“I didn’t know how thrilling it would feel to be the focus of my bride’s attention,” Edwin teased, his eyes shining with delight. “Even this bland scone tasted delicious for a moment,”
I released a heavy sigh. While trying to share my love for scones, I ended up stimulating his perverted taste instead.
Meanwhile, Edwin whisked what was left of the scone from my hand into his mouth.
To make matters worse, he forced me to cup his cheeks with my hands while insisting that I gaze at him.
I wanted to scream at him to remove his hands right away, but I knew there was a slim chance of survival and smiled as much as I could.
Even though my lips were trembling.
“By the way, what is this?”
After finishing off the rest of the scone, Edwin picked up a basket from the foot of my chair.
“The marigolds were so pretty that I asked the maid if I could pick a few. She had the gardener cut some for me, but he gave me so much.”
“I didn’t know you liked marigolds. Shall I have it planted throughout the garden?”
I quickly shook my head, fearing that he would misunderstand me and plow the entire garden.
“But you seem to enjoy these flowers.”
Edwin cocked his head and frowned as if he didn’t like hearing my refusal.
“Marigolds aren’t the only flowers I love, I’m fond of other flowers too.”
“Is that so?”
Even then, Edwin’s dissatisfied expression did not change.
‘It seems that he’s still upset about not being able to give the garden a makeover. Is there any way to divert his attention?’
Suddenly, I recalled Jenny’s suggestion to use the leftover flowers to make a bouquet or a wreath.
“Do you like flower wreaths?”
As I nodded, Edwin glanced down at the flowers in the basket.
“Why? Do you want to make a flower crown for me?”
He was smiling sweetly, but his eyes seemed to say, ‘If you refuse, I don’t think it will be very fun for you.’
I asked with the intention of making it for him anyway, but when I met those eyes, my chest tightened.
“Yes. I thought it would suit you, Ed.”
“Really? Then try making one.”
“But, this position is uncomfortable to work in.”
“If my bride gets down, then I will be the one who’s uncomfortable.”
He smiled softly, brushing off my discomfort without another word. In the end, I was forced to take out the marigolds and use my lap as a table.
My wreath-making technique was meant to be used during a high school festival, so it wasn’t too difficult to make.
The problem was that the recipient of this wreath was none other than Edwin, the Wild Dragon of the West.
‘I think it looks a little squished and some of the flowers are crushed too.’
I needed to make it prettier and more perfect.
As I obsessively crafted the wreaths, a pile of finished wreaths began to grow.
“How long do I have to wait? I’m starting to get bored,” Edwin grumbled.
Startled by his impatient tone, I snapped out of a trancelike state and stilled my hands.
Sneaking a quick peek at Edwin, I gently pushed the completed wreaths in front of him and averted my gaze.
“Which one is mine?”
His eyes were quite fierce as he sorted through the ten flower crowns.
“Actually, I made all of them for you, Ed. At first, I wanted to give you the most beautiful one, but I couldn’t decide which one you would like.”
As I spoke with hesitation, his harsh eyes quickly softened.
“All of these belong to me?”
When I nodded slightly, he rubbed my head gently.
“I’ll like anything my bride chooses for me,”
Edwin bowed his head as if he was asking me to place the wreath on his head.
After pondering for a moment, I chose the one that looked the best and carefully placed it on his head.
“What do you think? Do I look good?”
‘This handsome man with his soft smile and flower crown is really harmful to the heart.
As I nodded my head enthusiastically, Edwin smiled more brightly.
“Now, as the groom, I should do the same for the bride.”
After carefully examining the wreaths, Edwin selected one and placed it upon my head.
Seeing Edwin smile so happy made me feel strange.
Especially in the middle of a beautiful garden while sitting at a table filled with my favorite snacks.
The peaceful landscape was like a painting, but also felt somewhat foreign.
It was no different than a mirage of an illusion that I couldn’t have forever.
‘Will I be able to survive? Can I survive and live in peace like this?’
I touched the wreath to soothe my heavy heart.
‘May the marigolds give me happiness as well.’
