Their breathing was close.
As they came closer, the surrounding noise was muted.
The flow of air stopped; even their breathing was silent.
They stayed in the silence of their irregular breathing and their clasped, trembling hands.
Canillian’s beautiful eyes stared in disbelief, swallowing Claude’s world.
“However, I, I will be doing something for which I will have to apologize.” His smile disappeared.
Claude’s lips touched Canillian’s eyes, eyes wet with tears.
“I don’t care if you’re an animal or a man, Canillian.”
He slid down and stopped at Canillian’s red, full lips.
He felt the breathing stop as he lowered his head.
His memory of secretly kissing Lia came back.
Unlike the last time when it tasted only sweet, another taste stimulated his tongue.
Claude let go of Canillian’s hands and he covered Lian’s eyes.
The wet eyelashes tickled and wet his palm.
He pushed his tongue between Canillian’s tightly sealed lips, prying them apart.
Hot and moist.
Sweet and bitter.
Like a lump of sugar and a spoonful of medicine.
At that moment, Canillian raised his resting arms to hold Claude tight, instead of pushing him away.
Did they both feel the same way
Claude put his hand behind Canillian’s head and pulled him even closer.
He eventually ended up at the head of the bed from Claude’s kissing, licking, and playful biting.
Claude stopped and looked into Canillian’s eyes—eyes that were full of chaos and trembling.
Then he put his lips on Lian’s neck and could feel the blood pumping.
Canillian’s white skin, hidden beneath the shirt that Marilyn had ripped, gave off a lady’s scent.
Claude wondered if he, himself, could be insane.
Now that he finally didn’t want Canillian to be a lady, could it be that Canillian is, indeed, a lady
“Sir, you can’t do this.” Lia’s hands holding Claude’s shoulders turned white as sheet.
His face was even worse.
Claude’s heart swelled as he saw Canillian was sniffling, about to cry again.
“Why are you asking me that Between men—” He broke off and started crying again, wiping away his tears.
Claude took Lian’s arms and sat him straight.
Canillian kept bawling even with Claude speaking kindly.
“Canillian, don’t cry.”
Canillian tried to speak, but was simply hiccupping and swallowing tears.
Claude hugged Canillian, noting how small his body felt in his embrace—how he now felt a loveliness from a man that he had never felt from a woman!
Claude let out a sigh of emptiness and touched his lips to Canillian’s head.
He kept kissing Lian’s hair, waiting for him to stop crying.
Thump, thump, thump! Urgent knocks rattled the door.
Ivan screamed, “The Duke isn’t well! Young Master!”
On doctor’s orders, Duke Maximilian’s bedroom windows were all opened to let out the poison.
The Duke’s attendants and the nobles closest to him could not hold back their condolences at such a tragedy.
Emperor Weize looked at the frail, pale, cadaver-like Duke, and clenched his fists.
He commanded: “Shut the Palace down and find the culprit! Now!”
Maximilian had collapsed right after drinking tea—tea meant for the Emperor.
After the ceremony, the Emperor called the Duke to the tearoom.
Having dismissed the servant who offered to bring a fresh pot of tea, the Emperor offered a cup of tea to the Duke from the pot that was already there.
The pot held a rare tea and the Emperor wanted the Duke to enjoy it.
But it was poisoned! The Emperor was enraged to learn that he, himself, was the one meant to be drinking that tea.
“It’s arsenic,” said the doctor, after having conducted tests.
Maximilian immediately started coughing up blood.
Just then, Claude burst into the room.
“Father!” Claude called to his father, whose face was pale and hair askew.
Claude, with disbelief in his eyes, moved closer to his father.
If Duke Maximilian passed away, the young Claude would become Duke that very moment.
All the high nobles stepped aside to make way for Claude.
The Duke vomited blood, smiled, and opened his eyes.
“It’s good that you’re here, Claude.”
“This can’t be!”
“From now on, young Duke Claude del Ihar, will be Duke Claude del Ihar.”
“Father!” he exclaimed, quickly stopping the Duke.
But Maximilian caressed Claude’s face with his calloused hands and continued speaking.
“You are now,” the Duke paused, his voice cracking, “the Master of Del Casa.”
Claude took his father’s hand.
Maximilian’s lips continued to move, but made no sound.
His eyes teared up and he looked exhausted from great emotion.
The doctor separated them.
“It will be difficult for him to make it overnight.
Please stay quietly at his bedside.”
Everyone sighed and couldn’t hide their sadness at his words.
Canillian stood outside the doorway, observing Claude.
Canillian covered his mouth and stepped back.
The Palace was already in panic at the news of the Duke’s illness.
The engagement festivities were stopped and no one in attendance at the Palace could leave.
That moment, Ian’s hand touched her shoulder.
Ian, who looked like he had just had some type of scare, looked down at Canillia and whispered, “I have to go to Geor now.
Will you come”