Leash on His Throat

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An amused smile tinges my lips.

"Now, why do you all look so sad? How many times do I have to tell you that I'm fine?"

Jimin stands stoic in the corner of the room, his jaw set with an anger that hasn't faded ever since he'd rushed in with an armful of healing supplies and the Healer in tow.

Rin frowns, turning her head away. She mutters under her breath.

"That stupid rat-face of a man..."

I stifle a laugh. Then I raise my hand, waving towards the closed door.

"Go to your rooms and rest. It's already nine in the evening— you two have been in here since eight."

Rin jerks up, blinking her silver eyes.

"But Your Majesty, what if—"

"Let's go," Jimin cuts her off, giving her a sharp look. "Can't you tell that she is exhausted? How long are you planning to take advantage of her kindness?"

She glares at him.


A corner of my heart warms, just a little.

"Jimin, walk her back to her quarters." I say, smiling. "It's already too late."

Soon the door clicks shut, and I'm left alone in my room. Now that the two are gone, there's a feeling of emptiness in the silence. Once I'd found comfort in it, but now...

My lips purse.

Maybe I had grown to enjoy company.

I bring my hand to gently graze my bandaged cheek. The skin underneath is raw and tender— but it really is a small price to pay for what I'd received in return.

I smile.

Tonight, Han had branded himself the villain. It wouldn't be long until the gossip spread, and he'd become an outcast of a King within every social circles. A powerful scarecrow of a ruler.

Even Kings were nothing without the support of the nobles. Tonight, that support had tilted heavily in my favor.

Soon, I—

My thoughts cut off with the sound of rapid knocking against the wooden door. In the quietness of the room, I hear the rough, uneven breathing on the other side. The candle flickers.

I recognize the voice from the very first syllable.

"Mistress, are you awake?"

"Please open the door," I hear him whisper as I shift off the bed, tightening my nightgown across my front. I untuck my hair from the curve of my ear so that it falls down to cover the sides of my face.

"Mistress? Mis—"

I open the door. Taehyung stands there, face ashen and barefoot. His mask is slightly crooked, as if he'd put it on in a hurry. His crimson eyes are fever-bright with adrenaline.

They fix on my bandaged cheek.

And his aura completely changes in less than a fraction of a second.

"He did this?"

He clasps the curve of my shoulder, leaning in closer. And I can already feel the violence in his emotions as he grazes my face. It only grows as he shifts down to touch the folds of my collar, where it hides fading love marks.

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