I missed an update last Wednesday so double update today.❤️
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Erin was taken aback, then tried to ask him why they were going there, but Calix answered as if it were obvious.
“Since we’ve been to the ball, then we should get a bite to eat before you return. Isn’t that normal?”
Traditionally, after a ball, noblemen would often gather in a circle, eat a light meal, and then part ways.
Men would definitely drink with friends, while women would have tea and dessert, and then gossip about what happened at the ball.
Erin and Serena were probably the subject of everyone’s conversation tonight.
Calix then added,
“I’ve already had the mansion prepare a light meal for us.”
What a thoughtful thing for him to do.
It was such gentlemanly gesture.
Erin suddenly felt like he’s really grown-up.
She used to view him as a kid, but if you think about it he was well past the age of a teenager.
He was just a boy when Erin first went to the palace, and there were times when he still seemed like a child to her, but now she finally realized that he’s really grown-up.
The carriage arrived at Calix’s residence a short time later.
It was a townhouse that he used everytime he’s in the capital instead of the mansion at his estate.
He had a palace of his own in the Imperial Palace, but he had abandoned it early on, preferring to live in this mansion outside it.
It was a grand, old-fashioned mansion, befitting the status of an archduke.
His wealth was clearly shown through the splendidly ornate mansion.
‘Now that I think about it, it’s the first time I’ve ever been here. It’s so well-maintained.’
Erin suddenly found herself admiring Calix’s taste.
“Your Highness, my lady.”
The two were led by the butler across the garden.
The gardens were quiet and dark at midnight, it was shrouded by a tranquil darkness, filled with flowering trees and plants.
After walking some distance along the flower beds, lights began to appear.
Those lights were coming from a pavilion overlooking a small pond.
Calix led Erin, who had stopped to watched the scenery, to the pavilion.
The pavilion was filled with small, warm lights.
Once inside, she realized what they were.
They were actually small scented candles.
There were tiny scented candles all over the floor and railings of the pavilion, giving off a warm feeling, and pleasant feeling.
The tiny candles painted the white pavilion a subtle yellow glow.
The tiny scented candles, arranged in a lotus-shaped arrangement, residually illuminated the dark surface of the water.
The whole scene created an enchanting atmosphere at midnight.
“Do you like it?”
“I can’t believe you went to all this trouble.”
It was an extravagant display of particularity.
They sat down at a table set up on the pavilion.
Erin looked around and marveled at the scene.
“This is a very nice mansion.”
“You know, Calix, even when you were younger, you were very picky when it comes to picking furniture and ornaments.”
“Don’t you remember? There was that one time when you were a kid and you threw out all the furniture in your room because it didn’t look right, and I remember how upset you were.”
Calix laughed, then said.
“I was a bit of an ass.”
“You were also a huge prankster.”
He used to chase Erin around and annoy her, but he was very cute.
“You were so cute when you were younger, though. ”
“So I’m not cute anymore?”
Erin looked at Calix in the dim light.
“Well you’re still cute now.”
“You’re being too nice, sister-in-law.”
Meanwhile, the servants brought in the food.
“I had them prepare this and that, but I don’t know if it will be to your taste.”
Calix spoke casually, but the food that followed was incredibly sumptuous.
The first dish was chicken simmered in wine with vegetables.
As soon as she opened it, she could smell the sweet aroma of wine.
The plump chicken meat was bathed in a fragrant dark sauce.
The smell of the cooked chicken and the aromatic wine tantalized her taste buds.
Next to it was a sweet baked ham with sauce and oven-roasted asparagus.
But it was the cool strawberry sorbet for dessert that stole Erin’s heart.
It was made with strawberry juice, milk, and cream, and the frozen sorbet was cold and sweet.
It was definitely refreshing.
Erin scooped up the sweet and sour sorbet to her heart’s content.
Calix was simply smiling, across her.
“Is it good?”
“Yes, it’s really good.”
Erin nodded sincerely.
Each bite of the cold sorbet tasted like fresh strawberries mixed with smooth milk.
“I thought it would be a good idea to sell sorbets like this in the shop, since it’s going to get hot.”
Calix laughed in disbelief.
“Sister-in-law is really a cafe owner to the bone now. You’re even thinking about business in a place like this.”
“So I’m your sister-in-law again.”
Erin smiled, while scooping up the sorbet with a teaspoon.
“Earlier, you called me Lady Erin.”
Calix could only chuckle at that.
“I just didn’t want to call you that when we were in there.”
The dark blue sky held a white moon that was about half full, and the cold moonlight washed gently over the pond.
The moonlight sparkled on the clear water, rippling with each stirring of the surface and dispersed.
It was a beautiful nighttime scene.
Erin watched the pond at night from the pavilion.
It reminded her of her childhood home, which also had a small pond.
It was more of a puddle than a pond.
She remembered looking out the living room window at the pond and eating cookies with her parents.
It was a happy time.
Little did she know that Erin would one day become a duchess, live in the palace, get divorced, and open a cafe.
It was the type of future, that she never expected to occur.
Not only that, but her parents, whom she loved so dearly, would die.
Erin’s thoughts were interrupted by a pleasant voice next to her.
“Sister-in-law, what are you thinking about?”
She turned to see Calix’s blue eyes, looking curiously on her.
“You look sad.”
Erin quickly suppressed her depression, she even wondered if he noticed.
She didn’t want to make him worry by showing an unsightly attitude when he was so caring and helpful.
“I was just thinking about the impermanence of time. It seems like only yesterday that you were just a little boy.”
Erin smiled and finished the last of the strawberry sorbet in her bowl.
Calix looked at her intently, then said, but let it pass for now. He then said,
“Oh, right. I have a gift for you.”
Calix gestured for the servant, and he servant brought a wrapped gift box.
“It’s a gift I’ve been meaning to give you.”
“You’ve given me enough gifts already. ”
“This one is different. I’ve been preparing it for a long time.”
After hearing that, Erin was curious. She wondered,
‘How long has he been planning this? Are these books?’
The wrapped gift was about the size of a stack of four or five books.
The weight was a little lighter than them though.
She unwrapped it and carefully removed the wrapping paper.
Erin’s eyes widened at what she saw inside.
On top of the light green box was an intricately carved music box, with a leaf design that was white with vivid veins.
She carefully opened the lid and a familiar tune gradually began to play.
It was a music that was both sweet and subtle, with a wistful, melancholic tune, and clear pitches.
“How… How did you find this?”
The music box was a gift from Erin’s father, which was made especially for her mother.
It was a specially crafted music box made from the sheet music of her mother’s favorite Erdanian songs.
“You told me about it before. You even played the tune for me. Don’t you remember it?”
“Ah, yes, I did.”
It was when Erin had just entered the palace.
She had secretly baked a lemon pie in the middle of the night, and somehow Calix had gotten wind of it and they’d ended up eating it together.
Erin was subconsciously humming this song when she was kneading the pie dough, and when he heard it, he was curious.
He kept asking what song it was, so she told him about the music box.
‘Did I tell him about the music box?’
Erin wondered for a moment, but then remembered.
‘Sister-in-Law I want to see it.’
‘I don’t have it anymore, it was broken so we had to sell it.’
The music box had been sold shortly after Erin’s father became a marquis.
It was when her family was drowning in debt and struggling to make ends meet.
She couldn’t bring herself to tell young Calix that story, so she told him it was broken and sold.
“And you still remember that?”
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