Chapter 14 - Something Going Wrong
“I beg your forgiveness. Shall I go a little lower?” With that said, Cecile stuck her limbs flat to the floor. The thin hem of the dress the attendants had put on her had fallen apart before she knew it; her bare chest grazed against the floor and her thighs became bare, but she had no mind for such things at the moment.
“What I mean is…”
She vaguely heard a sigh. The sound spurred Cecile to ponder as to how she could lie down even flatter. Should I just stick my face to the carpet? The emperor got to his feet after sighing deeply. He held her by the waist with his sturdy arms, lifting her with ease.
“Uah!” Cecile exclaimed and went tense, her mind replaying the fate of those corpses tossed out the window. Could it be he was going to fling her out alive? But contrary to Cecile’s imagination, the emperor carefully rested Cecile onto the chair opposite him. Isn’t this like the time when he carried me before the wedding?
Before she could even wonder as to the emperor’s actions, he picked up the bedsheet on the floor and wrapped it around Cecile.
“Much better.” The emperor muttered in satisfaction at the sight of Cecile swathed up like a caterpillar. Do I look that much worse for wear? She wondered. Then how come he left my face in the open? Even though he wrapped up the rest like he doesn’t want to see.
“Finally ready for some conversation. Your condition a moment ago… seemed a little unfit for discussion, you see.”
“When you say conversation…”
“Right. A conversation where I ask, and you answer.”
Isn’t that normally what you call an interrogation instead? Cecile pushed the thought to one side as she fervently nodded. She had to be obedient for the time being.
* * *
Estian gazed at Cecile who was wrapped up like a white cocoon. He could not help but wonder if this terror-stricken person before him was the same woman who had made such bold requests before the wedding. Estian observed her eyes flitting back and forth in apparent nervousness but then noticed the swelling on Cecile’s forehead.
‘How utterly weak.’
Judging by the tinge of red on the swelling, it was apparent that she was going to have a nasty bruise with a lump around the next morning. He felt a sudden surge of discomfort at the thought and muttered, “I should have cut their heads before throwing them after all.”
Cecile made a muffled gasp at his mutter. Estian saw her curl in on herself apprehensively inside the bedsheets.
‘That looks painful.’
A while ago, he had deliberately massaged Cecile’s shoulders and neck to deceive the assassins. He felt the stiffness in her muscles, likely due to tension, and so Estian purposely targeted those areas. And what ensued were the moans he had anticipated.
Cecile had failed to notice at the time, but the moment she moaned, Estian’s body had flinched slightly. He was taken by an indescribable, ambiguous feeling. Was it because of the softness of the skin beneath his rough hands? Moreover, Cecile was dolled up by the attendants for the first night of the wedding; his senses caught a subtle fragrance from her hair each time Cecile tossed and turned in pain.
‘I’ve never liked perfume before, and yet…’
Estian had always held an aversion towards perfume. Such things numbed the nose, after all. As someone who needed to constantly be on guard against his surroundings, they were things he absolutely needed to avoid. Estian moved his hands a little more. After going through so much cutting and killing in his life, he had acquired knowledge in the locations of muscles and how they moved. Thus Estian utilized his know-how and resumed his massage, pressing the spots where Cecile would hurt the most. Moans burst out once again.
He could sense hidden movement beyond the wall of the room. It was certain that the sounds of heavy breathing and moaning had led them to believe the two in the room were indulging in the night. He had been waiting for them to make a move, yet he did not find it welcome at all.
‘If it weren’t for those fools, then right about now I…’
Thinking up to that point, Estian was surprised by himself. If there had been no assassins? What then? He gazed down at Cecile, panting beneath him. Moans slipped through her lips as her body twisted and coiled from the pain of her most receptive spots being pressed by him. Her clothes were disheveled, and her breathing was intense. Tears hung on the corners of her slightly reddened eyes.
Her blonde hair splayed across the bed, glimmering through the darkness of the room, and her watery green eyes were like crystals under the lamplight. Estian was unable to wrest his eyes away from her as he thought about who this woman was.
She was the woman who had come from a distant country to marry him. His wife. And, according to the vow officiated by the pontiff, the woman who would forever be his companion through life. The moment his thoughts reached this point, for the first time in a truly long time, he felt the blood rush to his face. Something, he thought, is going wrong.
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