Chapter 15 - A Trip To The Village
Edna blushed at his blunt words but continued to eat determinedly with her head bowed. Eli’s eyes never left her for a long while, then he said, “Edna, you’re completely different from the way you look. I think you’re hiding something more than just being a virgin.”
“I didn’t live a rich enough life to have something to hide. The world is brutal to illegitimate children.” Giving a cool response, Edna wiped her hands with a towel.
“Anyone who saw your gestures would think you are the daughter of the viscount. You give off an aura similar to that of aristocrats.” Eli murmured at her graceful hand movements.
Edna had been made aware once again of his astute sense after this remark. “That must be why I was chosen to come instead of Anna.”
“Except for your habit of talking back.” He brought the excuse back to her mouth as if he were greatly enjoying himself, knowing fully well that she had no choice in the matter, making Edna bite her lip softly.
“Do you plan to keep coming at me like that? And talking back?” He added and Edna smiled despite herself. She remembered her ‘live or die’ attitude of talking back to him last night. They were but remarks she made out in order not to die.
“As long as you talk to me, I have no choice but to answer since I don’t have the ability to talk with my eyes.” She spat back at him.
Lo and behold. Eli was speechless for a moment at her confident reply. When Edna disappeared into the kitchen with the empty plates, Eli emptied his wine cup and got up.
The castle had to be repaired before winter came and, now that Edna had come, she needed a maid to wait on her. There was a flood of money, but Eli never wanted to go out to town and face the residents. Since returning to the castle, he had never looked around the territory properly and still wanted to turn a blind eye to it. But he had to make a trip to the village at least once for the wedding.
After the meal, Eli pulled his horse out of the stable and saddled it, intending to ride straight out to town. Edna, who had nothing to prepare, left the castle and waited for him in the yard. Deeming the brown dress dangling over her ankles to be really eye-catching, Eli grabbed Edna’s waist and put her directly on the horse.
“Are we going on horseback?” She asked.
“Then do you want us to walk there? Do you think I mounted you on a horse out of boredom?”
Edna zipped her mouth at his cold retort. Eli slowly grabbed the reins with her in front of him. As the well-tamed warhorse moved, the vivid feeling of it traversed up to Edna, triggering the pain she had forgotten deep within her body. Suppressing it, Edna focused all her attention on the movement of the horse she was riding for the first time in a long while.
‘It would have been better if I were to ride it alone. Then wouldn’t I be able to run as fast as I can? Where no one can find me.’
Harboring foolish hopes inside, Edna clasped the saddle. Eli thought it an absolute fact that she would be riding a horse for the first time, so he rode slowly, naturally circling her waist with his arm and quietly observing her as she scanned her surroundings. He thought he could see her sighing inwardly. It was a land so barren as to make anyone sigh. Moreover, during the time it had been abandoned, all its riches were plundered and burned until it seemed like a scene straight out of hell.
“You don’t have to look at it like that, it’s abandoned anyway. I don’t think anything planted and cultivated here will grow properly. I will do nothing for this land.” Eli warned her, but Edna made no answer. She clearly remembered what a rich land this was and what a great natural power it had. In autumn, the golden waves of the wind were still vivid in her memory. Edna then closed her eyes tightly as she remembered her old self that she had been trying to erase from memory.
When he felt an apparent tension from Edna’s body, Eli, thinking it was due to the fear stemming from her first horse ride, tightened his arm around her waist and enjoyed her warm body temperature. Her waist stiffened further as soon as his grip tightened. Edna almost fell off the horse when Eli bowed his head and rubbed his lips against the nape of her neck, intoxicated from the faint scent emanating from her.
Eli quickly grabbed her by the waist and secured her. “You’re crazy. If you fall from here, you’ll break a leg in the best-case scenario.”
Edna, who shouted in her heart, ‘You were responsible for this, though!’ calmed her shocked self down. Eli opened his mouth and spoke cynically at the shaking woman in front of him. “You said you wanted to live, didn’t you? And didn’t you say you’d be my wife and share my bed at the same time? But do you want to fall off your horse and break your leg before you get married?”
Eli moved his hand, which was fastened tightly to her waist, and continued exploring her body.
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