Karaf was afraid of why she was sick, not in body, but in mind.
Mental illness is not easy to cure.
His mother was also mentally ill and had finally changed, so he couldn’t bear to see the situation anymore.
So Karaf called Asha to the rose garden after a long time.
He wanted to give her a break and get a clue as to why she was so sick.
However, his pride was hurt, so he couldn’t ask if it was because of him.
He tried to find some time outside of his busy work hours but was unable to have a proper conversation with Asha. She had her head bowed the whole time in front of him.
His frustrated self from the past left her alone, who was drinking tea in front of him, and the present Karaf was surprised to see Asha’s expression.
Asha was terrified of him now.
Seeing her shoulders tremble slightly, she seemed afraid that he might turn violent again.
Karaf suddenly had a thought.
Maybe Asha didn’t like the rose garden, but hated being alone with me….
How can I bring her here to relax?
Now that he sees it, he’s never thought of something as stupid as that. She could never relax in front of him.
He only realized this now.
On the other hand, as the news of the emperor’s flourishing had not been heard no matter how much time had passed, countless other rumors began to spread throughout the Empire in the past.
Rumors like the emperor don’t want to sleep with her, or that the butterfly has another man.
Or even say that the butterfly of this generation cannot make flowers bloom due to its weak power…
The entire empire was interested in the news of his blooming, and in the past Karaf felt that a heavy burden had fallen on his shoulders.
So he started to get obsessed with his bloom, and he wanted to prove it to everyone.
You’re all wrong.
Vanessa has enough power to make him blossom, and he loves her too much.
They didn’t avoid each other either.
Wanting to prove that fact as soon as possible, he would often spend the night with her.
The problem was that he couldn’t think of how to win her heart except to spend the night with her, so he didn’t bother looking for her at all for other things.….
He thought that married couples should have sexual intercourse and believed that even if there wasn’t much talking, the distance of the mind would become closer as their bodies got closer.
Because his father and mother didn’t.
He vaguely thought that everything would be fine if he did the opposite of what his parents did.
But he didn’t know that the more he did it, the more she sank into despair.
Karaf, who was painfully watching her from the side as a bystander, froze coldly as the color drained from his face.
His nights with the butterfly he had been dreaming of were completely different from what he had imagined.
She couldn’t bear to look at Asha’s suffering face on the bed, so he turned his head away.
How could he think only of himself and behave like a savage?
He seemed oblivious to his own pleasure.
He and Asha were in the same space, but the mood was 180 degrees different as if they were in different spaces.
Karaf wished the man in the bed wasn’t him but had a conflicting desire to tear him apart and kill him if that man was a different man from him.
The scene kept changing against his will.
He was relieved that the scene he didn’t want to see was over, but he didn’t want to see the next scene or the next.
He wondered if it hurt his pride that she didn’t look for him first, that she didn’t whisper words of love to him first, and that she was afraid of him.
Intentionally harassing her, being cold to her, and making her cry are things that even little boys won’t do to the girl they like.
However, once a month, the day when the moon did not rise came without fail, and Karaf struggled with the pain of the curse as always.
In the past, he couldn’t bear the terrible pain and eventually blamed it on Vanessa.
[Don’t you belong to an ethnic minority? Why can’t you break my curse? Why can’t you flower me? Is it not that you can’t, but that you don’t want to? Don’t pretend I’m good enough because I know you don’t like me!]
[No…no. It’s not like that at all, Your Majesty..…!]
He didn’t think about the pain she was going through, so he complained to her, ‘why don’t you heal me when I’m in pain? Why are you not fulfilling your role as a butterfly and making me bloom?’
Every time he did that, she tearfully clung to him, saying it was never like that, but he brushed her off and coldly walked out of the room.
He might have thought that this would make her cling to him more, that she would somehow try to find a way to bloom him, and that she would crave his love.
As his younger self did to his mother…….
But, in fact, in nature butterflies do not have the task of making flowers bloom.
It was just a symbiotic relationship, where she only came to suck the flower’s nectar, but she accidentally helped the flower and left when she finished her job.
