Chapter 1 - Part 1
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Lelia blinked in astonishment and looked at the text again.
Who are the subjects of special favorability? Four of them?
[What? Within 2 meters? What the hell is this about…?]
It was then…
A shadow fell over her head.
Lelia’s body stiffened as she suddenly felt someone’s presence behind her back.
At the same time, a soft voice pierced her ears.
[Who is it? How do they know my name?]
Lelia slowly turned her body around.
The moment she saw the person, her whole life flashed before her eyes.
In the end, Lelia almost collapsed as she lost strength in her legs.
“Your response to that name suggests it’s your name.”
The man who was covering his eyes with a black blindfold grinned and said.
Lelia looked at them nervously. In front of her were four large men looking down at her. With gazes that looked as if they would tear her apart at any moment.
The man who was covering his eyes with a black blindfold pulled the cloth off and asked.
“…Was it you? Were you the one who killed my friend?”
It was a cold voice that could kill people with just his words.
[What did you say just now?]
“After killing the previous Crown Prince, the murderer is said to be living comfortably as a princess, right?”
The beautiful blonde man asked with a sweet smile. It was a smile that looked like it was going to kill someone.
Lelia was dumbfounded.
A strange sense of déjà vu pierced through her mind like an arrow.
[T/N: Of course, you wrote your name ‘Lelia Auraria’ on the last letter, Lelia :)]
“Answer me. Why did you kill him?”
The brown-haired guy asked while gritting his teeth. His eyes were filled with resentment and hatred.
Things quickly escalated.
“I will torture you, so much so that you hope to die.”
[T/N: If you realize, this is a part of the novel’s summary/description!]
His beast-like red eyes gleamed brightly. The silver-haired man pulled out his sword from its scabbard as soon as he finished speaking.
Lelia was so startled that she let out a strange scream without realizing it and stepped back from him.
Following the red-eyed man, the other men began to draw swords one by one.
[What? Are you really trying to kill me? Wait a moment…!]
Lelia slowly backed away from them until she fell down on her butt.
[Don’t tell me you are going to kill me.]
He thinks he’s caught the person who killed Prince Leo. Goosebumps swelled all over her body all of a sudden.
The man with dark hair and a grim expression must be…
The smile that felt like tearing a person’s tongue out…
[Romeo with blonde hair and blue eyes.]
That brown-haired man who turned his back to her is Griffith.
Lastly, those red eyes…
[He can’t be Oscar…]
Lelia looked up at them, blinking her eyes after looking at each of them, one after the other.
[But… Oscar? He isn’t Oscar, right?]
To be honest, she could glimpse the child she knew in the three guys.
Oscar in her head was very small, fragile, and always sniffling like a kitten.
Lelia stared at him blankly, and the man who she thought had to be Oscar said.
“No, it’s not worth it to kill her so easily. Let’s take her to a quiet place, pluck her nails, and chop off her fingers.”
[That’s not her Oscar…]
Oscar wasn’t the kind of person who could say that. Lelia thought it couldn’t be and her head spun over how to understand this situation.
A shadow quickly appeared over her head. Lelia was knocked out from a strike against the pressure spot at the back of her neck.
Master! Switch to the special favorability-only UI.୧(•̀ᴗ•́) UI settings can be changed in the preferences!
System: special favorability activation complete
If you do not clear the quest within the deadline, you will be penalized.
System: The system is partially transformed.
Lelia slowly opened her eyes. As soon as she regained consciousness, she felt a lot of pain. It hurt as if she had been beaten on the back of her neck.
Lelia checked the surroundings with a pained groan.
It was the four men she had encountered earlier in the dark alley.
Lelia looked down at her body.
Her hands and feet were tied to a squeaky chair.
[Did they kidnap me?]
But something was strange.
[…What is it?]
She could see that she had no choice but to press the jewel on her necklace.
[Editor: Don’t ask me how she does this while tied up. I assume MC powers.]
Settings button at the lower right corner, crafting, inventory, quests, etc.
Small icons floated in front of her.
That was when the speech bubble that always appeared in the alchemy tool floated in the air.
Optimized for special favorability exclusive UI mode, master! Go through the hidden quest to increase your special favorability!
When you complete the ٩(๑•̀w•́)و quest, you can receive a special recipe as a reward!
[…What is this?]
A special affinity-only UI mode?
Her head hurt so much. Lelia shook her head lightly and looked up at the men staring at her. Things that were not seen before caught her eye.
