TWB (Novel) Chapter 124

C124

Zachary knew Bianca's anxiety. But it would be even more disturbing to know what he said to Gaspard.

Zachary lowered his voice and asked Gaspard.

"Gaspard, you must protect Bianca in the territory."

"However... Will she be alright?"

Thinking about Zachary's recent decision, Gaspard had guessed it would be the same. However, he couldn't hide his concerns.

As capable as Zachary was, leaving Gaspard, one of the three commanders, was like going to war without a hand. Additionally, Aragon's offensive was more intense than usual, so participating in the war without showcasing his usual abilities was a risky decision in many ways.

But Zachary nodded without hesitation.

"This is unusual. I don't know what will happen."

Gaspard remained silent and lost in his thoughts. Then, his eyes widened as if he had suddenly remembered something.

Gaspard asked in a low voice, struggling to suppress the voice that was about to shout.

"Perhaps... Do you think something could happen to the territory?"

"........."

Zachary responded by nodding his head. That alone was enough of an answer. Gaspard and Zachary exchanged concerned looks. Zachary grabbed Gaspard's arm and whispered softly.

"Take good care of the territory and Bianca."

"Don't worry. I'll protect them with my life."

Gaspard nodded with determination. Zachary patted Gaspard's back.

Gaspard was the only person he could entrust Bianca to now.

After talking with Gaspard, Zachary returned to Bianca. Bianca, who had been waiting for Zachary, stood in the same spot as before, appearing determined at first glance, but her hands clutching her skirt and her pale face showed her impatience.

"Bianca?"

When Zachary asked anxiously, Bianca's body slowly turned towards him. Bianca's face was so white that it seemed like she was about to faint.

In fact, Bianca was so dizzy that she couldn't regain her senses.

She should have guessed it from the moment Gautier died. Because Jacob wouldn't have killed Gautier without reason. Maybe it was to provoke Aragon, who hesitated out of fear of the Paladins. If he kills Gautier, it could seem like Sevran will fall into Jacob's hands at any moment... Gautier's death was only to provoke Aragon.

Then she was able to piece together the puzzle more or less. But she realized it too late. If she had known this beforehand, she would have told him to kill Jacob first anyway, without needing to look for anyone else...

For her, who was nervous about the responsibility of having to solve everything, the news brought by Zachary overwhelmed her with a feeling of indebtedness.

If only she had acted a little wiser. If only she had made a bold decision...

Exhaling, she felt at risk as if her mental rope was about to come undone at any moment.

As expected, Bianca's mind reached its limit. After enduring extreme mental fatigue in the past few days, she felt as if the thread had snapped and she fell to the ground at the same time.

As soon as Zachary saw Bianca fall, he called her name.

"Bianca!"

Fortunately, Zachary was able to securely hold her before Bianca collapsed to the ground. Bianca, in Zachary's arms, had already fainted.

Her complexion was pale. What the hell had put her in such a predicament that she was as frightened as if someone was about to die?

Zachary stared at Bianca's weary face for a long time. He wanted to ease Bianca's heart, but the fact that it was impossible at this moment made it hard for him to breathe. Was he such a helpless man? There was an intense sense of strangeness.

Zachary lifted Bianca and carried her to her room. That was the only thing he could do for Bianca at this moment.

-----

Bianca jolted awake, feeling as if someone had pushed her from the tower of the castle.

"Ugh...!"

Bianca took a deep breath and shook her dizzy head a couple of times. She was in her room, but she couldn't understand why she was here.

"I'm sure Zachary came back, and I heard from him about the war...."

Bianca realized she had fainted a second later.

"Ah... Did I faint?"

She wasn't even angry. No matter what she had endured, she had never fainted. So no matter how shocking the news was, it was enough to hurt her pride.

At that moment, she heard a voice softly asking next to her. It was Zachary.

"Are you awake?"

He was clean and well-dressed, as if it were a lie that he had just arrived in a dusty mess. His silver hair glistened with a hint of moisture, and the collar of his upper garment was carefully ironed. It seemed like he had washed up while Bianca was unconscious.

Bianca asked harshly, enduring the pain in her throat.

"How... How long was I unconscious?"

"About an hour."

Bianca sighed. It was a short period of time, but she didn't have much time to begin with. She had work to do...

"I didn't have time for this."

Bianca murmured softly and shook her head to regain composure. Everything she had worked so hard to build in her mind shattered and mixed into a mess with her fainting. She tried to assimilate the situation as calmly as possible, but it wasn't that easy.

Zachary looked at Bianca like that. His gaze ran over her complexion as if he was examining Bianca's state. Zachary's voice was blunt, seeming unhappy to see Bianca unwell.

"Do you often faint like this? Yvonne said it's the first time this has happened."

"It's the first time I've fainted."

