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   Chapter 25 A Calming Embrace

Ceaseless Gravity By JMFelic Characters: 15053

Updated: 2018-10-17 23:37

"I had been waiting for you for quite sometime now, my Princess, " Duke Conrad stated as he sat comfortably in a single sofa chair near the dressing mirror.

His arms were both resting on its arm handle, his legs crossed, and his cane perfectly placed at the right side of the chair.

He was snickering. His expression obviously that of an old man planning to harass a young maiden.

His jaw was grossly unshaved that Lianne immediately noticed it more than she had seen him earlier.

The Grand Duke's eyes were coldly blue; a visible window of his tumultuous soul capable of wrath and terror similar to that of King Garlow. He was in his late fifties, definitely not proper to ask a hand in marriage to a woman half his age.

Surely enough, the sight of the man in Lianne's front gave her considerable unease.

She clenched her fist into a hard ball, trying to gather up as much courage as she could.

"You are trespassing! Why are you here?!" she exclaimed, intentionally making her voice a little intimidating and less like a victim.

The old man stood up wearing the same amount of wicked expression on his face.

After picking his cane, he walked towards the princess and said, "Ah, it appears that I am not welcomed here."

"Ha! Isn't it already obvious?" Lianne scowled.

"But, I don't think you haven't known me well enough to act like that, my Princess."

Lianne stepped backward against the entrance of the bedroom door when she saw the flicker of evil in his eyes. Somehow, she realized that Lady Faye was nowhere in sight, and that she was now alone with this unwelcoming guest.

Panic came rushing inside her as the Duke drew nearer, but she tried to compose herself — tried as much as she possibly could. If she was able to manage a good fight with the King, how much more with this lowly trespasser?

Holding her face up, she spoke, her callous voice enveloping the room, "You're right certainly, Duke Conrad. Of course, I don't know you and I don't plan to. I am quite sure nothing benefits me of knowing you."

"Ah..." The Duke's coarse voice rumbled through the air. "But of course! Just as what Garlow had said. You're truly a jewel in the rough. A perfect rose among the wither."

The Duke stopped inches apart from her and then began to touch the delicate softness of her cheeks to Lianne's chagrin.

She quickly brushed his hand away and in response, the Duke caught a grip on her wrist and pulled her close to him.

His bearded mouth was close to her ear when he spoke. "And I won't regret having you for my wife, " he added.

Lianne didn't understand what she felt upon hearing the Duke's words.

It was definitely a good slap on her pride having instantly remembered the prince's words.

It was just too ridiculous to believe him at that time, but now, it turned out that all of his claims were true. It does mean that she was wrong all along. She had ultimately judged him a manipulator and a liar when in fact he was telling the truth all this time.

Somehow. Somehow...her heart ached at the thought of her mistake.

"Let go of me!" She gave him a cold glare. "Who said I will become your wife! Garlow doesn't have any right to decide for me nor anyone for that matter! I am not his puppet!"

Lianne managed to wring herself out of the Duke's grasp but he forcefully pushed her against the door frame thereafter using his cane.

She winced at the brief pang of pain on her back.

He then neared his face unto her own, whispering something she hated to hear with all her heart, "Ah, but Princess, unfortunately, when you are in Regaleria Kingdom, you have no right to decide for yourself."

Lianne again wriggled out of his hold, but he didn't budge, holding her tightly still despite the old man that he was.

"I demand you to leave at once!" she cried out.

Conrad's face moved even closer. "Trust me, my future young wife. I will leave you only if you'll grant me a good night's kiss."

To Lianne's horror, he bent low towards her mouth.

The thought of his grossly unshaven mouth touching her fresh skin was sheer terror for her.

"Lady Faye!" she shouted, hoping the old woman would come to her rescue, but there was no response.

Alone and feeling trapped, a choked sob surfaced from her.

How did it come to this?! How could she had fallen into this situation?!

She struggled to free herself from the cane that was jailing her against the door frame all the while the Duke's mouth came deadly closer and closer.

econd time was definitely a sharp blow to her pride.

She never had realized that staying trapped inside Garlow's kingdom could be so seriously ill-fated in the future than her loss of her family. Now, her own precious freedom was at stake just because of a man who wants to gain more power.

"And now you tell me that?!" she bellowed in rage.

On impulse, she charged towards him and began to attack his chest with her own bare hands as if trying to physically wound him out of spite, but he instinctively blocked her blows.

She continued and continued, forcefully pounding his chest, while at the same time, crying her heart out, "All of you here in this blasted kingdom doesn't have the right to command me nor decide on my part! I'm no slave in this place and I refuse to be one just for the sake of greed! I am not a puppet. You and Garlow will never make a puppet out of me!"

Her tears streamed down her eyes, and though she tried hard to deny how fragile she was deep inside, all her defenses crumbled down as Ruen immobilized her with a tight embrace.

Face flushed, she buried herself on his shoulder and muffled her cries.

Ruen looked down and saw that she was breaking apart, quite the opposite of how she had always been - fiery and stubborn.

"Lianne, listen to me, " he requested, trying to be as tender to her as possible.

"No! The hell I'd listen!" Lianne pushed herself out of his hold but he didn't give her a chance to escape.

"I said listen to me!" he shouted.

"No! Damn this place! Damn Garlow! Damn-"

"You stop now and listen to me!" Ruen, this time, said with anger echoing in his voice. He grabbed her shoulders and kept her still. Their eyes met again, and he could now see her tears clearly.

He frowned in response but he moved closer to her, his lips only inches apart from her cheeks.

Lianne was taken aback by his roughness that it rendered her unable to speak. She wanted to shout. She wanted to complain. She wanted too damn much to pour out all her resentment and frustration, but Ruen's steady gaze on her was enough to make her mute.

"You are powerless when you're at my father's kingdom, that is true, " Ruen started, pressing her more against his chest, "but I have and I will make a way to stop your marriage to the Duke."

Lianne made a strangled, mocking noise at the back of her throat. "Huh, you dare defy your father's command?" Her voice was weak and trembling, and Ruen noticed it.

"Trust me Lianne. That, I promise you, " he expressed. He embraced her then, no space left in between.

She felt surprisingly calmed by his action and felt the sincerity in his words, but somehow, deep inside her heart, it was something even more.

"You very well know that I can't trust you, " she commented, her voice still wavering.

He brushed her hair at the back, feeling all of her on that very moment.

He could willingly give his life just to be able to hold her like this, he thought.

"You can Lianne and you will."

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