I’m eagerly looking forward to it.
“Let’s go inside now.”
Edwin stood with me in his arms, and ordered Jenny to bring the remaining wreaths to my bedroom.
As we passed through the garden, I caught a glimpse of the smaller buildings constituting the mansion.
Among them, a tall tower stood out in particular.
“What is that place?”
His gaze followed the direction of my finger, and then his expression instantly hardened, which made me very nervous.
‘Perhaps I shouldn’t have asked?’
“I hate to explain things more than once, so listen carefully.”
I nodded quickly in response.
“It’s a very scary place, so you can’t go there. I’m worried that my bride would be too weak to handle it.”
The whispering voice tickled my ear, but it was lower and colder than ever.
I gently rubbed the goosebumps on my arm and nodded.
“Naturally, my bride should only see the good things in this world.”
Edwin stroked my hair as he took steady steps towards the main building.
‘What exactly are you doing over there that you don’t want me to see? Maybe it’s the place where you tortured the people you kidnapped?’
In the original novel, the torture chamber was supposed to be located in the duke mansion, but it didn’t mention exactly where.
The innermost part of the villain’s mansion and even the outer wall looked gloomy, so it made sense for the torturing to take place there.
‘I will never look at it again.’
Quelling my curiosity, I turned away and lowered my gaze.
Shortly afterwards, we entered the main building, and the surrounding servants bowed their heads in surprise.
‘Why are you all bowing so deeply?’
I followed their gazes to the flower crown I had placed on Edwin’s head.
I thought he would find it annoying and take it off right away, but surprisingly, he continued to wear it.
‘Their reaction is completely understandable, it’s not like they get to see their master wearing flowers every day.’
I nodded my head, fully sympathizing with the servants’ hearts.
Edwin stopped for a moment and asked, “What else is my bride thinking about?”
I couldn’t say that he looked silly, so I quickly came up with an excuse instead.
“I was just looking at the wreath on your head. It’s amazing that you’re willing to wear the same thing as me.”
“You wanted to wear the same accessories? Why didn’t you tell me?”
I managed to stop myself before I shook my head.
If I said no here, I would be detonating the bomb that I had narrowly avoided before.
“If my bride wants it, then I have to fulfill her wish.”
‘No, no. I don’t want to do couple things with a crazy guy.’
Unknowing how I felt, Edwin began humming while listing which couple items would be good for us.
I quietly looked up at the ceiling and blinked away my tears.
* * * * * * *
Edwin took Angelina to her room and went straight to his office with Beryl following behind.
Seth, who was waiting for the report, looked up in confusion when Edwin entered the office.
Edwin noticed where his gaze was headed and grinned.
“Doesn’t it look good on me? My bride made it for me.”
As Edwin showed off his wreath, Seth neutralized his expression before calmly opening his mouth.
“Your wife is very good with her hands.”
“I’m proud of her. The way she fumbled with those little hands was so cute,” Edwin mused as he recalled the memory of Angelina from earlier and smiled warmly.
It was the first flower crown he had received since the one his mother made one for him as a child.
He felt a little strange, perhaps because it was the first time in a long time that he received a gift.
Or was it because it’s his bride’s first gift to him?
Sitting on the sofa, Edwin stretched out his long legs, and propped them on the table, as he continued to fiddle with the wreath.
Then he had a sudden thought and spoke up again.
“What about the situation with the servants?”
“I gave them a warning. They all have worked for the family for a long time, so you don’t have to worry about them exposing her existence.”
“You never know, so strengthen internal surveillance. Those who open their mouths to the wrong ears will be dealt with immediately.”
“Beryl, what about the knights?”
“We have taken extra steps to avoid any problems.”
“Does your wife really not remember anything about her past?” Seth asked carefully.
“I believe so.”
“I wonder if she’s lying…”
“You think I wouldn’t notice if she was?” As Edwin’s eyes sharpened, Seth immediately bowed his head.
“I’m sorry. I am just concerned for your safety.”
“My bride really doesn’t know anything.”
“What happened to her?” Beryl asked with a serious expression, it seemed that he was curious as well.
