SN Ch. 121 – Wook’s Teahouse
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Rosaline tried to understand the reason for her conflict objectively.
‘I… Your Highness…’
The edge of the bed sank slightly. Rosaline sat on the bed and stared at him.
‘I want to protect you.’
Ricardis turned to the other side. Now she couldn’t see anything but his back. Rosaline was somewhat choked up.
Clouds covered the moon, making the dark room became even darker. Rosaline closed her eyes.
‘I want to be by your side.’
It was a new desire that sprouted within her, but it was clear which one should come first.
Ricardis woke up around dawn. Perhaps because he slept after drinking, he was dazed as if he was dreaming even after opening his eyes. He felt a chill and was embracing something warm in his arms. As if suffering from the pressure, the warm thing in his arms groaned, “Mmh…”
“Ah… My apologies…”
Ricardis relaxed his arm and patted the thing he was holding. Soft hair wrapped around his hand.
… Soft what?
Ricardis opened his eyes and was silently appalled by the feast of black hair. His trembling eyes looked down, and there he saw Rosaline, sleeping on his left arm and holding his right arm tightly at a very close distance.
I’m embracing R-Rosaline. What, you— Why here— No, where is the blanket? What if you catch a cold— No, no. Why is Rosaline here?
Upon waking up after wandering through a dream, an even stranger situation unfolded. His eyes wandered for a long time, bewildered.
Where did you throw your sensitivity that could even read the sound of the wind to? Rosaline was sleeping soundly. Seeing her eyelids quiver, she looked like she would wake up at the slightest stimulus, but…
Ricardis rubbed her back lightly like a child.
She must be tired, so I can’t wake her up,
as he made excuses to himself. Rosaline’s furrowed brow slowly relaxed at his touch. His lips twitched, and soon he became almost as shocked as before.
Rosaline squirmed and dug further into his arms. Her chin rested on his arm around his waist. He could barely contain his gasps. The tragedy did not end there. For some reason, her shirt was more open than yesterday, her forehead clinging to his chest just below his collarbone. Her body was warm because she was sleeping.
… The temperature of the skin was embarrassing.
Breath tickled his bare skin. Ricardis felt the sensation run through his body, starting in his chest and tickling to the top of his head. Chills ran down his spine to the point where he couldn’t stand it. Ricardis’ face turned red.
‘O great Idelavhim, who illuminates the earth from the sky. By the holy light, he benefits the young…’
Ricardis memorized the contents of the Bible in his head. These were the most heart-warming phrases he knew. Fortunately, it worked.
He carefully lifted the blanket between him and her and placed it over Rosaline. Rosaline mumbled with her eyes closed and grinned. She looked comfortable and seemed to be in a good mood. Ricardis was distressed and then memorized the Bible again. Why was she so cute?
A round forehead, a refreshingly stretched eye tail, long eyelashes, a straight nose, and a mouth that chewed as if she was dreaming of eating.
She didn’t look like a great, vigilant escort knight who caught assassins and cut off danger before it even approached.
She, who could even read inaudible signs, was sleeping completely stretched out in his arms. Ricardis never thought the day would come when his heart fluttered at someone’s defenseless appearance. He didn’t think he would get tired of watching Rosaline sleeping hour after hour for eight hours.
The problem was, it was time for Isserion to rise.
Ricardis lifted his arm. Still, Rosaline did not wake up. With her arms around his waist, she was breathing evenly. She seemed very comfortable for someone who used a hard arm pillow. Ricardis’, who had barely suppressed his leaking laughter, expression changed in an instant.
Even in the faint sunlight between dawn and morning, a golden pendant shone brightly along the curves of the pattern. Ricardis couldn’t have not known what the pendant’s pattern peeked out from the inside of Rosaline’s shirt meant. The temperature inside his chest, which had been warming up, quickly subsided.
The token of nobility, which could only be used by the direct blood relatives of the current Hiksala Adon, was carried only by Prince Haqab and Princess Ganje among the Baltans who set foot in Illavenia.
Ricardis gritted his teeth quietly. The desire that had clung to Haqab’s dark eyes came to mind.
