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“Well, now you’ve completed it to some extent. It’s time for that boy to learn that the world is not so sweet.”
“As you command, Your Majesty.”
“And the investigation of the case….I’ll leave it to Milord.”
“Yes, I understand.”
“I think it’s time for you to leave and get some rest.”
Gillian slowly bowed at the Emperor’s order. He turned around and stepped out of the emperor’s office.
Feeling the absence of people around him, the emperor spontaneously rose from his seat. He took out four thick books from behind his desk, one in the right corner of the top column of the bookshelf, the next one under the left side of the bottom column of the bookshelf, next to those five books, and the second one on the top left side. To be precise, he left only half of them out on the shelf.
At the same time, there was a click and lock sound inside the study, and a door appeared in the center of the bookcase. He slowly opened it and stepped into the dark interior. He closed the door and locked it skillfully, and outside, it was just another ordinary bookshelf.
The emperor stepped forward and lit the candle with a flickering sound, lighting the darkness of the passage. After walking down the not-so-long path, a large room appeared inside.
A bed was placed in the center of the large room, and bookshelves were lined tightly together. A desk in one corner was neatly organized with pen and ink. On the bed in the center of the room, there was an object curled up on its knees. Her winding light blue hair stretched long as if left unattended for a long time and was scattered on the bed.
After a quick look around the room, the emperor took out his desk chair and pulled it towards the bed.
“Elise, why don’t you show your face?”
He looked at her and said, “It seems that you want me to sanction you again. Did I not punish you enough?”
Elise flinched and her shoulders trembled.
The emperor waited a moment. Elise slowly lifted her head. He could hear the creak of bones as she had been crouching for a long time, but she eventually raised her head fully and raised her chin.
The woman’s mouth was gagged tightly with a cloth. It seemed like it was to prevent her from biting her tongue so she couldn’t kill herself. The scars on her neck were thick, as if she had been scratching it repeatedly, and one of her eyes was empty, as if one of the eyeballs had been dug out. The one remaining eye showed her original eye color was deep blue.
The emperor reached out and untied the cloth binding the woman’s mouth with one hand.
“Milord will be sad to know that his only mother would say such words.”
The woman’s wrists were bound with heavy chains. The shackles were so heavy that she could not easily raise her hands.
The emperor reached out and held it lightly.
The shackles were released as if his hand was a key.
The emperor reached into his pocket and pulled out something and shook it lightly. It was a red bead with phosphorus on it. Elise’s eyes widened, as if she knew what it was.
“Elise, I’ve found something interesting.”
“Who are you …….?”
The sunken voice was full of anger. The Emperor put his hand on Elise’s face with an unconcerned and pensive expression.
Elise made a wince-inducing, abhorrent face, but didn’t avoid it.
“I’m an alchemist. Maybe I’ll turn you back to normal.”
“You…., that vain dream ….”
Elise gritted her teeth. It seemed she hadn’t been able to eat properly, her body was nothing but bones and her cheeks were slender. She looked so thin that her bones stood out.
“‘If you rebel again……It hurts my heart, but next time I’ll cut off Milord’s arm and bring it to you. Or would you prefer Lagris’s right leg?”
“Lagris’s right eye and left arm were already given as gifts. It’s hard without arms, so right leg is okay next time.”
“I’ll kill you ……!!!”
Elise let out a screeching scream and reached out her hands. The emperor, who lightly grabbed Elise’s waist and sat her on his lap, held her neck and kissed it. She was a lovely, dainty woman who was easily fooled by his lies.
“Why did you reject me? Why did you want to abandon me? The two of you. Since you and Lagris rejected me, I really had to become a monster.”
Elise shook her body. The Emperor laughed lowly, lightly grasping her wrist as she raised her hand in horror. He kissed her wrist, his golden eyes glittering dangerously.
“Elise, do not forget. You, no. You and Lagris brought this on yourself.”
“No rough language.”
The emperor, on the other hand, started laughing as if it were funny. Snickering as if her defiance was nothing.
“Anyway, start eating properly tomorrow. If you die… …I’ll ravage Milord and Lagris in front of your dead body. ……I’ll make them live in your place for the rest of their life. I’ll make sure they won’t die even if they beg me to kill them.”
“What the hell, Cainus……… what the hell is wrong with you…….?”
Elise’s face contorted, and she crumpled in his arms, gritting her teeth and crying. The Emperor looked at her casually, then took her in his arms and sat her down on the bed again.
“It’s your fault. You believed in me and told me that we would be together forever, but then you abandoned me and tried to create a world where it was just you and Largris. You tried to destroy the world of the three of us first.”
“I… you as a friend. ….”
It was said as a friend. ‘I believe in you as a friend, I’ll stay with you forever as a friend.’ Elise bowed her head in despair as he shook his head as if it was all her fault and he was an act of God.
He smiled lazily as he sat Elise down on the bed. It was a smile of madness, even deeper than the darkness.
“But I still love you, Elise.”
The Emperor lightly grabbed her by the neck. He chuckled as he nuzzled her neck.
“What’s your answer?
“…… I love you, Cainus.”
The emperor laughed with satisfaction, even though Elise’s voice sounded like she was reading a book in the national language that didn’t contain the slightest bit of emotion. He took off her shackles and left his seat with a blank look on his face.
“I will come back tomorrow.”
The emperor meekly turned away. He turned back the way he had come and returned to his office. He went outside and neatly rearranged his bookshelf, and eventually left the office as if nothing had happened.
* * *
It was strangely hot. A soothing hand approached and patted her back as she lightly shifted her body, wondering why the bed she used alone was so hot. Valletta moaned lowly at the feeling of being even hotter.
“……Miss Valletta, are you awake?
Valletta took a deep breath at the sound of annoyance over her head. She slowly blinked her eyes and let out a small sigh before she lifted her eyelids with difficulty again.
She raised her hand and rubbed her eyes at the hard chest she could see in front of her and the arms that held her. And on top of the dazzlingly inhuman appearance, her neck eventually stiffened as it was. She thought about how peaceful it was to sleep, and wondered who would think this was the Tower Master who had killed so many people.
“Oh, it’s you…”
Valletta raised her hand and covered her eyes. It really was a “mistake”. ‘When did this man sneak into my bed again?’ She usually pretended to allow him. She sighed and slowly got up.
“Why are you here… ….?”
She was asking him a question, but Reinhardt didn’t open his eyes, he just rubbed his cheek against hers, hugging her waist.
“I got kicked out. Please pat me.”
Valletta patted Reinhardt’s head a couple of times in a daze. In fact, she was just pressing his head instead of stroking it.
She turned her head and looked behind her, feeling some kind of chillingly quiet realism. Ceylon stood with an awkward smile, and next to him was Quilt, who avoided her gaze. And the middle-aged man behind them, who looked even more embarrassed, already had the expression of having seen something he didn’t understand.
“…… when did you promise to meet here?”
She eventually asked back in absurdity. Reinhardt, who had been sleeping better lately, was once again catching his breath, still hugging her waist.
‘No, what kind of dog are you?’
‘Why do you hide in my bed at night?’ Valletta couldn’t help but giggle at herself for not knowing that. Probably a high probability that he used magic to sneak in quietly……
‘No wonder I didn’t wake up once today.’
She wished she had slept a little longer, but she felt clear-headed enough. Sometimes just not having nightmares was enough to feel refreshed.
‘If I keep this up, I’m really going to become addicted.’