Home Post 931-chapter-37


“Hmm, just by looking, it seems like a tie.”


“Doesn’t this mean my skills have improved significantly? Before, it was clear you were superior without even having to count.”


Chaperil, who seemed unbothered by Enfrise’s limited responses of merely agreeing, calmly counted the red stones. Discovering that out of sixty-four stones, thirty-two were red, she smiled brightly.

“There’s thirty-two each. We’ve finally reached a draw.”

“Soon, you might be able to defeat me.”

Enfrise forced a weak smile to match hers. Normally, Chaperil would have asked, ‘Why are you so low in energy today? Is something wrong?’ but…

“The pharmacist is coming today, right?”

As if nothing had happened, she changed the subject.

“Yes, he should be arriving soon.”

Normally, she would have said, ‘Then, let’s play one more time before the pharmacist arrives. This time, I will win.’ However, the current Chaperil just quietly started to clean up the game board. Shortly after she finished tidying up, she looked directly into Enfrise’s eyes with her bright red irises and smiled.

“Let’s play again tomorrow. I’ll definitely win tomorrow, so be prepared.”

Her voice wasn’t quite the same as usual.

It was clear she was forcing herself to sound cheerful. Chaperil was using everything at her disposal to communicate.

Until now, what she had said was true, and now, she was lying. She met Enfrise’s gaze with a smile that seemed on the verge of tears. She maintained an enthusiastic voice with a face that was unexcited. Except when speaking…

She didn’t look at Enfrise.

What had yesterday’s conversation meant to her that she had changed so drastically? What had he touched upon that affected her this much?

“…Shall we try one more game before Sir Jaha arrives?”

Unlike usual, Enfrise suggested extending their game. After a quick glance at the clock, she made a regretful face.

“If the pharmacist arrives while we’re in the middle of a game, he’ll have to wait. As much as I’d like to continue, we can always play again tomorrow.”

Would there be a tomorrow?

Would he have to see a changed Chaperil like today, again tomorrow? As if the cheerful version of her he had known was a lie, he was witnessing this altered version of Chaperil.

“…Cha, I mean, Lady Rivette.”


Enfrise, intending to say something, ultimately remained silent. He was overwhelmed by the emptiness in her red eyes.

As he stepped back from her room, a wave of unease washed over him.

Would Chaperil still be here tomorrow? There were no chains now. No shackles… Nothing to bind her here.

Only one thing keeps her.

— I have no intention to escape.

…Those words she had uttered were all that held her.

Surely, they were sincere. Yet, that sincerity was precisely what filled him with dread. Chaperil had changed so suddenly. Could the sincerity of her feelings suddenly change as well? If she decided to leave this mansion, could he…

…Stop her?

“Not yet… It’s not time.”

Her safety wasn’t yet assured, so he couldn’t let her go.


Was the greatest danger to her actually Enfrise himself?

Entering his study, he gazed out the window at one of the only two paths leading out of this high-walled mansion. He stared at the back gate, lost in his thought as his mind replayed Chaperil from yesterday.

— Everything.

— If we spend our lives feeling nervous, our hearts might just burst, right?

She gazed at him so lovingly as she spoke, so beautiful that he felt tears might fall. He was scared of this underserved happiness. Was all this a dream or fantasy? Was he just wandering in a world created to escape an unbearable reality?

Was it okay to be this happy?

What scared him more than the fear that this happiness was just a dream or fantasy was…


Something swelled within his chest, so intense it felt like it might burst. It was hard to contain, and he hugged her. It was different from the spontaneous hug before.

Just by holding her.

The gentle fragrance that wafted around, the desire to bite into those white eyelashes that seemed like they’d melt in his mouth, to brush those sparkling jewel-like eyes with his lips…

And those red lips he had once tasted.

He wanted to devour it all.

Still, would that satisfy him?

Initially, her not running away was enough for me. Just her reaching out first, starting conversations, and suggesting they play together brought him happiness.