A icon floating above their heads.
There was a golden exclamation point above everyone’s head. It was a picture that appeared when a quest was available in the game.
There were small numbers underneath it…
When she looked closely, they all said [–999].
One of the men dragged an old chair over and plopped down in front of Lelia.
It was Romeo.
“Is that your name? Lelia Auraria”
Lelia nodded slowly.
Her heart was beating violently.
She had a hard time believing it was real until he touched her.
The ones that gave Lelia the will to live.
Those who were the final destination of her life, those who are more precious than anything else.
Her friends were in front of her. As soon as she realized that fact, her eyes started to burn and sting.
She never imagined that they would meet again like this. She wanted to break the magic spell and then go find them. She had never thought she would see them this soon…
“Are you crying because you don’t want to die?”
Romeo, who was sitting across from her, said sarcastically.
Just like when she was a child, Lelia still felt her tears dry up at his sarcastic tone.
[No, by the way…]
[Wait, why on earth are they…?]
“We saw the tower where you lived, and it was very luxurious,” said the brown-haired Griffith.
Perhaps these children were aware of her existence.
She was confused because she did not understand what was going on. Perhaps her confusion was expressed through her expression, Griffith smirked and spoke again.
“Before Prince Leo died, he left us a message with your name on it.”
“ Leo was poisoned. That kid always used to tell us that he would be killed, and he was threatened because of the throne.”
“Why did you kill Leo?”
Lelia was stunned. She thought she had heard it wrong before…
[You think I killed Leo? How? Why?]
“Do I need to wait? If I cut off her fingers one by one, she would be able to find her voice soon.”
Oscar, who was standing in a corner, said in a cold voice.
Lelia avoided looking at him.
[He can’t be Oscar.]
“Did anyone ask you to kill Leo? Or was it simply because of your desire to become the empress?”
Griffith quickly asked a series of questions.
Lelia opened her mouth for the first time in a trembling voice.
Romeo sitting across from her, Calix and Oscar sitting in the corner of the room, and Griffith was standing next to Romeo.
Their eyes all turned to Lelia.
“Wait, I think there’s a misunderstanding.”
The quest mark floating above their heads and the numbers [-999] bothered her. For now, the first thing to do was to get free of the ropes that tied her hands and feet.
They didn’t seem to have noticed that she was Leo.
They knew Lelia as her true identity.
“I think I’m going to cut her neck, not her fingers.”
Lelia went on talking again before their patience ran out.
“I did not kill Leo.”
[Are you stupid? At that time I was ten years old. How can a ten year old poison someone?]
“Then why did Leo write your name before he died?”
[That was… Just in case…]
Romeo and Griffith were always quick to figure things out, she thought that they might even discover her true identity.
But looking at Romeo and Griffith’s eyes now, it was a huge mistake.
[Now that I see it… I would doubt it…]
It must have felt like a dying message with the killer’s name to them. At the time, she was so rushed that she couldn’t even think properly.
“Lie. You killed Prince Leo for the throne. It was impossible for you to think that a rebellion would break out, so you ran away.”
“One of our friends died unfairly…”
Romeo muttered in response to Griffith’s words.
The two people opposite her seemed to believe that Lelia was the culprit.
In their eyes, she was very suspicious. From the day the four of them first met and guessed at the culprit, they had in their minds set on Lelia as the culprit. The prejudice that had hardened over several years was not easy to erase.
Though Lelia was not among them. She thought Griffith and Romeo would be clever and figure it out. Instead it came out like that, and she was speechless.
[What do I do now? I can’t be honest…]
Lelia quickly shook her head. To convince those minds full of prejudice…
As she watched from afar, Oscar drew his sword again and slowly approached.
Lelia instinctively sensed her death. She couldn’t escape and he wanted to kill her.
Lelia screamed hastily for her life.
“I didn’t really kill him! The culprit who killed Prince Leo was executed by the Emperor himself at that time! Earl Hetter was the culprit!”
“How can we believe that?”
Oscar’s blade pressed to Lelia’s neck. The magic emanating from his sword seemed to suffocate her soul.
Then she suddenly thought of a way out of this situation. A sharp pain swept over her neck where the blade of his sword touched.
Lelia screamed quickly.
“My birthday is the 27th of Celes month!”
The air around her turned heavy.
Griffith’s expression was especially distorted when he heard it.
The 26th, the day before Lelia, was Griffith’s birthday.
The 27th was the day they all celebrated every year with Leo.
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