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Chapter: 32


Episode 32: Hunting (V)

"Don’t insult her."

"There is no reason to listen to the Duke who took my things recklessly. I’ll have to check it out. Whether the little bird still remembers its owner."

Deltinus took off his gloves and reached out to Canaren. Pakkk! Yulif slapped his hand with a rough motion.

There was a brief commotion among the nobles who were watching the situation from afar.

He dared to touch the emperor’s body.

Although he was bare-handed, not with a weapon, it was still astounding. Apparently, the rumor that something happened at the Garde Theater was true.

Hearing the murmurings of the nobles, Deltinus could not hide his anger. He glared at Yulif with a terrifying force.

"You are out of your mind, Duke Rubius."

"You seem to have forgotten the oath. I have prevented your misfortune, so please forgive me for my misunderstanding."

"Kyahahaha! Did you all hear it? Duke of Rubius, no, my only brother, thinks of me terribly. Yes, a loyal Duke would not dare to touch me with impure intentions. Isn’t it?"

Deltinus, who burst into maddened laughter, grabbed Yulif’s shoulder tightly.

"Don’t be arrogant. You won’t be able to defeat me in the end."

Deltinus brushed off his shoulder and turned towards the nobles who watched the situation anxiously. The nobles who made eye contact with the emperor struggled to put on a bright expression.

The nobles gathered at the place were thinking the same thing in their minds.

In this hunt, either the emperor or the duke, one of them would surely see blood.

It was the moment when Deltinus’ cloak fluttered as he climbed onto the horse. The people standing around were split to two sides as if they were cut with a knife. Everyone’s attention turned to it. Canaren, who was about to get back into the carriage, naturally turned her head towards there as well.

"Your Majesty, are we leaving now?"

"Ah well… I was wondering if the Empress is here."

Deltinus said coldly. Even though the procession had already been stopped after receiving a report from the chieftain, the tone was sarcastic as if he had just remembered it.

Empress Estella didn’t even care about his attitude as he looked down at her with an annoyed expression, not even getting off his horse. She approached Deltinus and pulled something out. It was a handkerchief embroidered with yellow flowers symbolizing good luck.

"I prepared this when I heard that you were going hunting at Lake Nice. It is said to bring good luck and prevent injuries."

"You still look like a young girl. I’m sorry, but I don’t believe in superstitions, so I don’t need it. It’s just a burden. Did you block the procession just to give this?"

"My thoughts fell short. Forgive me. I am satisfied just to be able to see Your Majesty in person like this."

"There is nothing to pack. Isn’t your purpose a burden? The real one is next to me, but it would be a pity to see only similar faces. Substitutes will disappear, so take a look. If possible, you can take it and put it away from my eyes."

Deltinus turned her head away from Estella, who bowed without any regrets.

"Come on, let’s go!"

As soon as his signal fell, a long trumpet sounded, and the escorts took the lead. Estella straightened her bent back.

The nobles greeted Canaren with their eyes, and hastily pursued Deltinus.

As the horses and carriages moved, Estella moved to a secluded spot, unoccupied, so as not to get in the way.

"Tell me if you are bored. It doesn’t matter if you ride a horse."

「…….」

"Canaren?"

「Ah. No. nothing.」

Canaren stepped on the footstool and climbed into the carriage.

Was it her own misunderstanding that Estella’s eyes, standing in the shade, were stuck on them all the time?

‘Is she looking at Yulif?’

However, Yulif, the main character of her gaze, seemed to be indifferent.

She was probably concerned. Canaren looked back at her one last time.

She was not mistaken. Estella wasn’t looking at Yulif. What she was looking at exactly was Canaren.

In that calm and still gaze, Canaren felt a strange sensation that could not be expressed in words. It wasn’t malicious, but it wasn’t favorable either.

‘What is this feeling? Why is that person looking at me with those eyes?’

Canaren, unable to stand the sensation, shut her eyes.

"Where are you sick?"

Canaren shook her head. She hurriedly got into the carriage, as if trying to shake Estella’s gaze.

Estella’s gaze did not waver, it stuck like a shadow until the carriage on which Canaren was riding passed through the castle gate.

