Author: worry Editor: worry

Now that they were ready and horse riding was underway, Beatrice was about to suggest heading back when something caught her eye. Over there, far away, standing on the vast land outside the stable, a black horse was looking in their direction. Even from a distance, the black horse, much larger than an average horse, stood still, as if observing humans.

 

As Beatrice looked in that direction, the two men naturally followed her gaze.

 

“That horse is not for sale. I wonder why it’s come so close,” the viscount spoke in a disheartened voice. After the duke had come to make connections, the horses had been acting strangely, losing trust. Despite that, he started explaining without being asked about the horse.

 

“We obtained a wild horse that supposedly roams the plains of Kansas. It was difficult to capture, and it refuses to be ridden by humans. It’s not even tethered; it escaped on its own and is now outside. It’s impossible to catch. It won’t come near people, and there haven’t been any cases of it causing harm unless people get close to it first. So, we’ve left it for now, but someday, we’ll have to catch it somehow…”

 

Horses from the Kansas plains were large and strong, often trained as warhorses. Even horses raised by human hands had fierce temperaments, so what would it be like for a horse raised in the wild? Despite its impressive appearance, they had spent a fortune bringing it here, only for it to become a stubborn creature that couldn’t be ridden.

 

It was too precious to give away, but the viscount didn’t want to ride it himself. The servants had suffered injuries trying to catch it, who knows how many.

 

As soon as someone approaches, it lifts its front legs, so there’s no way we can dare get close now. Should they have no choice but to kill it to catch it? I wonder how much that beast is worth. The viscount’s eyes at the corner turned moist, forgetting about the situation.

 

“Come this way.”

 

“Yes?”

 

Beatrice’s words brought the viscount back to his senses, snapping him out of his gloom. Ignoring the commotion behind him, he turned his head to the opposite side and, with a sense of urgency, called for his servants. He thought this was the opportunity, despite not knowing why that horse was coming so close to humans. Quickly, a servant who was about to bring a capture noose stopped in his tracks.

 

“Sir, that beast is charging at us!”

 

“What?”

 

Beatrice had said that it was approaching peacefully, so the viscount naturally thought it was walking towards them. But what he saw was only the black horse charging madly towards the vicinity of the stable. The black horse had come very close to the stable.

 

If they didn’t avoid it right now, they’d be run over. The viscount screamed and ran towards the opposite exit, with his servant throwing the capture noose and following behind.

 

Watching this, Calex grabbed Beatrice’s arm and pulled her back. He was trying to get her out of harm’s way because even if he didn’t care about himself, he knew Beatrice could get hurt. However…

 

“That horse isn’t afraid?”

 

Beatrice mumbled softly. Calex couldn’t believe it and tightly held her forearm, pulling her forcefully. Yes, he pulled her, but her body didn’t budge an inch. Beatrice’s words didn’t register in his ears. The sensation in his hands was undoubtedly that of human flesh, but she felt as immovable as a fixed rock. In the meantime, the horse didn’t stop its full-speed charge, and if they hesitated for a few more seconds, they would undoubtedly collide.

 

He could feel the vibration as the horse’s legs pounded the ground. If they collided like this, at best, they would suffer fractures, and at worst, it could be fatal. Calex’s mind quickly turned. The best judgment here is… yes, the wisest decision is…

 

Calex let go of Beatrice and withdrew his body from the vicinity, preparing for the inevitable collision. He thought that the body clad in a dress would float up into the air upon impact. But at the same moment as the thought crossed his mind, a large dust storm appeared before his eyes. The dry weather had lifted the soil particles high, and the flying dust dirtied Calex’s clothes and hair. He couldn’t hear anything—the screams, the sound of bones being crushed under hooves—nothing.

 

As the dust settled, the first thing he saw was a horse that had stopped suddenly, kicking up a sandstorm. And there, standing calmly, covered in dirt and dust, was Beatrice.

 

Beatrice, who had been looking into the horse’s eyes, turned her gaze to Calex, who stood pressed against the wall. At that moment, Calex felt as if his breath had been taken away. He wanted to say something, but he couldn’t utter a word. Their matching yellow eyes locked onto each other. Calex looked into her eyes.

 

“I’ll handle this horse.”

 

He realized that he couldn’t feel anything. In an instant, shame engulfed him from head to toe. The feeling of suffocation, like something was blocking his throat, was guilt. Calex was acutely aware of the emotions rising within him. And what made him feel most ashamed was…

 

“Are you hurt anywhere?”

 

It was those eyes—eyes that didn’t blame or accuse him. They didn’t expect anything from him. That face that felt nothing from his actions.

 

After asking Calex if he was hurt, Beatrice stole a quick glance at him before turning her attention back to the horse. Her gesture seemed to imply that everything was fine since he wasn’t injured. She gently stroked the black horse’s nose as if nothing had happened.

 

“Oh, my goodness! Your Grace! Are you alright?” The startled viscount, who had chased after them and witnessed the horse come to a halt from a distance, rushed over in a fluster. Normally, Calex would have coldly reprimanded him, but he seemed frozen in place, as if time had stopped.

 

The approaching viscount was genuinely concerned about both Calex and Beatrice, and he tried to make amends for his mistake, but Calex was in no state to pay attention to such matters.

