“Those clothes look good on you.”
Khalid looked at Estelle through the mirror with a smile. His face was delicate and beautiful, like a work of art crafted by a goddess.
Khalid was sitting on the sofa in a relaxed position, half-reclining. He was absent-mindedly pulling his dagger in and out of its sheath, yet his face was directed towards Estelle.
Compared to Khalid, who was the pinnacle of beauty, Estelle's appearance was ordinary. If she put on beautiful clothing and decorated herself, she could maybe be called pretty, but Estelle had no intention of doing such things.
Estelle stared into the long mirror in front of her looking displeased. She was annoyed with the clothes she was wearing.
At that moment, her eyes met Khalid's through the mirror. His gaze somehow offended her, and she wrinkled her nose and threw the shirt she had just been wearing at Khalid's face.
Khalid skillfully caught the shirt and folded it neatly.
“Next time you look at me like that it’s going to be a dagger.”
“Okay, sorry, sorry.”
At Estelle's chilling warning, Khalid raised his hands and waved them playfully as a sign of his surrender. Still, he did not take his eyes off of her.
It was still unpleasant, but it didn't feel as dirty as the gazes of men usually did, so Estelle, satisfied with her warning, turned her head and looked into the mirror in front of her again.
She saw herself in her uniform. On the left chest of her dark blue and white uniform, the five mang stars born by the Goddess Astra, which were the symbol of Ersha, and Ha-zohar, one of the twin stars, were engraved with gold thread. She gave a content smile as she stroked the bulge with her finger.
She was a knight. She had finally become a knight. At last, she was able to defend her country with her greatest skill, swordsmanship. She could even dream of fame.
She, who came from the back alley, would live here as a knight. She was so happy! Her deceased grandfather would be delighted. Her mother would be glad, too.
Estelle neatly tamed her disheveled hair.
Then, as she exhaled, she looked down at her clothes, grimacing at the discomfort she felt in her chest. Because of her body, her uniform jacket was too short, revealing a small sliver of her waist.
The fact that her most desired dream had come true did not mean that she wasn’t allowed to be dissatisfied. The uniform of the knights she had admired so much became a cause of annoyance.
At that, Khalid let out a small laugh. As Estelle reached for the sheathed dagger the table in front of her mirror, Khalid raised his hands as if surrendering again.
“There is no precedent for a woman becoming a knight, so it seems that the tailors just brought you a uniform with the standard measurements.”
"Oh, that must be it. Well, they must be very dissatisfied that a commoner woman became a knight. I can't ask for custom-made clothes like the nobles. I knew this would happen.”
She sighed again, stroking her hair with her hand. Khalid got up and walked over to Estelle, standing behind her.
His gaze lingered in the mirror, focused on the point she found stuffy. Estelle, aware of that gaze, grumbled while adjusting her outfit to see how she could make herself more comfortable.
“Do you think I could just ask for a bigger size? I feel so stuffy right now,” she said.
It wasn't that her chest was not curved, but her clothes were stretched out tautly, causing the bottom hemline to be too short at her waist. Khalid's brow furrowed slightly as if he agreed with Estelle.
“When I think about it, it sounds very erotic. ‘I have big breasts, so I should wear one size bigger.’ Men will be delighted to hear it.”
Khalid smiled and stopped her hand from returning to the dagger on the tabletop.
“Don’t go around talking like that.”
Occasionally, his remarks crossed the line into dangerous waters. She wondered if she needed to kick him in the vital spot between his legs to bring him to his senses. But he wasn't a person who was easy to hit, so she had to endure him.
"If you wear one size larger, your sleeves will be too long, and you will look like a child wearing it. The shoulders are also usually wider than this, so they would slide down in front of the King."
Estelle sighed at Khalid's advice.
“I have no choice but to take it off again and wrap up my chest.”
“Yeah, you can do that, but it will make you feel stuffy,“ Khalid whispered.
He smiled and stroked her short gray hair.
"Hey. I told you to stop touching me.”
"Sorry. It’s just such a pretty color, it makes me want to touch it.”
Estelle sighed, knowing Khalid had a habit of stroking her hair.
“If you want to touch it, touch it. I go my own way. When did you get my permission to touch?” she grumbled and continued to unbutton her uniform.
The moment she took off the shirt that was halfway over her shoulders, Khalid frowned again.
“Even though it’s only me, isn’t this too much? After all, I am also a man,” he said.
"What are you saying? Is this your first time seeing a woman's boobs?”
Estelle shook her head in annoyance, pushing Khalid's hand away from her hair.
