Chapter Thirty: Rise of the Lamb
I was overwhelmed by the shocking facts Nolan revealed to me, and I felt myself shuddering. How tough must one live if they’re born as a prince?
Life may seem easy with the whole never-lacking-money, enjoying-all-luxury, and being a member of the privileged class and all, but it seemed with that came the costly danger of being murdered by the people closest to you. Shortly after, I sat in a cross-legged position.
“That night, I couldn’t resolve the worries encroaching on my little brother. In the end, I somehow convinced him to consult with our mother, almost half-angry at him. I confiscated the letter and ultimately caused him to hurry up, giving the assassin the perfect opportunity to act, so I have to carry out this responsibility that I can’t avoid.”
The marriage with Sevesta’s princess was naturally called off after the fifth prince passed away, and instead, talks of Nolan marrying the princess came up behind the scenes.
However, it was nigh impossible for Nolan to marry the fifth prince’s lover. That’s how the plot came of him falling in love with me at first sight came to be, thus sealing our marriage.
Ricardo sharpened his expression as he spoke while my mind was going in circles from all the thinking, “We search the residence of Jean Dortrek in the dark and we’ve been continuing our investigations regarding his death.”
According to Ricardo’s explanation, they already had a guess of roughly who was behind the death of the finance minister. They have been looking around for that person’s whereabouts whenever they could find time to do so, even after coming to Dahl Island, but they still have yet to find anything concrete as questioning Marquis Dortrek without any evidence would only backfire.
“It is not my intention, or to be more appropriate, for my second brother to ascend the throne. Above all, I just want to find out the truth.”
Nolan was looking for a chance to counter-attack. After he finished saying so, his gaze moved to me.
Then he quickly shook his head, sighed, and again focused his gaze on me.
“Amidst my daily life with you, I was afraid I would someday lose my anger. For the sake of my brother, I have to pin down the culprit at any cost.”
His anger must have been the driving power for him. But to me, I think this letter was like an eternal shackle for Nolan, stalling his future.
Nolan continued, still directly looking into my eyes.
“You are… So cute, I sometimes almost forget about my anger.”
Did he really think of me like that?
“I could feel the emotions inside me gradually being replaced, leaving only my moments with you. To the point I almost forgot my sin—that’s why I hold back from having a child with you. However, my selfishness instead caused you to suffer.”
“I want to cherish and treasure you, more than anything, if I have to say honestly. I want to have and to build a happy family with you.”
Nolan’s hand touched the back of my head as he kissed my forehead.
“This is something you should be aware of—you are unquestionably a charming woman…”
He was replying to the wretched question I had asked in the kitchen.
He had thrown away almost all of his fame, fortune, and social standing he received from birth and amassed after—all for the sake of his brother. The prime method in clearing away his remorse should be to catch the main culprit.
“I must atone for my sin.”
Although I could understand his sorrow-filled feelings, I still aimed at the unsettling part.
Nolan misunderstood something. I stood up from my position and tightly clenched my hands in a fist.
“Isn’t the villain here Marquis Dortrek, and to be clearer, the queen! You haven’t done anything wrong, but why are you the only one who has drawn the short stick and even had to become a poor count!”
Even Ricardo was looking at me with a stunned face at my sudden outburst. Apparently, my straightforward feelings were too much to be surprised about. However, I didn’t intend to stop either.
“The public… The public calls Nolan an annoying prince. A selfish prince who makes a ruckus—collapsing at his little brother’s funeral, then falling in love at first sight with the freeloader girl of the viscount, and even going as far as marrying her against all opposition…!”
Nolan silently listened to all the awful things I was saying.
“Are you really content with this!? We are talking about your honor here. If anyone is to blame, then it’s the assassin, not you. The honor of a prince in exchange for a marriage with a freeloader girl like me doesn’t balance anything at all!”
“You’re not a freeloader. You’re my wife.” The reply was so unexpected that I felt deeply moved for a moment in surprise and almost choked on my words.
Thinking back, I didn’t know if anyone had considered me essential in that way until now. I have always thought of myself as someone troublesome.
I stopped thinking about it, and again, stressed my essential point loudly. “You haven’t done anything wrong, Nolan-sama! It’s not because of you!”
“The evil ones doing everything as they please… While the suffering ones have no choice but to keep their heads down… It’s very strange! I, too, am awfully angry with Rosie and her father now!”
It may not have any connection with Rosie, though.
“Either way, I will also give my all to search for the truth. I’m your wife, after all. Let’s see, that’s right… Something like sneaking in the Marquis Dortrek mansion as a servant…”
“Do you even know what you’re saying? That’s ridiculous.”
Nolan looked at me with a shocked expression as if he’s only now hearing me talk for the first time.
The darkness in the basement gradually made its way to us as the flame in the lamp swayed. I glanced at the candle and realized it had already shortened very much.
Our gazes met each other’s, then, Nolan turned his away from us, closing his eyes, and sighing over time. The time he had taken to sigh was long and slow, as if he wanted to spit out all the unpleasantness in his body.
