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“Master, it is me, Kian.”
As soon as I answered to come in, the door immediately opened.
Kian and I sat at the table facing each other.
A maid set down steamy black tea and refreshments in front of us.
When the maid left the room, Kian opened his mouth first.
“Did you say you had something to say?”
It’ll be even harder to say if I take my time bringing it up.
Determined, I took out the slave trade certificate from my pocket.
Kian’s eyes grew slightly wider when he saw the document.
“It’s the certificate I received when I bought you.”
Today is the last time I’d be addressed as a master.
At the same time, I thought that I spoke with significance:
“From now on, I’ve set you free.”
Kian’s eyes, bright like a spring day, lost their vitality like a desolate field.
He’s been a slave for 20 years, so I thought he’d be happy to be free…….
The back of my head registering his puzzling reaction was buzzing with confusion, but I couldn’t stop now that I had already made the promise and instead choose to clarify my statement:
“You’re free now, Kian.”
I approached the fireplace where the embers were still left, glowing with warmth, ready to burn his slave trade certificate
As soon as I tried to throw the contract into the fire, Kian held my wrist lightly.
Restraining me, he asked with a very clouded face.
His sky blue eyes filled with water as if tears were going to drop at any moment.
He asked in a choked voice with a sore tone:
“Why are you trying to abandon me?”
My heart shook at his pleading look and imploring voice.
But soon, I steeled my resolve and calmly explained,
“Abandon..? I’m just trying to set you free.”
“……Master says she doesn’t need me anymore.”
“No, I didn’t—”
I couldn’t finish my thought. Kian narrowed the distance between us, bowing his head deeply.
His face was so close; it was as if our lips were touching.
The distance was too close. Enough to be acutely aware of his breath.
My heart beats wildly unconsciously. I thought I should keep my distance, but I couldn’t push him away.
While I was hesitating, he buried his face in my shoulder and whispered softly.
“I am yours, Master, so you may order anything of me…….”
The certificate of sale flew into the air and fell into Kian’s hand.
A moment ago, he, who had lowered his eyes bitterly, now growled as low as a beast.
“Just don’t tell me to leave. That order cannot be followed.”
It was the first time I’d seen such an expression on Kian’s face.
He looked furious and in pain …….
I felt a little embarrassed, but I soon steeled myself–cleared my face of my bashfulness, and announced.
“Kian. It’s not that I don’t need you.”
Although I clarified, Kian still looked like his misgivings were unaddressed. He spoke up,
“Then why are you trying to free me? Is it because… you hate me?”
The absurd reason he came up with was so startling I was momentarily speechless.
What a ridiculous misunderstanding.
I carefully chose my words, struggling with how to communicate how I felt to Kian.
“It’s not that I hate you or I don’t need you. I just want you to find the right place for your abilities freely.….”
“I don’t need that. It’s enough to be by your side.”
At his adamant words, I didn’t know how to counter his declaration.
……And to be honest, I didn’t want Kian to leave me either.
I want you to stay with me.
But now his abilities have awakened, he can protect himself and will live a different life than before.
His world will be much wider than it is now.
Others will recognize his abilities.
Requesting him to remain by my side would just be self-serving and selfish.
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