“He’s in the wine cellar.”Having obtained a confession from John, I hurried to the basement of the mansion.
The thick wooden door of the wine warehouse was securely latched.
I was in a hurry, so my hands kept slipping off the latch. When I finally opened the door, I saw a crouching white figure in the corner of the warehouse.
Kian, who was holding his knees and lowering his head, raised his face.
Deeply subdued watery eyes headed towards me.
He sweetened his lips and called me.
I hurried up to Kian’s side.
“Are you all right? Are you hurt anywhere?”
Kian nodded slowly. Oh, thank God. I looked at him with a sigh of relief.
Kian’s lips were shaking blue. I quickly took off my jacket and hung it on Kian.
Then I reached out my hand to Kian, who was crouching.
“Let’s get out of here,” hesitating for a moment, Kean nodded, holding my hand.
We left the basement and came up to the first floor.
Sir Hans, my escort and Head Knight, was waiting for me.
“My dear, I have brought John in as you have instructed,” Lord Hans had him bow before me.
I looked down at John, trying to tame my anger.
This man won’t know the severity of what he’s done.
Now that I have intervened fate, I don’t know what variables will occur and how Kian will become radicalized.
There is also a possibility that fate will still intervene and predestined events will still happen. So, it’s not enough to be careful not to harm Kian…. ‘You’re bothering Kian. Are you out of your mind?’
But John, who knew nothing, had a look of injustice.
If Kian becomes vengeful, you’ll die, I’ll die, everyone will die.
Mentally, I recite a mantra for patience three times.…… Let’s settle the situation for now because it’s most important to stop the twisting of Kian. We can only hope that Kian will be relieved by punishing John.
“You must have heard my order to treat Kian with respect.”
There was only one reason I couldn’t overlook John’s behavior. He could set a bad precedent.
Other employees in the mansion can also look down on Kian and abuse him. Then instead of stopping Kian’s blackening, they’ll be motivating him.
“You must be prepared to punish me for breaking my orders, right?”
“Well, it was…” John seemed to regret it, but it was too late.
“You’ve worked hard for our family so far,” John’s eyes shook loudly, as he understood my meaning. He took my dress by the hem and appealed.
“My dear lady, I must have been out of my mind for a moment! Sick with jealousy—”
He begged me to forgive him, but I didn’t amend my decision.
Kian looks so gentle now, but I know that he will turn into a ruthless, blood-soaked tiger when he awakens his strength.
He massacred not only his enemies but many innocents and whole families.
I planned to suck up to this villainous character.
So I hope Kian will feel better by punishing John.
I slightly tapped Kian’s shoulder beside me. “Let’s get you warmed up.” “Yes…..”
“Now, hold on a second!”
In the midst of leaving with Kian, John suddenly rushed forward and blocked our path.
He turned his head and looked at Kian. And it happened suddenly.
John’s knee was bent gently.
“Kian, forgive me. I was completely wrong!”
John bowed his head and pleaded with Kian as if he had belatedly come to his senses.
Kian seemed a little embarrassed by the sudden situation.
“Well….you don’t have to do this.”
He tried to pull John up. But John was adamant.
“I beg you like this–!”
I looked at John, apologizing to Kian again and again. Although it’s a shame, since John apologized, Kian felt a little bit like it had already been solved. Isn’t this too much?
I turned my head and looked at Kian. “Kian. What do you want to do with John?”
I entrusted him with John’s punishment. Said Kean hesitatingly.
“Can I–can I do what I want?”
“If you want to fire him, I’ll kick him out right now.”
Kian looked down at John.
After a moment of silence, he said, “Then…..”
After concluding the punishment for John, Kian was brought back to the room.
I sat Kian in front of the fireplace to warm him up.
I talked as I handed over warm cocoa.
“I’m sorry, I’ve caused you to go through a rough patch because of me.”
“It’s not your fault.”
“But it’s my fault I didn’t manage my subordinate.”
Said Kean with a big smile. “I’m fine, so don’t worry too much. I’m used to it.”
‘It’s okay because I’m used to it.’ I couldn’t say anything at the moment.
Getting used to unhappiness so you couldn’t feel pain…. I gazed at Kean, who held the cocoa glass tightly. Then I slowly opened my mouth.
“John has a three-month pay cut, and he’s working on managing our family’s summer vacation home.”
