Chapter 24: Meeting.
“A message from Celine?” Kenley walked towards the couch and sat before turning to the green-haired man, Remus, who handed him a letter.
“Yes, Your highness. We received this letter from one of our branches in Alas city,” explained Remus.
“Why not here?” Kenley asked while opening the letter, but then his gaze focused on someone else, “and can you stop looking at me?”
It was Liam, fidgety and awkward as always if it’s about Selena.
“Why did you go to that forest again, your highness?”
“Nothing necessary,” said Kenley before began to read the letter.
‘Nothing necessary? But why do you come back with lots of bloodstain on your sword and clothes?!’
Liam could only shut his mouth and keep his worries with him alone, and when he tried to lean his back against the couch, he flinched after seeing Kenley’s smirk.
“It seems we need to prepare for the next destination,” said Kenley, folding the letter and put it into his pocket.
It had been almost a month that Kenley hadn’t visited the empire, and Liam had realized one thing that was weird about Kenley and the Empire; the longer Kenley stayed away from the Empire, the more sadistic and ruder he acted.
Liam had observed this since he became Kenley’s aide when he was 14. Although he knew Kenley since they were around ten years old, he still couldn’t get used to Kenley’s devious side.
“Don’t we need to visit the Empire first?” Asked Liam, began to break out in a cold sweat.
“Why do I have to? There is nothing to report,” answered Kenley indifferently before taking a glass of red wine that Remus had put on the table for him. “Why should I visit that useless place?” He chuckled viciously.
Liam sighed. He got used to that statement, but the current situation was kind of different from usual because they would go to meet with Selena.
“I’ll go to take more wine,” said Liam, standing up and left Kenly alone sitting on the couch. But he then heard Kenley’s words as he was walking away.
“Uncle always has good wine.”
Well, they were in the Ears & Mouths tea shop at that moment.
Selena was humming while soaking her body in the cold pool next to the waterfall, which wasn’t too high as it was only ten meters high, and the water was also quite cold.
There was no one around the cave except Selena and Milo, who were soaking in the fresh waterfall pool.
“We should do this sooner. This is so refreshing,” said Selena.
However, Milo was still wondering about the book before. He glanced at Selena, who really enjoyed soaking. He wanted to ask but didn’t have the courage.
“What is it?” Asked Selena, which made him gasp.
She noticed that Conrad had been starring at her since she received the book, and she could guess if Conrad wondered if that diary is the same as the book his brother left to him.
“N-no,” Conrad stuttered, looking away.
“Sigh. Are you curious about that book?”
Conrad turned and met Selena’s eyes. “…Yes.”
“I will show you later when we are at home.” Selena paused, “our home here, on this island.” She smiled after finishing her words.
Conrad wagged his tail as he rubbed his face with his paw. He then looked at Selena as she called him.
“Anyway, brother Conrad, where do you put the book given by your older brother?”
“I gave it to Gaurleen as he said that he would keep them safe.”
“Hm? Who is that again?”
“The one who sealed me in this form.”
“Ah, I see. And where is he now?”
“…… I don’t know.”
Then, they finished their bath and went back to their house on the Gili island.
“Fried chicken…” he muttered and sniffed while keeping his eyes closed.
The smell of food was so inviting, pampering his nose, which made him cannot stop sniffing. A growling sound from his stomach could clearly be heard for he hadn’t eaten anything since yesterday.
As he opened his eyelids and felt his body was still on a comfy bed, he chose to shut his eyes again. Then, a flash of a nightmare he had yesterday just crossed through his mind that made his face turn so wry.
“Ah…” He groaned as he touched his swollen cheek that was still hurting. He then stretched his sore body. “So, it’s all just a dream, huh.”
Well, he decided to consider that nightmare was really a nightmare.
“Damn, I’m starving,” he grumbled as he lifted his body before looking at his body that was covered with bruises and let out a comment. “Damn, monster.”
“Who are you calling monster?” Asked Selena, which made the mad dog feel like his heart almost jumped out from his chest.
