The Duchess Who Sees Ghosts - Chapter 7 Ghost Turmoil (3)
Ghost Turmoil (3)
JustSomebody13 – Fujo
In the end, Julia, who returned to the castle empty-handed, had been stuck in the room and hadn’t come out since that day. Rio knocked on the door with a worried heart for her whereabouts, as she was not showing up all day long, but there was no sound to be heard.
Rio, who visited Patrick out of curiosity, had no choice but to accept him with a bitter look when he requested a light sparring.
“By the way, where is Julia?”
“She must be in her room.”
Even if it was a minor spar, he couldn’t relax as they were using real swords. But Rio was opening his mouth as he dropped Patrick’s heavy sword quite easily.
“I’ve been there three times today, but she isn’t there.”
“When did you go there?”
“Morning, lunch, and after I ate lunch.”
Is he a stalker? Patrick looked at him with a puzzled look and soon swung his sword.
“If you go there after dinner, she’ll open the door for you.”
Going there four times a day. Rio knocked down Patrick’s sword again as he smacked his lips and kicked Patrick’s abdomen with his foot. In a flash, Patrick was pushed back and he cursed the foot that kicked him.
“What is Julia doing there?”
Patrick, who was rubbing his stomach and exaggerated his pain, carefully opened his mouth while glancing at Rio’s eyes.
“…I don’t think I can tell you, Duke. By the way, I’m surprised that you even use your feet.”
“Sparring is like a real battle.”
Patrick put his sword down while smiling at his brief reply. It reminded Rio of the heavy sword’s weight, so he also mimicked Patrick and then spoke.
“How long have you been serving Julia?”
“Me? I think it’s been about ten years.”
Then it’s natural that she doesn’t know me.
When Patrick tilted his head, as he couldn’t hear Rio’s muttering, Rio just shook his head in response. When the sparring was over, Rio tilted his head at the sight of Patrick’s disappearance after saying, “I’m going first.”
After dinner was over, as Patrick advised, Rio, who once again visited Julia’s room, knocked on her door.
Knock, knock, knock. The door echoed the knocking sound, but there was no answer. He knocked one more time, but it was the same. While Rio sighed and agonized over what to do, a voice came from inside.
“Please come in.”
Rio turned the doorknob at Julia’s voice, which was just like as Patrick’s said, and as soon as he entered the room, he couldn’t help but let his mouth fall.
“Oh? Duke of Ephesia, what are you here for?”
Julia was crouching with her red hair scattered on the floor while writing on a square piece of paper. But more than that, what made Rio more confused was none other than the feast of those papers that filled the room.
“Oh, it’s a little messy, right? I couldn’t clean them up because I was so busy making them.”
Julia, who had been working all day from morning to evening, making amulets, looked very tired. Rio moved carefully to approach Julia while avoiding stepping on the amulets that were scattered from the bed to the table, and on the floor.
As Rio approached her, Julia got up from her spot and looked up at him.
“I’ll clean them up soon. By the way, what brings you here?”
“I’ve been coming here since this morning, but there was no answer, so I was wondering if something happened.”
Julia slanted her face at his words and looked up at him diagonally. As to match with her rolling eyes, Rio also lowered his head slightly.
“Why in the morning? Did you have something to do here?”
“Something to do?”
Rio recalled the ‘excuses’ he had thought of when he came to her in the morning. Rio smacked his lips as the excuse didn’t seem to work right now because he was going to ask her to eat breakfast with him, and so he laughed.
Julia tilted her head when he laughed, but she spoke as she had no particular suspicions.
“I was busy making amulets.”
“Yes. These papers. The one I gave you last time is similar to these.”
Rio picked up a talisman on the floor and scanned it. It was an amulet with a letter snake (蛇) that turned upside down, but it was just an unfamiliar painting for Rio.
Julia opened her mouth with a smile at the sight of him, who was staring at the talisman in amazement.
“The amulet. You are looking at it so intensely. I’ll give you one if you need one. That talisman is a talisman that protects you against unfavorable conditions and takes care of your health.”
Rio had a strange look on his face when Julia said that. Julia smiled and waved at his expression.
“I won’t take any money. Even so, its pretty effective, so it’s not bad to carry one around.”
“Is that so? But why did you get so much money last time?”
