The moment Keisha fell into a deep slumber, the room has also lost its light source. Relying solely on the moonlight that coming in from the large window, Kieran sat on the edge of the bed with his hand holding an unopened bottle of wine, which the old maid had brought over earlier.
It was his habit to drink first for him to fall asleep, and this have been his routine for the past two years; ever since the little baby, who was sleeping soundly with his hound—in her arms—on his bed was born. His index finger lightly stroked the cap of the wine bottle, as if hesitating whether to open it or not.
Yes. Tonight, he hesitated to open the bottle of wine that he was holding on tightly. Kieran sat leaning against the head of the bed, for some unknown reason he looks drained. His cold gaze staring blankly ahead, no one knew what kind of thoughts was running through his head at this point. However, he seems to be holding back his emotions with a lot of efforts, his eyes stared coldly but it hidden an ember in the corner of his eye.
While Asher seem to notice his master’s feeling starting to change. He gave a low, almost inaudible whimper, afraid to wake the baby who was fast asleep holding him in her arms. Kieran, who realised that gave Asher a sidelong glance but quickly caught the figure of the baby who was fast asleep beside him. He always thinks of Keisha as a box full of mystery, it is unknown what she’s going to do next, and he couldn’t help but anticipate because she is the reminder of her.
He sighed but a faint smile broke out.
He stared deeply at her; she looked innocent, angelic, but also poisonous. When she moved a little, Kieran flinched. It’s funny how awkward and stiff he is around her, his own daughter and the funniest part happened right afterwards, when his body shook the moment Keisha unconsciously grabbed his pinky finger, which laid closely to her, in her sleep.
He put on a complicated yet twisted expression, he looked confused and lost. He didn’t know what to do and as the day passed by, he became more and more indecisive, unlike his normal self.
“Your Majesty, I apologize for interrupting your rest.” Nouvel’s voice that came from behind the door sounded so clear that it managed to break the silence, as well as the thoughts that were going through Kieran’s mind.
After a short pause, Kieran finally opened his mouth and responded, “Speak.”
“Marquess Zanquen La Lucia, have request an audience.” He said before quietly continued, “We have figured it out, Your Majesty.”
They have figured it out, the ringleader of the conspiracy behind Keisha’s assassination attempt.
Without further delay, Kieran immediately got up and walked towards the door, before pausing his action for a moment as he passed the table in the middle of the room, to put down the bottle of wine he was holding tightly in his hand. Then, he opened the door and gave an order almost right away, “Lead the way.”
However, as if he had just realized something, he quickly stopped his steps and gave another order, “Just stay in your position and guard the room.”
Nouvel who had been confused by Kieran who stopped abruptly, subconsciously tilted his head in confusion, “Yes.” Before he gave a sign of affirmation to Kieran, even though it came out a little bit late, while bowing slightly, “Understood, Your Majesty.”
It’s not unusual to find myself waking up in the middle of the night for no reason. Well, I found it strange at first, but as it happened more frequently as of late; my irritation grew as dawn became my hour of awakening.
Ah, I woke up again…
Normally, if you wake up in the middle of the night, the drowsiness should soon overcome you again but for some reason, it didn’t come tonight.
My opened eyes catch the figure of Asher, sleeping soundly in my arms. I didn’t see or feel Kieran’s presence anywhere in the room, but my curiosity didn’t last long as my attention was distracted by Asher’s fur that is very soft like silk, and most importantly it gives off warmth. I cuddled him, nestled to his thick fur before changing my position to stare at the ceiling. As my eyes got used to the darkness, I could somewhat see the words that carved neatly and elegantly in the ceiling. It seemed to say, ‘Lucent’. If I am wrong, then whatever.
My head was in a daze, and I could feel my own body temperature going up; I felt as if I was getting steamed by the heat of my own body.
Oh, it’s hard to breathe…
As if something was holding my neck, I opened my mouth wide to catch my breath. However, I still couldn’t breathe. I wanted to cry, but I had no energy to spare to even cry.
It seems I unconsciously whined; showing the discomfort I was feeling and because of that Asher, which was more sensitive than I thought woke up. He looked confused at first before panicking, walked back and forth several times before leaving my side.
Where are you going to?
I wondered, and my curiosity began to increase as I heard a sound coming from the door.
Scratch, scratch, scratch…
The sound of claws scraping against the wooden door filled the entire room, it successfully attracting the attention of the person from the other side of the door, causing him to open the door.
As soon as the door opened, Asher immediately bit the hem of Nouvel’s pants, making Nouvel freeze for a moment in confusion. Was it because Asher panicked? He had forgotten to change his size and remained the small size of an adult wild cat. Despite everything, Asher managed to bring Nouvel closer to the bed; hearing my heavy breath, he quickly came over to me.
“Princess?” He said as he put his hand on my forehead. Nouvel’s skin is cool, and I felt good for some reason.
Oh, but I seriously thought I would die.
My head was burning with fever, my throat was burning too. I didn’t think this was just a regular fever. Was a fever always this bad? Despite my mind wandering to somewhere else, Nouvel’s face turned pale.
“She’s burning up, what should I do?”
My breath sounded rough even in my ear. Oh, I didn’t know what to do either. My head hurts, why did I get a headache suddenly?!
