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    Not only did he lift me in his arms, but he also began striding forward without hesitation.

    What on earth is going on?

    The mere thought of being carried around the mansion as a full-grown adult is horrifying. Realizing the situation belatedly, I glanced around with a face flushed bright red, checking if any of the other servants were noticing.

    Of course, they didn’t even look in my direction. No, it was as if they didn’t care at all from the start.

    “Put me down.”

    When I was ill in my childhood, I was often carried around by Zachary. But that was when I was very sick, and more importantly, when I was young. Now, nearly an adult, being carried by another man felt extremely embarrassing and shameful.

    “I said, put me down?”

    It wouldn’t have been so embarrassing if I had been unconscious.

    Despite repeatedly asking to be put down, Zachary did not listen. After several attempts, I realized I was the only one running out of strength.

    It’s better to give up than to futilely resist a battle I can’t win. Finally, giving up and letting my body slump, Zachary started walking even faster as if he had been waiting for it.

    ‘What’s going on? Did the Duke give him some kind of order?’

    Zachary’s hurried pace felt odd. Had he ever looked this anxious while with me? Throughout our time together, there had never been such an instance.

    After all, he is bound to our family by a spell. Normally, he moves without his own will, but for some reason, he felt different since a while ago.

    It’s unlikely, but it felt as if Zachary was moving with his own will.

    Glancing up while embraced in his sturdy arms, Zachary’s face was completely covered by a cloth with the eyes of a ghost painted on it. I wondered if it was a problem with the spell, but there was no way to know for sure at the moment.

    ‘Where could we be going?’

    I assumed Zachary was heading to my room, but that wasn’t the case. He passed my room without stopping. The place we eventually arrived at was somewhere I hadn’t imagined at all.

    “Why here…”

    It was the bathhouse.

    I had strictly forbidden him from assisting me with my baths. The idea of someone washing my body was embarrassing enough, and more importantly, because I knew Zachary’s true identity.

    I already felt terribly guilty for having Zachary take care of me; how could I possibly accept his help with bathing as well?

    I couldn’t bear to face him, and it would be like asking for disaster to have him assist me with such an intimate task.

    ‘Could it be that he brought me here because I looked tired?’

    That seemed the most likely.

    Based on Zachary’s past actions, this was the most plausible conclusion.

    “Where are you going?!”

    Zachary didn’t put me down. Without hesitation, he opened the door to the bathhouse and strode inside.

    The interior was filled with a mist of steam. As the outside air mixed in, the visibility cleared slightly, revealing a large steaming bath.

    “What are you doing?!”

    This madman Zachary is carrying me towards the bath. Is he planning to enter the water with me? Is he out of his mind?

    I turned pale and struggled to get free, but it was futile.

    “I can’t go in like this?!”

    I was wearing expensive clothes. If they were to come into contact with the hot water, adorned with elaborate jewels, they wouldn’t survive.

    “Zachary, what’s wrong? Did something happen?”

    I hurriedly grabbed the hem of Zachary’s clothes.

    “Why are you doing this? What’s been going on since earlier? Say something. Did the Duke give you some orders? If not, why are you suddenly acting like this…!”

    I pleaded with a face gone pale, but Zachary was relentless. He always used to nag me with “Young Master, Young Master,” making my blood boil whenever he warned me to be careful not to reveal that his tongue had been freed from its spell. But now, when we really needed to communicate, he remained silent.

    “Ah! The water’s really going to…!”

    Ignoring everything, he stepped onto the bath’s steps, descending one by one. The sloshing sound accompanied by the warm heat was immediately felt at my toes.

    Crazy. We’ve really entered the water. The water touched my feet and in no time, reached my back. I resisted, trying to keep the water from touching my clothes as much as possible. I continued to cling to Zachary’s neck, trying to lift myself up.

    ‘This is really expensive clothing!’

    My mother wouldn’t have prepared for my social debut carelessly.

    I wasn’t sure what was happening, but saving my clothes was the priority. My hands kept slipping in desperation to cling to Zachary’s neck, reaching out again. Finally, I managed to wrap my arms around his neck and pulled hard. Zachary, who had been relentlessly moving forward, suddenly froze as if turned to ice.

    My cheek touched the nape of his neck.

