C44 — [2.7- The Rose Manor]

Although he knew that the words written by the young man on the spur of the moment did not necessarily contain much sincerity, and the so-called fondness might only be a slight favor.

 

 

But perhaps it was because no one had ever shown him such feelings of affection so bluntly, the old count felt his heart beating fast.

 

 

When he thought that these lines of words were all written by the young man he had been carefully adoring, his heart beat even faster as if it would jump out of his chest at any time.

 

 

It was only after a long time that the old count managed to regain his usual calmness.

 

 

But the tips of his ears were still red, and his lips were pursed tightly, as if he was just forcing himself to break free from the chaotic emotions just now.

 

 

The fingertips holding the note were tense, seemingly still at a loss for words.

 

 

He didn’t dare to read the reply from Jiu Shu, fearing that he would no longer be able to control his hidden love for that beautiful young man.

 

 

He carefully put the note away, sat on the bench, staring blankly at the sunset outside the manor.

 

 

For the old count, these recent days were as beautiful and fragile as a dream.

 

 

And he knew that these ambiguous feelings that made him overwhelmed and delighted were probably just the absurd hallucinations of his own adoring heart.

 

 

He guessed that the words on the note were just a slight exaggeration of the young man’s words in order to express his heart’s affection for him.

 

 

After all, how could that extremely beautiful child like a man who was more than ten years older than him, and even his face was old and ugly to the extreme.

 

 

The old count thought so with some disillusionment until the next day when he received another letter from Jiu Shu.

 

 

This time, in the reply letter, the simple young man seemed to be happy to finally no longer see the bad words about the Norman count, so he became more trusting of his penpal who had never met, and even began to talk about more matters of the heart.

 

 

He said he was happy to see many books he had never read before, but was troubled to find that many of them were written in the older Arabic or Latin languages.

 

 

[Perhaps I should inquire of the Count, who I’ve heard is a very knowledgeable man, fluent in several languages.]

 

 

[I just don’t know if that would seem offensive, actually it’s partly because I miss the count a little.]

 

 

The old Count’s breathing was a bit uncontrollable, and he stared blankly at the contents of the reply letter, even though he repeated over and over again in his mind that it was just the young man’s exaggerated words, he still couldn’t control his ears from reddening.

 

 

His eyes trembled as he continued to read down.

 

 

[Is this what it feels like to like someone? I haven’t seen you for just one day, and I can’t wait to see you again.]

 

 

“……”

 

 

Looking at this last sentence, the eyes under the old Count’s mask opened wide, as if the bubble of his original self-deception had been popped, he could only sit on the bench in a general state of disarray, unable to make a sound for a long time.

 

 

Even as night fell, he was unable to come down from his disorientation.

 

 

It was only when the hooting of an owl sounded outside the manor that the old count stood up in a trance and returned to the castle as if he were a walking corpse.

 

 

And after returning to his room, he sat down at the table, took out the note, and looked at the contents of the reply over and over again, as if he were dreaming a beautiful dream that he had never dared to fantasize about, carefully tasting every word on the note.

 

 

It was only at last that it was recognized that the young man who had written the note did indeed feel something more than friendship for the count whose name was Norman in the letter.

 

 

The passionate and sincere emotion between the lines was not hidden, it was the burning sincerity that only belonged to the young man.

 

 

The old count looked at the reply letter with fascination, and suddenly stretched out his hand to stroke the corner of his mouth.

Only then did he realize that the corners of his mouth were a soft and happy arc that he had never seen before, all the gloomy steadiness of the past was gone.

 

 

But at the same time, the wrinkles at the corners of his mouth instantly yanked the old count out of that ambiguous and beautiful fantasy.

 

 

His fingers froze for a moment, then he quietly lowered his eyes and collected the reply letter in his hand.

 

 

His movements were very gentle, as if he was afraid to break this precious letter paper by the slightest bit.

 

 

After hiding the letter paper, he began to prepare the paper roses and notes that he was going to send to Jiu Shu tomorrow as usual.

 

 

Until the night was deep, the old count who had prepared everything raised his head and looked through the gap in the curtains to the opposite room where the light had been turned off long ago.

 

 

The young man seemed to have fallen asleep.

 

 

The old count’s eyes were soft, and he softly blessed his beloved youth to have a good dream.

