She pushed him away with all her might and quickly picked up Iyers’s dagger that had fallen to the ground as she crawled out of Aiden’s embrace.
Aiden watched her sleepily.
Asralda aimed the tip of the dagger at him and laughed bitterly. Her laughter was tinged with a slight tremble.
“You love me now? Don’t make me laugh. Have you forgotten how you treated me in the past?”
Aiden spoke in a highly rational voice.
“If you heard it from Marinda, then you know. My goal was my priority back then. I had to marry Marinda, and legally we were in a common-law marriage. I just did what was necessary.”
His words were not much different from the words he had lived with throughout his past.
‘You, who come from a good family and have no proper parents, have no usefulness as my wife.’
Those words that stabbed Asralda’s heart countless times.
Looking at Asralda, who was shaking with anger, Aiden stood up from his seat and held her wrist gently as he pulled her into an affectionate embrace.
He whispered as he held her gently.
“Even so, I never planned for you to die. I was planning to bring you back after everything was over.”
Asralda thought it would have been better if she had never known. She couldn’t believe that she had loved such a disgusting man. She had almost died because of him.
Asralda trembled as she asked.
“What was I to you? Why did you save me that day?”
“Because I love you. I love you, Asralda. Even if time were to turn back, I would make the same choice. Even if you deceived me by dressing up as a man, ran away from my sight, or died somewhere unknown to me….”
“I will never let you go, Asralda.”
At his persistent and cruel words, Asralda pushed Aiden away roughly and pointed the tip of the dagger at his chest again.
“So… you put me in your knight order, even though I asked you to execute me? Is that right?”
Aiden laughed sarcastically at her words.
“No. Why would I want to put you in the den of those bastards?”
“You deceived me, that’s all. I realized that if I let you know that I already knew, you would have run away from me. Just like today.”
Aiden stared at Asralda with a sneer.
“I wanted to be the one to tell you the truth. That way, I could have safely moved you to my duchy, just like before.”
“Spit it out. You want me to surrender. So you can put me in your house like a decoration! Isn’t that right?”
“Yes, if you want to put it that way, it’s surrendering and being a decoration. But is there any reason why you can’t be my decoration?”
Aiden shamelessly retorted, and his attitude was so absurd that Asralda couldn’t believe it.
“What did you say?”
“Asralda, I just don’t want you to do anything. I don’t want you to be in danger. Look.”
His cold gaze pointed to the body of Iyers lying on the ground.
“If you heard it from Marinda, then you know. Someone is trying to kill you at every turn. In the past and now.”
He seemed genuinely unaware. No, he seemed to be getting angry with her.
“But what’s the problem with trying to stop that?”
All of Marinda’s suspicions had turned out to be true, without a single error.
She couldn’t have imagined that there might be another truth hidden somewhere.
Aiden wrapped his arms around her wrist again and spoke.
“I’m not comfortable with how things have turned out either. I was going to tell you everything after everything was over.”
She didn’t want to hear any more. His voice, which was muttering something indescribable, made her feel terrible.
“Don’t touch my body.”
But Aiden didn’t care and gently released her wrist. At the same time, Asralda shuddered and swung her sword roughly towards Aiden.
With a sharp sound, Aiden’s arm was cut by Asralda’s sword in an instant. Blood began to ooze out from the edge of the wound that extended from his elbow to his wrist.
It wasn’t intentional. It was more of a reflex. But even after witnessing the bright red blood, she didn’t regret it.
On the other hand, Aiden didn’t groan once. No, he just let the blood flow without even frowning. His gaze remained stubbornly fixed on Asralda.
Asralda took a step back and said in a trembling voice,
“I can do worse than this. So don’t come any closer.”
At her words, Aiden chuckled low. Then, as if daring her to do something, he approached her without any fear.
Aiden took the tip of Asralda’s sword that she was holding and brought it to his own heart. Then, he pressed her hand firmly and said gently,
“Go ahead and stab me, Asralda.”
It felt like the tip of the sword would plunge deeply into Aiden’s chest at any moment.
With a small knife between them, Asralda and Aiden locked eyes.
She just had to thrust it in. But her hand was stiff and wouldn’t move no matter how much force she applied. She just couldn’t seem to move at all.
Looking down at the motionless Asralda, Aiden lowered his head. Then he whispered as he pressed his forehead against hers,
“That’s enough for now. Let’s go back to the duchy together, Asralda.”
It was only then that she came to her senses.
Asralda pushed Aiden away and flipped the dagger in her trembling hand.
“You told me to stab as much as I want…?”
She asked him as she glared at him.
Aiden replied with an unchanged attitude.
The flipped blade moved. But it wasn’t aimed at Aiden’s chest but at Asralda’s neck.
Aiden’s expression, which had been calm as if dealing with a five-year-old child no matter what she did, changed in an instant. He asked menacingly,
“What are you trying to do right now?”
“You told me to stab.”
“Put the blade down right now.”
He approached as if he would rush in and take away the blade. The moment she tried to thrust the dagger deeper into her neck, Aiden broke her arm in an instant.
It reminded her of what happened at Aiden’s ducal palace before. And right after that, he had easily knocked her down in the training ground.
She didn’t want to experience it twice.
The moment Aiden took the sword from her hand, Asralda swung at his throat with all her might.
But for some reason, he didn’t flinch. His movements were so fast that it seemed like he had already seen it coming.
In an instant, Aiden stepped behind Asralda and lightly hit the back of her neck.
“No, if I fall here….”
But as she thought that, her body fell before she could do anything.
Aiden quickly caught her falling body.
She was about to lose consciousness. As her body swayed, through the hazy vision, she saw Aiden’s face.
“Please stay still. Your wound has opened up.”
Aiden untied the bandage that was wrapped around Asralda’s chest. The wound that had just started to heal was now bleeding again. Trembling, Aiden tightly tied the bandage again.
At the same time, Asralda grimaced. Whether it was because she was relaxing as she lost consciousness or because she was feeling pain that she hadn’t felt before, she couldn’t tell.
“It’s okay, it’s okay…. Asralda.”
Aiden wiped the sweat off Asralda’s forehead and took the dress he had thrown away earlier. Then he tore it up and started wrapping it over the bloody bandage.
Finally, Asralda completely collapsed in Aiden’s arms.
Aiden picked up her nearly unconscious body. Then he took Asralda’s lips with his own and whispered deeply as they kissed.
“Now, let’s go back to the duchy.”
Her body began to tremble. It seemed like she was heading towards the duchy. She had to get up, but she couldn’t move.
In the meantime, for some reason….
His expression looking down at me seemed very sad.
Asralda completely lost consciousness soon after.