ITDHL (Novel) Chapter 105

C105

"How should I propose?"

It was an unfamiliar question for Asrahan. He had never been in a relationship before meeting Lariette, and there was no doubt that he had never planned a proposal. Far from planning, he felt like he was losing his mind because it was something he had never imagined. He only knew a little because he had heard it somewhere; he was supposed to give a ring with a large diamond or a variety of precious jewelry and say sweet words. Instead of relying on information he didn't know where he had heard, he decided to seek advice from others, and it was so obvious who he would ask.

"How should I propose to her?"

"Well..." As Asrahan nodded with a somber face, Hallstein's green eyes lit up.

"I'm sorry, Master... You only have me as your sole family butler to ask, but I want to give you good advice."

Hallstein held his chin and pondered, then answered confidently.

"Fill the main hall with all kinds of jewelry and accessories, then you tell her: 'Everything here is yours, the jewels, and me too.' Oh, don't forget to arrange them beautifully. Because the lady seems to like pretty things," Hallstein added.

The appearance of imitating his master's somber tone and expression was very natural, as if he had done it once or twice before. But Asrahan didn't seem satisfied with his suggestion and frowned, then asked with some doubts.

"I don't think she likes these kinds of things, especially those words."

"You don't know. Besides, words are not important; it's the partner. A handsome person is great no matter what they say, especially if it's someone you love. There's nothing more to say."

"When did Hallstein become so obsessed with appearances?"

Asrahan tilted his head and wondered about his change. He didn't even dare to imagine that his lover could influence him so much.

"Isn't it too much?"

"What do you think you should do?" Hallstein asked, as if he was frustrated that Asrahan still seemed very displeased.

It was he who thought that any answer he gave would be worse than his suggestion. The wrinkles on Asrahan's forehead deepened, his sharp eyes were even sharper, and his lips were pressed together. It was a terrifying face, as if he was about to kill someone soon. He was only thinking, but it looked ugly in the eyes of others.

"No one would think it's the face of a man who was thinking about how to propose. I think it looks more like a face that will provoke war."

Hallstein thought, remembering his master's fierce face, and clicked his tongue. Then he thought of his appreciation for Miss Lariette and felt sorry for her, who had already met that terrifying master.

"Buy an island and fill it with precious things, and why not ask her to marry you, telling her she's more beautiful than any of those things?"

"Didn't you say filling an island was too much?"

"When I thought about it again, it doesn't seem too much," Hallstein seemed a bit tired.

Of course, it wasn't much for Duke Candel's marriage to buy an island, but if he knew the girl, he wouldn't think she would enjoy such an excessive event. Asrahan thought similarly and closed his mouth tightly. This was because Lariette was not interested in precious jewels or elegant dresses. The Blanche family was once more powerful than the Candel family, although she was not interested in that. The current wealth was not as great as the Candel's. She had lived as a princess of that family and enjoyed it as much as she could.

Furthermore, she realized how insignificant those things were after being sentenced to a limited time. The lingering feelings that came to her mind when facing death were not love for jewels or dresses, so there was no reason to attach importance to those things at this moment.

"Mmm..."

"Umm..."

Both continued to think, but the ideas they proposed were not the best. Asrahan sighed in disappointment when he couldn't find a good way, and that small sigh was a great stimulus for Hallstein.

"You can't disappoint your master like this!"

Hallstein thought that and clenched his fists. He had to think of something, anything, and as if God had helped him, a suitable proposal emerged.

"Ah!"

"What is it? Tell me."

When Hallstein exclaimed in admiration, Asrahan urgently asked for the answer. He spoke with a smile around his mouth.

"Master, it's clear that no matter the method we come up with, we can't forget her preferences."

"... Is that information worthy of admiration?"

"Then, you should seek help from someone I know who is well aware of her taste."

The somber expression, which had been distorted by disappointment, came back to life, and the voice was also filled with anticipation.

"Who could that be?"

"Who did you say Miss would meet tomorrow?"

"Ah!"

Asrahan admired him briefly. The first person Lariette would meet after sorting out her affairs. Hallstein responded, gently narrowing his eyes.

"Ask Princess Imperial Erzebut." Asrahan's eyes widened in astonishment. Her smile came to mind, saying that she was the best match for her.

"Hallstein... You truly are the best butler!"

"It's an excessive compliment, Master."

