Chapter 1.1 Cassius’ Temptation
Sierra looked inside the restaurant. She was very nervous, thinking that a noble atmosphere would have been formed because she was with the Duke of Idios.
However, Sierra, who was escorted inside by Cassius, was forced to be impressed.
“…Let’s go in, Sierra.”
She could not hide her astonished face as she took one step at a time.
When she was at the academy, Sierra talked about a beautiful house several times. At that time, she said she liked a small restaurant in a rural village. ‘I once said that I wanted to live in a similar house for a long time.’
Dandelions and azaleas bloom in the garden, butterflies flying around, and a wooden house.
And this restaurant looked like that small house in the rural village. Even as she stepped inside, the feeling of a warm house increased.
‘I didn’t know that even the centerpiece would be decorated with lilies…’
Sierra liked lilies. Of course, not because of romantic purposes, but because lilies were expensive and effective.
As Sierra looked down at the lilies, Cassius handed her the bouquet of blue roses next to the table with the centerpiece.
“They’re blue roses.”
“Uh… You’ve put a lot of effort into this, but I didn’t prepare anything. Thank you.”
Even if it was merely a coincidence that this fine dinner was prepared to capture Sierra’s taste, it was surprising to see the delicately prepared flowers.
Suddenly, my heart became cold.
‘Maybe he still likes me… No, I don’t think so.’
They only met briefly at the academy, but they haven’t forgotten about each other in the last five years.
Sierra was the very realistic type.
Of course, I once dreamed of romantic relationships, but I knew my situation well. I also knew that a man like Cassius Idios, who could get any woman he wanted, had no reason to look at a commoner like me.
While Sierra was trying to shake off her suspicions, Cassius pulled out her chair to make it easier for her to sit down.
“Sit here, Sierra.”
As soon as they sat down, the appetizers arrived, as if the chefs were waiting.
Sierra read the paper, “Application for the use of Hipo Kingdom’s paternity test kit and prior consent form,” with the appetizers.
It was exactly what the newspaper said in the report, that medical staff from Hipo Kingdom were residing in others’ homes for three months and conducting tests.
Cassius, who hadn’t touched the appetizers yet, spoke in a cynical manner with his chin clenched.
“There are two ways to request a paternity test from Hipo Kingdom.”
Sierra looked up from the document and stared straight at Cassius.
“The first option is to request the doctors to travel here.”
“And the other one?”
Sierra held the quill next to the signature spot in a strange manner. Anyway, she was going to get a paternity test and sign it. Then, Cassius spoke in a voice full of affection.
“The second option is you, Hanael, and I can go on a trip to Hipo Kingdom. The three of us would stay there for three months.”
Facing Cassius’ gaze, Sierra tried to ignore the sweat flowing behind her back and coughed.
“N-No, we can’t.”
‘I think he’s giving up too fast.’
When I looked up at Cassius with a questioning gaze, he whispered softly.
“Do whatever you want.”
…I felt a little, no, I felt guilty about Cassius’ constant consideration. Though I said bravely,
“…Well, let’s just invite the doctors to the estate. We won’t take a trip.”
Sierra signed the document. Cassius also signed after.
The main meal was followed by a silence that was neither light nor heavy.
Cassius skillfully picked the red wine to pair with the centerpiece and poured it into the glass.
“It’s a good drink.”
“Ah… thank you.”
The sparkling wine swished into the transparent glass. She can’t believe Cassius knows how to distinguish alcohol. She held her chin, thinking that time truly had passed, and that time was quite meaningless.
‘Cassius couldn’t even hold his liquor in the past.’
She smiled as she remembered Cassius sipped the alcohol with a reddish face.
Cassius whispered, pushing a glass of wine in front of her.
“I only think of you when we are alone.”
With his gaze downward, he looked lost in thought.
‘If that’s what you thought in the past, then that’d be fine.’
But, to make matters worse, Cassius is begging for Sierra’s forgiveness, so it’s embarrassing if he says, “I only think of you.”
Cassius looked at Sierra quietly.
“…I apologize for asking you like this, but Sierra.”
Cassius leaned forward. Unfortunately for Sierra, the seats where they sat were not very wide. Thanks to Cassius’ sharp instincts, his lips and her lips almost met for a moment.
She closed her eyes tightly.
“Open your eyes.”
After taking a few deep breaths, Sierra peeked her eyes open.
Cassius’ eyes, like the blue sea, were in front of her. He whispered in a low, languid voice.
“I get impatient whenever I lay eyes on you.”
As soon as she heard that, as soon as she met his gaze, her night with Cassius began to play vaguely inside Sierra’s head.
The sound of a rough breathing, an odd voice, and a creaking bed…
Sierra blushed. She grabbed Cassius by the shoulder and pushed him away.
