Sabelian stood at the entrance, paralyzed, and, despite the distance between us, I could easily see the agitation present in his eyes. “….We agreed on separate rooms, didn’t we?” Seeing him like this, what with his trembling voice and all, did make me feel a bit haughty. I knew he wouldn’t like me being here, but I wasn’t expecting him to dislike it this much.
The romantic atmosphere had engulfed the room, partially due to the scented candles burning away, but more so due to the beautiful woman lying atop the bed at the center of the room. She wore nothing more than simple nightgown and was surrounded by rose petals
Most men would grin excitedly at the sight of this, but I knew Sabelian was different. The more romantic it was, the more he hated it. I tried to make myself look as beautiful as I possibly could, even going so far as to enlist the help of my maids with my makeup. I even surprised myself with how my appearance really tied the room’s mood together.
And as I’d expected, Sabelian looked furious with me, if that deep frown of his was any indication. Hmph, you have the gall to be mad at me? I should be the one mad at you!
“….So, you haven’t changed.”
“What do you mean, I haven’t changed?”
“I trusted you when you promised we’d use separate rooms. What a fool I must look like now.” He spoke like he’d just been stabbed in the back by his best friend. I don’t think I’ve ever actually seen him so disappointed, not even when he’d found out Abigail faked her death the last time. Honestly, I felt a little sorry for him now.
No, no! You can’t pity him! You have a job to do here, now do it! I steeled myself and prepared my rebuttal. “I do plan on keeping that promise.”
His frown deepened. “Like this?”
“I asked to use separate rooms so that you would stop being so suspicious of me. But since you ended up even more suspicious of me than before, I don’t really see the point.” I deliberately slid one thigh over the other. I could feel Sabelian flinch.
“…You said you were planning on keeping that promise.” Sabelian spoke through gritted teeth. Frankly, I was surprised. I half expected him to have already taken off just like that, but he managed to endure it.
“Yes, I’m planning on keeping it.”
“If you apologize for becoming suspicious of me, I’ll go back to my room immediately.”
“And if I don’t?”
I gave him my best pout. “I’m going to move back in.” Sabelian turned completely pale. I decided this was the perfect time to drop the killing blow. “I’m going to sleep with this gown off as well.”
“I’m wearing super sexy underwear beneath, you know?” I lifted my chin defiantly. Hmph, how is it? Just imagining it must be pure torture, no?
I came on a little strongly, but I was actually feeling quite nervous inside. After all, I really did have a sexy lingerie right under this gown. I initially tried to wear something simpler at first, but Clara stopped me. She got mad at me for trying to get away with simple underwear on “date night”. And she managed to pull out an incredibly raunchy set of lingerie out of nowhere. The thing was practically a string, I kid you not.
I did threaten the man with removing my gown, but I seriously didn’t want to. Hey, Sabelian, hurry up and apologize! I don’t want to show you what I look like under this either!
After a moment of silence, Sabelian pried open his lips. His face seemed to have regained a bit of its usual calm. “You’ve… changed.”
“What do you mean?”
“I thought you’d take the chance to try to sleep with me.”
“Why would I do something like that?” I shrugged. “Didn’t I tell you? I’m not interested in you anymore.”
This was revenge; revenge for the rabbit doll who had to die for her nonexistent sins. When I returned to my room after the incident, I replayed it over and over in my mind, but no matter how many mental hoops I jumped through, Sabelian was definitely in the wrong here. Sure, it’s fair that he was suspicious of me, and he ended up ripping the doll apart in his suspicion.
But shouldn’t he have apologized after realizing he was in the wrong? I would have more than easily forgiven him if he had just asked for it. But apologizing never even crossed his mind. At this point, I wanted to hear the word “sorry” come out of his mouth at least once. If I didn’t hear it now, I’d probably have to endure his abuse without ever hearing a word of apology from his lips. “Running away won’t save you. I’ll follow you around till you say sor…”
…Hey, aren’t you being a bit too fast here? This son of a… You really hate me a lot, don’t you? This doesn’t make me happy at all. “I won’t accept the apology unless you’re sincere about it.”
“I’m honestly very sorry, Abigail.” Again with the immediate response. I wondered if it was just lip service again, but… his voice was different from his usual tone.
I turned to look directly at Sabelian. The anger completely vanished from his face. I couldn’t really tell what he was thinking due to his usual impassive neutral face, but I could tell his eyebrows were a little droopy. …Was he really sorry? I felt a little bad for making such a big man get sad like that.
I straightened my posture a little bit, and ended up scratching the back of my head from the sheer awkwardness. “…Well, it’s not like I don’t understand why you did it, so I’ll forgive you.”
“……” Sabelian still didn’t say anything. He just looked at me silently. For some reason, I felt like I could detect a hint of real regret in his eyes.