Though gradually, he began to desire more.

Every time she called him cute or pretty, oddly, it made him feel good. These weren’t typically words a man would delight in hearing. In fact, they might warrant anger instead. However, when she said he was cute or pretty, he found himself gazing at his reflection, pondering over her words.

While he thought it foolish for people to paint their nails with colors for luck before heading into battle, when he watched her, with her small mouth moving as she concentrated, he changed his mind.

He decided not to let the color fade.

He even wrapped his nails at night to protect them, occasionally removing his gloves during the day, fearing sweat might wash them away. He would smile at himself.

It reminded him of her, who had painted them on.

With each sweet word she spoke, with every moment of their shared daily life, his greed grew. He wanted to be closer to her, to spend more time with her, to…

To be in a loving relationship with her.

Still, he knew the difference between kindness and affection, even in his foolishness. If she had even a slight interest in him, she wouldn’t so easily say those affectionate words. She wouldn’t compliment his appearance or voice so freely. It’s not something one would say lightly in a lifetime.

To her, he was merely someone to take care of her—a likable person.

Not a man.

“I am…”

Thus, he acted spitefully.

The thorns that had been melted away by the warmth of the sun after she lost her memory seemed to have reappeared sharper than before.

— I’m aware that you find teasing me amusing. And that you have no real feelings for me.

Those words didn’t need to be said.

Like before, it should’ve stayed buried in his heart. Then, today, she would have still playfully teased him and laughed brightly.

Did he really hope those words would elicit something from her? Even if it was guilt, did he want her to harbor some affection for him? No, perhaps he even hoped she would harbor some affection for him or at least mistake her feelings as such.

— Um, that… a, a little is okay.

Yet the pure white woman in his arms with red eyes… seemed not to understand his words, and that was why she uttered such a response.

Did she truly grasp what she was responding to? Did she know what he wanted from her?

How cruel she could be.

He wanted to climb over that little body and press his lips against her soft skin and mark every part of her, even until the depths that no man had ever seen as his own.

Not only that, but he wanted to burrow into her embrace, even knowing it would be difficult for her frail body to accept it. He wanted to go to places untouched by others and fill her deepest core with his own.

To leave evidence.

To brand her… as him. He wanted to do things she likely couldn’t even fathom.

And yet.

— It was a terrible dream.

He yearned endlessly for the act she described as terrible. To kiss those red lips until they reddened further, swelled from the kisses, to taste and savor her sweetness to his heart’s content… to indulge in her sweetness without restraint.

But she had described a kiss with him as something terrible.

So then, so then…

— Such… lovely words so carelessly, do you know how much they…

He wanted to cry.

He yearned to spit out something that scratched at his heart, resembling both an itch and claws, something that kept touching his heart and making him cry. He feared showing any pathetic side of himself before her.

— I’ve been holding back so much…

Those words he let slip after enduring so much changed her.

— I’m… sorry.

It was Enfrise who wanted to cry. Could his tears have somehow transferred to Chaperil through his voice?

Tears streamed down from her eyes, which had been looking at him in confusion just moments before. He knew something was off about those tears. They lacked the sound of crying, the tremble of a voice.

They were like a faulty faucet. Broken, just letting the water flow out without being able to contain it.

As if Chaperil herself was broken.


What went wrong? What needed fixing?

He has always been clumsy with human connections. He knew that well, so that was why he initially put up spikes and walls, pushing people away and only letting in those who accepted him, rejecting all new people.

At a time like this, what was he supposed to do?


He was so powerless. What was the use of being a Grand Duke of the empire? When he didn’t know how to obtain what he wanted the most… When he didn’t even know how to stop the tears of the one he loved.

Enfrise closed his eyes for a moment. However, quickly reopened them, filled with anxiety.

His gaze remained fixed on one place.

Towards the forest… towards the exit he feared the most.