A Barbaric Proposal

Chapter 24 - Requiem (

Chapter 24 | Requiem (4)


They were lucky there was still water left in the bathroom. Rienne took the dampened cloth and started using it to clean the wound.

The candle’s wick was short, the flame itself nearly going out several times as it flickered.

But Rienne’s eyes already adjusted to the darkness, so she could easily see things if they were close enough.

[Rienne] “It must have hurt.”

And now she could see the wound was no small thing.

The severity of it was hard to realize because his hands were so big but if Rienne had the same injury, no one would question how serious it was.

[Black] “I didn’t notice.”

[Rienne] “How could you not notice something like this?”

[Black] “…..I must’ve been in a hurry.”

It was hard to imagine such a man actually in a hurry.

He looked like he was built like a boulder or a tree. No matter the conditions, rain or wind, he seemed like he would never be shaken.

I didn’t think there was anything in this world that would actually make him rush like that.

[Rienne] “It’d be for the best if you applied Tiwakan medicine to this wound. It would work better.”

After carefully cleaning the wound of all dirt and blood, Rienne thought for a moment before asking.

[Rienne] “Would you like to wash your face as well?”

Once his hands were cleared of all dirt, his face only appeared like more of a mess.

[Black] “…………..Yes.”

Black took a deep breath before finally answering.

[Rienne] “Then come a little closer.”

His face was much farther away than his hand. Black quickly got closer and stuck out his face to her.

[Rienne] “That’s too….”

Too… too close.

While Rienne’s voice barely escaped her, Black settle down with his knees on the floor.

[Black] “Is this good?”

….He’s still really close.

[Rienne] “I’ll do it quickly.”

Then, Rienne started gently wiping his face, starting with somewhere that wasn’t that dirty to avoid staining the cloth.

….I shouldn’t have offered to do it for him.

Maybe it would’ve been better if she told him to step back a little. Was it because the candle was burning too bright? For some reason, Rienne could see him crystal clearly.

……He really is handsome.

[Rienne] “Close your eyes, please.”

The second Rienne realized she was looking at him closely, she realized that he was looking at her too. From this distance, his ice-like gaze felt like all too much.

And he didn’t even look like he was blinking.

[Black] “Why?”

[Rienne] “You’re…..too close.”

[Black] “Even if I wasn’t, you’d still look the same.”

No, it was different.

When they’re this close, nothing could ever be safely hidden.

If he looked too closely, everything Rienne felt when she saw him—all the confusion, admiration, and bewilderment—he’d see all of it.

[Rienne] “Still, please close your eyes.”

After that, Black murmured slowly.

[Black] “………..I don’t want to.”

[Rienne] “What?”

[Black] “I don’t want to do that.”

[Rienne] “. . .”

Where was all this stubbornness coming from?

Rienne wasn’t sure if water had gotten into her eyes or something, but her lips tightened together as she struggled to see in front of her, rubbing the cloth perhaps a little too hard.


[Rienne] “Ah….!”

But Rienne only ended up surprising herself. As the hair around his forehead was swept away, suddenly blood began to drip down from his forehead.

[Rienne] “You’re hurt here too!”

In a panic, Rienne started brushing his hair out of the way.

She thought it was just mud that got caked up, but it was all dried blood. It made the wound on his hand look like nothing.

[Rienne] “Did this somehow escape your notice, too?”

[Black] “I knew about this one. I just thought it would be fine since the bleeding stopped.”

And if Rienne hadn’t agitated it, the bleeding wouldn’t have started up again.

[Rienne] “. . .”

I guess that makes this one my fault.

Rienne’s hands paused, filled with remorse.

[Rienne] “I shouldn’t have touched it.”

[Black] “No.”

As Rienne’s hand was stopped midair, Black grabbed it and pinned it to his face.

[Black] “Keep going. It doesn’t hurt.”

…….There’s no way it doesn’t hurt.

[Rienne] “Let go of me, please. You need to clean that wound with water.”

[Black] “Are you going to do it for me?”

Honestly, what’s going on with him?

He should be able to handle something like this on his own…. Ah, but he hurt his hand, didn’t he?

With a wound like that, Rienne couldn’t ask him to do it by himself.

Thinking that, she gave a soft nod.

[Rienne] “Yes, if you let me go.”

[Black] “. . .”

Eventually, he relented and Rienne’s hands were freed. Rienne put the cloth down and began leading him towards the water basin.

[Rienne] “You’ll need to close your eyes.”

Black obediently lowered his head down near the basin and Rienne got to work cleaning the wound. Immediately, she saw the blood spreading throughout the water as soon as it rolled off of him.

