Chapter 2 – Awake
In all honesty, while Zed didn’t particularly like Yevnika, he didn’t hate her until a while ago. Removing the fact that she was involved in the incident with Leticia, Yevnika herself was a completely innocent and virtuous woman. If Duke Cabrian didn’t happen to latch onto her, this storm of events wouldn’t have happened, nor would she have been in the center of it. Even so, Zed pitied the woman a bit, as it looked like she was swept up in a fight between nobles and a commoner.
But still…truthfully…he still respected Leticia the most, so he hated Yevnika for making Leticia end up like this.
“It’s problematic if you come here like this. I’m sure you know that.”
If the public knew that Yevnika visited Leticia in her sickbed, then Yevnika would be known as the kind woman who worried about the villainess, even though she was the target of her abuse. Leticia would be compared to Yevnika even more, and would thus be cast into a deeper shadow.
Yevnika must have been aware of this—she had come here with her face hooded after all. However, it would have been better for her to not visit Leticia in the first place.
“My Lady has not woken up yet,” Zed said coldly. If that was all that you wanted to hear about, then please return to your home now.” He was about to turn his back, when Yevnika hurriedly spoke.
“T-Then could you contact me when she has woken up? I want to talk… If she were to wake up, I must talk with her. I think that she’s—she’s had a big misunderstanding.”
“If you do not wish to cause any further misunderstandings, then you should know that going back to your place and not moving an inch would actually be very helpful for us. I’m sure you know that fact.”
Whether there was a misunderstanding or not, was there anything Yevnika could do anyway?
Leticia nearly died from drinking poison and still hadn’t woken up yet, while Yevnika was standing here in perfect health. Moreover, Leticia had been poisoned the day after she was finally able to get her hands on information about Yevnika to blackmail her.
Zed did not wish to speak with Yevnika any further, and he completely turned away.
Yevnika’s brow furrowed in annoyance. “What happened this time was completely not intentional! I spoke with Lady Leticia on that day, but someone else took the initiative and—”
“That day?” As Zed listened to her excuses, those particular words rang out in his ears. He turned to her in suspicion, and Yevnika hurriedly shut her mouth and bit her lower lip as if she had made a mistake. As if she had revealed a secret that she was never allowed to tell anyone about.
That day…. Then perhaps it was when Leticia and Yevnika had a private meeting the day before Lady Leticia had been poisoned?
Before Zed could question Yevnika about it, she hurriedly drew the hood over her head and bowed.
“I shall take my leave.”
She turned her heel and fled down the hallway without hearing what he was trying to say, as if she was trying to run away.
There was definitely something wrong.
Zed bit his lip when he realized that. The lady he served was in critical condition, and he had to uncover as much as he could from the incident no matter what.
But before Zed could take a single step, there was a noise that stopped him from his tracks.
“Let goooooooo!” a familiar voice screamed.
Zed’s expression changed in an instant. He burst into the bedroom, and his eyes fell on Leticia sitting on the floor next to her bed. Her yellow eyes were rounded in surprise as she gazed back at him.
‘Ahh, thank goodness.’
When he realized that she was fine, his shoulders dropped and he gave her a relaxed smile. He really…he really was happy that she was awake.
While he had served for many years, this had been the first time he had watched over her while she slept like a corpse. She was like a doll made of glass, or of something more brittle like ice. Her frail figure was a startling contrast to her strong personality. That made him even more worried. Worried that she really may not wake up again. Some comatose patients remained in deep sleep for years before waking up.
Zed had served Leticia for the past seven years. Although she had an infamously difficult personality and she treated him harshly, his emotions of hate and respect he had for her solidified into a strong bond.
“Haah. Please don’t worry people like that. Do you know how worried sick I was?” Zed admonished, but his tone was playful. His expression was more relaxed than a moment ago, and he walked towards Leticia and held his hand out to her.
However, Leticia flinched in surprise and pulled her body back. That was strange. Zed tilted his head in confusion at her odd behavior, but then pushed the thought aside and continued speaking in a light tone.
“My Lady, please get up. It’s not proper for you to sit on the floor like this.”
Leticia looked down at his hand, but didn’t seem willing to take it. Her light pink lips were pressed shut and her body remained still.
Seeing that she was scared, and a shiver crawled down Zed’s spine as an ominous thought ran through his head.
“My Lady?” he called to her.
Leticia lifted her bright yellow eyes and looked at him. There was a glimmer of wariness and fear in her expression…
‘F…fear? She’s scared of me?’
Even if he died and reincarnated a hundred times, that kind of emotion did not suit Leticia’s personality at all.
Only then Zed was able to notice the strange atmosphere of the room that he had ignored due to his initial joy of seeing her awake. The maids’ faces were torn in confusion, and Leticia’s hair was completely disheveled as if she had been thrashing around. The porcelain kettle lay smashed on the ground in pieces, and steam was rising from the warm water.
Now that he thought about it, the reason he burst into the room in the first place was because he heard Leticia scream.
Zed slowly turned his head and looked at Leticia again. As he turned, he saw her flinch and curl up her body. Not even that, she was now further from him as if she had been scooting away.
The yellow eyes that gazed back at him trembled restlessly. He lowered his eyes a bit, and he saw her shoulders were shivering as if she were a child petrified with fear. Seeing her not be able to put strength into her legs and attempting to avoid him by pushing herself away from the source of fear made her look uncharacteristically fragile.
Zed gave a choked laugh. There…there was no way she’d be like this.