TWB (Novel) Chapter 93

C93

As if it was a lie that had smiled so brilliantly before, Zachary returned to his usual expression.

While Bianca fanned and cooled her burning face, Zachary remained silent as if he was pondering. The silence didn't last long. Having made a decision quickly, he said with determination.

"What you said back then, is it still valid?"

"W-What do you mean?"

"I mean wanting to have my successor."

"Of course, but..."

Bianca responded to the abrupt question. Her head was still saturated with the kiss. Meanwhile, is it still valid? Successor? Bianca stared at Zachary intently.

Zachary also looked at Bianca, then he leaned towards her and whispered softly in her ear.

"Tonight, I will visit you."

"What?"

Bianca questioned the still incomprehensible words, but Zachary moved away from her without giving an answer, leaving only a faint smile.

Balancing on the horse, he pulled the reins and lightly spurred it, and Zachary's black horse soon distanced itself from Bianca.

Bianca was left alone, but the warmth of Zachary on her lips, and the scent of leather and iron still lingered at the tip of her nose. Bianca stared at Zachary's back and unconsciously brought the golden rose he had given her to her lips. The cold touch cooled her burning lips, but not her heart.

---

On that day, everyone in Lahoz was busy talking about Zachary's victory. After all, there was no one who could match the Count of Arno, and the war with the Kingdom of Aragon would soon come to an end.

Until now, everyone pretended to be calm, but there was no reason not to be anxious due to the prolonged duration of the war. In this way, the anxiety lurking in a corner of their hearts was somewhat relieved by Zachary's performance in this tournament.

And Bianca, the owner of the golden rose, became as much of a hot topic as Zachary's performance.

It's not that the winner had never kissed the lady they appreciate before, but this time it was none other than Zachary de Arno.

The fact that he took such action, when he seemed completely oblivious to romanticism or courtly romance, made everyone try to guess the romantic relationship between the couple.

Moreover, not much was known about her, probably because she had spent most of her time locked in her room after arriving in the capital. That aroused people's curiosity. Not to mention the unknown handkerchief that Zachary gave to Bianca.

Of course, there were many rumors about her bad personality and that the Count would be tired of her. But no one had ever properly met her, and it was difficult to believe it completely because it contradicted Zachary's behavior in the tournament.

So, while people talked about Bianca, the protagonist of the rumor, Bianca herself nervously wandered around the room all afternoon.

Bianca even dismissed Yvonne and locked herself in her room, pondering over and over about the tournament.

Successor, and tonight.

Those were words she never thought would come out first from Zachary's mouth.

Bianca tried to remain calm in a situation where she seemed to have been swept away by the wind and waves as soon as she became aware of her feelings.

Perhaps Zachary didn't intend to join her today. Wasn't he the one who had rejected Bianca's proposal to join her all this time? It was obvious that he came to have a conversation, just to seriously think about the successor.

If he returns to the Arno estate in autumn, it will soon be winter, and then she will turn 18...

Yes. It's better not to jump ahead. There was a sign of anticipation, but if that wasn't the case, wouldn't it be very embarrassing?

However... Bianca hesitated. Not for the reason, but for her instinct, the affection they shared after kissing Zachary, it pointed at her. An illusion that couldn't be easily overcome, an attraction that seemed to bind her body.

Was that the reason? Unconsciously, Bianca washed herself more than usual.

How long had she been immersed in water mixed with rose oil?

After washing her body, the scent of roses mixed with the strong smell of grass permeated her body.

"... I have a headache."

Bianca touched her throbbing forehead.

Since there was no immediate solution that could resolve her complicated thoughts, only frustration remained and filled her mind.

Rather, she was afraid to confront it, but still wished for Zachary to come quickly and give her a clear answer about what he meant. Confused, Bianca sighed.

"Bianca."

At that moment, Bianca turned around, startled by the sound behind her.

Zachary leaned against the door, staring at Bianca intently. His silver hair was shinier than usual, and his clothes were loose.

While Bianca involuntarily frowned at the strange composition, Zachary approached her.

"Are you not feeling well?"

"No. I'm fine."

He was too close. Confused by Zachary's natural proximity to her cheek, Bianca unconsciously took a step back. Bianca realized her actions a second later.

It shouldn't be like this. Bianca struggled to regain control.

"I must be embarrassed because you mentioned that suddenly."

"It wasn't just because of the words."

Bianca's ears burned as she remembered the kiss.

Although she returned, the memories of her previous life didn't help much. In her previous life, she had only endured and tolerated her relationships with Zachary, and what happened with Fernand was just a price to pay for her love.

When she kissed Fernand for the first time, she felt her heart tremble, but with this kiss, she definitely felt that it wasn't because she truly loved him.

On the other hand, Zachary seemed very casual.

The way he kissed her was also very natural. It was a touching moment for Bianca, but perhaps for him, it meant nothing...

Thinking that way, Bianca felt as if a corner of her chest had been pierced by a needle.

Bianca felt mortified by the pain. She knew it would be like this, which is why she had decided to tightly close her heart...

"I'm sorry if I embarrassed you."

"It wasn't particularly embarrassing. We are a couple..."

"That's a relief."

Zachary's lips curved into a smile, perhaps because he liked Bianca's response.

The once-opened heart easily opened the door despite her resentment. Bianca felt as if she wanted to grab her uncontrollably throbbing heart and ask it to stop being so loud. If she could shake it to calm it down, she would have done so.

As if he knew nothing about Bianca's feelings, Zachary took another step closer to Bianca. No. Perhaps he knew Bianca's heart as clearly as the palm of his hand.

As if he was deliberately shaking her.

His proximity put Bianca in a predicament. She couldn't help but think that her heart would burst if she stayed there.

"I have a lot to apologize for today."

He didn't know why he had to apologize so much, but the distance between their bodies could no longer be reduced, and their bodies seemed to be touching.

Bianca felt as if she was in Zachary's arms, even though his arms were not wrapped around her waist. That's why Bianca felt uncomfortable and embarrassed.

"I wanted to give you about a week to prepare your heart. As I am older, I tried to show a more mature side... I know it's too sudden. But my heart feels too sweet, and I can't wait any longer. My patience, which I boasted about so much, has finally reached its limit."

Unlike his usual self, he was unusually talkative. It was also unexpected. Bianca's head spun, wondering what the hell he meant by preparing her heart.

It was frustrating to see him go round and round while remaining silent about the topic of conversation.

"It would be better if you told me what you're thinking. Now it seems as if... really..."

Bianca, who didn't want to be disappointed due to a misunderstanding, desperately tried to understand Zachary's intentions.

In the moment Bianca's eyes trembled, Zachary, who was standing in front of her, reached out and embraced Bianca.

Startled, Bianca pushed against Zachary's chest, but the strong arms around her back were like the roots of an old tree. Bianca's movements were as powerless as a bird fluttering against a cage. Bianca exclaimed in embarrassment.

"Count...!"

"Darling."

Zachary cut off Bianca's cry softly and resolutely.

"Call me darling."

Zachary's words remained absurd. Bianca looked at Zachary, dazed. The reflection of Bianca in his black eyes seemed troubled by embarrassment. Her heart beat strongly. Unlike before, she was afraid that the strong pounding of her heart would be transmitted to the chest that was in contact with hers.

Zachary smiled at Bianca as if she were charming and said, at a slow pace but in a clear tone that could never be misunderstood.

"Soon, it will become a relationship worthy of being called by that title."

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