Estelle’s worry and shock were so contagious that it made me scared all over again; it made my body shake all over to the point that it was pitiful.
“What should I do? Her body is ice cold.”
If I said I didn’t find it all horrifying, then that would be a complete lie. I think it would have been better if I were a real baby, who didn’t understand anything at all, particularly what was going on.
I realized how bad my condition was as I stared down at my pale fingertips, it’s white and ice cold. A child’s body temperature was normally higher than an adult, so I often sweat a lot. This was the first time my body had gone this cold, Estelle who was holding me also realized this fact.
A loving voice called out to me. When I heard that voice, only then did I come to my senses and a realization that I’m still alive. Only then did I feel relief.
As if I had finally let go of a burden I was struggling to carry on my own, I still tried my best not to cry, but after some time my tear ducts decided to betray me and let it go. I burst into tears; the tears that blurring my sight were hot, my throat hurt too. The muscles that were aching by themselves without my knowledge were crying out of pain with me, with this I just knew that it was possible for mental anguish to show its effects upon the body.
I cried my heart out, “Waaaaaaaaaaa!”
It was so scary, really scary!
I wanted someone to save me.
I didn’t want to die, though I couldn’t make a sound because I’m petrified, I did call out earnestly to be saved in my heart. However, I’m afraid that not a single person would try to come over and help even as they all stood there listening to my cries for help and my pleas to be spared.
No, I believe no one is going to come to save me. I saw it on my dream about how original Keisha died, and I don’t want something like that to happen to me too and I’m terrified of ending up alone once again in the darkness.
The cries of a baby were sorrowful, the sounds of my cries were heartbreaking even to me. I cried with that sorrow in mind.
Estelle hugged me tightly and shared the warmth of her body as she tried to appease me. She patted my back as she whispered to me not to cry. Then she wiped my tears away and gave me small kisses all over my cheeks.
The kisses calmed me down, and I gave a sigh of relief.
This was proof I’m still alive, and this was proof I’ve survived.
I had thought I would turn into a cold carcass the moment that he lowered the blade that was pointed toward me. To tell you the truth, even if I must die, the death I wished for wasn’t that kind of demise—stabbed to death—a painful end. In contrast, the death I wished for was a peaceful one without any pain.
“You are crying to death.”
A pair of red eyes stared down at me, without the slightest pity. His figure came in after I could—somewhat—see what was in front of me since I cried all my tears away.
Suddenly, I felt a cool sensation on my temple. It was from the tip of his finger that lightly touched my skin, I didn’t dislike the sensation it gave off as it touched me. I did feel a bit awkward. I mean, I know what this hand did earlier because everything is unfolded right in front of my eyes. So, how could I not and tried to feign ignorance regarding that?
He ended a life without an ounce of mercy with that hand, but without a moment of hesitation, that fact doesn’t bother me too much, was it because it happened to that man’s life? Maybe because he tried to kill me that’s why I don’t think what Kieran did is wrong. I don’t care if that makes me a bad person because I believed I’m not a good person in the first place. I was just so grateful to him for coming at the right time as if he was answering my silent cries for help. So, although he is a madman, he really is still my father. My first father.
Alright, I acknowledged him as my dad! Since he saved my life, I would also accept him as such in a cool manner.
He said nothing as he looked at me, I also stared back into his eyes and quietly raised my finger in the air, then grabbed Kieran’s finger that lightly touched my temple.
I think I figured it out. I think I knew why there’s always hostility and enmity in his eyes, it was the culmination of all the kinds of life he had lived through up until now. It had been only a short moment, but I remembered what kind of eyes he had…
It was… how should I describe it?
When I tried to find the right words to describe it-
“Sleep, you are so noisy.”
What do you mean? You are so heartless; I am starting to regret my confession just now! Hey, you make me regret to admit that I have recognized you as my father!
Ah, I had no more energy. Did I cry too much?
Just like that, my vision started to blur.
I heard his words at the same time as I slowly drift to dreamland, “I told you it would be troublesome if you get surprised just by this.”
I ended up sleeping for a while, and the moment when I opened my eyes, it only took me a second to realize that this wasn’t the same room because this room have a fresh smell, an aroma that only belonged to Kieran and the rooms he is in. However, the rusty and fishy smell created from the blood won’t go away easily, though Kieran who is standing next to my crib has changed his clothes.
The sun had started to go down, and I felt better and refreshed. Although, my swollen eyes were uncomfortable.
Now I’m just sitting sweetly on the bed of my crib, staring curiously at the black panther that looks somehow familiar. The black panther is standing behind Kieran timidly, I found it amusing because its attitude was completely different from the ferocious demeanor it had showed earlier when it was trying to protect me. It pokes it head out slightly, we shared a glance as I gave it a suspicious look full of curiosity, while it looked back at me with an adorable warm gaze that came of its green eyes.
Slowly, the black panther walked away from Kieran and started to approach my crib, and I was very surprised when it suddenly jumped at me as if it wanted to pounce on me. Quickly, without having time to think any further I immediately closed my eyes.
Before my eyes shut down completely, I was dumbfounded when I saw the black panther shrinking its size. The shrinking size of black panther was now as big as a kitten but also somehow larger. It gently brushed its face against my body, while making a purring sound, its fur was so soft that it left a ticklish feeling at the end, that made me unconsciously giggle sweetly.
She is very cute.
It then lay on my lap and started to close her eyes, though its eyes are closed, its tail is dancing in the air.
Is my lap that comfortable? did you enjoy it?
