When the voice from overhead was heard, even Marquis Canavan turned his head to the servant standing in front of him, blocking his path. Thick, long legs covered with hard muscles like a wild horse in a meadow were slowly descending the stairs. The owner of those legs revealed himself.
“Grand Duke Kalion…”
Even though he was draped in pajamas as if to show everyone that this Grand Castle was his home, Kalion didn’t appear to show any sign of embarrassment or hesitation.
Just his messy hair and wrinkled gown. And more than anything else… long scars remained on his exposed neck and chest. Everyone’s eyes were fixed on the deep red scars on his chest. Kalion didn’t really try to hide them as he casually slicked his hair back. Even though his behavior had left him feeling drowsy, there was a colorful side to him that made everyone gasp in awe.
“Please be polite to our guest, marquis. I think you’re past the age of me having to tell you this. Or have I misjudged your age?”
Several of the servants who were blocking his way twisted their faces to hold back their laughter at Kalion’s truly pitiful voice.
“And I thought you knew the inside of the Grand Castle well, but seeing you here at this hour makes me think that you really don’t. So, I will give you a good guide in the future. Vanessa, the dog raised in the Congress gave birth, right?”
“Yes.” Before long, Vanessa, who had followed behind Kalion, replied, twitching her lips behind him, “I’ll give the youngest pup to the marquis. Since it knows exactly where it can and cannot go, it will be a big help to him.”
Thanks to Kalion, who didn’t even turn around and ask if he had less sense than a dog, some of the servants’ shoulders were shaking.
“Wait, it’s not that I meant something different… It’s just…!”
The marquis, who hadn’t expected to hear such a sarcastic remark thrown to his face, made a loud grunt. When he did that, Kalion quickly raised a finger to his lips as he said in a voice like he was scolding a child, “Hush, marquis. My wife is still sleeping.”
Kalion then slowly swept down his neck with one hand. Such gesture emphasized the scratches along his neck.
“Then from now on, I hope you are more careful. Take the marquis outside.”
The servants, following orders from their master with slightly excited faces, bowed before the marquis as he pointed toward the front door.
“We will guide you out, Marquis Canavan.”
Marquis Canavan watched Kalion from behind with a dumbstruck expression as Kalion turned and ascended the stairs. Even before Kalion’s silhouette disappeared, he had to leave the main building of the Grand Castle as if he were almost dragged out. Before he knew it, he was out the door, and Vanessa asked from behind him with a serious face.
“There is a black dog and a white one; which one do you find better?”
The servants back inside could be heard laughing from behind the closed front door. It was only a little while later that the marquis’s face, who finally grasped the situation, turned red.
“There’s no need for that!”
The marquis roared at Vanessa before turning around with the knights who had come with him. The knights had no swords on their waists. This was because Erna and Kalion had taken their weapons away from them before coming to the Grand Castle, out of courtesy. The marquis’s footsteps returning to his room were fierce.
I cannot tolerate this. He thought about what he could do. All of his power comes from Haband. That’s why he had to reach out to Haband before he could do anything. I need to send a letter. He worried about what to write in the letter.
His weapon had been taken away as soon as he arrived. Princess Erna had treated them poorly and never even provided a proper meal. A bigger problem than that was she was falling in love with another grand duke, who was his enemy and was handing over everything that should have belonged to Haband.
Thinking of the letter to be filled with red lies, he stormed off with rough steps and disappeared. And there was someone who was continually watching him like that. Chairman Vanessa.
The council staff who had approached her from the side whispered to her, “No matter what, doesn’t it seem better to send the marquis the black dog?”
There was nothing comical about those words.
* * *
Kalion, who had returned to his bedroom, stood staring blankly for a long time after closing the door.
What in the hell did I just do?
He looked at himself in the mirror hanging on one side of the wall; himself in his pajama gown. Never once has he ever gone out looking like this. He was always dressed perfectly to the point where Cedric grumbled. But how could he stand in front of so many people like this?
Unable to believe what he’d just done, he put his hand up to his mouth. Of course this place was the Grand Castle and his home, so it didn’t matter what he wore around here. This, however, was not a good look to the other aristocrats. Kalion looked at himself in the mirror once more. The red scratch marks on his neck were still visible.
It had been done impulsively to shut up the marquis, who had firmly believed that it would only be them two. If the marquis sees such clear evidence, Kalion didn’t think he would lash out anymore. It was good up until then. But why…
Kalion recalled what he had said earlier.
“My wife is still sleeping.”
His face had quickly blushed in an instant. Kalion mumbled with a blank face, “Am I going crazy?”