If I Disobey the Duke - Chapter 23
After getting in the carriage and leaving the gates, Lily glanced out the window.
The mountain road during the day was quite different from the gloomy midnight scenery she had seen on her first day.
A white birch tree was growing on the fluffy snow field.
It was as if the snow-blue winter sky had taken away all the other colours.
After a while, she saw the towering walls of Cadis in the distance.
Seeing Talin on horseback and the crest on the carriage, the knights skillfully opened the gates before they arrived.
As the carriage entered Cadis, Lily clung closer to the door.
If Arcadia was compared to a country, Cadis, its city with the lord’s castle, was nothing less than the capital.
If there were no problems in this marriage, this was the city that Lily had to work hard on in the future.
The carriage crossed the central boulevard and stopped at the south gate.
Talin, still on his horse, instructed the soldiers, “The Madam came directly to see her family. Open the door right now.”
The curious eyes of the soldiers poured into the carriage.
When Talin glared, the soldiers quickly turned their gaze away and prepared to open the drawbridge.
But at that moment, someone shouted, “Stop moving!”
An old knight with a strong stature and a wild beard approached.
Talin stepped off the horse and saluted him. “Count Valks.”
Vlad’s most loyal vassal, Count Dvin Valks, the lord of Cadis.
With an eye patch on one of his eyes and the Winter Knights’ black armor, he looked as strong and sturdy as a rock.
His voice boomed. “What is this? Sir Talin, you know best that no one can enter or leave without the lord’s command!”
“However, it’s the Isles, the Madam’s family. Doesn’t the count know him well?
Talin’s words seemed to agitate the mood of Valks quite a bit. He didn’t know if he knew, but the lady in the carriage was already famous all over the estate.
It was already a shock that the misanthropic lord had a wife.
She was a commoner, but the daughter of one of the most cutthroat richest people on the continent. And if that was not enough, she was a woman who had been widowed twice and remarried for the third time.
Valks disliked that fact the most.
In his eyes, she probably used her father’s fortune to bribe her way into marrying into aristocracy.
To sum it up, she was a profligate woman who believed in money and beauty but was too clumsy to be a noble.
“There are no exceptions. Do the men with the surname of Isles have no manners? The madam also came three months earlier than promised, and everyone is suffering so much. They also arrived without notice this time!”
“Keep your voice down! Lord Cadis!”
Talin frowned and stared at Valks. The veins in his neck bulged in anger, and he looked like a completely different person from when he treated Lily.
“The madam is in the carriage. What disrespect are you offering to the lady whom we’re supposed to protect and be loyal to!”
“Listen! You should be honored to be married to Commander de Winter, who expanded the borders of the empire! How can you break the rules like this every time?”
The moment Talin tried to shout again, the carriage door burst open.
All eyes turned to the carriage.
The hem of the dark blue dress, shimmering in silver lace, became visible first.
Everyone fell silent.
The pure midday winter sunlight poured down her face.
Her pale skin was soft and clear, and her delicately updone silver hair shone brightly. Her eyes opened. Green, like buds sprouting at the end of winter, accentuated by emerald earrings. Even her neck was exceptionally delicate.
Maybe it was because she was the mistress of the equally stunning lord. Even though her frame was thin—too thin—it only made her look more graceful.
Breaths caught in throats.
Lily closed the carriage door with her glove-clad hands.
On the surface, she seemed more familiar with moving alone, without an escort.
She approached Valk, who was lost in spirit, bent her knees slightly to greet him, and then extended his hand to him. “Nice to meet you, Count Valks.”
Only then did Valks come to his senses and grab her hand.
Her hand, which came into the rough old knight’s hand, was small and slender. He couldn’t help but feel ashamed that he was screaming out loud just a moment ago.
Valks kissed the back of Lily’s hand to greet her. “I greet the Mistress of Arcadia. This is Count Dvin Balks, Lord of Cadis.”
Lily looked up at the wrathful knight for a moment without even making eye contact.
She was taken aback by his appearance, and her momentum softened, but the emotion in her eyes was clear.
He despised her. His hateful look was the first thing she had shrewdly noticed.
“I should have greeted you in advance, but I have not been able to meet you with prior notice. Please forgive my lack of insight for not fully appreciating the count’s hard work.”
“Now that you have judged the situation correctly, please return to the castle. Stop disturbing the soldiers’ discipline and the security of this city.”
Lily was rather relieved by the blunt answer.
Being hated for no reason was difficult to endure, but he had a clear one. Lily was an expert when it came to being hated. This kind of thing was manageable for her.
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“The count really cares for the safety of the lord and Cadis.”
Valks raised one eyebrow. He had thought she was going to take a step back, but she seemed to be a more dignified woman than he expected.
“I have no intention of shaking the foundation the knights have built. I apologize if my visit seemed to cause unrest. Lily spoke in a calm tone. Her voice continued to be gentle and soft, yet firm. “But… ignoring your mistress in front of the lord’s soldiers is not a wise way to prove your loyalty, is it?”
He was stunned.
Lily elegantly looked up at Valks.