How Tara and Kyle deal with the aftermath.
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Episode 217. About 10 months (94)
Kyle's voice was hoarse and tense. He gently wrapped his free hand around Tara’s hand, while she was still holding her axe.
But she was unwilling to relax her grip.
"Tara... Look at me."
Then she lifted her head and looked at him. Her jaw was tightly clenched as tears flowed down her cheeks.
A throbbing pain surged through his chest.
Internally, Kyle took a deep breath. He almost killed the piece of garbage too easily because he couldn't control the force he put in strangling him.
"I'll... do it. I will."
As Kyle nodded, she slowly let go. Then, worn-out, she sunk onto the bed behind her.
She covered her face with both hands and breathed in deeply.
Kyle was still firmly holding John Hutt's neck as he watched her. Aurore was even spilling into his hands.
As long as he left a narrow gap in his airway, Kyle could painfully strangle him with Aurore for a while.
"Hah... K–Kill... Uh..."
John Hutt's face turned red, and eventually, his veins started to bulge out.
After a while, he opened his mouth.
"Haha... Are you... going to kill me?"
"Don't kill me."
By that time, John Hutt's face had gone blue.
"I'm having a hard time breathing, Kyle."
Struggling with breathing, she called out his name. In response, Kyle concealed his bloodthirsty aura with difficulty. Then, he slowly loosened his grip.
"Oh my God. Oh my... God."
John Hutt fell to the floor and grovelled, wrapping his hands around his neck.
Kyle turned towards Tara and bent over. It was clear to see how she was feeling.
Tears welled up in her eyes. And so did anger. Kyle's fury rose again and increased.
"... Please, wait for me. A minute... That's all I need."
His voice failed to come out properly, affected by his pent-up emotions.
Tara slowly nodded, and Kyle grabbed John Hutt's back while he was crawling towards the door and hauled him out.
"Uh... Ugh... Hel... p...!"
But, after a dull sound, his screams were no longer heard.
Kyle was dragging John Hutt like a sack through the front yard of the annex when he encountered Walter, who had just returned to the Castle and had been searching for him.
Several visitors and servants residing at the annex were in the yard. Fortunately, the lighting there was dim.
Walter ran straight to Kyle.
"What's going on...!"
Walter stopped approaching his Master, but took a step back. It was because because he could feel the murderous energy emanating from his Highness's body.
The Lord's hardened face was full of anger.
"There are people around."
Just as expected, the people who felt Kyle's bloodlust paused and glanced at him.
Understanding Kyle's signal, Walter slowly put on a show.
When the Master did that, it was the Commander of the Phoenix Knight's duty to act quickly without making a noise.
'But if it had been Nick...? I'm glad I came along instead.'
Then he scolded himself for not focusing at such an urgent moment and shouted loudly as if to let everyone hear.
"Ah... Why did you drink so much today! Did you fight again? I can't believe it!"
As soon as people heard Walter's words, they started to gossip in confused voices.
"Drunk? But he looks like he's seriously injured...?"
"He couldn't control himself at all?"
"He'd do such a thing so early in the evening? ... Tsk tsk."
The servants and some of the vassals grumbled. Walter smiled at them.
"Alcohol! Ugh... The smell of alcohol. He was dumped today! And he even got into a fight with local gangsters... It's a fucking mess!" He said.
Still, people didn't leave and kept watching them. Walter moved closer to John's severely beaten face. His blood-stained face was really ugly.
He brought his ears close to John’s face and purposely shouted louder.
"What? What did you say? You want to go for another drink? This bastard is yet to come to his senses! Where would you go! You're in a terrible state!"
Only then did the eyes around them look away and disperse one by one.
'Hmm... It worked.'
Walter's realistic performance played a part, but it was mostly thanks to the poor lighting in front of the annex.
"He's garbage. I'll punish him myself. Take him to the dungeon."
His Master's command was fierce and sharp, a tone he had only heard on the battlefield.
The murderous aura coming from his whole body had abated, but the bloodlust in his Master's eyes didn't subside as easily.
Startled, Walter gulped. How long had it been since he had said that he would put blood on his hands?
He wondered what the hell this guy had done to make the Master so angry, but one thing was certain: the Master had called him garbage.
If he was trash to His Highness, naturally, he was trash to Walter as well.
"I'll leave straight away."
"I'll inform the Count myself."
