Chapter 48: Who the Heck is That? (4)

In an instant, the atmosphere turned icy.

Rose looked at Starchis, wondering if she had done something wrong.

He wore a vague expression, seemingly calculating if this was a lie he could manage.


Luss eventually asked.

Her mind went blank.

Starchis kept drifting away to places she couldn’t see.

Ever since Starchis got a girlfriend, she spent her days imagining how he would spend his time.

In those thoughts, dreadful fantasies often filled her mind.

‘It’ll be okay’ she reassured herself as she went about her day.

‘It won’t matter,’ she thought, trying to pass the time.

Even when she convinced herself he hadn’t gone far, Starchis always drifted further away faster than she could approach.

In the blink of an eye, he was taken, and in a fleeting moment, she missed his purity.

Before she could fully grasp what was happening, he was already planning to meet Elza’s parents.

Maybe she was being overly optimistic.

She couldn’t cope otherwise.

But reality didn’t unfold as she imagined.

She hoped their relationship would remain magically frozen, unseen and unheard.

But now, he was already meeting the parents.

In the end, she couldn’t hold back any longer and gently tugged Starchis’ arm, pulling him aside.

“Excuse me?”

Luss detached Rose from Starchis’ arm.

Understanding Luss’ reaction, Starchis reassured Rose and let himself be led away.

Once Luss had pulled him aside, she leaned in and quietly, but seriously, asked Starchis.

“...Is it true?”

Luss’ expression demanded the truth.

She seemed a bit angry as well.

Before long, Lily also joined the conversation, standing beside them.

Feeling guilty yet continuing the lie, Starchis replied.

The milk was already spilled.

“…It’s true. We planned to meet.”


Lily sighed, a laugh mixed in.

She couldn’t believe it.

How could the world be so cruel, not giving her a single chance to rectify her mistake?

She had said she didn’t like him just once.

To be fair, she felt it wasn’t the right atmosphere to be honest.

But because of that one lie, Starchis had left her.

At the time, he had said he would’ve accepted anyone’s confession.

With just one sentence, she lost him, and her fate changed.

The only one she could devote everything to was leaving her for another woman.

‘This can’t be real.’

Lily couldn’t believe the situation.

Luss had countless things to say, but couldn’t decide where to start.

Her mouth opened and closed, her eyebrows rising and falling repeatedly.

Finally, she decided what to say.

“…Starchis, wasn’t it just a fling?”

She anxiously voiced her hope.

She wished it was just a casual affair.

She hoped it was a brief fling.

Given how quickly they got to know each other, started dating, and became intimate.

Everything had burned so passionately and quickly, she hoped the flame would die out just as fast.

Even though she was determined to win Starchis back, she thought maybe they’d break up first.

“I know you. This isn’t the kind of love you wanted, right?”

Luss spoke as if pleading, hoping Starchis would affirm her words.

Starchis had always sung about pure love.

He said he wanted a girlfriend who made him feel comfortable and understood him. He wanted to be in a relationship with someone who knew him perfectly.

Luss still couldn’t forget the thrill she felt when she heard those words.

She couldn’t imagine anyone better suited than herself to meet those criteria.

But the person Starchis ended up dating was someone who barely knew him, someone he had only met two weeks ago.

It had only been about a month since he started seeing Elza.

Yet, he was already talking about meeting her father.


Starchis tried to find the right words.

After all, this was a girlfriend fabricated from lies.

There was bound to be a disconnect from everything he had said before.

But he could say this one thing.

“As long as I’m dating someone, it’s never casual for me.”

“You’re serious..!”

Luss erupted in frustration.

She stomped her feet in exasperation.

If those words had been directed at her, she couldn’t have asked for a more reliable boyfriend.

But because they weren’t, it was incredibly frustrating.

“You’re rushing things! What if she turns out to be someone weird?”

“Don’t worry, Luss. I’m just meeting her father alone. It’s not like it’s a formal meeting or anything.”

But despite his reassurances, her heart didn’t feel at ease.

Luss knew Starchis well.

Six years was not a short time, and she knew his deepest secrets, the childhood traumas he tearfully shared in a calm voice.

