Frankly, it was not because I wanted to avenge myself as Benjamin tried to assassinate me.
It was because he provoked me first, so I tried to do the same too. I was a person who returned words to others, whether it was an ally or an enemy.
Perhaps I was the first to cause Benjamin’s poker face to crack?
Without thinking about the consequences, I threw the last words and then glanced around. I didn’t believe my words would be enough to make Benjamin want to kill me but was I too straightforward?
Benjamin, hardened in place, wore a stiff smile, while Felix…….
With his head raised and mouth closed, his shoulders trembled slightly.
Well, even if I was accused of blasphemy, I was relieved to hear that I had given him all this pleasure. I was glad I made him laugh…….
I unconsciously made eye contact with Benjamin. The insidious purple eyes were unusually narrow.
You’re not going to suddenly flip your palm1 and be like Lucas and say, ‘I will kill you with my own hands.’ You’re not planning to kill me, were you?
He wouldn’t. He had too much pride and wouldn’t be that careless.
I watched Benjamin as he pressed his back into the couch.
Then he naturally placed his elbows on the handle of the couch and tilted the corner of his mouth slightly.
“You’re saying bad things.”
Despite being told those remarks to his face, he was trying to maintain his composure.
In fact, I was sure he wanted to put me in an underground prison right now.
Benjamin showed no signs of displeasure at my remarks that went too far.
He just laughed calmly, saying the words were ‘bad’.
Who would believe that?
“Then what should I do to attract the eyes of the lady?”
Benjamin asked gently.
I reflexively muttered as if hesitation was a luxury.
“Whatever you do…….”
Oh, his face was stiff again.
It was a subtle difference, but it was clear that there was a crack in his composure again. His enchanting purple eyes seemed to darken in color.
It was clear that he was a little irritated. But it was more like being amazed rather than full of anger.
Like, ‘You’re the first one who’s ever said that to me.’ You were looking at me like that…….
Felix said that Benjamin’s method was to trample or tame it before it sprouted.
He was the kind of person who knew very well how his appearance was seen by others and knew how he could use it.
In fact, I didn’t want to describe it like this, but there was no way to deny that Benjamin was an attractive man with a deep male scent.
It was evident from just looking at his appearance. There was something that stimulated the raw desire for not only his appearance and body but also the slightest speech, actions, and even the sound of his breath.
Unlike what I saw at the banquet hall, his black hair covered his forehead, and his dark eyes emitted a glow between the messy bangs.
It was definitely not dangerous, but deadly.
The description in the novel: ‘Young people were so eager to spend a night with the Duke of Lamberg’ could not have described it better.
But no matter how it was, you were marked by me as a bonehead4.
It was because you didn’t even show the sincerity of caring for me, who was a non-smoker.
Didn’t that mean you had no intentions to even look good to me in the first place?
Additionally, regardless of the means and methods, you just wanted to do whatever you wanted to get Claudia…….Was he disillusioned?
Honestly, there was actually one way. If he returned to the novel. If his existence was just a fantasy, I thought I could like him.
You may have already noticed from my monologues, but I was actually an impoverished novel maniac with no dreams or hopes.
And that his character was mainly a sociopath who didn’t feel any remorse no matter what methods and means he chose for the purpose.
So, please return to the paper and print.
“Well, I have to say…….”
“Please tell me.”
“I want you to stay ten meters away from me.”
I said it with the meaning of asking him to get out of the way, but Benjamin seemed to have interpreted it differently.
For example: ‘Let’s talk only when we’re far away from each other’. Same5.
For a moment, the eyes that held endless darkness stared at me as if penetrating me.
After facing the tranquility of the eerie silence, I realized again that my opponent was the ruler of the underworld.
At that time, I heard Felix chuckling next to me.
Then he hugged me as if to protect me from Benjamin’s gaze.
I trembled as I looked up at his face filled with warmth and the radiant light surrounding his shoulders.
It was as if it was a direct contrast to the Duke who was right in front of me. It was the light against the dark.
Despite being reassured by the light, it also caused me to blush.
Benjamin looked at Felix and me alternately again. Then he twisted his mouth as if amused.
“I am sorry if I unintentionally offended you, but I have been considerate of the lady in my own way. I hope you will not misunderstand me.”
It was an ambiguous smile. It was like a dog barking for no reason6.
“What kind of world showed consideration like this? Was that the consideration of that world…….”
Did you happen to burn a cigarette as a sign of favor in the underworld?
As I inquired, Benjamin put a new cigarette in his hand and bit it in his mouth.
Perhaps it was just because his mouth felt empty, and he was bored, since the cigarette remained unlit.
“Because the lady must get used to this smell too.”
It was what he said a while ago that I was unable to understand.
There was a possibility that those words were a declaration of war, whether you liked it or not, but the probability of drawing that conclusion was slim.
Instead, my intuition was telling me that there was more to it.
‘Why would I have to get used to that smell?’
You could not hold onto something while trying to shake it off7.
I looked at Felix, but he didn’t seem to understand either. So I tested the waters8 openly.
“What do you mean?”
“I don’t know.”
You son of a b*tch.
“Since Your Excellency doesn’t seem to be willing to speak, let me take the risk of being disrespectful and say what I have come all the way here for…….”
“It sounds strange to hear the word ‘disrespectful’ from the mouth of the lady.”
Shouldn’t I be the one saying that?
“……. Anyway, I’m here to tell you to give up on Claudia.”
“Is that so?”
“Yeah. Rather, confess with confidence and get dumped.”
And be clean and simple. That was much cooler than sneaky tricks behind the scenes.
Based on the premise that he was dumped, Benjamin was silent again at my words.
“Then I believe the next time I see you again, I’ll like you.”
