Please be Patient, Grand Duke - Chapter 11.1
Lia could not refuse Wade pon Wales, the future emperor. She obediently followed him, thinking that the Marquis may suffer the consequences if she didn’t. Two horses were waiting for them when they came out of the outhouse.
“I will take Lian with me.” With those words, Claude lifted her onto his pitch-black horse and his brow furrowed as he wrapped an arm around her waist. The Marquis had taught her how to ride a horse and she was able to mount it with ease.
“I was going to have him ride mine, Claude,” Wade grumbled, unlike his usual self, as he looked up at the two.
“Please, I’m a better rider than you, and this is best for Lian’s safety.”
“You will regret those words, as I will win the next riding contest!”
“I hope you do.”
Lia’s head was in turmoil as Claude spoke. She’d felt unnerved when his arm was around her waist and she’d felt his strong presence. She still didn’t know what his intentions were.
“Smile, Canillian,” Claude whispered to her as the horse began to trot, and she felt a tingling sensation course through her body. “People may think that I’m kidnapping you.”
“I apologize.” Lia heard laughter and she lowered her head as she blushed uncontrollably. She wished for the Marquis to come as soon as possible and rescue her. The emperor’s servant notified them that they would be invited to the Great Hall for a banquet when they arrived at the prince’s palace. It meant that she may have to stay in the palace tonight.
“Canillian, why are you so glum?” Wade smiled as he stepped down from his large brown horse, and Lia escaped from Claude to jump down too.
“I’m not sure, Your Highness. It’s just my first time here, and both of you are my brother’s friends.”
“Well, I assumed so,” she said, and then quickly changed the subject, “I find your palace too beautiful for words.”
Claude’s cold laugh went over Lia’s head as he nodded and teased her, “Canillian is good at pleasing others,” he smirked as he dismounted his magnificent horse and handed the leather reins to a servant. Lia looked at him with astonishment. She didn’t understand his ups and downs.
Wade shrugged his shoulders at the two and then grabbed Lia’s hand. “That’s fortunate since I like such people.” Wade pulled her to him, and Claude’s arm came between the two. Lia flinched as his arm hit her chest, and Wade shouted, “Claude! Why are you pretending to be so dense?” Claude acted like he didn’t see the two’s reaction.
“Don’t you remember Count Sherringum’s daughter? That caused quite a problem,” warned Claude.
“You think it’s my fault that she tried to lure me?”
“I’m saying that you shouldn’t let yourself be vulnerable. Also, Sir Canillian is beautiful too.”
Lia held her breath for a moment, as the word beautiful was like ice to her ears. She had seen Claude’s sneer when he told her she was beautiful.
“It will spread as a rumor.” Claude was insinuating that the two may be seen as being in an illicit relationship, and Lia flushed at the words.
Wade shrugged as he shook his head. “Canillian, don’t mind him. He’s irritated for some reason today.” Wade went into the palace, but she didn’t step forward.
Lia had not known pride in Louvre and had tried to conform to the Vales after arriving there. Pride had not fed her then, but she almost cried now because of Claude’s words and said through clenched teeth, “I don’t aim to please others but try to be agreeable with them.” She spoke to Claude firmly as he walked ahead of her. However, Claude’s eyes held no emotions as he turned around when she continued, “I also don’t aim to gain anything by pleasing others. I’m grateful to you for bringing me here but I will refuse any more niceties.”
“What?” Claude was perplexed by what she said.
Lia bowed to Claude and passed him by, hiding her fear as she felt his gaze fixed on her. She decided that when he’d placed snow on her cheek four years ago, it must’ve just been a prank or a reason to sneer at what she’d done. Lia had thought about his intentions for days afterward, which had proved to be futile. However, things were different now. She was no longer a wandering child and walked confidently through the stone archway to where Wade awaited her.
“Rosina’s birthday party will be held here, so I had it redecorated as it’s a very special day for her.” Wade’s voice was cheerful as he explained the history of the rose gardens that sparkled under the bright sun.
They had a light snack under a red and black parasol, and Lia’s eyes widened at the thick sandwiches, elaborate cakes, and the variety of greenhouse fruits.