I Don’t Care About Being Liked by the Capture Targets. I Will Be Myself and Free! – Chapter 18

Chapter 18: Encounter with a Mysterious Boy (Part 1)

The Duke family’s carriage headed east for several hours.

The family arrived at Plum, a summer resort surrounded by vast natural forests and picturesque countryside.

As the scenery changed, so did the smell of the wind blowing in from outside the window.

The strong scent of greenery and the earthy aroma of the rural area.

Being away from her daily life, Chloe’s heart naturally felt uplifted.

Plum had many interesting things that couldn’t be seen in the city.

Ruined castles, lakes overgrown with water lilies, and caves behind waterfalls.

Chloe felt a confident feeling that it would surely be a wonderful vacation.

Even after entering the Duke family’s property, the private road continued for a while.

Suddenly, the sound of hooves changed.

They had entered a paved road.

Shortly after realizing this, the carriage stopped.

The servants in charge of managing the country house were lined up in front of the mansion as usual, welcoming the family.

Having been informed of their stay just a few days ago, they must have been in a flurry of preparations.

The Duke, Chloe’s father, entered the mansion with a cheerful voice, offering words of appreciation.

Chloe, who had lightly stepped down from the carriage, stopped in her tracks.

It would be boring to spend time inside the mansion on such a nice day.

Chloe stopped her mother, who was following her father, and told her that she wanted to take a walk.

“Are you planning to play pranks again? You’re not a child anymore. Behave like a lady.”

“Okaa-sama, this is a summer resort. Why don’t you relax instead of being so noisy?”

“Well, Chloe!”

Chloe’s eyes, which look just like hers, rise even higher in anger.

If she stays here any longer, a storm of scolding seems likely to break out.

“Chloe! Where are you going? Don’t run!”

“I’m going to do some ladylike training! See you later.”

“Ladylike training?!”

Chloe fled from the entrance of the country house as if she were running away.

The dahlias planted along the private road are blooming elegantly in the sunlight.

When she leaves the gate and heads in the opposite direction of the carriage road, a thicket appears.

The dappled sunlight and refreshing forest breeze create a coolness that is typical of a summer resort.

Unlike when she strolls through a park in the city, there is no sign of people.

Instead, nature whispers endlessly.

Birds chirping, trees rustling, bees buzzing, and a stream babbling.

Chloe flips the hem of her white summer dress and heads deeper into the forest.

She doesn’t hesitate in her footsteps.

There is a large lake a little further ahead.

That’s where she’s headed.

It’s been two years since she visited this summer resort, but the memories remained intact.

“Nothing has changed since the summer two years ago.”

Huff, huff.

She takes a deep breath and inhales the refreshing air to the fullest.

(Isn’t it about time for Steed to arrive too?)

Duke Beltoise’s country house is located near the royal villa.

Chloe remembers the conversation she had with Steed the day before departure.

[Just relax at the country house until I arrive. The event at the lake is tomorrow.]

[What? No way. It’s boring!]

[When I arrive, I’ll take you out. I found a special place last summer. I want to spend time alone with you, my precious one. Without anyone disturbing us.]

[Huh? Just the two of us? If it’s such a wonderful place, let’s tell everyone! I don’t want to become a small-time crook who monopolizes wonderful things.]

[That’s harsh. You easily dodge my invitation. Hey, Chloe. It’s your virtue to treat everyone equally, but be careful with the heroine. Whenever she’s involved, Chloe always ends up unhappy. If possible, I don’t want Chloe to have any contact with the heroine.]

Whenever the topic of the heroine comes up, Steed’s eyes become a little sharper.

Depending on the game’s development, he might fall in love with her.

From the current Steed, he couldn’t imagine such a future at all.

“Anyway, aim for a life where you have as little involvement with the heroine as possible. It’s a piece of cake.”

(Just relax and leave it to me. I won’t do anything unnecessary!)

Chloe nods confidently while looking towards the royal villa.

(I won’t do anything unnecessary and continue my villainous deeds as usual!)

❂❂❂❂❂❂

Chloe strolled through the forest with a light step and decided to stop by the lake where the event was taking place, also using it as an opportunity to scout the area.

The lake was located further down the path through the forest and was bustling with many nobles. Chloe recognized some of the faces.

The nobles who gathered at the summer resort all loved this beautiful lake.

Water lilies thrived on the east side of the spacious lake, and people who had spread out their canvases were enjoying sketching.

On the west side, there was a small boathouse, and boats rented from there were still floating on the lake.

On the western side, there is a small boathouse, and the boats rented from there are still floating on the lake.

On summer afternoons, time seems to slow down.

A lady leans against the edge of the boat, lazily stroking the water.

Her lover, who gazes at her with his chin resting on his hand, stifles a yawn.

A happy but boring time covers the lake.

As Chloe walks along the lakeside, she fantasizes about how fun it would be to mischievously disrupt this atmosphere.

(Should I make a shark fin or something?)

People who found it would surely panic.

(Fufufu, just imagining it makes me grin!)

The problem was that the water was quite clear.

(I have to think of a way to move the fin secretly so that it won’t be exposed as a fake.)

While walking silently, seeking inspiration, Chloe spotted a person of interest.

Among the children playing in the shallow water, a boy was crouching down.

He is probably around the same age as Chloe.

He wore a white summer hat pulled down low over his eyes.

His vest and shorts were made of high-quality materials, making it clear at a glance that he was a nobleman’s child.

At first, she thought he was playing in the water because he had both arms plunged into the lake. 

But something feels off.

(He’s really concerned about his surroundings, isn’t he?)

And his sneaky behavior is suspicious.

The people enjoying their vacation seem to be too absorbed in their play to notice.

But Chloe’s eyes couldn’t be fooled.

(Oh, I see. That boy!)

In that instant, she had an absolute conviction.

Because of his behavior.

People behave like that only when they are in a certain situation.

Chloe knew it well.

(Fufu. Since I’m here, I might as well call out to him!)

Suppressing her wicked smile, Chloe approached the boy.


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