To You Who Will Kill Me – Chapter 1.2

“I decided to participate in the girl’s meeting until 4 o’clock. You can’t come with me, so wait until it’s over.”

“Okay, I’ll wait in the library.”

Scarlett nodded in response and headed towards the meeting location. Scarlett soon realized that the A-26 building had an attached cafeteria and was used as a student lounge.

“White! Welcome.”

Jane came outside to greet Scarlett. After calming the tension in her body, Scarlett entered and found herself a seat under the warm sunlight.

As the appointed time drew closer, more students gradually began to arrive. After about thirty people had gathered, Scarlett spoke stiffly to Jane.

“I didn’t know there were so many female students.”

“Economics is a male-dominated major. If you visit the Sociology or Humanities departments, you’ll find a lot more female students”

“Foldy, how did you find out about this meeting?”

“There was a notice posted on the bulletin board a while ago, but I guess you didn’t check it. By the way, please call me Jane.”

Scarlett ignored Jane Foldy’s request to be addressed by first name and continued speaking.

“Well, I don’t usually check the bulletin.”

“Today’s meeting is for freshmen only. You have no idea how sad I was when you missed the last meeting.”

“Me?”

“Every single female student is precious, Scarlett. Then…”

Scarlett abruptly interrupted Jane as she was displeased with being addressed by first name without her permission.

“Foldy, can you please pass me some milk?”

Scarlett drew the line by addressing Jane by her surname.

She was used to setting boundaries with those who were conscious of her and showing a peculiar familiarity to those who were not. The habit developed at an early age, greatly influenced by the sight of her older brothers and sister struggling with the White Family’s reputation.

After she exchanged greetings with the girls sitting nearby, the meeting began. During the meeting, the girls chatted among themselves freely while enjoying some light refreshments.

Scarlett decided to chat with Jane and her close friends.

“Professor Mason assigns too much work. He gives out assignments every class, so I have to do homework twice a week.”

“White, I heard your brother also majored in Economics here at Iodes. Does he have any good tips? I feel like school is more difficult because of Professor Manson.”

“I have no idea; Aaron is too busy to even show his face.”

“Oh… that’s understandable.”

“By the way, can I ask you about something?”

“What is it?” The girl named either Alice or Amy asked with eyes filled with curiosity.

“What is your relationship with Theo Grisham? I saw you pour milk on him yesterday.”

Scarlett dismissed the questions by simply stating, “We spilled milk on each other.”

“Oh my, I heard that he’s a close childhood friend, is that true?”

“That’s not something you need to be concerned about. I have to go, see you tomorrow, Foldy.”

The atmosphere wasn’t bad, so her mood cooled down instantly.

“I’ll take you to the entrance.”

“”No. I’m not an idiot, I can find the entrance on my own,” Scarlett replied as she brushed past the girl offering to escort.

The girl rolled her eyes and bit her lip. She seemed embarrassed by Scarlett’s disregard.

‘I think it’s over here,’ Scarlett sighed as she moved towards a possible exit. She was not a person who paid close attention to her surroundings.

She hadn’t moved very far from the table before the girl opened her mouth again.

“It seems like White is obsessed with a man who uses shady methods to borrow money. Well, when you have nothing, the only way you can make a living is by using your face. Maybe White planned in advance to have him as her helper because she came here to only date and play. If not, why would she use a donation to bypass admissions and attend with a sickly body?”

The girl was parroting the rumors floating around campus.

According to the rumors, Theo Grisham had used his handsome looks to seduce Scarlett during their childhood. Then he distanced himself to rile up Scarlett, who exploded in response and poured milk on him.

There was also a widespread perception that Scarlett had become Theo’s foolishly loyal admirer for paying his debts. Unfortunately, these rumors were started by the male economics students who knew Theo Grisham well.

“What did you say?” Scarlett asked as she approached the girl again. The girl flinched and straightened her back. “I fell for Grisham? I came here only to date?”

“You’re famous for doing other things in class, aren’t you?”

“Surely you came to Iodes to become a great scholar. However, it will be impossible for an idiot, who solely believes in rumors, to even graduate with a bachelor’s degree.”

“Hey, are you done talking?”

“No, I’m far from done. If you say anything about Theo Grisham and me again, I won’t let you go.”

“I was just telling the truth.”

“Are you telling the truth? Grisham doesn’t play Casanova with his face, and I’m not naive enough to fall for his looks. Get it straight.”

Scarlett grabbed her milk from the table and poured it over the girl’s head.

“Ahhhhhhhh!”

Scarlett spoke forcefully to the screaming schoolgirl.

“I am the only one who can blame him. Spilling milk on him is also a matter between us. I don’t have the patience to deal with a bothersome girl, so be mindful of your words”

 

* * * * * * *

 

Noah was sitting in the library doing his homework when he noticed Scarlett’s striking red tresses as she approached from afar. He had intended to go find Scarlett himself after finishing his work, but Scarlett showed up first, much earlier than he expected.

Noah quickly grabbed his books and ran outside. When he reached Scarlett, he silently observed her and tried to gauge her mood. Apart from her usual disdain for him, there seemed to be something else bothering her.

“Did something happen?” Noah asked cautiously.

“… …”

Rather than answering, Scarlett climbed into the carriage, settled into her seat, and silently stared at Noah. She looked closely for any similarities that indicated the two looked like siblings, and whether Noah Ashford was attractive enough to seduce a woman, but she couldn’t tell.

Objectively, Noah was a very beautiful person, but Scarlett’s eyes were blinded by revenge.