 

 

But when he lowered his head, the old count who always had a calm and self-confident look showed some uneasiness.

 

 

Jiu Shu at any time during the day may come to ask him questions, but he now had this old and ugly appearance, even he himself found it difficult to accept.

 

 

Even if he really liked him, when that young man witnessed such a pale face, would he really have no problem with it?

 

 

The old count did not know the answer.

 

 

He sat in front of the table for a long time before getting up and sitting in front of the mirror on the side.

 

 

In this inferior mirror, which he had specially ordered his servant to customize, the wrinkles on his face became a little blurred, but it still couldn’t hide his old and decrepit deathly aura.

 

 

Although to outsiders it might only look slightly older than normal, and one could still vaguely see the handsome beauty of his youth, but compared to Jiu Shu’s flawless beauty, the old Count’s pallor was too blinding.

 

 

The old count looked at himself in the mirror, hesitated for a moment, but still picked up the bottles and jars on the table.

 

 

Just like those straw aristocrats that he had always despised before, he applied layer after layer of these expensive skin care products to his skin.

 

 

These skin care products that claimed to slow down aging were bought by the old count in private recently.

 

 

Although he had been persuading Jiu Shu to stay away from him in notes, it seemed that he still had his own ulterior hidden fantasies.

 

 

Some fantasies that even he himself found incomparably pathetic.

 

 

The old count knew how unrealistic these fantasies of his were, but he still couldn’t help but try them out one by one, buying these expensive skin care products that were popular in the aristocratic circles.

 

 

Obviously before he was incredibly disgusted with those young noble youth, even more disgusted with those that in order to maintain their appearance bought a variety of so-called eternal youth skin care products, he was ashamed to be with them.

 

He never cared to use these flashy things, and thought they were all just some frauds.

 

 

He even once coldly laughed at those aristocrats who competed for these skin care products, thinking that they were shallow and stupid, in order to win the heart of their cheating partners or young lovers, while desperately applying all kinds of unknown ingredients to their faces.

 

 

But now, the old count seemed to somewhat understand the mood of those people, because he was already no different from them.

 

 

If merely applying these things could maintain one’s appearance and win the love of one’s young lover, then even if it was shallow, so what.

 

 

The old Count looked at himself in the mirror, whose face was stiff and dead white, as if a layer of white cream had been applied, and the corners of his mouth pursed up, as if he were a little nervous.

 

 

He scrutinized his face from side to side, as if expecting a miracle to happen, and didn’t go to rest until it was getting later and later.

 

 

According to the information he had recently reviewed, staying up late seemed to cause aging as well.

 

 

After waking up the next day, the old earl washed off the sticky cream from his face and looked at his still wrinkled face, his slender and pale bones subconsciously tightening.

Lowering his head, his black semi-long hair cascaded down to hide his face, revealing only the pale, eerie lower half of his face in the mirror.

 

 

After a long moment, an almost self-deprecating laugh escaped the quiet room.

 

 

Even he thought it was too ridiculous.

 

 

But he still couldn’t help but try, if there really was a miraculous elixir in this world that could reverse old age, then he was willing to give everything in exchange for it.

 

 

But in the end, it was a fool’s dream.

 

 

He was too old for the young man’s liking.

 

 

During the day, the sky was still dusky, the daylight was covered in thick clouds, and the dull air made the weather seem very depressing even at midday.

 

 

The servants within the manor were also listless.

 

 

Holding a few heavy books in his arms, Jiu Shu walked through the deserted corridors and finally stopped in front of a quiet room.

 

 

Looking at the room with a tightly closed door, Jiu Shu knocked on the door, his voice as gentle as ever, “May I ask if His Excellency Count Norman is in?”

 

 

Ka-da…

 

 

A few moments later, the door of the room was opened, and Jiu Shu raised his head, looking at the tall man wearing a mask in front of him, a affectionate and gentle smile appeared on his beautiful face.

 

“It is a pleasure to see you again, Lord Norman.”

 

 

The man inside the door of the room looked at the smile on Jiu Shu’s face, his pitch-black pupils paused for a while before returning to focus, and with a forced composure, he sidestepped to make way for the entrance.