Kian didn’t want John’s dismissal. It was because it seemed too much. Instead, I sent John far away. I thought it would be uncomfortable if they kept seeing each other in the same space.
I told Kian that I didn’t have to worry too much about John.
“Cocoa, would you like some more?”
“Ah….” pondered Kean for a moment.
“Then, I’d like one more drink, please.”
We sat side by side by side by the fire and drank cocoa. Only the sound of firewood burning calmly resounded.
By the time I had finished my full cup of cocoa, I whispered.
“If the weather is good tomorrow…..Would you like to go on a picnic?”
Answered Kean with half-closed eyes, tired from the comforting heat from the fireplace.
The silvery eyelashes fell, and his head is slightly tilted. I sipped the cocoa in silence. Only the sound of fire crackling and the second hand of the clock rang in the quiet room.
Kian, who was dozing off, was already asleep. Quietly, I looked at Kian still figure like that.
He’s the guy who might turn and chop me up. But…..why do I feel so sorry?
“Who is cares about who?”
Still, there’s something that can change in this country.
If I take good care of him, Kian may not become an extremist.
I put a blanket over Kian, who had fallen asleep.
I hope he has a good dream.
I’m excited because it’s been a long time since I went on a picnic.
“Would you like some raspberry scones?”
“Yes, let’s put that in and some madeleines too. Ah, apple turnovers!” I’m picking food with the maids for the picnic basket when Butler Albert appears.
“What’s the matter?” I asked, and the butler answered in perplexity.
“Ms. Rachel wants to see you. I said no today, but she was obstinate, so I took her to the drawing-room for now…”
I frowned upon recalling the name Rachel in Olivia’s memory.
Rachel Lambert. The daughter of the late writer and a friend of Olivia’s associate.
Rachel was jealous of Olivia’s higher status.
The Crown Prince declared he was no longer interested in courting me. I was sick with anger. Since his ‘rejection,’ he would be busy finding another lady.
I had no doubt Rachel came to mock me as soon as she heard the news.
When I entered the drawing-room, Rachel greeted me with a smile on her mask.
“Olivia, I’m glad to see you after a long time. I’m sorry not to hear from you. Why haven’t you called me?”
Why? That’s the kind of sound that comes out.
-How can you try to get along with the Crown Prince instead of me?
-I did? I never did. His Highness is pursuing me ….
-His Highness is pursuing you? No, it’s the other way around! You seduced him!
When her vanity of wanting to be a crown prince was not satisfied, she took her anger out on me. The last time we met, I said, ‘I don’t want to see your face again! You traitor!’ Why didn’t I contact you? What a brazen question.
“That’s enough of nonsense. Just get to the point. I’m busy.”
Rachel’s face distorted when I treated her like a bothersome fly.
She quickly threw off her mask. “You bought a slave for 100 billion gallons?”
Was the Crown Prince….?
The ripple effect of gossip seemed greater than expected. I answered calmly, savoring the aroma of the finest black tea.
“Oh no! Since you’ve lost your senses to a slave, you’ve also lost your sense in society?”
Ever since that gossip column came out, I had expected such a backlash.
But really, what was worse: rumors or being murdered?
Rachel’s eyebrows shot up in astonishment at my confidence.
You expected me to be depressed and in shock due to the strange rumors, but you must have been disappointed because I couldn’t care less.
“You really don’t know shame, do you? You are sweet on a slave, were abandoned by His Highness, and your reputation is in tatters. How can you be so nonchalant? I’m in awe; I would have died of shame,” Rachel mocked.
Only I sipped my black tea without a word.
“Playing with slaves every night– what kind of man would take a woman as shameless and indiscrete as you?” Rachel kept at it. “Well, you were way short of being his partner from the start. You have nothing to boast of, your only merit being born in the ducal house of Ashford. If you hadn’t, would you dare to aim for Crown Princess?”
It was a childish provocation, but listening to her irritated me. Do you think I’m a pushover?
Let’s try to keep that mouth shut up.
“Thank you for your concern. As expected, you are my most precious ‘friend’.”
Rachel laughed as if she was dumbfounded. I ignored it and continued.
“As a friend, I’m saying this because I’m worried about you….” I paused, deliberately relaxing and sipping tea. “Your family-run trading company…… I heard the deficit is huge these days?”
The face of the once arrogant Rachel cracked.