Chapter 433. Kapmen’s Friend (2)
Translator: Aura / Editor: Tiny Zebra
Since the agreed upon meeting spot was a cafe near the Imperial Palace, the carriage ride was really short.
Grand Duke Kapmen got off first and extended his hand to me. I hesitated for a second before taking his hand as I stepped down from the carriage.
‘My name is Navi. My parents are merchants. I must overlook his unpleasant remarks. I must not talk like a rascal. Good. That sounds easy enough.’
As Grand Duke Kapmen approached the entrance to the cafe, an attendant opened the doors.
So as not to appear too nervous, I took a deep breath before entering.
“Have you ever been to a cafe?”
“I’ve heard about them…”
I never had a reason to visit one before. I had rarely even been to restaurants.
“Rich commoners frequent these places. They don’t hold parties in private lounges, they gather in cafes, fancy restaurants, theaters, and so on.”
“I see that the Grand Duke has been to a cafe before.”
“The students at the magical academy belonged to different social classes, so sometimes I visited these places.”
Come to think of it, Grand Duke Kapmen told me that he distributed the magic potions he made in the black market. I couldn’t believe that he was involved in such activities given his righteous attitude.
I followed him upstairs to the third floor, where the tables were arranged in such a way that the center of the rooms were empty.
“The rooms are cleared for dances and games. I understand that balls are held once a week.”
Grand Duke Kapmen explained as we walked to the tables in the back. Only one person sat at one of these tables, so I quickly realized that it was his friend.
As soon as I saw him, I questioned Grand Duke Kapmen’s advice not to speak like a rascal.
This man looked like a rascal at first glance.
Since he was a rascal, wouldn’t it be better to also act like one so that he would be more comfortable? Of course, I couldn’t be sure because I had never had a rascal friend.
I examined Grand Duke Kapmen’s friend as I hid my surprise under my expressionless face.
Thick hair disheveled like a bird after shaking its feathers, fierce eyes that suggested that he would pull out a knife to demand money at any moment, scars on his face that could not have been caused by an accident but were the result of dozens of street fights.
Of course, one shouldn’t judge a person by first impressions alone, but this was not only my own impression. Viscount Langdel, who stood behind me, looked a little nervous.
Didn’t he speak in a manner similar to mine when I posed as a rascal?
As my suspicion grew, the man stood up and shook Grand Duke Kapmen’s hand casually, then he hugged him tightly and quickly stepped away.
“What have you got? How have you been?”
“I’m fine, how about you?”
“I was in the Northern Kingdom. It’s bloody awesome, but it’s cold as hell. I was told that it gets colder when winter falls… the locals considered that the weather was warm during my visit. Damn, those guys’ skin must be three times thicker than mine.”
“Can’t you speak without using bad language?”
When Grand Duke Kapmen awkwardly reproached him, his friend mockingly called him a ‘bitter old man’. He must have noticed my presence, but he didn’t look at me.
When Grand Duke Kapmen said, “Dolshi, I want to introduce you to someone,” his sneer faded and he looked at me.
I knew he was only pretending not to see me. From the way he looked at me, he seemed to not have the slightest interest in me.
‘Ugh, ‘miscreant’ is a name that would suit someone like him better,’ I scoffed, in my mind.
Grand Duke Kapmen suddenly bit his lip hard, undoubtedly having heard my thoughts.
‘Oh dear. I need to control my thoughts.’
“What’s the matter? Why do you look like you want to laugh?”
“It’s nothing. More importantly, Dolshi. I want you to meet ‘Navi’. I’ve told you about her in my letters.”
“I figured as much, but ‘Butterfly’ is a damn strange name.” (TL/N: Navi = Butterfly)
‘See? I told you..’
When Grand Duke Kapmen bit his lip hard again upon hearing my thoughts, Dolshi raised an eyebrow in annoyance.
After I let out a deep sigh in my mind, I spoke directly to Dolshi.
“I’m Na— I’m Navi.”