"Was it that shocking? Why?"

Zachary's question left Bianca speechless. Bianca shook her head slowly. The eyes that had been hidden boldly revealed themselves in front of Zachary. Now she couldn't even hide her complete anxiety.

Bianca spoke, looking directly at Zachary.

"The war."

"The war is something familiar. I married you and went to war countless times. As always, you just need to rest comfortably here."

Despite Zachary's persuasion to reassure Bianca, she couldn't easily calm down. His words simply passed through her ears. Bianca clung to Zachary's arm and pleaded.

"Don't go."

"I can't, Bianca."

"You're in danger."

"War always carries risks. Don't worry too much. I've been at war with Aragon once or twice before, and I'll soon return with victory."

"It's really dangerous this time!"

Bianca, unable to bear the same words, let out a scream and grabbed the hem of Zachary's clothes.

Zachary wasn't as fearful of war since he had lived through it. Bianca, on the other hand, had always stayed in a warm and comfortable castle. Naturally, from her perspective, Bianca's advice on war shouldn't be taken too seriously.

Bianca would have been anxious if it were like always, but she wouldn't have held him back with so much effort. However, this war was going in a different direction than before. Bianca knew it was going to be a war that threatened Zachary's life. It was a whisper of instinct close to prophecy.

Sweat dripped from the hands that held Zachary. Cold sweat ran down her cheek. Bianca was desperate to stop Zachary.

Since Bianca was highly agitated, Zachary tried not to raise his voice. Zachary asked Bianca tenderly, stroking her cheek with the back of his hand.

"What are you afraid of, Bianca? Don't worry. As always, I will return victorious."

"It's different this time! You could die...!"

Bianca, who shouted aloud, was left breathless for a moment. Her slender throat gasped for air. Zachary hurriedly rubbed Bianca's back gently. Bianca clasped her arms tightly, trembling with emotion.

Barely holding her breath, Bianca pleaded with a tearful voice.

"Please, don't go."

"There's no one who can replace me. If I don't join the war, the border of Sevran will be devastated. Aragon will trample over them. It won't end there. They will eventually invade Arno. By then, it will be too late to suppress it!"

Zachary's voice, as he tried to explain, eventually grew louder. Belatedly, he bit his lip and shook his head. Don't get too worked up here. Zachary sighed softly, trying to maintain composure.

But Bianca didn't seem to appreciate his efforts. She still burned like a boiling fire that engulfed dry fields. Her momentum wasn't easily halted.

"You can send someone to replace you!"

"To whom?"

"The Paladins!"

--------

Her face seemed filled with confidence. Her pale green eyes gleamed provocatively as if she were going to war.

"They will be able to deal with Aragon even if you don't go, right?"

"No matter how many saints appear in Sevran, the Paladins won't move because of that. It's just that the saint is from Sevran, but it's unclear what their intentions are. The involvement of the Paladins in the war is uncertain."

Zachary smiled faintly as he looked at Bianca's dignified figure. She usually appeared more mature and intelligent than him, to the point that he couldn't believe she was only 17 years old, but sometimes she would bring up absurd stories like this.

The Paladins were a very strange idea. Zachary thought Bianca would be disappointed, embarrassed, and angry at his refutation.

But Bianca stood still, without a smile on her face. As if Zachary's refutation made no sense. She said quietly,

"I can move them."

"What?"

"Because I am the saint."

A silence fell. It seemed to stop breathing for a moment. It was as if the Bianca in front of him was not the Bianca he knew, a strange sense of disparity emerged... She spoke extremely seriously, but what she said seemed like a joke.

Zachary looked at Bianca in disbelief, raising an eyebrow. Bianca also looked at Zachary. In her direct gaze, he felt that all of this was not a joke, a game, or a lie. Bianca said, word by word.

"I am the rumored Saint of Sevran, Zachary."

"Nonsense."

Zachary groaned and sighed. He shook his head, then suddenly turned his gaze to the ceiling and looked out the window. After acting foolishly for a while, he looked at Bianca again and asked.

"Is it really you?"

In response to Zachary's bewildered question, Bianca calmly turned her gaze back to answer. The emotion from earlier had vanished like a lie, and her resolution added a strange credibility to her words.

Although Bianca hadn't spoken, she was not a liar. Zachary believed Bianca. But that didn't mean it was nothing.

With an unfamiliar dejection, Zachary sank deeply into the back of his chair.

"That's why... you met with the archbishop at that time."

"Yes."

"Since when have you known that you're a saint?"

"A year ago."

Zachary kept his mouth shut. A year ago.

As soon as Zachary returned from the war, she suddenly approached him to have a successor. The sudden change baffled him because he couldn't understand what was happening...

"Why... why did you hide it? Why me...?"

"I didn't want to tell you."

