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“… … I apologize, Your Highness. Next time, I will make sure that nothing like this happens.”
Her strong sense of responsibility made her ashamed of her weakness. She should have made a distinction between public and private, though. She apologized for wasting a busy Crown Prince’s time because of her personal and private relationships.
Heinrich saw this and noticed that Damia was a pretty decent person. When deeply hurt, few were aware, nevermind apologetic, for causing damage and inconveniences to others.
Heinrich, who comprehended her character, having dealt with many people, laughed generously.
“You don’t have to apologize for my headache. You must be tired after just arriving in the capital, so please go and rest.”
“See you next time,” Heinrich’s voice was friendly. Thanks to him, Damia was able to get out of the audience room before the flimsy dam holding up her spirit and mind collapsed.
“I’ll be leaving now, your Highness.”
As soon as she left the chamber, the hardened Akkard also jumped up and sprinted from his seat.
“I’m sorry, but I think I have to go too.”
I ask for your understanding. This was more like a notice rather than asking for permission or forgiveness. Heinrich clicked his tongue and gave advice.
“If you go after her now, it will backfire. It will be counterproductive. Why don’t you go and apologize later with flowers and presents?”
An apology should be made when the other person can accept it. In Heinrich’s eyes, Damia today should be treated the same as a victim right after an accident.
What was the point of holding a person and saying sorry for the trauma when they were struck by a wagon and having seizures? Once the accident was settled, and you gave the sufferer some time to recover, then you should go visit them in the hospital.
Although he did his best and gave valuable advice Akkard’s soul seemed to have escaped him and he showed no sign of listening.
“… … I’m sorry, but I still have to go.”
Akkard ran out of his audience without any more hesitation.
If it were his usual self, he would have acted according to the Prince’s suggestion without needing Heinrich’s advice. In the first place, he despised being emotionally involved with women.
In relationships between men and women, Akkard was close to a complete avoidance type or an indifferent, neglectful sort. Whether it involved love or hate, it was extremely bothersome to get caught up in the other person’s intensity and to be dragged into the muddy waters of emotion.
So he would just wait. He would avoid all contact or communication, watching indifferently until the woman resigned herself and came back to him composed.
But at this moment, he just couldn’t do that. Even if someone ordered him to, he wouldn’t be able to stop himself.
He rushed out of the audience and ran along the splendid corridors of the royal palace. His heart plummeted and leaped irregularly—throbbing as if his heart had broken, and his head was dyed a fuzzy white from extreme anxiety that was raging all the way to the top of his head.
‘What’s wrong with me?’
The thought occurred to him as he ran like a madman. Perhaps because of guilt? Because he hurt her with cruel words?
No, it couldn’t have been. In the past, hadn’t he even uttered even harsher words to persistent women who chased after and tried to entrap him?
But to a woman who doesn’t even love him, what’s the matter if he ascertained that there is only a physical relationship between them?
His head reasoned so, but his heart was shouting something completely different. Akkard was a man who knew better than anyone that he was superior, but at this moment he genuinely hated himself.
To the point where he wanted to kill himself if he could.
‘Please— please… … Damia!’
He didn’t even know what he was praying for. Still, he desperately moved his legs, which seemed to be stiff. As if that was all he could do.
Finally, he could see her back, moving away at a fast pace in the distance. It was the view of her slender back, which he had been so accustomed to by now that it was painful as if it were piercing his eyes, made him gasp for breath.
His choking, despairing cry that exploded from his throat was even too desperate for himself to hear. Servants passing by from afar were astonished and turned around.
However, the owner of the name he called out to with earnest anguish did not look back. She obviously could hear him, but instead of stopping, she started running.
Indeed—she, unquestionably, was running away, as the hem of her dark blue dress fluttered as elegantly as a curtain of night. From a monster named Akkard Valerian.
The fact felt like a terrible nightmare. Akkard clenched his teeth, not wanting to acknowledge his aghast and shock again. And he ran after her and snatched her as she tried to run away.
“Damia, stop! You need to talk to me!!”
Akkard, who grabbed her arm, turned her around forcibly. Damia turned away from him and desperately tried to shake him off, but she was unable to overcome his strength.
“Please leave me alone!!”
For the first time in her life, a tearful scream erupted from Damia’s mouth.