The Great Wish - Chapter 12.4
Kuhn kept his promise. He brought Sienna to the largest deer in the forest.
The stag with the enormous antlers was not alone. It was the leader of a herd. There were several does with their young and young bucks whose antlers hadn’t fully grown yet.
“He is the leader. The master of the forest.”
Befitting a leader, the stag was large, and its antlers were so magnificent that it seemed as if they were branches of a large tree.
“Do you know this forest well?”
“This is the first time I’ve been here.”
“Then how do you know he is the leader?”
“Because they’re animals that live in groups. In cases like these, there is always a leader. I was taught how to track animals.”
Is there anything this man can’t do? Whenever Sienna was with Kuhn, she always felt average.
“I’m going to be the one who hunts.”
“Understood. I won’t interfere, so do as you wish.”
They crouched down as they approached the closest patch of shelter they could find.
Sienna raised her bow and moved quietly. The deer were completely absorbed in chewing on the tender moss. She was only a few steps away from the optimal position.
Suddenly, the head stag turned its head. It met Sienna’s eyes. Sienna automatically raised her bow and took aim.
‘I was only a few steps short.’
She had been so close. If the deer ran away now, it would be the end.
The hunter and her prey were at standoff. Sienna glanced to the side and found that the majority of the deer in the herd had already disappeared. She could barely see any fawns. They must have run away in that short time.
‘At this rate, they’ll all run away.’
Sienna took one step forward. In that moment, the large stag also took one step towards Sienna.
‘Is it going to attack me?’
No matter how docile the animal was, in the face of danger, it could still attack.
Sienna became more alert. However, the stag didn’t come any closer. There was no sign of aggression in its clear eyes. When she took another step forward, the stag also took one more step.
‘…He’s stalling for time.’
Until the does and their young have escaped to safety. In order to protect its herd, the stag was using its own life as bait to help them escape. Although it feared death, he was still fulfilling the duties of a leader.
This mere beast had the qualities of a king. She couldn’t shoot her arrow. Sienna slowly lowered her bow. Then she began take steps backward.
Once Sienna was a sufficient distance away, the head stag slowly began to walk backwards before quickly turning around and running deeper into the forest. At this point, none of the deer were left.
“Shall we chase after them one more time?”
“Didn’t you want to win?”
“I was too shortsighted. We’re hunting in this forest to protect it. If we kill the head stag, the order of this forest will be broken. I mustn’t do something like that just for the sake of some trifling honor.”
Kuhn’s eyes trembled as he gazed at her. He liked her. He really liked her. He didn’t know what to do with these overflowing emotions.
Kuhn wrapped one arm around her shoulders and brought her to his chest in an embrace. He placed kisses on her forehead and nose before lightly kissing her lips.
“I like you. I’ve put you inside my heart.”
Kuhn suppressed his true feelings. In actuality, instead of ‘I like you’, he wanted to say ‘I love you’. However, if he rushed it too much, he felt that it might backfire on him instead.
When he saw the Princess’s expression, he believed he made the right decision. Having just received his confession, her reaction was unusual. He didn’t expect her to blush, but she was staring at him as if she’d heard something strange. He didn’t know what she could be thinking.
“Just so you know, I’m not saying this because I expect something in return. I’m also not pledging my allegiance to you. I’m just saying this as a man to a woman.”
He couldn’t believe he had to explain this. Kuhn realized once again that the woman he fell in love with was very unusual.
Sienna looked away. With a calm face, she pretended not to understand. Thankfully, she was already used to hiding her true feelings. From the moment she heard the words ‘I like you’, her heart began to race. She had to keep telling herself to calm down.
“Do I have to give you a response?”
Kuhn anxiously observed her expression. Therefore, despite knowing that she expressed herself in a different way, he missed the subtle changes in her behavior. For example, she was fidgeting with her hands behind her back.
“Yes, but not now. Think about it slowly. Very slowly.”
He was afraid she’d come to a swift conclusion. Right now, the fact that she was aware of him was more than enough.
They both turned their heads toward the sound. The firework faded in the sky. A few moments later, another firework went off.
“The hunting time is over.
“It seems that you weren’t able to catch any deer.”
“There’s no helping it. I really wanted that sword, though…”
“Did you decide to participate in this tournament for that sword?”