From behind my blurry vision, I saw Nouvel’s figure frantically running away. Witnessing that, I reached out my little hand in the air; trying to grab his figure that was fading away. But I seem to have forgotten about the fact that I’m a baby, and I have a small body. Moreover, this weak body is sick now.
Don’t go, please help me…
I cried, pleading silently. Just like when I almost got stabbed to death by some random person this afternoon; this was the second time where I couldn’t make any sound and could only plead silently. Quite ironic, right?
Not long after Nouvel disappeared; there was a commotion outside, I have no idea why the atmosphere suddenly turned chaotic, and filled with so many people, but it was so loud that it felt like my head was going to explode.
Please stop, be quiet.
The third plea.
My head hurts, shut up!
When it came to the fourth plea, my blurry vision caught the figure of Estelle appearing before me. Seeing that, I called out to her in a weak, almost inaudible voice, “El…lie?”
I didn’t expect it myself that my voice would come out that weak and pitiful.
She looked panicked. Estelle held me and her face turned pale, but her skin was cool, once again I felt good for some reason. And maybe because I felt too relieved to see her, I started to tear up.
And just like that, the sound of a baby’s cry filled up the entire dimly lit room.
Amidst my frantic crying, I heard Asher’s voice, “Kkaing-kkaing!”
Have you still not changed to your original size? I was guessing because his voice sounded so small and weak, totally different from how it should originally sound when he growled.
“What is it about?”
And then suddenly, someone’s cold, uninterested voice broke the commotion; but the person where the voice came from knitted his brows in, he seems to be annoyed by the commotion that took place in his room, at this hour.
Dad, I’m sick!
Kieran, whose presence had been lost for a moment finally made his entrance, he stepped into the room with the good-looking shining uncle. It’s been a while since the last time I saw him. But now, I couldn’t say that I’m happy to see him around. Especially, when I’m in this state.
“Y-your Majesty…” with a pale expression, Estelle showed me, who’s in her arms, to him. At that moment, I could certainly see the slight changes in Kieran’s expression.
“Your Majesty, the-the princess is burning up!” while Nouvel, with his usual soft yet now full of concern, reported my condition to Kieran.
Are you surprised? I didn’t know what kind of reaction he gave; I didn’t even know he could make such an expression in the first place, but he came forward to me, and immediately touched my forehead. His big hand’s coolness made me feel cold.
But can you guess? The funny thing is that until a few hours ago, I was still afraid of that big hand. Sometimes, every time he tried to move his hand closer to me, I would unknowingly shudder in horror. But this time the sensation I got was different.
For some reason today, despite his touch that conveys a sense of coolness, those horrific big hands looked comfortable and nice. Especially, when I sensed the warmth that mixed in with the coolness of his touch.
Oh, it’s cool and refreshing…
I thought I was getting a little better, but I still felt heavy. It was as heavy as a thousand pounds falling on me at once.
“Why is she suddenly like this?”
His voice was fierce as if he would gobble Estelle up in one bite. I’d like to open my mouth and wanted to say something nice—rude—so he wouldn’t be too hard on Estelle. However, I could only muster to release a soft gasp. I was in such a painful situation that even breathing felt like torture now. My head was hot, and my body was suddenly feeling heavy.
The world felt like it was burning me.
“Bring the imperial doctor!”
“Yes, Your Majesty!”
The shining uncle ran out, carrying the order and the maids scattered all around in haste.
At some point, I didn’t realize how and when I was moved out of Estelle’s arms onto the bed again, while Kieran stood tall, very close beside me.
“She was fine just a moment ago!”
I thought he was angry. His cold voice was disconcerted, and the situation seemed like it confused him even more.
“Kkaing!” Asher added, agreeing with him.
“Damn it, why is she suddenly burning up like this?”
Kieran was so flustered more than he needed to, I didn’t know why he was so worked up. Hey, that’s just overacting! I grabbed the end of his pinky finger because he looked like he was about to grab Estelle by her throat.
Kieran looked straight at me.
“Dad…” I called out to him, weakly.
Stop yelling. My head was ringing because of your voice!
Nothing’s going to change even if you are mad anyway.
Fortunately, it seemed like he calmed down a little bit after I grabbed his pinky finger. Well, he had to stop-
But suddenly, Kieran turned his gaze around, and started to yell again.
“Where in the world is the doctor!?”
Ugh, I asked him to shut up yet here he goes starts yelling again.
My head was ringing!
And why did Asher keep on chiming in?
Oh, I didn’t know anymore. My head hurts, I should just stop thinking about it altogether.
“The doctor will be here soon, please don’t worry, Your Majesty.” Nouvel said, trying to calm him down.
“Who said I’m worried?”
Before continued, “Drag him here right this instant!”
Tsk tsk, this guy. He got a really bad temper, barking like a crazy dog in the middle of the night. Oh, my goodness, because of you I thought my fever had gone up. I was going crazy, it hurt so much I even shed tears.
Oh, God. I was losing my mind; I didn’t think I would be this miserable. As I listened to Kieran getting angry, my eyes finally closed. And after that, everything was an endless void. I felt like something cool touched my head several times, and maybe someone patted me. But I failed to figure it out who it was, and the darkness took over me.
[A/N] Have you ever thought that maybe the most scary and cruel people are actually just some broken people trying their best to protect themselves? Then, one day when you managed to break their defensive walls you would see lots of their new sides, especially their clumsy side with handling affection…