As his voice faded into silence, he glanced up to read my expression.
“So that’s what happened. Did he tell you why he ran away?”
“No. He has kept his mouth shut as if he was possessed.”
“….Does he only refuse to talk about me?”
“Again, that’s not the case. I’d rather if he only refused to talk about you, that way I’d be convinced that you were the cause….but the doctor remains silent, as if he had forgotten all his patients.”
He wouldn’t do it unless someone higher had ordered his secrecy. But Leona’s family didn’t have a reason to hide and silence him.
They had neither a motive nor money required to do that.
‘Even if they want to use my illness to make a deal with me, they’d bring the doctor to me. They wouldn’t let him run away.’
So what was the reason?
I came up with two theories.
One was that the doctor treated countless patients and had to flee for ‘reason unknown,’ while the other was that he truly fled because of me.
‘But I don’t see the point of hiding my illness and running away.’
“I couldn’t extract any information from him, but I wanted to tell you just in case.”
He was still trying to gauge my mood, like a terrified big puppy after making a huge mistake.
“Are you trying to gauge my mood because you’re sorry?”
“G-Gauge your mood? That’s not true. I just….I feel it’s such a shame because this wouldn’t have happened if I had found him earlier.”
So you were indeed trying to assess my mood.
I laughed at the man who gave such an excuse despite being so obvious. A smile touched the corner of my mouth, and I was able to forget what happened for a moment.
“It’s good that you found him.”
“But are you really fine?”
“Your expression didn’t look good throughout our conversation.”
I let out a small sigh upon hearing his unexpected remark.
It turned out the Duke was watching me, too. Just like how Rere was able to notice my condition immediately.
For some reason, there was a ticklish feeling somewhere in my heart.
“Just…there was a problem.”
“So I went to the temple with Luca….”
At that time, the Duke’s voice suddenly turned sharp even though he had been maintaining a calm tone all this time.
“Yes. With Luca.”
Are you going to berate me for going out with Luca again this time?
I knew I shouldn’t have mentioned it when the Duke was frowning so hard.
“How do you know Luca?”
“Are you really asking me? Of course I know him because he’s your knight. I’ve seen him many times.”
“My knight? Is there a knight named Luca?”
My vision blurred because something I absolutely despised was happening. Things that I had expected became a reality.
I had expected this to a certain degree when Isaac and the old butler couldn’t see Luca, not to mention what Luca said in the carriage.
But the Duke was with Luca every day, so my hands trembled upon hearing what the Duke said about Luca.
“What are you talking about? He’s been around you all this time. I know he’s always been next to you…..!”
“I don’t remember. Was there a knight called Luca? Hmm…”
“Then how did you recognize his name? What do you mean by that?”
I desperately urged him as if I was hanging on a thin rope. Instead, he looked at me with a perplexed expression.
“I was just surprised you knew my great-grandfather’s name.”
I looked the Duke in the eyes. I thought he was joking, but he looked serious with a frown on his face.
I thought it wasn’t possible, but the Duke really didn’t remember Luca.
At that time, I felt like my head was spinning.
“Ah…. you really don’t know?”
“I didn’t know such a knight existed.”
“Then….who was the person who was always attached to you? He looked exactly like you….”
“Was there someone who was attached to me? I think there was someone, but I don’t remember.”
Why don’t you remember anything?
Nothing at all. Why?
I wanted to ask that, but the Duke seemed truly to have forgotten Luca.
“Forget that, are you alright? Your face turned pale.”
“…I-I’m alright. Yes, I’m alright.”
It was useless to complain to a guy who didn’t remember anything about Luca. I just forced an awkward smile in the end.
“If you’re curious, I’ll look for a knight named Luca.”
“…No. Please don’t trouble yourself.”
The Luca I knew was already gone.
Looking at the Duke, who was unusually gentle today, I shook my head.
“Ah. I was going to tell you that today I went to the temple and the old butler’s house.”
“How is he doing….?”
“He was wary. But he still missed the duchy. He asked how Rere was doing, and if you are feeling better.”
I wanted to say more, but nothing came out of my mouth.
