Platinum hair that can look like silver in the middle of summer.
With long socks wrapped around the shins and shorts cut above them, the deep blue gaze felt colder than a lake.
The sound of the gunshots was close, so it must have been that they were trying to hunt waterfowl on the shore of the lake. She didn’t know if he hit it, but the fact that it was her who fell was humorous.
Even with her watery distorted vision, Irene could tell that his gaze was fixed on her… and that he had no intention of saving her. While the water obscured his expression, it didn’t make it any less recognizable. It was because if he had intended to save her, he would have reached out his hand or screamed in the first place.
In other words, Ahibalt intended to let Irene die.
Even though she questioned his behavior, she didn’t find it all that shocking. Perhaps it was because she was so used to being turned away, it felt like it would be less lonely if she had someone watching her death.
In a blur of consciousness, Irene closed her eyes. Although it was a little painful, if this were the end, that would be fine in its own way.
But at that moment…
Water splashed from above, and she could feel the rippling lake shaking violently.
Irene wondered if she was suffocating, so she was seeing things.
There was no way Ahibalt would jump in to save her…
However, before she could ponder her question, her arm was seized. Her body, which had been sinking, sprang up in an instant at the same time. In her blurry vision, she could see a plum sinking to the bottom of the water, unlike himself, who was being pulled up.
Strangely, however, she didn’t feel the urge to reach out any further… even though she had been holding onto it tenaciously until she fell into the water.
When she came to her senses, she was covered.
Irene coughed out the water for a long time before she could finally catch her breath. Meanwhile, Ahibalt stayed by her side, wringing the water from his clothes. His expression was as cold as ever, and she wondered if it was because he had to discard his clothes.
Unlike Irene, who was still not fully grown, he was quite tall as he was approaching adulthood.
His drenched, unkempt hair, long eyelashes and transparently pale skin contrasted with the beauty of his face. The background was also a perfect setting for a portrait. If it weren’t for the boredom and irritation contained in the deep eyes, it would have looked like a painting.
However, being picturesque wasn’t just about appearance.
The two remained silent the entire time. If it had been another time, Irene would have immediately thanked him, but perhaps it was because his expression was so cold. Somehow, the words didn’t come out easily, so she could only stare at him.
‘…I don’t understand.’
Why did he save her when he clearly had no intention of doing so earlier?
Still, it was a bit much to let someone die, wasn’t it?
It was Ahibalt who opened his mouth first, presumably because of the long question painted on her face.
“Why are you looking at me like that? Do you want to blame me?”
His words cut through Irene’s questions like a tangled thread like a knife, and her lips moved of their own accord.
“That I didn’t save you right away.”
“If that’s what you mean… I don’t blame you. You saved me anyway.”
“Am I supposed to believe that when you’re looking at me like that?”
“How am I looking at you, Young Master?”
By the end of the question, Ahibalt’s face had moved closer as he leaned over and brought his head closer to her.
“You’re looking at me like I’ve done something terribly wrong.”
Perhaps because of the dazzling eyes, there was a slight wrinkle between Ahibalt’s forehead. He felt impatient for some reason as if he was far from being mature like he hadn’t grown out of being a boy yet.
When Irene asked why he felt that way, there was no smile on his face.
“So, I thought you were trying to reprimand me.”
He usually wore a well-tailored affectionate suit. To put it bluntly, it was like meeting Ahibalt’s bare face for the first time.
“At first, I didn’t know if you were drowning or if you were submerged on purpose, so I just watched you. When I reached out my hand and tried to save you, there was no response.”
“You must have misunderstood.”
“Yeah. If you’re drowning, you should be asking for help. What did you have so much trust that you just stayed still like that?”
“Because Young Master was there.”
“Did it ever occur to you that I might not save you?”
“It was okay if you didn’t save me because it was a good option for me as well.”
“It’s not a bad option for me to just watch your death. What’s that—”
“I believe in you, Young Master.”
Irene’s words fell, like raindrops announcing the beginning of a shower.
“…Me? You believe in me, Irene?”
“Of course, Young Master.”
As soon as the answer came out, a ripple went through the piercing blue eyes that were facing her.
“Can’t I do that? I owe you my life.”
However, if there was one thing she could say, it would probably be this.
“I believed that even if you didn’t save me… you would still be watching over me until the moment I died.”
Yes, so I didn’t resent him when it was blatantly obvious that he wasn’t trying to save her.
“You’re always watching over me.”
A really insignificant reason why she fell in love with Ahibalt
It was only because Ahibalt was looking at him… laughably because there was no one watching her in this crowded mansion.
“That’s why I trust you. I know it sounds silly, but that’s it.”
“Really? That doesn’t seem like a reason to trust someone with your life.”
It was a vague story. Irene lowered her head.
“…It’s okay if you don’t believe me.”
“Do you have a reason not to trust me?”
Their eyes met again. It was only a moment later did Irene realize that she had lifted her head back up again.
“It’s just that I think you’re at a disadvantage. Since I saved you from drowning, I should pretend that your life belongs to me.”
It feels like I’m taking away too much trust if you say such a thing.
The corners of Ahibalt’s mouth twitched as he spoke. And soon, he turned back to the face she knew well.
“Irene, are you still going to trust me?”
But there was no answer.
It was because someone interrupted the silence between them before Irene could say anything.
“Brother! Are you there?”
With the sound of howling hounds, a human figure emerged among the grass.
Otis, carrying a hunting rifle, appeared holding a duck upside down. He had a flushed face, perhaps still reveling in the joy of a successful hunt, but his smile slowly faded as he discovered an unexpected situation.
“Irene? What are you doing here? Both of you… look awful.”
“Ah, Second Master. You were nearby. I—”
“Otis, what do you have in your hand?”
As Irene was about to explain that she had come to pick plums, Ahibalt stood up and cut off her words.
Otis said, crossing the roots of the tree without a doubt.
“It’s the one I shot earlier, I finally found it. I think it was right to shoot after sending it away first.”
“Normally, it would be difficult to hit the trajectory of the flight. Good job.”
“Don’t mention it. Rather, what are you doing here with Irene? Both of you are soaking wet. Did you fall into the lake or something?”
“If it looks like that, then it must be. Let’s go back. Our clothes are wet, so we can’t stay in the forest any longer.”
Finishing his words, Ahibalt started walking towards the forest path. Meanwhile, Irene rose to her feet a beat too late, supported by Otis and followed him.
The memory of that day had caused a great ripple in Irene. It was because it made her think about life outside of the game for the first time. Funny enough, when she felt a hand holding her up from the water, the emotion she felt deep inside her heart was definitely relief.
No matter how tired and sad she was, she didn’t want to die.
Irene wanted to live.
If you find any errors ( broken links, non-standard content, etc.. ), Please let us know via our discord so we can fix it as soon as possible.