Although it was unusual for her to want a prize, the fact that she wanted the sword rather than the jewel was not a surprise.
“It’ll probably take a long time for us to exit the forest, right?”
“We are pretty deep within the forest.”
“We better hurry then.”
“Is there a reason why we should?”
“If I don’t get back to the starting line within thirty minutes, I’ll be disqualified.”
“But you didn’t catch any deer, so why does it matter?”
“We can just go slowly. The knights will come searching for you.”
Kuhn’s arm wound around Sienna’s hips and brought her into an embrace. Then he turned them around and pinned her against a tree. He pressed his hand against the tree next to her ear. Their bodies were so close that they were almost touching.
“As soon as I returned, I raced over here to see your face.”
Sienna sullenly gazed at him. It felt patronizing. He left without a word and appeared out of nowhere. His behavior just didn’t add up.
“I didn’t plan on being away for so long, but… Either way, I suffered through a lot.”
Sienna’s eyes traveled up to a point above his brow. She raised her hand and carefully touched the scar.
Who did this? Were you very hurt? She almost asked him but coyly turn her head away in the end. She still felt a bit bitter.
“Whether you suffered or you didn’t… I’m not the one who pushed you to do it.”
“Don’t be so cold. As a reward for going through all those troubles, please give me some of your time.”
“That doesn’t make any sense.”
“Of course not. I’m just putting it out there hoping it would stick.”
Sienna burst out laughing.
“If I give you some of my time, will you tell me where you went and what you did?”
Kuhn quickly added.
“But even if I don’t tell you right now, you’ll find out soon enough.”
“You’ll also find that out very soon.”
He didn’t give her any satisfying answers. If she really thought about it, she knew nothing about this man.
“You have a lot of secrets, don’t you?”
She glared at his quick answer.
“Those secrets… is there anyone who knows all of them?”
Kuhn was lost in thought for a moment before answering.
“Not even family?”
“I don’t have family. I never had any siblings, and my parents passed away.”
“Ah… My condolences.”
“It was a long time ago, so I’m alright now. If I gain a family member, that person will be the only person who knows everything about me.”
He just said he didn’t have any family, so how could he gain a family member? His deceased parents couldn’t return from the dead. Sienna didn’t understand. But then he raised his hand and began to tenderly caress her cheek as he whispered.
“I want to tell you all of my secrets, Sienna.”
Sienna’s wide eyes blinked.
“…You told me to think about it slowly.”
“Oh, you understood me?”
“Do you think I’m an idiot?”
When Sienna glared at him, he avoided her eyes. However, his lips were smiling. So there was some progress. All this effort he had put into pursuing her wasn’t for naught.
“It seems that you only returned from your inspection with bad memories.”
“But I’m still glad I went. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have known that…”
Sienna hesitated before continuing.
“The power of the anti-imperialists and the people who are in those organizations… I didn’t realize that anti-imperialists could move in such an organized fashion.”
This was the first time she was revealing her ignorance to someone else.
“Not a lot of people know about it. Most of the people living in the capital don’t know.”
His matter-of-fact tone made Sienna feel a bit better.
However, Kuhn learned something from Sienna’s words regarding her lack of knowledge.
‘It seems that the Red King has been effective when it comes to concealing information from her.’
Information was power. The Red King had covered the eyes and ears of her daughter who would one day become the emperor. This couldn’t be the handiwork of just the Red King and the House of Rimone alone. Some of the other ducal houses were definitely cooperating as well.
He tenderly gazed at her with a gloomy expression on his face. He lowered his head and pressed a light kiss on her lips.
“Do you remember the information merchant I introduced you to last time?”
“I’ll send you some information regarding the anti-imperialists through her.”
“I’ve already received a report from the government officials.”
“The quality of the information will be different. Try comparing the two.”
Understanding the meaning behind these words, Sienna lowered her gaze. Kuhn grabbed her chin and placed another kiss on her lips. Unlike the other kisses, this one was deeper. As if asking for permission, his tongue softly pressed against her lips before traveling along the seam.
When her lips opened slightly, he pushed through them and plunged into her mouth. He swept through the soft warmth. It was more rapturous than he remembered. A low groan escaped his throat.
His hand wrapped around Sienna’s face. Her arms wound around his neck. Their breaths tangled together and dispersed in the silent forest.