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    A World Beyond / So We Are Told
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    Episode 7
    Nok’s knew very well what she meant. Nok’s blood belonged to her dirty father, and the other half belonged to her pure mother. She may be foolish, but not stupid. That was one of Nok’s misfortunes.
    “…Move Khalid to my room.”
    Madam ordered me to chase him away. Metta’s worried voice was heard. Nok’s slowly closed her eyes as if tears were about to come out and said,
    “It’s alright.”
    Her voice was already choked up.
    “After everything is finished, I’ll send him away properly.”
    Metta hesitated for a moment, then nodded and instructed the servants to move Khalid to Nok’s room. Thud, thud. Blood ran down Khalid’s back.
    The path to his room was marked with bloodstains. Nok’s walked slowly along that bloodstain. Each step was heavy.
    She wanted to hide the child in her room, without anyone knowing. But for Khalid’s sake, for the child’s safety, she had to admit that it was better to send him away from herself.
    Nok’s, who didn’t even dream that her mother would care about Khalid, let alone worry about him, stared at Khalid’s back being carried away by the servants with eyes blackened with despair.
    They walked along the long corridor. The servant opened Nok’s room first. Then he carefully laid Khalid down in the room, facing the ceiling. Nok’s gestured for the servant to leave and the servant closed the door and left the room.
    Creak, thud.
    Once the door was closed, only the child’s rough breathing and the sound of Nok’s own heart pounding filled the room. Nok’s slowly pulled a chair and placed it by the bed. Then she sat down and looked at the blood staining the sheets. She couldn’t bring herself to look directly at Khalid’s face.
    Time was passing slowly. The blood flowing from the child’s back was slowly subsiding. But the wounds from the whip made of thorns remained severe. Nok’s thought that she should let Khalid go outside the mansion to receive proper treatment. Of course, she had to make it seem like it wasn’t her command.
    How much time had passed? Khalid woke up with a low groan. His voice was hoarse.
    Nok’s, who was looking at the floor, slowly looked up at the child with eyes blackened with despair. Khalid’s face was covered in cold sweat and dirt.
    She wanted to reach out and wipe it clean. She wanted to apologize and admit that she had been wrong. But she bit her tongue hard and held back. She knew that if she didn’t sever ties here, her mother, Olgaga, would forcefully sever them herself.
    “Are you awake?”
    “Yes. Khalid.”
    Nok’s voice was not the same as the voice that called Khalid tenderly. It was infinitely cold and hard. Khalid’s eyes, which had just regained consciousness, shook with unease at the voice that treated him like a complete stranger. Khalid tentatively reached out his hand. And he hoped that Nok’s would hold his hand.
    While pressing down her desire to firmly grasp the slowly approaching hand, Nok’s slowly but firmly slapped the child’s hand with the back of her hand. The child’s eyes widened in disbelief.
    “…I, I made a mistake.”
    And then Khalid opened his mouth as if he was trying to fix the situation. It was pitiful. The child was trying hard to smile. Covered in blood. Trying to erase the gathering anxiety.
    “Master… You’ve never said such a thing. I must have misunderstood, I-I must have angered you?”
    The hand that had been slapped away by Nok’s once again held Nok’s hand. Nok’s tried to take her hand back, but the grip of the hand, which had grown stronger without her noticing, did not let go of Nok’s hand. Nok’s bit her tongue harder. Her fingertips trembled. Nok’s tried her best not to let Khalid notice it.
    “Please, don’t say anything.”
    “Please. What did I do wrong?”
    Khalid was acting as if he had some kind of intuition. Of course he would.

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