Noah tapped on his cheek shyly as he endured the weight of her stare. Scarlett sighed and finally said, “You don’t resemble your father in the slightest.”

“I hear that a lot.”

“There are no similarities between us either. You don’t resemble John, Aaron, Scott, or Andrew either. How do you think we look in the eyes of the Iodes students? Friends? Enemies? Or siblings?”

“… … .”

This time Noah was silent.

“I heard some very disgusting rumors today. They say that I’m an idiot for being tricked into giving you money. That sounds very cheeky.”

Scarlett closed her eyes and laid down on the couch with her arms crossed,

“When we arrive in the city, stop the carriage. I’m going to buy some food before going home.”

Noah studied Scarlett’s expression as she stretched and rested.

He did not feel any type of brotherly affection for Scarlett, but he couldn’t disregard her due to the recognition he received from Mr. White.

He was the reason for most of the despair in her life, so he wanted to atone for it somehow and lessen his guilt.

‘Do we look alike?’  Noah stared at his half-sister.

It would be easier to point out their differences rather than looking for their similarities.

Neither he nor Scarlett had a pointy jaw. Scarlett’s jaw was smooth while Noah’s was a little angular.

Scarlett’s figure was considered very delicate among women. Noah was no less beautiful than a woman. Their pale skin was similar, but Scarlett’s skin had a bluish-tint while Noah had lost his original pearl-like complexion and was now completely tanned.

Noah completely agreed with Scarlett’s observation. They didn’t look alike.

‘Ha. Really we…’

There were so many differences that they shouldn’t even be considered siblings. Scarlett’s body seemed brittle and fragile, while Noah looked underweight and tired.

‘… Are we really siblings?’

Both Noah’s mother and Scarlett claimed that they were siblings. But Noah found it difficult to accept because of the lack of similarities.

He probably resembled Scott, Scarlett’s cruel older brother, more.

Like Kravitz’s cruel master, Noah is not so innocent either. Noah looked down at his hand. It was a hand he didn’t hesitate to stain with blood for his survival.

The biggest difference between him and Scarlett, is that he didn’t mind getting blood on his hands.

Scarlett chose the painful path of acceptance and forgiveness instead of burying him. This seemed to be the biggest indicator that they weren’t siblings.

“Scarlett, we’re almost there.”

Scarlett opened her eyes and wore an exhausted expression. She pulled a watch from her pocket and checked the time.

“Good, there’s still an hour before dinner. Let’s go make a reservation and then get rid of your trashy clothes.”

“It’s okay.”

“If a servant wears shabby clothing, the master will also be disregarded.”

Noah hated when Scarlett referred to him as a servant. His jaw twitched at the feeling of his pride being trampled.

Scarlett snorted and pushed open the carriage door.

“Don’t forget. I’m here to drag you down.”

Scarlett took Noah to a luxury tailor and ordered his clothing made with the finest fabrics he had ever seen in his life. The feeling of tape measuring his shoulders, waist, and even arm length was unusual.

Afterwards, the two headed to a fancy restaurant for a meal. Noah wasn’t familiar with any of the foods on the menu. After Scarlett skillfully finished ordering their food, she took a sip from her glass of milk.

“I’ve been thinking about what to do with you.”

“Do whatever you want.”

“Can I kill you?”

Noah couldn’t answer. Scarlett smiled at Noah’s bewildered face.

“I hate you.”

“I know. I understand.”

“It’s very annoying when you talk back.”

“I’m sorry.”

Scarlett contemplated her current situation, and then she came up with an appropriate lie.

“But hearing you get insulted made my anger rise to the same level as my hatred for you. Do you know why?”

“Isn’t it because we’re siblings?”

“I don’t consider you as a brother. You’re nothing like John, Aaron, Scott or Andrew. Do you know what kind of significance my brothers have in my life? They were the ones who held and protected me in my father’s absence.”

She took a deep breath and then spoke quickly.

“When I refused to be tended to by a nanny, they equally set aside the time they didn’t have, and took care of me themselves. They spent many nights comforting me as I cried over the confusion of my missing parents, until I collapsed from exhaustion. My brothers are like that. They’re more than just my brothers.”

Scarlett regarded them as her parents.

Noah knew Scarlett was seventeen years younger than the eldest, John. It’s understandable why Andrew, the youngest brother, favored her. There was only a seven-year gap between them.

Noah briefly recalled how Mr. White would carry him on his back as a child.

There was nothing he could say. He couldn’t lift his head due to the guilt he felt over robbing Scarlett of her childhood.

What was Scarlett like without parents? How did it affect her and what kind of childhood did she have? Noah could not imagine it.

“… … .”

“Yeah. I’d rather you not say anything. I will still feel sick regardless of what you say.”

“…He was also my father,” Noah said boldly.

This was his small rebellion against Scarlett and his struggle to relieve the guilt.

Scarlett’s expression turned ugly.

“What?”

“He was my father as well. Even if I’m an illegitimate child, I am also Mr. White’s son. Yes, Wieland doesn’t acknowledge my existence, but that’s another matter.”

“… So, does that make you feel good?”

‘How can you ask that while knowing about my situation, how I struggled to survive, and how I’ve always lived with guilt?’

But Noah was silent.  He knew Scarlett wouldn’t hesitate to cross the line if he spoke those words.

After a moment of silence, Scarlett sighed because her anger suddenly lost its steam, and changed the subject.

“It should have arrived by now.”

“What are you talking about?”