She can make this many. Rio swallowed his words.
“It’s simple. It’s the price.”
“Yes. The talisman itself is effective, but the effectiveness can be increased or decreased depending on how much value someone places on it. So I get more or less money depending on the person and location.”
“So Julia, the amulet you gave me was worth the expensive price, right?”
“Yes, of course. It may seem like I am materialistic, but in fact, few people are as materialistic as God.”
Rio burst into laughter as she shrugged her shoulders. It suddenly occurred to him that Julia was the only one who described God as a materialistic being. Rio looked around while putting her talisman in his arms.
“Let’s clean up a little.”
“Shall we? I have to organize them as well.”
Rio looked at Julia, who was replying and picking up the amulets around her, and gently grasped her wrist. Julia looked at Rio with her eyes wide open at the sudden action.
Rio stared at Julia. Rio opened his mouth when Julia wavered at his action of not letting go of her wrist without answering her.
“Did you eat breakfast?”
“Did you eat?”
Julia suddenly shook her head at his continuous questions related to breakfast. Rio slightly frowned .
Julia shook her head, as well. Rio stared at her red eyes.
Rio had strange thoughts when he saw her look so thin one day, but he could not believe it. But when it really came out of her mouth that she had eaten nothing, there was nothing but a deep sigh.
With these slender wrists, that were in his hands, she made talismans without eating for the entire day, which made him think that she asked for more than she could manage.
“Let’s have dinner first.”
“I don’t really want to…”
“Are you originally not the type who eats well like this?”
“Sometimes, when I’m busy and go out of town, I often starve myself. Starving and only having one meal a day doesn’t mean I’m going to die.”
“I don’t think it’s one meal. You haven’t eaten all day today.”
“I drank water.”
Water is not a meal. He wanted to argue, but now he felt like he had to force her to eat something rather than saying something like that, so Rio frowned.
“Is anyone out there?”
Elisa came in at Rio’s words.
“Organize these papers, put them together, and clean the room.”
Elisa bowed her head at his order. Then, Julia stared at Rio’s back. Rio spoke while looking back at Julia after he gave his orders to Elisa.
“Let’s eat first.”
As he spoke, there was a delicious-looking chicken dish in front of Julia; her meal was already at the table, even though it was already past dinner time. Julia said no, but she gulped down at the scent and the appearance that looked delicious.
“Just eat first and think after that.”
Rio picked up his fork and mixed the salad. Julia tilted her head at his behavior.
“You haven’t eaten yet?”
“But you are eating again?”
Rio glanced at Julia and spoke bluntly.
“It’s embarrassing to eat alone.”
“It’s lonely as well.”
Julia opened her mouth slightly to what he said. Come to think of it, she never really cared about it. It was a luxury for her to feel especially happy while eating with someone.
When she lived a shaman’s life, she was always used to eating alone. When she was born again, her busy parents did not take care of her because they were in the capital, and her sisters were already married and were no longer part of the family. Patrick, who was close to her, also said it was nonsense to eat at the same table with her, so Julia didn’t force him to do it.
So it was the first time, for someone to sit there and be considerate of Julia, who had been used to eating alone for a long time. Julia laughed at the sight of him who was silently putting salad in his mouth, tearing up the chicken and chewing it even though he must be full.
“Don’t look at me like that. Just eat. It tastes bad when it’s cold.”
Julia nodded and put the chicken in her mouth, the savory taste immediately spread all over her mouth. Julia kept smiling as the taste was satisfying, and played around with the fork. Rio, who was looking at the sight of her, soon smiled.
His blue eyes met Julia’s red ones. In their interlocking gaze, Rio gave a relaxed smile.
“Because you eat well. I was worried that you might have gotten sick. You said you hadn’t eaten all day.”
Julia quietly opened her mouth at the end of Rio’s words.
“…You were worried?”
At her words, Rio silently took off his back, which was leaning on the chair, leaned his body on his arm, and bowed down his upper body. Julia stared vacantly at his face that was approaching her.
She didn’t really want to ask why, but Rio’s eyes seemed to tell her to do so, as he looked straight at her. Then Rio smiled without warning. It was a magical smile that could make someone who saw it smile as well.
The shape of his eyes bent like a crescent moon.