“Your Majesty is truly an interesting person.”
Prince Gray approached Rodelia on her way back to the Empress Palace. She was with one of the delegation.
Rodelia’s expression hardened.
For some reason, Gray did not look well and his face was a mess, covered with bruises.
Sighing deeply, Rodelia stopped walking. Her eyes, which had been unperturbed, turned to Gray.
“What do you mean, Prince Gray?”
It was a monotonous question.
Not satisfied with the response, Gray raised an eyebrow.
“Oh my…I’m very disappointed. Didn’t you miss me?”
“I don’t know why I would want to see you, Prince. If you are going to pick a fight, you’d better stop here. I don’t have time to talk nonsense with the prince.”
“It’s the same for me.”
Gray tilted his chin and looked down at Rodelia. His reaction was a strange mixture of interest and annoyance.
Rodelia wanted to quickly conclude the uncomfortable conversation, but if she looked lenient here, Gray would continue to argue with her.
“I can see why you didn’t attend the lunch. I suppose it’s because you don’t dare to act like this in front of His Majesty.”
Rodelia cut him off in a cold voice, and Gray’s expression flickered.
“… You really are an interesting man, aren’t you? But I’m not interested.”
Gray looked at her for a while as if exploring, and then returned with a nonchalant look on his face.
“Not at all, I think I may have appeared to the Empress in a too casual manner.”
“It’s all right. I already knew that you are a person of no character.”
Rodelia replied coldly . There seemed to be no need to be polite to him.
“By the way. Was it Cerdian who told the empress my secret?”
Prince Gray’s insistent gaze leaned in close.
Cerdian and Prince Gray seemed to know each other well. She wasn’t sure what exactly their connection was, but it didn’t look like it was a good one.
“What would I do if the Empress lied?”
“My condition is all Your Majesty’s fault, so you must not lie to me.”
Prince Grey’s eyebrows furrowed.
What on earth did his messed up appearance have to do with her?
Gray’s words were beyond unpleasant. Rodelia’s voice quickened a little.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about. I think you’re just venting your anger on me.”
“Anger?…… I don’t feel good about the situation, because even if I wanted to be angry, I can’t. I must return to my kingdom now.”
“…… yes, have a safe trip back home.”
Gray wrinkled his brow.
“You don’t ask me why I’m going?”
“Because I’m not curious.”
“Well, that’s just good. We’ll meet again soon, so you can look forward to it.”
Rodelia backed away as Prince Gray extended his hand to shake hers.
It was because she remembered being harassed last night and her defensive temperament was triggered. Eventually, she realized that it was a good-bye, but she did not shake his hand.
“I hope I never see you again. I won’t look forward to it.”
“You seem very nervous. Did I say that I could eat you up? In any case, we will find out later.”
Gray held up his hands. Then he showed a deft attitude, holding his palms out as if he had no intention of attacking.
Rodelia did not answer his response. She ended the conversation.
“……I’m busy with my work. I hope we never see each other again.”
She passed by Gray, who maintained an expression of indifference. Gray’s expression turned cold as he stared at where Rodelia had left.
‘What on earth is that woman?’
At first he foolishly wanted to see the face of the empress who had sent him the invitation. He was just curious.
Next he became interested when he heard that Cerdian was interested in her. After meeting Rodelia in person, he wanted to tease her.
But no matter how much they talked, there was nothing special about her. She was just a woman who fit well into the role of a typical empress.
‘Is there something about her that I don’t know?’
He wrinkled his brow and immersed in thoughts.
‘She’s definitely beautiful. However, I’m not usually the type who is shaken by pretty women.’
Gray, who was mumbling, slowly commanded the attendant who was silently guarding his side.
“Jose, find out more about that woman.”
“I’ll take care of it.”
“Oh, Cerdian, what an uncharacteristic excitement. I tried to see the face of the foolish Empress who sent me an invitation, and I found a pretty good prey.”
Prince Gray, who thought of Cerdian, loosened his cravat.
A bruise that looked like it had been formed only moments before was now reddening on his neck. His expression hardened coldly and he touched the injured neck.
‘I’ve never beaten that boy. By the way, if I do it right this time, I’ll have an excuse to win.’
His face, with a smile around his mouth, was horrifying.
Gray, who hummed as if he felt better, moved on.
Gray Howard sat leaning back in his easy chair, contemplating how to embarrass Rodelia and Kane at the luncheon.
