I Raised Him Modestly, But He Came Back Obsessed With Me - Chapter 42
After a few days, Count Dexter returned from hunting and heard a surprising story.
“It has already been 3 days sir.”
He couldn’t believe that the Grand Duke Shorevarce used his authority in his territory.
“Also, the village chief’s son, Charles is said to be imprisoned.”
Count Dexter had now a nervous expression plastered on his face. Even if Ben was the Grand Duke, the territory belonged to Count Dexter. And according to the territorial laws of the Empire, the authority of the lord, which in this case was Count Dexter, was on the same level as the Emperor’s authority when it came to the territory they owned. Meaning that no one other than the lord or the emperor could exercise their authority in said territory.
Count Dexter was the vassal of Duke Kailos, but how dare the Grand Duke of Shorevarce bring his soldiers to his territory. This act could be deemed as disregard towards Count Dexter and Duke Kailos.
“I’m going to meet the Duke right now.”
The Count couldn’t let the soaring insult slide, but his opponent was the Grand Duke. So it was literally impossible for him, a Count, to object against the Grand Duke. So he had to have a strong backup.
Count Dexter entered the parlor when the Duke Kaiolos’s aide opened the door.
“What’s going on?”
Kailos said while leisurely savoring a cup of tea.
“Duke, the Grand Duke Shorevarce led his private soldiers into my territory.”
At Dexter’s report, Kailos eyebrows twitched. He slowly put down the teacup he was holding and asked.
“And why did he do that?”
“It is said that he led a heavily armed squadron and recklessly stormed into my territory. Isn’t this an obvious act of abuse of power?” as the Count spoke, his face became red, perhaps of anger.
Duke Kailos eyes, which had become cold, gleamed eerily.
“Doesn’t it show that the Grand Duke doesn’t respect the Duke nor me?!”
Dexter spoke out of breath as if his anger couldn’t be resolved. Kailos leaned back on the sofa and crossed his legs.
“You never know how scary a dog can be, until it acts up.”
Count Dexter, who was fussing about the situation, quickly closed his mouth when the Duke’s sharp voice resounded in the parlor.
“How dare he! Disrespect me!”
Kailos shuddered at the insult. How did the Grand Duke dare insult him like this? It hasn’t even been that long since he inherited the title of Grand Duke and he never engaged in any political activities so what changed?
“What should we do, Duke?” Dexter asked Kailos in a more gentle tone.
“Yes? You mean the Grand Duke?”
At Dexter’s stupid question, Kailos squinted his eyes. He was on the verge of lashing out at the Count.
“Don’t ever make me repeat myself. I’ll take all the responsibility.”
He had to let the Grand Duke know who had the upper hand here and who could determine the rules in this situation. And above all, show him what happens when he dares touch what’s his.
“Should I go with the Duke’s knights?”
“I can’t let him have the luxury of catching one of my men. So send all the knight I sent you before to catch him.”
Dexter locked up at Duke Kailos and smirked while straightening his back. By sending a Count’s knight it meant that the Duke completely disregarded the Grand Duke.
“Yes, I understand.”
Dexter left the parlor. The merciless cool gaze from Kailos still gave him chills.
“What should we do Count?” the Count’s assistant, who was waiting, asked.
“The Duke has commanded me to catch the Grand Duke. So hurry up and bring the knights.”
“Yes, I understand.”
The assistant greeted the Count and left. After Count Dexter went straight to his estate. He was in a better mood during the whole ride back, since Duke Kailos proved to him that touching him was like touching the Duke himself. When he arrived, his carriage doors slammed open.
“Capture the sinner.”
The Imperial knights who were camping in front of Count Dexter’s house rushed towards him.
“W-What are you doing?”
The knights exchanged signals with each other and grabbed Dexter’s arms without hesitation.
“L-Let go off my hand! Do you know who I am!”
The commander of the knights showed a letter to Dexter, who was screaming.
“It’s an imperial order.”
