Chapter 4 - The Face Beneath The Veil (19+)
His heart began to beat violently when he detected a subtle scent from Anna, who was keeping up with him in graceful steps. When he smelled the scent of a woman for the first time in a long while, his forgotten desire burned hot. Eli stopped in front of the door to Anna’s decided place of residence and told her, “We’ll be having a brief wedding ceremony tomorrow. It must have been a long journey, so I’ll tell them to prepare bath water for you first.”
He let Anna go into the room by herself and turned around, heading to his own.
Left alone, Edna rushed into her room. If the wedding was not until tomorrow, then she could at least sleep comfortably today. Come to think of it, she didn’t spot a single maid on her way here, so she wondered who was preparing her bathwater. Just then, she heard a knock. “Come in.”
As soon as Edna’s voice rang out, the door opened, showing an old maid accompanied by a servant dragging a large tub into the room.
As Eli, annoyed by the screeching sound of something heavy being dragged on the floor, stepped out, the open door to Edna’s room caught his eye. Eli stood by the door and watched as the servant and maid walked back and forth filling the tub with hot water. Beckoning the servants to leave when they had finished their work, he looked at Edna, who deliberately stood against the candle and looked at him from under the veil as he closed the door and walked in.
Eli squinted at Anna’s face. He smiled coldly when he felt that she was holding her breath at a glance. Did she not want to breathe the same air as him?
“Are you going to stand there like that?” Eli said sarcastically, blatantly revealing that he had no intention of going out. The lust that had been caused by her scent shimmered dangerously again, sending his whole body into tremors.
“I should be asking you that,” Edna answered him in a quiet, reproachful voice.
“I am of lowly commoner birth with no manners so I won’t let you have it your way. Why don’t you just take off your clothes already? Before the water cools, that is.” Eli sneered.
Edna’s face momentarily paled. When asked to take off her clothes in front of him even though they hadn’t even married yet, she held her hands together and took a deep breath. Seeing her reaction, Eli added coldly, “Since you’ve come to marry me, it would be faster for you to adjust to me. I’m an uneducated man, and I can never become a classy noble like you.”
“The wedding is tomorrow. Can’t you bear it for today?” Edna did not give up and asked in a trembling voice.
Eli took a threatening step forward and, thinking her voice was very sweet, murmured, “What’s the difference between today and tomorrow? Aren’t you my woman now whether you like it or not?”
Tears rushed to Edna’s eyes and she unknowingly bit her lips. The faint candlelight and veil over her face prevented Eli from seeing her face closely. Eli wanted to see her beautiful face that he remembered. As he took a step closer, she began to tremble like an acorn. Eli reached out one hand and gently rubbed her trembling ear. Then Edna hurriedly moved to avoid his touch as he tried to remove the veil. Her gestures of denying him further ignited his desire.
“You must’ve already heard rumors about me. Do you think you can avoid me?” Speaking softly, Eli pulled on her arm roughly.
“Don’t do this. You are now a duke despite your commoner origins. So please, at least be considerate. I want to have my first night after the wedding.” Hurriedly pleading, Edna struggled not to be dragged by him. Then Eli snatched her veil roughly with a chilling sneer. As soon as the veil came off, Edna quickly turned and escaped from his grasp.
Surprisingly, Eli smiled for a moment at her agile movements. He was a very dangerous man, completely different from the knights she had been avoiding. She clutched her collar tightly and, as the many rumors she had heard about Eli buzzed in her ear, opened her mouth. “Don’t demean me in front of the maids. You must protect your dignity of a lord.”
“It’s just the two of us here, though?”
“Just because they’re not here does not mean they’re too far away to see and hear.” Edna rebuked him.
But Eli shrugged and gave a careless answer. “I already told you. I’m a commoner, so I’m not as noble as you are. I don’t care about that kind of thing. Aren’t lords men, too?”
Edna’s pride which had been secretly pulsing inside her for a long time was poked and bubbled up at Eli’s cold, determined tone. “But you don’t have to turn me into the same person you are, do you? After the ceremony tomorrow, I’ll be your wife whether you like it or not. I won’t shirk off my wifely duties. So just give me time to breathe until then. I’m sure you can muster that much control.”