You’re terribly hurt…..

Why on earth would you leave such a serious wound alone? Why would you come straight here instead of getting it treated first?

Rienne continued to touch him with caution.

All that was heard in the air was the splashing sound of water and the occasional soft breath. The two meshed mysteriously in the soft glow of the candlelight.

[Rienne] “I’m almost done. Just a little bit longer.”

It was difficult to see the injury since the light was so dim. As soon as Rienne wished it was lighter, the candle lit up brighter for just a moment as if to give her false hope.

[Rienne] “Okay, I think that’s it…. Ah.”

But it was just a moment.

Suddenly, the candle went out. The smell of the burnt out wick danced around Rienne’s nose as the candle’s last embers faded, burning the brightest in its final moments.

[Rienne] “The candle went out.”

[Black] “That’s good.”

That room where the darkness consumed everything carried a different kind of energy. With every other sense eliminated, suddenly her hearing intensified, every sound tickling her skin.

Even Black’s low voice echoed out in the room, hitting her ears like a vast tidal wave hitting her ankles.

[Rienne] “What is…….?”

[Black] “The candle went out right after I finished.”

[Rienne] “……..?”

[Black] “You said I could touch you after I was clean.”

[Rienne] “That’s………Can I ask why, though?”

[Black] “It’s not that important.”


The sound of Black reaching out towards her made her skin prickle, and Rienne breathed in harshly before he even touched her.


With how dark it was, she thought it would take him a minute to find her but Black quickly wrapped his arms around Rienne’s waist. Sitting on his knees, he rested his head against her chest as his hair tickled her skin.

Rienne was so immediately flustered that she didn’t know what to do with her hands. Eventually, she awkwardly settled them on Black’s head.

It wasn’t the first time she’d had him in her arms, but things felt weirdly different right now. It was embarrassing.

…..Was it because it was dark?

Lots of people tend to act differently when they can’t see anything.

[Rienne] “But….there must be a reason why….”

[Black] “When the rock fell and hit my head…..”

Black spoke slowly, still holding onto Rienne.

[Black] “Suddenly it came to me… that it would be nice to touch you, Princess.”

[Rienne] “That’s…..a little strange.”

[Black] “I agree. I’ve never felt like this when I’ve gotten hurt in the past.”

[Rienne] “. . .”

Rienne thought back to the sight of those massive rocks falling from the cliff side. It was completely unthinkable to imagine that the only thought Black had in that dizzying moment was of her.

But why would think that?

He wasn’t bringing it up, but he could’ve easily died.

Rienne didn’t understand why he wanted this so badly, but that reason alone made her want to indulge him.

[Rienne] “It must’ve been dangerous.”

Without even thinking about it, Rienne started gently running her fingers through his hair.

[Black] “……My injuries aren’t that serious.”

[Rienne] “But still.”

The two of them stayed like that in the dark for a while. They were completely silent, save for the sound of Rienne’s hand stroking Black’s head echoing out in that small, dark room.

It’s much softer than it looks.

Eventually, Rienne realized how she was touching his hair but she didn’t stop herself.

I thought it would be rougher than this. (1)

This man had so many different sides to him. If Rienne could take away anything from today, it was that. She never thought he’d so readily risk his life just to do something for her.

If he could surprise her in that way, maybe he could surprise her in other ways too. If she took the time to know him, maybe she’d realize things were different from how they seemed. (2)

Everyone said what this man desired was revenge, but that could very well be untrue.

[Black] “….Different from what I thought.”

Then, Black whispered a sentiment very similar to her own. Rienne’s hand stopped.

[Rienne] “What is?”

[Black] “You are, Princess.”

[Rienne] “How so?”

[Black] “Before, whenever I asked to touch you, you would just stand still and endure it.”

[Rienne] “That’s…..”

[Black] “So I didn’t think you’d touch me on your own.”

[Rienne] “. . .”

[Black] “And I didn’t know how happy it would make me when you did.”

Stopping Rienne with his words, Black tilted his head and looked up at her.

[Black] “I’m glad I got hurt.”

[Rienne] “. . .”

Rienne stopped breathing. All she could do was watch as he took her hand that was just caressing his head and pressed his lips against it, giving it a soft and gentle kiss.


* * *


It was just as they expected.

With a pale face, the High Priest immediately came to the castle.

According to him, because the stairs to the Temple were destroyed, he had no choice but to tie a rope to his body and rappel from the top. Apparently he made a few mistakes on the way down, and he seriously thought he was going to die.

[High Priest] “It’s all God’s wrath!”