Bianca stood firm. Shaking her head, her face was filled with pain and sadness.

Zachary's face twitched. Was there any reason to hide it so much? Why the hell? Zachary, unable to understand, parted his lips with difficulty.

"Being a saint... is something glorious. If I had known you were a saint..."

"Would you have treated me differently if you knew I was a saint?"

"It's not that!"

Zachary's shout reverberated in the room. Zachary's eyes fluttered with embarrassment.

To Zachary, Bianca's very existence was more important than her position as a saint. He wasn't even a very religious man to begin with.

He was a small man who was very secular and obsessed with protecting the fence of his home rather than a cause to embrace the world.

"I always give you all the sincerity I can give. But... still..."

Zachary's mouth twisted. Bianca could also hide the fact that she is a saint. It was his fault for not being reliable enough.

Zachary didn't know much about religion. He knew nothing more than the fact that a saint was chosen by God and represented the will of God. Why Bianca was chosen by God, what revelation she received, or what she had been consulting, there was nothing he could say.

Perhaps it was because of his ignorance that Bianca didn't tell him she was a saint. An unfaithful husband with no interest or knowledge of religion. Looking at it that way, what did Bianca feel when she was chosen as a saint?

Moreover, a year ago, they were more distant than they are now. To be honest, he also agreed that they didn't have a close enough relationship.

Zachary understood all of Bianca's circumstances and feelings. Zachary also knew that nothing would change even if he had known earlier that Bianca was a saint.

However...

Still, he felt a strong sense of betrayal. A narrow jealousy of finding out later than others. It was the same even if the opponent was the archbishop.

Even if there was no reason to reveal a secret, even if there was a distance between them at that moment. Still, they were a couple...

Zachary knew he was being greedy, but he could barely control his emotions. Seeing himself like this made him sick to his stomach. While Zachary tried to suppress the emotions that were boiling here and there, Bianca slowly opened her mouth.

"I have seen the future, Zachary. You say I'm seventeen, but... I lived in my dream until I was thirty-eight. I witnessed how you died and what happened to Sevran afterwards."

Bianca smiled bitterly. Traces of the long years passed through her face in an instant.

Bianca thought Zachary would be surprised. It was a shocking story. If Bianca had heard something like that, she would have made a big scandal saying she was trying to deceive her.

But Zachary just looked at Bianca. He didn't seem very surprised. When it came to hiding his emotions, he clearly had a great poker face.

Zachary wasn't too surprised. When he learned that Bianca had lived such a long time in her dream, her attitude and behavior, which had been somewhat strange until now, made sense. Surely, she was too mature to be seventeen...

But that didn't mean Zachary didn't care about Bianca's dreamed future. Rather, it seemed that he was too worried about it.

What would it be like in that future? What kind of husband was he to her? Maybe he hurt her.

It's something he didn't do, but it's something he could have done. Thinking about it that way, he was terrified.

"Aren't you curious? How you died? What choices I made? What kind of couple we were?"

Bianca's question, which came just in time, seemed to be reading Zachary's mind. Like the temptation of a demon, it slipped into Zachary's vulnerable point.

He shouldn't say he's curious because what's important to them is the present. But an unknown curiosity pressed Zachary's lips.

He was curious about the future that Bianca had seen, not just to alleviate his anxiety. It was a kind of reward mentality for what she had hidden from him, the truth he had never known before. How petty it was to covet Bianca's secret.

In the end, Zachary didn't say he was curious, but his silence confirmed it. Bianca smiled brightly, as if she knew.

"I was a truly disrespectful and terrible wife. Everyone around me pointed it out. How bad I was, everyone felt sorry for you."

But behind the smile was the frustration and despair that had left everything behind. Zachary, who noticed it later, quickly dissuaded Bianca.

"It's okay, Bianca. Those dreams don't matter. You're not like that."

It wasn't what he wanted to hear. He just... wanted to know if he had been a good husband to her or if she regretted becoming his wife again. That's all he wanted to know.

He didn't want her to confess this self-critical story with her own mouth. He wanted to prevent Bianca from criticizing herself, but Zachary didn't know what to do. He involuntarily embraced Bianca. It was very pathetic and regrettable to see her slender body trembling in his arms.

But the arrows already shot didn't stop. Bianca lost her composure and struggled to escape, pushing her hand against Zachary's chest. Bianca shouted loudly.

"They matter! God gave me a dream to prevent the future from becoming worse!"

Bianca seemed to be pursued by something. Her anxious eyes moved here and there. He could even sense the desperate madness in her as she spewed words like a broken dam.

"It was such a terrible future, Zachary. It was the worst... If you're curious, I'll tell you. What a disgusting woman I was. If that sickens you, I'll divorce you. So instead, don't go to war. Okay?"
-
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