Chapter 7

Translator: Alice

Editor: SoaringPeaches

***

Eileen finally remembered why she had come here. Cesare had completely taken over her thoughts, but they eventually returned, and she became aware of her predicament. After hearing his confirmation about her father, she stood up.

 

“T-Thank you… I-I should leave now. Someone is w-waiting for me.”

 

Cesare cast a glance at the door. He frowned slightly as he caressed Eileen’s wrist. Tracing the marks he had left behind, he spoke as if coaxing a child.

 

“Eileen, remember to go to bed early. You need the rest.”

 

She nodded mechanically, but deep down she already knew. There was no way on earth that she was going to get any kind of sleep at all.

 

***

 

As the carriage pulled away, Diego watched. Since cars were seen as luxury items, he generally used a carriage when he wanted to be discreet.

 

‘If only I could take her home myself! But no, I have cr*p to do.’ 

 

He had no choice but to let his most trusted subordinate drive her home.

 

Watching the carriage disappear and then some more, he let out a long sigh.

 

“Ah, sh*t…”

 

Among all possible places to meet their lady… the world had a strange sense of humour.

 

“Lotan should have been apprehended instead.”

 

No matter his thoughts, Lotan always seemed to be the good guy. He swore that their lady had the bulk of a man around her pinky, dancing around like a puppet.

 

He planned to drop by with the rabbit doll but realised he needed to do more to make amends. He needed to devise a strategy to make up for today’s mishap. Resolute, Diego returned to the building, scoring boards going alight in his mind.

 

Sauntering back inside, he casually leaned against the wall by the stairs. Then suddenly, a square of gold materialised on the smooth surface, revealing a hidden door. Beyond it was another set of stairs leading down into the depths below.

 

The stairwell was dimly lit by flickering torches, creating an eerie atmosphere. Undeterred by the said atmosphere, Diego whistled a tune as he descended.

 

The metallic stench of blood grew stronger with each new step. At the very bottom, a vast underground chamber stretched out before him, divided into sections by sturdy iron bars. 

 

Pressing deeper into the underground labyrinth, Diego mulled over Eileen’s research. He was not a genius like some of his peers, who could drink from a fountain of knowledge in one sitting. Still, he knew when to hold his tongue and give it time to sink in.

 

After perusing every research document taken from Eileen’s lab, Senon declared one day.

 

“Morpheus will change the course of history.”

 

Imagine a powerful dr*g that isolates the pain-relieving components of opium, enhancing its pain-relieving properties to the maximum.

 

Despite its addictive properties, the results were indisputable. Morpheus would be the ultimate salvation, not only for those injured on the battlefield but also for those dying of pain.

 

Senon stressed that only a single ingredient was extracted from a plant, which was of great importance. The rest fell deaf to Diego’s ears.

 

“Your Highness, the Empire will rise to new heights with this medicine! Please support Miss Eileen’s research!”

 

If they did, they would have to prove its efficiency to avoid the death penalty.

 

It would have been worthwhile for Cesare to secretly protect Eileen until her research was complete, then demonstrate the efficacy of the finished product and support it as Grand Duke.

 

‘And when you become the Grand Duchess, no one will dare mess with you!’

 

Regardless of how much the Grand Duke adored her, she was currently nothing more than a daughter of a fallen family. The Grand Duke’s knights, including Diego, desperately wanted Eileen to become the Grand Duchess.

 

That way, she would be completely protected.

 

Eileen had been involved in a strange number of accidents since early childhood. She was particularly prone to attracting dangerous and unsavoury people. This was apparent from the moment she caught Cesare’s attention. He, once aloof and disinterested, found himself captivated by a young Eileen, eventually discovering a burgeoning affection for her.

 

As she grew up, Eileen got involved with even stranger characters. Cesare’s knights hadn’t done a bit of ‘house cleaning’, they would have had a very big problem on their hands by now.

 

The Grand Duke’s knights, who had watched Eileen for many years, had grown to love her. They were not so secretly delighted when Cesare announced his intention to make Eileen his Grand Duchess.