While I was busy staring at her, I realized something that made me suddenly shouted inwardly.
I remember you; you are that ghost—the black shadow—that often passes through my bedroom window!
“He likes you.”
Oh? I thought it was a female panther because it likes clinging to Kieran…
“Asher is a shape-shifter beast. Technically, he can change his size at will so the older he gets the more variety of sizes he can take.” He scoffed, “But unfortunately, he has only lived in this world for six years.”
His explanation made me nod in understanding. For those of you who don’t understand, let me explain it to you: in more refined language, what Kieran meant is that Asher is only six years old.
I want to stroke him, was what comes to my mind.
As I tried to lift my little hand, exactly at that moment, the ‘I don’t know his name’ uncle, entered the room. He startled me but at the same time, also put me in awe.
Wow, it’s a knight uniform!
It was the same uniform that Uncle Zanquen wore when we first met, just at that time, I couldn’t see it properly. However, this time I see it crystal clear. The only difference was this uniform is pitch black while Uncle Zanquen’s is white.
Due to the uniform color difference, it reminds me that there are actually two knight divisions, with the first being the silver wolf battalion; their uniform itself is predominantly white and is paired with accessories in blue, which is a color similar to the color of the wolf’s eye on the division crest that could be easily found on the back of the knights’ cloak.
While the second division is the black rose battalion; the uniform itself is predominantly black in color and is paired with a red accessory according to the division’s crest, which is a red roses vines wrapped around a black sword.
“Your majesty.” He said as he knelt on one of his knees.
There was also Nouvel, who entered the room after him in hurry, he was standing beside the ‘I don’t know his name’ uncle, who was kneeling, with a worried and nervous look in his friendly face.
I looked at Kieran, our eyes met.
“My room had a guest.” He opened the conversation, while gently landed his touched on my skin before continued, “It was a guest I never invited.”
As soon as Kieran finished speaking, his sight landed on the captain—who was on duty on the day the incident occurred. Kieran appearance seems to glow with beauty, but at the moment, no one wanted to even touch the ends of this man’s hair. If he—the captain—weren’t a moth, who would want to throw themselves into this burning black fire on their own volition?
The captain’s body shook under his gaze. Kieran’s expression was flat, but it was deadly to death, his eyes grew sharper as he watched the captain’s reaction.
His stare alone could successfully make oneself hold their breath.
When Nouvel was about to speak, the captain who was also Nouvel’s subordinate quickly cut him off.
“I committed a crime deserving of death, this was all due to my own carelessness.” He confessed and prostrated himself on the bare floor.
When I said it’s scary, I meant it was scary in a different way than earlier. If before, it was scary because of the possibility that I would get killed, but now, the atmosphere felt like ‘getting in trouble in front of the principal’ kind of scary. Even so, the principal might not feel this terrifying. Kieran is really something else.
I know I didn’t do anything wrong, so why am I getting scared too?
After crying my heart out, and taking a short nap, I was much calmer. I did keep trying to rub my eyes because they were itchy, but each attempt was foiled by Asher’s tail; he keeps wagging his tail and targeting my hand whenever I tried to rub my eyes, which made me start whining in dissatisfaction.
Ugh, my eyes are itchy!
For a moment, Kieran’s expression relaxed as he heard my whine. But it went by so fast that no one could notice it, even me.
He walked up slowly, so slowly it gave off a horrifying vibe that made everyone hold their breath, only when he was practically standing in front of the captain, who is kneeling, did him stop.
“Three days.” His arrogant voice rang out.
The Imperial Guard’s Captain lifts up his body—changing his body posture, but his eyes are still looking down at the floor, ready to receive the order given from his monarch.
“Find out who sent the assassin within those three days.”
Then, the terrifying sound of cold steel rang throughout the room, Kieran had pulled out Nouvel’s sword from its scabbard. The sword’s blade gleamed in the light, so dazzling it would blind someone if one looked directly at it. He pulled it out as if it was just a toy, then looked down at the captain.
But then my vision is suddenly covered by something, Asher covered my vision with his tail.
The soft sound of slender cold metal being swung around reverberated in the room, it made me frown just listening to it because it sounded so sharp and thin.
The slender and gleaming white steel was now placed at the guard’s neck as Kieran spoke, “If you can’t find out who is behind this, then consider yourself dead.”
The thin cut on his pale neck started to turn into a blood-red line on the Captain’s neck. The red line had a metallic smell, enough to make me think back to the thick and rusty smell of the blood rain earlier.
The Captain lowered his head one more time.
“Yes, Your Majesty.”
Kieran seems to have lost interest in the captain and turned his whole body away, as if he no longer cared about whether he stayed in the room or leave. Instead, he looked in my direction and started to come closer to me, who was trying to get rid of Asher’s tail that was floating in front of my eyes.
From my vision that still slightly covered by Asher’s tail, I gazed at him with swollen eyes. I could once again see my reflection clearly in his red eyes.
“Keisha will sleep with me for a while.”
There was a short pause before I finished processing the meaning behind his words.
Excuse me? I exclaimed.
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, so I just stared at him in a daze until I had to blink several times.
Huh? What did he just say?
Did he just said we would sleep together?!
While I was at a complete loss of words due to a combination of shock and fear, Estelle simply bowed her head.
“Yes, Your majesty.”
‘Eyeam skuwuwed…’ I mumbled quietly.
– I am screwed.
[A/N] As always, Kieran and his coldness… but who could resist Asher and his cuteness that will filled your screen from now on?