Then Benjamin smiled silently. It was as if he didn’t need my favor. Hey, I didn’t need it either.
“Believe me. It will be a lot better.”
It was not the worst outcome. We were giving him a chance to escape.
In the original work, Benjamin first targeted the people around him in order to approach Claudia.
He thoroughly used a mask to lure his opponent, and he used them as he wanted and disposed of them without a second thought9.
Yeah, at this point, you may have probably guessed, Irene Amber died like that. She betrayed Claudia, and Benjamin exploited her.
Irene, who secretly liked Benjamin and felt inferior to Claudia, readily responded to the Duke’s proposal. She probably never dreamed that it would be her last choice.
To the Duke, Irene was just a disposable consumable.
It was a future that couldn’t happen anymore, but it was inevitable to be more wary and conscious of Benjamin among the other male heroes.
‘Was that why he’s acting like that? Because he knew I wouldn’t say anything, and I wouldn’t come over? Benjamin had a good eye for people after all.’
No, then what the hell did he call for me? Did he call me here so that I could get used to the smell of cigarettes? There was no such case…….
Still, there was a glimmer of hope in him. Benjamin was the central figure who broke down the Chamberlains.
The three people worked rather well together, but in fact, they would never have held hands if the Duke had not served the role as a bridge.
Lucas was obsessed with Claudia and was wary of his opponents. Constantine was busy performing his duty as a holy knight, so he did not even think about it.
In other words, if Benjamin gave up Claudia, it would at least prevent the tragedy of the Chamberlains.
I pressed my desperation deep into my heart.
“I didn’t come here to be on good terms with Your Excellency. I just wanted to convey my intentions. I’m here to give you a chance.”
“Yeah. The chance so that your relationship with Claudia won’t get worse.”
Then Benjamin paused and spoke with virtue as if he was feeling regrettable for his words.
“It seems the ‘worst’ that I’m thinking of and the ‘worst’ that the lady is thinking of is very different.”
I frowned faintly and his sudden remark, wondering what he was saying. It felt ominous for some reason.
“The worst thing that the lady is referring to is that I’d never win Claudia’s heart.”
Wasn’t that the scenario that most people thought of as the ‘worst’?
Because I was a person with common-sense, that was the generalization I made.
I was surprised that never winning the heart of someone a person loved might not be the worst situation.
“Of course, it would be great if I could even get her heart, but I decided not to ask for too much. I just hope it wasn’t the worst.”
“…….What’s the worst for you, Your Excellency?”
I had a prediction of his answer, so I asked him with a glance. The answer that came back was no different from expected.
“To lose Claudia forever.”
It was a surprise. What the hell was this omniscient perspective? I asked just in case as I recalled the contents of the original.
“You want to have at least her body?”
“You know it well.”
You crazy bastard.
I concluded that there was no room for compromise. Benjamin was a piece of junk. That man was beyond the scrapped car10 – he was a nuclear waste!
Moreover, the nuclear waste made a remark that was fitting of nuclear waste.
“If you have a body, the heart will follow someday.”
At that moment, Felix, who had been watching our conversation silently, deliberately lowered the teacup to make a rattling sound and slowly raised his head.
He aimed his frosty gaze at Benjamin.
“You’re making a remark that you can’t stand by.”
His smile, which had been around the corner of his mouth, had already completely disappeared.
“Don’t justify it with ridiculous sophistication. If you try to force yourself to take the child without her heart, I’ll never stand still, no matter who the other person is.”
Meanwhile, the cold and hazy eyes that seemed to contain the night sky intertwined with the chilly air.
The atmosphere quickly became so dangerous that it would not have been strange if a sword fight suddenly started here.
Benjamin slowly squeezed his mouth and smirked.
Behind the tightly pulled tension, the smell of madness pierced my nose.
Wow, to say that kind of remark in front of the elder brother, you really have nothing to say even if you get beaten up here.
I sympathized with Felix, thinking that it would be understandable even if he blew up this mansion with magic.
“I’m tired of you beautifying the crime.”11
Then the eyes of the two men turned to me for a moment.
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T/N: Hope you enjoyed this chapter! As per the dc announcement, I wasn’t able to get 2 chapters TL-ed this week, but I’ll make up for it next week so please look forward to it~ Thank you everyone for your kind words of support as well 💕. I really appreciate it! You are all so sweet and lovely, thank you! Please make sure to take care as well!🌻⭐
1. To “flip your palm” means to change and do the opposite of what you’ve been doing. (Imagine like how the back of your hand = acting like Lucas (e.g. driven by emotion) and the palm of your hand = Benjamin (more strategic and cool-minded).↩
2. If you deliberately try to “scratch someone’s insides”, it means to try and annoy or make them feel uncomfortable.↩
3. Benjamin likens this to how a cat’s fur would “raise” (or puff) up when the cat feels threatened or scared.↩
4. A bonehead is a person who is foolish or stupid (i.e. a blockhead).↩
5. Irene is saying that she also agrees with Benjamin’s misinterpretation of her statement.↩
6. The “dog barking for no reason” comparison is just the author’s way of emphasizing that Benjamin’s smile was random and that she couldn’t seem to understand what his smile meant.↩
7. Here, Irene is emphasizing how contradictory Benjamin’s actions are since if you hold onto something, you can’t shake it off.↩
8. To ‘test the water(s)’ means to casually attempt to gauge the reaction or to try and find out people’s opinion about an idea/plan.↩
9. “Without a second thought” means to do something without considering if you should do it or not.↩
10. The comparison of the heroes being junk/scrap cars is an extended metaphor. In the earlier chapters, the prince had been likened to a junk car many times (and now it’s Benjamin!)↩
11. In case you’re confused about who’s speaking, it’s Irene! (Hence why the two men turn to look at her). This is clarified in the next chapter~↩
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