As a reporter, I vaguely thought of going to the place where he was originally employed or worked.
It seems that his original role was the groom. He pulled the horse-drawn carriage out of the stable, opened its door, and extended one of his hands to us. Instead of Gloria who was embarrassed and rushed into the carriage, I stared straight at the man’s chest and gave him instructions.
“We’re going to the city center, so why don’t you wear a top?”
Of course, he didn’t have to listen to me because I wasn’t his boss. However, if we were to take this topless man out as our coachman, he would only spread bad rumors about the young widow.
‘Is what the butler is after a scandal against Gloria?’
There would be a stigma about how the wife brought a handsome man to the mansion as if she had been waiting for the right time as soon as her husband died. Did she want such a rumor to spread?
The tan-skinned man came out again with a thin shirt, which barely exposed his chest. I let out a sigh and took off the brooch I was wearing and tied it tightly to his chest. The man seemed surprised by the unexpected touch from me, but he controlled his expression quickly.
“Lady, you don’t have to do this.”
“I just feel comfortable with this. Today goes like this. Or you can change into something more modest.”
He smiled mischievously. Ouch, I realized my heart was beating fast. Henrik, that grumpy butler. Where did you get such a good-looking man? Although your intentions were very dirty, I had to thank you for this.
In the carriage, my cheeks soared to the sky. Gloria laughed when she saw that.
“Do you like that man a lot?”
“Oh, what? I’m just happy to look at such a nice view. God, Gloria. Can I stay here with you? I want to move the print shop and newspaper office to the remaining land in this house. Would you allow me, as the owner of this house?”
“Whatever you want.”
“Hooray! I will be able to see those handsome men every day.”
“Pfft. Claude will cry when he hears that.”
Gloria, who already knew the delicate situations between Claude and me. Now, she said that as a mere joke as if she had moved on past him. I stared at Gloria in surprise.
“Why are you suddenly talking about it? Last time I asked you to never bring up that name again.”
“It’s just that I think it’s a good time for you, unlike me.”
My friend wore an envious look on her face again.
‘Don’t be so anxious. You will also meet the man who is going to be your destiny today.’
I’d definitely make it that way.
I kept those words to myself.
* * *
Haley and Gloria stopped in front of the fountain in the square after ordering a bunch of black attires at the P&P boutique. The fountain was emitted with light blue water that faded in a curve shape. It looked like a scene in a picture. The day was a bit overcast, but it was very noisy near the square.
Today was the day of the founding of the empire by Emperor Royan.
On the day of the festival, the people gathered in front of the square all appeared thrilled. Children walked around with Emperor Royan dolls, humming the terrifying words, “Kill the Red Witch!” as if singing it. There would also be a barbecue party modeled after the witch burning ceremony tonight. Of course, the meat was distributed freely to people. The imperial family paid for it. Haley thought in this excited atmosphere.
‘Today Mother doesn’t feel good anymore.’
The legendary red witch was her mother, Bella. After the changing of the emperor, her mother, Parbella, was said to have exiled herself for a while by changing her name to Bella. Mrs. Haley also resented the empire for not treating her as a female character in every country. On the other hand, she tried hard to unite the empire, but she was treated like this just because she abandoned one person. On a day like this, it was clear that Haley’s mother had been addicted to alcohol.
‘After I finish work today, I’ll go to be my mom’s drinking buddy.’
Hayley stuffed a sweet-smelling candy into Gloria’s mouth and advised her friend.
“Gloria. Can you wait here for a moment? Because there’s a place I want to visit.”
“Oh, and there is something very important in this poach to me. Hold this for a moment and wait here for a bit.”
Haley handed Gloria a large sky-blue bag. It looked like a bag of good fortune and was sealed tightly with a string. Haley left Gloria alone in front of the fountain and ran to the tall building near the square. Upon arriving at the roof of the building, she looked down and spotted the hair color of the people around the fountain.
‘It’s time for the blond-haired Crown Prince to appear.’
This morning, the phrase in the novel floating above the female lead’s head that Haley saw said.
[The sun disappeared briefly as it was covered by gray clouds. The square became dark in an instant, and people who were excited about the festival also became quiet at the sudden darkness. Just then the clouds miraculously cleared a little and strong sunlight fell on the fountain. Gloria, who was radiating light, was alone in that sunlight.
The blond-haired man looked at the figure of such a woman and momentarily felt his heart pounding.
A handsome man approached Gloria, who was standing blankly in front of the fountain. He was the one who had looked her in the face once without saying anything when Gloria was imprisoned.
“You’re the Baroness of Stephen, right? It’s good to see you outside. I almost didn’t recognize you.”
Gloria was bewildered to see this man. She had absolutely no recollection about this blonde-haired man. She didn’t even know his name. The man was playing a trick he used to seduce women.
“It’s fate that we meet like this. Would you like to go over there and eat something?”]
