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Chapter 16: Thorns

“The Marquise accepted this outcome. Now, how shall we enjoy ourselves?”

Eva glared at Count Burke, who wore a vulgar smirk.

“I will never let it go the way you want.”

With strength in her abdomen, Eva approached and forcefully slammed her head into Count Burke’s face.


It seemed that Eva’s head had hit Count Burke’s nose. A copious amount of blood flowed from his nose.

It must be too painful. His body, which had been covering Eva, moved away and fell to the floor, holding his nose as he crouched on the floor.

Eva jumped up, ran to the door, and tried to go outside. However, her arm was pulled from behind, and she was pulled back into the room.

Facing Count Burke, who had a furious expression with blood flowing from his nose, Eva, leaning against the door, confronted him.

“I like strong-willed women, but this is too much. You’ve angered me.”

With veins bulging on his forehead and the corners of his eyes lifted, Count Burke spoke in a voice filled with anger and irritation.

Eva continued to glare at the count, slowly reaching behind with her hands to find and grip the doorknob without being noticed.

“This nonsense ends here.”

She measured the distance between herself and Count Burke.

There’s only one chance.


Count Burke took a step toward Eva, and when he took the second step, she kicked him in the thigh all at once.

Looking at the count, who had squatted and stopped moving, Eva opened the door and sprinted down the corridor.

Running aimlessly, she found herself in a familiar corridor she had passed through earlier.

(If I run straight here, it leads to the hall.)

Relieved, she looked back and saw the count chasing after her.

(Is he still chasing me?)

Eva panicked as she tried to run, but fear stiffened her legs, and the dress hem hindered her movement. Every time she looked back, she felt the distance closing.

What should she do? At this rate, he would catch up before reaching the hall.

Feeling nothing but anxiety, she fretted over her unresponsive body.

At that moment, Eva sensed the scent of roses carried by the night breeze. A calming sensation washed over her, calming her frantic heart. Drawn by the scent of roses, Eva burst out of the corridor into the open.

The pale moonlight brightly illuminated the surroundings.

Unnoticed, her shoes had come off, and she was running barefoot towards the royal rose garden.

The scent of roses intensified, signaling her arrival at the rose garden.

“How dare you treat me like this…”

A voice filled with anger reached her from behind.

(He’s caught up already.)

In the rose garden, Eva stood dumbfounded.

There was no place to hide.

Resigned, Eva turned towards the source of the voice.

Count Burke, with a face reddened with anger, glared at Eva while catching his breath.

“Hmph, running around like that. I won’t forgive you. I’ll double the pain for making a fool of me. After tormenting your purity, I’ll sell you as a slave to a neighboring country. Live your life regretting ever crossing me.”

(O Father, O Mother, please protect me.)

Eva prayed while tightly clutching the red stone pendant, a memento from her mother, hanging around her neck.

(Please lend me the strength not to lose to such a despicable man.)

Suddenly, the stone in her hand began to glow and shine.

At the same time, the surrounding rose branches began to extend all at once, rapidly covering Eva.

Overwhelmed by surprise, Eva’s legs gave way, and she sat on the ground.

The rose branches, seemingly with a will of their own, formed a dome, concealing Eva completely.

In the space surrounded by rose branches, Eva, still in shock, snapped back to reality, hearing Count Burke shouting something. Slowly opening the hand that had been tightly clenched, she saw that the red stone pendant was still emitting a faint light.

“Beautiful light… You protected me, didn’t you? Thank you, Father, Mother.”

Clutching the pendant tightly once again, Eva pressed it against her forehead and quietly shed tears.

As Count Burke’s shouting momentarily ceased, the sounds of many approaching footsteps could be heard.

Eva, surrounded by rose branches, couldn’t see the outside. She huddled within the rose branches, holding her breath.

“Eva, are you okay?”

A pleasant and gentle low voice called out to Eva.

Lord Lucas?

“It’s me, Lucas. Eva, can you hear me?”

