A Barbaric Proposal

Chapter 22 - Requiem (2)

Chapter 22 | Requiem (2)

It was windy and from his delicate position on the window frame, the gusts were especially perilous to him.

But carried on that dangerous wind was an even more dangerous whisper.

He could hear Rienne’s voice.

[Rienne] –‘Let’s go to another room first.’

Standing where he was, he couldn’t see into the room but at the sound of her voice, his ears perked up.

[Rienne] –‘The…next room over.’

She wasn’t talking to that monstrous man. That message was meant for Rafit.

It was like she was trying to tell him that she’d risk her life in order to get that barbarian to leave the room. All so he could escape safely.

Now Rafit was certain their love hadn’t died yet.

Rienne was only doing this because she was being forced to.

As a daughter of House Arsak, Rienne was an honorable woman. She would never allow herself to admit she was still in love with someone else while she was engaged to another.

Even if the marriage was one she didn’t want, Rienne’s heart was ever noble.

That meant Rafit had an obligation to take her back himself.

[Linden] “You’ve always been blind when it came to that woman, but it’s gotten worse.”

Linden said to his nephew as Rafit shook his head at him.

[Rafit] “I’m not blind. I can see perfectly clearly.”

Until now, Rafit had no idea what Rienne’s true feelings were.

She never expressed any desire to sleep with him so he didn’t think she cared for him all that much. He always felt as though his love for her ran deeper than hers did for him.

But he knew better now. He wouldn’t allow himself to doubt her again.

[Rafit] “So remember, uncle. You can never take direct action against Princess Rienne.”

[Linden] “What?”

[Rafit] “Rest assured that man will never gain control over Nauk.”

Linden’s lips twitched.

[Linden] “Do you not realize the position we’re in? What if the Princess truly does end up marrying that savage? Does that not make our family look like a couple of fools?”

[Rafit] “I won’t let that happen.”

Rafit spoke with clear and staunch determination in his eyes.

[Rafit] “I’ll make sure I get her back before then.”

[Linden] “. . .”

Linden clicked his tongue but he didn’t say anything further.

Though even if he did, Rafit would’ve just ignored him. Truthfully, he didn’t care one bit what anyone else had to say.

Rienne’s wedding was just over ten days away.

Before that day ever came to pass, he needed to find a way to get her back.


* * *


[Black] “What happened to your hand?”

Their ride back to the castle from the Temple was the same as their ride there. The only difference was the gloomy look on Rienne’s face and how weak her body felt.

As they passed people in the streets, everyone looked a little bit confused. They didn’t understand why Rienne was riding a horse back to the castle while she was supposed to be at the funeral.

But it wasn’t like Rienne could tell them she had no choice but to leave to avoid Linden Kleinfelder’s tricks.

[Rienne] “…Huh? Oh… it’s nothing. I was just distracted for a moment and ended up cutting myself with scissors.”

With her head stuck in a storm of thoughts, Rienne responded seconds too late. She had entirely forgotten she was hurt until Black brought it up.

Noticing his gaze reaching her hand, she recoiled and tried to hide her injury.

[Rienne] “I’m alright now.”

After using medicine to stop the bleeding, the wound was hardly noticeable. He must have a good eye if he was able to see it.

[Black] “You should get a different pair of scissors then.”

Those words brought out an unconscious chuckle from Rienne. There was no way she could afford to do something like that. It would be much faster just to ask Mrs. Flambard not to sharpen the blade too much next time.

[Rienne] “It was only a minor accident. It’s nothing you need to worry about. I’ll just be more careful in the future.”

Rienne reached out and took Black’s hand as he again helped her down. It was far too easy to forget that she needed to be careful around him whenever they touched.

[Rienne] “I’ll go inside now. Thank you for allowing me to ride with you.”

Rienne turned around to make her way inside the castle, keeping her head low to avoid eye contact.

But Black was a lot faster than her.

When she started walking away, she could have sworn he was behind her. And yet, somehow, he was suddenly standing in front of her.

[Rienne] “……?”

This man could move faster than anyone the moment he decided to.

[Rienne] “Was there something you wanted to say?”

[Black] “There is.”

[Rienne] “Then speak your mind.”

His pale blue eyes glimmered just before he said anything.

[Black] “Is it really that bad that you couldn’t attend the funeral?”

[Rienne] “….I don’t know. Maybe.”

Rienne didn’t realize this, but she had a worried look on her face the whole time they were riding back to the castle.

But her extremely troubled expression didn’t escape Black’s notice.

[Rienne] “I’ve never had to deal with something like this before. I don’t know exactly what the fallout will be but I know it can’t be good, considering who Linden Kleinfelder is…..”

