I Reincarnated As An Evil Duchess - Chapter 18
As Noah asked her the question again, his face was clouded by Min-ha’s hesitant response.
Then, with a tearful look, he alternately looked at Min-ha in front of him, and Seth, who was standing in front of the office desk in turn.
She let out a short sigh, as anyone who saw that figure would say, ‘I want to go with my brother and my sister-in-law.’
‘…I can’t help it. Noah wants this.’
Min-ha changed her expression and replied with a smile.
“Really? I’m excited!”
“You like it that much?”
“Yes! I always went out with my brother and Lance, but this is the first time I went out with my brother and my sister-in-law!”
At her answer, Noah jumped from place to place with an excited look on his face and rejoiced. It was the first time Noah seemed to be this happy. Seeing him, Min-ha thought that he was cute, but her heart was bitter.
To be precise, she felt sorry for him. The loneliness of the child was felt from the way he was so happy even when he got to go out with his family, which was usually not such a big deal.
So, even though she was looking at Noah with her mouth smiling, her eyes were not smiling at all. Though she raised her head suddenly because Min-ha felt Seth’s presence approaching her.
Then, Seth, who made eye contact with her, spoke in a blunt voice.
“What do you think, talking to Noah like that without my opinion?”
“Weren’t you the one who said that we would go together first? Surely, you are not going to say anything now, are you?”
“Noah, let’s go. Hold sister’s hand!”
When Min-ha asked with a smile, he could only avoid her gaze without saying a word. It was difficult to read the emotions on his face, but it didn’t matter to her now.
Min-ha lifted her body up lightly and held out her hand to Noah, who was very excited. At that, the little boy quickly grabbed her hand tightly.
Wiggling her hand playfully, she glanced back at Seth, who was still standing tall, and said.
“Aren’t you going?”
Only then did he follow her slowly.
Eventually, she soon left the office, smiling face to face with the happy Noah.
The first view she saw outside the mansion was much more lively than Min-ha had imagined.
She exclaimed as she gazed at the downtown area with the same face as Noah, who was very excited.
The red brick houses and a gray stone-paved road, and the market spread along the road were like a large flower garden with colorful tents set up by merchants.
Furthermore, the soliciting voices of merchants and the plays and singing of clowns catching citizens passing the market in the middle were enough to excite Min-ha and Noah, who were already thrilled.
Even though she was excited, admiring the scene in front of her, Min-ha was still holding the child’s hand tightly as though she might miss Noah due to the procession of countless people surrounding them.
Min-ha opened her mouth.
“Noah, you can never let go of sister’s hand, okay? You might get lost.”
“Huh? What’s wrong? Do you want to say something?”
Noah just looked ahead without saying a word.
As she shifted her gaze to see what he was looking at, a young couple, each holding a child’s hand in their hand, chatting happily, caught her eye where the little boy was staring.
…Perhaps, is he envious of them holding hands with their parents?
‘What should I say at times like this?’
She stroked Noah’s head with a puzzled expression. Moments later, he smiled slightly at Min-ha, who was stroking her hair, and immediately turned his head and called Seth, who was walking behind them.
“What’s going on?”
“Can’t you hold my hand, too?”
Noah held out his empty hand to him and said so.
Seeing that, Seth immediately hardened his expression and looked at Min-ha, and she also turned her head to look at him with a stiff expression.
The two people who met their eyes made an awkward expression at the same time, regardless of who came first—especially, Min-ha’s expression.
Watching their reaction carefully, Noah grabbed Min-ha’s hand and turned to Seth again.
“…Brother, do you not like it?”
“…No. I don’t hate it.”
Watching his younger brother’s eyes as he was speaking hesitantly, Seth stood next to Noah as if he had no choice but to hold out his hand.
At that, Noah smiled happily and stared at him and Min-ha as they were now holding his hands. Meanwhile, the two, who smiled awkwardly at the way he looked up with really happy faces, met eyes once again from above Noah’s head.
At that moment, Min-ha was startled by the awkward smile of the handsome Seth that came into her sight, and Seth also slightly hardened the expression at her smiling face.
‘I guess he doesn’t want to walk next to me.’
Min-ha interprets Seth’s stiff expression like that, avoiding his gaze.
