Schuden twisted Thierry’s wrist.
Thierry’s scream rang through the glass greenhouse. He let go of the dagger and let it fall to the ground with a clanging sound.
Schuden spoke in a cold voice.
“It seems that you’re just begging to die.”
“Argh! Let go! Let go of me!”
Thierry screamed loudly as his wrist bent at a strange angle. Growing up as the successor to Viscount Georgia, Thierry had been cherishing his body dearly. He had never experienced this kind of grip, this kind of threat, or above all, this kind of bloodthirstiness in his life.
Thierry threw a punch to Schuden but was easily blocked. Not only that, but his arm had also gotten twisted. Never mind participating in a war, Thierry had never had any plausible experience in knighthood. The only people that he could easily trample were those who were weaker than him. For Thierry, the man in front of him was an overwhelming high-ranking predator. He felt a strange chill.
‘Run away. I have to run away.’
Just a moment ago, he had nearly gone crazy when it came to Valia. But the moment he was blocked by a strong man, he quickly came to his senses. He acted as he wanted because he thought there was no one else, but in reality, there was another noble present. Had he known someone was watching, he would never have taken out or wielded his dagger. In the first place, Thierry was only going to enjoy a moderate level of entertainment. He did not think things would end up so serious so quickly.
Thierry was concerned. He made a quick excuse, barely swallowing the pain from his wrist.
“I, I made a mistake. Every time I drink, I get into trouble. Under the influence of liquor… Urgh!”
He could not even say his excuse until the end. Schuden kicked Thierry in the shin. He did exactly how he would do on the battlefield. The only difference was that he was not wearing military boots. Thierry fell to the ground and rolled over.
Thierry felt pain shaking his whole body, it was as though there was a crack in his shin. But in order to survive, Thierry clenched his teeth and made excuses.
“My, my lord. Just once… Let it slide this once. I drank a lot on this fine day, I made a mistake…”
Schuden grabbed Thierry by the collar and lifted him up. Thierry took a breath. The red eyes revealed under his mask were like those of a beast. His blood-red eyes looked violent, it seemed as if he would bite him immediately.
Whether Thierry was drunk, or whether he was a sober alcoholic, it did not matter. For Schuden, the thought of what had just happened made his heart cold as if it had been stabbed by a knife.
Schuden raised his fist and threw a punch at Thierry.
With just one merciless punch, Thierry’s mouth burst and his lips were torn. His molars shook and his blood spattered out, but Schuden did not stop, his blood-red eyes were overwhelmed with bloodlust. He looked as if he could beat Thierry to death at any moment. The reason why he did not pluck out Thierry’s tongue was simply because Valia was standing behind him.
The reason why he did not let go of his rationality was behind his back.
After quickly becoming drenched in blood, Thierry was thrown to the ground. He hit his head on the hard floor and completely fainted. Schuden took his eyes off without hesitation and looked back. Valia stood blankly, clutching the hem of her dress.
As soon as he called her name, he realized he had made a mistake. The violent acts he did could not be undone, and it showed in his voice.
“Are you hurt?”
Schuden wanted to reassure the quivering silvery-gray eyes and did so by asking in a voice as soft as he could. It did not go as well as he intended. Valia shook her head.
“No, I am not.”
“Where is Robin?”
Schuden clearly ordered Robin to escort Valia. Even while he was mercilessly dealing with Thierry, he could not feel Robin’s presence. Thierry’s skills were too poor to deem Robin dead. There was no way a knight of Garth could be beaten to death by someone like Thierry. It was no different from saying that a lion was eaten by a baby goat.
“…I sent him away. To escort a lady…”
“…There was a little commotion a while ago. And there was a servant with me back there. But he got beaten by this guy… and passed out.”
Valia could not speak clearly and only explained so. Schuden’s eyes briefly turned to the side where the servant had fallen. Valia clenched the hem of her dress.
‘Should I not have sent Sir Robin away? But if I didn’t…’
Valia was worried that what happened in the sunflower field would repeat itself again. She could have sent Robin after Schuden had come, but what if she was bewitched by Schuden to do anything again? What if she noticed Robin’s presence at an important time like last time? She thought it would be better to send him in advance because she might go through something similar. For Valia, it was a careful decision. No one expected this to happen.
‘…He must be angry. I have nothing to say even if he gets angry.’
Valia thought that Schuden might get angry. Of course, he was a husband who had never raised his voice since they got married. But now, his eyes were different.
“Wait a minute.”
But what he was saying was not what she expected.
“Please wait here for a moment. I think I will have to call someone here.”
His voice was still hot and violent but his tone was clearly soothing. When the silvery-gray eyes shook without answering, Schuden asked.
