I hesitated for a moment before opening my arms and embracing him. It was more like a gesture of holding him than a tight hug due to the height difference, but when Radkiel wrapped his arms around my back, it became a genuine embrace. The touch of his face against my shoulder was warm and damp.
I wanted to say something comforting, but I couldn’t find the right words, afraid that I might make him cry even more. Instead, I gently patted his back and waited for him to calm down. I waited and waited, and finally, the sound of sobbing ceased. Then, I felt a solid weight descend from above.
Confused, I twisted my body, wondering what it was, and realized that Radkiel had fallen asleep.
What’s going on with this person? Is he a baby? Why is he crying and falling asleep…?
Of course, there were times when I cried myself to sleep when I had an accident, but that was more like passing out from exhaustion. However, Radkiel wasn’t unconscious due to exhaustion; he simply drifted into a deep sleep. I had no choice but to hold him in my arms and continue walking out of the cave.
As we emerged outside, the sun was shining brightly, and Radkiel’s eyelids trembled slightly as if they were dazzled. My body was relieved by the shadow cast. Soon the trembling subsided.
The underground cave was located almost the same distance away from the fishing spot on the other side. This path was also beautifully arranged, but I didn’t want to move too quickly and risk waking Radkiel up, so I strolled leisurely, enjoying the feeling of taking a walk. Throughout the walk, I kept thinking about what he had said.
‘He asked for help from me.’
From the moment he asked if his revenge was justified, I had a vague sense that he was hesitating. Even when I explained how the original Radkiel carried out his revenge, he seemed uncomfortable.
‘How exactly does he want me to help? I don’t think I’ll be of much use…’
No matter how strong I was, my skills were honed for self-sufficiency in farming and other aspects of a self-sustaining lifestyle. Even if I could break their swords and bones in a fight against the escort knights accompanying the noble families, I would inevitably lose against their systematic attacks.
I knew how to do many things, but they were all specialized for a self-sufficient life. In the palace, they would probably be of little use.
‘Hmm, does he want me to become a dedicated maid?’
Come to think of it, I’ve read many novels where the heroine becomes the maid of the male lead. The maids I saw in those novels were no different from servants, but my brother once told me that being a maid wasn’t something anyone could do. It was a job reserved for noblewomen. A task performed by agents or messengers in the palace, where they could expand their connections and leave their mark.
However, the maids in ‘The Savior of the Cursed Tyrant’ were no different from servants, except for the name. They performed similar tasks, so it wouldn’t be impossible for me to become a dedicated maid. Although I wasn’t skilled with my head, I had confidence in physical labor, so if they needed manpower, I could help, as long as it wasn’t something like killing people.
‘But that won’t be necessary. Radkiel is a good person.’
Yeah, he’s a good person. I tried to stay strong and cautiously brought up the quest story, and he responded unexpectedly. When he said, “I don’t want Yuri to die,” inside the cave, my heart felt warm and fuzzy for some reason.
Looking down at his beautiful face, I let go of the notion of an obsessive man from the ‘original work’, or more precisely, my prejudice against Radkiel.
I haven’t forgotten about the dream, but when I think back to how he smiled so brightly, maybe it wasn’t such a serious situation after all. I decided to trust him, as I saw him with my own eyes.
‘When he regains his senses, I should talk to him properly. I’ve been deliberately avoiding the revenge story that we said we would discuss later.’
Separate from my obsession with the original story, the stories I heard from Radkiel about the royal family seemed to indicate that the resurrection of the Empress Consort was impossible, just like in the novel. If the story had been more detailed, there might have been useful information, but for now, it was enough to know that he could overthrow the Empress Consort.
The fact that the Emperor suddenly fell ill and is suffering is all the Empress Consort’s doing. If I can gather evidence of that, I can drive her out. Of course, finding the information would be Cayen and Kellain’s job.
While I was flipping my thoughts upside down and organizing them in my head, I suddenly found myself at home. As I passed by the pasture, the animals behind the fence came running towards me. I couldn’t pet them because I was holding Radkiel.
“Sorry, guys. I’ll pet you a lot later tonight.”