And then, as if passing by, she uttered softly.
“…Well, thank you for enduring this. I know you wouldn’t have liked to come out together like this. It’s all for Noah, so bear with it for a little while even if you don’t like it.”
“…I don’t care. Did you not want to come out with me?”
“No, not really.”
“…Well then, me, too.”
To Min-ha’s words, Seth answered in a calm voice. Contrary to the expected answer that she was expecting him to react more negatively instead of the current nonchalance he’s giving.
When she looked at him with a surprised face, his gaze was already far away.
“Brother! Sister! I want to go there!”
“Huh? …Yes. All right, let’s go!”
Between the two of them, Noah, who had an excited face just like a child at his age, waved his hand and said that he wanted to go to a shop where white smoke was rising.
At that moment, Min-ha turned her gaze to him and answered, before following the child’s lead.
Then, seeing the three people approaching, the shopkeeper smiled and shouted welcomingly.
“Welcome! Our pierogi boasts the best taste in this town!”
[ T/N: ‘Pierogi’ are filled dumplings made by wrapping unleavened dough around a savoury or sweet filling and cooking in boiling water. They are often then pan-fried before serving. ]
“…Pierogi? What is it?”
“Oh, are you from another province? You don’t know pierogi? Now, this is pierogi!”
It sounds like a food name, but it was the first time she heard it. Min-ha tilted her head and asked, and the store owner smiled broadly and opened the lid of the large pot.
There, what appeared between the white smoke on her face were round dumplings floating in hot water.
‘Oh! They also sell dumplings here, too!’
Just seeing it makes her mouth salivate. Min-ha wanted to try it to see if it tastes the same as dumplings she knew. As if Noah had the same thought, he was pressing her hand tightly.
“Sister! I want to eat that!”
“Hmm! Okay! Uncle, I’d like three servings of this”
Min-ha ordered pierogi as if waiting for Noah’s chasing. Then, Seth, who was watching the scene, said with a look of surprise.
“…For three people?”
“Oh, why? You don’t eat it?”
“You didn’t even touch the food of the commoners.”
“Huh…? Me? Why wouldn’t I eat it? I didn’t eat it because I don’t want to eat it.”
Min-ha answered and watched with Noah, as the shopkeeper put freshly boiled pierogi in a box.
The store owner smiled delightedly at her and Noah’s focused expressions and held out a hot steaming box.
“Here you go. Madam, master!”
“How much is it?”
“It’s 10 rupees!”
“Here you go.”
As soon as the store owner quickly handed out the box, Min-ha took out a gold coin from the pocket she was holding and paid for it.
And, the moment he turned his back from the shop, her eyes met with Seth, who was holding a gold coin with an indifferent face next to her. Seeing so, she asked, pointing to his hand, which has a gold coin in his palm.
“What, should I buy more?”
“Are you sure?”
“It’s the price of the pierogi you paid. Take it.”
Then, to her question, Seth answered by holding out the gold coin in her hand.
‘What did he mean by that?’
Min-ha pushed his hand and shook her head.
“I have enough money to buy this. And, I came here to give Noah a birthday present, but it would be meaningless if you pay.”
“…I don’t understand.”
“What? That I’m spending money?”
As she answered his words, Min-ha moved a little away from him and put the hot steaming pierogi on a small skewer before blowing on it lightly.
As if observing the situation, Seth gazed at her quietly and said in a blunt voice.
“…Why can’t I say no.”
“I don’t know what else you don’t understand, though what’s wrong with using the money you earn from working to spend it? That’s why everyone is working hard to make money. Give it to someone who needs it, save it, or just spend the rest on yourself.”
“…Work hard to use money. Ha.”
“You, too, right? Ella said you had crossed countless battlefields as a mercenary before you were given the title? I don’t think people like you went to war so hard simply because of your desire to succeed.”
“Ah, it’s cold now. Noah, ah—”
At that, she bent over and brought the cooled pierogi to Noah’s mouth. The little boy opened his mouth like a baby bird and took the pierogi and ate it with a small smile.
Min-ha, who had watched Noah chew the pierogi with his mouth full, wiped the wet child’s mouth with her hand and got up.
Suddenly, her eyes met with Seth’s, who had been watching her all the way.