Everything became clear to her. Back then, Adele couldn’t fathom the reason why he would kill his own brother and chalked it all up to coincidence. But now…
Adele wrenched her hand from his hold. “You didn’t, right? Tell me that you didn’t do it! Please!”
Her vision became blurry, and Noah made an attempt to wipe off her tears, but she avoided his hand. His expression blanked, then he clenched his fist and laughed bitterly. “You know what my answer is, Adellia.”
Adele shook her head fiercely.
“Don’t pretend that you weren’t aware all along. But you must know,” Noah held her chin and spoke, “that I have no regrets for what I’ve done.”
Something snapped inside him. His expression turned so dark and sinister that Adele felt dread radiating off of her in wild succession.
“To make you mine, I would do anything—”
“Stop! Don’t talk anymore!”
“—even if it means killing him over and over again—”
“—if that’s what it takes to claim what’s mine.”
He grabbed her delicate shoulders and he smiled, but it was a smile that chilled her to the bone. “It’s alright even if you don’t love me. Just stay beside me, hm?”
Adele trembled and tried prying his hands away, but he resisted. Feeling defeated and mentally drained, she turned her head in the other direction, “You should go back.”
“I said, I’m not leaving without you.”
Noah let out an inhuman growl and pulled her into a hug. Adele struggled to get out of his embrace, but he just hugged her tighter. “I won’t ever give you up. Remember, you are my wife! Nobody else can have you, not even over my dead body.”
His arms were getting increasingly tighter that she found it difficult to breathe.
“Let me go! Y-you murderer!”
She heard him chuckle, then it progressed into a full-blown malevolent laughter.
“I am, but what about it?” he stalked closer to her, “I am knight suffused with the blood of thousands of my enemies, what’s another meagre person compared to that?”
“He is still your brother! How could you be so cruel?!”
“Cruel?” Noah grabbed Adele’s shoulder as she was about to get out of his arms. “I can’t imagine who’s the real cruel one here.”
He gritted his teeth, struggling to calm his heavy heart and extremely turbulent thoughts. “You are my wife now, everything else is insignificant.”
Adele slowly spun her head to look at his face, her eyes lacking spirit.
“No.” She spoke without remorse, “To me, you are only… my husband’s brother.”
Avoiding his gaze, she uttered, “You should go back.”
“You’re telling me to leave you here?” Noah clenched his fists so hard that it drew blood.
Adele bit her lips when she saw Noah’s eyes watering, her will almost wavered but she steeled herself, “I’m… tired, please leave. I don’t want to get involved anymore.”
The emperor suddenly confessing and wanting her to become the empress, Noah going as far as killing his own brother to obtain her—Adele was worn out and afraid.
To be precise, she was exhausted with everything.
She pushed him, but he didn’t budge. On the contrary, he pulled her closer. As she was about to tell him to stop, someone knocked on the door.
“Lady Lilliand, is there something wrong?”
Adele was startled by the voice of the maids and answered urgently. “N-no!”
“…Alright, milady. I came to help you wash your face.”
The maid twisted the doorknob and Noah narrowed his eyelids.
Adele successfully removed herself from Noah’s arms and ran towards the door to stop the servant.
But it was too late. The door swung open and Adele hurriedly blocked the sight of the maids with her own body. The maid gave a subtle glance towards Adele who was currently breaking out in cold sweat, she addressed in a calm voice.
“Lady Lilliand, the imperial palace is not safe because of the civil war. His Majesty commanded to protect you thoroughly.”
This also meant that the emperor did not allow anyone to meet her, without going through him at least. Before Adele could answer, several maids with basins and towels entered the room.
“There’s no need.” she said, hurriedly turning around. “I do not need to wash, just… just go.”
The servants complied and left just as quickly as they came.
There was no one at the window where he had just been, and Adele breathed a sigh of relief.
Staring at the window where moonlight streamed in from above, Adele stood all alone inside the room as the wind blew softly and the curtains fluttered.
As if nothing happened, like the passing of a midsummer night’s dream.
There was confusion inside the imperial palace, and everything was buzzing.
By the time windows were opened to let in the first breaths of daybreak air, knights were already roaming around the palace in strict formation with grave expressions.
Hushed voices could be heard inside a hallway.
“Did Duke Maktus really disappear?”
“No matter how strong those Black Knights are, how can they win against our Imperial Knights?”
“We’ll be late. Let’s go before we get scolded.”
Adele, who was listening to the chatter of the maids, felt her headache and touched her forehead. Lost, she really didn’t know what to do now except wanting to get away.
She glanced at the two rings on her table and sighed. A knock sounded, “Your Ladyship, we have brought your lunch.”
The servants entered with her permission, and behind the door, there was a maid pushing a tray who appeared to be somewhere near Lina’s age.
Speaking of Lina, Adele wondered. What happened to her? To Ellie?
“I have something to ask you.”
The maid looked a bit surprised that Adele, who kept to herself for two days, took the initiative to speak with her. Hence, she was a little slow before she bowed and responded, “Your Ladyship, please speak. I shall answer within the best of my capabilities.”
Adele nodded and spoke, “What happened to the maids who were with me when I passed out?”
“I shall look into it, Your Ladyship.”
“Alright.” She hesitated. “If possible, can I… meet with them?”