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Elisha fell senseless, almost unconscious for about an hour, and then opened her eyes.
Handprints were left on Elisha’s ankles. Lucerne soothed her by gently caressing her belly and lower abdomen. However, her remaining excitement was still heating up.
“Are you okay?”
“Yes… … .”
Elisha nodded and thought something was odd.
‘Why are you so excited today?’
Halfway through sex, she almost lost her mind.
‘Is it because I was so emotional earlier today?’
There was the admiration of noblewomen. And the envious gazes of people. A futile insight of emptiness but a thrilling sensation enveloped her body. But nevertheless, it was even fascinating.
Lucerne and Elisha often had moments in which they realized they were thinking the same thing, even though they didn’t exchange a single word in the same place. Just like now.
“How was your day? Was it worth it?”
Elisha nodded and added,
“Yes, there’s no problem. I’ll make sure I don’t make any mistakes next time.”
“Yes. There is a next time.”
Elisha hesitated and paused.
“As you may remember, new terms can be added to the marriage contract if the marriage lasts.”
She was surprised, not expecting Lucerne would bring this topic up first and so casually. Elisha’s heart thumped. She suppressed its lurching.
“… … What do you mean?”
“If you want to live as my wife in the future, it wouldn’t be disadvantageous to settle and clean up your debts once.”
Elisha’s breath stopped. She could escape the Cartier family. Finally, that damned debt looming over her would disappear. Just the thought of her made her head spin.
“What happens if the debt is gone?”
“Nothing will change. We’ll live like this. We will renew the contract.”
At that moment, Elisha recalled the painting of the snake hanging in the annex where she was held. The greedy and beautiful black snake held its head up high. It looked as if he was seducing someone.
“You mean you just want to bind me with a new contract.”
Lucerne turned to Elisha. As she lay in bed and met his eyes, the gaze took her breath away.
“As usual, you’re quick-witted.”
“… … .”
Elisha awkwardly rose to avoid his regard. Lucerne stood up as she straightened her flowing gown.
“Marriage is essentially about being bound to each other.”
“At least other couples trust each other.”
“That sounds intriguing. So, was that the end of Marco and Arien?”
“Then I will be abandoned more cruelly than Arien. I don’t have any family, friends, ah—”
Lucerne gently grabbed her wrist and pulled her.
“Don’t run away again.”
“… … .”
“Then can you trust me?”
Lucerne asked languidly. Elisha bit her lip. It was a habit she had whenever she was nervous.
“You’re not going to remove the tattoo on the back of my neck.”
“It’s useful to be able to find you no matter what. I have many enemies.”
“… … I know that.”
It was her dream and goal to have the tattoo on her neck disappear. For as long as the seal with the tracking spell existed on her skin, she would always be a slave to the Cartier family. Only now, her story would be that she belonged to Lucerne.
No woman would want to be her partner’s slave, even if she loved him. It was the same with Elisha.
‘But there must be an abundance of women around Lucerne. Why me?’
She would stay next to Lucerne. It was such a strange and unfamiliar sentiment.
But she didn’t deserve it—
A flash of unwanted memories ran through Elisha from her past life. Inwardly she gasped; her heart ached with a stabbing pang.
“Are you thinking of turning Jacob or Marco into a puppet?”
“I was wondering if you were thinking of a way to make me the real head of the household by controlling them.”
Lost in thought, Lucerne donned a pensive look.
“… … .”
“Technically, I wouldn’t be ‘the Head’ as written in the contract. But even if you meant it literally and somehow fulfilled the terms, I won’t let you go.”
“Then what do you want to do with the Cartier family?”
Instead of clearing up Lucerne’s misunderstanding, Elisha asked quietly.
“… … .”
“I want to destroy Jacob, Marco, and Merha.”
It was a calm and even statement. However, Elisha could only imagine the terribly compressed emotions and torturous history beyond that calm tone.
It was disturbing, and a sense of anxiety crept up. She often glimpsed a faint sense of madness in Lucerne. His kindness resembled a precarious sandcastle. As long as Elisha was helplessly bound to him and had no choice but to obey him, he could adjust his treatment of her at any time and according to any whim.
“Think it over.”
“… … .”
“My patience seems to be working out for you.”
Elisha could not respond. She could only imagine the end of his patience.
“Of course it won’t last forever, will it?”
“Ah, first of all.”
Lucerne laid her down and patted her.
“That way, tomorrow or the day after tomorrow you can do it.”
A way to hide from anxiety. The only way to hide the shaking was to run away in his arms. She closed her eyes slowly, feeling her body cling to him.