The clever ones understood my words, whimpered shortly, and started chewing on the grass or jumping around. Reaching the front door, I slipped my hand from Radkiel’s knee and turned the doorknob.
As we entered, someone apparently came out of the room, Zion. He was absentmindedly sitting on a dining chair but quickly waved his hand and stiffened when he saw us. Then he stood up abruptly. His sky-blue eyes were fixed on Radkiel, whom I was holding, and his already pale face turned even paler. He staggered towards me.
“Rad… cough, cough!”
“Don’t… cough… Don’t speak. Rael is okay. He’s just asleep.”
Zion, who had been coughing while pressing his neck, seemed relieved after hearing my words and heaved a sigh of relief and smiled. Was he originally a kind and affectionate person? However, considering that he was so concerned about someone he had barely known for two or three hours, his previous appearance was not reassuring.
I stood still and silently observed Zion, who was studying Radkiel with a worried expression on his face.
‘He’s such a beautiful person.’
There were handsome, beautiful men, and I think only now I understand what that means.
His hair, which extended to the vicinity of the shoulder blades, looked enchanting even at a glance, with a mix of silver and gold, giving off a mysterious vibe. His skin was fair, and his eyelashes were long. He had a long and slender figure beneath the loose-fitting T-shirt and shorts.
One look at Radkiel, another for Zion. As I alternated between the two, I suddenly realized the strange uneasiness. The reason I felt they were similar, despite having no resemblance, was because of their expressions. The expression Radkiel showed when he showered me with affection and the expression Zion had when he looked at Radkiel were exactly the same. In other words, the expression that said, ‘I love you to death’…
Several question marks floated in my mind. If it were Radkiel, he would have read my thoughts and answered them. But since he couldn’t see Zion, I organized my thoughts and threw the question to him.
“Um, Zion, do you happen to know… Rael?”
Radkiel, who came to the island just before dying, and the Fourth Prince Nois, who supposedly died. Although their names are different, they could easily deceive others up to that point. Zion and Nois have some similarities as well. Radkiel didn’t recognize him, and if he was the Empress’s son, they probably didn’t meet often. Since he supposedly died when he was young, he might not remember.
He smiled vaguely when I asked my question. I’m not sure if such an expression was appropriate for a person’s smiling face, but that smile felt like dawn breaking into the hazy morning sky.
And as soon as Zion opened his mouth, I immediately stopped him.
“It’s better to communicate through writing like before. Your throat—it’s in much pain. You shouldn’t push yourself.”
Nod, nod. He innocently smiled and nodded his head up and down, then suddenly extended both arms. It seemed like he meant that he wanted to take Radkiel, but I looked at Zion’s thin arms and answered with a pitiful expression.
“Well, isn’t Rael too big for you to hug?”
He tilted his head in confusion and gauged our heights with his hands.
“I’m fine. I’m a little strong. I can carry Rael anytime, so please wait for now.”
He reluctantly made a sulky expression but obediently stepped aside. I could feel the lingering gaze following me persistently as I walked towards my room.
When I laid Radkiel on my bed and came out, Zion was sitting on a dining chair, writing in a notebook. Since I felt a bit hot after going out, I made two iced coffees, and he extended the notebook towards me.
[Did Radkiel cry?]
“Ah, yes. He cried… By the way, did you call him Radkiel?”
[Yes, since he asked me to, ^^ I should respect the child’s opinion.]
“A child… he seems to be to big too be called one.”
[Yes. He grew up really well…]
Zion’s eyes welled up with tears as he tapped the pencil on the notebook. I handed him a tissue from the end of the dining table, and he smiled bashfully. Seeing him smile, I suddenly looked at the door and asked.
“Are you… the deceased Prince Nois?”
Without turning around, I bluntly threw the question without expecting a sincere answer. If that were the case, he wouldn’t have lied from the beginning.
Radkiel was guarded towards me and lied, and I could understand his situation since I knew it well, but I didn’t know anything about Nois. If I catch him… Well, let’s think about it when the time comes. I hope there won’t be any drastic measures to resolve this.
Zion continued to blink his eyes and slowly move his hand. In the place where the pencil passed, there was only one word written.
And when our eyes met, he smiled very brightly. Somehow, I felt a bit strange seeing it…
Read ahead here.