Ch. 191 Have You Already Forgotten?
After the opera, Elena and Carlisle moved to the city center. At Elena’s orders, the carriage came to a stop in front of an establishment with a sign that read, “Uncle Charles”. It was a popular bakery often frequented by crowds, but tonight it was empty. Elena had rented the place for the evening. The bakery’s sales were so high it that it had taken a large amount of money to monopolize them for a few hours.
Elena and Carlisle strolled towards Charles’ Bakery, and Carlisle peered curiously at the quiet store.
“Did you prepare this for me?”
“Yes. I don’t mind a lot of people, but I think it’s easier to relax this way together.”
Most aristocrats sent their servants out to buy bread from famous bakeries so the aristocrats could enjoy them in the leisure of their own home. A sudden appearance of the Crown Prince in front of the crowds would cause quite a disturbance. Elena had given this trip a lot of forethought, and Carlisle couldn’t manage to suppress his smile.
“I didn’t expect you to pay so much attention to detail.”
“Last time we went to an opera, you rented a whole restaurant.”
“Well, I’ve always wanted to do the best for you.”
Elena felt heat surge on her face at Carlisle’s casual confession. She was completely unprepared, and tried to soothe her burning chest by hurriedly grabbing Carlisle’s arm and leading him into the bakery.
“Let’s go in. You can’t admire the bread before you taste it.”
Carlisle followed Elena’s lead, and his gaze fell to their intertwined hands. He smiled, and covered his face with his other hand.
A sweet tinkling sound rang as they entered inside. Spread out before them was a vast buffet of various breads and pastries. Elena released Carlisle’s hand and picked up a tong and a tray.
“Take anything you wish. Personally, I like the croissants, cream cakes and cheesecakes over there.”
Carlisle nodded, but instead of pulling away on his own, he simply followed behind Elena and placed the same foods she chose on his own tray. After they selected everything they wanted to try, they both sat down at a table.
“You picked all the things that suited my taste.”
“I’m more curious about what you enjoy eating.”
Elena didn’t know how to respond and simply nodded. Strange…there was a shiver in her heart again.
She took a delicate forkful of cheesecake and placed it in her mouth. The cheese dissolved into a smooth, velvety texture on her tongue, and as she smiled, Carlisle smiled back. After finishing the cheesecake, she decided to move on to the mouthwatering cream cake.
Suddenly, Carlisle’s hand shot out, stealing some of the whipped cream on the side of her mouth. Then he licked the cream off his fingers.
Elena froze and stared at Carlisle with wide eyes. He looked back at her and smiled like a satisfied predator.
“This cream is the best one here.”
Elena blushed to the roots of her hair.
Later in the night, they found themselves by a quiet lakeside. Elena had ordered that dozens of floating candles be placed on the lake, but the effect was even more breathtaking when she saw it with her own eyes. The water was as still as a mirror, reflecting the gentle light of the candles and the twinkling stars against the ebony sky. Carlisle looked at the lake with stunned surprise.
“My wife seems determined to impress me tonight.”
“I’m glad you like it. Well…would you like to take a walk?”
Carlisle nodded, and they went on a gentle stroll in the cool night air. There was the occasional sound of the water rippling in the wind.
‘…Where should I start?’
She couldn’t help but wonder where to begin. She should tell him when she started liking him? Or should she say that she wanted to be with him even without a contract? Her thoughts weaved in and out of her head without any particular structure. Her heart was pounding so heart she feared that it would leap out of her rib cage. Elena swallowed hard, then opened her mouth to speak.
She wondered if he would notice her hesitation.
“Tell me, my wife.”
Elena closed her eyes tightly.
“To be honest—”
She did not finish her words. There was the sharp whistle of wind, and Carlisle quickly pulled Elena to his arms and flung them to the side.
Swig! Swig! Swig!
In an instant, dozens of arrows pierced the ground right where they were standing a moment before.
Carlisle’s and Elena’s heads whipped in the direction where the arrows came from, and they saw dozens of shadowy figures coming towards them from the darkness. She knew by intuition the moment she saw them.
She pulled up the skirt of her dress and unsheathed the dagger tied to her ankle. Carlisle also went to work quickly, putting his fingers in his mouth and whistling loudly.
There was a sound like drumbeat on the ground, and Carlisle’s large black horse came galloping towards them. Carlisle’s bodyguards, also aware of the threat, shot from the their hiding places to face the oncoming enemy. They were highly skilled, but it soon became devastatingly clear they were outnumbered. There were ten of Carlisle’s men against what looked to be about seventy.
The two sides clashed, and a fierce battle between the assassins and imperial bodyguards ensued. One of the bodyguards shouted towards Carlisle.
“Escape, Your Highness!”
Carlisle gritted his teeth, but there were too many assassins coming for him to stay. A large ambush like this was almost expected during wartime, but this was unheard of right in the heart of the capital. If it were, he would not have gone out with only ten guards.
There was no time for that now, however. Elena was with him. Carlisle jumped up onto his horse and reached his hand out.
“Quickly, my wife.”
Elena quickly took Carlisle’s hand and flung herself onto the horse. While the guards were buying them time, they had to make their getaway as fast as possible and hope for the swift arrival of reinforcements. One of their knights would have gone to the palace to alert them of the attack. The horse carrying the couple rushed forward.
Tadag, tadag, tadag!
The horse’s hooves thundered on the ground, and a loud cry came from the enemy.
“Get them! The prince is escaping!”
The imperial guards held back the enemy forces as best they could, but their numbers were too small. The assassins would be after Carlisle in short time. Carlisle urged the horse as fast as he could.
“They’re likely after me. I’ll drop you somewhere out of sight, so go to the Imperial Palace and bring backup troops.”
“Don’t talk nonsense.”
She refused him, and immediately tore the skirt of her dress so it wouldn’t hamper her movements. She wished she had a proper weapon, but as always, danger came without warning. Carlisle frowned as he caught glimpse of Elena’s smooth calves.
“Why won’t you listen to me?”
Elena gripped the dagger in her hand, her only weapon.
“I’m not leaving you.”
She suddenly felt an ominous chill run through her spine. This was just like the time when she first rescued Carlisle. He should have been dead then.
She gritted her teeth. If she lost Carlisle here, she wouldn’t be able to cope. Even if she didn’t need him to save her family, his safety was still her priority.
Elena’s eyes flashed determinedly, and she held on to Carlisle’s broad back.
“There’s something I haven’t told you yet. So don’t get hurt until I do so.”
“Your safety is more important than mine.”
Elena didn’t miss the worry in his tone, but she smiled.
“Did you forget already? I’m your sharpest sword.”
She could hear the assassins’ horses gaining on them. Elena twisted her head to look back, then whispered warningly in Carlisle’s ear.
“If it comes to worst, leave me first. You know I can last longer than the other knights.”
Carlisle simply drove the horse on faster. The chasing assassins wouldn’t easily catch them, but they had proper weapons in their hands that Elena did not have.
“Damn it! Caril, arrows!”
At Elena’s urgent cry, Carlisle quickly banked left.
Several arrows flew past them. Elena could strike back if she had her bow, but now she only had one small dagger. The best she could do was take out one assassin by throwing it, and she decided it was better to keep the dagger on hand just in case. Elena turned back to Carlisle, but kept an eye on the assassins coming after them.
“We can only rely on your riding skills now.”
“I’ll do my best.”
Elena yelled to him the direction of the arrows coming from behind, and Carlisle would immediately dodge to avoid them. A mistake from either of them would have deadly consequences, but they were in complete synch as if they had trained together. For now, Elena’s sharp eyesight and Carlisle ability to ride like hell kept them alive.