Chapter 22 – The duke of this time
‘I feel like I know this person…’
But why? she has never met nor saw Duke Igner before. She felt a chill and some incomprehensible feeling crawling all over her body. She’s desperately trying to find the cause of it. Suddenly, a memory as Cecil from her previous life flashed through her mind.
Eugene’s smiling face when he said, “I will come back for sure.”, the lying cold face of that lady from the Gould family when she told Cecil, ‘Eugene will be marrying me.’, and the face of the Howard family’s butler frowning in disgust, ‘You’re just a commoner’.
“Prince Keefa,” Duke Igner spoke again, his voice snapping Liz back to her senses.
“Eh? What is it?”
“Does he really like you? Or maybe you’re just being misled. My daughter, Grace, is to be His Highness’ fiance. I just want you to stay out of the way.” the duke continued.
“…!?” In an instant, her mind blanked, all of her thoughts were gone.
‘Keefa and Grace are engaged?’
Of course, Liz has nothing to do with their engagement. Their status is as different from Heaven and Earth, and unlike in their previous lives, they are not lovers or anything, they are just strangers. She knows. She knows it well and yet she can’t get it off her mind.
Her body trembled despite her desperate control, cold sweat started to form. It’s the same as her previous life when the butler informed Cecil that Eugene was to be married. And that she couldn’t do anything then-.
The duke smiled at Liz’s agitation, as if he was laughing at her.
“Liz!” Keefa was out of breath when he reached her. He’s surprised to see Liz all pale and trembling, it’s unlike her usual demeanor. He cut himself in between them, covering Liz behind him.
“What is your business with her, Duke Igner.” His wide back was facing her, his voice was suppressed and dark brown hair quite disheveled, he was full of anger.
” Please don’t misunderstand, your Highness. I just happened to meet and talk to her by chance, she’s also a candidate like my daughter, Grace.” The Duke quickly smiled.
‘…It’s different from the past.’
Liz almost cried out in relief. They both are not of the same status as Keefa nor are they lovers but he definitely is there in front of her.
As she gradually calmed down, she whispered to Keefa, “hey”. He turned to her, in his handsome face, through his eyes, anger can be clearly seen.
Liz looked back, “The duke has told me that your engagement with Grace has been decided. Is it true?”
The duke’s cheek twitched, no doubt he didn’t expect for the Crown Prince to hear it directly.
Keefa’s face turned red with anger, it seemed to have reached its peak, “Duke, I don’t want you to create such lies. I’ve continuously told you but it seems that you never acknowledged it. Not only I, but the king would misinterpret your words.”
He’s angry and yet he spoke in such a calm voice, it was scary.
The duke panicked, “Of course. She seemed to have misunderstood and took my words seriously. I should properly know my place. Then, excuse me.” the duke hurriedly left as if to escape.
“Are you alright?” Liz nodded to the anxious-looking Keefa.
She knew that her situation in her previous life is different from now. It’s reassuring that he’s by her side now, and that they are able to talk about it anytime.
“It’s okay.” Liz showed a deep sincere smile.
Keefa slightly narrowed his eyes and quickly turned away when he realized that he was staring.
Liz thought it was just her intuition, whether it’s true or not, but she did see snippets of scenes of her past.
“I’m not a magician but there are times where I’m able to see strange things. That’s why I was chosen as candidate for saint. Earlier when I saw Duke Igner, I don’t know why but I saw people in the Howard family in our previous lives.”
Keefa’s eyes widened. He placed a hand on his mouth, thinking, “—all right. I’ll try and check it out.”
* * * * *
As Duke Igner rushed his way to the front yard where the carriage had been waiting, he bitterly bit his lip. The duke has memories of his past life. About 500 years ago as Bauer, the head butler of the prestigious Howard family.
When he saw the old ring with a blue stone that Keefa had as a child, he thought his breathing would stop. The reason was that Eugene had bought two rings for his lover, Cecil.