While Ricardo was smiling as amiably as ever, as if he had just proposed to someone.
“The lamp is going to extinguish at any moment. We should move up or else we may have to search for a route out while crawling on all fours.”
Nolan carefully bandaged the wound on my palm.
Marco, who suddenly woken up, panicked when he was ordered to bring out the first-aid kit. He hurriedly brought it out, holding it with his big body, his steps almost as if he were stomping on uneven ground.
Ricardo, on the other hand, kneeled in front of me, sitting on the sofa in the living room, repeatedly bowing his head.
“I already said it’s fine, Ricardo!”
“I’m guilty of this! If I had pulled my sword back sooner…”
Nolan, sitting next to me, could only smile bitterly. He put the bandage on the first-aid kit after he finished with the dressing. Marco then shut the lid tightly as if it wasn’t a first-aid kit but a box of gold.
Nolan looked at Marco and Ricardo.
“Can you stop with this already? We are going to sleep now.”
“I want to spend some time alone with Liese.”
As soon as Nolan said that, they immediately closed their mouths. Carrying the first aid box, they silently bowed and excused themselves.
When the two left the living room, Nolan muttered as he looked at my palm while holding my hand between his hands. “I hope it doesn’t leave a mark.”
“It’s fine. After all, palms are originally full of wrinkles.”
Nolan’s hand slid from my hand to my wrist when I said that to him while smiling. He gently held my wrist and slightly tugged me towards him. I looked up at him and found his beautiful aquamarine eyes staring into mine, from and unbelievably close range.
“Nolan-sama, that… I’m sorry. In truth, you didn’t want to talk about that letter and what really happened to me, right?”
I’m sure Nolan wanted to avoid speaking about his mother’s disgraceful act to anyone, and that was why he hid it.
“I’m sorry I made you divulge the topic, and I even went to the barn despite your warnings.”
Nolan gently shut his aquamarine eyes and reopened them after a short while. “You had every right to know about it—besides, sharing my pain, suffering, and untold secrets also eased my burdens slightly.”
“…It’s the duty of a wife, after all.”
“What was your thoughts when you were suddenly told that you’re going to marry the nuisance of a prince who collapsed in front of his little brother’s grave?”
I blinked. He was talking about the time when the marriage proposal dropped suddenly in my life, right?
“That’s… I was awfully surprised at that time.”
Nolan moved one arm to wrap around my head, bringing his closer to mine. Once he put his clear crystal aquamarine eyes on the same level as mine, he said in a slightly stern and whispering voice, “I now couldn’t help but think about what your feelings were at the time our actual marriage.”
I must have said something uncalled for earlier in the basement, which may have unintentionally hurt him.
“I was flabbergasted. A prince was like an existence from the highest heaven, while I was a mere mortal.”
“You’re more strong-willed than I had expected. That really surprised me.”
Strong-willed? Me? It was more surprising to me that Nolan felt that way.
“Viscount Teddy often spoke about you in the Royal Palace. Hearing the stories about you from him, I already had formed an image of you in my heart—a frail woman who only read books all day.”
After saying that, Nolan lightly laughed. “But as I found out, you were never the type of woman who quietly waited for me to protect you—I didn’t think you would directly toss the forest berries in your mouth.”
Oh, that time, even I couldn’t resist laughing and thinking about how we started out here. Then, Nolan leaned and kissed my temple. It was just a normal kiss, but I felt my heart racing.
“Will you not tell me? It might be late to ask after all this, but I would to know you… What do you really think about me?”
“Nolan-sama… You’re actually a strong and gentle person.”
Nolan stared into my eyes from a point-blank range and tried to find the meaning behind the verbal slip. In response, I just gave an ambiguous smile and somehow glossed over it.
It wasn’t just him. Even to me, the image of Nolan I had in my mind had gradually changed.
I averted my eyes to somewhere else to escape from the grasp of his aquamarine eyes, before turning to stare at him once again.
Then, I mustered up the courage and tried to ask, “What does Nolan-sama think about me?”
I recalled the time when Nolan first came to the Viscount’s residence to meet me and mistakenly took the hand of my little sister Leticia.
“Nolan-sama thought Leticia was me, didn’t you?”
“To tell you the truth, yes.”
“Were you disappointed knowing that Leticia wasn’t me?”
“Actually, I was slightly irritated at that time. Because neither of you looked anything like the portrait sent to me.”
“Then why did you… Take Leticia’s hand?”
I asked while staring at him.
His aquamarine eyes moved as he recollected himself after a short pause. “Maybe, it’s because she wore the same color dress as the figure in the portrait sent to me.”
I couldn’t stop myself from giggling, finding it funny. I laughed uproariously, put my hands on the couch, and then withdrew them in a panic as I felt the pain in my palms.
Nolan spoke, finding my outburst strange. “Is it so funny?”
“Because I didn’t expect the usually firm Nolan-sama to have embarrassing moments like this!”
When I laughed even more, it apparently ticked him off then.
“You don’t need to laugh that hard, though…”
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