Countess Chamberlain, who was unable to come out of her room due to frequent illness, seemed to be a secret member of the Claudia Happiness Squad.
Olivia summoned Claudia, who was stuck to me like chewing gum, to her room today and pulled her from me.
When I arrived at the place Claudia was, there was a steam of loud laughter.
“Ahaha……! Oh my, is Irene here?”
I greeted her with my head peeking out from behind the door.
“Hello, Olivia. How was your day today?”
“It was a bleak day because Irene didn’t come.”
A bleak day. I felt sorry for making her look gloomy, but she was too cute.
It was apparent why Hugo acted the way he did whenever he spoke about Olivia.
“Well, now that I’ve seen Irene, it’s been a great day!”
With a big smile, Olivia beckoned me to come in.
Olivia only ever appeared in the novel as the phrase, ‘Sick Mother’.
Despite her illness, she was still beautiful. I could imagine her glancing at the last leaf outside her window and saying, ‘If that leaf falls……’ But in reality, it was completely different.
She was a bright and cheerful person.
On the contrary, Claudia, who faced the spirited and energetic Olivia, had a depressed expression.
Claudia spread her arms and called for me.
The appearance of her with her arms wide open seemed to tell me to come and hug her. I rushed into the exhausted-looking Claudia’s arms without hesitation and hugged her.
In the past, she said, ‘My mother’s a nice woman, but she sometimes tires me. Physically.’ It reminded me of that complaint.
From the beginning, she was a person who had extraordinary vitality, but because she had a hard time moving her body, she talked a lot instead.
“What about my older brother?”
Claudia must have thought Felix would naturally come with me.
She stared at me with a vigilant gaze and asked, wondering why no one was beside me.
I looked away for a moment and replied with a shudder.
“He’s getting hit like dirt on a rainy day.”
“What? My brother?”
Claudia looked as if she had heard strange noises.
“But Father has never beaten us before?”
That’s right. Both of you were so pretty and adorable, and you grew up perfectly well, so there was no reason to hit you.
Olivia made a similar expression and slowly narrowed her eyes.
“Oh, don’t be too hard on him…….”
Actually, I didn’t want to say something like this. No matter the reason, you could not justify violence.
However, Hugo’s position was completely understandable. Even if there was no other option; to say that he would die in front of his parents…….
Until now, I had never seen Hugo raise his voice and be truly angry, but this time he became a burning sweet potato1 and beat Felix to the ground.
Felix had already prepared for everything and just said it with an indifferent expression. I couldn’t bear to watch or stop the scene, so I slipped out.
That was the result of Claudia’s Happiness Squad.
The problem was not about whether he would be totally eaten or half-eaten by the devil, but rather, Felix’s acceptance of the devil itself.
Mind you. The situation coming towards us was a total mess.
‘You should have told me earlier. Bad Felix.’
I constantly told him that he shouldn’t bear anything alone. But in the meantime, it turned out that he had been hiding this.
Of course, he didn’t ‘hide’ it. He just covered it up cleverly. If I had thought about it more carefully, I would have known immediately!
I couldn’t believe you confused my judgment by using strange words and saying that you would hurt me. I almost lost sight of the important thing!
I even thought that being half-eaten by the devil was cheap.
In fact, I thought the best way was to accept the devil’s power and then purify it with the power of the spirit. But, if the power itself was so controversial in the first place……..
As Felix said, the best option was for him to be a dead man. Then they wouldn’t be able to find any traces of him accepting the power of the devil.
‘I wish the three useless brothers died.’
I hoped that the three of them would suddenly die like a sunfish2.
I hoped that the writer became overwhelmed with the impulse to kill the three useless brothers after these 10 years3.
I hoped that they either got hit by lightning, died from diarrhea, or fell into the water where their legs would cramp, and they drowned.
* * *
Felix was sitting on the couch in his study tonight as well, reading.
How could he read a book in this situation? He was planning to become a devil and might get eaten, yet he wasn’t afraid. Even if the world perished tomorrow, you would plant an apple tree.
I approached him, grumbling inwardly with regret.
“Oh my God, your pretty face…….”
And when I saw Felix’s colorful face, I couldn’t help but sigh.
My God, there’s nowhere that man didn’t hit!
Forgetting what I was planning to say to Felix, I approached him and reached out my hand to touch him.
He was laughing at my words as if it was funny.
Laugh? How could you laugh right now?
Instead of stroking his cheek as previously planned, I decided to pinch it instead.
Then Felix soullessly pretended to be hurt.
He closed the book he was reading and looked up at me, holding me fixed in place with his steady eyes. Then he asked a question in a cautious tone.
“Are you angry?”
I couldn’t even think of an answer because he asked something so ordinary.
I took a shaky breath for a moment and slowly pursed my lips.
“The idea of dying……”
“……It means that you will throw away all your positions, reputations, and honors you have achieved so far. Felix didn’t do anything wrong, but it means he has to breathe like a dead man for the rest of his life. It means you’re going to be a living ghost!”
