Were horses always calm Lia wondered as she sat on the saddle being led by Ian.
She glanced at him guiding the horse with barely any motion and smiled.
It looked like he was trying hard to be thoughtful for her.
“I told you riding a horse is a bit too much right now,” Lia tsked.
“It’s not a place you can walk to,” Ian retorted.
“Sun’s coming down soon.
I know it has gotten longer but my stomach is accurate,” she complained.
I won’t starve you.”
The place Ian was headed to was a forest connected to the Academy.
As they rode on the horse through the path littered with greens of fir and acacia trees, Lia was enveloped by a thick aroma of sweets and savory.
The two of them had just come out to a clearing from a forest path that didn’t seem to have been traveled by many people.
Ian stopped and they had reached a place echoed by the calming sound of water and its fresh scent that hung in the air around.
They were at a small lake with a big sycamore tree beside.
“Doesn’t this remind you of Cosoar,” Ian smiled reminiscently, offering his hand to Lia after getting off the horse.
“That’s why you brought me here,” Lia muttered to herself while taking Ian’s hand.
Soon after she slid off the horse with the help of Ian, Lia suddenly dropped to the floor as she felt a sharp sudden pain around her ribs.
“Are you okay” Ian asked, barely sparing her a glance.
I think I’ll walk home.
It hurts.” Lia winced.
“You’re too weak,” Ian sat beside her as he spoke.
Lia glanced at Ian, who was oddly quiet.
The man who seemed a little down.
“How did you know about this place anyway” she asked.
“By some chance.
I smelled the water as I was riding my horse,” Ian responded with an air of nonchalance.
“You have a very good sense of smell.
The smell of water, I can’t smell it well.”
“I remember it well.
It was like this at Cosoar.
It was beautiful,” Ian added while looking at the grand lake in front of them.
The tips of his fingers were being painted wet with grass.
Lia also liked it at Cosoar.
She always wanted to go to the capital, but now that she actually lived there, she missed Cosoar.
She missed Cosoar so much that she had vivid dreams about it every now and then.
Did Ian want to go back home too It had already been a few months since was staying at the Empire as Kieran’s guest.
“I heard you visited because of Kieran’s engagement.
Are you going back once it’s over” Lia asked.
“Probably, right away.”
“Then it’s not too far away You must be glad.
Your home is probably a great place too.”
“Mm, it is but I don’t want to go back.
I’m already annoyed that I have to look after Kieran for another year.”
“He’s… going back with you” Lia blanked out for a moment.
She wasn’t aware of this.
Kieran had become healthy enough not to need more treatment.
So why was he going back
“Is that why the Marchioness allowed me to attend the Academy”
As her train of thoughts grew, she found it more and more difficult to focus on the beautiful scenery in front of her.
She felt herself starting to get a little depressed at her thoughts.
“Before I return, I’ll give you a gift.
Whatever you want,” Ian said as if reading her mind.
As his voice came closer, Lia’s sight became more in focus.
She realized Ian was smiling at her in the distance, a distance that was too close.
“I don’t need a gift.
I don’t really have anything that I want anyway,” Lia shrugged.
“It’s not that you don’t want anything but that I can’t give it to you,” Ian shook his head.
He’s so observant. Lia gathered her knees and smiled.
It’s not something you can give.”
“That hurts my pride.
Then… how about I suggest something”
Lia’s eyes sparkled with interest and Ian couldn’t help but stare into the beautiful green eyes that were pulling him in.
“I’ll help you get into Louvre.
I can help you.” Ian said, his voice strong with promise.
“I’ll look after you.
So go around as much as you want.”
“H-How did you know That I’m trying to get into Louvre,” Lia sputtered out the words in disbelief.
“Ever since I got here, I was only looking at you.”
Ian put his lips on Lia’s short hair.
She flinched, withdrew her shoulders, and leaned back.
weird,” Lia tried to fight the blush that threatened to spread across her cheeks.
“I told you that I fell in love at first sight, Canillian,” Ian smirked, and Lia shook her head as she playfully pushed him.
Immediately after he calmed her with a joke, he felt someone’s gaze on them.
Ian turned his attention to that direction, but they were in a forest full of thick-skinned trees pattering with sounds of small animals, it could have just as easily been a stray.
However, he managed to locate the eyes of the horse whose gaze had caught his attention but just as soon as he had then the horse quickly disappeared without a trace.
For a horse to disappear so seamlessly, it must have had a very good rider.
Ian only knew two men that fit the bill.
One was Prince Wade but if it had been him, there was no way he would leave without saying anything.
Then that only meant that it must have been the young Duke again.
The forest was also his property.
Ian’s lips twisted before he turned his attention back to Lia.
“So, tell me.
Where should I look out for you”
“I’m going to find the thing I lost myself,” she retorted.
“No, we might not see each other… for a while You can’t forget me.
That’s why I want to give you a gift before I go.” He carefully grabbed her wounded hand and pressed his lips on the back of it.
The eyes that were looking up were soft.