The eyes of everybody in the hall fell on Lobelia in an instant.
Joheim also looked at Lobelia.
When he saw her, he looked a little surprised. What’s surprising? Lobelia thought as she narrowed her eyes at his expression.
Joheim cleared his throat; he approached Lobelia and bowed his head.
“My name is Joheim Jeremius,” he introduced himself, “It’s an honor to see you, Miss Lobelia.”
It was bizarre.
Lobelia thought she had never received such a polite greeting in her life.
Lobelia masked her nervousness with nonchalance as if she had been treated like this all her life.
It was one of her special strengths: the ability to remain calm and impassive in the face of unexpected circumstances
“Sir Jeremius, say it again,” Josephine demanded angrily as she interrupted the greetings between him and Lobelia.
“Why did you come here? This doesn’t make sense!” Joheim turned to Josephine in a stiff and polite manner like that of a knight.
“I have come to see Miss Lobelia at the behest of my lord, Duke Ferrado,” he said, matter-of-factly.
“No,” Josephine shook her head, “I mean, why? Why is the Duke of Ferrado looking for her instead of my daughter?”
“The duke wants to repay Miss Lobelia for her generosity the other day,” Joheim replied straightforwardly as if he no longer wanted to prolong the misunderstanding.
Josephine, on the other hand, was adamant to know what Lobelia could have possibly done to gain the duke’s favor.
“Where?” She asked persistently, but received no response from Joheim, who kept his mouth shut, so Josephine turned to Lobelia and bombarded her with questions in his stead.
“Where were you?” she asked, almost accusatory, “Where have you been going around to meet the Duke of Ferrado?”
“We met in front of the temple,” Lobelia calmly replied.
She glanced at Joheim, hoping that her message would be well delivered.
Joheim bobbed his head slightly and concocted a story to support her words.
“Yes, Miss Lobelia is right,” he said, “The Duke had stopped by the store across the temple for candles, and Miss Lobelia assisted.” Lobelia exhaled quietly, relieved.
“The temple,” Josephine muttered.
She looked at Lobelia with piercing eyes, but pried no longer despite her will.
The temple was one of the few outside facilities that Lobelia could enter.
“This is in return for your kindness.” Joheim beckoned to the apprentice standing behind her, who then brought out a box with a gold emblem.
Lobelia stepped forward and opened the box.
Inside was a glass bottle similar in shape to the one she had handed to the duke, but more luxurious and filled with jasmine perfume instead, a scent popular among the ladies these days.
The duke had put her potion to the test, and this gift meant that he intended to accept Lobelia’s offer.
“The Duke has sent an invitation along with this gift,” Joheim said, “If Miss Lobelia does not mind, the Duke would like you to join him for a luncheon to formally thank you for your help.”
“I’d be honored to,” Lobelia said.
As she turned to Marlon for his permission, Aina, who had been watching in disbelief from the side, suddenly stepped forward and snatched the perfume bottle.
Joheim was startled and tried to stop Aina.
However, as a knight, he couldn’t touch a lady casually.
Aina slowly observed the bottle with her wide eyes and then screamed at Lobelia.
“Why is Duke Ferrado looking for you? Why is he being so generous to you over a candle?” Her eyes shook.
“Why would he send you a gift and invite you to eat with him?”
For once, Lobelia couldn’t keep her composure.
It was the first time she’d seen Aina be so unruly.
She continued to demand an answer for this reality that seemed unbelievably absurd, and Lobelia felt panicked. What is wrong with her? she wondered.
Aina was a well-behaved child; she conducted herself in a manner befitting a lady, but this girl before her was nothing like that.
Lobelia recalled what she had read in the Original.
In the story, Aina preserved her kind temperament to the very end.
When her father’s sins were revealed, she forgave Lobelia with tears in her eyes.
Was Aina envious of the duke’s favor? It seemed that jealousy had elicited a negative reaction from her.
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