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Whether it was a lack of practice or the size of the ring, the animal suffered a burn on its stomach.
The lion’s mouth was tied shut, but it roared loud enough that everyone could hear it. The sound of its cry was painful enough that it made people frown.
“Whoa, whoa, Rai, calm down… Ugh!”
The trainer tried to calm down the lion but flew away after being hit by the it’s front paw.
She heard a scream from somewhere. Other circus members rushed out immediately and tried to shoot an anesthetic arrow into the lion.
Abel’s little body trembled. Chloe shielded his eyes from the horrible sight.
Abel’s trembling voice struck her ears louder than Noah’s wail. Her heart was terrified to be in a situation she had never encountered before, but comforting Abel was her first priority.
“Shh… It’s all right, Abel.”
“…Is the trainer man dead?”
Chloe was only looking at the top of her son’s head because she didn’t want to watch the horrible scene. However, Abel’s question naturally made her turn her eyes toward the stage.
The trainer, who was hit by the lion, still seemed to be breathing even though he was bleeding a lot.
The lion was still going crazy even after being hit by the arrows. The lion, who was staggering and unable to control itself, crashed into the high iron ladder which was installed for aerial performances.
The ladder was about to hit the mother and son of the Blanchett Family.
Chloe only thought about one thing while she was distracted by Leila’s scream and the ladder which was about to fall on them.
‘I must protect Abel!’
Chloe held Abel tightly in her arms.
It felt like such a brief moment was passing very slowly. Abel’s face was screaming at her.
‘Oh, my child.’
She closed her eyes tightly, preparing for the pain. Right at that moment, a blond-haired, green-eyed man hovered above her. It was someone who made her miserable and cry, but she still loved him the most. Gerard Blanchett.
‘I miss you.’
In fact, she missed her husband as much as Abel missed his father. She hated him so much that she didn’t even want to reply to his letters, but she missed him dearly.
‘If I knew I was going to die like this, I should’ve at least said I love you.’
To be honest, Chloe had never told Gerard directly that she loved him. Not only did she not want to beg for his love, but she was also wary of demanding her husband to return the love she had for him.
No, no. It wasn’t that… she honestly wanted him to say it first.
‘I hate you. You should’ve said it first. Over and over again.’
Gerard was a gentleman and family-oriented type of man, but he never crossed the line between them. It felt like an unspoken statement to Chloe. As if he was asking her to keep this distance between them.
Therefore, she acted like a wife who went through an arranged marriage. A friendly, wise, and understanding woman who never crossed the line.
She regretted it. What was it with that line? She should’ve crossed it, even once.
Was it because of that regret? She called out her husband’s name desperately, which she never did before.
It was then. Someone pulled Chloe into his arms and rolled them to the side.
Chloe opened her eyes in surprise.
She saw a frowning face right in front of her. Chiseled forehead and eyebrows, long nose and a thick jawline.
And red hair. He was a different man from the man she called out for in desperation.
‘Herace Moore, why is this man…’
It was Herace, not Gerard, whom she called anxiously, or even Aiden, who vowed loyalty to the Blanchett Family. The man she pushed away harshly had saved her. But he rushed to save her. Why was this person… Why…
“C-Chloe, are you alright? Sir Moore, are you alright? Oh my god. Your leg…”
It was Leila’s tearful voice that made Chloe open her eyes. Herace’s forehead wrinkled as he swallowed dryly.
Chloe got up and scanned Herace’s body. He seemed to be fine except for his back hitting the floor. However, Herace’s long legs were laying under the iron ladder. She could clearly see the knight’s robe he wore turning red.
Chloe couldn’t figure out what to say. Sorry? Thank you? No words could reflect her mind at that moment. She felt sick to her stomach.
“Ugh… You don’t have to make that face. I wasn’t here just to save you, my Lady.”
Despite his injury, Herace was still Herace. He spoke nonsense to Chloe while groaning.
Tears welled up in Chloe’s eyes. Until this moment, this man… Chloe finally understood a little bit of Herace’s life as he pretended to be lighthearted despite his broken and difficult circumstances.
