PDM Chapter 42
“Employees relax there. You can change your clothes there.”
At the boy’s words, I hurried to the tent, but stopped in surprise. When I turned back to him, he looked puzzled.
“How did you know?”
“That I’m going to change my clothes and leave this place.”
The boy shrugged.
“Menswear and the map of the back exit of the property. It’s a suspicious errand just looking at it, isn’t it?” When I narrowed my eyes at him, he added, “I wasn’t sure until I came here, but I knew when I saw Madam running anxiously from afar.”
Was it that obvious? I remembered making eye contact with Kyle, and worried, I gripped my skirt.
“You’re not going to change?” The boy peeked at my face with his hands behind his back. He probably noticed the look on my face.
I shook my head to get rid of my anxious thoughts. Yes, if he did, he would have caught me without going through all of this.
“Oh, hold on!” I heard the boy’s urgent voice as I turned toward the tent. “This!”
The boy ran to me and tried to hand over a beret, but when he realized my hands weren’t free, he put it on my head. The hat tilted forward and half-covered my sight.
“I almost forgot that.” The boy nodded his head towards the tent and scratched his nose as if embarrassed. “Change your clothes and come back. I’ll keep an eye out for you.”
I bowed my head to thank the boy before hurrying to the tent. I had seen menswear before, but it was my first time wearing them myself, so I was quite flustered.
As I wore each piece, I realized that the top was too loose, and my trousers were big enough to fit a fist into my waist. I scanned my body in confusion, then pulled up my hair to hide it inside the beret.
“I should hurry.”
My appointment time with Takan passed because the Viscount took up my time.
I combed the hair sticking out of the beret behind my ear and grabbed my dress. I took off my earring with one hand and pulled back the curtain with the other.
The boy, crouching in front of the tent and looking out, raised his head at the sound.
“Your clothes…” The boy looked at me in surprise and scratched the back of his head. “Didn’t Madame know you’re going to wear it?”
I shrugged and headed towards the incinerator to throw my old clothes, but before I could toss them in the fire, I paused and suddenly remembered Laura, who had wrapped something for me.
Eventually, I reached through the pocket of the dress, took out the cloth, and hid it in my jacket pocket. Then, I threw the rest of my clothes into the flames and closed the door of the incinerator.
I pulled my necklace and crumpled it into my jacket pocket before handing the earrings to the boy. It was one of my most valuable pieces of jewelry.
“Please take me to Rin’s weapon store.”
When the boy saw the earrings, his eyes widened, and he rubbed the back of his neck awkwardly.
“But if I don’t go out the front door, my employees will think it’s weird…”
Despite his hesitation, the boy’s hand reached for the earrings. He hid it in his pants pocket and tapped it as if to confirm its existence.
“I can’t do it, but I’ll show you to the back door–”
“That suits you.”
At that moment, a familiarly eerie voice interrupted the boy. I didn’t have to turn around to know it was Kyle.
I swallowed my breath, bowed my head and pressed down my beret with both hands. The boy, who bumped into him, backed away, stuttering as he waved his hands in the air.
“I came to deliver the newsletter, but I accidentally brought last week’s edition and came to throw it,” the boy explained without waiting for Kyle to interrogate him. He shuffled his feet, flustered. “Crap.”
The boy swore under his breath before bursting into a forced laugh that sounded awkward in anyone’s ears.
“Haha, then I’ll go get the right edition now,” he said, then ran away.
Kyle neither held nor questioned the boy. The person he wanted could not leave the incinerator, so it was natural.
After a while, the sound of footsteps came closer. My heartbeat quickened and I held my breath, still gripping the beret.
It was hopeless. Even though I knew my plan had failed, I had to cover my face.
I saw his shoes as I kept my gaze down.
“Do you like this kind of outfit?”
“If you want, I can fill your closet with that.”
“Or you can wear mine.”
Contrary to my expectation that he would have been angry, there was a great deal of joy in his voice.
No, did he know? I took my hand off the beret and met his gaze. When he saw my surprised look, he burst into laughter and rubbed his eyebrows with his fingertips.
“I would have been nice if Madame’s mouth was as heavy as her pocket, but unfortunately, that’s not the case.”
I clenched my fists so strongly that my hands trembled when I glared at him. It made my blood boil to realize I had been played, and he was so nonchalant about it.
“Since when did you know?”
He gently brushed his hair. “Is it important?”
“Yes, it is. Since when–”
“No.” He raised his gray eyes, his gaze sharp and fierce. “The fact that you deceived me is more important.”
The air surrounding us quickly became heavy and suffocating. He pushed up the tip of my beret with his fingertips. At his touch, my hat fell to the ground, and the hair I had tucked in poured out like a waterfall.”
“I’m going to the forest.”
Kyle’s fingertips ruffled the hair that covered my eyes. Just as I felt a strange sense of discomfort, something shiny cut across his sleeve.
A dull noise rang. I gasped, stepped back, and turned to see a dagger stuck in the incinerator door. While I was shocked at the scene, Kyle merely glanced at his sleeve and laughed.
One would think only a piece of cotton or paper flew by and not a dagger.
Who attacked Kyle? No one had a motive in this mansion to attack such a nobleman. I hurriedly check the perpetrator.
“Takan?” I frowned at the unexpected person.
With one hand in his pocket, Takan repeatedly threw a small scabbard into the air and caught it.
He looked relaxed–wearing a commoner’s attire with his hair down.
He carried an old sword on his back and three or four more daggers in his belt holster.
“Takan!” Kyle growled.
Takan raised his eyebrows in response to his name, then threw the scabbard into the air and grabbed it in a snap. He looked at me and gestured to the empty spot beside him.
As I was about to run, Kyle’s arm blocked me from moving. His gray eyes remained fixed on Takan.
“Takan,” Kyle’s eyes narrowed. “I told you this is none of your concern.”
Despite his short words, there was a deep anger in his voice. As Takan loosened his hand, his scabbard fell to his feet and rolled over. A dull sound resonated.
Their eyes met in a silent battle.
Unlike Takan, Kyle was unarmed. Even though he didn’t have a single dagger on him, the overbearing energy emanating from him felt like it could slice anyone’s skin like a blade.
“Stand back if you don’t intend to kill her.” Takan finally broke the silence.
Kyle’s face wrinkled in doubt. It was the same for me.
Takan went on. “If I can’t take her, I’ll kill her on the spot.”
My eyes widened in surprise. Why would he say that? Was it a mistake to trust him? My fingertips trembled anxiously.
“D*mn it,” Kyle cursed as if he had noticed something and reached out to me. “Aelle!”
He dragged me away, his firm grip pulling my waist. Then, in the blur of things, I saw Takan throwing a dagger aimed at me.
How much time had passed since I closed my eyes tightly? My mind dulled as I forgot how to swallow and exhale.
I slowly opened my eyes, twitching at the deep sigh reverberating close to me.
Kyle held me in his arms to protect me, his glare still on Takan. I looked down to see a deep cut on his forearm. Blood soaked the torn fabric and dripped on the floor.
I reached for the wound. “Your wound…”
He pulled my arm down.
Want to read more? Head over to Ko-fi to access the next chapters.