An Understated Dominance
by Marina Vittori
That evening. Dustin finally woke up after hours of sleeping and found that he was in a hospital room. A shocked voice rang out the moment his eyes opened.
“Huh? You aren’t dead, Rhys?”
Dustin’s gaze followed the source of the voice and landed on Ruth sitting beside him with a dazed expression as she looked at him.
“What? Disappointed to see me alive?” Dustin snapped.
“Ahem. Um, I’m just surprised.” Ruth grinned bashfully.
““Where’s your sister?” Dustin asked, changing the topic.
“Oh, she went to get your medicine.” Ruth examined him and said, “I heard that the venom is something called the Deadly Slither. It’s extremely poisonous and can kill a person quickly! It’s a miracle that you’re still alive!”
“You’re right. The venom is potent. It even managed to knock me out for a few hours. No wonder it’s one of the world’s top ten most poisonous venoms,” Dustin marveled.
“Why does that sound weird?” Ruth was puzzled.
Before Ruth could come out of her daze, two people entered the hospital room.
One was Natasha, while the other was a curvaceous lady dressed exquisitely. The two women resembled each other. Not only were they both very well–dressed, but they both had a powerful air to them.
“Dustin, you’re finally awake! How are you feeling?” Natasha’s face lit up as she rushed toward him.
“I’m feeling better now that I’ve gotten some sleep.” Dustin smiled.
“Here, take this. It’s a secret medicine I got you. Take it with some water, and you’ll be fine in no time.”
Natasha pushed a small white bottle into his hand and poured him a glass of warm water.
“Secret medicine? What is it?” Dustin asked curiously.
“Don’t underestimate it. It’s the result of three years of dedicated research and experiments by Dr. Rowan Cross. It can treat all kinds of venom,” Natasha urged.
“Rowan Cross?” Dustin was surprised.
“You know him?” asked Natasha, with a raised eyebrow.
“I’ve met him once.” Dustin did not deny it. He had met Rowan a few years before when Rowan’s enemies were hunting him down and Dustin had saved the poor man. The antidote had been Dustin’s gift to him.
“It’s always been difficult getting ahold of Dr. Cross‘ whereabouts and even harder to see him in person. You should take it before anything happens,” Natasha urged.
“There’s no need. My body’s already free of venom. You can take it back.” Dustin declined politely.
“It was difficult getting my hands on this baby. Why would I ever return it? Just keep it even if you’re fine now.
It’ll come in handy in emergencies,” Natasha insisted, stuffing the bottle into Dustin’s pocket.
Dustin accepted it. After all, she did it out of kindness.
“Oh, right. There’s something else I should mention. I think I saw Dahlia Nicholson at the hospital entrance,” Natasha said abruptly.
“Huh? What’s she doing here?” Dustin was puzzled.
“I heard her grandfather is critically ill and receiving emergency treatment.”
“Critically ill?” Dustin immediately became worried. “Are you sure?”
“Positive. Or Dahlia wouldn’t be downstairs right now,” Natasha replied.
“I’ll take a look.” Dustin got up and left the room.
Henry Nicholson had treated Dustin like his own, so there was no way he would do nothing while the old man was ill
“Natasha, you wasted one of the Harmon family’s favors just for him?” The woman beside her finally spoke. She was Natasha’s mother, Jessica Ballard.
“I’ll pay Dr. Cross back myself. It has nothing to do with you,” Natasha replied indifferently.
“Do you like that kid?” Jessica frowned.
“So what if I do?” Natasha raised her chin defiantly.
“You should remember that the two of you will never end up together. He’s just a nobody while you’re the daughter of a wealthy family and the heiress to the Harmon family. Your statuses are worlds apart!” Jessica reminded.
“I don’t care,” Natasha responded coolly.
“But I do!” Jessica’s tone was firm. “You can make up your mind about anything except your marriage! Don’t forget that you’re already engaged to Tyler!”
“Sorry. I’m not interested in Tyler Grant all” Natasha quipped.
“You have no say in this matter! You are the eldest daughter of the Harmon family. With wealth and power comes responsibility!” Jessica chided.
“Responsibility?” Natasha scoffed. “Do you mean using marriage to climb the ranks?”
“This is for your own good and the entire family’s! Tyler is an impressive person. He’s already a Major General despite his young age. He has a bright future ahead of him. He’s the perfect choice for marriage!” Jessica lectured.
“If you like him so much, you marry him then! I have no intention of doing so,” Natasha retorted bluntly.
“Why are you so stubborn? If you don’t marry into his family, you will never become the head of the Harmon family! Why don’t you understand this?”
“It doesn’t matter since I was never interested in becoming the head of the family, to begin with,” Natasha replied matter–of–factly.
“Is your entire future worth sacrificing just for that kid?” Jessica spat.
“Of course! I don’t think Tyler is better than him anyway!”
“You have that much faith in him?” Jessica’s expression hardened.
“That’s right!” Natasha announced proudly.
Jessica paused when she heard her daughter’s answer. Resolute, she inhaled before declaring with a cold voice. “Fine! Since you’re not going to give up, I’ll give you one chance. If that punk can pass three tests, I’ll never bring up the topic of your marriage to the Reeves family again!”
“What kind of tests?” asked Natasha with a raised brow.
“First, he must defeat Edwin Hummer to prove his strength!” Jessica demanded.
“Edwin has Boulderthom to back him up! It’s it a bit unreasonable to ask Dustin to defeat him?” Natasha frowned.
Jessica snorted. “If he can’t even defeat Edwin Hummer, why should I accept him into our family? What right does he have to fight Tyler? Well, I’m giving you both a chance. If he fails, you better return to Millsburg and get married!”
Jessica turned and left the room.
An Understated Dominance by Marina Vittori
Author: Marina Vittori
Artist: Dahlia Nicholson and Dustin Rhys
Released: July, 9, 2023
Native Language: English