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TC Chapter 69

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“Sir Duran, stand up.”

“No, Lady Vanessa…… I don’t even deserve to look at you.”

“What do you mean?”

Duran looked at the ground with a pained look and continued.

“I have to apologize, Lady Vanessa. This Lycaon subjugation operation was planned by me for His Majesty. I guessed that Lady Vanessa has a special relationship with the man who is said to be the leader of Lycaon, I tried to separate the two of you in the most brutal way…..”

Asha didn’t say anything, just looked at him.

But she also had bloodshot eyes.

Duran lowered his head further and said with his forehead on the ground.

“I couldn’t do anything every time His Majesty was in pain…… So, I would do anything to ease His Majesty’s suffering, even if it meant staining my hands with blood. Perhaps if His Majesty had told me to kill that man, I would have gladly done so…….”

Duran closed his eyes, remembering the old memories.

Once, Karaf went completely crazy because he couldn’t bear the pain. He clung to Duran’s arm with his eyes closed and pleaded.

‘Duran…… please kill me…….’

It was the first time he had seen him like that.

That day, Duran quietly knelt on the ground and wept. He could understand how painful it was for him to say such a thing, but he could never obey the order.

He always resented himself for not being able to do anything except always watch from afar.

Karaf was in terrible pain and did not know what he was saying.

But after seeing Duran’s hot tears, he finally came to his senses, and since then, no one has been allowed to enter this place. Karaf was afraid of what he would say again and what he might do.

He didn’t want to show her uglier sides to those he cared about, and above all, he didn’t want to hurt them with the bullshit he talked about because of the pain. 

Asha looked at Duran with mixed feelings.

She suddenly remembered Duran’s expression before she had jumped off the cliff when he had been chasing her.

At that time, she was so preoccupied with running away that she didn’t have time to look closely at her surroundings, but at that time Duran looked at her with a very sad and anguished expression. 

Even when he instructed the knights to chase after her, he had a truly painful look on his face.

Even when she last spoke to Karaf on the cliff, Duran couldn’t look directly at her from behind.

“…… Sir Duran.”

Duran flinched slightly at Asha’s serious tone.

Asha looked at him calmly and said.

“People can change. And I believe in Sir Duran.”

In her previous life, Duran turned a blind eye, but in this life, a lot had already changed.

Even though he was a considerate man in the past, he didn’t try to help her or pay as much attention to her life in the imperial palace as he did in this life.

He obeyed the emperor’s orders, but he knew how to be generous, and he knew how to make his own decisions and actions.

He would have known what the right path was.

Duran froze to the ground in shock for a moment. His green eyes trembled.

He thought she would insult him, question him, or tell him to go away because she didn’t want to see his face again.

However, she spoke to him in a calm voice that contained neither anger nor sadness.

Duran trembled involuntarily. 

She was like a sacred being that he didn’t even dare to look at.

Asha said.

“I will take care of His Majesty, Sir Duran, please go back. You haven’t been able to rest. Everything will be fine now. Just as I believe in Sir Duran, I want you to believe in me that His Majesty will not harm me.”

“…… I will, Lady Vanessa. I appreciate it.”

Duran got up and added.

“I believe in Lady Vanessa. But if something happens, don’t hesitate to call me.”

Duran handed her the whistle he used to train knights, bowed silently, and left the room.

In the silence covered in darkness, only the sound of Karaf’s breathing could be heard.

Asha calmly looked at his face.

In the moonlight, his face was really pale and beautiful.

He looked decadent and charming, even in pain.

But what’s the use of all that beauty?

There is no one by his side. 

Of all the flowers, the rose seems to be the most beautiful and the most powerful, but in reality, it was a flower that always trembled in fear of being harmed by others and protected itself with thorns.

A double-edged flower that seduces others with its beautiful figure, but stabs them with its own thorns if it gets too close.

That was Karaf. 

Asha gently brushed his black hair which was wet with sweat and streamed down her forehead.

But then, a low, cracked voice came out of his mouth.

“…… Asha.”

Asha jumped a little. At that moment, a tear fell from Karaf’s closed eyes.

“I’m sorry…….”

