34 Let the Cat out of the Bag

Is it common for people in love to feel as if they are the happiest in the whole world?

I think that is common. Because I, who have never really enjoyed anything in the world felt as if I'm the happiest being in the entire universe. Not only the book universe but also the universe I once lived in.

That day I was able to sleep tight. There were no confusions or agonies in my mind. If I had to nitpick one, then it would be the handsome face that clouded my mind now and then.

Since I was so excited like a dog with two tails, I chose to give all the people around me a few presents. I had been thinking of the best gifts for everyone.

Nothing could make Henry and Merlin happier than a pouch with a hundred gold coins. Lily and Violet would be contented if I gave them a few yards of silk or ribbon. I had no idea what could make Nilo happy other than Flora. Still, I chose to give him a gold plated dagger. I planned to give a jade bracelet to Flora.

Even after brainstorming the whole night, I was out of ideas about what should I give Victor. Judging from his personality, he would not accept a gift from me. So I had to prepare something to impress him so he will find it hard to refuse it.

The next morning, I've brought everything I needed to the princess's palace and handed them to the relevant people. After proudly witnessing their faces blooming in happiness, I moved forward with the next one. Since the gift I had prepared for Victor might need more time to arrive, I have been focusing on some games. Once in a while, I observed whether he looked bothered since he was the only one who hadn't received any gifts from me that day. He was nonchalant as usual. From my observation, I concluded that he doesn't care.

That evening, I asked Victor to take a stroll with me to the beach. Also, I gave the maids the task of preparing desserts for us and made sure that they won't be joining us.

So it was just me, Victor, Nilo and my soldiers.

I went and climbed up one of the rocks and waited for Victor to follow. Henry and Merlin stayed a bit far away since they assumed we were going to share some honeyed words. As planned, Nilo departed to bring the gift I had prepared for Victor.

Even after standing there for about fifteen minutes, he hadn't started a conversation. I mumbled annoyedly, "Why do you always need a kick-off?".

"Cat got your tongue?" I agitatedly asked.

He looked at me once then averted his gaze again to the sea. "What are we doing here?" he questioned.

"What else? Beholding the beauty of nature and feeling the sea breeze," I said.

"You don't need me for this. Do you?" he asked again.

"..." I was confused so I just turned to him and looked up at his face.

"You should ask your favourites to accompany you. Not me," he said.

"My favourites?" I titled my head. I averted my gaze again to the horizon and pondered who were the favourites he was talking about.

'Could it be he is referring to Henry and Merlin?' I pondered. There is a huge chance since he was the only one who didn't get a gift from me that day. 'Is he jealous?' it made me quite excited. I peeked at him to see his sullen face.

"You wanted a gift?" I asked him.


"Who would dare to give the mighty duke of Dagresh a gift?" I mumbled.

This time his glower fell on my head. I knew that he will not believe those words. He knew me very well.

Once again faced with silence, I lifted my head and he averted his gaze away.

Victor Marshrider, the mighty villain of 'Romance, Please', the warrior who single-handedly killed hundreds of Astrananian soldiers was standing beside me with a sullen expression and grumpy face just because I hadn't bought him a gift. This fact was enough for me to live without food and water for the next three days.

"Mr Marshrider, what can satisfy your standards?" I purposely ruffled his feathers.

He turned and gave me a look. "You are spending every day with me. If you are not stupid, you should be able to tell what I like" the temperamental duke replied. After a pause, he continued. "But you were not planning to give me anything anyway," he mumbled.

"I thought you'll never be happy with anything I give," I told him.

"How do you know without trying?" he complained again.

"Victor, you're getting more and more talkative. Do you know that?" I frowned as I looked at him. He just shook his head and shut his mouth.

"Turn around and have a look," I said.

"I'm not interested in beholding nature for the time being," he replied.

"There is a gift for you," I said.

He didn't immediately turn around. He just turned to me and squinted his eyes. It was an indication that he had understood I was lying all along about not preparing a gift. "Liar," he squinted then turned around. I didn't turn around but was looking at the waves patiently waiting for his next words with a smile.

He was silent for a few minutes. I could say he was indeed taken aback from his silence and stiffness.

"For me?" he asked after a few seconds. I was still focusing on the waves. "Mn," I nodded.

"Why this?" he asked.

"Because I'm rich," I smiled at him.

He shook his head in disbelief and averted his gaze away. "And I just wanted to help you and give you a way out, in case you want to run back to Dagresh," I said with a smile.

With a sigh, Victor fully turned towards the sea. This time, he was focusing on me. "Why can't you give gifts like normal people? Why are you always interested in deceiving and lying?" he asked.

I chuckled listening to this. "Because it's fun," I uttered with a smile.



"Do you know deceiving and lying can make people misunderstand your true intentions?

"Isn't that why we deceive in the first place?"

"Then what about extravagant gifts? Do you know they can give people false hopes?" I turned to him with this question. He was staring at me with a frown.

I was sure that Mr Marshridder was determined to find some fault in my gift. Now that he couldn't find any in my perfect gift, he was complaining about the cost. That meant he already lost. I couldn't help but smile wider.

"I'm aware," I said as I turned my gaze back to the horizon.

"Do you know whenever you smile…" he paused. I waited for him to say about how irritating my smile was to him. But on the contrary, he leaned and pressed his warm lips on my dimple.

I felt goosebumps all over. Following that, the sea breeze also touched me making me shiver once. I was about to fall down the rock because of the kiss but he immediately steadied me holding my arm. "Careful," he slightly scolded me. When I looked up at his face again, he was seriously focused on the sea avoiding my gaze.

'What the hell?' I just couldn't comprehend his actions anymore. 'Weren't we talking about the gift? Wasn't he trying to scold me and find faults in my actions? Then why does he have to kiss me without notice? In public?"

"In public?" I pondered again. No, it was only Henry, Merlin and Nilo. Still, I felt awkward. I wanted to make sure that none of the people around us noticed what Victor did a moment ago. I didn't want Victor to let the cat out of the bag since it was a secret that should be kept at all cost. If not, it may cost his life.

I nervously turned behind to see Henry and Merlin. The two who were gawking at us. It took them a few seconds to realize my gaze. Once they came back to their senses, they immediately turned away and looked up at the sky discussing the beauty of the sky.

Behind them, Nilo was standing. He must have already gathered himself. He was drawing a triangle in the sand with a stick.

When I was about to let a sigh of relief I got choked on the air. An unexpected guest was standing a few meters behind Nilo. It was a guy with sky blue eyes and golden hair.

He was not alone. Edward was standing with two of his four guards. He was looking in my direction with a frown and stern expression. His eyes which were fixed on Victor were ablaze with anger and his right hand was clenched around the hilt of his sword.

Promptly, his eyes met with mine. Unexpectedly, he squinted his eyes then averted his gaze away and accelerated towards the palace gate.

I hopelessly clenched my hands in fear. I didn't run behind Edward to stop him or beg him. I couldn't punish my other guards for letting their guards down and gawking at us since there was no time for that. All I could think of at that moment was to hide Victor in a safe location.

My whole attention shifted to the gift I'd bought for Victor. I had never thought that this gift would be of use that soon, but it indeed seemed like the only way for Victor to live.

"Victor," I called him. "You need to depart for Dagresh, now," I ordered.

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