‘Haqab Hwi Livita…’
The figure of a man smiling leisurely was drawn. Ricardis took a deep breath and exhaled.
Since he gave her the mark of the royal family, he wouldn’t have simply asked trivial things like asking her to come as his subordinate. In the first place, someone with a high magic power was obligated to marry the royal family regardless of their status. It was apparent what Haqab would’ve said. It must’ve been about being his 14th or 15th wife.
There was no way Rosaline would wear the necklace, saying, “Oh, yes. I’ll think about it.” There must’ve been some suggestion.
Ricardis looked down at her with a frown. Perhaps because it was morning, her cheeks and lips were swollen and plump. The appearance reminded Ricardis of the sight of her chewing food stuffed into her cheeks.
Just in time, Rosaline ate something in her dream again. A strand of her hair was being sucked into her mouth at a terrifying pace, so he pulled it out with his hand.
‘… I don’t think she’ll eat it.’
No. Rosaline wouldn’t go that far… Surely.
Ricardis made a questionable decision based on questionable faith.
Then what is it? Why is Rosaline wearing the necklace she received from Haqab? Does she not know what it means, or does she know and bet on it…
At that moment, Rosaline’s eyes opened with a sigh.
Her eyes bathed in the morning sunlight shone clearly and beautifully. It was like morning dew on a blade of grass. Ricardis peered at her. After blinking her eyes a few times, Rosaline’s expression gradually began to change. A look of bewilderment crossed her face.
Realizing what she had been sleeping on, Rosaline rolled once opposite Ricardis in shock. But since the bed was wide, she was still on the bed even after rolling over. Rosaline lay on her stomach, her eyes wide open, only blinking.
Ricardis lay on his side, resting his chin on his palm, and met her eyes. Rosaline’s face hardened as the man bent his eyes and smiled brightly.
“Did you sleep well, Sir Rosaline?”
“Uh, ah. I was… I was sitting for a while watching Your Highness’ back…”
Seeing her talking gibberish while clutching the blanket tightly made him laugh even in the midst of this. Rosaline panicked, but when she felt the necklace flowing from her neck, she grabbed the pendant and quickly hid it inside her clothes. Ricardis’ eyes narrowed.
‘… You know what it is.’
Rosaline quickly buttoned her shirt and glanced at him from the side. When their eyes met, Ricardis smiled kindly and benevolently as if he hadn’t seen anything.
“Did your errand outside go well?”
Rosaline awkwardly nodded. She wasn’t a good liar.
“Nothing special happened?”
She nodded as if she were about to lose her head. Ricardis’ eyes deepened as she only returned affirmation to the answer he had hoped for negative.
The hand that hid the necklace was urgent, and her eyes shook. Ricardis read her anxiety clearly. Few things would shake Rosaline’s heart. Food, family, friends…and the safety of ‘2nd Prince Ricardis’.
Ricardis had a hunch that among them, ‘2nd Prince Ricardis’ would be involved in Haqab’s proposal. He wasn’t proud that he was the only one who could shake her.
Perhaps because of the influence of ‘Rosaline’ in the past, she was too obsessed with escorting from the time when she was like a blank slate without knowing anything to today. She has learned and grown, but that fact has not changed. Thanks to that consistent attitude, Ricardis knew how big he was within Rosaline.
If she wanted to discuss it, she would have said it immediately. Ricardis had to endure now that she was hiding the necklace with her mouth shut. It was never a good way to show one’s anxiety to someone already shaken by Haqab’s tricks. That was why he tried to keep his composure.
Ricardis’ eyes continued to contain Rosaline’s white hand clutching her shirt. She appeared to be encasing a precious object. Something hot surged inside him. He knew she was just holding it to hide it, but his head and chest were thinking separately.
He burned roaringly under the cold running reason. What was left after burning was black ash. Traces of dark emotions began to stain his inside black.
For the first time in fifteen years since entering the imperial castle, going through countless incidents, crying and laughing, unfamiliar feelings arose within him. His eyes glowed with the light of the depths of the sea. It resembled the look in Haqab’s eyes when he looked at Rosaline.