It was a short sentence, but it was a sincere apology.

A tear fell from Asha’s eyes again.

Karaf still did not move and went back to sleep in the same position as if he had passed out. 

After a while of breathing easily and calming his heart, Asha whispered in Karaf’s ear.

“Your Majesty, I believe that all the flowers in the world can bloom. I believe that with a warm touch, flowers can bloom even in the aridest environment. I believe that anyone can change their own destiny.”

Karaf soon fell back asleep, but he held Asha’s hand tightly and did not let go, as if he would never hold her hand again if he let go now.

Karaf’s body was as cold as a corpse.

Perhaps it was because he was in poor health and could not relax in the imperial palace.

But he steadied himself as he held onto Asha’s warm hand.

Asha, who had been in agony ever since she left the Jackal’s cell, soon made up her mind. 

Even if he is a cursed flower, even if the prophecy is true, she won’t give up on him.

She regressed to change the past, so it will be different this time.

“As a butterfly of the empire, I wish you could care for and cherish all flowers without discrimination like you do now.”

She was determined to keep the words she had heard from God.

Perhaps the true role of a butterfly is to give instructions to flowers that cannot carry seeds on their own.

On the desk, there was water with honey and medicines that Duran had brought.

Duran said that every time this day approached, Karaf would take medication to relieve the pain.

Asha gave Karaf medicine and slowly poured honey water into his mouth with a spoon.

He couldn’t swallow the medicine and honey water well, so it ran down the side of his mouth, but Asha didn’t give up and carefully fed him the honey water.

* * * * *

[Jackal, is it delicious?]

Jackal, a young foal, was lying on his stomach with his face in someone’s lap.

He was still a child who did not yet know how to freely transform between human and horse form.

His mother gently stroked his fur and spooned the crushed fruit juice into his mouth.

As Jackal ate with his eyes closed, she said happily.

[I’m proud of you for eating well. Eat a lot and grow quickly to become a wonderful horse.]

She said, gently stroking Jackal’s forehead and mane.

[Our clan is very noble-blooded. Among the minority clans, the Kelpie is a sacred clan that is protected by water. Always remember that and be proud of it. You will become a great leader like your father.]

Even so, the kelpie clan had a lot of maternal power compared to other clans.

In fact, in the world of horses, the oldest mare became the head, but due to the nature of the kelpie clan, which was not easy to leave offspring, women played an important role in the continuity of the clan.

Jackal’s father was touched by his mother for choosing him, even though she knew he was a wild horse, and he honored her as a true leader and loved and protected her with his life.

His parents were warriors who represented the clan, guarded the village, and died at the same time.

Even if the enemy killed Jackal, he thought that he would not feel alone because he was with them until the last moment.

In the warm arms of his mother, Jackal suddenly opened his eyes.

The blurred vision gradually became clearer and the image of his mother transformed into a different person.

Surprisingly, Asha was in front of him. 

As Jackal’s eyes widened and he tried to get up, Asha gently pressed her hand against his body and said.

“Lie down. Your injuries are still serious.”

“How…….”

Jackal, realizing that he was lying on a bed, asked in disbelief.

He obviously passed out in the dungeon with injuries after Asha left, but before he knew it, his body was wrapped in bandages and moved to a small room with sunlight and wind.

Asha said with a sad face

“You will stay in the palace for a while. You are also in a lot of pain… I will treat you and take care of you.”

Asha briefly recounted what had happened.

Jackal was surprised to hear Karaf’s change of heart, but his mind was a little preoccupied.

Asha looked at him and said calmly.

“The next time we meet, we will meet with His Majesty. This is the only way.”

“…… Yes. I have to negotiate with him.”

Jackal felt sick to his stomach just thinking about Karaf’s face, but he still decided to follow Asha’s will.

It seems that Asha really managed to change his mind, so now it was his turn.

She said that other Lycaons had also been released from the dungeon and were imprisoned in other rooms.

He had to take action for them.

He had a serious expression without realizing it when suddenly, Asha’s hand reached out from the side.

She said as she carefully touched the bandages all over his body with her trembling hands.

“I’m sorry. It must hurt…….”

Jackal looked at her with sad eyes.

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