A Humble Princess (10)

Huge thanks to HONORATA for the kofi! (1/1) ✨

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01. A Humble Princess (10)

 

The sound of water dripping from the bathtub to the floor resonated. Her breath spreaded within the damp and desolate bathroom like mist. 

She didn’t hear it. That’s for sure.

He led her into this bathroom with his own hands. Which noble would willingly touch a Rediot’s hands? Even if they had half the bloodline of a great noble family flowing in their veins. 

Besides, if he had heard everything, he would’ve already slit her throat in Lancel’s bedroom.

But if that’s the case, what is the reason for his anger?

She looked through their conversation again and again in her mind, but there weren’t any problems.

What exactly does he really want from me?

Deimos knelt in front of the bathtub. Then, he propped his elbow on the bathtub’s railing and his chin in his palm.

Caught off guard by his unexpected action, Catherine lifted her eyes. A droplet clinging to the end of her scarlet eyelash fell, creating a tiny ripple on the surface of the water.

“Don’t you think I need to wash too?”

Catherine leaned back against the bathtub, and continuously scrutinised his blood-stained face. 

“I, I’ll o—obey… your order… Your Highness.” 

The hesitant Catherine bowed her head and dipped her trembling hand into the water. Her pale hand, which quivered like it had been caught in the cold wind, submerged beneath the clear water surface. As she raised her hand, a transparent stream dripped down from her thin wrist.

The sound of water filled the space between the two of them. Soon, she extended her wet hand towards him. Her slender fingers touched his cheeks one by one, wiping away the dried blood from his face. 

With each movement of her arm, the sound of her brushing against the water surface, along with his slightly warmer body temperature, was clear. In the silence, the scent of roses gradually filled the void in the bathroom.

Her damp fingertips gently brushed past the natural slope that made up his handsome forehead to his thick eyebrows. Whenever her hand brushed past, the skin, which had been stained by blood, regains its original colour. 

As she moved closer to his strong brow bone and temples, she suddenly hesitated.

Is it okay…to touch his eyes?

As she hesitated while staring at his long eyelashes, he closed his eyes. The gleaming gold gaze, as dazzling as the sun at noon, was hidden behind dense eyelashes.

“……”

The hand, which had been touching his eyelids with infinite care, went down to his cheek. She paused, wiping the blood off her cheeks, and raising her hand again, which had washed her hands in the bathtub.

Her hand, which was gently caressing his eyelid, continued down to his cheek. After wiping the blood from his cheek and rinsing her hand in the bathtub, she raised her hand again and paused.

What about the lips… 

“…Ah!”

He bit her thumb.

“Don’t play tricks. You’re in the middle of your punishment, aren’t you?”

That is to say, why?

He brought his lips to her palm. With a cheek still stained with blood, he kissed her palm, and gradually to her wrist.

“Heut!”

When Deimos put his teeth on his wrist, his sharp fangs penetrated the skin. However, he let go before long and kissed the red tooth.

When Deimos bit into her wrist, his sharp canines seemed to pierce the skin. But he released her wrist after a short moment and kissed the fresh teeth marks.

He observed her reaction persistently.

She panted.

Whenever the soft and soggy flesh touched her throbbing wrist, her toes would flinch. She was afraid that this keen beast would detect it soon, so she wanted to escape from his grip. 

“Ah!”

Her body rose up into the air. Only after her line of sight changed did she realise that he had lifted her in an instant.

As her center of gravity soared to a height she had never experienced, Catherine reflexively wrapped her arms around his neck. The sound of his huffing laughter tickled her ears.

Because of Deimos’s impressive stature, he reached the bathroom’s dressing table in a few steps. She continued to cling to him like a frightened cat until he gently set her down on the wide marble surface. 

“……”

An arched mirror captured his side profile. A strange glint flickered in his eyes, which were devoid of laughter.

“Running away because you’re scared, clinging because you’re scared.”

The deep and low tone startled her, causing her to push him away. Only then did she realise belatedly that she had willingly entangled herself with him.

He allowed himself to be pushed away by Catherine, but only for a very short distance. Due to the close contact with the thoroughly wet Catherine, the dampness was transferred to him. The blood that dyed his upper body red trickled down his firm body.

“Yet again, you push me away…”

Bending at the waist, he clasped the marble surface with both hands, enclosing her legs.

“You’re exactly like a cat.”

He lifted the damp hem of her dress in one swift motion. When the beige hose, which covered up to her knees, was revealed, Catherine hastily clung to his arm.

“Your Highness, not that,”

“Why? Didn’t you say you were accustomed to receiving services?”

As his hand paused, Catherine grabbed the dress to prevent the hem from rolling up further. Unaware of how this sort of feeble resistance went against his mood.

