“So, then, do I stay here until it’s resolved?”
Dahlia ran her finger through Phone’s tiny head and asked. After the meal, the two went for a walk by the stream, where a cool breeze blew.
“Officially, Lady Von Klose must have been kidnapped by an unknown assailant. As her fiancé, I will search for you, and Count Von Klose will be disappointed. You can’t completely fool the temple, so just think of it as buying time.”
“Then, where are we going to hold the ceremony? Don’t you need permission from His Majesty the Emperor?”
“The ceremony will be performed safely in Altera. It’s an independent autonomous territory, so even the Emperor can’t visit on a whim. If we just close the portal, that’s all there is to it.”
Dahlia burst into laughter.
It was very different from the politically arranged marriages of ordinary aristocrats. It felt like running away to elope for love. Regardless, she relished the current stupefaction.
Besides, there was not a single part of the annex of Bluebell House that she disliked.
Dahlia stopped walking, crouched down on the ground, scooped up some water from the stream, and held it out to Phone. Soft sunlight poured on her hair.
“I shouldn’t have given him to you.”
She raised her head at Jurgen’s bizarre grumpiness, hid Phone in her arms as if to protect him, and glared.
“Don’t take him away. Keep your dignity as a gentleman.”
“My fiancée is more interested in another little bastard*, how can I keep my dignity?” [t1v: *the insult also means ‘hateful little boy/man’]
“What do you mean, bastard*?”
“A boy*, right there. He’s a male.”
In addition to Dahlia, even Phone sitting on her finger and drinking water looked at Jurgen with the same expression of incredulity. Jurgen’s brows furrowed in displeasure at his own reaction, which seemed to be pathetic. He signed at himself
“Phone, my fiancé seems to have a twisted mind, so go and play somewhere else for a while,”
Dahlia whispered to Phone and lightly kissed him. Then, the bird flew away and disappeared between nearby tree branches.
After dusting off her skirt, Dahlia stood up and faced Jurgen. He looked down at her with a countenance of thick satisfaction on his gentleman-looking face.
Dahlia, who was still looking up at the horribly proud and handsome facade, held her skirt wide and curtseyed politely.
“Thank you for your help, Sir Edelred. I apologize I offered my respectful greetings late*.” [*t1v: this leans into the importance of greetings in Korean culture, where it is an emphasized ritual of formal and mandatory acknowledgement and sign of respect from a subordinate to a superior. She is drawing a clear line between them.]
“It was nothing.”
“Then, please tell me what I can and shouldn’t do here. And I want my family to know that I am safe.”
“The moment you fell on my head, Gerald Von Klose contacted me. Don’t worry. Feel free to enter the annex and my study as much as you like. But not the library in the main mansion. It’s a family domain, so I hope you respect that.”
After Dahlia readily agreed, she held out her hand to Jurgen.
“Let me guide you.”
For a moment, he doubted his ears.
“Yes, since you opened a portal using Phone, you must have used a lot of strength. Shouldn’t I refill as much as I used?”
“Ha, are you serious?”
“Like the Lord, I don’t speak empty words… .”
His large, sturdy arms wrapped around her waist. Suddenly his stare filled her gaze. His watch started from her startled eyes and moved along the tip of her round nose, parted lips, and straight collarbone. He didn’t do anything more, but Dahlia’s cheeks turned red.
“Do you know what’s the most efficient way to guide?”
“You mean… . through touch?”
With a smile, he drove her to a nearby oak tree**. The bark was rich with the aroma of soil, touching Dahlia’s back as she stepped back.
“I’ll show you, take a chance and try your best. Maybe… . You will feel good too.”
He cupped her reddened cheeks with a smile and slipped two of his fingers between her lips.
Saliva smeared on his fingers; he crinkled the hem of her dress and lifted it up. And wet fingers slipped into places they were not supposed to touch.
Dahlia brought her legs together and trembled. However, as the stimulation continued, hot heat collected in a secret and humid place. It formed like dew and felt dangerous as she was teetering on the edge, about to fall off.
“Ha, stop… .”
“Try guiding. Relax and try a little, Dahlia. Now that we are a married couple, we have to do this every day.”
“Then, you didn’t think we would live without a marital relationship, did you?”
“… I didn’t think about it.”
He bent over, nibbled on her plump lips, and after opening her mouth, he pushed his fingers in. Her eyes trembled as she gasped.
Even so, her faint venom did not fade in the slightest. Jurgen really liked the strange blade that Dahlia hid.
For instance, her pretending to waver and be carried away by him. He relished in knowing this woman’s hidden mask, acting like she was in delirium.
He nibbled on Dahlia’s ear lobe and whispered,
**t1v: In Korean culture, oak trees symbolize ‘truth.’ It also represents longevity, strength, stability, endurance, and fertility. Often depicted as the tree of life, the center of the world, and many times associated with the most important gods.