The usual smile seemed to have disappeared, and Evan’s sharp features appeared even colder and more distant. Riett, who was about to ask if something unlucky had happened, collapsed onto the bed due to the sudden pain in her side.
“Lie down. The wound isn’t deep, but it’s quite large.”
Fortunately, Evan’s voice wasn’t as cold as his expression.
Riett obediently lay down and looked around her surroundings.
“…But why am I at your house?”
The situation was incomprehensible. It wasn’t the school where she got hurt, nor was it her bed.
“I brought you here.”
Riett became curious about the situation right after fainting due to Evan’s vague answer.
She clearly remembered the last person she saw was Lucas, so why did she see Evan as soon as she woke up? Moreover, the training ground was quite far from Evan’s classroom.
“Did Lucas call you?”
Evan didn’t answer. Instead, his eyes twitched slightly. It was a signal that appeared when he was in a bad mood.
‘…Does he really dislike Lucas?’
Suddenly, she recalled what Lucas had said.
“Is one intimidating look from Evan scarier than a hundred people staring at me?”
‘Never mind. You two can handle it.’
Riett wasn’t interested in whether they fought or got along well. It was just a little surprising.
Right now, something was much more important than the relationship between Evan and Lucas. It was the reason for the wound on her side.
“Evan, do you happen to know what happened?”
It was a situation where he should have switched to his sword for the duel. Or… could it be…
“Samuel switched the sword from a practice one to a real one.”
The answer she had suspected came out. Riett ignored the pain and sat up on the bed.
“Is that true?”
“He must have planned it from the beginning.”
Evan already seemed to know Samuel and his work inside out. He was indeed
quick with the news.
“What happened to Samuel? Is he being disciplined?”
Evan shook his head.
“Someone else admitted the mistake. He said he mistakenly handed the sword to Samuel.”
Frustrated as if she had eaten a hundred sweet potatoes, Riett tightly closed her eyes. Deep in her heart, curses welled up. She had wondered if he would do something despicable in front of so many people, and he did. Not only that, he had blamed it on her and smoothly escaped the situation.
Lucas was right.
They were truly vile individuals.
If she stayed there any longer, she felt like she would utter weak words to Evan, so Riett endured the pain and got up from the bed.
“I don’t know what happened, but thank you for bringing me here.”
“This is just the beginning.”
Riett sighed at Evan’s warning. It hurts her pride that she had to look like this to Evan in the first place, but he didn’t seem to let it go easily.
But today, she didn’t have the energy to argue with Evan.
“Evan, let’s just let it go for today.”
Riett looked at Evan with tired eyes. Evan, with a dark expression, was looking down at her.
Why did he look so worried when it was her in a crisis? His black pupils were trembling ever so slightly.
Seeing that, she remembered Evan looking up at her when she climbed up a tree as a child. No, it was more serious than back then.
Her sharp feelings towards him softened slightly at this unexpected sight.
“…I understand that you’re concerned, but don’t worry too much because I’ll find a way to solve it.”
That was the best she could say for now. Her head still felt like it was ringing from just waking up after fainting.
“How will you solve it?”
However, Evan wouldn’t let her go so easily. Today, Riett felt exhausted dealing with Evan’s persistence.
“Now, let’s think about it. Is there really no way?”
“Why are you so calm?”
Evan looked at Riett, biting his lip.
“It’s not someone else’s problem, it’s your problem!”
Riett was surprised by Evan’s emotional state and became momentarily stunned. Evan was not someone who would easily raise his voice.
“Why are you getting so angry?”
“Just look at yourself now! If that blade had pierced your neck or heart instead of your side…!”
With a grim assumption, Riett blinked for a moment. If that had happened, she wouldn’t be here right now.
However, Riett believed that Evan was overlooking something.
“I know what you’re worried about, but do you think he’d do something like that in front of so many people?”
“What would you do if something like this happened in an empty place?”
“Evan! Of course, I’ll be careful to make sure something like that doesn’t happen…!”
Due to Evan’s relentless momentum, Riett couldn’t help but raise her voice. However, Evan didn’t stop. Instead, he approached closer and grabbed Riett’s wrists firmly.
“What are you doing…?”
“Can you guarantee that everything will be fine if you’re careful?”
“Let go of me!”
Riett struggled, but Evan didn’t seem to have any intention of letting go. As Evan held both of Riett’s hands and pushed her onto the bed, Riett collapsed. Evan continued to firmly press her wrists while slowly approaching her.
“If that bastard gets hold of you like this, do you think you can escape on your own?”
Sharp words grazed Riett’s pride. Angered, Riett glared at Evan.
She knew that Evan’s words were true. It was a clear fact that she couldn’t overpower men with strength alone.
That’s why she was even more furious.
But why does this guy look at her with such eyes, as if he’s about to cry?
Evan lowered his head and pressed his forehead against Riett’s forehead. Evan’s forehead was hot as if he had a fever.
“It feels like my blood is drying up.”
When Riett tried to move her trapped hands, Evan tightened his grip. Then he soon moved away from Riett’s body.
Riett also sat up and approached Evan, mustering strength, and struck his chest.