I felt listless, stroking Rere’s head without speaking for a long time. I wanted to go out, grab anyone I met and ask them about Luca. I’d like to think that the Duke was sick and forgot about Luca momentarily.
“Did you talk about anything else?”
“….I asked him to visit the duchy next time. If it’s alright with you…we can bring him in again as the butler of the family. He was really worried about the duchy and Rere’s safety.”
“I’ll think about it.”
But that was the end of our conversation.
Neither he nor I spoke for a long time. The silent room was only filled with the sound of Rere sleeping.
“I’m fine now, so you may go back. The sun is about to set.”
As I was stroking Rere’s head with my head in the clouds, the Duke spoke. Just as he said, when I looked outside, the sun was setting.
“Can I leave? But your body….”
“It’s much better compared to when I woke up earlier. Usually, I’ll get better with a good sleep. You needn’t to worry since the servants are here. So you may leave. You must be exhausted after going out.”
The way he spoke so gently with a face that resembled Luca made my heart ache all the more.
“Okay. I’ll be back later. I need to go back and rest a little.”
“Yeah. Rest well.”
He didn’t hold on to me or say anything else. The Duke looked at me pitifully as if he was worried about me, and his gaze seemed especially sad today.
“I’ll take Rere with me.”
I picked up the child before he could answer.
“Let’s go back to the room and sleep.”
Rere mumbled, perhaps awake for a moment, then buried her head in my shoulder.
In the meantime, the Duke got up and opened the door for us.
“Then…I’ll see you later.”
“You’re not supposed to move yet, are you?”
“I’m really fine now. You can keep going.”
Strangely enough, he could open the door with ease when it wouldn’t budge when I tried earlier.
I bitterly looked through the opened door. The nanny and maids, who had waited outside, joined me when I finally left the room.
“You haven’t come out for a while, so I thought you were sleeping in that room today.”
“No, I came out late since I need to watch his condition.”
“I see. But Madam, you don’t look well.”
The nanny, still showing her usual courteous smile, stared at me.
“Do I look like that?”
“You look pale. Did something happen?”
“Ah, I….Nanny, do you know Luca?”
“Luca…? Who is that?”
As expected, her answer was no different from the Duke’s. I asked the maids in the back just in case, even if I knew their answers might feel like getting shot multiple times.
“I-I don’t know about him.”
“Who is he?”
“If you tell us more, we can help you find him.”
Those who praised Luca recently did not even remember his existence.
“I’m not kidding…does everyone really know nothing?”
The nanny shook her head with a frown on her forehead. And the maids only shrugged their shoulders.
How could this happen?
Can everyone forget Luca overnight?
“No one knows him….”
At that time, Rere, who was sleeping against my shoulder, raised her head and made eye contact with me.
“Rere, are you up?”
“Mmh…hoaam…I’m sleepy. But are we going back?”
Rere rarely woke up once she fell asleep yet opened her eyes wide.
“Yes. We’re going to sleep in our room. The Duke…I mean, your daddy, is feeling better.”
“That’s a relief.”
It was really strange to see Rere waking up just in time. Almost like I was settled to ask Rere the same question, and faced another despair.
“Do you remember Luca?”
I had to ask Rere the question I was reluctant to ask, even though it seemed like I was following a predetermined sequence.
“Luca? Who is that?”
“…Ah, he was the knight who used to follow your daddy around.”
“Was there any knight who followed my daddy around?”
“He looked just like your daddy…”
“I don’t know, though? Rere is smart and remembers people well! But Rere doesn’t know anyone named Luca!”
When I saw Rere’s bright smile, I was convinced that no one remembered Luca.
“Who is that?”
“Umm…. He’s a prince in a fairy tale.”
“In a fairy tale?”
“Yes, a very handsome and kind prince.”
“Wow. I’ve never seen Big Bunny talk about a handsome and kind prince! I want to read that fairy tale book next time!”
“Okay. I’ll read it to Rere, too.”
I’ll tell you about how kind Luca was and how he worked so hard for us.
Tears welled up in my eyes, but I forced a smile because Rere was quick to figure me out.
I tried to get myself together and went to my room. Rere fell deeply asleep as soon as we arrived at our room.
And just as I did the night before, I stepped onto the terrace after making sure that Rere asleep.
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