Apollonia didn’t let go of his chin while she spoke.
His deep blue eyes were wavering, as if he were admitting to her words.
“That’s why you hesitated.
But…” Apollonia dropped his chin.
“But why didn’t you kill me when you had the chance Just like you said, my life is no more precious than yours.”
She waited for his answer, frowning.
Yet Uriel had no answer to give her, because even he didn’t know just why exactly he hadn’t killed her.
The moment he’d broken the barrier, his mind had been filled with the hunger to destroy her.
He’d thirsted to see her red eyes trembling in terror.
He couldn’t just give her an easy, simple death.
Yet strangely, he didn’t regret not killing her.
“Whatever the reason… I don’t peg you as someone who gives up so easily.”
She seemed like she wanted to say more, but the middle-aged knight next to her interrupted them.
“Your Highness, it’s nearly dawn.
You need to decide what to do with him.”
“Hmm… for now, lock him up for three days.
If it’s not clear whether the assassin survived or not, my aunt will kill Safiro so she doesn’t leave behind any traces of her presence in the plot.
There’s a wound in his shoulder, so give him a painkiller in the meantime.”
She knew more than he’d expected.
“And after three days, ki-”
Her voice broke off, and she bit her lips.
Her eyes quivered slightly.
“Kill him.” Uriel finished the sentence for her.
The princess looked at him, puzzled.
“I already told you.
If I fail my mission, I’ll die anyways.
You might as well kill me in three days, and save Safiro some work.”
Uriel was serious.
Safiro had lost many of his assassins, and if he’d continued to do well, he would have eventually been assigned to a mission even he couldn’t carry out.
And just like the rest of them, he’d someday be disposed of.
All of Safiro’s wolves met similar ends.
He found little pleasure in the life Safiro allowed him to have, so he had no reason to keep on living, anyways.
He didn’t have a reason to die, either, so he just endured.
His life was always intense, but he was bored of it all.
Although he had no plans to die, he didn’t think death could be as bad as life.
“You don’t seem to have any affection for your master.”
“Safiro is not my master.
Nor is the Leifer family.”
He didn’t have anything to lose, so he didn’t care what happened to him.
His nonchalant reply cut off the princess’s words.
The knight next to her gasped, but he didn’t care.
“It’s just my bad luck that I can’t escape this life.” It felt satisfying to be able to give that bastard Safiro just a little of what he deserved before Uriel died.
Her eyes widened when she heard his response.
She jumped up, and yanked Uriel’s chin towards her.
Her touch was harsh.
“The worst sinner, Safiro… the man who kidnapped innocent children, and made assassins out of them with ruthless torture.” Uriel locked eyes with Apollonia while he spoke.
The middle-aged knight once again called her name, but she didn’t take her eyes off Uriel.
“He crippled the spirit, the soul, and even the sight of those children, all in order to beat them down and subjugate them.
“…I know this very well.” Uriel smiled, and pulled his robe down his arm.
The princess and the knight both gasped.
Dozens of vicious, brutal scars ran across his shoulders.
Some of them were raised well above the skin.
“But sometimes, they…”
He paused for a moment.
Apollonia finished his words for him.
“Sometimes… there are people who choose the wrong path.”
“…You must have endured a lot.”
She showed a rare moment of compassion.
The pain in his wounded shoulder was slowly getting worse, but Uriel didn’t feel as bad as he’d expected.
“How old are you”
Uriel glanced up at the girl who looked down at him.
The compassion that had flashed in her eyes was gone, and had been replaced by something else.
She gripped Uriel’s face even harder, and pulled him closer to her.
He flinched when the pain in his shoulder shuddered through his body.
The corners of her mouth slowly began to turn upwards.