TC Chapter 44

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Duran looked back at him with heavy eyes.

His blonde hair, drenched in blood and sweat, streamed down his forehead, and blood gushed from his mouth.

“Your Majesty……. please…… don’t forgive me…….”

As soon as he finished speaking, he collapsed as if his body was falling apart and he fell face down into the mud.

Karaf howled like a beast as he saw Duran collapse.

“Cylon……!

The gray-haired man turned to him, his face bloodied.

Karaf’s eyes twitched.

“Why……? Why did you betray me…….?”

He spoke in a low voice.

“Karaf…… No… Crown Prince. Did you really think we were friends?”

“What……?

Cylon looked at him and raised his eyebrows as if in pity, then continued.

“We could never be close friends from the moment we first met. People should not deviate from their roles and their positions. You didn’t deserve the throne from the beginning.”

“Is that the reason you betrayed me? Weren’t we like blood brothers….?

When Cylon didn’t answer, Karaf’s eyes twitched restlessly.

“Cylon…… I beg you …. It’s still not too late……. Come back to me now……. Please don’t do this to me…….”

Even now, Karaf begged him earnestly, as if all this had never happened as if he wanted to believe that he had not betrayed him. 

But Cylon pointed his dagger at him with a cold expression on his face.

“Now die.”

The rain, which was pouring down as if there was a hole in the sky, with one of his gestures, stopped in midair to the point of frightening.

In an instant, the raindrops stopped and silence fell. 

It was a silent and bizarre sight as if everything had stopped.

Karaf then staggered off the ground and got to his feet. 

He drew his sword head down, and ran at Cylon, screaming. 

His blood-red eyes burned with anger. 

Cylon dropped raindrops on Karaf. 

The raindrops that had stopped in midair flew towards him. 

Karaf ran through the arrow-sharp-edged rain, finally reaching him, and was able to stab him in the stomach.

At that moment, the temporarily stopped rain fell again.

A liquid that Karaf did not know if it was rain or tears, poured one after another from his eyes.

His sword, stuck in Cylon’s stomach, rattled.

He knew the fact that Cylon deliberately missed all his shots …. 

Cylon smiled and placed a hand on Karaf’s chest.

“Karaf, you still have a long way to go before you become a true emperor…….”

At that moment, a red light flowed from his hand, and a crescent moon was etched on his chest. 

The terrible pain in his chest burned, and Karaf fell to the ground with a sharp cry. 

At the same time, Cylon also collapsed. 

The two looked at each other with blurry eyes already on the ground.

“Karaf…… I’m …….”

Blood spurted from Cylon’s mouth. 

He took a deep breath and slowly opened his mouth again.

“I couldn’t change my destiny, but …… someday for you…… a miracle could happen……. a true saint….. could break all these bad ties…….”

With a faint smile on his blood-stained lips, he couldn’t finish his words and slowly closed his haggard eyes. 

Karaf’s face twitched and contorted. 

Although his body and mind were in terrible pain, he mustered all his strength and desperately stood up.

He fell to his knees again and again, but he did not give up.

His black hair fluttered. 

His clothes were torn and had holes in them after being hit by sharp raindrops.

The red crescent moon pattern etched on his chest shone clearly. 

Karaf took a deep breath, clutching his chest with his hand, forcing his eyes to focus again and again. 

His eyes darkened and blood spurted from his mouth, but he forced himself to hold his breath and staggered toward Duran. 

When he reached for Duran’s neck to check his pulse, Karaf’s hand stopped.

He wasn’t breathing…….

Karaf’s face hardened with wide eyes, he frowned and quickly sent all the energy of his flower into Duran’s chest. 

Dazzling white light flashed from his hand, but as soon as he exerted his full strength, the crescent moon etched on his chest reacted violently and began to burn like fire. 

He felt as if his heart was sealed and his power blocked. 

Although Karaf screamed, he did not give up until the end. 

Eventually, the light disappeared and he collapsed next to Duran. 

After that, it got dark.

* * * * *

“Huh…… Ugh…….”

Karaf awoke from the nightmare, breathing heavily. 

When he regained consciousness, he felt a burning pain in his throat and his body was boiling.

With trembling hands, he fumbled for the table by the bed and took a teacup. 

But just as he was about to bring the cup to his lips, he stopped in a fright.

There may be poison in it……. 

There had already been a poison assassination attempt before so that another spy might be hiding among the servants. 