Selena was standing at the entrance, holding a piece of fried chicken and a mouth that was chewing food. She just looked so natural yet vicious in the mad dog’s eyes.
“…no one.” The mad dog looked away. “It’s only a dream,” he resumed.
Selena chuckled. “Come, you need to eat something.” She gave a gesture telling the mad dog to join her before leaving the room.
The mad dog was actually hesitating, but considering his stomach that couldn’t stop growling, he had no choice but to follow her.
As he arrived at the dining table, he could see lots of delicious meals that he had never eaten before. Those foods looked so expensive, tasty and … a lot. He then shifted his gaze from the food to the cute chubby fox that was eating leisurely without even glanced at him, but he flinched as Selena said something that broke his reverie.
“What are you waiting for? Sit and eat,” ordered Selena before eating her deep-fried sweet potato.
The mad dog didn’t say a word, but he obeyed her order and sat facing her.
“Nessie, bring more food.”
Nessie, who was standing next to the table, bowed before leaving the dining room.
The mad dog had lots of questions in his mind, but he somehow couldn’t utter them. He starred at the delicious food served on the table before he heard Selena’s voice.
“What are you waiting for? My personal guard should eat a lot and become stronger…” Selena paused, one of her corner lips went up as she looked into the mad dog’s eyes. “In order to protect me,” she continued with an index finger pointing at her.
The mad dog snorted and looked away before sweeping his gaze back to the food and unconsciously formed a gentle smile.
‘I haven't eaten with someone at one table in a while.’
“Thanks for the food,” he said before taking the cutleries and started to eat his food so greedily.
Selena just stared at him, who was still topless. Seeing how many scars the mad dog had on his body made her think that his training must be so hard.
“What’s your name?” Selena asked, without looking at the mad dog.
The mad dog paused for a moment and looked at her even though Selena paid no attention to him as she was still eating her food so elegantly.
“They call me the mad dog.”
Selena took a short glance at him. “But it’s not your real name.” She then focused on her food again before continuing her words, “I don’t want to call my guard with a shitty and super mainstream name like that.”
The mad dog snorted and the silence fell. He could see Nessie casually came into the room with a trolly full of foods and then put them on the table.
“Thank you, Nessie,” said Selena and motioned Nessie to leave the room.
“I will stay outside, please let me know if you need anything, Miss.”
Selena just nodded and shifted her gaze on the mad dog, and they were looking into each other’s eyes.
“So, you won’t tell me your name?” Selena asked.
The mad dog snorted and looked away. “Why do you really want to know my name?”
“So, I can call you with a better name than ‘the mad dog’?”
The mad dog turned to Selena again and focused on her amber eyes. “Just call me whatever you want,” he said rudely.
Selena clicked her tongue, she was about to open her mouth to speak, but the mad dog’s voice stopped her.
“I don’t want to be called with my real name…” he paused before taking a bite of his food and didn’t even look at Selena. “Remind me of my past that I don’t want to remember,” he continued nonchalantly.
Selena could only reply with a smile, didn’t want to talk more about something in the past. Just let the past became the past. The only she should care about was to focus on what she will pass through.
She understood if the mad dog didn’t want to tell his past, but she knew well that he would eventually tell her.
“I’ve found out everything about you, and it seems you are just like a stray dog that doesn’t have a house to stay in or a home where you can return and someone waiting for you…” Selena put the cutleries on the table and focused on the mad dog’s eyes before she continued. “For that reason, you will be with me, as my personal guard of Selena Kacper from the Kacper Dukedom, and you will be called as—Asanka.”
Asanka stunned, lamenting what Selena said, and blinked a couple of times before having his head down. There was a mix of feeling that he couldn’t express as he stared at the food.
“…Asanka…” he muttered his new name and unconsciously smiled.
Two days later…
“It’s been a while.”
“Yes, it is.” Selena smiled at Kenley before tilting her head a bit to look at Liam, who acted awkward whenever seeing her. “Nice to meet you again, Sir Liam.”
