Shin throbbing and cheeks burning, Nordi was distracted by the attacks. His face was white with rage.
“Are you crazy?”
He approached Belinda and raised his hand. Although she flinched, she didn’t avoid the incoming blow. She just stared up into his eyes.
“Go ahead and hit me if you can deal with the consequences.”
Nordi’s hand froze.
Don’t be afraid, Breedee. I’ll kill him if he lays a finger on you.
“You think I’m an abandoned mistress, huh?”
Nordi still couldn’t move. All he needed to do was deal a blow to the spoiled wench, but strangely he couldn’t.
What consequences? Why would an aristocrat’s rejected ex-mistress be so proud?
It was ridiculously absurd. However, what was even more absurd was that such obvious bluffing would stop him.
Looking at Belinda’s sneer, a doubt sprang up in his mind.
If there was absolutely no truth to what she said, there was no way she’d be pulling out all these crazy lies.
“Well, won’t you hit me? Or are you scared? Intimidated?”
He certainly couldn’t deny that.
“Lower your hand if you don’t have the guts to do it. If you do, I guarantee I won’t just let you beat me up like I did when I was a kid.”
“I’ll have your tongue pulled out for laughing at me and your hands cut off for hitting me.”
Belinda warned in a cold voice.
Nordi’s hand trembled. He was angry at himself, but he had no choice but to begrudgingly lower it.
He couldn’t make sense of the situation. It had to be a lie. It was probably just a case of a scared dog barking aggressively.
Nevertheless, he couldn’t be harsh with the girl. He didn’t want to put his neck on a simple suspicion. The aristocracy was so cruel and impulsive. There wouldn’t be any hesitation to snuff out a commoner for a feud with a mistress.
Belinda crumpled her eyebrows in disgust at Nordi’s submission. Were a meek woman’s threats all it took to scare him?
“Weird. You used to be so enthusiastic in wanting to hit me.”
“Have you ever regretted any of that? Have you ever reflected on yourself?”
“I thought so.”
He may not have hit Belinda, but he was far from feeling remorseful. What little pride remained in him showed through.
Belinda crossed her arms and warned him clearly.
“Bad people who can’t reflect should be punished… Shall I do it? Or not?”
“Maybe I will. No, I certainly will.”
Nordi gulped again. There was still no answer, but Belinda had little hope for one anyways.
She took the key from his hand and chuckled.
“Well, it will be nice having you around for the next four days.”
As she said her last words and grabbed the door, a loud shout rang through the hallway.
It was Nordi’s voice. Belinda calmly turned around.
“Please forgive me for what I’ve done in the past!”
It didn’t seem like hypocrisy. The weak never needed much to end up bowing down.
Belinda replied quietly.
“No. I can’t forgive you.”
Nordi looked at her, dumbfounded, and Mrs. Ribera again wiped her damp palms on her apron.
After a few seconds of silently staring at them, Belinda closed the door behind her.
As soon as the girl and the cat were out of sight, Nordi clenched his fist with rage. He couldn’t accept that a little girl, someone less than, had swayed him. He let out a miserable groan.
Belinda leaned against the door and stared at the ceiling.
She slowly slid to the floor with a sigh, still stiff. Aymon approached her silently. The Belinda, who would leisurely smile, was nowhere to be seen.
She propped herself up with a sweaty palm. The touch of the cold floor ran a chill through her.
She slapped Nordi and kicked him in the shin so hard he even apologized. Still, that inexplicable fear enveloped her more than ever.
She closed her eyes.
「You tried, Breedee.」
Aymon tilted his head and looked at her with concern.
Instead of answering, Belinda softly stroked his cheek. Just hearing him call her name was endlessly comforting.
Without Aymon, what just happened wouldn’t have been possible.
But she believed Aymon would protect her even if Nordi tried to hit her again. She could be confident knowing that Aymon was right by her side.
“Thank you, Aymon.”
She managed to blurt out a coherent sentence.
Aymon, I’m so lucky to have met you.
She swallowed those words and drew in a breath.
Aymon was still silent, observing her emotions.
「Let’s just kill him.」
He said in a grinding whisper.
Belinda couldn’t pick out the pent-up impulses behind the phrase. She tried to relax her trembling hands.
Aymon stayed silent the whole time. He didn’t even try to console her beyond rubbing his face against her arm.
She took another deep breath. Belinda’s erratic heartbeat finally started to calm down.
She didn’t know when this fear would end, but at least she was moving forward for certain.
She sat up from her slouched position.
Nordi. That’s who she was scared of. He was doing better than she expected.
It’s a good thing you came here.
After avoiding it all her life, taking that first step made it all seem easier.
That was a start.
Belinda pushed the plate away.
Mrs. Ribera bit her lip without saying a word. It was the fourth time Belinda had sent the dish back.
That shameless little…!
Why would she want so much from a small inn? Couldn’t she just go to a fancy restaurant and eat to her liking?
Apparently not. Belinda had spent the last two days ordering her and her husband around.
It wasn’t just the meal. That must have been her thousandth critique for the day. The plate was too dirty, the food tasted bad…
Come to think of it, her method of revenge was very light and childish compared to the brutality one would expect of an aristocrat.
Well, she was a commoner once. She probably couldn’t help it.
Still, it infuriated Nordi and Mrs. Ribera. Not only did she not thank them for taking her in as a penniless beggar, but she was trying to take revenge on them!
Disobedient children had to be taught with beatings. Wasn’t that the master’s duty?
Where was that inn clerk now? Did she not realize what grace she’d been given?
Mrs. Ribera picked up the plate. One more round of cooking carrot soup awaited.
After finally finishing the meal, Belinda smugly wiped her mouth with a napkin. A wave of mild anger filtered through Mrs. Ribera’s sweet enquiries about the food.
Belinda shook her head as if she didn’t know exactly the position she was putting the woman in.
Don’t assume this is the end of my revenge.
Did they really think this was all it took to make up for the years of beatings? She hadn’t even started yet.
Belinda put the napkin down and stood up.
“You don’t have to make me dinner. I’m eating somewhere else.”
Mrs. Ribera and Nordi sighed with relief.
You won’t be so relieved when you find out what I’m about to do.
Belinda called Daisy to the inn’s door. It was time to start doing the right thing.
Daisy, Aymon, and her crossed the mountain headed for the neighboring village. It was a steep mountain path that had taken her more than half a day to walk as a child, but now, Daisy was standing at their destination before she knew it.
If only she could’ve traveled that fast back then, it would have saved her lots of nights of crying over blistered feet.
She walked through the market alley for the first time in ten years. The stores’ signs had changed, and the buildings had undergone renovation.
“Daisy, turn left right there.”
The road narrowed down, and the neatly laid cobblestones merged into a dirt path. They brushed against the building’s wall and passed under a clothesline. It was an area inhabited by only the poor and the backstreet thugs. It should’ve been scary for a weak woman, but not for Belinda – she had a Shinsu with her.
They went deeper and deeper into the neighborhood.
The moss-covered door smelled like rusted iron. It was the entrance to the gambling den Nordi once frequented. Belinda often had to visit under his orders.
There was no one around yet. It was a place that flourished at night, where men in blood-stained shirts would talk and laugh while smoking cigarettes.
Now, there was nothing but silence.
Belinda hesitated for a moment before knocking on the door.