“You… don’t seduce me. I’ll be gone in three months anyway…”
Cassius rarely interrupted Sierra.
“I don’t want you to think about running away.”
Sierra blinked. Cassius’ face was right in front of her. A faint distance, with the tip of their noses, touching.
At that moment, Sierra recalled a faint afterimage of the forgotten past.
‘I want to keep pursuing you.’
‘…Yes, you can.’
Sierra suddenly recalled the past and froze.
So, it was Cassius’s aggressive temptation.
“You said I could lure you in.”
He really seemed to remember, specifically, what happened five years ago.
She hastily put her hand over Cassius’ mouth, but it was the wrong choice. He kissed her fingertips softly. Sierra could feel his breath at the tip of her fingers.
Sierra pulled away with difficulty.
“No more. You imagine intense illusions and misunderstandings, and that’s why you keep reminding yourself of the past.”
Cassius did not reply. His relaxed gaze stuck to her.
“If you don’t want me to, I won’t.”
Sierra seemed to now realize why Cassius had the reputation of a cold-blooded duke. He has become so different from the past.
“But you know, Sierra.”
Sierra looked at him with her mouth shut. He stuck out the tip of his tongue and lustfully licked his lips.
“If only you could forgive me and come to like me…”
He adds “forgive” in every sentence he says!
There’s nothing for me to forgive you for.
However, Sierra could not easily refute. His eyes were bent too strangely. Her red lips were swollen since she bit them a few times, and his deep blue eyes were staring at her with longing.
“I’ll do anything.”
Sierra, staring at his moving lips, realized that she had been caught in the wrong trap.
“So, please fall in love with me again as soon as possible.”
Cassius, who spoke calmly after his declaration, drank his wine. Sierra shook her head in a hurry as her heart was pounding.
No, Sierra. Calm down. What you dream of is becoming a genius pharmacist and making a name for yourself in the empire, not becoming Cinderella!
‘No, I can’t eat.’
A Cinderella story mixed with commoners and nobles? Not a chance.
I have read romance novels that subtly deal with relationships between nobles and commoners, but that’s what they were, novels.
Sierra never believed in eternal love. She was a little snob, and she knew the world too well.
‘All I believe in is physical strength, effort, and money.’
She couldn’t believe him anymore. Cassius was obsessed with Hanael’s blood ties and courting Sierra. So, Sierra declared herself as hard as a nail.
“I’ll never fall for you again.”
After the paternity test, I should really say goodbye as soon as possible.
Sierra bit her lips tightly.
The next morning, Sierra was out at a small teahouse in the Capital, ignoring Cassius. Hanael, a greedy tea-desserts lover, went straight over to the glass display case.
Sierra was drinking tea, following Hanael with her eyes.
At that time, someone blocked her way.
“You… It’s a bit difficult to see your face, indeed.”
She was a noble lady with a graceful and elegant impression, similar to that of a black swan. She was dressed in a velvet feather hat, a butterfly fan, and a black dress, with black hair and black eyes.
“…And you are?”
Sierra looked at her with a curious face.
“I have no reason to reveal myself to you.”
The maid, who was keeping an eye on Sierra and Hanael, quickly spoke.
“M-Madam. I beg your pardon, but Miss Sierra is the guest of Duke Idios… ”
“You, shut up. Since when does a maid teach me what to do?”
“Besides, there’s a rumor that you’re a commoner. What are you doing?!”
She blew her butterfly fan fiercely and looked down at Sierra. Sierra carefully raised her head.
“Yes, and I have no idea what I’ve done, but I can tell you aren’t very fond of me.”
Sierra opened her eyes straight. She was a little excited about the existence of someone who hated her, whom she had met for the first time after a long time.
“M-Milady. If Marquis Mails finds out, it’ll cause a big commotion…”
Does she have a relationship with the godmother? Sierra’s eyes glistened. Her brooch was made in the shape of a falcon.
‘That’s the seal of the Marquis of Mails…’
Then, that would be Marchioness Andante Mails, the godmother’s daughter-in-law.
Now I understand this situation properly.
“I believe we haven’t met, Marchioness. My name is Sierra.”
She sat opposite Sierra.
Before the fight begins. Sierra decided to take Hanael somewhere else first. She knows for sure that nice words would not be said, so she shouldn’t let a child hear them.
“Please take Hanael outside for a while.”
The maid bit her lips, but eventually agreed with Sierra’s words and dropped her head. Andante, who was looking at Sierra with a cold gaze, soon spoke first.
“I heard you’re living with the duke’s family, under his protection.”
“Yes, I live under their protection.”
Sierra nodded sincerely.
It’s absolutely true that I’m living under the protection of them.
With the expression of positivity that came out so easily, Andante stared at Sierra, speechless.