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Elisha fell asleep in his arms at the end of the fourth ejaculation. It had been a long time since they had sex, so she couldn’t seem to pull herself together.
“Now, I really can’t. Really, no… … .”
Lucerne halted Elisha, wiped her body, and put her in her pajamas.
“Ugh, uh… … .”
Sometimes she would drool and mumble in her sleep. He was a light sleeper, so during those times, he would hug Elisha, pat her on the back, and soothe her while listening to her murmurs.
At night, while he held her, his unresolved possessiveness, repressed deep in the pit of his stomach, would explode out and envelop him. He had an overwhelming urge to swallow and chew up every whimper that rose from her lips.
Since when? …why did he become like this?
At first, it was just curiosity. Then it was just lust. And then, it was just fascinating. Before he knew it, his feelings that had grown slowly took root. From those roots, stems grew taller, and fruits began to flower, wrapping around him and making him overprotective and possessive of them.
‘Do I like this suspicious woman?’
he wondered to himself.
But the feeling did not blossom. Lucerne didn’t know love. Instead, he grew up in an environment where he would not survive unless he gave up his heart.
The day he returned to the battlefield at the age of thirteen was after he survived two weeks of hell, whipped and tortured in Merha’s cellar.
And it was also the day he ignored the sacrifice and death of those close and dear to him. He had given up his heart long ago. So the only clear and distinct emotion he could offer was possessiveness.
Elisha cried, mumbling in her sleep.
‘What are you apologizing for?’
Lucerne licked his lips, covered her with the blanket, and stroked her over the covers.
He was determined to rip Jacob to death, but he felt like he should do something worse than that.
Maybe he could order the shadows to dissolve and slowly eat him over the course of a year. Or would he keep him alive for two months and then have them to kill him slowly?
‘How much vengeance do you desire?’
Lucerne often considered Elisha’s tormented sleep-talk a habit she had acquired from suffering in Jacob’s annex. It made sense since she said she was forced to work there.
Lucerne pulled Elisha’s palm towards his lips and kissed her.
“You know how much I care for you, how much I let you get away with,”
Lucerne whispered very softly. So she won’t wake up.
In fact, he knew it all.
‘Ristrapho, the sins of Merha and Marco. And the prophet who died eight years ago.’
When Nora reported that Elisha’s bracelet broke, Lucerne headed straight to the forest’s vacant lot. There, he found Ristrapho’s secret vault. Then, he witnessed an amazing sight.
It was a sight of a bright blue butterfly flying from Ristrapho’s corpse in the underground vault.
High priests with real divine power had messengers. The messenger would fly to where it was needed and express his intentions by leaving a message to the people. So at the moment of his death, Risralpho planted a ‘message’ in his body through the butterfly-shaped messenger.
And the butterfly imparted his message in the air.
[I ran away here. The people who killed me were Merha of the temple and his son Marco, both members of the Cartier family.
They ended up killing me when I demanded that the money sold by donating my body be distributed to my family.
Whoever finds my body, please let the world know. I’m sorry, mother and father—my only brother.
Remember today is when I died.]
And the date was left behind. It was Ristrapho’s last will. Lucerne knew the whole story right away.
But he pretended not to know anything.
Instead, he slowly studied how Elisha behaved. What’s certain is that, although she had never seen the will, she knew all the facts.
And she cleverly nudged Lucerne to approach the truth.
“You are very amusing.”
Risking her life, limb, and body–just because she wants to. Are we really playing this game?
The family competition.
The succession battle fought between the descendants for the position of the Duke of Cartier was implicitly called “The Gaju Games” within the family.
She must have harbored a deep enmity toward the family to want to participate in the family’s contest. But she didn’t seem to have grievances because it was her late father’s foe, nor did she appear to have any paternal love for him. Background research on Elisha concurred with what she disclosed to him before, that she had been raised entirely apart from her father.
Unexpectedly, he became curious about the end of the game Elisha drew. Until that day, he decided to look and savor her presence.
“Don’t betray me. Elisha.”
If she abandons him, Lucerne will drop her into her abyss. May she never have the freedom she wants so desperately her whole life.
Elisha will have to live off Lucerne’s obsession and possessiveness for life.
So, this Gaju game was perfect for her to enjoy. It was the only game she would get.
‘Shall I make a secret room?’
Lucerne thought. The problem was that he felt so wonderful when she was beside him. Sometimes he felt like he was going insane.
But it was preferable to be in a relationship of trust. A contradiction was fighting inside him: he wanted her to be happily at peace, and at the same time, he wanted to see her and be by her side for a long time. He was not used to such a paradox. But he always enjoyed a challenge.
“No, you can’t push an injured person like this.”
The next day, the butler saw a sight he had never seen before. Lucerne was being scolded. By none other than a high-ranking priest. He had come to see Elisha lying on the bed with a fever heating up her ruddy face.
‘I can surmise what led to this situation.’
The butler understood the situation unwantedly and desperately tried to think of something else. Lucerne rubbed his eyes with a tired face.
“Is her condition much worse?”
“Well, it’s not, but… —In any case, it’s common sense that you should treat the ill gently.”
It had been a long time since the butler witnessed a man with such gumption. The healer-priest could open his mouth in front of Lucerne because he was a senior priest who was directly under the high priest.
Lucerne nodded and said ‘thank goodness’ as if he was apologetic.
“Then we can’t do it tonight.”
“No, General. Please—”
The butler quietly closed the door and left. At this time, pretending not to know was life. [t1v: pfft]