Chapter 79 - This Can’t Be Love
“Y-you can’t possibly mean that trying it yourself is to reenact the book…” Cecile said and her eyes began to shake wildly as she stared at him in bewilderment. Soon, an aggrieved look appeared on her face, one that screamed, ‘I was tricked!’ She swiftly rolled over, trying to escape the bed, but Estian’s grip on her waist was ironclad. “You must’ve been thinking of doing this from the start!”
“I won’t say no.”
Estian buried his face in Cecile’s neck again. The book in his hand fell to the floor not long after, but there was no problem as he had read it all before coming anyway. Estian diligently began to follow the next part in the book—with his body, of course.
* * *
Estian gazed at Cecile dead asleep in his arms. Numerous red marks were visible on her nape through her disheveled pajamas, but that was not the only place that had red; there were many more hidden underneath her clothes, all made by him. The mere knowledge filled him with satisfaction. He did not want to let go of her. He felt sorry to spend time apart from her.
‘She won’t even need to act.’ Estian had told Cecile to act as the villainess who held power over himself. At first, he had thought it would be difficult to behave according to her act. ‘But that wasn’t it.’
Estian’s actions—which Cecile regarded with a troubled face and his officials watched with eyes that questioned his sanity—all came from a sincere heart. Contrary to his expectations, it was not the slightest bit difficult to treat Cecile with care.
Estian put the bedsheet over Cecile’s shoulders as she dug into his arms, and that put a faintly happy smile on her face as she leaned against his body. He felt a tickle from her golden hair rustling against his chest. Estian found himself wrapping Cecile’s hair around his hand and letting it slide off. He felt as if he would never grow tired of its soft sensation, even if he were to touch it for the entire day.
He fiddled about with his hands quietly for a long time before putting his face in Cecile’s neck. The mixed fragrance of perfume and skin made him relaxed.
‘Two weeks later, is it?’ he mused, trying to count the days. This evening, before returning to the empress’ palace, he had informed his knights to prepare for a campaign. Upon being asked where they were headed, he answered they were to march for the dukedom of Etia. There were no other questions asked. As always, his knights began their preparations without a word. Two weeks later he would be standing in the castle of Etia. As for whether he would kill or spare the grand duke’s life, that had yet to be decided.
Estian intended on giving a choice, at the least, to those who stood in his path to the grand duke: to make way or die. He would kill those who did not make way even if they begged for life, just like how he and the other children were pushed into hell despite their pleading.
Had she sensed his hardening expression? Cecile leaned further against his body in his arms, frowning. Estian quickly withdrew his power that had leaked due to his heightened emotions, and soon she was breathing evenly again with a comfortable face. The sight brought an involuntary smile to Estian’s lips.
He felt it was curious and strange that whenever he thought of the past, it took a long time to shake off those thoughts, yet now they vanished in an instant the moment he looked at Cecile.
He carefully laid her down on the bed, but she did not seem happy about the absence of warmth; she reached out a hand to grab his gown. Estian did not resist and let himself be pulled by her slender arms to quietly lay down beside her.
“What’s happened to me?” he murmured as he watched Cecile’s sleeping face. He lowered a hand beneath the bed and picked up the book that had fallen to the floor. After turning over several pages, he had a bitter smile on his face; the man in the story was feeling the same emotions he was going through.
‘Love, is it.’ Estian sighed. He did not feel shy or anything of the sort, for he was incapable of possessing such emotions.
‘What I’m feeling isn’t love, but the desire to reproduce.’
That was what they had told him, and Estian knew that was true. He gazed at his hand. For a brief instant, what looked like a black mist appeared on top of his palm, but then he clenched his fist and it disappeared without a trace. The mist had appeared for a mere instant, yet the air in the room had become turbid. Seeing Cecile make groaning noises, he walked over to the window and opened it. He could sense a presence watching him from a very far distance. ‘Should I kill them?’
But Estian turned down the thought. It seemed whoever it was merely wanted to observe him—he sensed no murderous intent—and more than anything, he did not want to leave this room at this moment. Besides, he already knew who had sent the watcher. When the turbid air had disappeared somewhat, he closed the window and returned to the bed.
‘Since she promised not to leave for the time being…’ Of course, a bit of bullying was involved to get that promise out of Cecile, but what of it? It mattered not since she liked it in the end. Estian went under the bedsheets and hugged his wife’s warm body, thinking of the person he would be meeting tomorrow. The Rose of Aswan, Princess Yuliana.
“Such a ready mindset. Scouting before even arriving,” he muttered, glaring beyond the window where the presence had disappeared from.
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