Chapter 30 – Consuming Greed
The silence between them heightened Tiana’s awareness of the heavy air hovering around, adding to her anxiety. The suddenness of her situation being with Lucius alone, together, this way, made her unable to render words to convey what she’s feeling at the moment or even make a simple remark that can make the mood lighter.
She wandered where her confidence awhile back went. She sighed as she continued walking behind him, silently matching his steps. She settled into taking joy staring at Lucius’ fine swaying hair as he walked. Her eyes then settled along his white neck, there she noticed the grand duke’s twin sword crest that embellished Lucius’ collar.
The crest, embroidered in the middle of the expensive fabric, proudly revealed its presence in silence. Looking at its intricately stitchings in golden yarn, Tiana felt a sense of awe and wonder.
‘It’s a crest I’ve only seen in illustrations… It’s nice and clear now.’
The twin swords in the crest were those held by Lucius and his brother, Rael respectively. Rael, who ascended to the throne as emperor, forged them, one of which was awarded to Lucius. The crest symbolizes the heart of Rael, who didn’t want to lose his only brother.
The twin swords are an embodiment of loyalty between brothers. Lucius was precious to Rael as his younger brother; he wanted to walk beside each other as equals. He never wanted to look at his brother as a rival to eliminate and be resentful with.
So, when Lucius stepped down from his position as a duke, Rael made the twin swords seen on the crest. This was Rael’s way of supporting his brother Lucius as a loyal subject and to be an older brother to him for the rest of their lives together.
Though born by different mothers, Lucius highly respected Rael and followed in his footsteps. They may differ in disposition and personality at times, Lucius prided himself as Rael’s younger brother with a much bigger heart.
Unlike those around him, Lucius had no interest in rising to the throne. His support and allegiance to his brother was unflawed. As such, he continued his efforts to unite the aristocracy and the emperors in hopes of helping Rael in the future.
But everything turned upside down because of one woman.
As Tiana loved Rael, Lucius harbored an unrequited feelings for Tiana which grew stronger as days passed by. Such feelings of longing and defeat made Lucius betray his brother, the brother that he pledged his faithfulness and loyalty with. For the sake of his feelings for Tiana, he had done numerous evil deeds with no remorse nor hesitation against his beloved brother.
His love for Tiana made him turn a blind eye against his brother whom he promised to respect and honor. In the end, he died with Tiana, along with his greed.
What happened to him was due to his own culpable acts of treachery against his very own brother, Rael. He made himself believe that dedicating everything to others and not himself was an act unworthy of committing, so he changed for the worst. His choice though, brought about by his own selfishness and greed, fueled the fire of his ending.
He devoted everything in the service of others and the woman he loved but in the end, everything just came to naught. Not even a single reward was bestowed upon him.
Tiana was sad but she was also happy that in the end, Lucius made a better choice for himself. He managed to relieve himself off his mental drudgery and do what he wanted the most.
That’s why this time she wants to keep him from making anymore sacrifices. Lucius deserves to be happy. Yes, she will make him happy and make sure to prevent him from choosing to die a painful death.
‘I need to get rid of the misunderstanding quickly.’
The anxiety she was feeling ebbed down a bit as her firm decision sets forth calmness within her.
She then noticed how nice it felt to be touched by the sunlight seeping through the hallway window. It seemed that her entire body was being kissed by the warmth of such great weather. She couldn’t help but smile in spite of herself.