Chapter 24.1

“Miss Hazel, I believe it would be prudent for us to conclude our discussion at this point,” Kennard suggested with a firm tone.

Hazel arched an eyebrow and met Serin’s gaze. “You must be Sir Serin Elus, Her Majesty’s aide-de-camp and head of the Knights Templar.”

“Indeed,” Serin acknowledged, inclining his head respectfully.

“As I’m sure you’ve heard, this matter does not concern you, so kindly step aside,” Hazel asserted.

A flicker of irritation crossed Serin’s countenance momentarily, his brow twitching. Kennard, observing the subtle exchange, felt a surge of unnecessary temper. Despite his usual desire to provoke Serin, he found himself restraining the impulse as Serin refrained from engaging with Hazel.

For a brief moment, Kennard considered letting the situation linger, relishing the discomfort of the man who usually knew how to push his buttons. However, his protectiveness over Serin compelled him to intervene.

“Miss Hazel, Serin is under my authority, not yours,” Kennard declared with a piercing glare, his amber eyes radiating hostility. The composure that had characterized his gaze moments ago now bore a warning glint, signaling the impending end to this confrontation.

An unspoken directive lingered in the air, a silent message urging Heyzel to withhold any further words. Disregarding this unvoiced warning would inevitably lead to immediate consequences.

Fortunately, Hazel, on the verge of uttering more, discerned Kennard’s cautionary signal and promptly sealed her lips. Yet, her dissatisfaction remained palpable, manifesting in the nervous gnawing of her lower lip and the anxious grip on the crumpling hem of her dress.

Kennard shot her another stern glare before redirecting his attention toward the entrance of the parlour. However, Hazel’s impatience halted him, calling him back with an urgency that resonated audibly.

“Your Majesty, just a moment, just a moment,” she called, taking a few steps forward.

In response, Kennard swiftly pivoted and, in a matter of moments, transformed into a sleek black wolf. Even Serin and Lassino instinctively recoiled as the atmosphere within the parlour shifted abruptly, replaced by Kennard’s potent pheromones.

Hazel tensed under the weight of the overpowering scent, while her companion, a less adorned noblewoman, squirmed on the floor. Though of lower rank, her attire was simpler compared to Hazel’s intricate dress and headdress. Leaning forward with a delicate frame, she seemed to draw the very air around her into the folds of her dress, creating an ethereal billowing effect. In her discomfort, she fluttered about like a mouse caught in the rain.

“Looks like someone wants to die!”

The atmosphere in the parlour tensed as his voice reverberated, a low growl emanating from his throat. Kennard advanced, positioning himself squarely in front of Hazel, intensifying the release of his potent pheromones.

As he lowered his face towards hers, Hazel’s head instinctively recoiled, and she peered up at Kennard. Fear painted her blue eyes, and she resorted to biting down.

Hazel’s complexion turned a deep ash hue as Kennard snarled, revealing his formidable fangs. “I could end your life right here and now for attempting to ensnare me in treason. And if I did, no one would be able to hold me accountable.”

Kennard struggled to restrain the impulse to turn his words into immediate action. Engaging in such a conversation tested his patience given his temperament.

“I know, and I’ve come prepared, which is why I’m so desperate,” Hazel replied, lifting the tip of her chin defiantly. Despite her attempt to conceal it, a tremor lingered in her voice, an almost artificial veneer.

“Once again, I have no intention of proceeding with this marriage, and I’m sure His Majesty doesn’t like it either, but you’ve managed to convince him,” Kennard asserted, leaning in until the tip of Hazel’s nose grazed his own.

Her voice quivered with fear, yet she pressed on.

“As a testament to my loyalty to His Majesty, I’ve offered my father’s hundreds of soldiers. I’ve devoted nearly all of my possessions, and I’ve forged a pact ensuring that, in times of war or conflict, my father’s troops will unwaveringly safeguard His Majesty. In return, His Majesty has sanctioned my union with you.”

“For all that? He’s parting with me too easily. Moreover, the imperial court boasts well-trained elite soldiers. Do you believe that the privateers of a man who held only a viscountcy not long ago can stand in their stead?”



Kennard could barely bring himself to cast his gaze towards the floor. Although he had reverted to his usual demeanor, his pheromones hung in the air, denser than before.

“I will assure His Majesty that House Blade will suffer no harm.”

With a swift turn on his heel, Kennard strode towards the parlour’s entrance, determined to conclude this vexing encounter. Serin and Lassino released relieved sighs as he turned away without resorting to aggression against Hazel.



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