At the same time, Aiden burst into a hollow laugh.

He didn’t know how she could make it more hellish here, as it was already enough of a hell. He looked up at Asralda as if to suggest something.

“Tell me what you want.”
“Send me back to the Knights.”

One of Aiden’s eyebrows twitched slightly. It was a far more pathetic condition than he had thought. It was suspicious to anyone.

Asralda continued without any concern.

“I’ll continue to live as a man from now on. I don’t want to spend a single second here in this palace. And one more thing.”
“I hope you’ll let me come and go freely around Ashard Castle whenever I want.”

As soon as she finished speaking, Aiden’s voice roughened the room.

“Did you forget what I said yesterday? I’m sure I said it. Someone is trying to kill you right now.”
“That’s not my problem. It’s up to you to do what you have to do. If you want to protect me, you can do it yourself. I’m just a decoration.”
“I don’t care what happens to my life anymore.”

Then she added with a sneer.

“Oh, it’s a shame I won’t be able to see you hugging my corpse and crying after I die.”

Aiden said nothing. He just looked up at Asralda standing by the window. But his eyes were as black and fierce as a stormy night sea.

The clearest emotion in those mixed eyes was resentment.

It was himself who had brought her to this window, and it was ridiculous.

For a long time, Asralda looked at Aiden, who remained silent with his lips closed, and asked quietly.

“Are you worried?”
“Shall I ease your worries a bit?”

Suddenly, Asralda lightly jumped down from the window without warning and approached Aiden.

She reached out and held both of Aiden’s cheeks in her hands. Asralda’s dry gaze met Aiden’s incredibly complicated gaze. Then she pulled Aiden’s face towards her with an indifferent gesture.

His head was pulled towards Asralda’s lips.


She quickly closed her lips and kissed Aiden’s lips hotly. She tasted his mouth as casually as if she’d never gotten tired of him.

Without any concern, she looked inside his mouth and said,

“Isn’t this what you want? Something like this, a decoration that pleases you.”
“If you want, I can do much more for you, Aiden.”

Aiden stupidly stared at Asralda.

Her lips were definitely smiling, but her eyes were not. Rather, there was a lot of contempt. Disgust, hatred, and discomfort, like avoiding a terrible and dirty bug.

Asralda whispered,

“If you don’t like it, refuse. The choice is up to you.”

There was a short answer. Until his lips covered Asralda’s lips again, as if to swallow them up.

As long as there was no other way, he was willing to do it.

Aiden had thought of walking back into that hell.




In the early evening, Asralda sat dumbfounded in the moving carriage.

Wearing the uniform she had thrown away and returned to the Knights’ castle, with short hair again.

She put her hand on her lips and was lost in thought. The thick and hot sensation was still on her lips.

“I have to stop by the palace and fix the situation. I’ll go back to the castle first.”

Aiden’s voice sounded slow and calm.

Thinking about that moment, Asralda suddenly bent over. Then she grabbed her neck and retched.

Asralda’s face turned red with pain as she vomited.

The kiss with Aiden wasn’t so much a kiss as it was like being hacked on the lips.

It was a kiss that was closer to hating each other than love.

She couldn’t understand why Aiden had rushed her as if he were so angry.

The kiss seemed more like self-loathing rather than dominance and obsession.

The carriage passed through the bridge and finally stopped at Ashard Castle.

Asralda looked at the persistent landscape like a spider web and finally got off the carriage.

The jeering voices of the knights who were finishing their training fiercely at the training ground were heard as she got off the luggage carriage.

“You ungrateful dirty seed!”

Asralda walked away without looking in that direction. Even if Aiden had covered up for her, she had released the knights who came to the forest to find her, so she couldn’t stop the rumors from spreading in the empire.

It didn’t matter. Compared to what she had to face in the future, this was nothing.

But she was too tired right now. She wanted to go back to the dormitory and bury her face in the bed.

Even though she had slept all day in that large duke’s mansion on the soft bed where she always fell asleep, she felt like she was about to collapse.

Ignoring the pouring jeers, Asralda barely entered the building leading to the dormitory of the trainee knights.

At that moment, someone called her name.


He seemed to have chased after her from afar, as his breath was rough. He ran up to Asralda and stopped.

He was wearing his uniform with a robe over it, as if he was going out. The faint, gentle scent emanating from Kyle, who seemed surprised, after washing up, tickled Asralda’s nose.

Kyle stopped and examined her face with a frown, tearing apart her tangled hair.

He seemed like he had a lot to say, but his expression seemed like he was holding back. He just cautiously reached out his hand and lightly touched Asralda’s cheek.

“Are you hurt anywhere?”
“You have a fever.”

Surprised, he reached out his remaining hand and gently held both of her cheeks.

Kyle should have been angry. She refused his confession and then threw out some nonsense about repaying his favor, then ran away without any warning. But instead of anger, Kyle’s pupils were warm. They were full of genuine concern and worry.

“Let’s go to my office… No, my study would be better. I’ll take you there, so wait for me in my study.”

Asralda’s lips that had been forced shut by the warmth touching her cheek opened slowly.

“I’m sorry, but you’ve already hugged me twice without permission, Lieutenant.”
“So, can’t I borrow your embrace just once?”

Kyle’s face stiffened at Asralda’s faintly trembling voice. His clear sky-blue eyes shook back and forth.

Silence flowed. Asralda, who had been looking up at him expressionlessly, forced a smile, thinking he was refusing her.

“I’m sorry. I misspoke. It was just nonsense that slipped out…”

At that moment, Asralda’s body was pulled into Kyle’s body.


In an instant, a gentle aura completely enveloped her body. Kyle, who had completely embraced her shoulders and back in his large embrace, buried her face completely on his shoulder.




Aiden headed straight to the garden upon hearing that the emperor was there.

When he arrived at the indoor garden, which was brilliantly built in a dome shape, he saw the emperor sitting alone by the fountain where birds of various colors were frolicking, drinking alcohol.

“I greet you after a long time, Your Majesty.”

Aiden approached and bowed his head, greeting him with a dry smile. The emperor welcomed him with a pleased expression.

“Oh, Aiden. You’ve come.”

Then he picked up an empty glass that had already been placed on the fountain and showed it to him.

“Do you want a drink?”
“No thank you.”

Aiden politely declined. However, his attitude was polite only on the surface, as he felt extremely cold, as if something unpleasant had happened.

Well, he was always like that.

‘Insolent bastard.’

The emperor murmured silently and put down his glass. Then he looked up with a clear smile on his face.

“I heard that Oscar’s blood, the one you were in charge of, attempted to escape but was caught.”
“It was my fault.”
“Oh, don’t worry. I didn’t call you here to scold you. But as you know, lately, not just the rebels but also the imperial citizens, including the nobles, have been protesting against you and your actions. Petitions demanding the execution of Oscar’s blood are pouring in every day. Of course, I understand this situation very well, as you have already given me detailed information. However…”

The emperor spoke with a very awkward expression towards Aiden, who showed no change in expression.

“Even so, that bastard is actually Oscar’s terribly cherished daughter, and Duke Aiden is only planning to use the girl as bait. It’s not something that can be talked about everywhere.”

The emperor, who had chattered away in the introduction, finally brought the glass to his lips. Then, looking at him discreetly across the transparent glass, she spoke as if testing him.

“That’s why I called you today. I want to hear your opinion.”
“Is it necessary to hold onto that woman in this situation where we don’t even know if Oscar is dead or alive?”

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