Uttering words cleverly directed at Eli’s feelings, Edna stared at him fixedly, clinging closely to the wall. For a moment, a golden tide seemed to rage from her eyes. Eli approached her threateningly, hearing her outspoken challenge to himself. “Those are words you should have told your father before you came here. Don’t try to persuade me by talking back to everything I say. I’ll kindly inform you that I hate talkative women since you’re about to be my wife.”
Edna confronted Eli’s unrelenting face head-on, biting her lip tightly. Her face was still concealed by a shadow despite the candlelight, but strangely, the golden flare on her pupils was more pronounced due to that. Eli drew closer to her as if he was possessed and snatched off the front of her dress.
The expensive fabric was torn, making a soft sound. Edna drew her arms to cover her revealed chest, not knowing at all that her gesture of rejection was further provoking his desire. Edna said frantically, “I’m the person who’s going to be your wife. Don’t treat me like a maid.”
“Maid? Maids don’t seem to look like humans in the eyes of a noble like you. Is it too unpleasant of an idea to marry a commoner like me?”
“No, I came all the way here to marry you. So at least have some… ugh.” At that moment Eli tore Edna’s arms away from her chest and took her lips brutally. Edna’s mind went blank as Eli forced her soft lips open with his tongue and pushed it in. She never dreamed that he would be so ignorant.
Edna inadvertently began to rebel violently. She was nearly violated in Viscount William’s castle plenty of times and each time she resisted as hard as she could and escaped from their clutches, but the situation was different now because she was here to be Eli’s wife. However, it was clear that she would not be left alone if she resisted the same way she did before this time. However, the memory of the dizzying and frightening violence of all those times when she was nearly raped, hardened Edna’s body.
Eli hugged her stiffened body closer and tilted her head to savor her lips. The more he tasted her lips, the hotter his whole body felt as if it would soon turn into ashes.
Eli pulled her torn clothes down to her waist at once, putting a stop to her act of defiance. Seeing her smooth skin and soft breasts, Eli groaned unwittingly. Her skin was completely different from the women he had experienced up to now. As he reached out carefully and touched her chest, Edna turned her head to the side and bit her lip tightly. A metallic taste of blood lingered in her mouth.
An exclamation escaped Eli’s mouth which was savoring her the taste of her. She gave a small scream as he clasped her breasts full with his hands. Eli tied her arms with the torn fabric, bowed his head, and began to revel in her chest with his lips. Edna twisted her body in open rejection, but Eli weighed heavily on her body, making Edna’s eyes burn.
“I thought you were truly beautiful when I saw you in the capital city. I’d like to see for myself if your body is equally as beautiful.” Eli murmured. When his voice made its way into her ear, Edna immediately came to her senses. She couldn’t believe that he’d seen Anna in the capital city! That meant that he would soon notice that she was not who she claimed to be. Then she was sure he’d kill her. Edna took several deep breaths as she regained awareness.
After a while, she remembered what Anna had said.
“If, by any chance, that lowly Eli realizes that you’re not me, then tell him this: I caught a terrible disease, and the rest of my sisters were so young that you, my father’s illegitimate daughter, had to come in my stead. There are already rumors that I have picked up an illness in the monastery, so Eli’s hands would be tied even if he were to tell the king. At best, all he could do is vent his anger on you. Well, if necessary, tell him I’ll be back to him when I’m all better. Of course, I wouldn’t go to Eli even if I died. My rightful place isn’t there.”
Edna pushed Eli’s shoulders with all her might. Then she quickly shouted as Eli reached out to touch her again. “I’m not Anna!”
“What? You’re not Anna?” Eli questioned his ears and stilled his hand that was reaching for her chest, quietly asking back, “Are you spitting out an obvious lie to avoid my touch?”
“I’m not Anna, I’m Viscount William’s illegitimate daughter. Anna has caught a terrible disease and is recuperating. That’s why I’m here instead.” She blurted out in one breath.
Eli took a step back, picked up the candle, and looked closely at Edna’s trembling face. At first, it was covered beneath a veil and later couldn’t see her face properly because she kept her back to the candle in the bedroom. She definitely wasn’t Anna. Eli glared at her silently, his eyes turning coldly inside his head at the unbelievable truth.
After a while, he opened his mouth and said in a chilling tone, “Who are you?”
“I’m Edna, an illegitimate child of Viscount William’s,” Edna replied, shuddering at Eli’s freezing eyes.
“Yes, I’m an illegitimate child born to Viscount William from a commoner woman. I never meant to deceive you. But Anna’s condition was so critical that I had to come here in her stead.”