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Marco opened his eyes.
‘Where the hell am I?’
It was a dusty cellar. It smelled damp and dirty. It was completely sealed off; he couldn’t tell where the door was. There was nothing but a small bathroom space.
“What— what happened?”
But no one answered. Then, after a long time passed… … .
His stomach rumbled like thunder. Marco had never gone hungry for more than one meal in his life. He was so hungry that his stomach hurt. It was the first time he had such an appetite in his life.
He couldn’t stand it, so he banged on the wall and made a commotion, but again there was no response. Time passed again.
Then finally, the middle of the wall moved. A small port concealed in the wall had opened, and a bowl came through. It was a few pieces of dried bread and some water.
‘What if there’s poison in here?’
Marco persevered. However, no matter how much he waited, nothing changed, and there was no movement. So, in the end, Marco waited for a while, and after he couldn’t stand it, he ate a piece of bread and drank the water.
The next meal came with cheese and ham on bread coated with wine and sweet honey sauce.
‘Ah, I don’t know.’
Marco, who was naturally weak-willed, ate the food again. It tasted like heaven.
And Marco fell asleep. He also didn’t know how much time had passed… … .
He woke up in a familiar place.
‘Is this the cabin I stayed in?’
He suddenly felt nauseous and had a stomach ache. He got up slowly. It was obviously the hideout he had rented for a long time. It was the cabin in Yurif.
‘What happened to me? Was it all a dream?’
He wondered if he imagined it all. But it couldn’t be. Obviously, everything had been real. That horrible basement, a hellish place with no windows. Where no one answered him… … .
Then Marco screamed. Someone else was in the room. Lucerne sat comfortably on a wooden chair in the middle of the room.
He was looking down at Marco. That languid gaze was one of a bored beast or a beautiful evil god who decided to torment a passing human.
It seemed on a whim that he would show infinite kindness to his opponent or, conversely, that he would suddenly tear his foe apart and kill them.
“You slept peacefully. Your stupidity is truly disgusting.”
“What— what— what are you talking about!”
Marco trembled. During the days he was imprisoned, he worried about Arien countless times.
“Where is my wife!”
Something rolled in front of Marco. His face turned when he saw what it was. It was a ring with an empty egg. The ring with a poison called “The Devil’s Smile.”
“This… … . How do you have this?”
“Your wife tried to assassinate my wife. That’s the evidence. So I decided to give it back to you.”
“So where is Arien? Arien has a delicate body! When she’s stressed she becomes weak and can’t take much.”
Arien had failed. Marco felt it. His mind was blank, and his eyes were dim. It was the color of despair.
Lucerne clicked his tongue.
“How dare you tell me your wife is precious.”
“… … .”
“Why did you try to hurt someone else’s wife when you knew it so well, huh?”
Lucerne asked in a creepily affectionate tone.
“Let me elaborate.”
“… … .”
“Think about it, Marco. Why is the egg in this ring empty? The poison must have been used somewhere,”
“You haven’t left any food or water alone in the past few days.”
“Don’t tell me… … .”
Marco’s body shook uncontrollably.
“Then the question is, did I put the ‘Devil’s Smile’ poison in the food you ate or not?”
Then— Marco started to have stomach pain. It was a pang as if his intestines had been twisted or his stomach was stabbed.
“I told you. I will repay you.”
“… … .”
“That poison, I paid it back with care.”
“Oh, no! No!”
“Good luck, survive well, Marco.”
Lucerne laughed at him and got up from his seat.
‘The antidote… … !’
In front of Marco was death; he couldn’t see anything more. Then, to make matters worse, the pain in his body grew.
Lucerne turned his back. As soon as Marco saw that he had left, he searched the room. There was a hidden underground space on the hardwood floor of the cabin. Searching there, Marco took out a small key.
‘The box where the medicine is hidden… … . where is it? Yes, it was here!’
When the heirs of Gaju reached adulthood, he passed on some treasures, including some magic tools. This box was also a treasure handed down by the Head.
‘This is a box that can only be opened by me.’
He opened the box. Only Marco, the owner, could open it.
“I can’t die like this. I have to survive so there is hope for the future.”
Marco quickly took out the medicine.
The ‘Devil’s Tears’ ring looked identical to the ‘Devil’s Smile’ poison ring. The only difference was that the ring egg was white, not black. He swallowed the pill in a hurry, shoving the ring into his mouth and pressing the button on the back of the ring.
‘Now I can live… … !’
Marco thought as he chewed the drug.