In the telegram Melissa gave her, was a single short address.
Rowena gulped as she skimmed over the address without much thought.
The ride to the address was silent; neither her nor Melissa said any words.
Melissa was also confused by the sudden trip following the unexpected guest visit.
“My lady, I feel like the road is getting darker and darker… Is it just me thinking that way”
“…It’s the right address.”
She threw a glance out the carriage window.
The street that the carriage entered was a slum; buildings were lined like matchboxes, shabby, and seemed that they would fall to ruin at any second.
Dirty-looking men passed here and there while they held out their cans to beg, and men in worn-out clothes gathered around a fire trying to feel the slightest bit of warmth.
After a while, the carriage passed through a narrow and complicated alleyway, tangled like a spider’s web, and stopped in front of a single building.
“Lady Rowena… Something is strange.
There is no way that the duke will send my lady to a place like this.”
As soon as she got out of the carriage, Melissa trembled at the peering glances she felt around them.
“If you’re scared, you can stay in the carriage.”
Rowena, without fear, turned around and promptly opened the door to the building.
Melissa, who hesitated and looked around her, followed her in haste.
Holding the telegram the messenger had delivered in her hand, Rowena led the way up the squeaky old staircase.
It was the staircase she had climbed on her first day in the capital, with half expectation and half uncertainty.
That moment she had a gut feeling that something was wrong, but it was too late to turn back, so she climbed the stairs to the very last.
The ominous feeling she had felt at that moment seemed to resurface.
That ominous feeling rose to the end of her throat.
She reached the second floor and grabbed the doorknob.
Rowena took a deep breath then proceeded to open the door.
The very moment she opened the door with a determined face, a crying voice hit her.
A woman whose hands and feet were tied to the back of a chair cried with a dirty gag stuffed in her mouth.
Melissa freaked out, scared that she might be able to recognize the tear-stained face, and blocked Rowena’s view.
Just stay back.”
Shaking her head, Rowena ordered her to stay back and slowly approached Carol.
She was the traitor whom at last she was reunited with for the first time in almost a decade; it was in this abandoned house where the debt collectors had made a scene not so long ago.
As she removed the gag, Carol gasped and pleaded.
“What happened in the past…was my fault.
I shouldn’t have done that…..”
The words of her apology and her plea made Rowena’s head spin.
Stiffly, Rowena involuntarily stepped back as Carol begged aloud for forgiveness.
“Please! Help me, okay I did something to you I really shouldn’t have done… forgive me.
I’m so sorry…”
The explanation of the past years and one tiny apology, that Rowena had so much hoped to receive, had flooded out of Carol’s mouth like a river.
With a pounding headache, Rowena took another step back.
Carol’s face was full of fear, shock, and desperation about what she had done, but on the other hand, there seemed to be no external injuries visible on the outside.
As Rowena stepped forward again to take a closer look, a man emerged from a dark, hidden corner.
It was the usual neat and calm-looking man that called her.
He looked a little tired, with a hint of fatigue under his eyes, but that didn’t matter now.
Rowena calmed the agitation inside of her and slowly opened her lips.
“What is this all about”
“It’s the award I mentioned before.”
“I told you I’d give it to you, remember”
His tone was as nonchalant as if he was giving a birthday present a day late.
With a pressing headache, Rowena took another deep breath.
“Carol…how did you find her I never told you her name.”
“8 years ago, there was only one woman who worked as a courtesan while using your name .”
“I guess you didn’t know that either.”
Killian, who clicked his tongue, turned his head to the opposite corner.
Within seconds, four men who stood at the opposite corner came out of the shadows.
Carol, who was trembling mercilessly at the sound of the approaching footsteps, screamed.
“I’m sorry! Please! Spare me!”
Rowena looked up at Killian and let out a small scream.
“What the hell have you done”
“I hate being in debt.
With the sudden reply, Killian came up from behind the frozen Rowena and placed his hand on her shoulder.
“For it is only when a favor is returned, be it a blessing or a betrayal, just as you received it, that it won’t cost another life, nor would such mistakes ever be repeated.
But you seem to know that already.”