Predatory Marriage — Chapter 219. Locked up (4)
Translator: Atlas / Editor: Regan
Leah’s day began as it always had in the palace. She got up early in the morning and went to work in the office of the villa, addressing some of the most urgent tasks. The fact that she was not at the palace limited her scope. When the time came, she ate under the watchful eyes of her ladies-in-waiting, and dutifully drank the tea Cerdina had sent. It felt as if she was swallowing poison with every sip, but she endured it, determined.
She watched the sun set. It tinted the orchard red until it disappeared into the mountains to the west, and then darkness overwhelmed the whole villa. Unlike the palace, which was illuminated by lanterns even late at night, the orchard was shrouded in silent shadows.
As soon as the sun went down, Leah kept an eye on the window. The man she was waiting for always appeared when she least expected him.
She wondered if he would come in by the window this time too, or maybe some other way. She didn’t feel bored, waiting for him. It was entertaining to imagine what his arrival would be like. Deliberately, she left the window unlatched, fearing to obstruct his entrance.
Alone in the bedroom, she longed for the night like a child awaiting a gift. She couldn’t control her excitement. She tried reading a book, but her eyes kept wandering to the window. When she couldn’t take it anymore, she went to the window and looked for a long time into the dark.
She was reading by the light of a small oil lamp when she felt a shiver suddenly run down her back. Leah set the book down.
Lifting the lamp from the desk, she approached the door, her shadow stretching far into the far behind her. It was quiet outside. She couldn’t hear anything, not even the footsteps of her ladies or the murmur of the knights. It seemed as if everyone had gone to sleep.
Suddenly she had a bad feeling, an instinctive fear. She wanted to go check, but when she turned the doorknob, it was locked. Her ladies locked her into her room every night to keep her from leaving. As she was standing before the door, she heard voices.
—Look for her.
—She must be on the second floor.
Startled, she turned. Those weren’t the voices of her ladies or the knights. Quickly, she went to her desk and set the lamp down, grabbing a sharp, slender letter opener. Looking quickly around the room, she saw only a few places to hide: under the bed, in the closet, or under her desk. She would be found quickly.
There was no one to call for help. She would have to protect herself. Nervously, she opened the window.
Beneath the window was a thin ledge, barely wide enough for her toes. But if she held onto the window frame, she could stay there for a long time. With the slender knife in her mouth, she set her foot on the window sill.
Golden eyes stared into hers from the darkness. After a moment, she slowly took the knife from her mouth and set it on the window sill.
Ishakan stretched out his arms to her without a word.
He would catch her if she jumped. How strange that she trusted this man so much.
It was a long distance from the second floor bedroom to the ground, but she felt no fear. She had no doubt that he would catch her. Leah leapt from the window sill, her silver hair fluttering behind her, and Ishakan’s arms went around her nimbly, at precisely the right moment.
Her breath was unsteady and she opened her mouth to begin to tell him that they should go, that there were strangers in the house, but she couldn’t say it. She was frightened, but his golden eyes were utterly calm. It would be absurd to tell this man to run. The idea of fleeing was anathema to him. Leah pressed her lips together.
“You surprise me in so many ways,” Ishakan said, lifting an eyebrow.
Through the open window, she could hear the sound of her bedroom door being broken down. A moment later, there were shouts and curses from many male voices. Holding her in his arms, he looked down at her, shining in the moonlight.
“I have come to help you.”