Chapter 14. Kiss

 


***

Sponsored by Mar 💖 (4/4)

****

 

“I don’t care, Your Majesty, do as you wish.”

 

At Liv’s words, everyone’s eyes went wide at once. Count Baxter and Alish turned to Carius.

 

Carius’s expression grew grim. He stared at Liv with a sharper look than before. Liv just gave him a sideways glance and continued.

 

“If you have a concubine, you’ll have a friend to raise Theodore with you.”

 

“Empress…”

 

Carius muttered lowly to deter Liv from getting on his nerves.

 

Liv gradually removed her hand from his. Then she said as if to say to herself.

 

“Your Majesty, Lady Baxter’s words are not wrong ………”

 

“Stop it!”

 

Carius, unable to contain his anger, slammed the chair with his hand.

 

The two people in front of him turned deadly white at the sight, Liv looked at him as if surprised by his sudden behavior.

 

Carius took a deep breath, as if trying to calm his anger. He raised his eyes and looked carefully at Alish’s face.

 

Alish’s eyes flicked to and fro in panic as if he looked into the depths of her soul. Carius frowned.

 

“It seems like you haven’t learned the etiquette because you’re on the outskirts of the world. A mere Young Lady dares to talk about the imperial system in front of the emperor.”

 

In the silence, only Carius’ eyes were sharp and alive.

 

Count Baxter felt the pressure on him and felt his body stiffened at the moment, and Alish couldn’t even look properly into Carius’ eyes. Her eyes were just quivering.

 

Count Baxter hurriedly bowed his head towards Carius.

 

“Please forgive me, Your Majesty!”

 

It was no small matter for his daughter to be disliked by Carius. It was difficult for a daughter to gain a good reputation in the social circles when she was scowled at by the Emperor.

 

Carius looked at the Count with fierce eyes.

 

“Make your daughter study etiquette again. What happens when she talks carelessly?”

 

“The child is only in a foreign country and has neglected her manners. Please forgive me!” 

 

Count Baxter and his daughter shuddered. Carius signaled them with a hand gesture as if to tell them to leave.

 

Without saying a word, Liv stared at them as they walked out. When the door closed, Carius quickly turned to Liv.

 

“Last time you told me to have a mistress, now even concubines. You seem very generous.”

 

Liv was slightly embarrassed, but soon looked him in the eye and said firmly.

 

“I was prepared for this anyway. Your Majesty.”

 

“That doesn’t mean you can say something so recklessly without consulting me at all.”

 

There was an unspeakable amount of anger in Carius’s words.

 

Liv took a deep breath, then gently raised her eyes and said.

 

“I’m sorry if that’s how you feel. I’ll be careful next time.”

 

Carius stared at her. For some reason, there was a mixture of sadness and resentment towards Liv in his eyes.

 

Carius chuckled with an empty expression as if letting go of everything.

 

“Yeah. What did you come here for? Are you going to say thank you for sending the knights?”

 

Liv opened her mouth without knowing his heart.

 

“Thanks to Your Majesty’s grace, the matter regarding the pagoda has been successfully resolved. Soon, Theodore will………”

 

Before she could finish speaking, Carius asked in a sharp tone.

 

“I want to ask you back what you asked Lady Baxter earlier. Are you really not afraid of the cursed Prince?”

 

Liv bit her open lips the moment she met his cold gaze.

 

Why was it scary, to her, Theodore was more than just a “cursed prince”.

 

Theodore was her only hope for revenge against the Empress Dowager Patricia and Edgar.

 

He was also the medium through which she could firmly instill her motherly love for her lost child.

 

Liv could never ignore the sight of the child being abandoned in the imperial household like her own baby. It was also a repentance for her sin of not being able to protect her child.

 

Liv looked up at Carius and said firmly.

 

 “It’s not that I’m not afraid, but I’m trying not to be afraid.”

 

Carius met her eyes, which shone firmly. He couldn’t ask anything more at that moment.

 

He couldn’t ask anything more about her true feelings for her son, or her feelings for him. Carius eventually gathered his gaze on Liv.

 

“Let’s talk about today next time. My head hurts right now.”

 

Liv’s lips twitched with a strange feeling, but in the end, she stood up at his cold words. Liv dragged her heavy feet and went straight out. She exhaled incessantly as she left the imperial palace.

 

Jane, who had approached before long, turned to Liv and asked, 

 

“Your Majesty, where are we going now?”

 

Instead of replying, she stared at the emperor’s office.

 

‘Why do you keep looking at me like that?  How can you look at me in your eyes like that…’

 

“Your Majesty?”

