PDM Chapter 43
Translator’s Note: I wanted to make it up to you guys since I missed a few weeks of updating this the last few months. Here’s an extra chapter this week 🙂
Why was he doing this? I knew he didn’t want me to die, but I thought it was so I could shield Hari from guilt and rumors.
But was it worth sacrificing his body to protect me? When I asked him, he never answered.
“Takan,” Kyle growled. When I looked up, I saw Takan over his shoulder.
Takan pulled the dagger from the leather holster without hesitation. At that moment, when our eyes met, he mouthed, ‘Wait for me.’
I could clearly read his lips. So maybe the plan was we’d run away in the guise of taking me as a hostage? Was that possible?
He smirked. “Kyle, do you think it would be cool to kill her?”
Kyle loosened his grip on my shoulder and slowly looked up. His eyes were filled with rage, and he seemed ready to kill Takan at any moment.
His glare made Takan hesitate and swallow loudly before speaking again. “If the Duchess is attacked and killed at the incinerator of Viscount Carena’s mansion, not only me, your butler, but you will also be suspected.”
“I’ll testify that you ordered me to do it.”
“Don’t tell me you think I’ll chicken out and won’t be able to kill her?”
At Takan’s words, Kyle pulled me closer to him, holding me tightly in his arms without breathing.
Takan, caught off guard by Kyle’s unexpected response, frowned.
“Kill me if you can, Takan,” Kyle whispered even lower in a warning.
I could feel his tension oozing out of him. On the other hand, I felt drowsy and relaxed as if I knew that Takan couldn’t kill me.
However, I could see Takan’s eyes trembling greatly.
No. If things went on… I bit my lips and lowered my gaze to stare at Kyle’s bleeding forearm. I didn’t know why Kyle saved me at the expense of getting injured. I didn’t know if it was his guilt fuelling him or his sense of duty as Takan intended.
I took a deep breath and looked up determinedly. Then I gripped Kyle’s wound and pushed his chest. The moment he let go of me, I quickly ran away.
I ignored Kyle’s shout and ran. As soon as I reached Takan, he pulled out the long sword on his back and turned my body around, wrapping his arm around my shoulder to bind me.
“Mph!” Takan covered my mouth and pressed the sword gently to my nape. He roughly lifted my chin to expose my neck.
“You really want this woman to get hurt?”
Drops of blood dripped from Kyle’s fingertips. At the same time, I felt a stinging pain in my neck. And fresh blood slowly flowed down to my clavicle. Kyle’s gaze darkened as he stared at my neck.
When Kyle didn’t retreat, the blade went deeper. If Takan dug the sword deeper, it would be hard to handle the flowing blood.
Although Takan’s hand shook, he seemed to have no intention of backing down. I could feel the strength in his arm holding the sword.
I tightly closed my eyes to ignore the sting. If Takan had given up and turned around now, everything would have been in vain.
After a long stand-off, I heard the sound of slow footsteps. When I opened my eyes, I spotted Kyle retreating. Gray eyes ran up my neck to my face. The eyes that met mine were tainted with anxiety.
As Takan led me back, he whispered, “Run!”
While we ran away, Takan’s hand on his wrist, my eyes met Kyle’s. The persistent eyes were filled with unknown anxiety, not betrayal or anger.
With eyebrows nervously furrowed, his gaze stayed on me, staring at me as a predator would at prey.
On the way out, there was no need to look back anymore, but I couldn’t take my eyes off of him as Takan dragged me away helplessly.
Maybe I couldn’t look away because he had a look that reminded me of a child abandoned in the rain.
We escaped through the back gate, and I rode the horse with Takan, his arms around me. Kyle’s expression stayed in my mind like a shard of glass embedded deep inside me as we moved.
No, stop thinking about it. That relationship’s already over. I shook my head and gathered my thoughts.
Takan only slowed down after we reached the back of the square.
“There was no other way. I’m sorry,” Takan whispered as he tugged at the reins. I shook my head, pressing a handkerchief on the bleeding wound.
It was a relief I kept the handkerchief that Laura had brought for me.
“Don’t worry about it.”
“I wasn’t.” His cool, immediate response stunned me for a while. Takan raised his scarred eyebrows and said, “To be honest, I would have a chance of winning if I took a surprise attack, but I don’t have the confidence I will if I go head-to-head with him.”
I sighed and nodded. Indeed, I heard no one in the Empire was better than Kyle when it came to swordsmanship. Suffice it to say, even if Takan were skilled, he’d be overpowered.
Suddenly, a question came to mind. “Then why did you fuss about going to the Carena residence? We were supposed to meet at the weapon shop.”
Takan shrugged, his face sullen. “Laura told me.”
“Were you in touch with Laura?”
Takan glanced down at me, then looked straight ahead again. He grabbed me by the shoulders and whispered softly, “The orphanage where I lived as a child was the one you sponsored, and she sent me a letter there. That’s how I found out about the weapon shop*.”
“Why would Laura tell you…”
Takan recognized my question and shook his head weakly. He looked as clueless.
Could it be she heard the conversation I had with Takan? My eyes narrowed at the thought.
Well, Laura was always by my side, so she might have overheard us. Or maybe she noticed the strange atmosphere between us. My chest tightened with gratitude and guilt, suddenly remembering the time I had been cold to her.
Takan continued to speak monotonously, “I went because Madam didn’t come even after time had passed. Since there were knights posted at the mansion’s main entrance, I went in through the back.”
He then lowered his head and continued. “Luckily, the guards were out cold.”
I narrowed my eyes and looked at him suspiciously. They weren’t asleep; he probably knocked them out. He even put the horse’s rein in the hand of the fallen knight just in case the horse attempted to run away. That was a surprising sight.
“Well, I didn’t think I could easily get away with leaving a note.” Takan looked away and stared straight ahead. His eyes narrowed as he thought about it. “And from avoiding Kyle’s eyes.”
Kyle? I blinked. Right, it’s been that way since the war ended. Takan called Kyle by his name.
Takan must have noticed my reaction, because he frowned and ruffled his hair, looking troubled. “Well, I still managed somehow.”
He looked like he wanted to change the conversation, so I did.
“But why did you leave the note like that? You could have let me know where in the first one you gave me.”
“Didn’t I mention the study? Did you think I left it for you to relax and read a book?”
“There were two studies.”
“Don’t you think you’re a fool if you didn’t know?”
I didn’t realize it until almost a fortnight passed, so I kept my mouth shut and looked straight ahead. Takan’s followed, but he tried to feign ignorance.
“Oh, maybe you didn’t know,” Takan suddenly said as if he had just remembered. “The mercenaries usually use this method.”
He soon entered the forest path as he turned the reins to somewhere.
I looked back at Takan, and he burst out laughing. And then you called me a fool? Tacan coughed and avoided my gaze.
“This was a way to notify colleagues in other areas when you receive a quest and move to a different place. The enemy may intercept your correspondence, so you confuse the enemy by specifying different areas in the note.”
“There’s an unwritten rule that those who receive the letters visit the most unfamiliar areas.”
Ah, that made sense. I nodded and glanced up at Takan. Takan was completely different from when he was inside the mansion.
*Not 100% sure about this dialogue.
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