 

 

Seeing this, Jiu Shu’s beautiful blue eyes curved slightly and he followed the man inside.

 

 

Just like what he had written in his reply before, Jiu Shu had brought many books written in exotic scripts this time, carefully unfolding them and inquiring about them.

 

 

The blonde-haired, blue-eyed youth was a bit troubled as he pointed to the parts of the books he didn’t understand, hoping to get answers, and no one would have the heart to say no in the face of those clear, beautiful eyes.

 

 

The old count would be even less so.

 

 

Even though he wanted to keep this simple and uninitiated young man away from himself, lest he be hurt by himself, those unknown feelings in the old count’s heart made it impossible for him to open his mouth and refuse.

 

 

He could only hide his ugly face with a mask while trying to answer the question with a smooth voice.

 

 

And because of the revealing words of longing and fondness that Jiu Shu wrote in his reply letter yesterday, the old count appeared to be so put out at this time that he didn’t even dare to make direct contact with Jiu Shu with his gaze.

 

 

He seemed to be afraid that this clear-eyed young man would discover his ugly true colors, thus completely throwing away those likes.

 

 

Jiu Shu, on the other hand, sat on the side, nodding his head as if he was serious, his penetrating blue eyes seemed to be full of curiosity, constantly asking all sorts of strange and bizarre questions.

 

 

 

In fact, most of these ancient books were understandable to Jiu Shu, but he still pretended to be thirsty for knowledge, with the purpose of letting the old count gradually get used to their intimate relationship with each other, so that he could gradually let the target of punishment unravel his heart.

 

 

However, the old count did possess what could be called profound knowledge, even Jiu Shu, a taskmaster with an exceptionally powerful soul, was slightly surprised, as he pointed at an unannotated text on the book, “What about the meaning of this word?”

 

Although Jiu Shu’s own knowledge reserve was huge after having experienced countless worlds, this world’s knowledge about the occult was not found in other worlds, and belonged uniquely to this world’s worldview.

 

 

Jiu Shu could only grope and judge step by step, so if someone could help, then he was happy to be at home.

 

 

The old count looked at that intricately structured text on the book and gave a reply after a moment of contemplation.

 

 

The Augustus family seemed to be born this way, all the direct line members had a curse in their bloodline and could not live past the age of thirty, but at the same time, they also had a talent that was beyond the reach of others.

Either member had a remarkable talent in such fields as business and art, easily reaching heights that no ordinary man could reach in a lifetime.

 

 

The old count was even the best of them.

 

 

Even though he appeared to be a brutal and incompetent man to outsiders, he had learned dozens, if not hundreds, of times the amount of knowledge that ordinary people would have learned in the short life he had lived so far.

 

 

It would not be an exaggeration to say that he was a walking library.

 

 

Jiu Shu’s eyes grew softer as he looked at the old count who was engrossed in answering his beloved’s questions and gradually forgot his nervousness.

 

 

The room that originally appeared to be dark and lonely was only left with the sound of the two discussing their problems, and each other’s bodies were unknowingly getting closer.

 

 

He didn’t know how long it took, but the old count suddenly stiffened before realizing that there was a soft body on his side.

 

 

The body belonging to the young man was leaning on the other side of the sofa chair, the blonde young man who was thirsty for knowledge saw that the old count suddenly lost his voice, and curiously lifted up his head leaning on the sofa chair, his light blonde messy hair was pasted on the side of his fair and delicate ear, and his clear blue eyes seemed to be able to penetrate into the heart of the old count.

 

 

The old count felt his ears burning, and he somewhat panickedly avoided Jiu Shu’s line of sight, as if he was afraid that those unpleasant things within himself would be seen through.

 

 

“…… Let’s stop here today.”

 

 

The old Count’s dizzy brain couldn’t comprehend what he was saying, he could only watch the young man in front of him reveal a lost look, but in the end, he nodded his head curtly, thanking him for his help with an incomparably sincere voice.

 

 

“If it wasn’t for Lord Norman, I might still have a long way to go ……”

 

 

“Thank you very much!”

 

 

With another intimate, close-faced salute, the old Count’s stiff body leaned back in the sofa chair, the lower half of his face, exposed beyond his mask, flushed a slight red color.

 

 

“I hope to see you again next time!”