“Are you very scared? I don’t feel any other presence here. Or you can come with me if you don’t want to stay here now.”
“…No, I’m not scared. I’ll be waiting here.”
It was strange. She was about to cry like a child. Valia bit the inside of her mouth hard. Her hands trembled slightly between her dress. Schuden was especially perceptive of Valia and had noticed her trembling hands. He reached out to hold her hand but stopped himself, there were traces of Thierry’s blood on his hands.
In return for not being able to hold her hands, his red eyes rose from bottom to top. Unable to wipe the blood off his hands immediately, Schuden said softly.
“Don’t be afraid, Valia.”
“I’ll be right back.”
Schuden smiled lightly. He managed to smile to reassure his frightened wife.
He looked back. As soon as he turned around away from Valia, the sweetness that he tried to collect became like a handful of ashes, his red eyes looking towards Thierry were as cold as death.
He wanted to cut off Thierry’s throat right away if he could. But he could not be violent in front of Valia. Schuden grabbed Thierry by the back as if he were collecting a body. He went outside the glass greenhouse.
Valia stood blankly until Schuden was out of sight and took off her mask. Her disheveled hair tickled her cheeks. She could imagine how she looked without even looking in a mirror. She did not even know where her shoes flew off to.
“Oh my God! What’s going on?”
The servants who rushed in were surprised to see Valia. Not having the energy to speak, Valia pointed to the place where the unconscious servant was lying.
“I’ll be there. You stay here with…”
“No. Let’s go together.”
“Pardon? Oh, yes…”
The servants read Valia’s face and moved along with her.
‘…I want to sit down and rest.’
There was only one place with chairs in the greenhouse.
Valia walked to the innermost section of the building. Since she was only wearing thin stockings, her toes had gotten cold whenever she touched the smooth stone path. She could not afford to find the shoes she threw off. It was not long before Valia reached the place where the servant had fallen.
“This guy looks fine, I think he just fainted.”
“Madam, why don’t you sit down and rest a little?”
That was how pale Valia’s complexion was. She was in really bad shape. Valia knew the servants were worried, but she had no energy to reassure them that she was okay. She buried herself in the chair. The servants just read the air and shut their mouths.
After some time had passed, Valia heard something popping and raised her head. Colorful fireworks were embroidered on the ceiling where the sky could be seen. It was the fireworks display that Schuden and Valia were supposed to watch together in the greenhouse. Valia smiled as though sighing.
‘It’s this hour already…’
She wanted to watch it with Schuden. It was a shame. It would take him some time to come back. That was how wide the yard of Garth Castle was. By the time Schuden returned, the fireworks would be over. Valia looked up silently at the colorful sky. It was a beautiful sky, but the depressing emotions she was feeling never responded.
Thierry, suddenly wielding a dagger, threatening violence, feeling the tension with the thought that he might cut her arm, and self-deprecation and depression. Those messed-up emotions stuck to her feelings that were floating around in her head.
Watching the fireworks alone, the silvery-gray eyes were as cloudy as the sky before the rain.
“Stand by here.”
“Yes, Your Grace.”
Leaving guards and employees behind, Schuden entered the glass greenhouse and walked to its inner section.
Sensitive to the presence of others, he could easily find out where Valia was. He could see her sitting on a chair on the white marble floor. Schuden walked quietly without calling Valia.
The servants saw Schuden first before Valia did. They retreated after receiving a signal from him. Just as their footsteps were about to be heard, Schuden opened his mouth.
“Here you are.”
Schuden gently hugged Valia from behind. Valia looked back at him, slightly startled.
“Did I come too late?”
Valia smiled a little. A smile gently descended over the depression that spread thin like a dragonfly’s wings. Perhaps it was Schuden’s voice that summoned the smile.
“…No. You came quickly.”
“I wanted to come earlier, but it seems I’m a bit late. The fireworks should be over in a little while.”
Schuden’s eyes were on the sky. As he said, the fireworks were coming to an end. Valia put her hands on his arm, which were still wrapped around her shoulder. There was something hard caught near his sleeve—a red cufflink. It was the ornament that Valia unintentionally presented to him at the temple.
Valia was a little surprised to see the cufflink despite the urgency. She did not know he still had the cufflinks and did not expect him to wear them on a day like this.
“You didn’t throw these away.”
“Why would I throw away something so fine?”
“It’s not that good.”
“Why is that? You gave it to me as a present.”
Schuden replied lightly.
Valia smiled. But rather than smiling for joy, her smile was a little sad.
Why is this man always so sweet? Will he still be this sweet to me later? Will he still smile and hold my hand? Even after Yeri appears…
“I’m glad I have black hair.”
“Because you’re this nice to me.”
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