*******

Lake Nice was a famous resort in its own right, so the road to it was always well maintained. Everyone arrived in a day by carriage or half a day by horse.

The expression of Deltinus, who had been running on the road that had been closed since the previous day, was not very good. It was because of Yulif and Canaren who followed to his left, slightly behind.

At first, Yulif put Canaren in a carriage, hiding her. But after a while, he put her on horseback. It was nice to be able to see her face without making an effort. It’s been a week since she was horribly stolen from him in Garde Theater.

Meanwhile, Canaren’s complexion was good as Yulif treated her with utmost sincerity. Seeing her in the sunlight, seeing her come back to life, revived the feelings and lust of the first day he had seen her in her woods.

She looked like a pretty doll when put in a dress, but now that she was in a modest riding suit, she was more dazzling than shiny jewelry.

Watching her ride her horse, Deltinus licked his thin lower lip. His throat burning from his unrestrained, accumulating lust.

Yulif did not leave Canaren’s side. He didn’t talk to her or exchange gazes with her, he simply stayed by her side silently and faithfully.

‘I think it’s a hunting dog kept by Canaren. One like a crazy dog that doesn’t even recognize the Emperor.’

The nightmare in the theater resurfaced.

Who was truly the fool, he would carve it into her bones during this hunt.

Deltinus scrunched his brows as hard as he could and raised one of his hands high.

"The weather is hot. Let’s go rest for a while."

"Yes! All right! Pitch the tent!"

With one gesture of his hand, the long procession stopped. The escorts quickly set up tents to provide a rest area.

Deltinus pushed Yulif, who was holding out a water bottle, and approached Canaren.

"That’s terrible. Did the sun sting a lot? Your face is red."

As he said, Canaren’s face was flushed red.

Canaren rolled her eyes and slightly backed away from him. Deltinus kept Yulif from approaching with one arm, narrowing his own distance with Canaren.

"You’re good at riding. Did the Duke teach you? Or did you learn more than that?"

"…Ung."

"She still can’t speak properly. Duke, the condition has not improved much for taking her away screaming."

Yulif did not answer. Deltinus snorted and while smiling, he looked at Canaren, who had her eyes closed.

"Let’s go inside for a while and avoid the heat. I’ll get someone to serve you some cold tea."

Deltinus reached out to Canaren, who barely moved.

The smile on his face looked suspicious rather than reassuring.

Canaren was disgusted and avoided his hand. Then, she looked up at Yulif. It was a very natural thing to do.

She felt strange. She didn’t want to lean on Yulif anymore. No, she couldn’t, even if she wanted to. Because she knew his intentions, and how incredible he was.

Still, it was pathetic that she held out her hand to him as if she had been waiting. She had become accustomed to him. Drunk by the kindness and sweet consideration he gave her.

Canaren hurriedly turned her head before their eyes met. However, Yulif found her eyes shaking anxiously.

Yulif, who looked at her pale face, took Deltinus’ hand instead of Canaren. The moment he applied force, there was a crunching sound and the bones of his hand shattered.

"Heuk!"

"I will only accept your concern."

"I didn’t ask the Duke for his opinion."

Deltinus, who responded coldly to Yulif, paid attention to Canaren again. But when he didn’t get an answer back (she was only biting her lips), he pushed further.

"Answer me, Canaren. Are your ears closed? Are you now an idiot who can’t understand words?"

There was no reason to want to drink the tea the emperor gave her. The same was true for Yulif.

They didn’t seem to feel even the slightest bit of guilt for what they had done. Otherwise, he wouldn’t not be able to get an answer.

‘I don’t need it, I’ll never take what you give, even if it’s the most precious thing in the world.’ Canaren wanted to shout like that.

"All right then. It’s ridiculous that the person serving the tea has to beg for someone to drink. If you change your mind, come to the tent. If you come after removing the cumbersome Duke, I will take care of it."

Deltinus, who was expected to spit out harsher words, unexpectedly and quietly retreated. His steps toward the tent seemed light and cheerful.

At the fishy smell on the tip of her tongue, Canaren touched her lips. There was red blood on the tip of her finger.

Meanwhile, Yulif looked at the side where Deltinus had disappeared and was pensive in thought.

How could Deltinus step down so easily?

He had a feeling that something wasn’t right.


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