For a moment, she was speechless. It wasn’t that she simply didn’t want to get married to him, it was that she didn’t want to get married to anyone. But she couldn’t come up with a proper explanation with the right words.
With her mouth in a firm line, out of habit, Dahlia grabbed her necklace. Irregardless, this man’s proposal was exceedingly bizarre.
At her defensive attitude, Jurgen burst out laughing.
“I… . Do I look so unappealing?”
“What benefit is it if only the outside is great?”
“My family is excellent, and I am very capable. Most of all, I can give you what you want.”
“No, Sir Edelred can’t give me what I want. Because you don’t know what I want.”
Putting her flowing hair over her ear, she lowered her hand holding her necklace. Jurgen looked down at her determined eyes and spoke with a gentle tone.
“Do you not wish for freedom and safety?”
Indeed, it was.
Dahlia just sighed and stared at his face that had lost its smile.
“I, too, seek freedom. And I want a safe life. To do that, we need each other. What is the difference between an arranged loveless marriage and a marriage born from a partnership of necessity?”
“… I need Sir Edelred?”
“Last time, I thought I had told you that I would tell you how to avoid imploding.”
“You did. On the condition I would be your guide. Again, I declined.”
Whether it was because her pronunciation was proper or because her voice was low for a woman, he liked her voice a lot. So even if he was rejected, he was not particularly shocked. Jurgen knew that was the biggest problem.
“I made the offer for your benefit. If you release your seal and freely utilize your guiding powers until you exhaust your powers, there is no risk of a runaway. That happens because your strength accumulates until it overflows.”
His gaze watched her as she stepped forward.
“Ha, then the temple will find me. There’s a reason I’ve been living with this uncomfortable seal.”
“Well, you’ve done well. If you had met me earlier, it would have been solved easily.”
Jurgen passed by a confounded Dahlia and entered under the blossoming wisteria*. As if they were in another world, the pale purple flowers were scattered and obscured the view like a veil. [*t1v: Wisterias symbolize romance in most cultures. In Korea in particular, it carries the meaning of devotion that transcends death.]
“What do you mean… .”
Stunned for a moment, Dahlia was a little bitter as she saw him standing among the blooming wisteria flowers. It was the first time she had ever thought of a man as being pretty or beautiful.
Remembering the clinging scent of acacia flowers and the sweet memory of her first kiss made her body warm. So, defensively, she hated that she was uncomfortable while looking at him.
“First of all, you need to guide someone powerful enough who can use up your powers. It’s beneficial for you to drain your energy, and secondly… . If you become my wife, even if the temple finds out that you are a guide, they can’t force you to go with them. You’ll be free.
“It’s an exception to the Guide Attribution law,” he explained.
The man’s eyes flashed red through the cracks in the coveted flowers. Dahlia slowly removed the veil of blossoms and approached him.
“Is that really true? Why would the temple… .”
With a gentle smile, he offered up his hand and tilted his head.
“You can check it for yourself. Is what I am saying true or false?”
The scent pouring from above her head dazed her. Hesitating, she raised her hand over his extended one, but still kept a gap between them.
She would be lying if she said that she could not feel the hot body temperature through the narrow gap. It can’t be.
“Marriage is not freedom. And… . Before I am a guide, I am a Sentinel. There’s something I have to do.”
He asked, looking down at her unreachable hand.
“What do you have to do?”
“I… . am not the daughter of Count Von Klose.”
Her bright blue eyes were filled with pale purple flowers. It was like that day. At sunset when a hot wind blew, where under a tree that they had wallowed in each other in a mess.
Even then, as he swallowed those thick lips, small white flowers bloomed in her eyes.
“Firstly, I never cared what kind of family you hailed from. It probably wouldn’t matter if you were a convent nun. I’m not looking for a bride for the prosperity of my family, I need you to be my guide.”
“Then… . Is the reason you want to get married really because you need a guide?”
“You have no idea how one feels when you receive perfect guiding. It’s the reason why I am doing this.”
Her eyes widened, and gently avoided his eyes.
“I know, you can’t explain just how good it feels. It’s hot and you want to touch it more… . you want to swallow it in one bite. Am I wrong?”
“Hey, who taught you that?”
His eyes suddenly changed and took on a ferocious glow. He approached her and leaned forward to hold her stare with his gaze. Dahlia frowned as her field of vision was full of the red eyes and lips in front of her.
“It doesn’t matter who told me.”
“No, it’s important. Because the most essential explanation is missing.”
Jurgen tilted his head slightly with a twisted expression. He was so close the tip of his nose and lips almost brushed against hers.
“It’s, in you, I… .”
He whispered in a voice sweet enough to heat her body. The tall shrubs shook and wisteria blossoms quivered in unison.
“Edelred, I was wondering where you went. To think you were in a place like this.”
Through the gaps of the thick curtains of wisteria blooms, a bright blonde flashed across.
“Your Majesty, the Crown Prince.”