Asrahan laughed, grabbing Hallstein by the shoulders as if congratulating him, and he also responded with a proud smile on his face. No one knew if asking someone would be such a good idea.

---------------------------------

"I'm thinking of making a proposal."

"Poo-ooh!"

And when Erzebut heard Duke Candel's intention to propose marriage, she spilled the champagne she had been drinking. Asrahan quickly tracked the trajectory of the champagne and evaded it, then looked at her with narrowed eyes. At the same time, he wanted to point out her rudeness, but since he came seeking help, he seemed to have patience. It was so unfair to Erzebut. She couldn't show surprise because he was a person who wasn't even good at engaging in conversations. Suddenly, he came and said he was going to make a marriage proposal with a face that seemed to want to kill anyone.

"So... Is it Lariette?"

"If it's not her, then who else? That's a silly question," Asrahan spoke coldly, and Erzebut felt embarrassed, saying that the words were wrong.

"But why are you coming to me?"

"... I would like to ask for advice on how I could propose to Lariette and make her happy."

Asrahan's embarrassed look almost made Erzebut spill champagne again.

"The Duke of Candel asks me this question while looking at me like that!"

It was something incredible to see and tell. Laughter rose to her throat, but she tried to contain it. If she burst into laughter, it would be almost impossible to leave there due to the Duke's terrifying gaze.

"Well, it's different for each person. Not all women have the same tastes."

"Don't you know Lariette well?"

"Yes, but... I think you know her better than I do. Isn't she your lover?"

When Erzebut finished speaking, she looked at Asrahan's surprised face. It was because the man, who seemed not to bleed a drop of blood even if stabbed, was incredibly gloomy. He bowed his head as much as he could, almost touching the ground. She felt a little sorry for him, but it was funny that he could make that kind of expression. To hide the laughter that threatened to show at the corner of her lips, Erzebut covered her mouth with her hand and spoke.

"Shall I try to help you?"

Asrahan's fallen head snapped up, his blue eyes gleaming, and turned towards Erzebut.

"Could you do that?"

If Lariette had seen it, she would have found it cute, but it was a bit repulsive and disgusting for Erzebut to have such a large man and see the gleam in his eyes. At this sight, she frowned and avoided his gaze.

"Yes, I will. I'll help you with that, so wipe that expression off your face. It's amazing that Lariette doesn't hate it."

Asrahan's eyebrows moved with dissatisfaction.

"How can you doubt the feelings she has for me?" he protested, looking at Erzebut, who felt a shiver run down her body. It was somewhat childish.

"Lariette loves my face."

"Ah! What are you saying?"

"I'm saying that because you don't know, but Lariette likes my face more."

So Erzebut also showed her childish side without losing to him. The tense battle continued until Asrahan retreated, saying he couldn't hear anymore. Anyway, he had a request, so now all he had to do was wait, but he couldn't just sit silently and wait.

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The next day, Lariette left the mansion with a radiant face. She was excited to see Erzebut after a long time. The weather was good, and the place they decided to meet was in the city, so she was even more excited. Strangely, it seemed as if Asrahan was looking from behind, waiting for his moment to come out, but it wasn't something to worry about.

"Lariette!"

"Erze!"

As soon as she got off the carriage, which she thought had arrived much earlier, she met Erzebut, who was waiting for her. She was wearing a short-sleeved black shirt and beige cotton pants, but after not seeing her for a long time, she seemed even cooler.

"It's been so long! I thought I would die from missing you. You're a bad friend. How could you not even send me a letter?" Erzebut said as she hugged Lariette from the carriage. Due to the height difference, she almost buried her face in her chest.

"I'm sorry, Erze. I missed you too!"

"Of course, I wanted to see you. If I didn't see you, I would have been disappointed."

"That's my Princess for you!"

"Have you improved a lot while I haven't seen you? You've become even lovelier. First, let's go to the restaurant I reserved, sit down, and enjoy a delicious meal," Erzebut said, playfully touching Lariette's nose with her finger.

Then, naturally, she took her hand and led her to the restaurant. When they arrived and sat down to order food, they talked as much as they could. From Lariette's travel stories to the reunion with Asrahan, the topics were endless. As a result, the story of a person she didn't want to think about came to light naturally.

"You're saying Miss Mirchen left the city?"

"Yes, there have been several incidents since that day."