“Oh, you can’t accept it because I’m not Brother Lancelot?”

“……!”

“You said that you were used to it, but you didn’t mention how many people. My apologies, but I’m quite good at reading between the lines.”

While she was caught off guard, he swiftly pulled up the dress, revealing her pale and almost bluish thigh.

Blood rushed to Catherine’s head. It was the first time such an intimate area had been exposed, and overwhelming embarrassment consumed her entire body.

No, in truth, what brought much more shame than exposing her body was…… 

“How many relations did your brother have with you, for you to say that you’re used to it……”

“No, it’s not like that!”

At the unexpectedly sharp response, the hand that was lifting the dress paused. 

“Really, that’s an excessive… misunderstanding.”

It was utterly unbelievable, both Lancel and him. How could he even harbour such a thought?

No, even so, Deimos’s perspective was somewhat understandable. It wasn’t like men having secret affairs with their half-sisters was unheard of in history.

How disgraceful it would’ve been. His fiancée being involved in an inappropriate relationship with her brother, of all things. Not to mention, as the fiancée of the most noble man in this empire. 

It didn’t matter if he misunderstood her, but harm shouldn’t come to Lancel.

“Lancel and I are family, Your Highness.”

Drenched crimson hair was in disarray. Her fine eyebrows, which were of the same colour, left a strong impression. Even the long and dense scarlet eyelashes were forcefully embedded in his sharp gaze.

“Lancel is the heir to the dignified and noble Caliburn. The fact that we engage in such… nauseating deeds… that is truly an excessive misunderstanding.”

“Pfft.”

He covered his mouth and lowered his head as he’d almost burst into laughter. While Catherine glared at him resolutely, his shoulders trembled slightly trying to suppress his laughter.

Soon, his gaze turned upwards. His chilly golden eyes pierced through her heart sharply.

“You aren’t though? Family.”

“…Heut!”

In an instant, his hand gripped her throat. Though he exerted no force, she knew. The fact that the moment she coughed by mistake, her throat would be snapped like a reed.

With her throat still in his grasp, he pushed her against the mirror. The cold surface of the mirror touched her back.

“If you have something to say, say it. Caliburn’s slave, Miss kitty.”

Her heart plummeted to the ground and shattered beneath her feet.

As expected, he heard it from the beginning. It was just a test. Her reaction… Just like she’d been stripped bare and thrown into a lake in winter, the fear that caused her bones to turn into ice made it hard for her to breathe. 

He’d even discarded the theatrical pretence, and resembled a predator reigning at the top of the food chain, transcending that of an ordinary beast. She had to exert all her strength to hold on to the thoughts that turned blank in the face of instinctual terror.

A low and chilling voice appeared through lips devoid of any hint of a smile.

“Since you’re Caliburn’s possession, was it used by Prothean Caliburn instead of Lancelot? Or perhaps, both?”

Her heart constricted at his mockery. This was what Lancel had suggested. To become a Rediot of Caliburn meant living such a life. Being naturally subject to mockery by everyone.

Now there was no way out. Therefore, Catherine had to think.

What should I do? What should I do to……

“I beg your pardon, but Caliburn isn’t a family that would engage in such… obscene acts.”

She neither avoided his gaze nor sobbed sorrowfully. She simply gripped the hem of her dress tightly with trembling hands.

If the tears streaming down her white cheeks were wiped away, any traces of her crying was nowhere to be found. It was hard to believe that such a calm gaze was found on the face of a person facing imminent death. Her attitude was like that of a foreign princess that was born and raised noblely.

“I grew up as a Caliburn. Not as a slave, but as a family. I am also a… person, just like everyone else.”

“……”

“I’ve never received any services. Nor have I ever touched a man, not even once in my life. So…”

She suppressed the welling despair and tried her best to speak calmly. 

“I’m daringly requesting this of you, Your Highness. Please, kill only me.”

Silence fell. He stared at Catherine’s tear-stained white cheeks. As always, his face didn’t reveal any discernible thoughts.

“My fiancee is quite like a princess. Firmly resolute and dignified.”

“Hmph!”

He applied a slight pressure with the hand around her throat. Even though it was minuscule, her breath was suddenly cut off. His hand was large and menacing enough to cause this effect. 

“I’ll give you a chance, kitty.”

Soon, the corners of his eyes curved as he smiled. 

“If you can prove that I will be your sole man forever, I’ll only kill you. As you wish.”

“……”

“If you deceive me again, I’ll only spare you.”

Catherine panted heavily. Living alone, without any family? What could be a more dreadful alternative?

Without Caliburn, she was nothing.

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