“The medicine for your mother.”

“That… …You don’t have to do that.”

“Think about why I would even care about your mother.”

“It’s to make me feel indebted.”

“That’s right. Even after I die, I want you to feel a sense of debt forever. You will live with the regret of accepting favors from someone you helped kill, until the day you run out of breath. You will live in hell for the rest of your life.”

Scarlett laughed and smiled, but she looked terribly sad.

She resembled a beautiful red flower that was wilting. Like a flower right before its petals began to fall.

It was painful, but at the same time, Noah was satisfied. He would be set free when Scarlett embraced her pain.

Therefore, Noah decided to eat the food Scarlett ordered, even if it tasted like rough grains of sand.

 

* * * * * * *

 

After the meal, Scarlett succumbed to her fatigue and drifted off to sleep.

“…Save me…”

Whenever Scarlett fell asleep, she would always talk in her sleep. Most of her words came in the form of begging and pleading.

“Save me. Or at least Isaac.”

‘Did she go through something terrible in the past?’ 

Even if that was the case, there wasn’t anything Noah could do about.

So, he turned off his emotions and pulled a textbook from his bag. As long as he remains at Scarlett’s side, he would never have enough time to sleep, let alone study.

Attending Scarlett was a lot of work. In his eyes, she lacked the ability to take care of herself. He had to take care of every little thing, along with the housework.

“Cough. cough.”

Noah swiftly took out a blanket and draped it over Scarlett’s body. She always needed a blanket, even in warm weather, due to her body temperature dropping whenever she was in a shaded place.

As Scarlett’s helper, he had to carry all sorts of medicines, water, a list of nearby hospitals, blankets, and fans, and even her share of the textbooks.

And all her needs had to be addressed in a timely manner.

The carriage shook constantly as it traveled towards the villa.

Noah was reading a textbook when he suddenly noticed that the carriage was unusually shaky.

The road outside the window looked different than usual. He opened the window to the coachman’s seat and asked the coachman.

“The road is different, what happened?”

“The city is carrying out construction on the usual road, so it’s not in good condition.”

“How much longer will it take?”

“We’ll be there in thirty minutes. Stop worrying and go check on the lady.”

The coachman seemed a little nervous about Scarlett’s health.

After Noah eased his worries and assured him it was okay if it took a little longer until they arrived at the villa since safety was a priority, he closed the window.

Scarlett was sleeping deeply, and her face was covered in sweat.

“Save me…”

“…. Please save Isaac….”

‘Should I wake her up?’

It looked quite painful. Her sweaty face contorted as a moan flowed from between her lips.

But…

‘I enjoy watching you suffer.’

It was a cowardly and ugly thought, but it gave him a little bit of happiness.

Apart from the sins of his existence, Scarlett’s terribly abusive words were also equally painful. He pretended it didn’t bother him, but he was tired of it.

‘You will live in hell for the rest of your life.’

It was because he had no relief from the intrusive depressing thoughts triggered by her words.

In reality, his life was already hell. His existence was denied, and he was forced to feel guilty for something he did not do…. No matter how hard he tries, he is always in a mess.

Nevertheless, Noah has a strong attachment to life, so he nurtured his ambitions and dreams of hope.

‘I can tolerate your abusive language, but don’t curse me.’

Because he struggled to accept his existence, he wanted to passionately embrace life.

Noah couldn’t keep his eyes on the textbook. Scarlett didn’t wake up even though she seemed distressed. He didn’t want to see Scarlett weeping in her sleep, so he avoided glancing in her direction.

When the carriage stopped, Noah put away his textbook and moved to rouse Scarlett. Just as he was about to wake Scarlett up, the carriage door rattled and opened violently.

The bright light pouring in was blinding. Noah’s eyes narrowed at the face slowly revealed in the backlight. The man chuckled as he swept a hand over his thick beard.

“Long time no see, Sir.”

“This time, we urgently need money.”

“So, we decided to visit our old customers.”

They were loan sharks. Noah exhaled sharply when he realized that they had been kidnapped.

Then, a flat voice was heard from behind Noah.

“Noah, my medicine.”

Scarlett let out a hoarse voice with a face drenched in cold sweat. She finished the remaining water in her water bottle to awaken her hazy mind. She repeatedly said.

“Give me my medicine. Even if you’re dragged away, you should make sure I have my medicine.”

Her heart was pounding. How many more times will she have to get entangled with loan sharks? This is all Noah’s fault.

“Move quickly.”

Philip, one of the loan sharks, nudged Scarlett forward. Scarlett frowned and coughed because the warehouse was very damp and dirty.

“Are you okay?”

Noah quickly draped the blanket around Scarlett’s shoulders.

Scarlett helplessly relied on Noah because she was close to collapsing. Her eyes darkened as she spoke cautiously.

“I won’t resist so there’s no need to restrain me. I need to take my medicine.”

“What medicine? Oh my. Don’t worry because you won’t be taking any medicine.”

Scarlett was sitting in a chair with her hands tied up behind her back. She glared at the loan shark as he tied her feet together. The moment he tried to blindfold her, she hastily said, “Don’t cover my eyes. What do you think will happen to you if I have a seizure? It’s only possible for you to escape with your life if I’m alive. You know that murderers who flee are executed as soon as they’re found, right?”

Phillip looked at Scarlett with a slightly shaky expression on his face.

He checked her complexion and covered her mouth with a cloth. Then he snickered and covered her eyes with another cloth.