Was it because of longing? Khalid's fingers wiggled in the air and then descended. He seemed to hesitate over something.
“It’s okay in front of me, but be careful in front of others, please.”
“Okay, I’ll be careful.”
It was annoying, but it wasn’t difficult to do, so Estelle nodded her head. If Khalid said anything to her, she knew he was saying it because he was thinking of her, so she mostly did as he asked.
Estelle looked at Khalid where he stood behind her in the mirror. His face was slightly flushed, and his eyes darted around as if he didn't know where to look.
Then their eyes met in the mirror, and Estelle looked into Khalid's purple eyes and grinned. Warm gazes were exchanged.
She didn’t know what thoughts those eyes harbored. To Estelle, it was like a late night, as quiet as a forest. A kind of deeper place which contained a strange twinkling.
She couldn’t put her finger on it, but something about him was strange. That was his usual look, but it was a look he could never, ever give her again.
In an instant, Estelle realized. This had already happened. She was now dreaming.
It was a thing of the past. Khalid always had that expression on his face, but Estelle was not particularly interested in figuring out his strange face. Of course, she wasn't interested. Khalid was just her good friend.
But now Estelle, who had fallen down memory lane, wanted to ask. She wanted to ask him in the past that she could never go back to, the past that she was experiencing now.
“This is a dream.”
Khalid said nothing. The smile that had been between them before was gone.
“Why did you kill me?”
Hearing that question, Khalid's face contorted immediately. The crooked smile and shy expression that had been on his face disappeared without any trace.
The mirror in front of her began to break, but Khalid's face was not fragmented. When she turned to look behind her, Khalid was gone.
When Lucifella opened her heavy eyelids, the ceiling was lower than expected.
When she tried to twist her body, she realized that she was lying in a very narrow space, so she remained still as she guessed where she was.
The familiar sounds of turning wheels and the hoofs of horses could be heard.
She heard the horses steadily galloping together.
She was inside the wagon coach and was lying on a seat.
“Seeing you waking up calling another guy’s name, you must be conscious enough to dream.”
Hearing the familiar voice, her gaze turned to where the sound was coming from. Across from her, Jedder Kyle Heint sat with his arms crossed.
Seeing that arrogant face, Lucifella's dazed mind began to clear.
‘Why am I here now? Oh yeah.’ She had tried to chase after Liam. As she tried to chase Liam, she was unluckily caught by a serial killer. And when it was all over, this man came.
She opened her mouth and tried to say something, but she only coughed, choking. She guessed it was because she had been strangled.
She coughed painfully for quite a long while. The Duke of Heint watched her and grimaced at her face, giving her a little piece of useless advice.
“You know that you were strangled pretty hard, right? It would be better not to talk for now.”
She ignored his advice, clearing her throat.
“Has Liam Hirka been caught?” she asked.
The Duke of Heint was silent for a moment as if he felt perturbed by Lucifella openly ignoring him. She looked at him as if to hasten him to answer her.
“The man who attacked you was not Liam Hirka,” he said condescendingly with a slight frown.
“What are you talking about?”
“Liam Hirka was not the murderer. The bastard who attacked you was the real killer.”
Wasn’t that obvious? Why was he telling her the obvious?
Ah! Lucifella realized why this conversation had turned the wrong way. ‘That jerk is assuming that I am mistaking that puny bastard for Liam. There is no way that Lucifella would have ever met Liam.’
She wanted to tell him directly to his arrogant face that she was asking about the real Liam Hirka, but she relented.
There was no need to raise suspicion by asking suspicious things.
“Then has the real Liam Hirka been caught?”
“No, the intelligence source was wrong. It was just someone that looked like him.”
She let out a sigh of relief. Fortunately, the information was a lie, so he must not have been caught.
“Well, your lady should not be worried about anything, now. The murderer has been caught, and Liam Hirka was not present in the capital in the first place,” Duke Heint said, misinterpreting her sigh.
Those were the kindest words he had ever said to her.
How strange to hear those words from none other than Jedder Kyle Heint! Life was full of mystery. However, she did not have the time to be innocently elaborating on life’s wonders.
She lifted her body to get up. As expected, Duke Heint did not try to help her even as she struggled. She also did not want the help, so she was not complaining.
Lucifella ignored her tangled long hair and looked out the window.
The sky was already dark, and the moon and the stars were shining. The city was dimly visible in the light from the passing streetlamps. The capital was certainly very big.
"Do you know how many knights were enlisted to find you, My Lady? I hope you will not attempt this kind of thoughtless act again. I also do not exist to clean up your messes."