 

 

The young man’s coy voice made one’s heart soften.

 

 

It wasn’t until Jiu Shu left that the old count covered the lower half of his face in a somewhat bemused manner.

 

 

It was clearly just a mere request for advice, but it was tainted by these dirty fantasies of his.

 

 

He was actually fantasizing about leaning over and kissing that beautiful face just now.

 

 

 

Thinking of this, the old count frowned somewhat unpleasantly and his fingers curled up tightly.

 

 

The love for Jiu Shu and the loathing for his self formed two nearly split emotions, causing his entire being to be on the verge of going insane.

 

 

The rational side was persuading himself to stay away from Jiu Shu as soon as possible, not to ruin the young man’s life thereafter.

 

 

But the other dark side was constantly fantasizing about something extremely shameful, and even kept saying in his ear that the young man liked him, so it must be okay – such nasty words.

 

 

Only an ugly adult like him would have such despicable fantasies, right?

 

 

At least from the expression on Jiu Shu’s face just now, the old count couldn’t see any sentiments similar to his, and there was only the characteristic cleanliness and purity of the young man, the polar opposite of a filthy person like him.

 

 

Even those sincere likes written in the letters these days were not very obvious, making the old count, who originally had an incomparable inferiority complex about this relationship, have the feeling that everything was his own self-interest.

 

 

Really like?

 

Or was it just a joke.

 

 

The old count was a little worried, thinking.

 

 

Until the evening, he eagerly opened Jiu Shu’s letter to get the answer.

 

 

The young man in the letter mentioned this request for advice during the day.

 

 

[It was then that I realized that I seemed to be leaning a little too close, and I was really afraid of being treated as a frivolous person by His Excellency Norman… To tell you a secret, I actually wanted to kiss His Excellency Norman at that time.]

 

 

[Perhaps this is liking, it is always tempting to get a little closer to His Excellency Norman.]

 

 

The young man in the letter was very shy in tone, the older man was equally at a loss for words as he looked at the reply letter in his hand, and was completely crushed by the young man’s straightforward love, so he could only sit stiffly on the bench and look at the contents of the note in silence.

 

 

It seems that only now did he realize that the young man who seemed incomparably clean and pure at that time would also have such thoughts about him, a pale and ugly person to the extreme ……

 

 

This made the old count suddenly realize that that young man may be really liked him.

 

 

This kind of thing, was it really possible to happen?

 

 

The old count looked at the reply letter in his hand, the dark pupils of his eyes carried some unbelievable trembling, and only after a long time did he close his eyes and try to calm down his emotions.

 

 

A small shaky fire seemed to rise his heart, he didn’t dare to admit, but also didn’t dare to blow it out, he just accepted the existence of this misty fantasy.

 

 

And every day thereafter, Jiu Shu would go to find the old count to ask for advice, the old count didn’t refuse.

 

 

Perhaps it was the emotions nurtured by Jiu Shu’s letters that made the old count have some unrealistic fantasies about the future, and something was silently changing.

 

 

The old count’s change was also reflected in his attitude towards outsiders, the butler was the first to feel the change.

 

 

He looked at the old count whose mood had become particularly strange lately, and would always reveal a terrifying smile to no one in particular, and lived every day with trepidation, fearing that it was the old count who had come up with some more torturous methods.

 

The butler swore that this period of time was definitely the time when the old count smiled the most, even when the family portrait was first drawn, the still young count had a dead face on the once-in-a-lifetime collective family portrait, but now he was wearing a weird smile from time to time.

 

 

Especially for some reason, the butler would always see the smile on the old Count’s face lately as the same shy smile as those little girls who were tasting the sweetness of love for the first time, and every time, it made the butler break out in a white-haired sweat, wondering if he was hallucinating without a good rest.

 

 

“Is the list all organized?” The old Count’s grim voice completely woke up the butler who was immersed in fear, and with a shiver he hurriedly handed over the list that had already been prepared.

 

 

Although the count’s temper had recently changed for the better, his tone of voice was still just as intimidating.

 

“Yes, yes!”

 

 

“Hmph!” The old count glanced at the butler with boredom, and was in a good mood so he didn’t care about his rudeness, only looking at the list in his hand, reading out a name from time to time and criticizing it with a disdainful and contemptuous tone.