Noah thought she would scream and resist, but Scarlett complied with them. She seemed like a person who was well educated about what to do in this type of situation.

On the contrary, it was Noah who got beaten for rebelling. They blindfolded him and bound his arms and legs together and then beat him, with many of their blows landing on his stomach.

Noah was worried that Scarlett could not endure it. If she suddenly had a severe seizure, she would definitely die in this state.

“Ugh! Ugh!”

Noah twisted his body to untie the rope binding his hands. He couldn’t speak properly with the cloth stuffed into his mouth.

They would die.

He could predict their future because he knew how evil their kidnappers were.

They have no intention of letting them both live. That’s why they carelessly revealed their identity.

If they had planned to leave them alive, they would’ve put more effort into concealing their identity since Noah would be able to recognize them based on the voices and faces.

Above all… It’s clear that one of the two had decided to sacrifice themselves for kidnapping Scarlett. After all, she’s none other than the beloved youngest daughter of the White family.

They didn’t have much time. The kidnappers would try to wrap up everything before they’re caught by Kravitz.

Will Scarlett be okay? She could be terrified and already experiencing seizures by now

Noah grew more panicked.

‘I have to hurry and free my hands.’

Noah recalled a time when he was sold as a slave to a whaling boat in the South. Within the experience of continued explorations and dangerous situations, he discovered a secret.

‘Should I use my strength? But…’

It was something that he kept hidden his entire life. He’s afraid to use something so dangerous so he decided to bury it deep within himself.

Meanwhile, Scarlett endured the fear that threatened to swallow her whole.

No matter how frightened she was, it was nothing compared to the feeling of being hunted down and killed every night. Nevertheless, a weak heart is still a weak heart.

‘Last time, I was murdered by Noah Ashford, and this time I will die because of Noah Ashford.’

The face of her nephew, Isaac suddenly flashed in her mind.

‘Ah…No… I can’t die here. Abigail’s illness needs to be prevented and Isaac… Isaac…’

If she dies like this, the terrible and painful future may repeat again. That is unacceptable.

She quelled her agitation and tried to calm her breathing, which was gradually becoming erratic. After some time, tears began to stream down her face.

‘Kravitz knows everything. They’ll come rescue me soon.’

The more her distress increased, the more she struggled to breathe. A sharp pain filled her chest as her heart began to race. Her vision grew blurry as she fainted.

The blood dripping from Isaac was warm. The metallic scent of blood was heavy in the air, the sound of heavy breathing surrounded her…

“Ugh!”

Scarlett jerked awake. She was trembling and the blindfold was soaked with her tears.

‘John! Susan! Scott!’

“Ugh!”

‘Help me! I can’t die now. I still need to kill Noah Ashford. I have to get rid of him to ensure Isaac’s safety.’

Scarlett began to struggle frantically against the binds. She felt faint from all the hyperventilation.

She heard the sound of footsteps. The sound triggered the memory of Noah Ashford chasing after her and Isaac’s ragged shallow breathing.

‘Why did you kill me? Why did you hunt me down like an animal? What is the reason?’

“Urgh. Ugh.”

Scarlett’s vision grew blurry again.

She felt dizzy and like her heart was about to explode. When her strength started to fade, her arms and legs grew numb. Also, the air was heavy with the scent of death.

Scarlett struggled one last time. Suddenly, the chair toppled over, and her head slammed against the floor. Her head throbbed with pain as fresh tears began to fall again.

‘Soon, I’ll die miserably. It appears that I won’t be granted an ordinary death in this life either.’  

At that moment, she felt someone remove the rope around her wrists. Soon, the blindfold and the cloth covering her mouth disappeared.

When the light came on, the sudden brightness blinded her. The moment Scarlett realized it was Noah who freed her, she grabbed him and started crying and pleading.

“Not Isaac…. Please spare Isaac. Kill me instead.”

She repeated the words incessantly, even though her breathing was haggard, and her pale face was covered with tears.

“Just kill me.”‘

Noah was momentarily bewildered and speechless by Scarlett, who seemed to be hallucinating and shook her belatedly.

“Scarlett. Wake up. It’s me.”

“Not Isaac…. Isaac… … Noah?”

“Yes, it’s me. It’s okay. Everything will be okay.”

“Please kill me. Please just kill me instead. Save the little one.”

Scarlett seemed to be in a complete panic. Her eyes were cloudy and the hand that desperately clutched his arm was as cold as ice.

Noah had no idea how to soothe Scarlett, but his attempts were relentless.

“You and Isaac will be safe.”

Nevertheless, Scarlett trembled and continued to cry. Her cries sounded desperate and full of despair, as if her entire world had come crashing down.

She didn’t look like she could calm down on her own, so Noah carefully hugged her and gently rubbed her back.

“It’s okay. I’ll protect you.”

‘You’re not going to die here.’

It was how Mr. White soothed Noah when he was a child. Whenever Noah was surprised by the thunder and lightning, he hugged Noah and gently rubbed his back.

‘No matter what happens, I will protect you.”

He was merely returning the affection she should have received from her father.

Noah desperately wished for Scarlett to find her sanity so she could calm herself down. He was convinced that he would never be able to forgive himself if something happened to her.

Mr. White had abandoned his family and became the only one to protect Noah from his prodigal mother.

Because of this, Noah felt obligated to protect Scarlett.

“It’s okay. Don’t worry. I will protect you.”

Scarlett’s breathing gradually started to stabilize. She was no longer crying, and her confusion had begun to subside.

