I dodged from the flying blade. I fell on my back hard, but there was no time for pain.
Immediately, I kicked the chair where I was sitting and tried to stop the assassin.
The crude chair was destroyed at the kick of the masked assassin, but it still bought me time to stand up.
I threw whatever I could. Quilt, books, writing instruments. But all of it were cut down by the assassin with a single stroke.
“Is there’s no one out there?”
She screamed, in a hurry, forgetting to maintain the Duke’s usual tone. But there was no answer from outside.
She ran towards the exit to escape, but the assassin was faster.
We fell together. However, they got tangled up and I couldn’t tell where was up and down.
But in the end, I was crushed against the floor and I had no choice but to watch the blue blade aiming for my neck.
Then, suddenly, in the light reflected by the sword, she found wounds on both hands of the assassin.
It was not a question, but a conviction.
The assassin’s shoulder twitched at once, but the sword did not stop.
Looking at the blade falling over my neck, I suddenly thought of this.
The Duke of Baloa was right. I should have killed Sir Ethan.
I should not have saved Sir Ethan with useless sympathy, but should have believed the judgment of the Duke of Baloa, who survived the imperial palace where her political opponents were running rampant.
I thought I could get out of this mess than the smarter and more meticulous Duke of Baloa.
It all seems to have been my own misunderstanding.
Warm blood splashed over my face.
A painful groan rang in the tent.
I looked up at my opponent blankly. My eyes were sore from the blood flowing around my eyes, but I could see clearly.
A hooded person appeared from behind the assassin and struck him.
It was the man who helped me when I almost fell off the horse.
The assassin left the tent, bleeding.
The hooded man tried to chase the assassin, but stopped when he saw me still lying motionless.
I grabbed his hood’s hem with my trembling hands.
Was it because she was scared or because she wanted comfort? I held him for a few seconds silently.
When I regained my voice, the words came out smoothly.
It was cold.
“It’s Sir Ethan. Gray hair and green eyes. I’m sure he can’t get out of this mountain with his bare body, so he must have gone to the tents of the soldiers at the bottom to pack his bags.”
The man nodded briefly and opened the tent.
I struggled to get up before he left.
“Please don’t kill him, I have to ask him something.”
The man seemed to pause for a moment and then disappeared into the darkness.
Shortly afterwards, Sir Ethan, who was brought by the hands of the hooded man, was bound and knelt before me.
“You’ve knocked out all the guards. You’d better be careful even if you’re not an ordinary person.”
“Be careful,” he said, leaving Sir Ethan and I alone, without hesitation.
“Oh, I’d appreciate it if you could stay with me.”
I caught the man in a hurry.
Then he pointed to Sir Ethan’s wrist, which was roughly tied with a rope.
“Because you never know when they’ll attack again. Since you saved my life, please think of it as a follow-up.”
It was a slightly arrogant tone, but I couldn’t afford to worry about it.
The man nodded after a short thought.
I turned my attention back to Sir Ethan, and I made up a voice that I only use when I meet the worst customers.
Sir Ethan, staring at the floor with his shoulders stiffened, he looked up in astonishment.
He must have been surprised to hear a voice softer than jade beads rolling on a silver platter, in a situation where it was no wonder if I started shouting and pulling out all his hair at once.
I made up an even more perfect customer-response smile.
“How special have I been to Sir Ethan. I’m a little confused. Can you explain what happened?”
I’m a little confused. I want to rip him to death right away.
I forced myself to put up with a slight split in my teeth, and asked softly.
Fortunately, Sir Ethan seemed to be caught in my friendly customer service.
For a moment, Sir Ethan’s face was distorted with guilt.
I dug into that.
“I know better than anyone that Sir Ethan is not such a man.”
It was natural, for Sir Ethan was not so distributed as to commit such a bold act in the first place.
Sir Ethan’s shoulders trembled finely.
A little more coaxing, and it seemed he’ll come over quickly.
“Who told you to do it? To kill me.”
Sir Ethan glanced at the hooded man, flinching.
“Who told you to do it?”
Soon Sir Ethan shook his head and stared fixedly at the floor.
“I’m sorry, I can’t say it.”
I held myself back from swearing.
“You have to give me an explanation for me to be able to help you.”
But Sir Ethan shook his head repeatedly, saying, “I’m sorry.”
“If Sir Ethan doesn’t speak, I’ll have to go back to the Imperial Palace and bring it to court.”
I finally decided to take a rain check.
“Do you understand, sir? If that happens, you won’t be able to survive.”
