A sharp voice was heard from behind her. Clenching her jaw and opening her eyes, she slowly turned around with her cane tapping the ground. Duke Teece, whom she had secretly seen from her window the other night, looked so much grander and more gorgeous in person. But what made him feel more overwhelming was the cool and cold energy emitting from his whole body.
“I asked who you are,” he said, walking out of the water. Chloe, staring blankly at the water flowing down from his boots soaking the dry leaves, belatedly came to her senses and answered.
“I’m Chloe, daughter of Viscount Verdier, My Lord.”
Her legs felt wobbly the moment she politely bowed, and suddenly she lost her balance. When she felt like she was going to fall, Damian was already grabbing her. She had avoided falling, but the problem she faced now was the numb feeling from his tight grip.
Fortunately, he let go of her arm, and Chloe stepped back a little, giving strength to the hand holding the cane.
“Does the Viscount’s daughter have a hobby of peeping at other people like a rat?”
Chloe’s eyes opened a little wide, feeling upset that she had glanced at Damian in the stream. His eyes were unshakable when he faced her.
“Last night and now.”
Chloe’s lips trembled silently, trying to protest.
“If you have felt unpleasant, I am truly sorry. However, I swear that today was just a coincidence.”
“So yesterday was indeed intentional.”
Chloe’s neat eyebrows gathered in the middle of her forehead as she lowered her gaze; Damian snorted lightly and spat out a wad of saliva. She had never run before in her life, but her heartbeat was as if she was chased by a beast. She had never gotten a chance to meet another nobleman as she rarely left the castle, however, she was confused as to whether all people of high status were rude like the Duke.
“What are you doing here at this hour?”
Finally, a question came that could be answered properly. Chloe opened her mouth as calmly as possible, holding out the basket with her cane-free hand.
” I heard that you and the soldiers are going out tomorrow, so I picked some herbs.”
Chloe blinked a couple of times and then answered.
“For all the soldiers participating in the war.”
Damian snorted a little and came closer. His eyes slipped into the basket and squinted in suspicion.
“Your efforts are amazing. Walking through the woods with a body like that.”
Chloe felt even stranger. No. To be exact, it was right to say that she felt angry. He had once again thrown an unexpected word at her, who said nothing.
“The immature Viscount seems to be infested with ambition. Did your father give you an order to seduce me by throwing yourself in front of me?”
“…that is not the truth.”
Chloe lifted her face and raised her voice as she looked at him with trembling eyes. Last night’s longing for him disappeared like smoke, and only displeasure with the young and arrogant commander soared.
“Isn’t that why you took care of the injured people? Whose flesh rotted with dirty pus flowing out? No matter how small a family you belong to, that is too much for a noble lady to do. Even more with that body.”
Chloe couldn’t stand how Damian looked at her up and down with suspicion, but what she couldn’t stand even more was the faulty misunderstanding he had.
“I didn’t know that my title was used as a barrier for an act to help others in need. My late mother had told me that no matter how small our family was it is natural to help those in need as long as we are aristocrats. That is the attitude a noble… should possess.”
His blue eyes resembled the cold light just before dawn. Chloe felt she could no longer enjoy the early morning sky in the future. His perfectly symmetrical lips slowly went up, drawing a line.
“You mean that.”
Chloe opened her eyes wide and looked at him. Her heart pounded like it was going to explode, but she hated it even more when he had a strange misunderstanding.
“I believe in your strong belief to protect the pride of your noble family.”
Chloe barely endured the urge to shoot at him, saying she didn’t want much of his faith. Maybe if it was Alice that stood in front of him, she would have spat it out. However, this man was the successor of Duke Teece, or Duke Teece himself.
“Thank you for trusting me, Lord Damian.”
When she bowed her head to show gratitude, Damian looked at her and said, “But you know what?”
“Haven’t you ever thought that doing something outside of your ability is a nuisance and a pain to others?”
“Why do you say that?”
No matter how much Chloe thought about it, she never found herself to be greedy. She had tried so hard not to cause inconvenience to others. Her lips trembled in resentment.
“Let’s take an example. When you were limping around to treat the injured soldiers, do you think you can stand up in front of me with your noble posture when you obviously know the soldiers made dirty jokes behind your back?”