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“Your Graces, please eat.”
In the meantime, Carl got two bowls of warm corn soup from a farmer’s house nearby.
As soon as Rubica smelled it, she realized she was famished. She had ridden a horse all night, fallen down from a cliff, and taken Edgar to the cave.
She just hadn’t been able to feel it as she was so tense, but she started to devour the soup as soon as she received a spoon.
Edgar happily looked at her, seeing her eat was more than enough to make him full.
At least Carl knew what he was supposed to do as the butler. Therefore, Edgar decided to let him keep his job, but only after making him promise to not stop him like last night ever again.
“Have some more.”
He handed her his portion of the soup when she finished hers.
“But this is for you.”
She said so, but she couldn’t take her eyes off the soup. One bowl wasn’t enough, of course.
“I ate a lot before I came here.”
Of course, he was lying. Who on earth would eat in the middle of the night, just before leaving to chase kidnappers?
Rubica didn’t seem to trust him, either.
“Your Grace, I made sure he left with a full belly before he came here. Please, eat.”
But then, Carl joined in Edgar’s lie, so Rubica took Edgar’s bowl and started to eat.
Edgar decided to give the butler a bonus as soon as he got home. Really, he was good at his job.
After having two bowls of corn soup, Rubica’s was full. She rubbed her full belly and looked around.
The branches which she used to cover the entrance of the cave had already been removed. Moreover, the members of the search party who guarded the entrance looked very tense, but she didn’t recognize most of them.
“They’re not our guard knights.”
As they had been trained in searching and tracking, they were dressed in black, so they looked very different from Claymore’s knights who wore splendid armors.
“I prepared them in advance. They’re a search party specialized in tracking.”
“You prepared a search party?”
“You… warned me about Stephen. So, I prepared them just in case.”
“What do you mean I warned you?”
Rubica blinked. As far as she could recall, she had never warned him about Stephen. She didn’t even dream that he was a spy.
She then recalled what she had said, thinking Stephen loved Edgar.
Oh, how did she misunderstand so much a spy?
Now she couldn’t blame Ann who thought Rubica was absolutely pregnant, and it was so embarrassing that her cheeks turned red.
“What is it?”
“Oh, it’s nothing.”
She quickly dismissed it, but he raised an eyebrow.
“Who is it?”
“Who made you blush? Is it Stephen?”
He was a really scary man. How could he know she was blushing because of Stephen? However, what he said next was completely absurd, which didn’t match his serious looks.
“To think about it, you always cared about him. You glanced at him, you talked to him, and yes, you even smiled at him.”
“I smiled at him? When?”
“On the day you said you wanted to see the knights train on the training ground.”
That had been a long time ago, so she couldn’t remember what she had done that day.
However, Edgar had been so mad that he even gritted his teeth. And, although he was fine by the end of the day, he still was in a bad mood. He even had a wound on his hand.
‘Is he jealous?’
She tried to think about it and realized he always frowned hard when she smiled at others or complimented others.
She thought her husband wasn’t the type of person who cared about those things as he always received too much attention and affection, but it looked like he was much more jealous than she thought.
“Oh! That smashing sound I heard that day. Was it your doing?”
Edgar raised his chin high as he replied.
He had been so angry whenever Rubica took glances at Stephen’s muscles.
Maybe it was her taste. He was confident that his face was way more handsome than any man’s, but there existed many people and many tastes.
Some women focused more on height, body shape, and muscles than on the face. Edgar had even had Carl bring him some weights to do weightlifting in secret in his office.
Actually, he started to exclude Stephen from the guard duty before Rubica even asked for it.
When thinking the knight was his wife’s type, even looking at him made him lose appetite.
If only he could, he wanted to get rid of every good-looking man near her.
“Are you a fool? Why would I blush because of the man who abducted me and made you suffer? I… do have a weak spot for beautiful faces, but not that much!”
Edgar was called a fool for the first time in his life. Nevertheless, his jealousy didn’t stop there.
“Then who was it about?”
Rubica almost said because she was ashamed of herself for thinking Stephen loved Edgar, but then she quickly turned.
She knew it would only make Edgar feel triumphant and say, ‘So you did blush because of Stephen after all!’ He would also get shocked for her thinking so.
“Because of you, of course.”
“It’s because of me?”
His anger faded surprisingly fast, and his voice had a strange expectation to it instead. Rubica thought hard to come up with an excuse.
“I just said that as a matter-of-fact, but you prepared a search party, so I was surprised and impressed, thinking you were really capable…”
She glanced at him and could see he was already more than half bought. How could he believe her so easily without any doubt? Was he really the smartest man on the continent?
“I just thought you were really great.”
Rubica was just saying that, but he smiled broadly. His smile always looked beautiful.
No artist would be able to draw that smile properly.
She wanted to see it more, so she started to add other compliments.
“Oh, yes. And, the way you gave orders to the baron looked remarkable. How did you know where we were, how long it would take for them to come, and how many hours it would take for us to go back on a mana stone carriage? You are really smart, and you were so charismatic as you ordered your men, and I was glad that such a man is my husband…”
The men who were guarding the cave were shocked.
They had never seen the duke laugh out loud like that. He mostly frowned, was irritated, sighed and even shuddered at their foolishness.
It even made the goosebumps, which they received because of witnessing all their love fights during the guard duty, disappear.
On the other hand, Carl remained calm.
‘I guess Baron Moreau will not be punished.’
Edgar was normally a strict master who was hard to serve, but he was endlessly merciful when it came to his wife.
He seemed to have forgotten about how he had been mad about the search party that had arrived an hour later.
“I thought you were only good at making weapons…”
“I am not that good at handling my men. They just came an hour late. They really need to be disciplined.”
He was even humble, and Carl was shocked to hear that.
“But they came immediately after getting your order in the middle of the night. I think they are disciplined as much as the border guards in this kingdom.”
Edgar thought he had been humiliated, but now he was feeling so good. He wanted to show Rubica more about how capable he was.
“Carl, tell Baron Moreau to send trackers to chase Stephen. He mustn’t have gone far, he left on a tired horse ready to collapse.”
Edgar sounded so confident that Carl couldn’t tell him the baron had already done that. Then, he would be punished for all the hard work he had done overnight.
He didn’t want to destroy his own career. He was an opportunist, but he was quite good at his job.
“I will tell him so.”
“And, he will probably go to the northeast.”
“Why do you think so?”
Edgar explained about Stephen’s twin he had seen and how he had been dressed.
They could easily narrow down Stephen’s possible birthplace, which narrowed down his possible escape route to three, four options. Rubica, who had been listening with interests, added, “I think he went to Amanun…”
“What makes you think so?”
Amanun was the kingdom she thought he had conspired with, betraying his own kingdom. However, she just smiled awkwardly instead of explaining. There were just too many ears listening. Thankfully, Edgar soon realized what her smile meant.
“I also think Amanun is the most likely.”
He spoke for her and then gave some instructions to Carl. When he did that, he felt sharper than usual, colder like he had been when they first met. Rubica had exaggerated a little to make him feel better, but she had to admit he was quite awesome.
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