 

Eileen would have to marry someone at some point. It would be better for her to marry Cesare than end up being married to a strange man. Diego was sure she shared the sentiment.

 

‘Still… It’s all a bit sudden.’

 

Diego’s master had always been fond of Eileen, but his feelings suddenly became irrational. After all, she was only his ‘child’ up until that point.

 

It began with their triumph over the Kalpen Kingdom.

 

Cesare’s behaviour changed after that day. Diego noticed a difference after the Grand Duke brought King Kalpen to his knees.

 

Cesare rarely showed his emotions. Regardless of the situation, he remained composed and rational. But that day, despite having spent his entire life in Cesare’s service, Cesare showed her a side of him that Diego had never seen before.

 

Looking down at the kneeling King, he stared detachedly before muttering something that was not meant for other’s ears.

 

“When was it, 7 years ago?”

 

He closed his eyes slowly, then erupted into laughter, a sensation that sent shivers down Diego’s spine. Cesare, who had been rambling for some time, released a tired sigh.

 

“Ah…”

 

He smiled, his bright red eyes shining.

 

“I’m finally back.”

 

Then he drew his sword and severed King Kalpen’s head.

 

There was no time to stop it. At the gleam of the sword’s blade, the king’s head had already been severed.

 

His head flew off, and a fountain of blood spurted from his severed neck. The Grand Duke’s knights could not contain their shock as they saw King Kalpen cut in half.

 

It was out of character for Cesare to act out.

 

If he were the Cesare they knew, he would have spared the fallen king’s life and kept him around until his usefulness had expired. But Diego couldn’t reconcile this calculated Cesare with the impulsive act of violence in front of him. Heck, it was out of character for him to wield a sword instead of using his gun to carry out his sentence.

 

Afterwards, Cesare regained his composure, laughed hysterically, and dismissed the beheading as a farce. He took on an air of extreme calm and rationality, despite the shocking turn of events.

 

The knights knew, despite his facade. Their master changed the moment he beheaded the king.

 

When judged objectively, Cesare became a wiser man. He appeared to have grown older and more sophisticated, and he could occasionally predict the future. It was as if he had stolen the knowledge of heaven.

 

However, unlike before, a more impulsive side emerged. There were times when he acted broken, but it was all because of Eileen Elrod.

 

“I should marry Eileen.”

 

Cesare gathered the knights who were about to return to the empire and made the sudden announcement. Lotan was the first to say the right thing, as everyone else was frozen in shock.

 

“I believe Eileen will feel burdened.”

 

“I cannot help it, even if she dislikes it. It is preferable to having her head severed on the guillotine.”

 

Cesare smiled before starting with his mutterings again.

 

“It will not happen twice.”

 

What did his lord mean by this? Their master was not one for nonsense, so it had to mean something.

 

Diego quickly dismissed his suspicions about Cesare’s intentions and opened the thick iron door in front of him. Diego stepped inside and briefly clicked his tongue when he heard a wet sound.

 

“Ugh.”

 

He walked right into a puddle of blood. He wrinkled his nose and looked inside. A slab of meat was tied to a chair in the centre of the room, so it was difficult to make out its identity. Crimson stains covered all of the ground.

 

A man who had been trapped in a corner and could not make a sound crawled out, whimpering.

 

“Hic, hic, Dieg, Sir Diego!”

 

The person who jumped out as if he had seen a saviour was Eileen’s father, Baron Elrod. It looked as if the disgraced Baron had soiled himself.

 

As he frowned at the sour stench of urine, Baron Elrod, who was trying to cling to Diego’s feet, noticed and promptly fell.

 

Diego saluted his master first. When Cesare acknowledged the greeting, he made a gesture, and all the soldiers in the dungeon immediately dropped their instruments of torture and assumed an upright posture.

 

Though the chamber was filled with the stench of their blood, Cesare was orderly and immaculate. With his arms crossed, he spoke languidly.

 

“Don’t let her drink again, Diego.”


***

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