Rienne hesitated. She wasn’t sure if it was a good idea to talk about the people of Nauk as if they’re the enemy to an outsider. (1)

[Rienne] “……He isn’t the kind of person to let this sort of thing go.”

[Black] “Then I’ll handle the funeral.”

[Rienne] “What?”

Rienne’s emerald eyes widened.

But how….? No….more importantly, why?

[Black] “We’ll change the date or the location if we have to.”

[Rienne] “If only that were possible……but if the Tiwakan were to do anything….”

It would be perceived as a use of force. Given how delicate the situation was, that definitely wasn’t a good idea.

But Black was already aware of Rienne’s fears.

[Black] “I wasn’t planning on using force.”

[Rienne] “Then what will you do?”

[Black] “I don’t know, but I’ll figure something out. Give me until tomorrow.”

[Rienne] “. . .”

Can I believe that? Can I trust what he says?

Everyone was saying he had ulterior motives. They kept trying to tell her that one way or another he would try to take his revenge.

So why?

Why act like he was going to do something for her? Like he was worried?


[Rienne] “Why are you doing this?”

In the end, the question was too overwhelming and she asked without pause.

[Black] “What do you mean?”

[Rienne] “I want to know why you’d care about the funeral, Lord Tiwakan.”

[Black] “Is there a reason why I shouldn’t?”

[Rienne] “This funeral….”

….Is happening because of you. To give peace to those you killed.

[Black] “I’m your fiancé now, Princess.”

[Rienne] “Lord Tiwakan–”

[Black] “That makes your responsibilities my own. It’s my duty to make sure you’re safe.”

[Rienne] “. . .”

I don’t get it…….What does this man even want with me?

[Rienne] “Is that all it is?”

[Black] “Do you think there’s something more to it?”

That’s what everyone else was saying.

[Rienne] “Are you truly just doing this to fulfill your obligation as my fiancé? There’s no other reason?”

[Black] “Why are you…”

Hearing Rienne’s remark, Black was about to respond before slowly frowning instead.

[Black] “I suppose I’m still not that close to you, Princess.” (2)

She couldn’t argue.

Ever since she heard Weroz’s mysterious message, these incessant doubts just grew stronger by the minute. Anytime Black said or did anything, Rienne couldn’t shake the idea that there was some hidden meaning behind it.

[Black] “Would it be easier if I said there was a reason?”

[Rienne] “Lord Tiwakan—”

Black cut off Rienne’s words, his face straightening out into his usual neutral expression.

[Black] “In that case, then yes, I have another reason for doing this. If I deal with the funeral, then I want you to give me something, Princess.”

[Rienne] “Something…from me?”

[Black] “What can you offer me?”


Rienne had a troubled look on her face. No matter what he wanted from her, she couldn’t think of anything valuable she could give him.

[Rienne] “…Given the situation in Nauk, I don’t have much I can give you, Lord Tiwakan. But please know that my desire to give you something in return is true.”

[Black] “Then I want what you offered me before. I want to change rooms.”

[Rienne] “A room….? You mean the bedroom you’re staying in?”

[Black] “I want the room next to yours, Princess. As your fiancé.”

[Rienne] “. . .”

The moment Rienne heard those words, her face paled.

The room she was presently using was where generations of Nauk rulers slept. It was a place that could not be accessed directly from the hallway, but rather from the bedroom next to it.

Considering they even had a shared bathroom, the two bedrooms functioned more like one.

Naturally, the long empty room was always intended for use by her future husband.

[Rienne] “That’s….”

[Black] “Is that a problem?”

[Rienne] “. . .”

His intentions were obvious.

If he moved into that bedroom, they’d essentially be sharing a single space. Whatever Rienne did, whoever she met with—he’d be the first to know everything.

[Rienne] “Once we’re married that room will be yours, but for now….”

[Black] “If we wait until the wedding then it wouldn’t work as payment.”

[Rienne] “. . .”

[Black] “Will you allow it?”

Rienne closed her eyes for just a moment before opening them again.

….Okay. If that’s how he wants to do things.

There was a reason why those rooms were built as if they were one. It was designed to keep the spouse of Nauk’s ruler from committing any acts of betrayal.

If this man was planning on using this as an opportunity to watch her, then that meant she could keep an eye on him too.

Whatever his true intentions were, she’d find them out.

[Rienne] “Very well.”

Rienne nodded.

[Rienne] “I will allow it, so long as you can handle the issue with the funeral. But please remember, I don’t want you to kill anyone. I don’t wish to see any more bloodshed in Nauk.”

[Black] “Then I’ll change rooms tomorrow.”

Black grabbed Rienne’s hand.