Walter shouted again, putting a false image into the minds of the people around him.
"Oh my God, why me! You promised me you'd never drink again, but it must be all my fault for having the wrong friend. My fault! Let's go. I'll take you to your room!"
Walter placed his hands on both of the rather bulky man's sides from behind, firmly grabbed his forelimbs, and dragged him with him.
The garbage, with his head bowed and his arms dangling helplessly, was taken to the dungeon by Walter.
At first glance, their silhouettes, somewhat obscured by darkness, looked very similar to someone carrying their really drunk friend with them.
The image of the motherfucker being towed away lingered long afterwards.
John Hutt, writhing with pain, was helplessly hauled out with a worried look on his face, as if he was struggling to withstand Kyle's use of Aurore.
Moments later, the only sound in the hall was that of someone relentlessly hitting another person.
The noise continued without pause.
When I thought he was going to die, there was a dragging noise, then the hall became quiet.
Only then did I start mumbling like crazy.
"Over... It's over... Whoo. Taking lessons in wielding the axe... Good job…"
My flat voice sounded calmer than it should be.
I quietly sat on the bed, staring at the broken door, and then I slowly turned my gaze to the vanity mirror.
I was sitting on the bed, with bruises all over my body and messy clothes.
Dry lips, crimson neck, red-bruised shoulder. I tried to lift the skirt of my dress, but it repeatedly kept falling down.
"I should... just throw it away..."
It was only after seeing my dishevelled state that reality sunk in. Or maybe it was because I knew Kyle had come for me. Then, the tension in my body released and I started trembling all over.
I pulled my legs up on the bed. I hugged my knees and leaned my head on them. I needed to hold my body like that.
Nevertheless, I continued to shake and my tremors didn't easily subside.
How long had it been?
Hearing Kyle's thick voice, I slowly raised my head. His jaw clenched as he looked at me. He was probably forcibly grinding his teeth.
"Where... is he?"
"In the Castle's dungeon... For now."
I nodded as if I understood.
"Your hand. Don't do that."
When I gestured to it with my chin, his eyes naturally went down to his right hand.
His hand had turned white from the grip he had on the doorframe.
He released his hold on the doorframe and stood still.
"Are you... okay?" He cautiously asked, breathing slowly.
"Ha... I was too late. I'm sorry..."
He aggressively ran a hand through his hair, blaming himself. I shook my head and smiled half-heartedly.
"There was nothing you could do. Don't blame yourself. No one knew he'd do something like that..."
"Why are you looking at me like that?"
He had a strange look on his face that simultaneously seemed angry, sad, and tired.
"Hah... Even now, you take my feelings into account."
I lightly shrugged.
"Still, fortunately I managed to prevent a disaster...!"
"Don't do that!"
"Don't put on a brave face. You dealt with it better than anyone else, but that doesn't mean you didn't get hurt. So for now, just focus on your injuries... Hah..."
I was holding it in. I was really holding it in. But when he put it like that...
"Yes, I'm having a hard time."
Tears streamed down my cheeks.
Kyle began to stir and then stopped. In my blurred vision, I saw Kyle's hand stretching out towards me before halting mid-air, not moving anymore.
"I'll call a doctor."
"Urgh... Ah... No, don't."
Kyle, trying to head out, paused again.
"Alright... I won't."
I could see him extending his arm through my blurry vision.
"Ha... Ugh... Argh..."
"Can... Can I give you a hug?"
"Uh. Ugh. Why are you asking at a time like this... Of course... Why would you ask? Ha..."
My face was probably a mess, but I couldn't help myself.
He approached me and held me in his arms at once. A sense of relief spread through my body instantly.
"I'm sorry. It's all my fault. It's all..."
Kyle kept saying he was sorry, and continued to sweep and stroke my back for a long time after that.
We stayed that way for a long time.
When I looked up, his shoulders were wet.
"I feel better now."
Whispering that to Kyle, I slightly pulled away, and he watched me for a moment. His face was still tense.
"Never again. This won't happen again," he said.
He spoke with the type of sincerity a determined man with a great sense of duty would have.
"I didn't take him seriously enough because he was a nobleman. As such..."
"Are you blaming yourself for not having predicted that criminal's behaviour now?"
"You just couldn't avoid a madman going crazy. No one could've seen that coming. So, it's by no means your fault."
Footsteps echoed down the hallway.
And then, we heard murmuring.
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