TWB (Novel) Chapter 87

C87

When Jacob turned his horse out of the arena, his eyes met Zachary's. Jacob's helmet visor was open, so Zachary could read the emotion on Jacob's face.

A sense of euphoria, a feeling of superiority, and a provocation that said, "Stop me if you can."

He shrugged, smirked, and walked away from Zachary.

Zachary silently watched his disappearing back. Unlike when Bianca returned to the stands, his gaze was filled with hostility and anger.

But Jacob wasn't the only one. When Jacob disappeared, what Zachary saw when he turned his gaze toward Bianca was a jester fluttering around her.

Zachary's face inside the helmet wrinkled beyond words.

"What else is this?"

Such a shiny appearance. The man who looked at Bianca had clear intentions.

The man who made exaggerated gestures toward his wife as if courting a female bird couldn't be seen as something pleasant.

To be honest, it wasn't strange for his eyes to burn. Just before that, Jacob had thrown huge embers into Zachary's heart.

It's not that Zachary misunderstood Bianca's relationship with men.

As her husband, it seemed like a flaw if he said it with his own mouth, but to be honest, Bianca wasn't good at hiding her expressions.

Especially when it comes to likes and dislikes. He has experienced it himself, so he knows it better than anyone.

If she doesn't like her opponent, Bianca will have a hard time pretending.

It was evident on her face that she felt uncomfortable with the men she had encountered.

But that didn't mean that the buzzing flies fluttering around her didn't bother Zachary.

Even the number of buzzing flies was increasing by one or two!

The buzzing flies in front of him right now were annoying, but what really irritated Zachary was the distant future.

Right now, Bianca may not be interested in men and may resist them, but you never know when that will change. In the future, if Bianca wants to date another man with whom she can have a conversation, someone who resembles her more than her forced husband...

Zachary felt a choking sensation in his throat and deliberately stopped thinking. The confidence that enveloped him when he received Bianca's handkerchief vanished in an instant, as if it were a burst bubble.

"Thank you all for waiting. Finally, the last match of the tournament! Introducing the hero of Sevran, the Count Blood of Iron, the Wolf of the battlefield, Count Zachary of Arno!"

The spokesperson, who had no way of knowing whether Zachary was feeling down or not, announced Zachary loudly. The crowd held their breath and focused on him.

He was exposed to the gaze of the public at a time when emotional ups and downs fluctuated for a short period of time. Despite the stiffness of the armor surrounding him from all sides, Zachary felt like a jester.

In the countless gazes that filled the sky like a rain of arrows, Bianca's direct gaze fell on Zachary like a flaming arrow, like a messenger of a god delivering a celestial revelation.

Bianca looked at him pitifully, as if begging him to rescue her from the man by her side...

Zachary's heart swelled terribly. He wanted to run towards Bianca after knocking the opponent in front of him to the ground immediately, but he struggled to maintain composure and catch his breath.

Zachary approached. The servants who had been with him for many years handed the lance to Zachary at the right moment, like tongues in his mouth*. The lance, which the two servants had barely lifted, was lifted in Zachary's hand and seemed as light as a branch.

(Note: The idiom "like tongues in his mouth" refers to moving according to someone else's will, obediently following their orders.)

Zachary raised his lance high as if to pierce the sky, following the battlefield habit to inspire morale. The crowd cheered, and Zachary's opponent, the knight from Castile, swallowed nervously. But he didn't want to give up the honor of being able to compete against "that" Sir Arno.

Filled with determination, he tightly held the lance against his side.

An unwavering sense of stability. The lance, Zachary, and the horse were in harmony.

The two knights participating in the tournament slowly rode their horses to both ends of the division. Those holding the flags looked at each other. One, two... now!

The horses' hooves hit the ground as soon as the flag dropped. The race of the two knights was difficult to see even with the naked eye. Their lances, covering a distance of 300 meters at once, crossed paths.

Kwang!

The sound of the clashing lances resonated unusually violently. The winner, of course, was Zachary. Not only did he break the shield at once, but the opposing knight fell to the ground with a single blow.

Due to the overwhelming difference in skills, the stadium became as silent as a mouse. But it didn't take long before the crowd started chanting Arno. How happy they were to have achieved a complete victory over the Knight from Castile. The elderly king, forgetting his age, jumped from his seat and applauded. Gautier also had a satisfied smile on his face.

Amidst the deafening cheers, Zachary quietly rode towards the only person to whom he would present the rose from his chest. His dry and modest behavior even felt ascetic, making the hearts of the ladies beat faster, but Zachary's mind was blank.

"You've worked hard."

Bianca greeted Zachary. Zachary lifted the helmet visor. Bianca's appearance, which had not been clear through the gap in the helmet, was seen more clearly. Zachary unconsciously tightened his lips.

Pushing all emotions and locking them away with a firm and expressionless face. That was Zachary's handling of facial expression.

"It wasn't much."

The jester, who had been wagging its tail next to Bianca before, had disappeared. But that didn't make Zachary feel any better. It was because Bianca's lap was filled with roses, almost as many as a bouquet of flowers.

Jealousy surged even though he knew that most of them were flowers with little meaning. Zachary's eyes intensely scanned Bianca's roses. As soon as he discovered which one belonged to Jacob, he felt an urge to throw it to the ground.

Zachary looked at the rose hanging from his chest. The rose he would give to Bianca was no different from the others. This alone wasn't enough. Zachary wanted to be the only one for Bianca. He was Bianca's husband, so one could say he was the only one, but apart from that...

Lacking confidence in his position, Zachary always felt anxious. Insecure, he wanted tangible proof. He needed something different, something special. Ordinary roses were not enough. The golden rose, a symbol of victory, would make the distinction between him and the others visible.

Of course, the fact that he would give a golden rose didn't mean that others wouldn't give their roses to Bianca. Whether it was his elder brother or his subordinates, he wanted to exclude them all. He knew he was greedy. But what did it matter?

Thieves who learn to steal late don't realize that dawn is breaking. The desire that once twisted and soared couldn't be easily extinguished. Zachary clicked his tongue and added.

(NT: Another idiom. It refers to a person who develops an interest in something later than others tends to be more enthusiastic about it.)

"Don't go to the tournament for a while."

"What?"

"I'm concerned about the flies buzzing around you. I'll win on the last day, so if you really want to go, you can go alone then."

If someone else had said that, they would have been accused of boasting, but it was tolerated because it was Zachary. Bianca smiled slightly at his calm tone.

"Is that so?"

Zachary took a deep breath at the bright green eyes looking at him. His hands trembled. After dropping all shields and armor to the ground, the need to embrace her shook him. Zachary struggled to suppress the impulse, but he couldn't control the trembling of his fingertips. After several vain attempts, Zachary managed to take the rose from his chest.

"... I'm serious. I dedicate to you the glory of my victory."

The hand holding the rose trembled. Will Bianca notice that it's trembling?

However, he couldn't afford to worry about that. It was because Bianca's white fingertips slowly reached out towards Zachary. Like a handkerchief waving in the wind, the approaching fingers snatched the rose from Zachary's hand.

"I'll do as you say."

Saying that, Bianca smiled more brightly than before.

The smile, which he thought he would never see since she always raised her eyes and stared at him or looked away with lowered eyelashes, was more splendid than the rose in her hand, warmer than the sun, and sweeter than honey.

Oh, to see that smile, he would win again and again.

Contrary to the promise that was as cold and sharp as a knife, a soft smile appeared on Zachary's face as he looked at Bianca.

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