Dexter’s face turned white as he read the letter that clearly had the Imperial seal.
“L-Let me contact Duke Kailos!”
Dexter hurriedly shouted. But when he received it the Duke’s reply, in prison, was cold. Kailos was mercilessly discarding a puppet that he no longer needed.
* * *
Dust rose with the sound of something heavy falling. At the same time, Cersinia felt a hard and cool touch beneath her body.
Upon hearing her name, Cerisinia slowly raised her head. A vaguely familiar face line was drawn in front of her. The autumn wind brought to her nose a familiar scent that made every uneasy feeling, every unfamiliarity and creepy sensation she felt disappear.
“Ben… it’s you.”
She said in a hoarse voice. Looking at him, she felt like she had become herself again, and when he called out her name, the uneasiness she felt before vanished and she was now aware of herself and her surroundings. Cersinia grabbed the hem of his robe with trembling hands. Scared that if Ben disappeared the unfamiliarity would creep back in, she gripped the hem tighter.
“It’s me. Cersinia.”
Cersinia knew that she was on top of him, and the fact that they fell while he was trying to protect her from the torch. And given that she doesn’t feel any physical pain, Ben must be injured instead. But it was difficult for Cersinia to open her mouth and ask him if he was okay, even less get off of him and check fit herself.
“Who is it?”
“Who put you in this state?”
Ben bit his lips hard, seeing Cersinia in this state made his blood spurt upside down. Cersinia looked like she had almost lost her life, and her hands were trembling as they gripped the hem of his robe. Blood flowed from the corner of one of her eyes and covered half of her face. He was on the verge of exploding.
With that word, Cersinia buried her face in Ben’s chest. She gasped as if she was about to break. She just wanted to get out of here and go back home.
Beyond the thin fabric, she could feel Ben’s body temperature. It was the first time he held her in his arms, and it was warm. Ben always had a cooler body temperature than her, but now he’s warmer than ever. Perhaps it was because her body was colder than his. He was the first person she had ever been within this unfamiliar, hollow world.
‘Maybe that’s why I felt safe and relieved…’
Because the urge to kill and the unknown voice stopped the moment Ben touched her. Her hands slowly stopped trembling, Ben’s presence was reassuring and calming, it acted like a lullaby that engulfed and protected her. It was like Ben was the light she needed to get out of the darkness that surrounded her.
“Your wound is deep.”
Ben quickly changed the subject since she promised to tell him later. Her breath was caressing his now bloody shirt. It broke his heart at the fact it wasn’t his blood which soaked his shirt but hers. She always had a high body temperature so she was always warm, but for the first time ever her body was cold, that alone made his heart sink deeper into an abyss of worries and fear. His eyes trembled slightly. His heart stung as his eyes fell on a trembling Cersinia.
It was slight but he noticed.
‘Who made her like this?’
His gaze was fixed on the boy and the woman who threw the torch. His already dark eyes darkened even more. He looked like he would kill them the moment he got the chance. He held Cersinia closer to him as if shielding her. In a beastly manner, the corners of his mouth twitched as if trying to reveal sharp teeth.
The woman who made eye contact with him was shocked, and her face gradually darkened.
“How dare you.”
His low voice was as frightening as a beast growl, and his murderous aura made him scarier. His strong arms tightened around Cersinia as if warning anyone who tried to touch her. If Cersinia wasn’t in his arms, he would’ve sliced that woman’s neck already and torn the remaining of her limbs into pieces.
The woman ran away as if understanding the warning. At the sound of her scream, Cersinia raised her eyes towards where the sound came. She saw the woman run as if her life depended on it, she ran so fast that she extinguished the torch. She would’ve already grabbed the woman and thrown her away in the past. But now she has no power to do so. She was tired, and it felt like her life was draining away every time she breathed. It felt as if the heat that had always filled her body suddenly died.
“You need to get treated,” Ben’s heavy voice was filled with concern.