The present Karaf tortured himself by holding his head with one hand and beating his chest with the other.
He tormented himself over and over again every time he saw Asha being cold-handed, ignored, and treated like a useless person.
However, the scene in the Imperial Palace, which had been going on for a long time, suddenly changed to a new space.
It was……a cliff.
Karaf’s eyes widened when he saw the haggard blonde woman in front of him.
It was a different Asha who has changed beyond recognition.
What… what the hell… How could a beautiful woman become so thin to the point of being unrecognizable?
Karaf’s red eyes trembled relentlessly.
In front of his eyes, a man with the same terrifying red eyes as his, spoke in anger.
[…… You will have to realize that the more you try to run away from me, the more unhappy you will be. Every time you run away, I will catch you again and again and tie you by my side. Even if I break my ankles, even if I cut off your wings, I will make you stay by my side. You will never leave my side……!]
She said with a slight smile on her face, exhausted and pale like his mother.
[…… Then I will fly away with those broken wings. I will fly far, far beyond Your Majesty’s reach.]
Asha took one last step back and fell off the cliff.
Karaf was shocked at how loud the screams were and the voice seemed to vomit blood, so she was barely able to escape the nightmare.
But he held his head and didn’t budge in bed.
The man in the dream…… It was my past self……
* * * * *
“…… Bastards, where did you take our captain!”
The Lycaons sat close together, shackled on their ankles and chained together in a cramped prison cell.
As Gabe raged, one of the knights on duty gave him a cold look and said.
“Your captain is currently being tortured. He probably won’t make it out alive. You too will be beheaded as soon as His Majesty orders it.”
“What? You son of a bitch……! Won’t you shut up?”
Gabe tried to jump but fell backward on the chains that pulled him to the ground.
The knights just laughed and ignored him.
Sosa stopped Gabe and asked the knight calmly.
“Asha…… No, what about Lady Vanessa?”
“Don’t you know? She’s the mistress of the Imperial Palace, you cannot reach her or get close to her.”
He only said that, but he didn’t say that Vanessa was now being held in another prison.
The prison is already under tight security, but it was feared that another kidnapping case could follow if her location was revealed.
Since it has already been revealed that there are people among the minority who can transform into animals, the possibility of them transforming into birds or other animals and getting close to Vanessa again cannot be ruled out.
If Cactus Knight couldn’t protect her this time, they might have to give up all their positions.
So, everyone was on edge, waiting for His Majesty’s orders.
Gabe exclaimed, squealing.
“If you make Asha cry, I’m going to beat you to a pulp! You understand?”
The soldiers laughed, but Gabe’s legs were shaking with nervousness.
When he realized that his people had betrayed him, he could not bear the humiliation.
He had long since left his clan, but the fact that he was a member of the same clan felt sickeningly terrible.
He sincerely wanted Jackal and Asha to be happy.
Tears welled up in his eyes as he thought of Jackal sacrificing himself to save him, and of Asha aiming an arrow at her throat to save them.
Neither of them seemed to have the slightest thought for their own lives.
Gabe looked up at the ceiling and squeezed his eyes shut, forcing himself to swallow back the tears.
“Damn it…… shit…… shit……!”
Sosa looked at him and raised his chained hand and patted him on the shoulder without saying a word, instead of saying: ‘I’ll keep it a secret that you cried.‘
* * * * *
A season of strident rains accompanied by thunder and lightning continued for two days.
And late at night, a shadow slowly appeared in the prison where Asha was imprisoned.
Asha, who was crouched in the same posture without moving, didn’t bother to look up and check who it was, even if she felt a presence.
It was because the only person who would come was either Duran or Karaf.
However, the footsteps stopped in front of the iron bars and did not move.
The man didn’t say anything.
A cold wind was still blowing through the iron bars that separated them.
He was silent for so long.
Then, Karaf opened his mouth.
A hoarse voice came out of his throat.
He sounded like the voice of a completely different person.
When she didn’t answer, he opened his mouth again.
His voice was a little thin and hoarse, like a child about to burst into tears, and Asha shuddered slightly.
She slowly raised her head and saw Karaf. His face was pale and his eyes red.