LTBE - Chapter 484.2: The One Missing (2)
“Lord Roel, Miss Charlotte needs some time to prepare. Please wait here for a moment.”
Roel casually glanced at the exquisite carriages stopped along Brolne’s main road, and he noticed bits of dirt and mud clinging onto them. The coaches driving the carriages were also fighting a losing war against their drooping eyelids. That affirmed his earlier conjecture that Charlotte’s convoy had been rushing back to Rosa.
A sharp glint flashed across his eyes.
Something is indeed wrong here.
Holding onto the reins of his steed, he recounted the events that had happened earlier.
His group had woken up before sunrise to pack their items and resume their pursuit. They spent hours galloping ahead before the Diamond Rivière finally appeared in their line of sight.
To his surprise, the Diamond Rivière didn’t immediately halt even though several members of the convoy had already noticed him. This was perplexing given that Charlotte always ordered her convoy to halt whenever they bumped into each other, regardless of the occasion.
As a result, Roel was forced to follow the convoy for quite some time.
Things only got weirder after the convoy came to a halt.
Charlotte didn’t immediately leap out of the carriage to welcome him as she usually did. The one who received him in her place was also not Grace but another female guard. Roel had seen this female guard before on other occasions, but by the customs of the Sia Continent, this was a breach of etiquette.
Roel personally wasn’t bothered by such formalities, but Charlotte was. It was unlike her to commit this faux pas.
Is this a show of dominance from her? No, that shouldn’t be…
Roel found the situation baffling, but he decided not to dwell on it since it was not of importance. His greatest priority right now was to meet Charlotte and have her explain the situation.
Time ticked by. His eyebrows began to furrow.
She’s taking too long.
Roel glanced at the coaches, who had started napping from having to wait for an extended period of time, and his expression slowly turned grave.
He was not so dense as to not understand that women needed more time to wash up and fix their appearances in the morning, but Charlotte was an exception. In the days they spent traveling together, she had always been efficient in tidying herself up every morning. She would then spend the time saved peeking at his sleeping visage.
With the sun already high in the sky, Charlotte should have woken up by now. It was bewildering how the door to her carriage remained firmly closed after such a long period of time.
Should I barge in?
The carriage door opened before Roel could make a reckless move. A maid stepped out and invited him in on Charlotte’s behalf, informing him that her young miss was waiting in the guest room. He answered with a nod.
Entering the Diamond Rivière, Roel walked across a spacious lounge and soon arrived at the guest room. An auburn-haired woman already sitting on the other opposite end of a sofa from the doorway, waiting for him.
A year had passed since their last meeting, but Charlotte looked the same as ever, be it her flawlessly fair skin, her flowing auburn hair, her dignified face, or her intoxicating emerald eyes.
She wore a stylish gown weaved of red and white that exposed her shoulders, only to tighten around her waist. The gown gently flowed down, directing one’s attention to the crimson trinket she wore around her ankles.
It was a noblelike but avant-garde piece that looked innocent yet seductive, a style that was uniquely Charlotte. It was one of her self-created pieces.
Roel was mesmerized from the moment he laid his eyes on her, but he quickly coughed and turned his attention back to the more important matters.
“It’s been a while, Charlotte. How have you been?”
“… I have been doing well. What about you, darling?”
“Well… Not too bad, I guess.”
Roel momentarily paused at Charlotte’s return question as he recalled his encounters over the past year. From Tark Stronghold’s tragedy, the Theocracy’s internal war, to the recent Braytown investigation mission, it was hard for Roel to describe his year to be good…
… though the same could be said about Charlotte too.
Enduring the lethargy and enfeeblement haunting her, Charlotte put down her teacup and looked at Roel with deep eyes. Countless words were at the tip of her tongue, accumulated over their year of separation, but she swallowed them down, knowing that it wasn’t the time for it.
Even if the possibility was slim, she couldn’t risk Roel catching the same affliction as her.
Her plan was to express her dissatisfaction and drive Roel off, but now that he was standing before her, she realized that she had overestimated her self-control. How could she bring herself to chase off the man she had missed for an entire year?
Her aching heart started pounding hard from the moment he entered the room. A year’s worth of feelings gushed forth, resuscitating her soul.
I… I really can’t bring myself to chase him away, Charlotte thought bitterly.
On the other hand, Roel took a trip down memory’s lane too, but he quickly snapped out of it. Turning his eyes toward Charlotte, he asked a question that had been plaguing him for several days now.
“Charlotte, did something happen?”
“What are you saying, darling? What could have possibly happened?”
“Don’t bother putting on an act. It doesn’t work on me.”
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Panic flashed across Charlotte’s eyes. She quickly concealed it with a smile, but Roel wasn’t fazed at all.
From their first meeting, he had already known that she was an actress. It was not just once or twice that he had fallen for her act, though her tricks slowly lost effectiveness as they got closer.
“You didn’t inform me when you returned to Saint Freya Academy, and now you’re returning home without bidding me farewell. This isn’t the Charlotte I know. Tell me, what happened?”
“… It’s nothing. I just miss home.”
“Yes. I’m drained from the long discussions in the symposium,” replied Charlotte.
This response didn’t satisfy Roel, but no matter how he probed her, she obstinately clung to her stance, insisting that she had been out for too long and wanted to quickly return home to rest.
The way she was reacting to the situation failed to assuage Roel’s unease. If anything, it only made him more worried. He was now more certain than ever that something was wrong here, but she was refusing to divulge anything at all.
Knowing that he wouldn’t make any progress like this, he turned his attention to the other details, hoping to unravel clues from them. It didn’t take long for something—or rather, the absence of something—to catch his eyes.
Looking at the lonesome Charlotte in the room, his golden eyes narrowed with hawk-like sharpness.
“Charlotte, where is your personal maid, Grace?”