Chapter 1 - Part 1
Thank you Angelina for the kofi! (4/4)
Griffith, who sat down, immediately changed his expression to a serious one. As the atmosphere changed rapidly, Lelia clenched her fist in tension. Griffith started with a deep sigh.
“First of all, I’m glad you’re okay. You don’t know how surprised I was when I found out Oscar kidnapped you…”
“It’s a relief, I missed you.”
At Griffith’s words, Lelia bowed her head. It sounded like he was openly criticizing Oscar, but she couldn’t refute it.
“It’s primitive and violent to force you to get married.”
[He was trying to hack into the system and get me to drink some weird medicine…]
Lelia wanted to respond, but she held back.
[Did his expressions ever reveal his feelings?]
Griffith smiled at her.
“Well, I can’t just blame you.”
[What you have done so far isn’t worth criticizing?]
In the midst of the absurdity, Griffith’s expression changed dramatically. Griffith spoke seriously, “But Lelia, I’m sure it’s the same for the rest of us.”
Lelia crumpled her forehead. Griffith shrugged and continued speaking.
“Kalix is also forcing you to get married. Romeo is probably hoping for it, too. He’s calm now, but… he’ll soon reveal what you mean to him, really.”
Lelia’s face turned pale at the words. Suddenly, the story that Griffith had last told her passed by her mind.
“Am I the only one like this? The other three are the same.”
“Think about it, we participated in the war and since our reunion, we’ve lived for you… For your revenge.”
“Then, we found out you were alive.”
“We learned that you’re a girl”.
“How would we feel then? Of course…”
“Don’t you want to have you in a different way than before?””
“I’ve lived for you all my life… That’s for sure, Lelia. You have to be innocent.”
“Well, this is what happened… I can stand it. Sharing you with other guys.”
“You need to be responsible for us, Lelia.”
It was a mess in her head. She couldn’t believe it. Sure enough, Griffith brought it up.
“Of course, it’s the same for me. You told me last time, but I can’t help it.”
Lelia stared at Griffith with refuting eyes.
“Don’t say that as if it’s a matter of course. Don’t force me.”
“I’m not forcing you… Again, I can’t help it, Lelia.”
Griffith was like a doll that only repeatedly said it couldn’t be helped. It was frustrating.
“What’s so obvious?”
“You may find it difficult to understand, but it’s natural that we’re attracted to you. It would have been the same if you were a man.”
“How can that be natural…?”
“Don’t you think so?”
“Do you feel nothing when you see us? You can’t feel anything? Would it be okay if we met other women and got married?”
Lelia blinked blankly. It was a problem that she hadn’t considered. She thought about what it would be like for Oscar to do that, but… However, Griffith continued to talk without giving her time to think.
“Of course, you might be fine… But we’re not. You lived for the purpose of surviving…
And we only lived for you.”
“Since we met again at our reunion, we had only one goal. Getting revenge for you. Other than that, we didn’t think about anything. So it can’t be helped but be different for you.”
Lelia was speechless. It was her fault that made her friends seek such revenge. It was an excuse, but she had no choice but to cheat in the first place. Nevertheless, guilt was built up in her. She didn’t want to deny it.
“It’s going to keep repeating. Everyone will try to monopolize and have you, and eventually we’ll all be a mess.”
It was terrible. She didn’t understand why he said it as if it were natural.
“Oscar thinks it will all be solved if he forcibly marries you and locks you up, but that’s not true, Lelia.”
“If you don’t want to end in a catastrophe, you have to find a solution.”
Lelia lifted one eyebrow and looked at him. Griffith was talking as if there were some tricks. But the answer did not come back easily. Griffith hesitated as if he was enjoying Lelia’s nervousness waiting for an answer. Then, when Lelia was overwhelmed, he brought it up.
“This is a story from earlier, Lelia. When you’re successful… Oscar won’t be able to force you either. The same goes for Kalix.”
“And what is that…?”
“I told you, right? Emperor Perseus.”
Griffith hardly gave Lelia time to think since earlier. It was difficult for Lelia to come to her senses due to the swirling conversation. When she heard Emperor Perseus’ name, her heart dropped heavily.
“Now that I know your mother is alive… he is not going to stay still.”
“What if he doesn’t stay silent?”
