“He was brainwashed.”
I repeated when Igelto didn’t respond.
Despite such effort, he blinked blankly, as if it still didn’t make sense.
“…….he was brainwashed.”
I waited for him to calm down.
His face was horribly distorted and became so strange that it was difficult to recognize.
The moment his eyebrows stopped frowning, he spoke in a voice pretending to be calm.
“I don’t understand what you mean by ‘he was brainwashed’…. First of all…… What brainwashing did he have?”
I was forced to pause and gather my wits about me at his query.
I knew that someday when I met the elf, the day would come where I needed to explain all the facts.
But after actually meeting, it was not easy to talk deeply.
I hesitated for a long time.
As I struggled, Igelto waited for me without haste.
Finally, I managed to move my lips, a faint, numb voice coming out of me.
I spoke about the brainwashing the owner of this house, Alastair, went through.
Seeing Igelto’s wide-open eyes, he was almost beyond astonishment, but he seemed to be struggling to keep his wits about him.
“How the hell did he get brainwashed with such content?”
It was challenging to discuss everything so openly.
I hesitated for a while again and opened my mouth.
From then on, I explained his long childhood story.
When I finished speaking, it was completely bright outside, well into the morning.
“Serina—But can you get rid of brainwashing if you have Platinte?”
I was sitting on his bed before I knew it.
I raised his knees and buried my face deeply; my hair shielding my face.
“To be honest….”
As I buried my head in my knees, my murmuring rang softly between my legs.
“….. I’m not sure.”
“I am just hoping and praying it can be solved. Stupid, huh?”
My strained, half-crying voice was barely above a whisper—it didn’t even seem like mine.
“…… You’re not stupid.”
“…… I kept looking at my mother and studied the scented candles used to brainwash him, but I still don’t know how.”
From the moment I decided to undo his indoctrination, I was stuck in the mansion’s grand library for several years.
I searched the studies, the library, and the whole estate thinking there might be a clue.
After years of struggle, I only found a few things.
“The main ingredient of the scented candles is Amalion. The drug has permeated his whole body, so we have to solve that problem first.”
Even if we managed to solve that, there was no guarantee that his brainwashing would be relieved, but this was all I could do.
“…… Don’t cry.”
“I’m not crying.”
My face, hidden against my knees, was carefully lifted by Igelto’s hands.
“I’ll take care of it, no matter what.”
I opened my eyes wide.
Laughter bursted out.
“Why are you laughing?”
I remembered my brother back at the mansion.
I don’t know why, but I was crying when I was a child. At that time, Mikhail had just said the same thing as Igelto:
Don’t cry. Oppa will take care of it.
“Is there any chance you can get me one of those candles?”
“I’m going to break it down and find out exactly what kind of ingredients it contains. That will increase the chances of undoing the damage.”
There was a glimmer of hope. I replied as if possessed—wanting to capture that spark before it disappeared.
“Yes, I can get it.”
To do that, I would have to run the risk of getting caught, but this was well worth the risk.
“Igelto, do you know anything about a drug called ‘Micho’?
‘Micho’ was a medicinal herb that I fed Alastair two years ago.
After feeding him that herb, ‘that incident’ happened.
“I know of it. It’s one of the antidotes to Amalion-poisoning. But it is too weak to detoxify Amalion completely. A user will only see the detoxification effect from Amalion for a moment. It usually passes through the body within 5 to 10 minutes.”
So quick? That’s why I didn’t die then
The antidote must have passed through Alastair quickly, either exhausting Alastair or passing fast enough that the brainwashing came back and didn’t allow him to strangle me to death….
“‘Micho’ detoxifies Amalion, but it can cause rare side effects.”
“What side effects?”
“Yeah. If Micho doesn’t fit well with a human’s deposition, it could amplify Amalion’s power.”
“……What do you mean?”
“Amalion can cause hallucinations. There’s a chance Micho can also amplify those hallucinations.”
Igelto’s green eyes sank deeply. He said a heavy word.
“Yes, there’s a rare chance Micho can cause side effects like hallucinations.”
Two years ago, Alastair was briefly released from his brainwashing and genuinely wanted to kill me? Or was he hallucinating?
After I came out of Igelto’s room, I spent a long time speculating over our conversation.
-If you feed Micho to someone and it causes hallucinations, does the phenomenon recur later?
-No. After around 5 minutes, Micho can no longer function in the body.
According to Igelto, what happened last night and Micho are irrelevant.
I understand what happened two years ago—I recklessly fed Alastair a drug, and there was a reaction— but I still can’t wrap my head around what happened yesterday.
Why the hell did Alastair…
Deep in thought and unaware of my surroundings, I arrived at my room in the Agernia mansion out of habit.
Alastair may still be in there.
Right now, I was reluctant to meet Alastair.
I turned around without an alternative in mind—all I knew is that I had to get away.
‘Should I just go back to the Melford mansion?’
When you see Alastair, you may not be able to control your emotions, and you will get angry.
Even though I decided to dismiss last night’s incident, I couldn’t help but remember it.
Alastair was my family, but I was a little angry and upset.
Maybe I’m being insensitive?
Wasn’t it because of my family Alastair became like this? Wasn’t it because I stood aside and did nothing?
I needed to remind myself to understand that Alastair couldn’t help it because of his brainwashing— but even if I knew… I felt dirty.
He has no recollection of what happened two years ago, and he probably doesn’t remember what happened yesterday.
Just like two years ago.
It makes a person so confused when the other person can’t remember anything.
I cannot be a saint.
I can’t be nice.
Just because I ‘understand’ and emphasize does not make what happened to me acceptable.
Because I am a person who is hurt too.
The pillar that supported me is cracking little by little.
It was then I heard a sound I dreaded behind my back.
It was the sound of the door opening.
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