The novel told about how Gloria decisively rejected the man, although she didn’t remember the details. If Haley’s memory was correct, he was the crown prince of this country who walked up to Gloria today. The arrangement that the Crown Prince and Gloria reunited in the founding system remained in her mind.
Without spoiling the original writing, Haley wanted to make this encounter more dramatic. Therefore, she pulled Gloria out of bed and the day before she also invited three people.
‘It’s about time.’
Haley looked up at the darkening sky and waited for the right time. Eventually, dark gray clouds covered the sun and it became dark around the square.
“Alright, one. Two. Three.”
As Haley waited for the right time, counting with her fingers, the strong sunlight finally descended on the fountain. Haley quickly spotted the boy standing near Gloria.
“Oh? There he is!”
Not too far from Gloria, there was a blond man who seemed to be watching her. However, there were two men. Not just one.
‘Is the guy next to the Crown Prince the pervert I met back then?’
‘The blond-haired man I met last time obviously introduced himself as the Crown Prince’s bodyguard. I don’t remember his name very well. I was embarrassed to ask again after that, so I left it at that.’
One of the blond-haired people approached Gloria, and the passage above her head disappeared.
‘Has the novel’s story been accomplished?’
The square became bright again, and Haley held a hand mirror and waved. The light reflected in the mirror twinkled and signaled to the person who waited.
The boy, who saw the signal, approached Gloria. The boy snatched the sky blue-colored pocket that was in her hand and ran off. Gloria seemed panicked and screamed meanwhile the blond-haired man chased after the thief.
‘He has a personality full of justice.’
People said it was a great idea to do preliminary research. Haley smiled with satisfaction at the scene unfolding before her. In the square, there was a pursuit of a child and alleged crown prince. The boy that Haley had hired quickly ran away to avoid the Crown Prince. However, like a person with a sense of justice, the Crown Prince did not give up and ran after the thief.
“Huh? Uh…. We’re going to get caught.”
As soon as Haley, who was watching the chase from the rooftop finished her thought, the Crown Prince grabbed the boy by the scruff of his nape. The crown prince handed the child to the two policemen who approached him, took the sky-blue colored pouch, and handed it to Gloria. Gloria looked relieved when she saw the pocket, which had been returned to her.
“Thank you. My friend left something important in it.”
“You might have lost something, so please check your pockets.”
Gloria untied the knot in her pocket that was tightly closed with string. However, inside were only a few pieces of slightly crumbled cookies. The blonde-haired man burst out laughing and unconsciously showed his teeth.
“Is the important thing to your friend those cookies?”
“Oh, no… It seems so. If my friend doesn’t have something sweet, she’ll get a bit sensitive.”
Gloria’s face flushed with embarrassment at herself. Haley said never to lose it, but it was just a few pieces of cake.
‘Are you just kidding yourself to make fun of yourself? If I knew this was going to happen, I would have given it to a kid who looked hungry.’
“Are you going to stand here until your friend comes back?”
“Yes. That’s the plan.”
“Then how about waiting at the nearby cafe? You can see the fountain from that café, too. If you keep standing here, your legs will hurt.”
Gloria felt embarrassed for no reason, so she nodded at the blond-haired man. Originally, she had intended to decline his invitation to enjoy tea with him. Gloria planned to wait in front of the fountain until Haley came back. However, the man was the one who obtained Haley’s bag, which make her hesitate to refuse his offer.
“Oh-ho! Have the love finally bloom between you both?”
Haley saw the two of them from the rooftop and jumped up, which caused quite a scene. Even if a woman was not interested in a man, she would accept a small favor from him. The Crown Prince must have known what Gloria was like. Since today he just fell in love with her, now they would get closer and followed the original plot.
Haley sighed, thinking that hiring men in police uniforms in the first place was a good idea. The three people she hired would come to the newspaper office later to collect the remaining money from Mary for having participated in this small act.
Then came the sound of rough breathing behind Haley.
“Hey, what are you doing here?”
Haley trembled in surprise at the stranger’s voice. The woman turned her head and looked back, and suddenly the blond-haired lunatic man, who was said to be the Crown Prince’s bodyguard, stood behind her.
“What? What are you doing here?”
“It’s just that, I can see you from afar. That’s why I go here. Looks like there’s something good to see down there, huh?”
Since Haley waved the hand mirror from the roof, Edmund, who had been observing her behavior began to approach the building, then flashed a smile. Edmund didn’t know what this woman was looking at from the rooftop, but he thought she had come to have a look at the festival with her friend because there was the widowed baron’s wife in front of the fountain. Edmund didn’t know why she was alone in a place like this and left her friend in front of the fountain.
“I just went up here. People want to see the exciting thing about this festival.”
Haley looked down and saw Gloria and the Crown Prince talking with smiles on each of their face. Then, she raised her head as if she was thinking about something and looked at Edmund.
“Oh, you said you were the Crown Prince’s bodyguard, right?