The High Priest screamed out. Rienne raised an eyebrow and held back her irritation.

The Temple was a hot spot when it came to gossip. Rumors spread quickly there.

He must be aware that after the stairs collapsed, people were spreading rumors that God was angry that he disallowed Rienne from attending the funeral.

Now he was shouting loudly in an attempt to counteract it.

[High Priest] “It’s all because those disgusting and filthy Tiwakan are defiling our land with our presence!”

Sitting in the reception room, Rienne frowned and pressed a finger against her temple.

[Rienne] “That’s not what I heard.”

[High Priest] “What? Are you denying the word of God, Princess?”

[Rienne] “I’m just saying what I heard. They say God is angry because I wasn’t present at the funeral. Since it was you who made that order, doesn’t that make God’s wrath your fault, High Priest?”

[High Priest] “How dare you!? Who would spread such a lie about God…!?”

[Rienne] “If God were truly upset with the Tiwakan, they would be the ones facing punishment. And yet, the Temple’s staircase was destroyed…. Aren’t God’s intentions clear in this case?”

[High Priest] “……!”

The High Priest was at a loss for words, his mouth agape.

He didn’t think Rienne would bare her fangs like this.

He’s not a very bright man, is he, Rienne thought as the High Priest struggled to pick his jaw off the floor.

If this was the angle he was planning, then he should have at least brought some evidence to incriminate the Tiwakan. Black probably climbed the cliff out of sight in anticipation for something like this.

Things like that made Rienne remember how decisive and astute of a person he was.

[High Priest] “It makes nothing clear.”

After a long while, the High Priest finally stuttered out his argument.

[High Priest] “Why would God be angered by the faithful children? We’re only being encouraged to rid ourselves of bad seeds, don’t you think?”

His words were echoed by the swath of priests he brought with him.

[Priests] “Indeed.”

Without question, the priests immediately voiced their support.

[High Priest] “So don’t be fooled by those rumors, Princess. God doesn’t hesitate to punish those guilty of carelessness.”

[Priests] “Indeed.”

Rienne just shook her head at them, her face looking a little tired.

[Rienne] “Hah…..

Though it was true she was feeling a little spent since this morning.

It was all because she stayed up too late last night. She spent far too much time in that dark room.

Black eventually stood up and took Rienne in his arms again. Unlike before when he was sitting, it was a different kind of hug that engulfed her entire body.

When it first happened, Rienne felt like she couldn’t breathe but it was only for a moment. Over time, it started to feel like that embrace was made just for her. It was such a comforting feeling that made her feel as though everything would be okay.

By the time they managed to part, the light of dawn had already set in.

Rienne was surprised how quickly time flew. Even though they were doing nothing, she was amazed how it never felt boring or dull when they were together.

What’s going on with me?

Whenever she was with him, she always seemed to lose track of the time. It was the first time she’d ever met someone who could do that to her.

[High Priest] “……So that God will……. Never……. Again……… Princess? …..Princess!”

While Rienne was lost in thought, thinking about something entirely different, suddenly the High Priest’s voice rose in volume and interrupted her.

[Rienne] “…..Go on.”

Rienne came to her senses, slightly turning her head towards the High Priest. Her expression was so calm, the High Priest found no fault in it.

[Rienne] “And? What is it you came here for?”

The High Priest likely wanted to say that the steep price to repair the stairs could not be paid for by the Temple.

[High Priest] “You must make an offering so that something like this will never happen again. And the ungodliness and filth of the Tiwakan must be punished.”

[Rienne] “And how do you propose I do that?”

He’s just here to spew more nonsense, again.

Who else could even do that?

The High Priest and the Kleinfelders just sat back and told Rienne what to do. Their audacity was almost impressive. They never intended to leave Rienne alone.

They didn’t seem to realize that Rienne’s existence was the only thinking keeping this kingdom safe, as it always has been.

Completely oblivious, the High Priest proudly spoke his absurdities.

[High Priest] “Delay your marriage.”

* * *

T/N: (1) There’s no subject here so this phrase as well as the one about it being ‘soft’ can have a double meaning. Rienne is talking about both his hair and his personality/character.

(2) Literally ‘to experience/understand something’. The literal translation is a bit ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) in English, so we had to rephrase it lol.

Note: they named the High Priest “Milrod” previously, but they refer to him as “the High Priest” throughout the chapter, so I stuck with it.

astral comment: You know when dogs put their little heads on your leg or something cause they want you to pet them? That’s all I could think about this chapter.

ghost: the soft vibes in this chapter are immaculate.

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