Liam nodded. “Yes, thank you. It’s nice to see you too, Lady Celine.”
Kenley seemed to be curious about the young man standing behind Selena. He stared at Asanka for quite a moment, observing his appearance.
“What are you looking at?” Asked Asanka irritably, frowning his eyebrows.
However, Kenley didn’t seem to care about him. Instead, he turned and talked to Selena.
“Who is he?”
Selena turned to Asanka. “Introduce yourself.”
Asanka snorted. “Why would I introduce myself to someone who just being rude to me?”
In fact, Asanka's way of speaking was even harsher than Kenley’s.
There were 4 people and 1 animal at that moment; one person was breaking out in a cold sweat, wondering what would his master do, because his master was in hypersensitive condition, and the other one had shown the veins on her face while clenching her fists.
“Asanka,” Selena called, staring coldly at Asanka. “Is that how I told you to behave?!”
Asanka left a fake cough and looked away. “…Sorry,” he apologized in a sunken voice.
Selena just sighed and turned again towards Kenley. “First of all, sorry for making you come all the way here. But as you have read in the letter, shall we go to my residence now?”
Kenley smiled gently. “Of course, Celine.”
Then, they leave the port and went to Selena’s residence. But Liam was the last one who followed them behind.
‘I thought he would kill that guy,’ pondered Liam.
He recalled that a merchant died at Kenley’s hands just because that merchant made a small mistake. And when that incident happened, Kenley was in a hypersensitive condition because he had been away from the Empire for too long. He was uncontrollable, unpredictable, rude, and very grumpy.
Well, even though it was only Liam who realized about Kenley’s demeanor, he still didn't understand why Kenley acted that why whenever he was away from the empire for quite a long time.
“Oddly, he's always been kind and gentle whenever Young Lady Celine is around…” Liam quietly nodded, before he gasped as he suddenly thought a weird thing. “Oh? Or does he perhaps… fall in love with young lady Celine?”
Liam started to break out more sweat as he thought so, but Selena’s voice startled him.
“Sir Liam, are you not coming?”
“A-ah y-yes… I’m coming.”
‘What the heck is wrong with this guy? Why is he always nervous for no reason?’ Thought Selena, shaking her head.
‘Or does he perhaps…. Fall in love with me?’
Selena suddenly shivered and her neck curled up as she thought about that weird thing. She then heard Milo’s voice, who was in Asanka’s hands.
“Nothing,” answered Selena, slightly shaking her head.
“He is my personal guard, Asanka. He may be a rude looking bastard, but he listens to me well,” said Selena before taking a sip of a cup of tea elegantly.
“I see… and I’m Kenley, an adventurer from the Jadeite Empire,” introduced Kenley as he looked at the man, who stood behind Selena just like a proper guard.
Asanka chose to ignore the introduction and remained quiet, and the same happened to Liam, who stood behind Kenley. He had known about Milo and Selena’s true identity as well as the reason she hid her true identity, but he didn’t know about Kenley or Liam.
“So, what do you want to know about the magic tower?” Asked Kenley which took everyone, except Selena, by surprise. Especially Liam and Conrad.
Selena caressed Conrad’s soft hair as she focused on Kenley’s eyes.
“I only wonder if I… could own the magic tower…”
Liam, Conrad, and Asanka dropped their jaws simultaneously, while Kenley was dumbfoundedly lamenting for Selena.
As everyone went quiet, Selena added more explanation.
“Oh? Did I say it in too gentle a way?” Asked Selena before letting out a fake cough. “Ahem, well actually, I want to destroy that tower but I want to own it at the same time…” She leaned back against the sofa and sighed.
All of them were still silent and frozen, couldn’t believe what Selena just said.
However, Selena continued her ranting without paying attention to everyone.
“No need shortly, but I really want to destroy that place. It is weird, right? Or should I just buy that tower first so I will destroy my own property? And do you guys have any idea how much it costs?”
To be continued...