Starchis hated his parents.

Listening to his stories, her heart ached, and she vowed to protect him forever.

That’s why he had such freedom.

Except for his brother, he had grown up essentially alone.

If meeting Elza’s parents was what he wanted, it could turn into a formal engagement meeting.

If Elza’s father liked him, there would be no obstacles for Starchis and Elza to plan a future together.

But… how could anyone not like Starchis?

He was kind to children and respectful to elders.

Even someone like Luss, who had never liked a man before, had fallen for him completely.

If he could heal his hand, who would stop him from becoming the leader of a B-tier party?

Luss couldn’t find any more words to persuade him.

There was so much she wanted to say, but she feared he would hate her if she did.

“Just don’t rush into things, Starchis.”

Lily spoke.

She, too, desperately wanted to stop him.

But it seemed no words could change his mind.

“Make sure there’s nothing strange… be very careful.”

It was already a done deal with the appointment set.

No matter what they said,

he wasn’t the type to break a promise with his girlfriend’s father.

Enough was enough.

She didn’t mind if they didn’t have dinner together; she just wanted this painful moment to end.

She wanted to send him away before she broke down in tears in front of him.

So Lily forced a smile and said to him,

“Let’s go eat, Starchis. I’ll see you the day after tomorrow.”

For now, she just wanted to retreat and heal her wounded heart.

After she said goodbye, Starchis also waved, then gestured to Elza.

Elza ran over and clung to Starchis again.

No matter how long she held onto that arm, it would never be hers.

With a friendly smile, his girlfriend greeted them.

“Everyone, we’ll be going now. Let’s have a meal together sometime with the rest of the party, not just Lily and Luss.”

Lily smiled again.

A smile of defeat.

A smile that was painfully humiliating.


“Hoo... Thank you, Rose.”

Once they were away from Luss and Lily, Starchis expressed his gratitude to Rose.

“Oh... it’s nothing. I’m sorry if my comment about meeting my father caused any trouble for you.”

“It wasn’t any trouble at all. I’m just grateful you played along.”

Starchis replayed the conversation in his mind.

“But are you really okay with this? Pretending to be my girlfriend again?”

“It’s fine.”

Rose smiled.

In fact, she wanted to do it.

“I actually find it exciting... I don’t get many chances to experience things like this since I’m always at home.”

Her response was touching.

Starchis often felt burdened by having to handle everything himself, apart from his brother.

But now he realized that having everything done for you had its own challenges.

While he enjoyed all the freedom outside the cage, constantly worrying about survival,

Rose lived in a cage without worries about life, but her freedom was suppressed.

These overlapping coincidences made Starchis feel a slight affection for Rose.

“Then if we meet again and you help me out, we need to get our stories straight.”

“Yes, I understand.”

“I have a few things to tell you, but we can discuss them over dinner... oh.”

Starchis looked up at the sky.

It was still early evening, but he started worrying since he had left home.

“Do you have time to have dinner with me?”

“What? Yes! Yes, I do!”

Rose was excited.

She was the one who had asked for dinner with Starchis in return for a favor to an A-rank party.

She wouldn’t miss this opportunity.

“Then let’s talk over dinner and get our stories straight.”

“Okay, sounds good.”

Rose no longer wanted their lie to be exposed any more than Starchis did.

More than just finding it fun, Rose couldn’t miss this chance to get closer to Starchis.

The more she looked at him, the more she liked him.

And this arm she was linked with… ah.

Rose realized at that moment.

She was still holding his arm.

At first, it was embarrassingly awkward, making her face turn red,

but it had somehow become natural.

She looked up at Starchis.

“But, Rose—”

He didn’t seem to notice.

Was he used to this kind of skinship?

Maybe so.

Thinking about it made her feel a bit uncomfortable, though she wasn’t sure why.

“—I get that you met Luss. But why did you keep sticking around afterwards?”


Rose remembered the item from the novel.

She tensed up.

This was something Starchis absolutely could not find out about.

“Um… you don’t need to know!”

Rose gripped Starchis’s arm a little tighter.

“It was nothing.”


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