“Phew. That day… I came to say something I couldn’t.”
“…Please stop talking.”
“I also hate… a woman who hates me.”
Herace smiled with a hearty laugh.
He clearly heard Chloe say something while they were rolling in his arms just a moment ago.
‘Gerard, Gerard, Gerard…’
Chloe’s small lips were calling her lover over and over again. It was the end for him. The end of his guilty feeling that justified watching her sad face and looking for an opportunity to enter that little crack. He was not confident about it anymore. Was there even a gap in this woman’s love?
He witnessed her motherly love for her son when he ran to save Chloe. He also listened to how the woman he loved called out her husband’s name desperately while he saved them.
She had a sorrowful expression yet her feelings hadn’t changed at all. Herace didn’t realize until he got hurt that there was no room for him in the first place.
He wondered if it was just his imagination that his heart hurt more than his injured leg. However, on the other hand, he was relieved.
It was only then when Herace finally let go of his first love.
After that, the circus tent was cleaned up quickly by two knight orders moving perfectly in sync. The Blanchett Knights provided first aid to the trainer and Herace’s leg, and the Anata Knights gathered herbs that were usually used as painkillers and put them in the injured man’s mouths.
The injured were carried out on stretchers through the nearest doctor. Chloe tried to follow Herace, speaking in a more comfortable tone while keeping the herb in his mouth.
“Don’t follow me. I think the Lady should take care Blanchett’s heir rather than me.”
Chloe had no choice but to stop upon Herace’s refusal. It was true. Abel still seemed shocked to have witnessed his mother almost die before his eyes.
Chloe stroked Abel’s back again and again. Even now, the child was in his mother’s arms shedding tears without making any sound.
She couldn’t leave him by himself because he was hurt because of her. She would only feel relieved if she heard from the doctor that he was fine.
“It’s all right, Chloe. First, you need to calm down.”
Leila hugging Chloe’s shoulder, holding her back.
‘Oh, is that so?’
Her wish to follow him might be selfishness to relieve her guilt.
“…Then, please get him there safely as soon as possible. The Blanchett Family will pay for treatment, so please get him the best treatment from a great doctor.”
Chloe instructed the knights who were carrying Herace. The injured left and Chloe remained in place for a moment.
‘Please don’t be hurt badly.’
Then, a deep voice was heard behind Chloe.
“Why is the Blanchett Family paying for the treatment of an Anata knight who was injured while guarding Anata’s guests? Don’t worry about anything and return to the castle quickly to get some rest.”
His words sounded curt, but that was how Frederick delivered his concern.
“Madame, the carriage is already prepared. It’ll take you straight to the castle.”
Aiden said with a guilty expression. He felt like a failure for failing to protect his masters. If it was the usual Chloe, she might have offered him consolation, but she wasn’t in her right mind at the moment.
“Leila, go with the Marchioness. As soon as you arrive, make sure to call a doctor.”
Frederick handed the sniffing Renee in his arms to Leila. And he gave his wife a brief kiss on the forehead.
“All right, Derrick. Come back as soon as possible.”
Frederick turned around after bidding goodbye to Leila. Behind him, the circus members were soberly shaking their heads. Nobles almost got hurt and he couldn’t just let it slide.
Chloe also tried to coax Abel while making her way toward the carriage. But for a moment, her eyes fell on a young girl who was part of the circus. Perhaps, she could see Abel through that child who was weeping without making any sound.
Ah, Chloe knew better than anyone that she wasn’t a goodhearted person. That’s why she didn’t do it for the sake of morality or justice. She simply thought she would remember that girl who seemed to be the same age as Abel if she let it happen like this.
It was her selfish nature. Selfishness for not wanting to see someone die or get hurt because of her.
“Please have mercy on them. It was an accident.”
Frederick turned around and looked at the Marchioness. What a strange woman. He felt she was sometimes more strange than his whimsical wife. She pretended to be a condescending noblewoman harder than anyone else, but her inner feelings weren’t cruel at all.
However, it was still unknown whether it was an accident or an intentional plan. It was something he had to find out.
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