 

Liv averted her gaze and stepped inside the carriage.

 

 While the Empress’ carriage was leaving the Emperor’s palace. Carius stood by the window of his office and watched her carriage for a long time.

 

Just then, an aide entered the room with a knock on the door.

 

“Your Majesty, I’ve summoned Lord Daemon, as you requested. Shall I let him in?”

 

Carius turned his head without responding and just nodded.  It was a signal to bring in the captain.

 

In fact, Carius was unable to concentrate on his work at all due to matters at the pagoda. He spent the whole day trying to figure out what Liv was doing at the pagoda.

 

***

 

It was an unusual rainy night.

 

The raindrops flowing along the blades of grass each made a beautiful sound. The sound carried on the air to the Empress’s bedroom.

 

Liv, wearing a thin white negligee, was lying in bed. Lulled to sleep that never came.

 

‘Why do I keep seeing that sad look in his eyes in my head?’

 

Liv couldn’t forget the wistful look in Carius’s eyes as he looked at her. She tossed and turned, trying her best to forget it.

 

It was difficult to get Carius’s unfamiliar gaze out of her mind.

 

Just then, she was startled by a momentary outside noise and sat up. Immediately Jane entered the bedroom.

 

“Your Majesty, you have to come see.”

 

“What’s the matter?”

 

At the same time, a heavy , low voice came in through the door.

 

“…Liv.”

 

She stood up from the bed quickly, startled.

 

Soon, Carius, whose body was soaking wet, entered the bedroom. Along with the faint scent of alcohol in the air.

 

Carius’s black hair and black uniform were all soaked. His blue eyes shone strangely.

 

“Your Majesty.”

 

Carius slowly lifted his fine eyelashes at the startled Liv.

 

In silence, he looked at her for a long time with desperate eyes. Then he raised right hand and grabbed his chest tightly.

 

“I think I’m going crazy………..”

 

Carius looked so distraught with anger as if he was about to collapse. Liv’s heart grew sadder at the sight of him.

 

“You, my son, and all the people I love are here in this imperial palace. But why can’t my chest breathe properly ………..?”

 

Carius pounded his chest hard and cried.

 

Liv’s eyes were filled with tears before she knew it. Was it because she could feel his heart?

 

“Your Majesty….”

 

Liv held the perilous Carius in her arms, the Carius stopped hitting his chest and leaned on her.

 

Watching the scene, Jane retreated and quietly closed the door.

 

He must have cried for a while. Did she comfort him for a long time?

 

At some point, Carius’s nose picked up the faint scent of lavender from Liv’s hair, which he had smelled on his wedding night with Liv.

 

Carius slowly escaped her arms.Then Liv reached out to him and wiped his cheek.

 

Carius stared into Liv’s pristine red pupils. Then he let the words out involuntarily.

 

“I’m sorry. I know exactly how you feel, and yet I turned a blind eye on those feelings today.”

 

Liv’s eyes lit up for a moment at Carius’ words, but there was no time to care.

 

Because Carius suddenly kissed her small, soft lips.

 

Startled, Liv hurriedly pushed him away as she put pressure on her hands. But her slender hands were not strong enough to push Carius’s strong and firm chest.

 

 

In the end, Liv couldn’t push him away, and she just closed her eyes tightly. Carrius devoured her small, red lips greedily as if he would take everything away.

 

Liv could only hear his rough breathing in her ears. Soon tears welled up in her eyes.

 

She didn’t love him. Or, more accurately, because she knew how miserable an emotionless act can be.

 

Liv raised her trembling hands and pushed his chest as hard as she could. As if to push away Carius’s love at once, but his rough breath chased only her.

 

“Your Majesty, you can’t do this……….!”

 

Then Carius lost his balance and staggered. Liv quickly managed to hold him back.

 

For a moment she could see the bed in her eyes. He was too heavy for Liv but Liv managed to get him to the bed, barely.

 

“Phew…”

 

But now his wet clothes were getting on her nerves.

 

‘I’m sure he’ll catch a cold if he leaves it like that.’

 

Liv started untying the wet uniform that was sticking so tightly to his body. When she took off the thick uniform, a white shirt was revealed.

 

Each time she opened a button on the shirt, she could see the muscles that were beautifully positioned inside. His chest towering high and his shoulders imposing.

 

Somehow Liv felt guilty staring at it, so she turned away. And she finished her actions in a hurry.

 

Then she pulled the white blanket up to his neck. Carius was asleep in one corner of the bed, and Liv deliberately turned away from him and laid down in the other direction.

 

Liv couldn’t sleep a wink on the spot until Carius woke up.