Shelia Mirchen was the story of a woman who once targeted Asrahan without knowing him well. After being expelled from Erzebut's flock, Shelia, according to the princess's account, became resentful and started spreading unfavorable stories throughout the social world. False rumors like Erzebut being homosexual and liking women, Juana being her lover, and flirting with her servant Zenvier, and many more. It was also said that among the people she hated the most was Lariette.

"And about you... they say that after seeing the Duke's monstrous face, you left her house and ran away with all the money..."

Erzebut felt a little guilty, as if she were the one who did it. It seemed that she still blamed herself for making the decision to have Shelia among her people. Lariette squeezed her hand without saying anything. She just wanted to immediately catch the person who insulted Asrahan and punish them. But if she did, it would only generate more rumors, so she forcibly swallowed the growing anger.

"Then, Juana approached Shelia and grabbed her by the hair in front of countless nobles. Her hair fell out in large clumps as she pulled with force, and as soon as she let go, Mirchen cried as she crawled on the floor. Since then, she hasn't appeared in the social world until now."

Pfff!

"Yes, I laughed like that when I heard that. I feel a little sorry for how Juana got involved in all this."

It was a mild punishment compared to what she deserved for insulting Asrahan, but when she remembered the image of Juana grabbing Shelia's hair and her screams.

"-'This damn bitch!'"

They continued exchanging frivolous conversations, and shortly after finishing their meal, they left the restaurant. Erzebut suggested getting ice cream, and Lariette gave a thumbs up in agreement. The princess, who was in the midst of choosing the flavor of the ice cream, found something and laughed at it. In the distance, dark hair fluttered. It was invisible to her friend, but for Erzebut, who had good eyesight, it was quite visible.

"It's because you didn't believe me and followed me."

A mischievous desire to tease him a little arose.

"Lariette," Erzebut gently narrowed her eyes and called out to Lariette, her smile sweet enough to make her blush. "What does our Lariette like?" She approached, tilted her head, and wrapped her hand around Lariette's waist.

As the beautiful face drew closer, Lariette's face turned red unconsciously. Despite knowing that she wasn't homosexual and that such behavior didn't mean much, she reacted naturally.

"I like you, Erze!"

Asrahan, who watched them from a distance, clenched his teeth. Erzebut, on the other hand, smiled happily.

"Hahaha! I like you too, but right now, I'm asking about the ice cream flavor. Let's see... will it be strawberry? Because you're as fresh as strawberries," Erzebut joked, winking for a moment.

She glanced towards the dark figure, her eyes carrying the meaning of 'See, didn't I tell you she likes my face more?'

"There's no way Lariette would like those kinds of words."

Asrahan thought, gripping the wall with one hand. The stone wall cracked under his strong grip, but contrary to his expectations, Lariette blushed like a strawberry and nodded.

"Yes, yes! It tastes like strawberries!"

"Try this," Erzebut handed Lariette a strawberry-flavored ice cream, and she ate it with a slightly confused expression. The pink ice cream ended up staining her lips a bit. "Look, you got some on your lips," Erzebut naturally wiped the ice cream off her lips with her thumb.

Lariette, walking and eating the ice cream without fully understanding, was stunned by the sudden action, and the following incident was enough to touch Asrahan's nerves.

"Be careful," Erzebut hugged her tightly.

With that, Asrahan's reason flew out the window. Of course, he knew about their deep friendship. It was impossible for him to intervene and put Lariette in an uncomfortable situation. So, he turned around and returned to the Candel mansion, promising that he would seek revenge for what happened today.

---------------------

It was that night when the revenge began. They were sharing strawberry mousse cakes in Lariette's room, which were made by the chef under Asrahan's orders. Lariette ate the cake with a big smile, unaware of what was about to happen. Finally, he began acting like a lover.

"You should be a bit more careful," Asrahan's long fingers delved into the strawberry mousse without hesitation.

Lariette was taken aback and called him by his name, but Asrahan continued moving his finger, then showed it to her.

"I accidentally dipped my finger in. Please clean it."

Even though he marked his fingers in the cake, he had a shameless attitude. Lariette couldn't understand his intentions but extended her hand with a handkerchief to clean it as instructed.

"No," however, Asrahan stopped her, grabbing her wrist. "Don't you have to do it like the lovers we are?" His eyes lowered seductively, and he spoke with a strange voice. "You have to clean it with your lips."

The cream from his finger dripped down her neck.

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