My lord, please… please let me go!”
The scream that echoed through the garden was loud enough to nearly break someone’s eardrum.
But it was quickly cut off by a man’s voice.
“Shut up, bitch! Each time you stand up to me, I’ll hit you again.”
When the guards and guests heard his slap, they frowned.
Paris did, too.
He’d allowed Gareth, his friend and cousin, to bring a woman into the garden.
But he’d never allowed verbal abuse or assault.
Gah, he hated dealing with situations like this…
“Your Highness, we’re waiting for your orders.”
Paris hesitated, and cursed under his breath.
He had no choice but to give the order.
“Bring them to me.”
A moment afterwards, the guards dragged forward Gareth, who was struggling and yelling furiously, and Adrian Reese.
Her face was covered in bruises, and tears streamed down her cheeks.
Her clothes were ripped and torn.
Nisha’s face turned white when he saw the two of them.
“Let go! Let go of me! Don’t you know who I am!”
He was obviously drunk.
But once he saw Paris’ cold face, he stopped struggling.
“You-Your Highness the Prince–”
Paris’ fist struck Gareth’s face before the last word even left his mouth.
“What the hell is this!”
Paris grabbed Gareth by the collar, and yanked him forward.
Gareth looked up at him nervously.
The meaning of the look he saw in Paris’ eyes was clear.
It’s all your fault.
Don’t you dare try to blame me for this.
Paris shook his cousin violently, Gareth’s head snapping back and forth from the strength of Paris’ fury.
He threw Gareth to the floor.
“Were you seriously trying to rape a woman in my garden”
Gareth blinked, then frantically shook his head when he realized what was happening.
“It’s all my fault, Your Highness.
This won’t happen again.”
More people began to trickle into the garden.
Some of the guests tried to soothe Paris.
“Your Highness, it was the young duke’s mistake.
Let’s return before His Majesty the Emperor or the Duchess sees what happened.”
“She’s his maid anyways, Your Highness.
It won’t help her if you make a big deal out of this small incident.”
Apollonia knew Paris would listen to their advice, and pretend he had no other choice but to do so.
He wasn’t particularly more moral than Gareth was.
However, Gareth did everything according to his instincts.
Paris was more interested in saving face.
In other words, he didn’t care what happened to that woman, as long as he could prove to everyone that he was a righteous prince who wouldn’t tolerate such behavior.
In that respect, he was a lot like the emperor.
The result would be the same no matter what he did, so he had to take advantage of the situation.
“Brother, let’s send Gareth back first.”
The spectators nodded as she spoke.
Paris seemed to relax a little.
No one would blame him if his innocent sister, and the main attraction of the coming-of-age banquet, was the one who requested it.
“I’m going to take this child and treat her, though.
I can’t return her to our aunt looking like this.”
She took off her coat and draped it around Adrian, who lay shaking on the floor.
Paris nodded, and glared at Gareth.
“Don’t come near my garden again.
I’ll deal with you later for your crime of tarnishing Nia’s coming-of-age.”
And that was the end of it.
The guests returned to the banquet hall, praising both Apollonia’s kindness and Paris’ poise and dignity.
Paris had taught a lesson to Gareth Liefer, who’d disturbed the banquet, and nearly committed the sin of rape inside the imperial palace.
“Your Highness, this woman…”
The maid who remained in the garden glanced nervously at Apollonia after she spoke.
Apollonia looked down at Adrian, who looked like she was at the edge of consciousness.
She’d been able to save her only because she’d been in the right place at the right time.
She wasn’t sure she’d be able to prevent this from happening again.
“Take her to the Star Palace, and call the doctor,” Apollonia sighed.
She couldn’t just leave this poor victim of Petra to suffer.