‘Is Prince Keefa really Eugene’s reincarnation…?’
He thought that it was rather strange. Since before he heard that a young Keefa sometimes would speak as if he had seen the state of the Imperial Palace 500 years ago.
It’s impossible, but he can’t help but believe it since he was also reborn. Nevertheless, it’s someone who he was familiar with and deeply related in his previous life.
‘It’s quite ironic. No, I believe it’s good luck’
As soon as he entered the carriage, he saw the reflection of his bright expression on the polished little table.
In his last life, he had done wrong to both Eugene and Cecil. And, he does not regret it one bit, he’d do the same thing if he goes back to that time. No, he’ll do it even better for his benefactor.
It was just a matter of time, his plan progressed. Eugene was a well-rounded young man also, Cecil died at the right time. However, in the end, Eugene never married nor did he leave any direct descendants. No matter how much he has tried to convince him, he’d reject it. That’s all he regretted even until he has reborn.
So in this lifetime――
He’ll do his very best and make sure to fulfill his wish.
He was born as the heir of a duke’s family, and inherited the title. The Howard family that he used to serve in his past life had built up the Igner family in the present.
One of his ambitions is for Keefa to marry his daughter, Grace so that the foundation of the Igner family will become stronger once they form a relationship with the royal family.
He’s unsure whether Keefa has his memories when he was Eugene and thought about investigating him, but he stopped himself. If he tried and made him a reminder to remember then it would be trouble. Since a snake may come out when you poke the bush.
Even if Keefa does contain memories of Eugene, he doesn’t even know that the butler was the one who lied and broke his relationship with Cecil. There’s no way to confirm it in this lifetime. And above all, the prince doesn’t even know that he’s the reincarnation of that butler.
The duke had always wondered why did he retain his memories from his past life, but now he knows. In this lifetime, he’ll have Keefa marry his daughter to fulfill his wish since there’s no Cecil in this world as an obstacle.
He had thought so but――
“She’s in the way.” He gnashed his teeth.
That girl is Liz Stefan.
For numerous times he has pushed Grace to be his fiancee, he even used several tricks. But he wasn’t given a favorable answer by the king due to the duke’s black rumor. Black rumors are hard to push away since most of them are true. So he turned his target to Keefa himself.
No wonder the prince is popular since he’s handsome, intelligent and has no rumors. He went in and out of the royal palace to run some errands and observe. Though it seems that he doesn’t even have any woman in favor nor interested in a specific woman.
He thought he could. Grace is enthusiastic and willing about it and an addition to that, she was chosen as a candidate for saint. Therefore, there are more opportunities for her to have contact with Keefa.
There’s no shortage of dukes and princes to choose from, it’s just that Grace, herself, likes Keefa. His daughter is intelligent and beautiful. Everything will work.
However, he was shocked when he heard the situation in the temple. He was visited regularly by a priest that he sent as a spy to report to him.
Prince Keefa has no interest in Grace but a commoner and an albino.
“It seems that Prince Keefa, who has never had any interest in a specific woman, has met his fate. Without knowing her name, they both stared intently at each other, and even called each other out alone. He even carried her plant, he does anything he can and would be enthusiastic about it.” the priest said.
He had thought that the albino would soon be out of the candidacy list, but something promising had happened which was her being able to grow the largest sprout.
The duke gnashed his teeth even more. Liz was obviously upset earlier by his lie when he told the engagement between Grace and Keefa. Apparently, that’s because Liz was also thinking of Keefa.
…That girl. It seems that there exists a girl who’s a nuisance in his life, just like Cecil in his previous life. That bold look and attitude of Liz, there’s definitely a difference between her and Cecil who was weak and easy to handle. However, the duke doesn’t fear anything.
‘Cecil had died, she’s gone. But Liz? I’ll leave it to my daughter, Grace, first, but if she can’t do it, then―’