Author: lipzoldyck

 

Shane’s words reminded me of what happened at the shop.

 

I pushed him away in a mysterious atmosphere.

 

“Well, I have no idea.”

 

I sipped my tea, pretending not to notice.

 

“There’s no way he’s courting me, so he might have been rejected by another woman.”

 

I somehow felt refreshed inside by kicking him out and being in a low pressure area.

 

“I see… But do you know why knights don’t come into your shop?”

 

While I was drinking tea, I heard Shane’s voice.

 

“Yes?”

 

When I looked up, I saw Shane smiling.

 

Even though it was a holy stone shop that was opened publicly by a saintess, there weren’t many customers. Occasionally, one or two knights will come and buy it on a wholesale basis.

 

“His Highness the Crown Prince ordered that each knight corps designate one person who can go to the Saintess’ shop. There was also an order that the collecting knights should be as old and ugly as possible.”

 

”…Pardon?”

 

My eyes widened as I heard it for the first time.

 

“He even ordered the nobles. He said that they couldn’t overwork the Saintess who is responsible for the safety of the Empire. So officially, only the knights who collect the demand for holy stones are allowed to enter the Saintess’ store. Except for your acquaintances.”

 

“Ah…”

 

I later found out the secret of why there were no customers in my shop.

 

“Why did Your Highness do such a thing…”

 

Thanks to this, we were able to make a good profit because we had a large number of orders per time without having to deal with many customers.

 

I was looking at Shane for a while with a puzzled expression, and then he opened his mouth as if he was thinking deeply.

 

“Saintess, I’ll tell you the truth.”

 

Shane lowered his voice as if she was about to say something important. I listened to him.

 

***

 

The night breeze brushed against his skin. In the lone training ground, Kyle broke a wooden doll into pieces.

 

The dreary sword energy disappeared into the scabbard, and Kyle looked at the stars in the night sky.

 

Are there stars in Salerium?

 

He often thought of his mother.

 

Rather than a longing, it was an indelible afterimage that remained impressively deep.

 

The Emperor said, cheering Kyle on.

 

[Don’t be anxious about the life you will experience in the Imperial Palace, and go ahead with the determination to make her happier than your mother if you bring her.]

 

A bitter smile appeared on Kyle’s lips.

 

He made up his mind dozens or hundreds of times to make her happy. Still, there was something to be afraid of.

 

What will he do if, with her free spirit, she one day ends up with an expression just like his mother?

 

‘What if she says she’s leaving…’

 

Kyle’s hand holding the sword handle tightened.

 

He was afraid that if Ariel became a crown princess, she would lose her vitality like his mother.

 

But what was more frightening than that was his own tenacity and obsession.

 

He never let go of what he once held in his hands and what he longed for. So he put himself on guard whenever his own feelings suddenly popped out.

 

He was afraid that if he got too close to her, he would grab her by the hand.

 

If that happens, he may end up not letting Ariel go even though she begs him to.

 

Yet it’s painful just to see her looking away or talking to another man…

 

‘What should I do?’

 

Looking into the darkness, Kyle repeated the question without an answer.

 

He didn’t grow up being loved. So he never learned love. However, even this would be an immature excuse.

 

[…So don’t treat yourself like a monster.]

 

He recalled her words at the hunting festival.

 

Although it was funny, those words felt like salvation to him. Like a signal that it’s okay to approach…

 

However, he hesitated even when he came to her feet. Because when he wanted something, he was always left with a feeling of emptiness or the thick smell of blood.

 

‘I guess I’ll have to go on a local tour. Would Ares be good?’

 

Now that the situation was somewhat stable, he thought about leaving the capital for a while.

 

His heart ached as he remembered the delicate hand that had been pushing him away, yet he couldn’t hold on to that wrist.

 

‘If you reject me, I will…’

 

Although even now, he’s taking each step towards Ariel, trying to keep himself sane and not let his wild side show.

 

He was afraid of her answer.

 

It was when Kyle was walking out of the training ground.

 

He felt a familiar figure approaching behind me.

 

“…“

 

Kyle furrowed his eyebrows gently. And he looked back.

 

The Gods were testing Kyle again today.

 

“…Your Highness.”

 

Ariel’s panting voice stimulated Kyle’s predator nature.

 

The sight of her hair fluttering in the night breeze made his heart stir, making him thankful that she was strong enough to push him through.

 

“What’s going on?”

 

Kyle spoke to her in his soft voice.

 

Ariel was a few steps ahead. If he goes up to her and hugs her without thinking about anything, how will she see him?

 

Tendons on his arms suddenly popped out.

 

Ariel, who had been standing still, then began to approach him.

 

Today’s moonlight was too dangerous. And this situation too.

 

Kyle’s eyebrows twitched.

 

When there was only a space of light and a shadow left, Kyle opened his mouth.

 

“Stop.”

 

Ariel’s approaching feet suddenly stopped.

 

There was a fine line between them.

 

Ariel opened her lips, looking at Kyle with moon-blue eyes.

 

“Your Highness can approach without hesitation when you want to, so why can’t I?”

 

“You can’t.”

 

“…”

 

The corners of Kyle’s lips twisted bitterly.

 

“I only approach you when I can bear it.”

 

But that’s not the case today.

 

The afterword was omitted at the end of his speech.

 

As Ariel looked at Kyle standing tall, she remembered what Shane had said to her.

 

[He hasn’t cried for his mother since he was seven years old. He was anxious that his mother, who longed for the outside of the Imperial Palace, would leave, but he was also afraid that if he held on, he would hate the Imperial Palace even more.]

 

His red eyes resemble the late Empress’s garnet necklace.

 

[As much as he likes the Saintess, he’s worried that he might hurt you. He’s afraid that he won’t be able to bear it and will even snatch the Saintess’ ankles, and that’s the way he loves someone precious. Isn’t that a little foolish?]

 

[All Gods are focused.]

 

[The God of Destruction, Ciel, is on the verge of being destroyed.]

 

A chilling wind blew between us.

 

After a moment of silence, I took my steps again.

 

Forward, and forward. So much so that his chest touched right in front of my forehead.

 

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t afraid of what would happen next. But I thought that if he couldn’t be honest, I should also be honest with my feelings.

 

“…”

 

Kyle’s red eyes were shaking.

 

Suddenly it occurred to me that he looked like a cat with ruby eyes.

 

I looked at him and his mouth opened.

 

“I feel that Your Highness likes me…”

 

My voice was shaking.

 

“Please let me know that it’s not an illusion.”

 

[The God of Destruction, Ciel, lies down and shows his stomach.]

 

[The God of Destruction, Ciel’s tail is constantly moving.]

 

I could see his expression cracking at my words.

 

“You…”

 

I saw Kyle reaching out.

 

And for an instant, his hand touched the back of my head.

 

“If this happens, I won’t be able to hold myself back.”

 

And the soft voice I heard.

 

Was the deep emotion that passed through his red eyes anger or extreme possessiveness?

 

I boldly told him.

 

“Don’t hold back.”

 

It’s better than being confused.

 

And it was only for a split second that his soft lips touched mine.

 

Author's Thoughts

this chapter is sponsored by Maryam Ahli (8/10)

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