 

“Your Grace.”

 

“Yes, yes?”

 

Calex, whose mind was in an unusual state, didn’t respond, and when the calm lady spoke to him, the viscount answered with a surprised and loud voice.

 

“I will take this horse with me.”

 

“Yes, yes? This horse?”

 

About to warn her of the danger, the viscount quickly shut his mouth. He was taken aback when he saw the horse standing in front of her, blinking its eyes like a docile lamb.

 

No, why is it like that? They said there are animals that can recognize beauty, but could it be that this horse is one of them? Absurd thoughts were floating around in Calex’s mind. Kansas’ wild horses were known for their high intelligence, so such a possibility was not entirely implausible.

 

“Right now, it’s gentle, but it might become wild and run in the future.”

 

“If that happens, it will already be in my possession, so I won’t hold it against you, Your Lordship.”

 

“I-Is that so? In that case…”

 

The viscount shook his head in a daze. In fact, he had already made a big mistake by fleeing while leaving one of the members of the duke’s party behind. He didn’t even have a sword to draw, but his actions were indefensible even if the Duke of Amber were to draw a sword.

 

However, for some reason, the Duke remained motionless, and the lady who was their customer today expressed her intention to buy the horse, so he had no choice but to comply. Refusing now would be ambiguous, given that he had already made a mistake.

 

“I’ll send someone from the duchy for payment.”

 

“No, I won’t accept that!”

 

The viscount exclaimed loudly at the mention of money. His reputation was already in shambles, but he clapped his hands as if trying to redeem himself.

 

“I’ll just give you the horse. Please accept it.”

 

As he had mentioned before, the horse might be calm now, but there was no guarantee it wouldn’t become wild again later. If he didn’t accept payment, even if she were to regret her decision later and reprimand him, he could somewhat evade responsibility. Despite his worries about his reputation, he continued to think quickly.

 

“If you say so. I was quite surprised, and I think I should return to my mansion. So, please have the viscount send the horse to the Duke’s estate.”

 

“Of course, that’s what I’ll do.”

 

He didn’t want to risk the horse running wild again when Beatrice took it. He wasn’t foolish enough to voice such thoughts. Beatrice petted the horse once more and approached Calex.

 

When Beatrice looked at him, Calex’s body trembled slightly. She had an expressionless face as she gently brushed away the dust from his head and shoulders.

 

“Brother.”

 

Not tender, but not reproachful either, her voice.

 

“You seemed surprised, so it would be best for you to return to the mansion today.”

 

She lightly grabbed Calex’s unmoving wrist. As Beatrice touched him, his body slowly turned back around.

 

The bewilderment and guilt dominating his brain vanished, unable to pull her with all his strength.

 

He could only think of one thing now. If Calex Amber were to collide with the horse, he could’ve died. The words she had spoken hit his mind belatedly, something he hadn’t realized at the time.

 

 

* * *

 

 

If Calex Amber were to collide with the horse, he could’ve died

 

That’s the meaning of her words. It’s not like she would be seriously injured just by colliding with a horse, but if it were Calix Ember, he would die. Beatrice looked at the black horse charging towards her with the determination to trample everything in its path.

 

Encountering animals that weren’t afraid of her was not uncommon, but witnessing one charging at her with such intense hostility was a first.

 

Perhaps it was because she had never seen large predators before. Did such animals also ignite enmity upon seeing her? Was she of the same kind as those creatures?

 

In a short span of time, countless thoughts intertwined, but she halted her contemplation as the approaching horse came closer. The horse had eyes as black as fur. Gazing into the dark abyss that filled its eyes, she saw its yellow eyes gleaming brightly.

 

As if awakening from darkness.

 

Stop.

 

The eyes of a true predator.

 

Before I kill you.

 

 

After issuing the final warning, the intelligent black beast halted, stirring up dust. The horse, which had trotted and snorted a few times before, soon settled down in docility.

 

Unlike other animals that avoided her, Beatrice quite liked animals because they understood her intentions almost immediately. Unlike intelligent humans, animals instinctively sensed hierarchy and threats, bowing their heads in response.

 

“I will ride this horse.”

 

Since it had been tamed to this extent, there shouldn’t be any problem with riding it. Beatrice turned her head to look at Calex, only to notice that his expression seemed peculiar. It was a look she had never seen in her past life, something completely unfamiliar.

 

“Are you injured anywhere?”

 

She asked, but there was no response. She observed his condition through his gaze, but he appeared uninjured. Had he been startled? He didn’t seem like the kind of person who would be surprised by something like this. Beatrice turned her head back and gently caressed the horse’s muzzle once more.

 

Author's Thoughts

𝐀𝐝𝐯𝐚𝐧𝐜𝐞𝐝 𝐜𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐬 𝐜𝐚𝐧 𝐛𝐞 𝐚𝐜𝐜𝐞𝐬𝐬𝐞𝐝 𝐬𝐨𝐥𝐞𝐥𝐲 𝐭𝐡𝐫𝐨𝐮𝐠𝐡 𝐦𝐲 𝐊𝐨𝐟𝐢 𝐩𝐚𝐠𝐞!!!

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