She lightly stepped towards me.
Cold air cut through my throat.
The oxygen that allowed me to breathe, the ground that allowed me to stand, all felt threatening.
Everything rang my alarm bangs telling me that my life was over.
The sound of the shoes that were ringing again against the stone floor stopped.
I couldn’t keep dragging my feet forever.
“I was wrong, Mother.”
The sound of my dress rubbing and my knees hitting the floor were exceptionally loud.
I knelt in front of her and acknowledged my fault.
This is the best I could think of at this moment.
“Seri, I’m not asking for an apology. I’m asking why the hell are you trying to steal my candles.”
My vision was swirling in a haze of candles.
If I didn’t concentrate, I wouldn’t be able to know what to do or what to say.
Only now did I figure out one more use for these incense candles.
This scented candle is also perfect for interrogation.
I bit the flesh inside my mouth to try and clear my mind.
“………I was wrong, Mother. I was blinded by greed, so I did something stupid. Recently, I had someone I wanted to brainwash. So, not thinking clearly, I did this thing in the heat of the moment.”
I couldn’t think of an excuse to get out of this situation.
It was even more arduous because my mind was growing blank.
There was no way I could get out of this situation. And if that was the case, it was better to be a ravenous person.
I had always acted like that in front of her.
“You already have Alastair, don’t you?”
“Alastair is already mine.”
“Um… my daughter is insatiable. So who is the person you want to brainwash?”
“… It’s Hypron Ites.”
Why did you say his name?
“I wanted to trample that haughty, self-righteous attitude of his. So I did something that I really shouldn’t have done—I was impulsive. I’m sorry, Mother.”
She looked down at me quietly.
I don’t know what she was thinking, but it was clear it wasn’t good.
My vision was becoming hazy.
The continuing anxiety and tension were breaching my body’s limits.
My body was starting to sway. I suspected the power of her scented candle played a large part, so control was swiftly slipping away.
Two long shadows stretched over the floor were discerned with my flickering sight.
A scene where a long shadow bent, on her knees, hitting the ceiling, I looked down, focusing on the shadows.
It wasn’t a pleasant scene.
Looking at the shadows that illustrated Duke Melford and I like a dark mirror, a pretty amusing thought comes to mind.
What kind of facial expression will she have when Alastair is released from her brainwashing?
It is a scene and a day I very much look forward to.
“I’m glad you admitted your fault right away.”
The Duke is my ‘biological’ mother.
Although I was hosted in her womb, we’ve coexisted like strangers.
My mother, who relentlessly cuts off and sadistically punishes those who cross the line—even her own children. We learn early we cannot afford to offend her.
It wasn’t a natural assumption.
Thanks to that, it was clearer to hate her.
Her cruelty made it easy not to get caught up and obsess over ‘family.’
“I don’t think I raised you erroneously.”
“But stealing is bad. Isn’t it?”
Maybe I’m just a child you’ve picked up? What birth mother has such hellish cold eyes when looking upon their children?
I chewed the inside of my cheek so hard that the taste of fishy blood stains my mouth.
“Since you admitted your wrongdoing right away, I’m not going to give you a severe punishment.”
She bends down and gently touches my hair.
I feel nauseous.
I can’t tell whether it’s because she touched me or the scent of her candles.
“I thought about cutting your hands so you could never steal again, but I don’t want my daughter to be shunned in higher society.”
It was hard to breathe now.
I couldn’t even hear what else she was talking about.
I started to hallucinate. The scent became a pile of boulders pressing against my body.
This is what Alastair has been suffering through.
It was the moment I realized how utterly stupid my thinking had been.
Because she is the villain of this novel, she is a great being who threatens the main characters.
What a stupid idea I had?
What good is it in the face of all this pain?
In that regard, I, too, was a villain who survives to the end of this novel
Regardless of the title, it’s hard to endure the agony.
“Shall I pluck out your nails?”
My fingernails seemed to grow in my drug-addled sight while cold sweat dripped loudly on the floor.
I saw a blazing flame in my sight that asked to be annihilated.
If I turn that off… This pain disappears.
It’s simple… It’s very simple.
But I couldn’t.
The Duke laughed deeply as if she had noticed my gaze.
“You look very distressed.”
The Duke hugged me and patted my back.
At the unfamiliar sensation, I slowly blinked.
It was the only means of expressing my feelings because I couldn’t control the rest of my body.
She bowed her head and kissed my forehead.
Something soft rubbed my forehead and halted before my ear.
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