Without a single thought, he confidently entered the door.
What did he mean, ‘caught’? As I blinked, Diello briefly stared at my eyes as if he were trying to read something.
After a short pause, he replied.
“Since I caused you trouble, I should be the one to relieve you of it.”
Well… I scratched my cheek.
“I can’t say I suffered because of Diello.”
I did it for Argenta.
My words, however, deepened Diello’s smile.
“That’s true, but Nias said that Krua’s body aches because of the power left in your body.”
As he placed a towel in front of me, the maids placed scented oils and various massage tools on top of it before they quietly stepped back.
I glanced up at Diello, and he was smiling brightly.
“That’s why someone who can handle power delicately should massage you.”
Diello tilted his head slightly.
“There are many in Argenta who can handle power delicately.” He showed me his hand. “Like Rick, most of the Argenta knights who go to the battlefield can handle power delicately. Unfortunately.”
His gaze then turned to the maids and Vielle behind me.
“They can also handle magic power, but unlike those who frequently fight on battlefields, they’re bound to have difficulty with detailed control.”
Soon after, he said carefully to me.
“I’m sorry, but since I’ve just gone through a rampage, I don’t think I’ll be able to tolerate anyone making a mistake while touching the precious wife’s body.”
He leaned slightly towards me.
“Please allow me to do it.”
I didn’t need to ask what he wanted me to allow. His fingertips gently touched the lid of the scented oil. His movements were strangely captivating. As his blue eyes met mine, I asked him, who was smiling smoothly, quietly.
“…Did you really come in here with only that in mind?”
Without a single evil thought?
When I looked straight up at him, Diello eventually laughed after blinking his eyes a few times.
“If you look at me like that, I can’t lie.”
He removed his hand from the scented oil and whispered softly to me.
“I had a different thought, just a tiny bit.”
Still, he shouldn’t have. Right?
As I hesitated, he hid his hand behind his back.
“Though I won’t cross the line. I promised I wouldn’t.”
He leaned closer to me and whispered.
“If Krua wants it.”
It was a short, light, and low voice that passed by like a breeze as if it didn’t matter whether I heard it or not.
“Please allow me to do it.”
His gaze, as he spoke, was fixed on me. It felt somewhat persistent.
“…If I don’t allow it, someone else will have to massage me?”
Diello nodded slightly at my words.
“Nias, or Rick, or the other knights will have to stand here.”
For a moment, I thought his voice had turned sharp… a cold, sharp thorn.
“―Do you want that?”
“Of course not.”
I waved my hand.
No matter how much it was a marriage of convenience, I had no intention of letting another man do something as personal as a massage.
As I thought that, my face suddenly turned red. So, I thought Diello was okay?
Nevertheless, I couldn’t keep my power unsealed.
Just as I was hesitating…
Diello put his hand on the lid of the scented oil again. His hand was clearly on the lid of the scented oil, not my body, but I felt a strange heat coming from it.
“If I’m going to massage you, you’ll have to take off your clothes.”
He looked troubled.
“I can’t possibly look at my wife’s body.”
He whispered very quietly, so quietly that the Argenta people couldn’t hear. The heat was felt between his and my ears. He smiled with his eyes narrowed. In the meanwhile, the Argenta people watching us quietly stepped back and gathered near the door.
Before I could say anything, Diello made up his mind.
“How about we do this?”
He lifted the black cloth used for massages before the long folded cloth was handed to me from his hand. Although it was a thin cloth, it was folded in several layers, and nothing could be seen beyond the pitch-black fabric.
“What is this?”
When I looked up at him, Diello’s eyes crinkled with amusement.
“To cover myself.”
…What? You? With this?
Then, he pointed at his eyes.
“Lest I catch a glimpse of my wife.”
“…For your eyes?”
Diello’s reply was light.
By then, the Argenta people were already leaving the room.
They all greeted us before they left. I couldn’t help but blush as I accepted their greetings, even though the people on the fourth floor knew our situation. And even though they knew we weren’t actually spending the night together.
…They react like that even though they know?
No matter how I looked at it, they were clearly making way for the newlyweds. However, I couldn’t let anyone else give me a massage, so I had no choice. Diello stood patiently as if waiting for my decision.
Eventually, I lifted the cloth slightly.
“But can you give me a massage while wearing this?”
He wouldn’t be able to see anything. To my words, Diello spoke again in a confident voice.
“Yes. But just in case.”
He suddenly handed me the dagger he was holding.
“If I happen to touch you in an inappropriate place, please punish me.”
“If I commit an offense that I shouldn’t even dream of committing, even more so.”
As he spoke in a melodious voice, the dagger was indeed passed to me.
I drew the dagger from its sheath and saw that it was a real dagger.
I recognized this dagger.
It was the same one used when we made the contract.
In other words, it meant that it was an extremely sharp dagger. If I were to use this at such a close distance, even Diello, who was trained in swordsmanship, wouldn’t be able to avoid this blade.
“It would be difficult if you drew it already.”
Diello uttered in a truly troubled voice.
I quickly sheathed the dagger. I wouldn’t use this. I wouldn’t.
Diello, who had handed me the deadly weapon, said nonchalantly.
“If it makes my wife uncomfortable, please tell me to stop right away. I’ll take my hands off you immediately.”
He didn’t come here to make her uncomfortable. As he said that, his voice seemed to have a gentle rhythm.
“If it’s difficult for you to cover it, shall I cover myself?”
He took the black cloth from my hands. Instantly, the lights in the room dimmed to a comfortable level.
* * *
I lay face down on the bed, following Diello’s guidance.
He was clearly blindfolded, yet he guided me as if he could see. Judging from the way his hands fumbled slightly when he picked up the massage oil, he was definitely blindfolded.
“If it’s uncomfortable, tell me.”
Whispering so, Diello came up next to me and sat down.
I could clearly feel the bed sinking.
Still, the space between the bed and my body, the empty space, was filled not with cold air but with a strange warmth that enveloped us. His hands, smeared with massage oil, rested on the nape of my neck. The hands that lightly wrapped around my neck muscles began to loosen them up.
It seemed that it wasn’t because of this incident that they were stiff.
My stiff neck muscles, which felt different, began to loosen little by little under his touch. It seemed that my muscles were stiff from work. His hands gently massaged my body, from my neck to my shoulders.
I thought it would hurt when he pressed it.
Strangely enough, wherever his hands pressed and passed, a refreshing feeling washed over me instead of pain, even though my muscles were stiff. The massages that the maids occasionally gave me felt similar, but this felt different.
Was it because he was loosening me up in a warmer place? Before I knew it, I let out a short moan and asked him.
“Diello, when you use your ability… do you get tired like this?”
My breath hitched as I spoke.
He must have used his ability on the sea as well. I wondered if he was as sore as I was.
At the thought, I stole a glance at him and barely caught a glimpse of his face in the corner of my eye. His expression, hidden by the black cloth covering his eyes, was hard to make out.
“I would like to say so.”
What does that slightly upturned corner of his mouth mean? As I pondered, a faint voice brushed past my mind.
‘…Stay like this.’
I stopped, taken aback by the voice in my head, and tried to turn my head a little more. Just then, his hands, which had returned to my neck, slid down from the back of my head to my shoulders.
A thrillingly refreshing sensation washed over me, along with a feeling of warmth. I let out a short breath.
“Was my answer strange?”
Diello asked. I nodded slightly.
His short laughter reached my ears from behind. The moment his hands gently dug between my shoulder blades, he said.
“Well, my wife might think so.”