He’s had enough of betrayals.

Karaf frowned and dropped the cup.

Suddenly, an attendant asked urgently outside the door hearing the sound of glass breaking into pieces.

“Your Majesty, are you all right!?”

Feeling that Karaf was in a very bad mood, the servant did not rush into the room until given permission.

Karaf was annoyed, so he jumped out of bed and left the room. 

The chamberlain was surprised when the door burst open.

“Your Majesty?”

“I’m going to see Vanessa right now.”

“Yes? But it’s past midnight…….”

“Don’t complain and follow me.”

“…… Yes, Your Majesty.”

Following Karaf, who was flapping his robe and striding forward, the chamberlain quietly followed him. 

The days he woke up from nightmares always had a bad prognosis. 

It was best not to go against him. 

When Karaf arrived in front of Asha’s room, he stood there for a long time without knocking. 

It was the first time he had hesitated like this, so the chamberlain quietly waited from behind even though he was surprised. 

Before long, Karaf took a deep breath and politely knocked twice.

“It’s me.”

But he couldn’t hear anything from the inside.

He knocked again.

“Are you inside? I’m going in.”

He opened the door carefully, but the bed was empty. 

Karaf’s eyes widened and he immediately screamed.

“Find Vanessa right now! If you don’t find her, I’ll kill everyone tonight……!”

The servants and knights began to search the entire palace in a hurry throughout the early morning.

It was the second disappearance since the time Asha hadn’t been in the bedroom cleaning the outside bathroom.

Outside the window, there was thunder and lightning and it was pouring rain.

It was the same day that Cylon betrayed him. 

Frantic, clutching his forehead, Karaf had been pacing around Asha’s room, but he looked out the window and realized something.

He grabbed his coat and quickly ran out. 

* * * * *

At that time, Asha was walking through the rose garden, unaware that the palace was in chaos because of her.

She couldn’t sleep, so she suddenly went for a night walk to organize her thoughts. 

She wanted to take Sheppy for a walk, but she gave it up because she was afraid of waking up Sheppy, who was already sleeping well, and that he would catch a cold.

She thought that it was not a bad thing for her to freely roam the Imperial Palace alone. 

It was something she could never have imagined in the past, and she felt refreshed. 

The rainy rose garden was cold and damp due to the gloomy sky, but at the same time, the smell of fresh grass and flowers spread everywhere.

Asha was deep in thought as she grabbed an umbrella and fiddled with other flowers in a roseless rose garden.

It made her feel uncomfortable because she kept thinking about the man who tried to kidnap her. 

She was worried that Karaf would change his mind, and she was anxious that she would not be able to protect the ethnic minority and Lycaon at this rate.

     If I help Karaf’s rose to bloom, can I leave here someday? I think Karaf will let me go by then. Because he doesn’t really love me.

Asha once again imagined her future in her head. 

But as soon as she was hopeful for a moment,  she quickly shook her head.

Having been fed up with Karaf’s obsession and possessiveness, she concluded that he wouldn’t let her go so easily. 

Although it went a bit too far, it was a bit different from her previous life…… 

Asha was devastated as she recalled when Karaf was kind to her. 

It was a time when no one knew that she was still unable to enlighten him.

His attitude will change when he finds out about it…….

As she thought that she would live through such a bitter experience again, she smiled bitterly without realizing it.

But it was then.

“…… Vanessa!”

She heard Karaf’s desperate cry from somewhere. 

The scent of roses, stronger than usual, cut through the rain and reached her. 

It felt like the rose was hitting her with all its might.

Asha looked back, and her eyes widened. 

There, even without an umbrella, Karaf, wet from the rain, stood, breathing heavily. 

He had run all the way here relentlessly, and with each breath he exhaled, white smoke billowed out of his mouth.

“Why……? Why at this hour…… are you alone here…….?”

When Karaf took a shy breath and spoke, Asha smiled and responded to hide her concerns.

“Then, why is Your Majesty doing here at this time?”

“I am not kidding! The whole palace is turned upside down because of you……!”

“Why? No way…… Did you think I escaped?”

Karaf was speechless. 

Asha calmed down slightly at his reaction.

“Don’t worry. I just couldn’t sleep and felt suffocated inside so I decided to go for a walk and then come back. The thought of running away…….”

But at that moment, he suddenly came over and hugged her tightly.

Asha was so shocked that she couldn’t finish speaking.

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