duchess Enella sighed and spoke up.



Despite Duchess Enella’s words, Duke Jespen didn’t stop. He coughed and continued looking at me and Shael.

Shael, looking like her pride was hurt by Duke Jespen’s actions, began to move. I understood Shael’s signal. 

Even though her face was red, she made a face as if asking me to do something.

Therefore, I also hugged Shael as well.


Duke Jespen was surprised. Even at that close distance, Shael didn’t reject me.

Duke Jespen, making an expression as if he couldn’t lose, moved closer to Duchess Enella, but fortunately, Duchess Enella intervened, preventing the situation from escalating.

Duke Jespen, showed a regretful expression, but suddenly, his expression became serious, and finally he opened his mouth. 

“I recently received a letter, saying that my sister, who had left the Empire, would be returning.”


This was the first time I had heard of it. 

Even in the novel, nothing like this ever happened. 

But, it was understandable, since the story of the Azbel family wasn’t that detailed in the novel.

Thinking to that point, I listened to Duke Jespen’s words with attention.

“Rayel Azbel. No, it should be Rayel Tarden now.”

“Why do you look so upset?”

I asked, studying Duke Jespen’s expression. After all, if it was his sister, then she should be his family. 

And considering his personality, the Duke should be smiling from ear to ear.

But to think that he was making such a troubled expression at the prospect of his sister’s visit, whom he hadn’t seen in a long time.

I became sure.

That person named Rayel Tarden was obviously not a normal individual. She must have a unique personality. 

I turned my head to Shael, but Shael also seemed puzzled.

‘Even Shael doesn’t know about her?’

If so, it was easy to guess how eccentric Rayel Tarden was. 

To leave the empire for such a long period of time, rejecting her identity as a member of the duke’s household?

She must have had an unconventional mindset. 

After that, Shael and I questioned Duke Jespen further to learn more about Rayel Tarden.


Duke Jespen and Duchess Enella, who were conversing, left first. 

Shael and I remained in the dining room.

It was time to treat Shael to a dessert.

I took out a cookie and handed it to her.

Perhaps thinking that this would lead to another warm embrace, Shael ate the cookie, her face blushing.


However, I didn’t hug Shael, though I wanted to. 

It was Shael who gathered her courage so that she could embrace me on her own. Her hand gently rested on my shoulder, inching closer to me.

If she moved a little closer now, it would be a perfect hug…but it wasn’t an easy thing for Shael.


Just a bit more, if Shael could muster her courage, she would be fine. 

I cheered for her in my heart, hoping she could confidently hug me, putting aside her embarrassment.

“I can’t…”

Shael uttered her frustration. 

As she pondered how to endure her shame, I sensed someone approaching.

A woman’s voice reached my ears.

“You must be Shael.”

We immediately turned our heads at the speaker. 

A woman with sky-blue hair and eyes that symbolized the Azbel bloodline appeared before us.

Rayel Tarden.

She perfectly matched the image of Rayel Tarden described by Duke Jespen.

After a moment of thought, the woman spoke.

“I have come to take you away.”

With a mischievous smile, she added, “There are rumors that the Empire is changing the law to make breaking engagements easier these days.”

Shael, on the other hand, looked at the woman with a bewildered expression. 

It was the first meeting of two women who would be in conflict with each other.

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