Please Be Patient, Grand Duke - Chapter 24.1
Dumbfounded at Claude’s ridiculous outburst, Lia pulled her hand away roughly, not understanding what he meant by saying that she shouldn’t choose grade nine. “Lord, did you hit your head?” she asked, looking perplexed.
“I am not in the mood for jokes. Pick any grade that you want, except for grade nine.”
“Why? The principal told me that grade nine was the best suited for me.”
“Eddie Kirkham,” he said sarcastically.
Hearing the familiar name, Lia decided to shut her mouth. She then began to feel the stares from the people around her and saw that Claude was glaring at the surrounding bystanders who’d been watching them. He then promptly turned on his heel and headed in the direction of the picturesque garden.
Not wanting to be left alone, she decided to escape the cold corridors that were full of unwanted attention and bolted after him. Following closely in his footsteps, they walked outside into the well-maintained garden that had an abundance of trees, shrubs, and the most beautiful array of bright flowers that all cast shadows of the freshly cut grass, many of which she didn’t know the name of.
“Eddie Kirkham is a sodomist,” Claude said bluntly.
Instinctively, Lia had known that when she’d first met him in the Count’s garden; the teacher’s preference had been obvious. However, she couldn’t give up her grade for such reason and asked, “That is your reason?”
“Do you not understand what I mean?” His voice sounded irritated now.
“Lord, I am a student. I do not wish to pry into my teacher’s personal life. Besides, I will only be here for one…” She faltered at the end of her sentence because she wasn’t supposed to tell anyone yet. “Anyway, I want to advance to a higher grade. My homeroom teacher’s personal preferences will not be a problem.”
Claude stopped before he got too far ahead of himself and simply asked, “It will not be a problem?”
He looked at her with an unreadable expression and feeling uncomfortable with his stare, she diverted her attention to their surroundings. “Is this the horse-riding track?” She asked, exaggerating her amazement as she looked around inquisitively as if she had a keen interest in it. Someone had informed her once of the large horse-riding track and how it was the academy’s greatest pride, and she now saw this to be true.
“Don’t change the subject. Pick grade eight. It’s too early for grade nine. If you enter grade nine before you adjust to the academy, you’ll find yourself buried in books,” Claude whistled after speaking, and the door of the stable opened and a horse trotted out with a pitch-black mane that swayed in the breeze. It was the same black beauty that Claude had ridden the last time.
Happy to see the familiar horse, she held out her hand but was quickly stopped by Claude. His hand was so big that it covered hers completely and he warned her, “He might bite you.”
“He’s not good with strangers.” And as if to prove his words were correct, the horse started rubbing his face on Claude’s shoulder and Lia watched in fascination.
“Do you want to take a ride?” Claude asked, seeing her eyes sparkle in awe.
Lia was about to wave her hand to say no but found that it was still in Claude’s grasp and she slowly pulled it away, “No, I am fine. But thank you for the offer.”
Her blonde hair gently fell around her pretty face as she shook her head from side to side. Claude sighed quietly and turned his gaze away from her, noticing that there were still some people watching them. He thought to himself that perhaps the root of all these problems was Eddie Kirkham.
Claude’s eyes then landed on a pair of full lips that still had a small scratch on them. The wound was almost completely gone, but it stood out like a sore thumb to him, because he was the person who had caused it.
When he came back to his senses, his hand was already on Canillian’s lips. His finger brushed softly across the scratch, and the green eyes that gazed up at him were shaking slightly. “There is a scratch,” he said, looking oddly embarrassed.
Canillian pulled his hand away and avoided his eyes, “I hit it on something that day in the car.”
“Is that so?”
“You should be careful too. That car is a dangerous chunk of metal.”
When he recalled what he’d done, it seemed that metal wasn’t the only danger in the car. He was just about to make an excuse to leave when he saw in the distance that three men, wearing the royal guard uniform, were approaching them on horseback. They must’ve received orders regarding the request for cooperation and had come in search of him.
“I will give you a tour next time. You should leave now. Go straight home.” Claude lightly pushed Lia’s back, encouraging her to go.
“Okay. Please give me a tour another time then.” Taking the hint, she took a quick glimpse at the approaching guards and left without asking another question, scratching her head as she picked up her pace. To other people, she may have looked strong, but in Claude’s eyes, Canillian looked vulnerable.
Claude was worried about everything when it came to Canillian. As he sighed to himself, the guards stopped in front of him and bowed.
“We are here to collect you,” one of the guards announced.
“It seems the King has accepted my request then.”
“Yes. He said he will follow your will.”
The royal family had sent an official request for the Duke’s soldiers to join the capital’s police. To this, Claude had one condition, and that was, he would take care of the soldier’s commands, separate from the police.
“Did you find the specific location of the culprit?” Claude asked, sounding hopeful.
“The last crime caused a big injury so he couldn’t have gone too far. The place he went to hide…”
“Must be Louvre,” Claude interjected.
The answer was right in front of them all along. But Louvre was a big city and they didn’t know where to start searching. It was also a complex area that didn’t even have maps, so unless you had a guide, you wouldn’t be able to get out alive, so Claude instructed, “We need to find someone who knows the area well. We must start moving tonight.”
A look of disappointment spread across the guard’s face as if he had something else to do that evening. Claude ignored his obvious annoyance and stroked a horse’s mane, lightly hitting its rear with his whip. The brown scruffy horse obeyed immediately and started to trot away, reaching a full gallop in no time.
Making his way back to the main building, he saw Canillian as he was about to exit the garden and noticed that there were still some people who were following him, but they didn’t do or say anything after he’d firmly warned them earlier.
Claude made his way into the building with his guards in tow, and just as he entered, Eddie Kirkham stopped midway on the long flight of stairs and stared down at him. The teacher smiled politely, but Claude coldly ignored him. As he walked up the stairs, anger rose inside of him, the likes of which he’d never experienced before.
Trying to distract himself from the uncomfortable feeling, he turned his attention to one of the large windows and saw that Canillian had safely escaped the academy and was stepping into the coach. Damn it! Everywhere he looked Canillian was there, as if he was a curse that had been brought into Claude’s life.