10 Torn Envelope

Aurora, still stunned by the view before her eyes, both in the form of the Dio estate and the tall, handsome man in front of her, slowly handed the white envelope back to her lady and quickly averted her eyes, clearly struck by the surprisingly obvious embarrassment which Rosalie found adorable.

The girl cleared her throat as well and introduced herself in return,

"Good morning. My name is Rosalie Ashter, I ––"

"I know who you are, My Lady. What brings you here so early and without prior announcement? I'm afraid His Grace will not be able to see you right now."

Felix's rather rude interruption and cold, detached voice seemed somewhat offensive and even a little patronizing, but Rosalie had no time for a battle of courtesy; she simply offered Damien's aide a polite smile and stretched out her arm, handing over the letter clenched in her bony hand.

"That is fine, as you astutely noted, I did come here unannounced. However... Would you be so kind as to deliver this letter to His Grace? Just the letter will suffice."

Although Felix was used to receiving letters from the noble ladies instead of his Lord, he could not help but feel baffled as it was definitely the first ever occasion on which a noble lady such as Rosalie Ashter delivered the letter herself, forgoing the assistance of her family's maids or butlers. Against his own expectations, he found himself pleasantly surprised.

The man accepted the envelope from Rosalie's slightly shaking hands, then hesitated for a moment, seemingly contemplating his next move, before carefully tucking it into the inside pocket of his black uniform jacket. With a gentle press of his hand, he assured the ladies that it would be safe under his watchful care.

"Very well, Lady Rosalie, I will make sure His Grace receives the letter. Will there be anything else?"

Felix's deep blue eyes gleamed beneath his thin spectacles as he focused his sharp gaze on Rosalie's serene face and the girl realized that she had completely blacked out the memories of his appearance from the novel.

'I remember his name and the color of his hair, but other than that... This is already the second thing related to Damien Dio that I am remembering wrong.'

Lady Ashter felt a gentle tug on the sleeve of her dress, snapping her back to reality. Her face flushed with embarrassment as she realized she had been silently gazing at the man's face for a good couple of minutes, putting both Felix and Aurora in an uncomfortable position. Thus, with a slight shake of her head, Rosalie gracefully inclined her head in a polite bow and replied in a soft yet confident voice,

"Nothing else, thank you for your help. We will be on our way, then."

The girl retreated back into the carriage, gratefully accepting the generous assistance offered by the well-mannered and attentive Felix. As her maid closed the door of their coach and instructed the coachman to resume their journey, Rosalie continued to gaze at the magnificent and expansive estate through the open window. She kept her eyes fixed on the sight, captivated by its beauty, until it eventually vanished from view, concealed behind the dense morning forest.


Felix Howyer fidgeted with the white envelope inside his gloved hands, pacing back and forth in front of his master's door. He had assured Lady Ashter that he would deliver her letter promptly, but something about it didn't sit quite right, causing an inexplicable wave of nerves to wash over him.

"He should be over with his morning training right about now... I wonder if he is in a good mood today, considering the circumstances ––"

"What are you mumbling there about?"

Felix flinched at the sound of a low hoarse voice and swiftly turned his whole body around, almost losing his balance and tripping over his own feet.

"Oh, Your Grace, you're back!"

Damien had just finished his morning swordsmanship training and was now returning after a refreshing bath. He was dressed casually, just a pair of slim black pants, carefully outlining his strong and slim legs, and a loose black shirt with a few untied silk ribbons hanging from the riffles on its open collar, exposing his broad and well-defined chest muscles. His raven-black hair, still damp from the bath, fell in disarray, with long, wet bangs draping over his dark golden eyes like curtains, leaving long wet trails on his slightly tanned skin.

Duke Dio slid his cold gaze over Felix's hands, noticing a white envelope pressed onto his black jacket, then opened the door to his private study, and, with a quick jerk of his head, invited his aide to follow him inside.

Damien threw the wet towel onto the leather couch in the middle of the room, then brushed his thick hair backward, exposing a rather deep frown line in between his perfectly shaped eyebrows, and took his seat behind a wide oak desk, leaning back in his chair and crossing his strong arms in front of his chest.

"So, what are you so nervous about this early in the morning?"

Felix let out a somewhat relieved sigh and placed Rosalie's letter on the desk in front of the Duke.

"Lady Ashter sent you a letter, Your Grace."

"Lady Ashter, you say?"

Damien rubbed his chin with his left hand and turned around to look out of the window behind his chair. He noticed a stroke of white moving underneath the thick parade of green leaves and branches and when the white object finally vanished into the distance, he turned back around and asked in a somewhat cold tone,

"Was it her maid that delivered the letter?"

Felix shook his head.

"No, Your Grace, it was Her Ladyship herself."

"Is that so?.."

Clearly taken aback by such a response, Damien instinctively reached out his hand and grabbed the letter, mercilessly tearing its envelope with his long fingers. His deep golden eyes carelessly brushed over the content of the letter, and when they halted at the final full stop, the man let out a scoff and wiped his face with both hands, either due to immense amusement brought by the letter or by the audacity of its sender.


Damien threw both the letter and the white envelope on the desk and pushed them toward his aide.

"Burn it. And... See to it that that girl does not approach either me or my manor ever again."

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