Yelena stared blankly at Max. Then, she sighed and mumbled loudly enough for everyone to hear, "I don’t know about the others, but I really trusted Sir Max. I thought he was an honorable knight, but he fought two-against-one like a coward… I’m so disappointed…"
"Sir Colin did it!" Max suddenly shouted.
He covered his mouth as if belatedly realizing his mistake, but it was too late.
Thomas slapped his own forehead and spoke up in resignation.
"Well… he’s right. Truthfully, the one who did that to Sir Colin’s face was Sir Colin himself."
She was so bewildered she said the same thing twice. "What?"
Ben filled Yelena in on what she didn’t know.
After Incan died and Yelena was rescued, Colin had kneeled in front of Yelena’s quarters for the entire duration she was unconscious. It was only after she regained consciousness that he returned to his own residence.
She hadn’t known about that.
Yelena sighed, causing Kaywhin to stop in the middle of cutting an apple.
"Is there something on your mind?"
"Well, you know, yesterday…"
Yelena told Kaywhin everything with a heavy heart.
Kaywhin put down the apple and asked, "Are you worried about him?"
"Of course I am. And…"
Yelena rested her arm on her knees and tucked her chin in her hand.
"…I wonder why I hadn’t suspected that this would have happened."
Colin was with Yelena on the day of the kidnapping.
She certainly could have predicted that he would be full of guilt beforehand, but she didn’t.
‘Well, that’s because I didn’t think that Sir Colin did anything wrong.’
Thus, she couldn’t have imagined that the reason she hadn’t seen Colin was because of this.
"What should I do?"
In truth, Yelena found it difficult to understand Colin’s actions.
She could understand why he’d feel guilty, but doing that to his own face was over the top.
"Should I call for him to tell him that I’m okay, it wasn’t his fault, and to stop torturing himself?"
She asked for her husband’s opinion because surely, he knew Colin better than she did.
Kaywhin seemed to think it over and then spoke. "Rather than that, I think it would be more effective to punish him."
"Punish him, you say?" Yelena’s eyes widened in surprise. "But I don’t think Sir Colin did anything wrong."
"I’m sure he thinks differently. Punishing him would actually make him feel at ease because he’ll believe that he paid the price for his actions."
She didn’t want to.
Punishing Colin meant that she was acknowledging that he had committed a sin deserving punishment.
Seeing that Yelena didn’t look too happy, Kaywhin spoke again. "Or how about doing this?"
After listening to the entirety of Kaywhin’s explanation, Yelena slightly tilted her head.
"Would that really be okay?"
"Mm, very well then." Yelena accepted Kaywhin’s idea.
It seemed to be better than actually punishing Colin. Finding a solution lifted some of the weight off her heart.
Kaywhin went back to cutting the apple.
Watching him silently, Yelena’s face lit up with interest.
"It’s a rabbit."
Kaywhin finished cutting the apple and put it on a plate. The slices were shaped like rabbits.
A rabbit-shaped apple.
It was a commonly-seen shape, but Yelena felt it was all the more ingenious and interesting when created by her husband’s hands.
As she received the plate, she joked, "Do you like rabbits?"
It was a trivial question, but for some reason, her husband’s gaze remained on her for a long time.
She didn’t know why, but her husband’s unyielding gaze was starting to make her cheeks feel slightly hot. And just as they started to, her husband said, "Yes, I do."
‘So there’s an animal that he likes.’
But why had he made such a fuss by taking so long to answer?
As if trying to conceal the awkwardness she felt, Yelena quickly poked a slice with her fork and put it in her mouth.
The dainty rabbit apple was sweet and crisp.
That afternoon, Yelena summoned Colin.
Though he had run away as soon as he had seen Yelena the previous day, he obeyed his official summoning.
"…I heard that you called for me, Madam."
Yelena got up from her seat and approached the man.
The moment he entered Yelena’s quarters, Colin hung his head like a sinner.
Yelena examined his face. Their height difference made it so that even with his head down, Yelena had no trouble doing so.
Seeing him again, she had no words for his appearance.
‘Somehow, it seems like he gained more bruises overnight.’
Barely managing to hold back a sigh, Yelena said, "Sir Colin."
"Do you have any idea why I called you here today?"