 

 

These scum with empty young skins were a waste of life!

 

 

That was why they wouldn’t get the care of Jiu Shu.

 

 

The old count recalled the time he had spent with his beloved young man every day for the past few days, and his expression eased a bit, and the corners of his mouth subconsciously turned upwards.

 

 

But when he came back to his senses and looked at the names on the list it was a different mood.

 

 

Perhaps because of those unrealistic fantasies that were deliberately induced by Jiu Shu, the old Count’s jealousy that was originally hidden in the bottom of his heart also became strong.

 

 

He now hated those noble youths who had young faces but did not care about their bodies in the slightest and would only indulge in debauchery.

 

 

If it was him who possessed such a body, he wouldn’t be so wasteful at all.

 

 

Seemingly thinking of this old body of his, this body that was half incompatible with his beloved, the old Count’s eyes became even more gloomy.

 

 

The low voice grew colder and more resentful, cutting into others’ eardrums like an ice blade in the dimly lit room.

 

 

“Christophe, hmm, what a disgusting name, eliminated.”

 

 

“Thomas? Tsk, what a useless name, eliminated!”

 

 

The old Count’s reasons for elimination were all very strange, based only on personal preference, and his tone of voice was horrible as if he was not kicking people out of the manor, but rather decapitating them for public display.

 

 

The butler wiped the cold sweat on his forehead while noting down the names, although he had gotten used to the old count’s unpredictable personality, he was still afraid that the next moment he would be dragged down to be beheaded by the old count who had spoken smoothly.

 

 

“Angus …… Well, is his name also on the list?”

 

 

The old count read the name of Jiu Shu, and the tone that was still full of resentment stagnated, and seemed to suddenly become calm.

 

 

However, in order to appear less obvious, the old count didn’t give too good an evaluation.

 

 

“…… Not bad.”

 

 

“?”

 

The butler who was waiting for the customary cross to be drawn raised his head with a face full of confusion, and then hurriedly lowered his head after meeting the old Count’s cold and disgusted gaze, writing an excellent word on the list.

 

 

In fact, the old Count’s obviousness in this change in mood couldn’t be concealed at all, but the butler knew that this kind of thing could not be talked about, so he could only continue to remain silent.

 

 

The process of eliminating the candidates was soon completed, and the butler was about to leave with a nod and a bow when he was suddenly called back.

 

 

“Wait, have you done the things I asked you to do before?”

 

 

The old Count’s voice was gloomy and horrible, and the butler eagerly nodded, “Yes! It’s all done!”

 

 

 

Previously, the old count had asked him to buy many cosmetics, skin care products and other items, all of which had been piled up in the storage room.

 

 

Since they were all the favorite things of the current noble youths, the butler only thought that the old count wanted to buy them for the young man called Angus.

 

Although it was a pity for this poor young man who was looked upon by the old count, the butler still chose to work for the master’s family, after all, his livelihood was the most important.

 

 

“Uh-huh.” The old count nodded coldly, and the butler finally left safely, nearly collapsing to the ground in a state of weakness as he went out.

 

 

Every day with the old count was torture, if not for the generous salary, he really didn’t want to do it.

 

 

Waiting for the room to return to its original quietness, the old count got up and sat in front of the mirror, removing his mask and taking out the skin care products he had purchased earlier from the hidden compartment.

 

 

Looking at these bottles and jars that had been used up, his eyes darkened a bit.

 

 

To him, these things didn’t seem to be of much use.

 

 

For the sake of those fantasies in his heart, for the sake of being a bit more worthy of Jiu Shu, the old count had already worked very hard.

 

 

Every night, he would use these so-called skin care products that he had scoffed at in the past, but it still seemed that nothing could be done.

 

 

“……”

 

 

What exactly did he have to do to …… the old count looked at himself in the mirror, the backs of his pale hands showed tight veins, sadness made him cover his face helplessly, not wanting to see this pale face again.

 


TN:

The angst (⁠╥⁠﹏⁠╥⁠)

See ya tomorrow ✌️

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2 Replies to “C44 — [2.7- The Rose Manor]”

  1. FireFoxWinterWolf says: Reply

    Thank you for the update~ Have a merry Christmas! 🎁

  2. This is so sad 🙁

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