“If you continue to act this way, I will talk with your father to limit your outings.”
Lucifella quietly nodded her head. Jed was quite surprised by her passive acceptance.
He was suspicious when she suddenly appeared docile.
“I will be mindful. Many people, including you, have suffered. I was too unaware of my position.”
Jed felt a little guilty hearing Lucifella's sincere self-chastisement. In fact, he really had been there because he was chasing after that rat bastard, not because he had been looking for Lucifella.
He pondered for a moment whether he should correct this misunderstanding, but as soon as he heard what followed, that feeling disappeared.
“From now on, you don’t have to take care of me. I will take care of my own business.”
"Ah… I'll tell my dad too, so there won’t be another situation in which we request your help. We have overly transgressed our manners.”
Never asking for help again; she didn't mean to take it that far, but Lucifella was adamant.
Jed stared into her face, and her look of determination cut like a knife. She seemed to be offended that she was so entangled with him.
“Did I do something wrong to you, my Lady?”
She was chilling. Jed thought again about whether he had done anything wrong to that woman, but there was nothing he could think of.
Did she know she was doing it?
“At least, if the engagement was even a little bit important to you, you should not have thrown me into the seat opposite you when I was hurt. Don't you have a conscience?"
As soon as he found her, Jed had simply lowered her into the carriage and left her there since he was feeling annoyed.
Usually, even if they had no relationship, he should have at least made sure to protect her from falling off the chair of a rolling wagon.
However, when he had found out that she was safe, Jed had left her on the seat across from him without any hesitation and had been observing her face waiting for her to wake up.
Come to think of it, that seemed a bit harsh. When she pointed it out, he felt it stab at his conscience, but Lucifella had the power to wipe away any guilty feelings that arose through her words.
"Well, I didn't expect anything from you, so you don't have to reflect on this. It seems you are very dissatisfied with our engagement, but it would be difficult to limit where my two legs can go just because we are engaged, Duke Heint.”
The light of a streetlamp caught her eyes. Those warnings spoken in a low voice were frivolous and offensive. So, instead of answering, Jed gave a twisted smile.
Lucifella Aydin was a very strange woman. Jed thought about the woman's impulsive action.
The Lucifella he had met in the Imperial Palace before wasn't this type of woman. She was a stereotypical noble lady, just a pretty face. Was she that good at acting?
Then Lucifella noticed something outside her window, fixing her gaze on it, before she turned away and shook her head as if she had been mistaken about something.
“What? Is there anyone you know?”
Perhaps it was because her actions were outside of his expectation that Jed suddenly became curious about her. So, he ended up speaking first, which was a rare occurrence.
But Lucifella ignored his question. Jed tried to say something to her, but he soon closed his mouth.
Blue lights shone into the coach wagon, covering her face that held a strange sadness.
Jed couldn't deny that he was becoming curious about this woman. That didn't mean that that was a good thing, but Jed couldn't take his eyes off her.
The man in a hood turned his head in the direction of the woman's voice. His gaze was fixed on a 4-wheel horse-drawn coach passing through the street at a slow speed.
“What are you looking at?”
When the man in the hood couldn't take his eyes off the carriage, the other man naturally turned to the carriage.
“A gorgeous carriage.”
“Yeah, that’s pretty cool. Must belong to a great nobleman.”
If the size and design of the carriage symbolized the dignity of the family, the owner would be among the most high-ranking nobles. The horses pulling the carriage were of the highest quality, shining even in the dark.
“Are you going to attack it?”
“Crazy bastard. It was a woman who was riding inside,” the man replied with a frown.
"Oh, as usual, you must be weak against women. Mister serial killer who only kills women,” the other giggled.
"If you call me that one more time, I'll break your neck," the hooded man, Liam, said in a low voice.
At that, the other man giggled again. Liam turned his head.
"It was unlucky to come to Greenhill at the same time a crazy bastard was running around. I feel rotten."
Why, of all things, would a murder occur while Liam was in the capital, causing Liam to be charged with the crime?
Even worse, his face had been sighted, so the portraits of him were posted all over the capital. Everyone was eager to catch him. So, he decided to leave as soon as he came up to the capital.
“There will be another chance.”
“Yeah, there will be.”
He looked up at the sky. Among the countless number of engraved stars, the revenge star, Ares, was shining blood red. They would never forgive the one who took away their Morning Star, Ishtar.
Liam gritted his teeth and spoke.
“Khalid, as long as that bastard is alive.”
The stars of revenge were shining in his eyes as well.