The Pharmacist Lady's Secret Trading - Chapter 20
“Why would that be!”
April demanded an explanation, but Ian just quietly stared at her.
“He promised…the Marquis promised me that he’d never say anything, no matter what I do.”
“Take the medicine.”
Shaking with mixed feelings and heartbreaking tension, she tried to tell him as calmly as she could.
Dazing at her, Ian slowly released her and sat up on the bed.
“The medicine will work better this time. It’s been improved a lot if not the best. Please drink it and lie down.”
Ian gulped down the medicine and lied down on his bed. As his harsh breathing became slower, silence cluttered back to the room.
“Please forgive me for my behavior.”
He apologized in a weak voice to her, who was massaging her thin wrists. She didn’t answer him right away. She didn’t want to. But…
“You always apologize like that, Marquis. I thought you’d be a little more assertive.”
“I….I can’t. My body isn’t following me. It feels like I’m going crazy.”
His raging reaction didn’t quite make sense to April. Why did he get so angry when she mentioned Miss Rose? Why do you hate her so much? Is there a reason?
“Are you going to stay here again?”
“That was loud.”
“I know, but I believe in my medicine as well.”
“So do I……”
She gently closed his eyes with her palm. As soon as the soothing effect of the medicine spread in his body, he fell asleep. It was not long before she found herself gazing down at his deeply asleep face.
April, who stayed up all night watching him sleep, got completely exhausted by dawn. It wasn’t easy for her to stay up late at night as she recently got into the habit of waking up early in the morning.
She squinted her eyes as the cold breeze of the dawn pricked her cheeks. A soft blanket was covering her body.
However, as soon as she tried to enjoy a little more of her languor, her eyes shot open to the breath of someone else on her head.
Ian was right in front of her. She was lying half-asleep beside him. His closed eyes looked comfortable, and his chest went up at a regular pace every time he breathed deeply.
‘Uh, what should I do?’
Her heart was beating so hard that she could hear it. Stiffly raising her head up, she stared up at his face. There was no sign of the beast from last night on his neat face.
His eyelids slowly parted themselves the moment she squirmed. His golden eyes were briefly revealed, the redness absent from them.
“A…pril….? Is this a dream…..?”
He mumbled in his sleep, bringing his fingers close to her cheek. He slowly stroked her cheek, slightly squeezing her soft skin.
April stiffened. Even though she felt uneasy at his touch, she didn’t want his hand to let go.
The sensation felt so real that he opened his eyes to a greater extent. He blinked at her for a moment.
“I-I’m so sorry, April. I thought it was a dream.”
He stuttered out as he quickly sat up on his bed, averting his gaze away from her. Meanwhile, April got out of his bed and sat back in the chair beside it.
“It’s fine, Marquis.”
“You were watching over me last night, and then, perhaps, you fell asleep next to me. Did I….make any mistake?”
Ian asked quietly, his eyes still not meeting hers. She quickly waved her hands.
“Not at all, Marquis! Oh, uh, would you like some water?”
She got up and walked to the table to pour two glasses of water. Ian flinched when his fingers grazed on hers when she handed over the glass to him.
“How….How are you feeling?”
“Great. I think the medicine worked very well.”
“That’s a relief, then. But, it might get harder in the future. The Marquis knows what it means when the cycle gets shortened, right?”
Her words hit him. However, she was worried instead of being rude, so he didn’t get angry as he did last night. He lowered his eyes, slowly rubbing his thumb on the glass in his hands.
“…..April. You said you wanted to help me even after our contract gets terminated.”
“Then, will you stay if I ask you to stay?”
She gently pressed her fist on her left chest. She wondered if her heart had become numb for a second. Even at this moment, his expression made it clear that it wasn’t just a passing question.
“What do you mean, Marquis?”
“…..It’s nothing. You don’t have to answer if it troubles you.”
When she asked back, Ian hurried to suppress her. As if he didn’t want her to be embarrassed. She went to put the glasses back on the table by the window.
‘You’re avoiding me again.’
Her eyes caught the morning scenery. New ideas began to bloom in her mind one after the other. But, she quickly put them aside, thinking it wouldn’t matter if she didn’t take her foot out early in the morning.
“It would be nice if I could get in touch with you, just so that I can confirm that you are doing well, Marquis.”
“Hmm, that makes sense.”
“The Marquis probably didn’t expect for me to do the work outside of payment, but you’ve given me a responsibility that I didn’t have before.”
She intentionally mentioned it, afraid of letting out her unknown relief and slight feeling of heartache. She covered up her rising emotions with such a joke.
“It’ll be enough if you could stay like that.”
Ian couldn’t stop himself from smiling at April’s rather impertinent remarks. Meanwhile, unable to find an appropriate reply, she bit her lips.
‘What’s wrong with me?’
Light streams poured down behind Ian, who silently stared at her figure. The morning sun rays had squeezed in through the clouds. April slightly dropped her gaze as she found him dazzling under the light.
April headed for the pharmacy for the first time since she had started living at the Marquis’ detached house. The market was still crowded.
She walked through the alleys of the market that was once like her hometown. As she entered the pharmacy, Dalia, who was cutting herbs with a small knife, welcomed April warmly.
“Look who’s here!”
Wiping her hands thoroughly with the towel, she came up to April and embraced her into a hug. The hand patting April’s back was warm.
“Oh, look at your face. It’s not thin anymore.”
“Well, I feel sick of eating so well.”
“That’s a relief. Shall we go inside, then? Let’s have a chat.”
The two entered the laboratory that was once used by April. Soon, Dalia brought in tea and a couple of snacks that they often had when they were together.
It was different than what she had with the Marquis, but she loved it and savored the aroma to the fullest.
“How’s the pharmacy doing?”
“Yes, thanks to the Marquis’ servants who allowed for the supply of your medicines. They’re also helping a lot in the sells, you know.”
“They’re working on behalf of me, of course. How’s the market doing?”
Dalia’s expression suddenly hardened. More or less, April expected her to chant out, “Everything is perfect!”.
Dalia checked if someone had arrived or not by peeking towards the pharmacy counter.
“Rill. I don’t think you should visit the market for a while. No, don’t even try to set foot outside the mansion.”
“What does that mean?”
April was not satisfied with the sudden subdued atmosphere. Dalia kept checking the counter and continued to speak in a very low voice.
“Truth is, someone is here from Carleva.”
Nothing had made her more afraid than when the name ‘Carleva’ appeared at Dalia’s lips. A shiver ran down her spine and her hand, which was holding the teacup, was shaking.
“They said he was some kind of Count. They said he came to the capital two days ago, but for some reason, he keeps walking around this area.”
“What are you implying….?”
“Don’t ask me. The court of Carleva knows that you’re staying in the capital, so I just wanted to tell you for your safety.”
Dalia was clearly worried.
No matter how young she was when she ran away, they’d still be able to recognize her face. Moreover, her silver hair and violet eyes were not very common.
“Did he come here again today?”
“Well, I didn’t see him today…..but you may never know. I’ve seen you. So hurry up and return to your place.”
“Alright. I’ll be back someday.”
“Yes. Please take care of yourself. Do you want me to walk you out?”
“No, I shouldn’t interrupt your work. I can go alone. Take care, Dalia.”
After the unfortunately small greeting, April forced her way out of the pharmacy.
‘It’s dangerous here.’
Glancing at the crowd down the streets, she began to run. She stumbled down again and again, but she didn’t care.
As she reached the end of the market with her hands holding down her hood, she ran into a man who was just turning at the corner.
He almost fell back in shock, but he quickly grabbed her wrist. To prevent her from stumbling down on the road.