“If you ever try to teach me this way again, I’ll never see you again.”
Riett left the room without saying anything to Evan, who didn’t respond. Her mind, already a mess, became completely entangled due to Evan’s aggressive words.
While standing still in the corridor of the mansion, another worry came to her mind.
Did her father and mother hear about this? If they knew she was injured, her mother would probably go into a frenzy as soon as she saw her.
Especially her mother, who would probably start recommending her to drop out again in this situation. Her father would probably try to visit the school.
But neither of them wanted what Riett wanted.
She hadn’t found a clear solution yet, but she knew she could handle Samuel’s case on her own.
No, she had to handle it. She couldn’t just abandon the dream she had cherished all this time because of someone like Samuel.
‘I want to see Duke Kreutz.’
Riett suddenly thought of Duke Kreutz. He was a wise person and seemed like he would help her in any way possible.
Riett went to Duke Kreutz’s study and knocked on the door.
There was no response, but through the slightly open door, she could see Duke Kreutz sitting with his head lowered.
But he seemed so serious that Riett hesitated for a moment.
‘Should I not go in?’
Just as Riett was hoping, the door creaked open.
“It’s you… Riett.”
“I’m sorry, mister. I didn’t mean to disturb you.”
“Disturb? I was already thinking about you. I heard you got hurt and hurriedly came back to the mansion.”
Ah… Anyway, both the mister and Evan were too quick to hear the news.
“Shouldn’t you be resting more, Riett?”
“It’s okay. It’s just a scratch.”
It still stung a little, but she was gradually getting used to it. As long as she didn’t move too aggressively, things were fine now.
“Are you available now?”
“If it’s Riett, it’s always fine.”
With a pleasant response, Riett smiled and sat across from the Duke. The Duke’s expression was dark.
“I’m sorry to hear that ……, I knew it wouldn’t be an easy adjustment for you, but…….”
“Please don’t worry about it, mister. Earlier, because of this issue, I argued with Evan…”
Riett stopped talking when she recalled Evan’s anxious eyes. Thinking of him only made her more anxious.
“I know. I won’t nag you.”
Quick-witted Duke Kreutz quickly put on his usual gentle smile. Riett thought she made the right choice by coming to meet Duke Kreutz.
“How about you, mister? If you graduated at the top, you must have experienced a situation like mine.”
“I’m sorry, but my situation was similar to Evan’s. There weren’t many challengers.”
Riett didn’t dislike being born as a woman, but sometimes she couldn’t help but sigh. She knew how hard Evan and Lucas worked, but it was still so much easier for them to get their place and recognition. If the opponent is a genius like Evan, the determination wavers even more.
“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared. ……I mean, not necessarily of Samuel, but of the other kids too.”
As she tried to speak in a weak voice for the first time, she felt shy about meeting the old man’s gaze. Riett played with the teacup that the maid handed her and continued speaking.
“I think I’m being greedy to be in the top three on a topic that isn’t even close to desperate. Even if I still have the choice of marriage.”
Duke Kreutz gently patted Riett’s head in response to her sincere confession.
“Who wouldn’t be desperate to achieve their goals?”
Riett smiled with relief at Duke Kreutz’s words, which understood her feelings.
“As expected, it’s only you, mister.”
The tangled threads in her mind didn’t unravel, but her heart became much more at ease.
“Riett, I want to provide you with practical help.”
Duke Kreutz opened his mouth with a serious tone. Riett slowly put down her teacup as she sipped the tea.
“Anything you need if it’s necessary.”
She knew that Duke Kreutz could offer her a lot of help, but she didn’t want direct assistance from him. It felt like resorting to underhanded methods.
“I can assign an escort to you.”
Before Riett could say she was fine, Duke Kreutz laid out his proposal.
“Or I could go to the school and put pressure on them to make sure nothing bad happens.”
However, the old man’s voice listing his suggestions was excessively calm.
“I can also make sure you no longer see the child who troubles you at school.”
No, it was not just calm—it was chilling.
Somehow, the image of Evan overlapped with the old man. But Riett knew. The man he knew would never do such a thing.
“Mister, that’s just a joke.”
Riett burst into laughter and waved her hand. Soon, Duke Kreutz, who had a terrifying expression, drew a gentle smile again, following Riett’s lead.
“Don’t you have any favorable options?”
“Well, I like all of them, but I still want to solve it myself.”
She replied playfully, but determination gleamed in Riett’s crimson eyes.
“Oh, there’s one thing I want to ask.”
“What is it, Riett?”
“About protecting myself.”
She felt it this time.
Unless she showed her true abilities, Samuel would constantly harass her. It was frustrating, but if his harassment went beyond limits, Evan might worry.
Even though the opponent is a man, she would have a chance of winning if she confronted him one-on-one, but Samuel was cunning… It would probably be difficult.
“Hmm, protecting yourself, huh…”
“Other than methods like hiring escorts. For example, using magic or divine power.”
Magic and divine power existed in this world. However, only a very limited number of people could use them.
The original female protagonist was a saint who used divine power, and Evan also reached a level where he could use his sword.
Riett blinked her eyes and looked at Duke Kreutz, her eyes shining.