‘Grand Duke Kapmen, don’t you dare hold back laughter like that!’
Dolshi slapped the palm of his hand against mine. At least, he still hasn’t discovered that I’m a noblewoman. Wasn’t this a good start?
Dolshi didn’t seem to be interested in me at all. It wasn’t that he hated or disliked me, it was just that he acted like I didn’t exist.
Grand Duke Kapmen asked if he could advise me on the use of ice magic, but Dolshi immediately refused. He said it would be too much trouble for someone as lazy as him.
But I couldn’t accept the first refusal, so I listened to their conversation while I ate the best-selling dessert in the cafe.
Most of the topics they discussed were not related to magic or anything that interested me, so my attention was constantly diverted to the cafe, as I had never visited one before.
I also looked out the window, watching the busy passerby as I ate the chocolate cake.
After some time, a carriage pulled up outside the cafe and I watched as a man got out of it. I leaned my head a little closer to the window.
‘Is that Sovieshu?’
Unless my eyesight was failing me, it was definitely Sovieshu. But before I had time to check, the man walked into the cafe…
When I reflexively stood up, Viscount Langdel, who sat at the table behind me, stood up immediately.
“What’s the matter, Miss?”
I was about to tell him, ‘I think I saw Emperor Sovieshu,’ but I just shook my head with a smile before sitting back down as I opened my fan.
‘Was the man I saw really Sovieshu? Why would he come here?’
As I frowned I saw my face reflected in the silver cup, framed by red hair and long bangs which obscured my eyes. Of course, I had disguised myself a bit, just in case.
The disguise was just a wig, but it would work. It would hide me from people who had never seen me up close. At most, someone would think that I resembled the Empress.
Anyone who saw me more frequently, like the nobles I was close to, would never come to a cafe frequented by commoners.
Sovieshu, on the other hand, was the worst person who could appear in the cafe. He knew well enough that he would certainly discover me beneath my simple disguise. Just as I recognized him at the cafe entrance, despite the fact that he got out of an ordinary carriage with a hood that covered half his face.
Surely because he heard my thoughts, Grand Duke Kapmen, who was engrossed in his conversation, turned his gaze to me. Then, he asked a clever question.
“Do you feel ill?”
I nodded, and asked a question in my mind.
‘I thought I saw Sovieshu enter the cafe. Can you please go check if Sovieshu is really here?’
It was best to check first. If I was right, I couldn’t leave right away because I might run into him.
Once I find out where Sovieshu is sitting, I’ll hide my face and sneak out.
“Wait here. I’ll get the medicine from the carriage.”
Grand Duke Kapmen found a reasonable excuse, then nodded to me, got up, and went downstairs.
I held the fan in front of my face and hid my agitation under a nonchalant expression. If I appeared too anxious, Kapmen’s friend might suspect me. However, he still didn’t seem interested in looking at me.
But then… Kapmen’s friend, who had barely made eye contact with me all this time, suddenly turned and stared at me.
Is he paying attention to me because he’s bored now that he has no one to talk to? Or is it because I’m hiding my face with the fan?
I quickly excused myself, but he didn’t take his eyes off me.
‘Why is he looking at me like that?’
I felt inexplicably uncomfortable due to his fixed gaze. At that moment, I recalled the words of Grand Duke Kapmen— ‘Your Majesty can be seen to belong to the nobility at a glance.’
‘No, I don’t think so. As I watched the other people in the cafe, I noticed that there more than one commoner dressed and acted as if they were a noble.’
As I tried to ignore Dolshi’s gaze, he suddenly let out an ominous whisper. It was as if he had discovered the whole truth. A wide smile appeared on his lips.
My heartbeat was out of control. Still, I kept my expression indifferent and lowered my fan a little. Although I didn’t know why he reacted that way, I had to appear confident.
Just then, I heard a commotion on the stairs, so I turned my head. It was Sovieshu.
I quickly raised the fan again to cover my face, but our eyes had already met.