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“What— what ludicrous response is that?”
“Because Lucerne is obsessed with his wife. It’s irrational to take advantage of his weakness. But what if we take advantage of his wife’s weakness?”
The two looked at each other.
“To catch Elisha’s weakness is to catch Lucerne’s weakness.”
“Is that possible?”
“Everyone has weaknesses. Or you can even create a weakness… … .”
As Arien muttered, he realized something as if struck by lightning.
“Wait a moment… … . Arien. That’s right. There was that!”
“Of course. There was a deeper meaning to my father’s words.”
Marco suddenly started looking around the room. Soon he found a small cardboard box covered in dust. It was a really shabby box. She looked at the decaying box with a displeased expression.
“What’s that? Marco?”
“A genuine treasure that will rectify our situation.”
His lips twitched as a sneer spread. The eyes of the members of the Cartier family shined brightest only when they drove others to ruin.
Marco opened the old paper box. Inside the box was empty. But as he tapped the bottom of the box and touched its blemishes, the ring hidden under the facade appeared. It was a box with a hidden compartment.
“What is this worn-out ring? It’s really ugly.”
The band was not gold or silver, but bronze. Moreover, it was strangely curved, and upon closer inspection, a horned monster was sitting on the ring and smiling. Looking at it closely she saw the demon was shedding tears.
“It‘s hideous. Who made this?”
“Huh? What do you mean?”
“Arien, do you know what this is called? It’s a ring called ‘The Devil’s Smile’.”
“It’s a suitable name for an ugly thing.”
“You’re a fool. Look carefully. See the eggs on this ring? Are you wearing gloves? Touch them gently.”
Arien gently pressed the black egg in the devil’s mouth. What she thought was a gem was as soft. Arien let out a sound of puzzlement.
“The egg in this ring is an ancient poison. It is such a deadly and cruel poison that it is nicknamed ‘The Devil’s Smile’. Indeed, this poison is so demonic, it makes the devil laugh when he sees it.”
In the relic vault, there were many treasures of evil gods that were formerly worshiped but were now forgotten. This devil’s smile was one such item.
“What kind of poison is it?”
“If you eat this poison, you will suffer from a pain that will have you begging for death, and you will suffer from hell-like pain for up to two months before you perish. If the person is lucky, you might get sick for a few days and then die. However, although they can usually live up to two months, most commit suicide before then. This is the poison used by the followers of the ancient evil gods that are now on death row.”
Merha well-versed on religious items. He even collected items of the malicious gods. Dangerous objects were often disposed of immediately upon discovery.
So, the followers of evil spirits made fake relics and hid the real relics, filled with the poisons of these vicious evil spirits. It was a secret that Merha told his son when he was young:
‘Look. Among the relics of evil spirits, there are many secrets hidden in these old paper boxes and mysterious jars. This is the most deadly poison of all. It’s called ‘The Devil’s Smile’.’
“What a terrible object.”
She had touched the poison. Arien was shaken, took off her gloves and threw them away.
“Is that all?”
“There is an antidote to this drug. An antidote called ‘Devil’s Tears’. The antidote is in a box like this on a hidden ring. The only difference is that the egg-like objects are white. But the important thing to note is that the antidote is in three parts.”
“That’s the frightening thing about this poison. If you take one antidote, the poisoned person will survive. And if you eat two pills, death-worthy pain turns into moderate pain. One will live for about 5 years. But if you take three pills, you will be cured.”
Marco said with a sly smile.
“So, it’s not like you’re completely cured by just taking two pills. Oh my.”
By this point, Arien understood his intentions.
“Therefore… … . The person poisoned must obey anyone who has an antidote. If you give them an antidote one at a time, they will crawl.”
“Right! With just a threat Lucerne would never be able to touch us. Even if this is ancient poison, is it a magic tool? He has a shadow beast who is his guardian deity. The shadow beast will reduce the poison’s effect, so even if he eats it it won’t have the same effect. He has a non-poisonous constitution.”
Arien had never had such a good connection with her husband until now. She knew exactly what he was thinking. She raised the corners of her lips in a jeer.
“Then what if Elisha, that crazy bitch, eats this poison?”
“That’s what I’m saying! If his wife vomits blood after getting poisoned and is dying before her eyes, he would obey us from fear. Ah, thank the gods we can make a weakness for him too.”
“Marco, you are a genius!”
Arien nodded in excitement.
“If we’ve successful, we can take Lucerne’s wife as hostage and make them our slaves and deal with them freely. He will be imprisoned and tortured until he is on the edge of death, and then after we get everything we can get from Lucerne, we will give him only two pills if we feel like being generous. Then in five years time he will have to witness his wife’s death.”
Just imagining it was thrilling. Arien didn’t want her to leave Elisha alone. It would be merciful to just kill her.
5 years. Within five years, the succession structure of the family would probably be organized. After holding Lucerne’s weakness in their hands they could free Merha and when he returned they would have nothing to fear.
‘You have to teach the lowborn the rightful order of the world.’
What would she do if she succeeded in threatening Elisha with poison? Arien would hold her captive first.
‘I’ll keep her for a month or so and thoroughly educate that bitch.’
She would tie up Elisha and treat her like a slave, whip her daily and make her bleed until she was on the verge of death.
When Merha returned, the temple’s knights would be under her control again. What if she threw her men to torture Elisha too?
‘Whatever I do, you’ll have no choice but to obey if you want to live!’
Arien snickered with a cruel madness.
It was the brutality that was engraved in her bloodline, living as a noble from birth. When she was a child, her mother used to make the same look when trampling on the poor from her country estate.
“You— even though you can handle that bitch as you please, don’t even think about touching her, alright? Now we only have each other. Don’t even dream of being unfaithful.”
“I don’t like that woman anymore. I hate the poisonous woman. What I liked about her for only a second was that… … . because she resembled someone I knew.”
“Who is it? Who?”
“There was. Once. Someone I saw as a child,”
Marco mumbled and his words trailed off.
“By the way, where is the antidote? The drug called ‘Devil’s Tears’.”
“That’s what he meant,”
“The medicine is in the relic vault.”
“I see, not I understand. All of father’s words had hidden meanings!”
“Most of the loyal priests are being investigated alongside father. But High Priest Anton, who is in charge of the relics, is weak-minded and always obeys my father. Besides, when father stole the temple treasures and tampered with the account books. He was also an accomplice, so if I threaten him, he will listen.”
“Can you do it?”
“Of course, I will do anything!”
Arien held Marco’s hand. Their eyes began to glimmer with new hope.