Within his arms, her body felt cool. He found it perplexing that even while her heart was racing, she felt only slightly warm.

‘If I also lost the will to live, would I become like Scarlett?

The tension slowly left Scarlett’s body. She stumbled for a moment and then rested her head against Noah’s chest.

“You’re only going to kill me, right?” Promise me that you won’t lay a finger on Isaac,” Scarlett mumbled weakly.

“You and Isaac will be safe.”

“Swear it.”

“I swear… Are you okay now?”

‘Why does Scarlett seem so much younger now? Is it because of Mr. White?’

A strange feeling began to stir within Noah when he thought of how much Scarlett relied on him.

Every word she uttered was laced with poison, but he still had deep pity for his weak younger sister. His guilt, regret, and affection towards her were intricately woven together. Scarlett was like a helpless, young deer caught in a trap.

“Give me a piggyback ride.”

Usually, her voice was firm and resolute, but she was very exhausted, so her voice sounded like whimpering.

As Noah carried Scarlett on his back, she hugged his neck with her weak arms. It was an undeniable fact that his warmth reassured Scarlett. It was also true that his whispered oath also eased the heavy burden weighing on her mind.

Scarlett burst into tears again when she realized that it was only Noah Ashford who could bring an end to her nightmare.

The conviction that he would not touch Isaac may have ended her nightmare, but only his death will reassure her.

“We’re going to get out of here alive.”

Noah thought Scarlett was still frightened by him, so he continued to use comforting words.

Her long red hair tickled his cheeks. When he felt her overly small body tremble against his back and her tears streaming down his shoulders, his heart ached.

Noah was certain that their current situation was the reason for his conflicting emotions and decided to not dwell upon it.

“It’s okay. I’ll protect you no matter what. We will return safely.”

“No, I’m going to die,” Scarlett replied tensely.

“Think about Isaac and how you’re going to see him soon,” Noah said as he looked around the warehouse.

“…That’s right. My poor croissant.”

Noah’s mind grew even more chaotic at Scarlett’s sniffles and weak voice.

Scarlett felt much younger than her age. She has an eccentric personality but also seemed immature and vulnerable because of her weak heart. Noah felt some sense of responsibility for that fact.

At the same time, he was glad that she had no choice but to rely on him. For the first time in his life, he felt forgiven and accepted.

“You love Isaac so much.”

“He deserves a lot of love.”

He didn’t know where they were, but Kravitz would surely be looking for them by now. The White family may have been contacted as well.

“Why do you think so?” Noah asked. He wanted to distract Scarlett while he devised a plan that would help them escape their current situation.

“Isaac lost his father before he was born. His father, Chris, had been sick even before he met Susan. The moment I saw my little croissant, my first thought was, ‘I don’t want this kid to be lonely like me.’”

Noah’s heart tightened.

After all, Scarlett was projecting herself onto a boy named Isaac since they both lacked a father. Because she endured loneliness throughout her childhood.

Scarlett continued to ramble without giving much thought to what she was saying. She was just talking in order to distract herself from her fear.

“Aaron is rarely at home. I guess he still finds it too painful to stay at home. He told Andrew that he wasn’t confident he could have a normal family.”

“…I see.”

“Isaac acts like Scott is his father, rather than his uncle, since Scott is the only man in the house who plays with him. John has his own family and is too busy. Aaron never comes home, and Andrew has gone to the seminary. I think I understand him more because I recognize his feelings.”

“Were you the same?”

“I used to call John ‘Daddy’ until I was Isaac’s age.”

Noah felt the magical energy gathering at the fingertips. The sensation reminded him of his blood-stained hands and how the ship he boarded that day was completely destroyed and sank.

Noah kept talking to Scarlett.

“Why do you refer to Isaac as a croissant?”

“His curly hair reminds me of a croissant.…”

The warehouse door creaked open.

“Scarlet, close your eyes!” Noah shouted.

Scarlett immediately closed her eyes and buried her face into Noah’s shoulder.

Noah’s eye color slowly changed to violet.

Noah Ashford is a wizard.

Wizards are individuals who have the ability to absorb a certain type of energy in the air and convert it into magical power. With that power, they were able to turn almost anything they imagined into a reality.

There were no special requirements for wielding magic, only the ability to apply magic power and innate talent was needed.

And Noah used to say that his talent showed ‘how much unrealistic magic can actually be implemented’.

“Argh!”

It hasn’t been long since Noah discovered that he was a wizard. When he was a slave on a whaling boat, he used magic without realizing it.

The first time he used magic, he committed murder, and he hadn’t used it since that day. After he escaped from slavery and started living as Theo Grisham, he rarely used harsh words or violence.

Noah didn’t hesitate when he used his magical powers to create and shoot flames at the man rushing towards him. The flames exploded on impact and engulfed the man, burning him alive.

He sprinted toward the entrance with Scarlett’s long hair fluttering over his shoulders.

“Don’t open your eyes.”

Since Scarlett was very sensitive, Noah was concerned that if she saw the gruesome scene, it would cause another seizure.

Noah noticed that Scarlett was trembling, and her breathing was shallow. Her arms tightened while wrapped around Noah’s neck.

The screams of the kidnappers reminded her of the nightmares that were filled with the sounds of her servants screaming as they died.

“Scarlet, are you okay?”

“Please… Not Isaac…. Spare Isaac… … He didn’t do….”

“Isaac will be fine. Are you okay?”

Scarlett inhaled deeply and then exhaled harshly. She thought she was going to faint at any moment.

