PDM Chapter 36
I was about to head to the study again today, but Laura rushed to chase me and blocked me, so I confronted her by the door.
“I’m sorry, Madam.”
Laura put her hands together and bent so deep that I couldn’t see her face. The sight made me scoff. My eyes narrowed as I stared at her, then at the door. As if Kyle was there.
“Is that what His Grace ordered?”
Laura didn’t speak, but there was no clearer answer. I bit the inside of my cheeks, trying to contain my anger. What the h*ll was he thinking?
Locking me in the bedroom didn’t mean my will was extinguished as quickly as light in a candle.
“I’m sorry, Madam.”
I stared at Laura as she continued to bow and apologize. After everything we’d been through the past year, I thought she would do her best to help me and be on my side. I shook my head in disappointment while thinking of the past.
“Laura, how could you be like this?”
The corners of Laura’s wrinkled eyes trembled, but when she raised her head, her eyes had hardened. Maybe she thought I was trying to commit suicide by going to the forest of Quetray.
“Get out of my way. I’m leaving the bedroom.”
Laura stood motionless, her hands clasped together as if she couldn’t stop me by putting her hand on me. I passed her and opened the door.
Luckily, the door wasn’t locked, but before I could even cross the threshold, someone blocked my way.
“Please step back.”
A handsome knight of the Harace duchy stood in front of me, barring my exit. I had never been to the barracks of the duchy, so I never met the knights personally, but I heard they were elite warriors who went to the forefront when Kyle led the war. They said the knights had skills comparable to the Imperial knights.
Even when I tried to show off a friendly face, he didn’t budge. As I looked up at him, someone’s figure beyond the knight’s shoulder caught my eye.
As usual, he looked relaxed and well-dressed. But, unlike him, my eyes were dark and sunken; it displeased me to see him looking so put together.
At my call, he quickened his pace. Then he looked directly at me with shining gray eyes.
“What are you doing? I told you to kick me out!”
“Did I tell you I was kicking you out?”
“I don’t remember anything like that.”
As Kyle drew near, the knight guarding my door withdrew. When I looked away, the knight and Laura widened their distance from us and retreated. Even though I could hear him well enough, he came close to me to hear his breathing.
“I defintely told you…” He paused, then lowered his head to whisper in my ears. A dangerous glint flickered in his gray eyes. “Even if you roll around with him in this mansion, we won’t divorce.”
My blood boiling, I glared at him. However, I wasn’t even a threat to him, the so-called “hero of the battlefield.”
Kyle leaned back and tilted his face. His gaze, taking in my shabby appearance, traveled from the top of my head to the tip of my toe.
Then his eyes flashed with unfamiliar emotions. He immediately took off his jacket and draped it over my shoulder. The movement surprised me, and I turned to stare at my shoulder to try to understand what had just happened.
“You can’t leave this mansion.”
“The forest will be sealed off soon, so at least stay calm until then.”
Sealed off? My eyes widened, and all the strength left my body. I hurriedly grabbed his sleeve and approached him. His gaze moved to my hand.
“What did you just say?”
He looked down blankly at my trembling hands but didn’t answer. His eyes seemed to tremble like my hands.
“Are you planning to barricade the forest?”
“Only just to stop me?”
“Why would you do that?”
Each time I asked a question, my voice rose. I bit my lip and stared at him, watching him as his eyes skimmed through my hands and arms and slowly went to my face. Then his eyes narrowed as if doubting what he had heard.
“Only? Your life is at stake.”
“If you hadn’t said you would go in the first place, I wouldn’t have done it.” Then he held my hand, wrapping his hand around mine.
My resentment suddenly boiled over, so I hit his hand as hard as I could, the back of my hand feeling as if it had been burned. A moment later, my hand flushed red.
As if worried about the back of my hand, Kyle furrowed his brows and said, “Aelle, you need to treat your hand–”
“I don’t need it.”
I hid my hand behind my back, but he tracked my movements like a hawk that had found its prey. I scoffed at his contradictory behavior, yet he ignored me, staring intently at where I hid my hand.
“This doesn’t even hurt for me.”
“This isn’t what’s killing me.”
Meeting his eyes, I pushed his jacket off my shoulder and let it drop to the floor. Then, as I turned around, I saw him look down on his feet.
He stared at the jacket lying abandoned on the floor.
I sat in front of the table and stared into the void. The silence was only broken when Laura entered the bedroom and audibly sighed.
“Excuse me.” Laura approached me, grabbed my hand lying on the table, and turned it so the back of my hand was visible. She then took ointment from the medicine box she had brought and carefully applied it to the back of my hand. It was a delicate touch that conveyed her worry.
It was unpleasant– the cold, sticky medicine on the back of my hand. Everything felt meaningless, and I moved my hand away with a shallow sigh.
Laura, noticing my discomfort, hesitated for a moment before saying, “His Grace ordered it.”
Why would he be? I slowly raised my gaze and stared at Laura.
“Because he’s so clumsy…” Laura drifted off, looked into my eyes, and continued. “He’s been like that since childhood. He doesn’t talk much and often doesn’t let people know what’s on his mind, so even I, his nanny, had a hard time with him.”
“…so you want me to understand him?”
Her face fell, and she shook her head.
“I just want you to be safe.”
“That’s all I want.”
Laura tightened her grip on the medicine box and bit her lip. Neither she nor the other maids expressed concern over the atmosphere at the mansion that made them walk on eggshells, but it looked like Laura could no longer help it. After sighing once, she buried her feelings once more and stepped away from the table.
“Madam, the meal is…”
“Leave me alone,” I said, turning away from her. Laura left the bedroom without a word.
After confirming that the door was completely closed, I leaned back against the hard wooden chair.
I cradled my forehead, my head suddenly aching. It felt as if an arrow had pierced my temple. As I pressed my fingertips against my temple, the pain began to throb.
I sighed, closing my eyes to escape my jumbled thoughts.
“I don’t care,” an empty voice leaked out. It didn’t matter anymore why Kyle wouldn’t divorce me. What I wanted wasn’t just a divorce.
It didn’t matter whether you were using me to protect Hari or because you were acting like a child whose candy was stolen from him. I could only think about the affair and the guilt about the baby.
“I have to go.”
I clenched and unclenched my hand. I needed to get out of the mansion before he blocked the forest. I rarely went outside, so no one knew my face, and I didn’t have portraits that people could reference.
I couldn’t shake off my nerves. I gnawed at my knuckles and narrowed my eyes.
Could I leave this mansion on my own? Takan said he would return, but he still hasn’t shown up after quite a while. Was I blindly trusting him too much? Like Laura, he belonged to Kyle.
I lowered my hand, riddled with sharp teeth marks, and tapped the table impatiently.
‘Please don’t die.’
No, no. I shook my head as I remembered Takan’s voice. The groundless conviction was dangerous, but I could hear it in his voice. The note that betrayed his master was proof enough.
Come to think of it, why did Takan tell me to look at the library? There were no books or articles on Quetray Forest in the library. Perhaps he had left another note there, so I stayed in the library all day and looked through the books. There wasn’t a single item I didn’t check.
“What’s exactly in the study…” I thought hard for a moment, then stopped at the sudden thought. “Could it be? What if the study Takan was talking about wasn’t the Duchess’s…”
Ha, the corners of my lips turned upwards. Looking back, Kyle hasn’t stepped foot in his study since the last day Hari visited the mansion. I didn’t know why, but I was certain that he had never gone to his study since.
I hurriedly glanced at the clock on the wall.
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