There would be a backlash. What if that person doesn’t stay still? The Superion family will never send her mother back to the Imperial Castle. Emperor Perseus could never try that if he had a conscience.
“Emperor Perseus is out of his mind.”
“Empress Perseus came to the neutral zone…”
“It’s to treat madness. It seems that his hallucinations have gotten worse recently.”
At the surprising remark, Lelia grabbed the white robe over her knee.
“Madness? What the hell is that…?”
“As you can see, madness is very difficult to treat because it is different from your grandmother’s symptoms. It seems almost impossible… Anyway, maybe that’s why he grew more violent.”
“When his madness arises, he swings his sword and slashes everything in front of him. It’s crazy.”
“No, that’s absurd…”
Lelia blinked in confusion. What do you mean, madness, swinging his sword…? If he had such symptoms for a while…
[Is it because of me?]
Her palms grew sweaty from nervousness. She pursed her lips. Griffith glanced at Lelia, who had been psychologically withdrawn due to her anxiety and nervousness. His prey, already caught in the trap, was trembling with fear. Without hesitation, he fired his last arrow.
“What would Emperor Perseus do if he found out that your mother is still alive?”
“Although he has madness, it’s not to the extent that he can’t hold the office of emperor… A mad emperor who still has power could not leave his wife, whom he has missed all the time.”
There was nothing incorrect with Griffith’s words. Lelia could easily guess what he was talking about. Griffith continued to speak as if his words were confirmed by Lelia’s guess.
“No matter what he does, he will try to keep his wife by his side again. You know that too, Lelia.”
“Maybe he will declare war against the Superions. At least, he will threaten them to give back his wife and daughter.”
Lelia’s guesses were the same. His obsession with his dead wife was unusual. Her fingertips trembled with nervousness. A rising body temperature overlapped with her hands shaking in nervousness, which were barely holding the hem of the clothes.
Griffith, who came over to the next seat, covered the back of her hand with his large hand and gently locked their fingers. It seemed his intention was to calm her down, or a gesture to keep her close. Strangely, she began to suffocate as if she were strangled. Griffith lowered his head and spoke softly, in such a low voice, as if tickling her ear.
“But, Lelia, if you’re successful…”
“Everything will be solved.”
“Emperor Perseus will try to force you and your mother to the Imperial City. He is going to kill all those who will oppose him because of his madness.”
“I’m sure you will live together in the Imperial Castle. He will bring down the current empress and put your mother back there.”
The terrible speculation took her breath away. Looking at Lelia, Griffith continued to talk, wrapping her hands tightly.
“The twin princes will be happy, too. I’m sure they will be happy that their family is finally together. But Lelia, will you and your mother be happy?”
Lelia was speechless.
Her mother might be happy if she recovers her memory, but Lelia wouldn’t be happy. It was terrible just imagining it. It was clear that she would endure a terrible life the whole time, while only looking at her mother.
“Empress Perseus won’t be able to abandon Julianna. Because he loves her with his life, and Julianna will eventually accept your mother, too. Or maybe she will hate her for being the stepmother who pushed her mother away…”
Ahh… The blinding situation made blood rush to her head, making her feel dizzy. Lelia bit her lips.
Griffith’s warm touch touched her lips. Tsk. He clicked his tongue low and wiped away the drops of blood gently. Then he hugged her small shoulders as if to calm her down. At the same time, he didn’t stop stabbing her with thorny words. It was a contradictory attitude.
“I’m sure he’ll threaten you that he won’t let Superion go. They will comply with the emperor’s order, fearing that Superion will be at a disadvantage, or that an army of wizards will take it over.”
“You’ll live your life pretending to be happy, but you won’t be able to go back to the Superion’s territory… Isn’t it terrible?”
“… Ahh, stop.”
“Being in the Imperial Castle, you were in pain.”
“When I saw you like that, you don’t know how much it hurt. I don’t want you to stay in the Auraria Imperial City.”
It was a friendly tone as if comforting. Eventually, tears gathered in Lelia’s eyes and flowed down. Griffith carefully stole the tears with his fingertips as if they were jewels.
With a lovely, reluctant look, he looked at the poor, young animal as if he were admiring it. Now that he had scared her, it was time to reassure her. He smiled softly, and began to whisper like a sneaky snake. With a very sweet and soft voice. A path she can’t take unless it goes his way.
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