Ugh, I did want to get an apology, but….! I can’t take this awkwardness! I brushed the rose petals off the bed, blew out the candles, and opened the windows to air out the room, letting outside air drift in. The smell of the roses didn’t really leave, though.
The room was dark after I blew out all of the candles, though the full moon outside still lit up the room to some degree. Ergh, it’s gotten even more awkward without us talking. I opened my mouth after a bit of thought. “….I’m no longer interested in having a child or having power. I don’t care about you loving me, either. If you want to have another child, you might as well take in another wife.”
That was better for my situation, really. Though, it’d be annoying if another woman like the old Abigail came in. As long as I could live peacefully, there should be no problems. Hiding from plain sight was my previous specialty, after all. “I heard Karen from the Stork family was rather nice. If you just…”
“I will not be remarrying within the Stork family.” Sabelian sounded firm. There was no sign of his former apologetic self; the ice king was back.
“You can get someone from a different family, then.”
“All of you are just…” He dragged a hand through his hair in sheer annoyance. His blue eyes seemed rather powerful in that instant. “I will not be marrying any other woman now or in the future. My wife is, and always will be, you.”
My mouth turned dry at his words. Why was he looking so serious? What? I thought he hated me? No, perish the thought, don’t let your guard down. He has to be saying this for some reason. This man is a beast. But despite knowing this, I couldn’t keep my eyes away, subconsciously biting my lips. I barely managed to look away from him long enough to walk past him. Only then could I say, “……Fine. I’m leaving now.”
Staying beside Sabelian any longer would just increase my suffering; my heart felt like it was about to explode. I gave him a curt nod and walked out. My body was cold as it could be from the spring air, but the smell of roses lingered in my hair.
* * *
It felt good getting my hair brushed. I was getting pampered by my maids while I reclined on my sofa. Ah, so this is what power tastes like. It felt awkward at first, but at some point I started to enjoy it. Clara carefully caressed my hair as she applied oils on it. It smelled like roses.
The smell reminded me of the incident from a few days back, when I awkwardly walked out of Sabelian’s room. We started using separate rooms again after the incident, so I didn’t have to see him anymore. It really was quite nice. My heart threatened to beat out of my chest when I remembered that face of his from last time.
Ughhh, what a dangerous face. It was already bad enough seeing faces like that on television… “Clara, could you use something other than roses next time?”
“Yes, My Lady.” Clara kept brushing my hair as she responded. In the midst of it, though, her hand came to a stop. “Um… Lady Abigail?”
“Did something happen that night?”
“When you went to his bedroom.”
Eh? Why’s she talking about that now? I stared at Clara with wide eyes. She looked dreadfully nervous.
She mumbled a little bit before clearing her throat. “It’s just, you came right back after you left… I was wondering if my choice of roses was to blame…” Clara and a few other maids were in charge of decorating the bedroom that night. I could remember Clara doing her best to arrange the rose petals.
“No, it’s nothing like that.”
“Was the lingerie not to His Majesty’s liking, then?”
“Oh no, nothing of that sort. It all went well. Don’t worry about it, really.” I spoke firmly. You trust me, right, Clara?
The girl looked at me quietly for a second before grinning. “…Yes! I understand. I’ll try to do better next time. I even found a famous lingerie designer just for this!”
No, please stop while you’re ahead. Sabelian might send both of us to the guillotine if he finds out. I avoided her eyes since I couldn’t very well say that out loud.
Just then, Norma walked into the room, still wearing her normal maid outfit. “There’s a present for you, Lady Abigail.”
“A present?” She was holding a box, black in color. I took it off her hands, a little surprised by its weight. “Who sent this?”
“His Majesty was the one who sent it.”
Huh? Sabelian? A gift from him? But I don’t remember doing anything deserving of a present? This worries me for some reason. It’s not something like a pair of white-hot metal shoes or anything, is it? I looked down at the box with eyes full of worry.
Clara, however, took it completely differently. “Maybe it’s lingerie more suitable for you, Lady Abigail!”
No, it’s not. You gotta get your mind out of the gutter, girl.
“You should open it!”
“…Right.” It couldn’t possibly be shoes, right? I gingerly opened the box. When I saw the contents inside, I couldn’t stop my jaw from hitting the ground. “He was the one that sent this?”
“Yes, Lady Abigail.”
It was a doll; the same bunny doll I’d made for Blanche—right down to its attire and texture. But it wasn’t just the one doll, for there was another, slightly larger white bunny in a different outfit: the purple dress I had been wearing that day.
The two bunnies complemented each other perfectly, just like a lovely mother-daughter pair.
TL: Soju Jimmy
Editor: MWO Gimlet, and Comrade Vodka
QC: Solistia Cosmopolitan