In spite of my threats, Sir Ethan looked at the floor with a gloomy look on his face.
No matter how hard I tried, he never seem to have any intention to open his mouth.
I had no choice but to call in the other soldiers to lead Sir Ethan away.
I tied Sir Ethan up and told the other soldiers to set up guards to watch him, but I was still not relieved.
I didn’t know which of them would go after my neck again.
“Why don’t you kill him?”
Then a reluctant voice came from next to me. It was the man in a hood.
I clenched my fist.
He was right. There was still a lot of time left for the trip, and I kept Sir Ethan alive, and if he ever run away, I would never know when I would be attacked again.
My hands trembled when I remembered the cool touch of the blade.
“I’m going back to the Imperial Palace to interrogate him.”
Then she forced herself to make up a delicate voice. As if running into an assassin is not a big deal.
“We must find the mastermind.”
Because Duke of Baloa would have done so.
If it were the Duke of Baloa, she would have been unshakable in the first attempt, and would have been able to find out who was behind him.
“That’s unexpected. I thought you’d kill him right away. Since it’s you.”
The man leaned his head. Red lips of the perfect shape were revealed, as if drawn, under the hood.
The man said the right thing again.
In fact, it was all her excuse ‘that Duke Baloa would have done so’.
The truth is, I didn’t have the courage to kill Sir Ethan. For I was not the Duke of Baloa.
“Well, we’ll have to use different strategies from time to time.”
I couldn’t see his face well because of the hood, but I couldn’t get rid of the feeling that this man was persistently looking at me.
“By the way.”
I gave a short silent salute to the man.
“Thank you for your help.”
I added a little afterwards, looking at him.
The man, shrugging his shoulders, paused. I heard a smirk of laughter.
“Ah, the Duke’s eyes are sharp.”
When the man took off his hood, his hair that was darker than the night sky, his blood-colored eyes shining in deep-panned eyelids, and his face as if it had been carved out, was revealed.
Seeing it this close, it was certain.
He is one head taller that others, enough to stand out among the other soldiers, and his physique and broad shoulders also stand out. It’s thick, but it shows off a beautiful line.
As soon as he spoke, he returned to his original voice.
“I don’t know what you did, but your voice was a little different, Your Majesty. Thank you for helping me when I almost fell off the horse.”
“You’re talking nonsense, it’s unlike the duke.”
Cardan, leaning his head, raised one eyebrow.
“You don’t have to thank me. For I was anxious to let you die.”
If it were up to me, I’d say, “Your Majesty, you don’t like me, do you?” and slap my mouth.
It’s the life of a chicken feet dog. I bent down.
“You are my lifesaver. I will never forget this favor. Your Majesty.”
Despite my humiliation, Cardan glanced at me with disapproving eyes and murmured low, “If it wasn’t for the contract.”
I held my thumbs up.
“The law-abiding spirit of His Majesty in compliance with the contract is a model for all the nations of the empire.”
I raised my thumb eagerly in the hope that I would keep that unidentified contract for a long time.
I folded my thumb as Cardan looked at me with a puzzled look on his face.
“I’m going to go now.”
Cardan, wearing his hood again, turned to the entrance of the tent.
Unconsciously, I grabbed the end of his hood again.
Looking back, Kardan’s gaze was frighteningly red, but she could not let go of his hem.
As the tension eased, the fear that I had tried to ignore when dealing with urgent matters came at once.
I went to the brink of death twice in a day.
The cool touch of the knife that had still touched her neck was clear.
I tried to clear my voice, which seemed to tremble with shame.
“Somebody might come to you. Rather than going back and forth…”
If it’s the Duke of Baloa she might have been fine.
I’m sure she’s been dealing with them her whole life and would have prepared against them.
But I wasn’t.
Even now, I barely even managed to imitate the Duke of Baloa, and just a few weeks ago, I was just a call center agent who feared a pervert the called over the telephone.
“You want me to stay with you?”
Cardan’s straight eyebrows crumpled finely.
“It is God’s little heart that we hope that His Majesty will not be troubled in any way.”
She talked with a smile on her face.
Cardan’s eyes glanced at my trembling hand, and he smiled.
“Duke of Baloa, what in the world…”
Cardan’s hand went to my neck.
“There are times when you ask for my help.”
I staggered back, but was soon blocked by a cot.
Cardan rubbed my neck with his thumb, causing a tingling sensation in my skin.
When he put his hand down, the tip of his thumb stained red.
(T/N: THIS CHAPTER!!!!)