‘I have to calm myself. In order to survive… to escape with my life, I have to get ahold of myself.’

“I’m… I’m fine.”

‘I’m fine.’

‘It will be okay’

‘It has to be okay. I have to endure it until the day I die.’

Scarlett raised her head resolutely and worked to control her breathing.

“Kravitz knows everything. Scott would already be on the move,” Noah said meaningfully.

“Don’t open your eyes…. please,” he urged when Scarlett started to lift her forehead off his shoulder.

‘I don’t want you to see even a glimpse of this brutal massacre.’

At that moment, Scarlett was someone Noah had to protect. She was his younger sister, who was close to shattering like a piece of glass.

Above all else, he is the only one who can save her.

“I think the kidnappers were colluding with the capital mafia,” Noah muttered.

“…I need to take my medicine.” Scarlett hated that her voice trembled when she spoke. She felt like she could have a seizure at any moment.

“Are you in a lot of pain?”

“I need a sedative. Give me a stabilizer.”

“Hold on for a little bit. It’s in my pocket. I’ll give it to you once we get out of this situation……”

Scarlett groaned in response. Noah focused his attention on using his ice spears to penetrate the hearts of the mafia members, who drew their weapons against them.

Scarlett tightened her hold on Noah and burst into tears at the sounds of bodies being pierced, people collapsing, screams and groans, and the overwhelming scent of blood surrounding them.

“Scott! Andrew! John! Susan!”

Confused, Scarlett desperately cried out the names of her brothers and sister, who she regarded as her parents, like a lost child wandering around the road. She felt that she would soon collapse.

When they exited the warehouse, a forest cloaked in darkness appeared. She shivered when the cold night air seeped through the layers of her clothes.

Noah hid behind the tree before he lowered Scarlett and took the medicine out of his pocket.

“Wake up.”

“Cold… It’s so cold. When is John coming? What about Susan?”

Noah watched as Scarlett looked around as if she was expecting her brothers and sister to show up at any moment and noticed that her gray eyes were red and swollen. She was in a panic, trembling and weeping incessantly while struggling to push Noah away with her weak hands.

“Scarlett.”

“How do I call for help?”

“Scarlett.”

“There’s an intruder in the house… …I need a doctor. It’s my fault…. Can you smell the blood?”

Noah decided that Scarlett had gone completely crazy. He forced her mouth open and pushed a yellow tranquilizer pill between her lips.

She spoke slowly, ignoring the pill in her mouth.

“Why did you kill me?”

“Chew it.”

“How much longer are you going to continue killing me?”

‘You kill me every night. I died yesterday and the day before yesterday. And I’m going to die again today.’

Scarlett couldn’t take it anymore. She cried like the time she fell and hurt her knee as a child.

” Jo-oh-on! John, save me! I’m going to die! Save me!”

“Scarlett!”

Noah grabbed Scarlett’s face with both hands and met her gaze. Scarlett couldn’t take her eyes off his deep blue eyes that seemed to glow in the dark.

She stiffened like an herbivore standing in front of a wild beast. She was completely captivated by the mysterious light in his eyes.

“Scarlet, listen carefully.”

Deep wrinkles formed in Noah’s forehead. He wasn’t the calm and docile Theo Grisham. Deep down, Noah Ashford is a tenacious man with relentless strength and a slightly rough side.

His hands caressed Scarlett’s cheeks. The cold night air and his warm touch made her shiver.

“We’re going to go back alive. No matter what happens, I will save you. You don’t need to worry about anything, I can protect you.” Noah’s blue eyes did not waver as he spoke.  His low, powerful voice radiated with his deep conviction and intense energy.

“How?” Scarlett asked as if possessed.

“Because I will protect you.”

Noah’s large fingers swept away her tears and then rose slowly to remove the stray hairs stuck to her forehead.

Scarlett’s eyes widened at his delicate touch. However, when his blue eyes met hers, something inside of her snapped, and she started screaming.

“How can you protect me?! You make me feel like I’m dying everyday!”

‘What do you mean? Is my existence that painful?’ Noah’s face was torn apart in agony.

Scarlett let out another scream. She couldn’t believe Noah, who murdered her repeatedly in her dreams every day, would protect her. She couldn’t even accept it.

“Please stop coming into my dreams! Leave me alone!”

“Scarlet, wake up. Please, calm down. Shhhh… You’re okay. Shhhh… You’re fine.”

Noah firmly hugged Scarlett as she struggled. She clawed at his back, pinched his sides, and bit his shoulder. However, Noah ignored it all and continued to whisper calmly.

“Hush. Shh. It’s okay. I’ll protect you. Shh. Everything will be okay.”

Scarlett was still hysterical and wrestled to get away from him. But the more she struggled, the stronger Noah’s arms became.

She was undeniably weak against Noah, who gained a great deal of strength while working on the whaling boat.

Trapped in his arms, she wept bitterly and slapped him on the back. He then pressed his right hand against the back of Scarlett’s head until her face rested against his chest.

She continued to cry while Noah’s warm hand caressed her back. His hand was so tender that it only added to her despair.

“Let go…” Scarlett shouted helplessly.

She felt like the dream Noah, who killed her every night, was a completely different person from the current Noah, who treated her with kindness and consideration.

No, were they not the same person in the first place? Before her death, Noah was a stranger, but now she was deeply involved in the life of the current Noah. It would be very difficult and too confusing to separate the two.

“Let go of me…”

“Once you calm down,” Noah replied while he alternated between patting her head and shoulders.