At first she thought he would just cement their agreement by taking her hand, but instead his lips found her injured finger.

[Black] “I’ll see you tomorrow.”

The moment she felt something touch her finger, she felt a sensation of fire pass to her. As he noticed Rienne shrink away from him, Black looked at Rienne.

[Black] “Take care of your hands.”

[Rienne] “. . .”

[Black] “Now then.”

Black released her hand, saying his goodbyes with his eyes rather than his words as he turned around and started walking away.

What will he do….?

All Rienne could do was stand there, watching Black’s back as he disappeared into the distance.

Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea.

Could she truly just leave something so important regarding Nauk to him? But at the same time she couldn’t help this sense of expectation she held in her heart.

It was like the idea of Black failing was entirely unimaginable.


* * *


[Maslow] “Ah, Princess?”

Maslow was in the King’s office.

Sitting at the desk, he looked to be hard at work on something, but dropped his pen in embarrassment the moment he noticed Rienne.

[Rienne] “What’s wrong, sir?”

[Maslow] “Weren’t you supposed to be at the funeral?”

So you came here thinking I’d be away.

Rienne casually glanced down towards what Maslow was writing.

[Rienne] “The Kleinfelders disallowed me entry on account of me being too disrespectful. I didn’t even get to set foot in the Temple. But more importantly, what were you doing?”

[Maslow] “Oh…well… I just thought we’d need… a letter of appointment for knighthood soon….” (3)

[Rienne] “A letter of appointment?”

[Maslow] “That’s…”

Whenever he tried to talk, Maslow kept averting his gaze away from her. Obviously whatever he was doing was underhanded.

[Rienne] “You were planning on doing something like that without my approval?”

[Maslow] “It’s…. what Lord Kleinfelder wished for….”

[Rienne] “. . .”

Of course it was. There was no one but Lord Kleinfelder who was arrogant enough to do something so brazen.

[Rienne] “Give it to me.”

When Rienne reached out her hand, Maslow ashamedly shook his head.

[Maslow] “I was planning on showing it to you once I finished. It requires your seal, Princess….”

[Rienne] “Then I’ll take a look at it now.”

[Maslow] “No, you don’t have to do that….”

[Rienne] “Is that so?”

[Maslow] “. . .”

[Rienne] “I’m sure you must’ve smudged the ink when you dropped your pen earlier. You’d have to start over anyway, so you might as well show it to me.”

Biting his lip, Maslow eventually relented and held out the letter he was writing.

[Rienne] “….Hah.

After reading the first two lines, Rienne immediately sighed.

[Rienne] “Lopez Kleinfelder…. That’s his new name now?”

[Maslow] “Princess!”

Maslow’s eyes quickly darted around in surprise.

[Maslow] “What would you do if someone heard you?”

[Rienne] “Ha…”

Rienne let out another exasperated sigh when Maslow expressed the belief that the Tiwakan still didn’t know Rafit was still alive.

[Rienne] “Reject it.”

[Maslow] “Princess.”

Even though he looked flustered and off put just moments ago, suddenly Maslow’s expression turned serious.

[Maslow] “You know what you’re saying, correct?”

[Rienne] “They want to grant him the title of a knight, which in turn would allow him as an ‘illegitimate’ son to be a noble. Am I getting this right so far? The royal family must seem like quite the joke to the Kleinfelders.”

Not just a joke but also an eyesore they needed to get rid of.

[Maslow] “…..It wouldn’t be wise to say no, Princess.”

Maslow once again tried to advise Rienne.

[Maslow] “You said earlier you couldn’t even enter the Temple for the funeral. If Lord Kleinfelder hears you’ve rejected this, things will get worse.”

This was a reality Rienne was all too familiar with. She instinctively frowned.

[Rienne] “’Worse’ how?”

[Maslow] “Princess.”

[Rienne] “Did he say anything specific? If I don’t recognize his illegitimate son as being a member of his family, how will he make me pay, I wonder?”

* * *

T/N: (1) Reference to when she mentioned how Linden planned on weaponizing the people of Nauk through rumor mongering.

(2) This phrase is literally “for (the) princess” + (I am) distant/far away”, indicating that Rienne thinks of him as someone she isn’t close enough with to trust in that way. It sounds awkward in English so I had to change the phrasing, but I still thought the literal translation was interesting enough to point out.

(3) A “letter of appointment” is an official notice granting one a specific role, duty, or position as recognized by whoever is in charge. In this context, Rafit would need one in order to regain his knighthood under his new identity.

astral comment: oh Rafit…..I have no words for you, buddy.

ghost comment: Okay but we love a man who notices something is wrong and is instantly super willing to fix it for you. Now that’s my kink.

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