Rydon nodded and left the bathroom. He stormed off from his room and rushed down the stairs to confront Damian. Once he stood in front of Damian, he roared, “Who?”
Damian immediately said, “Brother, please calm down.”
Rydon clutched Damian’s collar and threateningly asked, “Who was it?”
Damian sighed and said, “My father’s concubines and their daughters.”
Rydon fumed, “Those whores dared to touch her? They will not see the day.”
Damian held his hand and said, “Brother, please do not act recklessly. You can kill a minister’s concubines but not the princes’ concubines. There is too much at stake.”
Rydon retorted, “Do I care?”
Damian retorted back, “You do, Brother. That is why you did what you did.”
Damian had never once spoken loudly towards Rydon, much less retort back. This time, he fortified his resolve when he decided to retort.
Rydon widened his eyes and calmed down as he let go of Damian’s collar and then asked intensely, “What about your brothers?”
Damian shook his head and said, “They are cowards. They are both 17 and 15. They have to obey me if they want to continue living in the manor.”
Rydon nodded and said sternly, “I will not spare any one of them.”
Damian nodded and said, “I know, and all I ask is for you to wait for the right time. When the right time comes, everyone who dared to touch her will die in our very own hands.”
Rydon raised his eyebrow and asked, “When is it the right time?”
Damian smirked and said, “The time is right when she recovers completely.”
Rydon thought for a moment and then nodded. He then heard rushed footsteps from the stairs. He turned around to see Selena running down the stairs.
When Selena saw Damian, she rushed down the stairs and ran towards him. Selena hugged him when he opened his arms to embrace her before she called elatedly, “Brother.”
Damian opened his arms wide for her, and when she hugged him, he moved both his hands to embrace her only to stop before he touched her back. He slowly dropped his hands while gripping them hardly into fists. He kept his left hand fisted on the side while he lifted his right hand to slowly stroke her head.
Rydon watched Damian fisting his hands in anger. He kept watching the interaction between the siblings from the side.
When she broke the hug, Damian used both his hands to comb her hair which was dishevelled due to the hug and pushed them carefully behind her ears. He then held her face in his hands and glanced at her with a genuine smile before kissing her forehead.
He then took her hands into his own and asked anxiously, “How are you?”
She turned to look at Rydon and then turned back towards him before saying, “Good.”
He then frowned and asked, “How?”
Understanding what Damian meant, Selena said serenely, “I thoughtlessly slept on the couch and His Highness had to carry me to the bed.”
Damian sighed as he shook his head and said, “Be careful and focus on recovering.”
Selena nodded and took her hands from his as she noticed his clothes. She looked at his face and knitted her eyebrows.
Damian, understanding what she was asking, nodded with his eyebrows in return.
It has been their usual way of silent communication so that no one notices them conversing. However, Rydon, who has been watching the interaction between the siblings all this time, witnessed this intricate detail.
Selena stared at Damian’s eyes for a moment, to assess the severity of the matter, before taking in a deep breath and nodding her head.
Damian smiled at her and turned to look at Rydon before saying, “Brother, where is my room?”
Selena frowned, and just when she was about to ask Damian, he said without turning to look at her, “Do not ask, you will know it when the time comes.”
Rydon stared at Damian for a moment before nodding his head towards the vacant room in the floor.
Selena’s eyes widened when Rydon nodded towards the vacant guest room that the concubines had told her about no one being allowed to stay in the room.
Damian looked at the direction Rydon was nodding to and then turned towards Selena to signal her to follow him.
Damian and Selena walked into the room. Once Damian closed the door, Selena immediately asked, “What is happening, Brother?”
Damian shook his head and said, “Do not ask, you will know, but not now.” He then made her sit on the bed and asked, “Have the wounds opened too much?”
Selena said, “It stained my robes, but the wounds are fine. They should be healing just fine in a month or two.”
Damian sighed, “It is the poison in you that is hindering your healing.”
Selena said, “You know very well why I have been consuming poison all these years. I consumed them willingly, having known of its effects on me and with the resolution to bear it.”
Damian walked behind to lean on the wall and folded his arms. There was a moment of silence. He was staring at the floor for some time in thoughts before he looked up at her and said, “He should know.”
Selena hurriedly said, “No!”
Damian reasoned, “He is your husband. He deserves to know.”
Selena thought for a moment and gulped before saying, “He will know, but just not yet.”
Damian nodded, and there was another moment of silence. He then asked what was bothering him the most, “Did he touch you?” Before she answered, he added, “Apart from carrying you yesterday?”
Selena thought about it before saying, “Maybe once, when I was half asleep.”
Damian nodded and thought, ‘It must be hard on him. He must be feeling conflicted. I will have to do something.’
Seeing Damian being silent, Selena thought Damian was still concerned about her wounds, and so she asked, “Do you want to see?”
Damian frowned, and when he understood what she meant, he said sternly, “Quit playing, you are not a kid anymore.”
Selena playfully said, “Technically, I am not an adult yet.” After a moment of thought, she asked, “What do you think would happen if he knows I am still 15?”
Damian looked at the floor with a guilty face.
Noticing his guilty look, Selena said, “Sorry for bringing it up.”
Damian felt even more guilty and was apologising in his heart, “I am the one who is sorry. I am sorry that I am hiding it from you. He already knows you are 15 and I know you will be more secured with him. I have never hidden anything from you, but this is something I cannot be the one to reveal it to you.”
Damian then shook his head and said carefully, “Citizens of Oragon Kingdom requests help.”
Selena sat up straight and contemplated it before she asked, “Is it only the citizens or the Duke that is requesting help through them?”
Damian looked down at the floor as he answered, “I did not hear about the Duke from the soldiers. Duke Reuben is a very prideful man. He would never ask for help openly.”
After a moment of silence, he thought out loud, “At most he would send a few of his men…” He suddenly paused at the realisation, and his eyes widened. He then looked at Selena and said, “While I was leaving the war base, I passed by the borders of Oragon Kingdom. I saw a man with a pendant on his waist belt. It was the symbol of Oragon Kingdom.”
“Every official is to wear the pendant with the symbol of Oragon Kingdom,” said Selena. She then asked, “What was the colour of the pendant?”
Damian answered immediately, “It was bright orange, which signifies that he was a high-ranking official. It seems like Duke Reuben is directly involved. What should we do now?”
Selena closed her eyes and did not move for a few minutes. Damian waited for her patiently. She opened her eyes and said, “None of the Generals is to meet them for the next two days. Make those who are waiting in the borders to wait.”
Damian, who has been leaning on the wall, stood straight and asked, “Wait? Why? His Highness will be going there to meet them tomorrow.”
Selena blinked and said sternly, “Make them wait.”
Damian kneeled and bowed upon seeing her eyes before he said, “Yes, Master!”