‘Why does she feel so fragile? How is it possible for her to be this small?’

She wasn’t even that small in stature, but he considered her as too small because her existence was pitiful like a candle that’s burning out. As a result, he became affectionate and pitied her.

‘Why did you have to be so small and fragile? I would feel less guilt if you were stronger. I would have been more selfish, too.’

‘I thought you were just insensitive and mean, but I guess it was all just self-defense. It must be very difficult to overcome hatred with a sick body.’

Noah felt miserable and was close to crying. In the end, he had no choice but to kneel in front of Scarlet, because she was so weak and pitiful.

“It’s okay. You’re fine, Scarlett.”

Noah soothed Scarlett as she cried like a child. After a few moments, she sniffed and spoke in a hoarse voice.

“I’m not a kid.”

“You are a kid,” Noah said jokingly. For the first time, a smile appeared on his face. It was a mischievous but light smile.

His unique beautiful appearance, strong impression, and relaxed aura made her feel tense in a way that was hard to explain.

‘Could this be the fairy of the night, that excels in deceiving people?’

“Shall I give you a piggyback ride?” He asked affectionately. His eyes were sparkling, and his voice was seductive.

Noah was completely unaware of the expression he had on his face and the way he treated her. She was overwhelmed by all the rising complex emotions.

“I have no strength in my legs. Why isn’t anyone here? What about the carriage? The kidnappers?

He had killed them all. But Noah remained silent. Scarlett didn’t need to know.

“You haven’t been paying attention.”

“What do you mean? How did you do it?”

“I can do it all. When you live at the bottom, you learn a lot.”

Noah grinned and carefully removed the hair stuck on her tear-stained cheeks. Scarlett flinched noticeably at Noah’s touch.

“I’m sorry.”

“It’s fine.

Scarlett, who was extremely exhausted from all the struggling, crying and screaming, felt like she would faint at any moment. After the tension in her body relaxed, she was gently carried on by Noah.

She decided to not think about the two very different Noahs. She was exhausted and had a headache from crying too much. She would have a seizure if she got any more agitated.

Noah began to navigate through the forest. He read the stars to determine their direction and recalled maps to guess their location.

“Scarlet. Aren’t you hungry?”

“The moment I get home, I want to eat chicken soup.”

“That’s what I eat when I have a hangover. Have you ever had a drink?”

“I secretly stole Aaron’s 2 million Berk wine and drank it with Andrew. What about you?”

“I’ve tried a lot of alcohol. In winter, I dilute rum and drink it.”

“You shouldn’t drink such cheap alcohol.”

Noah brought up mundane stories to calm Scarlett down. She carefully rested her head on Noah’s shoulder. Her body felt heavy from the intense fatigue. However, due to the situation, she was too nervous to fall asleep.

‘How did I end up relying on Noah Ashford?’

She decided not to think more because her head was dizzy. More importantly, she is still alive.

“If we get back safely…  …I’ll invite you to Scott’s cocktail bar. It doesn’t belong to me, but all of Scott’s stuff is all mine anyways.”

“What kind of person is Scott? He seems to be your best friend.”

“We’re 13 years apart. Scott and Susan are twins, but they have very different personalities.”

Scarlett sighed and continued.

“If Susan is cold and stiff, Scott is sweet and gentle. That’s why he gets along well with all his brothers. He’s totally different from the selfish Aaron. I often wished Scott was my dad. He’s warm, kind, and nice…. Although he’s not playful like Andrew or blunt like John.”

“You love him a lot.”

“Scott is…”

As Scarlett was about to speak, a faint figure appeared between the trees in the distance. Thinking it might be someone from the mafia, Noah quickly hid her behind a large tree. Crouching on the ground with her arms wrapped around her knees, Scarlett trembled and looked closely at the figure approaching through the trees.

Noah stared intensely into the darkness. If they were kidnappers, he planned to cover Scarlett’s eyes and then kill them all at once.

However…

“Scott”!

Scarlett darted from behind the tree. The hem of her skirt brushed against Noah’s hand.

Even in the dark, Scott seemed to be clearly visible to her. At that moment, Noah could see the difference between a real family and a family with only a blood connection.

Scarlett was immediately embraced by Scott, who appeared from the darkness. Scott recognized Scarlett as she ran towards him, he grabbed her and hugged her tightly.

” Scarlett!  Oh God, thank you.. Oh my gosh. Thank you.….”

Scott repeated the prayer as he smoothed Scarlett’s hair and stroked her cheeks. The sound of his voice was heartbreaking.

“Did you get hurt?”

“Why are you so late? Kravitz knows everything. Why are you only here now…?  I thought I was going to die. I was so scared.”

“I’m so sorry. Oh my god… I was so late. I’m sorry. Are you okay? What about your body? Did you get hurt anywhere?”

“Nothing happened.”

Scott took out a magic stone and checked Scarlett’s condition. When he saw her haggard face, Scott’s face collapsed for a moment and his jaw muscles twitched.

His eyes darkened as he thought about catching and killing the criminals.

However, when Scarlett’s gaze turned, Scott skillfully hid his expression.

“Come on, let’s head back.”

“Wait a minute.”

Scarlett turned and shouted at the bushes.

“Noah, come on out.”

Scott’s eyes narrowed when Scarlett shouted in the direction of the dark forest she appeared from.

Noah approached Scarlett with a slow gesture of embarrassment. Scott White always made Noah nervous.

“Let’s go.”

“Why is that guy…”

“We were kidnapped together, and Noah Ashford saved me. So, we should leave together.”

