Emma was shaking without even realizing it. They left the dungeon, Irvan soothing her trembling frame. As they climbed the last stairs, Emma felt the refreshing, cold night air. She inhaled it deeply. Only then did reality sink in; she had escaped the dungeon barely. Suddenly, her eyes turned red and tears welled up. She was alive. It was all thanks to Irvan rescuing her. When she remembered that fact, her heart ached and she felt choked. Hot tears continued to flow out of Emma’s eyes from a myriad of emotions, mostly relief.
“You can relax now,” Irvan said, hugging her trembling frame closer.
She wept until she felt dizzy and clung to Irvan for a while. “Irvan…” she whispered.
It seemed that she would lose consciousness at any moment, but Emma managed to pull herself together. As she was held tightly in Irvan’s arms, a strong sense of calm swept through from his solid body touching her. Emma deeply exhaled,and lifted her head to look up at Irvan. Only then did she see things she couldn’t see before, when they were underground. His handsome face and tall body was covered in blood, sweat and dust.
“Irvan… Are you okay?” When Emma asked in a low voice.
Irvan merely grinned. “Of course, I’m all right,” he said. “Seeing that you’re worried about me, I feel like life is worth living now.” As if he had missed her so much, Irvan lowered his head and kissed Emma’s eyelids tenderly. “You were surprised, weren’t you? From now on, don’t move and just rest.”
Emma’s shoulders relaxed and her whole body melted into his warm arms in complete surrender. Irvan kissed her lips softly, fixed his gaze towards the direction of the annex, and walked forward in bold, wide strides.
“How is Collin’s condition?”
Countess Karina stood impatiently in front of Collin’s bed. She frowned with concern.
“Can’t you hear me? I asked how he is!” she exclaimed furiously.
As if he had committed an unforgivable sin, Monte fidgeted nervously, avoiding the woman’s stinging gaze. He remained quiet.
“What did the drugstore say?” Karina repeated in a clipped tone.
“Yes, that’s…” Monte stuttered. “They need a little more time…”
“Well, it’s because the herbs are too mixed. They need analysis to pinpoint each ingredient, so it will take some time.”
Countess Karina stood upright and tapped her fingers. Although she looked calm on the outside, her nervousness had reached its peak. Her twin brother’s life was at stake. Monte nervously gulped.
From the beginning, Monte was a vassal of Baron Muns, and knew the twins’ nature all too well. They were the perfect nobles on the outside, but their real faces, when culture and propriety are erased, were cruel and merciless. Even now, Karina had sent more than thirty knights and soldiers to the dungeon. For the sole reason of venting her anger on Emma Herman, who had turned Collin to this state.
He had distinctly heard that since the ‘goal’ was childbirth, it didn’t matter if they humiliated and used her as much as they could. Even going as far as to vulgary say, ‘…cut through her hole and rip it with the c*cks of men until no marks are left at all. No matter what happens to that dirty b!tch’s body, even if she’s barely breathing, the doctor will take care of the rest.’ She had amicably tapped Cleve’s shoulder then, as if she trusted the task to him.
“How much time do they need?”
“That is… since it’s a poison that had been made within the range of available drugs for Herman, we have sent a list to the city’s apothecary. The types of poison that can be extracted from the combination of medicines obtained from Layna and apothecaries are limited. If we wait a little longer, the analysis will be completed.”
“So, how long will it take?!” The countess screamed.
Monte crouched like a turtle toward the countess. “R-Right now Layna’s analyzing it, so it can be done by tomorrow morning….”
The Countess smashed the table hard with her palm. She glared at him as if she was going to devour him.
Monte opened his mouth quickly. “By da-dawn, by dawn! It will be po-possible. I guarantee it!”
As if Monte’s answer was not satisfactory, Countess Karina clenched her hands hard and trembled with anger. “That bitch… I will…!” If Emma had been in front of her right now, she would tear her to death.
“There isn’t a problem with his life, is there?” she muttered, remembering the problem at hand.
“Yes, yes! Sir Collin lost consciousness, but it is a paralyzing poison. Everything is a bit slower than usual, but since his heartbeat and breathing are regular, it should be fine for the time being…” Monte answered.
“All right,” Karina nodded. “That b!tch will listen well after tonight is over. First of all, Collin must be safe. If there is any problem in the process…” Countess Karina fixed her eyes on Monte’s neck. “Prepare yourself. You are going to pay for it.”
She pretended to slit her throat with her fingers, then turned around and left the room. The maids followed after her anxiously. When the door slammed shut, Monte was finally able to take a deep breath. He wiped his sweaty forehead with a handkerchief. Had Countess Karina been determined to vent her anger, he probably wouldn’t have been safe tonight. Monte trembled as he remembered the maids and servants who had been killed by the dreadful beatings in the House of Muns.