“Can I hit you just once?”
He readily replied with a gentle smile.
“If that makes you feel better.”
Damn. There was no place to hit such a beautiful person.
I flopped in the seat next to him, feeling like I was being teared up.
“Oh, I’m really upset.”
I felt crushed all over like a squashed meringue.
I knew that this was the best method, but I was afraid of what to do.
In fact, I knew that I was only complaining and that it didn’t help Felix at all and only embarrassed him.
But……. Argh! I was so annoyed with myself. I couldn’t stand it! There’s nothing I could do!
Why the hell did I possess an extra destined to leave as soon as I came? If someone possessed a character in a novel, couldn’t they become an enemy who had at least one capable skill?
I didn’t want anything big either! I just wished I could trip them down the stairs and stay safe!
……Was that considered big? It’s impossible unless you’re the emperor.
You three useless brothers, please fall! Destroy yourselves!
Felix opened his mouth while I was pouring out all the curses into the world.
“Position, reputation, or honor.”
Hearing his pleasant soft voice, I stopped groaning in my heart and looked back at him.
“They’re not a big deal. Because they hold no value to me.”
“Everyone has different values. Though I don’t understand why people call it a sacrifice, I personally never put effort into absolutely worthless things.”
Felix said this while patting my head. He rubbed the creases between my eyebrows – crumpled like a sheet of paper. I gently pressed down my pursed lips.
I could feel my crushed self unsteadily unravel.
“Reasonable and selfish.”
It seemed that the heroine’s brother knew the meaning of these words in reverse.
“What values does Felix seek?”
“You already know. Irene.”
“Because I’m similar to you,” Felix added.
In fact, it was hard to accept his choice, but it was more painful to be able to understand it.
I couldn’t make a drastic decision like that, but I still had a similar tendency.
Even if one day I become the only savior who could save the world, I would say, ‘The end of the world? That’s none of my business.’
However, if the world was getting destroyed and my precious people were getting hurt, well, yes. I would definitely jump in.
But now my precious person was Felix! It’s a conflict of values!
I grabbed onto the hem of his clothes and said desperately.
“Let’s find another way, okay?”
“Attack first. Let’s assassinate them first before they do anything.”
“After killing them all, we can blow up the imperial palace, the underworld, and the temple one after the other, and then we can flee to another continent and hide. Or let’s conquer the world.”
He silently stroked my head while I spoke nonsense.
I was distracted with my ideas and came to my senses belatedly.
In the end, you’re going to kill yourself.
“……I’ll just apply some medicine.”
Such a national treasure-grade beauty was hurt. Thinking so, I rushed to the doctor’s clinic and brought a box of potions.
Then I realized something foolish.
“Can’t you cure yourself?”
You could use magic.
If you were the greatest sorcerer of the Empire, wasn’t self-healing possible?
“I hope that this can relieve my father’s heart.”
Felix replied to my question I asked out of curiosity. He meant that he had deliberately left the scars.
What, then. You didn’t even need me to treat it.
While I stood there holding the box of potions, thinking that I was stupid, he reached out and pulled me towards him. It was a polite touch as if it were an escort.
In a split second, I stood right in front of him.
“Do it yourself.”
Then, he stared up at me with his cat-like eyes. The fluttering eyelashes were like the wings of an angel.
‘I don’t think this has happened just once or twice.’
I sighed and rummaged through the box. Then I took out a potion that healed bruises and carefully applied it over the wounds.
Seeing him flinch and frown slightly every time I touched it, he seemed to be in pain.
I thought he had no sense of pain because he indifferently said he was going to be eaten by the devil.
Even though I knew everything, I couldn’t see an inch ahead.
In order to accurately implement the future I knew, I had to follow the original novel, but I distorted it from the beginning.
Still, I thought it would be okay. But, as it turned out like this, everything that I judged as in the palm of my hand4 was vaguely pushed out.
I stopped applying the potion, lifted my head, and looked up at him.
“It’ll be fine. I told you, I’m confident I can bear with it.”
“I’m sure I told you not to bear with it…….”
“Just this once, please.”
“Yes?” Felix smiled apologetically.
Even if I knew about it, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of helplessness.
So a month later, a week later, or maybe even tomorrow, the day would come where I would no longer be able to talk to him.
But I didn’t expect that this would be the last time I saw Felix.
* * *
1. The imagery of a ‘burning sweet potato’ is just the author trying to evoke the image of Hugo being super angry (like fiery rage).↩
2. This sunfish reference relates to a popular game in South Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan called “Survive! Mola mola.” It’s a game where you have to try to keep the sunfish alive for as long as possible.↩
3. In chapter 2 it was revealed that 10 years had passed since she first read the book and she hopes that the author now has an impulse to kill them off now.↩
4. ‘To have something‘ in the palm of your hand’ means to have the thing under your complete control.↩
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