Azela, who was climbing toward her bedroom with a tired look, turned her head when she heard Zagnac’s voice. He stood with his back against the pillar and his arms crossed.
“What are you doing there?”
As he shrugged his shoulders and moved closer in front of her, Azela could guess how long he had stood there, seeing how crumpled his clothes were. Could he have been waiting for her…?
Having that thought, she shook her head and looked at Zagnac.
“Are you okay?”
“I heard about what happened at the boutique shop from Findar.”
It seemed that she forgot about Sylvia for a while because she was hit by the meeting with the Emperor. When Zagnac mentioned it again, Azela frowned and recalled what had happened in the afternoon. It must have hurt her pride quite a bit.
“It’s okay because I gave her a big blow in a crowded place.”
Seeing Azela clenching her fists and speaking in an excited voice, Zagnac eased his stiff shoulders, looking like his worries were eased. With a satisfied look as if she had done well, he lightly brushed her hair.
“How about dinner?”
“You’re tired, so I’ll ask them to bring it to the bedroom. Go and rest.”
Saying so, he smiled as he pushed her lightly on the back.
Azela, with her back pushed, turned her head as she tried to step her foot towards the stairs. Zagnac was still standing there, beckoning her to go up and rest. Seeing this, she turned her feet and stepped in front of him again.
“Why don’t you ask?”
“Aren’t you curious about where I’ve been?”
She sensed something strange. He told her to wait at the boutique shop, but she didn’t. Even so, she arrived at the mansion much later than he did. Normally, it was common for him to ask where she had been though Zagnac didn’t ask…
…Like he was avoiding hearing the answer.
“I have no intention of tying up your daily life.”
Zagnac smiled as he said something plausible. In the end, he didn’t even ask. Azela, standing in front of him again, spoke.
“I went to the Imperial Palace.”
Zagnac’s eyebrows twitched at the word Imperial Palace. His face twisted as if he had heard something unpleasant.
He sighed lightly.
Azela’s eyes widened even more.
Come to think of it, he always knew everything. Even though he knew everything, why didn’t he say anything? He could ask why she had been to the Imperial Palace and what she had been talking about in the Imperial Palace.
Although she went to the Imperial Palace where the Emperor who had been trying to kill him was, he didn’t say anything.
“I went to visit the Emperor.”
Eventually, as she spoke first, Zagnac let out a light breath and nodded. The frowning face still seemed to be reluctant to talk about the story behind it. It seemed like he was avoiding it, as if he was afraid of the story that would follow.
He avoided her direct gaze, which was rare.
Azela lifted her hand and gently cupped Zagnac’s cheeks as he averted her gaze, and she fixed his gaze on her lest he turned his head away. Her figure was filling the brightly shining purple eyes.
“He offered me the position of deputy commander of the Imperial Knights.”
“He told me to be his people.”
Zagnac’s shoulders twitched.
He was shaking, and Azela, too, could sense what was shaking him. The emotion in his eyes was fear that she might betray him.
She shouldn’t assimilate herself to him like this. She thought she’d get rid of those feelings. As she thought so, Azela looked at that anxious gaze and gently stroked Zagnac’s cheek.
Hearing Azela’s words, Zagnac’s eyes widened. Then, with a hard-to-believe expression, he shook his head lightly.
He was so anxious that his voice became hoarse and cracked. It was a voice she had never heard before. Azela stretched out her hands that were holding his cheeks back before she grabbed the stiff neck and hugged him tightly into her arms.
She felt a warm sensation.
“Are you asking because you don’t know?”
It was the first time she had hugged him like this and held him in her arms like this, other than when he needed human energy.
Even though he was wearing clothes, his warmth was strongly felt by her. Azela thought he would be cold because he was the devil, but he was like a human. In addition, the regular heartbeat that came strongly through their touching chest was also the same.
She thought she would get rid of her feelings for him, for the sake of him, who would be left alone after she was gone so that he would get rid of his feelings for her as well… Even so, she was confident when she reached out to him and embraced him.
Azela gently rubbed Zagnac’s stiff back and smiled.
“Because I am yours.”
The sound of their hearts touching each other was pounding and beating. It was so strong that they couldn’t tell whose heart it was.
* * *
On the day of the Emperor’s birthday, the capital was busy. Events to celebrate the birth of the most powerful person in the Empire were held here and there. The commoners also held a festival to congratulate the Emperor. They were in a good mood today, too.
“The dress came later than expected so I will go to the party first, Azela.”
Zagnac was in a neat black suit prepared for today.
The neat suit with gold patterns seemed to match her at first glance. Azela unknowingly blushed at the sight of him in the neat suit. People said that clothes were wings though there seemed to be nothing wrong with the old saying.
Azela only bowed her head, her face red, and she didn’t answer him. Because of that, he called out to her, arranging the buttons on his sleeve.
Hearing her own name coming from the red lips, she raised her head.
“It’s okay, it’s okay. All I have to do is have the dress brought to the party because there are many things to wear besides that dress. It doesn’t make sense that I, your escort knight, would be away from your side.”
“It’s okay. There is no way anything will happen at that moment.”
Zagnac turned Azela’s shoulders and lightly pushed her on the back, putting her into another carriage. He seemed to be in a pretty good mood lately. To be precise, it seemed that way when she rejected the Emperor’s proposal.
“As for the dress…”
“If you said that, Findar, who prepared the dress for you, would be upset. I told her to make sure to send you to the boutique shop.”
Your ex-husband and his mistress are coming, too. If you’re going to make them regret it, you should do it right.
When Zagnac added, Azela could no longer refuse. As she climbed into the carriage and sat down, he waved to her, saying he’d see her at the party.
‘…Can the escort knight be away like this?’
She felt bad, but the carriage had already left.
Azela stuck her head out of the window and looked back. He was still waving his hand towards the carriage.
The carriage drove quickly before it reached the boutique shop in an instant. It seemed that the boutique shop was crowded with nobles who had not yet received the dress and came to find it themselves.
“Ah, Miss Vellista.”
As she entered, Findar ran towards her as if she had been waiting for her. She then took Azela to the fifth-floor VIP room, saying that she had vacated it for her in a hurry. Passing lightly past the crowded waiting room and going up to the fifth floor, the ladies looked at her with envy.
“I sent Duke Ferial alone.”
So, she had to go fast. As she spat out the meaning, Findar waved her hand as if to tell Azela not to worry.
“I knew that, so I asked Benjamin.”
“Yes, don’t worry, Benjamin will escort the Duke while Miss is away.”
She spoke lightly and took Azela’s clothes off.
Did Benjamin know swords? Azela searched for her memories of the past. He was happy at the Ratchata Bakery Shop, looking like an innocent young man who just liked bread rather than knowing how to handle a sword.
“I still have to be quick.”
Findar nodded her head, telling her again not to worry. After Azela had undressed, she brought the dress she had prepared for her. It was much more colorful and beautiful than the last time she tried it on.
Even Azela, who was not very interested in the dress, was mesmerized by its beauty.
“You will be the most beautiful at the party today.”