“I’m asking why you’re with him.”

“Kravitz knows everything. I’m tired. How long are you going to keep at this?”

“…Let’s talk about it later.”

Scott sighed and carried Scarlett. Scott seemed accustomed to holding her. As they walked, he somewhat gave her an explanation.

“Before the mafia was able to announce the kidnapping, I put an end to it and got here first. Thanks to that, the rest of the family is still unaware.”

“That’s a relief. If Aaron had known, there would have been an uproar.”

“The capital mafia would have been destroyed by this time tomorrow. He would have used the military to attack.”

Scarlett giggled and burst into laughter. Scott sighed with a weak smile.

“You must be tired, so close your eyes.”

“Yes. It was a very tiring day.”

Scarlett fell asleep as if she fainted, relaxed by Scott’s familiar scent.

Before Scott climbed into the carriage, he ordered the mercenaries that accompanied him to drag out and beat the kidnappers.

Scott laid Scarlett down in the carriage, stroking her long hair as he examined her closely. It was a careful touch as if dealing with a very fragile animal.

“How did you escape?”

“…I had just enough strength”

“Well, I’ll find out naturally when I receive the results of the investigation.”

Scott’s eyes were different from Scarlett’s.

It’s the same gray color, however, Scarlett’s eyes always held a hint of frantic emotions, while Scott’s eyes were like a large icy rock at the end of the snowy field. He freezes everything that approaches and exudes cold energy with just his presence.

“I don’t know what you’re expecting from this kid, but you’ll never get what you want.”

“I don’t want anything from Scarlett. To be honest, I just want her to feel at ease.”

“Ha. Can you prove it?”

“I saved Scarlett’s life today. How much more proof do you need?”

“Wasn’t that just to appease her?”

“Scarlett approached me first. If there is something she wants, I will give it to her.”

“You don’t have much of anything. If you have nothing to give, you will repay her, even if you have to sell your body, mind, and soul.”

“I never wanted this!”

‘I never wanted to be an illegitimate child. I didn’t ask to be born. If my existence alone is a sin, why did God create me?’

“Yeah, maybe you didn’t want this, but your mother acted on her free will. My father abandoned his children and was kicked out of the house because of his affair, but your mother is still around. You still have a long way to go.”

Noah bit his lower lip until it bled.

“Scarlet is an adult. So, don’t try to influence or control her. How much will her forgiveness cost? …You can judge for yourself.”

Forgiveness.

For Noah Ashford, that word meant everything.

“Yes, she is an adult, but you only see Scarlett as a little girl.”

“Don’t put her name in your mouth.”

“Scarlett is also my sister. There’s no reason why I can’t say her name.”

Scott grinded his teeth. Noah twisted his lips. His deep ocean-blue eyes glowed brightly. In Scott’s eyes, it was clear that Noah Ashford’s stubbornness was deeply ingrained.

“Scarlett keeps crying about saving Isaac and begging for someone to kill her instead. What the hell happened? The White family doesn’t seem to have the power to protect their beloved youngest sister. That’s why even a guy like me is wary.”

After taking a deep breath, Noah spoke firmly.

“But I saved Scarlett today. She may be a half-sibling, but she’s still my sister.”

A fierce anger crept across Scott’s face. Noah always thought that he would have to kneel before a member of the White family, it was the first time he had taken a shot like this.

Noah smiled contentedly like a purring beast. It was a smile of victory.

 

Scott took Scarlett to her villa as requested.

“You have to keep it a secret,” Scarlett muttered while lying in bed.

Scott promised to do so, and after taking all types of medicine, she instantly fell asleep.

After Scarlett fell asleep, Scott silently walked past Noah. Early the next morning, after receiving the investigation reports about kidnapping, he called for Noah.

Scott’s features were shaded by the light emitting from the magic stone that had been nailed to the wall.

Scott had very distinctive features. He was a particularly handsome man with puffy eyes, a defined jawline, and full lips. If there was a male god depicted in ancient mythology, it would describe Scott perfectly.

Perhaps that’s why Noah felt burdened by Scott White. No, the atmosphere he exudes was heavy, and caused him to stiffen his shoulders for some reason.

“You managed to hide that you were a wizard.”

“ … …”

“Ha. The White family lineage has no wizards, so you must have inherited it from your mother!”

Scott’s tone resembled Scarlett. Although Scarlett seemed to resemble Scott only in appearance.

“Even if I were a wizard, nothing would change. I’ll still do whatever Scarlett wants.… I want to make it clear that I have no intention of threatening her.”

“If you make a threat, I will make it as if neither your mother nor you ever existed in this world.”

Kravitz has the power to do that. Scott White was by no means a pushover. He was a beast, ready to tear his opponent apart at any moment.

However, Noah was formidable. He’s much younger than Scott, but he’s grown taller and hides his claws well, waiting patiently for the opportunity to bite his foe’s neck.

However….

“You can’t deny that Scarlett is also my sister. And don’t forget that we’re brothers and I’m also your younger sibling.”

Scott’s fists clenched tightly until both of his fists turned white. A bulging vein made an appearance on his forehead.

“How can I forget? I’m very fortunate,” Scott replied sarcastically.

“No. It’s just a little luck among an ocean of misery. I had the misfortune of meeting you, but I still have hope for something better with Scarlett.”

Noah left the room after saying he would not allow any further conversation.

Scott watched Noah as he left the room. Once he was alone, he closed his eyes and succumbed to his emotions.

 

 

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