It was only a moment before his relaxed body was pinned against the wall.
With a thud, his body collapsed. Before he could even stand up, someone’s large hand tightened its grip around Gray’s neck.
“Ugh…… what is this…!”
He let out a squeak. His mind was so confused that he couldn’t see properly in front of him and he didn’t even know whose hand it was that caught him.
“I thought long and hard about how I was going to tear you to pieces and kill you.”
A cold and low voice pierced Gray’s ears.
“Cerdian……? What the hell is this!”
Prince Gray was able to recognize who was holding his neck after hearing the voice. Cerdian’s voice was calm, but the killing intent in it was heavy.
“I hate it when someone touches mine. I’m sure you’re well aware of that.”
“No, of course. Are you talking about the empress?”
“I see that you are knowingly pretending not to know, and you’re still a rat.”
Cerdian tightened his grip on Prince Gray’s neck.
Gray slapped Cerdian’s hand a few times as if to ask him to let go. But Cerdian only put more pressure on his hand.
“Next time it will be your neck. Keep that in mind.”
Gray’s face was pale as Cerdian let go of his neck.
Cerdian tore off the neatly tied cravat with an annoyed hand gesture.
“I understand you will not be attending today’s luncheon.”
He then ordered Gray who was sitting down on the floor and let out a choking breath.
“I can tell with my eyes that you did it on purpose, so don’t bother me anymore. I am barely tolerating this much even now.”
“You’re not that stupid, so I’m sure you understand me well.”
Cerdian, who had returned with a peaceful expression on his face, said with downcast eyes.
“And this should not be known to the Empress.”
Cerdian’s voice was terrifying. Gray knew very well what was the meaning of his words. It was something he had experienced countless times in the past.
Once again, the realization of Cerdian’s brutal and unrelenting personality sent a shiver of fear down Gray’s spine.
‘But I’m not who I used to be.’
Prince Gray looked up at him, patting his reddened neck. Then, he raised the corners of his lips in affirmation.
*Cerdian’s pov on the day Rodelia was bullied by Prince Gray and when he found her almost crying after.*
The cold gaze that had been watching the banquet hall was fixed on Rodelia’s pitiful back.
For some reason, it didn’t feel good to look at her trembling back. Cerdian, who strode his long legs, grabbed Rodelia as she tried to climb the stairs.
“I searched for you for a while.” (Cerdian)
The friendly way of speaking, which was so difficult, has now been adjusted to some extent. The realization of the fact struck him with astonishment.
How pathetic he was to worry about a woman.
The moment he looked into Rodelia’s watery eyes, which looked as if they were about to crumble, strange feelings soared.
‘I shouldn’t have left my seat.’ (Cerdian)
The woman who always looked precarious, but today, when she blamed him in a voice laced with resentment, the extent of it looked even more extreme.
She was like clear, thin glass that seemed to break at any moment when he touched it.
He found it very strange that she always tried to maintain her calmness and elegance, even though her body was shaking, saying she didn’t want help.
He once imagined how ecstatic it would be if he crushed the nobility right away.
However, such a woman was now resenting him, with eyes that looked as if they were about to burst into tears.
He felt a burning sensation in his throat at the sight of the strange Rodelia.
It was he who had broken her down to this point. But that was only to be expected.
It was frustrating in itself that a situation that he did not know about had occurred when he was out of his seat.
“Is something wrong?”
He was careful not to raise his voice, but his intensified emotions were difficult to regulate.
He could feel Rodelia slowly coming to her senses. Her pitiful eyes flickered finely and were quickly fixed.
He hoped she would tell him what was wrong, but she walked away without saying a word.
Cerdian’s fine eyebrows twisted. He wanted to find out who it was that made Rodelia crumble like this, and twist the person’s neck right away.
He couldn’t understand these intense emotions himself, but he thought it was due to his tendency, which was extremely averse to other people messing with his things.
[Promise me you won’t do anything. Don’t answer when I don’t want you to.]
Cerdian recalled her words as he looked at Rodelia in the distance.
He really didn’t like her words, but he tried to watch her carefully, since it was the first request she had asked him.
He just couldn’t seem to keep it. He could have done it anyway, if only Rodelia had not known.
Cerdian ordered in a cold voice to a person, who had somehow snuck up to him in the midst of the lively party.
“Go and find out exactly what happened. Investigate everyone who was in contact with the Empress.”