Claire stared coldly at the trembling Lashia beneath her, whose eyes were full of fear. She suffocated more and more.
Yes, the current Claire could kill Lashia, who had intended to kill her. She was not just simply willful anymore! She was so spoiled, she didn't understand going out of bounds!
It was deathly silent around them, an atmosphere so bleak, Lashia was almost about to completely break down.
Suddenly, a smack sound broke the silence in the air, ringing out loud and clear.
Claire had slapped Lashia heavily in the face. At that moment, Lashia couldn't see straight and nearly fainted. A hand print carved itself out of Lashia's beautiful cheek, and a stream of blood trickled out the corner of her lip.
"You must thank Mother. If it wasn't for Mother, I would have killed you today." Claire whispered the icy and cruel words into Lashia's ear. She sounded like a demon from the underworld, making one tremble. Lashia saw Claire's eyes that were as cold as glaciers and felt a spasm of fear. She knew Claire was serious. If she did anything that displeased Claire right now, she would be murdered brutally. Absolutely, it would absolutely happen!
Jean and Nancy, still hidden in the woods, were utterly astonished. The young girl was covered in blood with golden locks floating with the wind and had a coldly resolute expression, emitting boldness that couldn't be measured! This person, was she really the man-crazy failure Claire from before?
Claire let go of the still trembling Lashia scornfully, and looked up to sneer deliberately into the woods. "My loyal knight, how long are you going to keep watching?"
Jean and Nancy felt a chilling air rise slowly about them, making them tremble. It gave off a strange feeling, as if their souls were being seen through, making them breathless.
With losses on both sides, Claire had only bitterly won.
Not long after, in the Hill clan's large study.
Gordan's expression was heavy. Nancy and Jean stood aside keeping quiet.
Standing before him was Lashia who was already treated and Claire.
"Lashia! Starting today, you are grounded for one month and not allowed to go anywhere." It was obvious that Gordan was truly mad now. He had never scolded Lashia with such rage, nor punished her like this before. Being grounded in the Hill clan wasn't as simple as staying home, but as for how it was like, only those who had experienced it before knew. But the only thing certain was that it was definitely not anything relaxing.
Lashia didn't say a word. From start to finish, her head was lowered. Nobody could see her expression.
"Yes, Grandfather." Lashia replied in a husky voice and left the room. Her voice was almost permanently destroyed by Claire. The healer had spent all of his magical power on preserving it.
Only after Lashia left did Gordan stand up and walk towards Claire, sighing, eyes full of tenderness. "Claire, Lashia has always been too spoiled by us, therefore leading to what happened today. But she is, after all, your younger sister. I hope you don't mind it too much."
"I understand, Grandfather." Claire said lightly as she nodded her head. If she did 'mind' it, then Lashia wouldn't have been standing there to speak at all! She would have disappeared from the world much earlier!
"There's no more problems from with your injuries anymore, right? Does it still hurt?" Now Gordan acted like an old man, a grandfather. His eyes were filled with concern.
"It's fine now, Grandfather, you don't need to worry." Claire revealed a smile. It was the truth; the healer was very effective at treating superficial wounds.
"Good." Gordan was finally relieved.
"But, Grandfather, some things can not be let off whether or not I mind it." Claire said lightly, suddenly smiling icily.
"Oh?" Gordan looked at Claire, both surprised and confused.
Claire turned around, lifted her chin, and looked down at Jean with scorn. She said sharply, "I, Claire Hill, hereby declare that I have no more need of a guardian knight. From now on, Jean Raymond is no longer the guardian knight of me, Claire Hill. Our relationship is over."
In that split second, everyone froze. Even the air felt completely frozen.
Claire's radiant face was full of resolution and pride.
Jean's face immediately paled.
Gordan's complexion changed rapidly. Nancy was so shocked he couldn't even think.
Knights, the symbol of loyalty. Every knight followed the Code of Knights, using it to guide his or her actions. They were the embodiments of a hero!
"Loyalty - Faith - Glory - Courage!" Claire stared fiercely at Jean, stating each word strongly and clearly. Each word felt like a hammer to Jean's heart. "What part of the Code of Knights did you fulfill? When my life was in danger, what were you doing? You and his highness, the second prince, were standing by, doing nothing! Loyalty? The whole thing was a joke!"
In that instant, Claire released a threatening demeanor that caused them to lose their ability to think.
"I do not need such an unloyal, unfaithful knight!" Claire's eyes shot out a frightening glare.
To a knight, exile was the greatest disgrace. Exile meant that Jean no longer qualified as a knight! He wouldn't be accepted again no matter where he went.
"Miss Claire - " Nancy finally opened his mouth to speak. How did things progress to this degree, a situation he didn't want to see. And he was the one that stopped Jean from rescuing Claire.
"Your royal highness, honorable second prince, I do believe this is our family's business. You don't have the right to interfere, do you?" Claire raised her head regally, not showing any mercy.
Nancy faltered, unable to speak. He had never seen such an aggressive Claire before! Her whole being seemed to shine, so bright one wouldn't be able to open their eyes.
Gordan's complexion finally returned to normal and he coughed slightly. "Indeed, Claire, this time was Jean's misstep, and you can punish him however you want. But you can't sever your relationship! This relationship was established since you were born. Not only will he guard over you now, but he will also do so in the future. It was only a careless error and I'm sure this won't happen again."
"Yes, Miss Claire," Nancy hurriedly said. "It was completely my fault. In the beginning when Jean was about to rescue you, it was I who stopped him. I swear everything I said was the truth and definitely not biased towards him."
Claire was silent and didn't say a thing.
Gordan frowned at Jean and gave a meaningful glance.
"Miss, everything that happened was completely due to my neglect, and I'm willing to accept my punishment." Jean abruptly pulled out the sword at his waist, and without blinking, thrusted the sword into his right leg. The sharp, long sword immediately pierced all the way through his thigh. Fresh blood flooded out. It was clear how much force he used. But Jean acted like he didn't feel it at all, his expression unchanged.
Claire watched the happenings coldly, Gordan Hill looked at her, and Nancy glanced at Jean worriedly. There really wasn't any need to be concerned about the state of Jean's injury, it was nothing to a Grand Warrior. Besides, there were always healers who could treat him. What Nancy was actually worried about was that Claire still wanted to sever their relationship.
Claire stayed silent.
"I, Jean Raymond, hereby swear, to loyally and faithfully guard Claire Hill for the rest of my life. Never to change, and never to abandon." Abruptly, Jean knelt down on one knee, clenched his right hand into a fist, and struck his chest. He looked at Claire, unusually solemn.
Claire just stared at Jean coldly and Jean just continued kneeling on one knee. He stared back resolutely at the aloof, young girl, his eyes full of determination.
The atmosphere in the study was so dense, it felt suffocating.
No one spoke. All that existed was the sound of breathing.