“I’m curious, too. I want to know where and how my bride has lived.”
Considering that Angelina appeared to be in her late teens, she must have been two or three years old when the Emperor conquered the Jueri.
At that time, his father had already arrived in Ambria too late, and he said that no one had survived the massacre.
Only the gruesome corpses that were strewn across the desert showed how fierce the battle had been.
‘The emperor would not have let her live even if she was only a child.’
So, who took and hid her away as a child?
‘How did you end up falling from the heavens and why don’t you have any memories?’
“I think God wants to play a game with me again. Do I need to completely wipe out the temples this time?”
For a brief moment, Seth and Beryl’s expressions turned pale due to the energy flowing from Edwin.
“I will investigate through Shark.”
When Seth quickly came up with a countermeasure, Edwin’s mood gradually calmed for a bit.
The Shark was the duke’s secret intelligence organization.
While its fundamental purpose was information collection, it was also in charge of surveillance and infiltration, as well as assassination.
“If they don’t come out to look for her, then we’ll look for them. Even the Ravens were unable to find any traces of the Jueri for a long time. Besides, we don’t even know her name since she can’t remember anything.”
“First, start by searching the desert and the surrounding areas to see if there was anyone who suddenly appeared with a child around 15 years ago.”
“Proceed secretly so as to not alert the Crown Prince’s Ravens to our movements.”
“How are they moving these days?”
“They are still scouting the desert.” Beryl answered quickly.
“Even the bandits?”
“How strange.” Edwin clenched his chin and furrowed his eyebrows.
“Are you talking about the bandits?”
“They are annoying.”
Not long ago, bandits suddenly began to flock to the Mujas Desert due to a rumor that there was a hidden treasure in the desert, but that was obviously a false story spread by the imperial family.
“How persistent. They are well aware of the fact that no one makes it out of the desert alive.”
So far, all the bandits, who had entered the desert, had been killed without leaving a single one behind.
There had to be rumors about the constant deaths, but they were constantly flocking in.
“They are blinded by the treasure.”
“They come hoping for a different outcome.”
“They’re too prideful for their own good.”
In response to Beryl and Seth, Edwin raised an eyebrow sternly.
To think you could survive in a place guarded by Edwin Crawford.
There was no such arrogance.
“If you see any bandits in the future, deal with them. You have to show that there is no hope for survival after crossing me.”
“All right,” Beryl nodded his head slightly.
“Try to find out the exact routes that the Ravens use and report them.”
“What are you suspicious of?”
Edwin narrowed his eyes at Seth’s question.
“Isn’t it strange that the Ravens are scouting the desert?”
“Isn’t that just to find any surviving Jueri?”
At Beryl’s reply, Edwin shook his head.
“Ambria has already been destroyed by the imperial family. Are the survivors really that stupid to dare and come back?”
“Still, the guardian tree is still there…”
“There’s no power remaining in an old tree that’s already dead”
‘It can’t even recognize the people from its own clan.’
Once again, his anger rose when he recalled how the guardian tree tried to kill Angelina.
“Certainly, the fact that the bandits have been led to the desert is surprising given the imperial family’s actions so far,” Seth replied in a suspicious tone as he stroked his chin.
“I agree. They’ve been using the Ravens to secretly look for the Jueri.”
Beryl agreed and nodded his head. “There is something fishy going on.”
“Do you think the Imperial family is looking for something else in the desert?”
Seth’s eyes sharpened.
“Is Huey still investigating the bandits?”
Huey was the head of the Sharks.
“Yes, he’s busy following them these days, so I haven’t had the chance to meet with him.”
“The moment you see him, relay my orders to investigate the rumors surrounding bandits more closely.”
“Okay,” Seth nodded.
“We will also strengthen the surveillance on the Ravens and bandits,” Beryl added and Edwin nodded lightly.
‘What are you plotting this time?’
Just thinking about the Emperor made his blood boil.
Above all else, if it had anything to do with the Jueri, then they need to quickly find out more information.
‘I must protect my bride.’
Edwin’s eyes flashed with madness.
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