    “Why are you doing this? Speak with words…”

    The water had already soaked my clothes. If they got any wetter, there would be no saving them.

    Clinging to Zachary’s neck as if it were a lifeline, I resolved not to let go. Like a cicada clinging to an old tree, I wrapped my legs around his body. At that, Zachary’s body stiffened even more.

    “See, I’m heavy, aren’t I? Huh? Let’s get out quickly. My clothes are going to get all wet!”

    I might concede the pants, but this top, worthy of being displayed in a museum, must be saved at all costs. Clenching my teeth, I tightened my grip around Zachary’s neck. I pleaded with him over and over to turn back. However, the more I begged, the stiffer Zachary’s body became, and the tighter my grip grew.

    ‘Why won’t he listen?’

    Was there a problem with the spell cast on Zachary? Or has he awakened somehow?

    I was going mad, not understanding why he was acting this way. To make matters worse, the steam was thicker than I expected, making it difficult to breathe. Just as I was gasping for air.

    “Young Master.”

    Zachary finally spoke, his voice several times deeper than usual.

    I hoped to finally hear the reason, but Zachary, who had been staring at me, slightly bowed his head. The cloth became slightly damp from the moist steam, and the ghost’s eyes were right in front of me.

    From behind the cloth, Zachary’s voice came out flat and toneless.

    “Undress.”

    His words were so shocking that I doubted my ears.

    “…What?”

    Drip, drip… The sound of water dropping to the floor was steady.

    “What did you just say?”

    Startled by the water lapping at my feet, I asked again in disbelief. No further response came, no matter how long I waited.

    My curiosity about Zachary’s expression grew beyond the damp cloth, but even this was impossible to discern.

    He reached out to me, and slowly began to undo the buttons of my top, which was neatly fastened up to my neck. His long, neat fingers methodically unfastened one, two, three buttons at a steady pace. It was only then that I snapped back to reality and, flushing red, slapped Zachary’s hand away.

    “What are you doing right now?”

    Zachary remained still in the pose where I had slapped his hand away. But not long after, he reached out to me again, attempting to unbutton my clothes once more.

    I was briefly taken aback by his repetitive, almost mechanical actions, as if programmed. I quickly pushed Zachary away. Surprisingly, he was pushed back more easily than I expected. However, this moment was fleeting. Despite my resistance, my feeble strength did nothing to deter him. Soon enough, Zachary had undone all the buttons and removed my outer garment. As he attempted to take off my top, I hurriedly grabbed his arm and exerted force.

    “Don’t.”

    If he took this off, I’d be in my bare skin. Even if it was Zachary, I didn’t want to show my bare skin to him.

    “Undress.”

    “No.”

    “Undress.”

    “I said no.”

    But Zachary was immovable, repeating the same demand to undress despite my continuous refusals.

    “I won’t undress, absolutely not.”

    I crossed my arms and tensed up with determination. Unlike before, Zachary seemed to struggle because of my firm stance. There really was no reason to be this adamant about not undressing. What’s so difficult about showing one’s bare body among men? Other young men from noble families would easily receive help bathing without clothes.

    Yet, strangely enough, I felt uncomfortable showing my bare body specifically to Zachary. It would be laughable to others that a noble cares about what a servant sees. But our relationship wasn’t that of a typical noble and servant…

    After resisting Zachary’s attempts to undress me for several minutes, he seemed to give up and stood up, seating me on a bathhouse chair.

    ‘I don’t know why he’s doing this, but I need to get out of here.’

    Understanding Zachary’s reasons for his actions was crucial, but in the discomfort of the current situation, my only desire was to leave as quickly as possible. My body was already laden with fatigue. Wanting nothing more than to return to my room, wash, and rest, I stood up. As I hurried towards the door,

    “Ah!”

    In a flash, I was lifted off the ground again.

    Seemingly out of nowhere, Zachary had caught up and scooped me into his arms.

    ‘He was surely far away just a moment ago!’

    Could a person move this fast? And not having heard him approach at all, I looked at Zachary as if he were a ghost. Yet, he simply strode back into the bath, holding me in front of him as if I were hanging from his grasp.

    As we cut through the water with a slosh, my body began to feel increasingly soaked. The shock of my clothes being completely drenched was brief, followed by something trickling down my cheek.

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