What Cassion said was quite a plausible deduction.
Perhaps it was the best assumption he could come up with.
Just one problem though.
It’s all wrong.
Nevertheless, when Cassion said his family name with such a solemn tone, Rosetta felt a bit embarrassed for him.
It felt like she was watching someone shouting the wrong answer with a confident expression.
After thinking about what to say, Rosetta slowly opened her lips.
“It’s good to have a lot of imagination, but no—you’re wrong.”
As his grim tone deepened, Rosetta’s urge to roll her eyes grew.
However, instead of doing this, Rosetta answered once more with endless patience.
“I don’t care if you misunderstand.
Since I already said everything I needed to say, just remember that I need you.
My goal is to make you the Duke of Carter.
It’s up to you whether or not you take my hand—but.”
When her long declaration was cut off at once, the pressure that she exuded was considerable.
To the point where the face of the woman who had been relaxed all this time looked terribly cold.
Cassion was anxious as he stared at her closed red lips.
When Rosetta had closed her lips, Cassion blinked vacantly.
Still, he could feel tension on his back as he continued to be cautious.
‘Should I stop here for today’
As she stared at Cassion, she thought it would be better if she wouldn’t speak more.
If she talked more without thinking much, this would only raise his defenses more.
She didn’t have to do everything in a day.
It’s not that she had a lot of time, but it also didn’t mean that she had no time at all for this.
As she concluded like this, Rosetta kept her lips closed.
And a curve dawned upon her lips.
“You’ll hear the answer tomorrow, so just rest for tonight.
Come to think of it, you’re a patient, but I pushed you too hard.”
“What are you even…”
“I’ll come back when it’s bright out tomorrow.
Until then, rest well and think about what I had proposed.
Oh, and if you need anything, feel free to call an attendant.”
“But be careful not to show your eye color when you call any employees, understand”
Despite Cassion’s bewilderment, Rosetta continued to barrage him with these words.
At her last question, he didn’t even realize that he had nodded.
Satisfied with Cassion’s apparent obedience, Rosetta looked around the room one last time, then waved her hand warmly at him.
It was an elegant gesture, like a flower tree swaying in the wind.
“Then, I’ll see you tomorrow.”
It was very natural, the way she said it.
Cassion couldn’t even protest, even until Rosetta had turned her back and went towards the door.
It was only after he saw her slender fingers hold the doorknob that he snapped out of it and felt that he had to hold onto her.
“No, just wait a second, Princess Val—ugh.”
He called out to her hurriedly, but his words were drowned out by a groan.
His body was still in a bad condition, and he suddenly felt burdened by his injuries as he groaned painfully.
At the merciless sound of the door creaking open, Cassion clutched his side and raised his head.
The first thing he saw was her fluttering hair.
And her face as she passed by.
Rosetta looked back at Cassion for a moment, not saying anything.
‘What a cold expression.’
This was his only thought.
But the voice that flowed through her lips was sweet.
Then soon, the door closed.
Rosetta had already left the room, but Cassion’s eyes were still locked on the spot where she had just been.
The words that he couldn’t utter earlier leaked out as though they had burst from his lips.
Cassion’s eyes trembled as he called out belatedly.
‘What am I doing right now.’
After being left alone, the pain seemed to come to him again.
And his mouth was dry.
He slumped and held his head with both hands for a moment, but something caught his eye.
It was the cloak that Rosetta had taken off.
It was a black cloak that blended perfectly with the darkness.
His red eyes shone sharply.
And they continued to glimmer as he looked out the window.
Cassion clutched his side and stood up.
Every time he moved, his body screamed in protest, but this was bearable.
Because his entire life had been filled with wounds and pain that he needed to endure.
He limped towards the chair.
To be exact, it was towards the pitch-black cloak.
* * *
With Rosetta’s back to the door, she heard the sound of him limping.
As she did, she smiled wryly.
‘You sure are trying hard.’
Without even needing to look at him, she knew that Cassion was struggling to walk.
She left the cloak inside the room on purpose.
From the moment she delayed the answer to tomorrow, she knew that Cassion was going to try and escape.
Rosetta was a suspicious person to him, so he would definitely try to leave the place where he was brought.
So if he was going to escape, Rosetta left the cloak there so he could at least hide his face.
‘When should I go out’
Rosetta tilted her head to the side and estimated the time that had passed, and by the time the man’s footsteps had stopped, she stopped leaning on the door.
It might be a good idea to take an evening stroll tonight.
‘I don’t really like playing tag.’
But it couldn’t be helped.
They weren’t on the same page yet, so she had to march to his beat for now.
Flick. With a light smile, Rosetta headed to her own room.
She needed to pick up another cloak since the one she had just now was with Cassion.
The sound of her footsteps along the hallway was quiet.
No, it was more than just quiet.
There was no sound.
Only the shadows flickered as she walked.
* * *
Although it was early summer, the night’s air was chilly.
The blue light of the hotel’s signboard touched the well-paved road as well.
[ Larrington Hotel ]
As Cassion read the sign, he grabbed the hood over his head.
He left the room Rosetta had given him.
Despite him being heavily injured, Cassion wore the cloak and escaped.
No matter how much he thought about it, he couldn’t trust the woman who told him such a ridiculous reason for saving him.
It’s right to think that she saved him from death…
But he didn’t know if he should call him his ‘savior’.
A maid he once trusted had poisoned his tea.
An attendant who was polite to him had pushed him off the stairs.
His own father… abandoned him.
He was someone who was easily swayed by kindness, but it was hard for him to accept any of it because he had to pay the price for his blind faith.
It’s hard to believe, but I need you.
To be exact, I need you to become the Duke rather than Leo.’
He went around in circles and thought about it many times, but the only conclusion he drew was that she was going to use him to bring chaos to the Carter family.
In the end, whatever she was planning, all he could think was that she would only use him and throw him away.
‘I’m sick and tired of it all.’
Just his stepmother and Leo were enough to send him over the edge.
He didn’t need to add another person in his life who’d only pin him down.
He was thankful that she saved him, but that was it.
Since he was fine, all he had to do was go back safely and…
He laughed in vain.
It was miserable enough that he was on the brink of death but was resurrected back to life—but now, there was only one place where he could return to.
He felt lost.
The only place he could return to was the very place that threatened his life the most, and it was the very place that he should run away from at all costs.
It was like he was running endlessly on a mobius strip, going round and round without an end in sight.
Even as the familiar desolation greeted him, Cassion quickly pushed aside his emotions and moved his limp legs.
‘For now, I just need to leave.’
Seeing that this was a large hotel, there would be security nearby.
He would have to walk along the main road until he could find his way towards the shopping district.
Ironically, clouds began to cover the already dark night sky.
* * *
‘I took the wrong turn.’
The man slumped down at a corner of an alley was in a terrible condition.
Cassion took in a rough breath as he clutched his side.
The breaths that left his throat were hot.
He couldn’t have gotten far.”
“He looks like a naïve young master… Once we catch him, we’ll have to teach him a lesson.”
The chortling voices weren’t far away.
And their footsteps were coming closer.
They were looking for Cassion.
Cassion had to resist the urge to curse out loud.
He could only lean against a wall.
And crouch low on the humid floor.
It even felt like blood was dripping down his side even as he pressed down tightly.
If he encountered those people in this state, he’d be crippled for sure.
‘Where did it all start to go wrong’
He regretted his actions, but he didn’t know where it began.
People suddenly started chasing after him only a few minutes ago.
After the blue light of the hotel sign was left behind him, Cassion walked along the main road just as he had planned.
He continued to limp and struggle to move, but his body quickly adapted to the pain he felt.