“Lord Lucas?”

“Eva, are you inside there?”


“I see. I’ll clear up the noise and be there in a moment. Can you wait there for a little?”

Relieved by Lucas’s reassuring voice, Eva’s tense emotions loosened.


“I’ll call out again. Don’t worry; I’m right here.”

With that, Lucas seemed to move away somewhere.

Faint sounds from outside could be vaguely heard.

After what seemed like shouting, the voices, along with the multitude of footsteps, gradually faded away.

After a while, Lucas’s voice came from outside the rose branches again.

“Eva, it’s okay now. You can come out.”

“Lord Lucas, I don’t know how to get out of here.”

It was evident that the thorny rose branches were tightly entwined. It was unbearable to cut the branches that had protected Eva. How could she get out of here?

“Outside is safe now. Just try wishing to go out from there.”

“Yes, I’ll give it a try.”

Eva tightly clutched the stone and wished.

(Thank you so much for protecting me. Lord Lucas has come. It seems to be safe now. Could you please let me out?)

The pendant that had been faintly glowing in her hand now radiated a bright light.

The rose branches smoothly unraveled and returned to their original state. The branches that had covered Eva disappeared in an instant.

As if nothing had happened, the rose garden returned to its original appearance, and the pendant in her hand also lost its glow.

Standing in front of the sitting Eva was Lucas, dressed in formal attire. When the rose branches covering Eva vanished, Lucas knelt before her, peering down with a stern expression.

“Eva, are you injured? I smell blood.”

Inadvertently following Lucas’s gaze, Eva noticed blood on her neck and chest.

“This is Count Burke’s blood… My mother’s dress got stained.”

Disappointed, she looked down at her own dress. There were several bloodstains on her chest. Since she had knelt in the garden, the hem was likely soiled with dirt as well.

“Did he slap your face?”

Looking at Eva, who had raised her head, Lucas gently touched her swollen cheek, asking in a mournful voice.

“Now that you mention it, he did.”

Desperate to escape, Eva had forgotten the pain, but now she began to feel a throbbing ache and heat.

“I’m sorry I was late in coming.”

She gazed at Lucas, who looked like he was about to cry.

(Why does Lord Lucas look like he’s about to cry?)

“Lord Lucas, thank you for coming to my rescue. I appreciate it.”

Just as her expression turned somewhat cheerful, tears rolled down from Eva’s eyes.

“Oh… I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to cry… I can’t stop.”

“You did well. It’s okay now.”

Unable to hold back the tears welling up at Lucas’s words, Eva continued to cry.

Kneeling, Lucas took off his jacket and gently draped it over Eva’s shoulders, whispering softly.

“Now, shall we go?”

Lucas’s jacket carried a faint scent. When Eva looked up, her eyes met Lucas’s anxious expression.

“Is it okay for me to touch you, Eva?”

He must have sensed what happened from the situation.

After a brief pause, Eva nodded.

With a face that seemed to be both crying and smiling, Lucas lifted Eva sideways and began walking.

“Lord Lucas? I can walk, you know.”

Eva was flustered by the unexpected situation.

Lucas’s arms tightened around Eva, and she realized he had exerted more strength.

“You’re not wearing shoes. It’s no trouble to carry you like this.”

The pleasant vibrations gradually made her lose consciousness.

There were many things she wanted to ask, but gradually, opening her mouth seemed like too much effort.

Lucas, noticing Eva’s condition, raised the corner of his mouth and whispered.

“You can keep your eyes closed. We’ll talk slowly again.”

“Lord Lucas, thank you for sending the earrings.”

“Yeah, they suit you very well.”

Lucas looked satisfied as he gazed at Eva’s ear.

In a daze, Eva stared at Lucas’s refined face from below.

“What’s wrong?”

“I thought I wouldn’t be able to see you again, so I’m happy to meet Lord Lucas once more.”

With a soft smile, Eva lost consciousness right then and there.






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