༺ The Wrong Encounter ༻
– Are you going to open the door when I’m still asking nicely?
– I’ve seen everything you’re doing in there.
As I stared wide-eyed at the violently shaking door, a voice came through from beyond.
– Before I break the door and come in, it’d be better if you just opened it willingly.
– Just so you know, I’m armed right now. You know what that means, right?
In other words, the message was, “Don’t resist and just open the door.”
‘…Who is it?’
Just by listening to the cold voice coming from behind the door, it was nearly impossible to identify the intruder.
After all, it wasn’t like there was just one or two people who bore a grudge against Isaac Adler.
Could it be one of the ex-girlfriends of his? Was it just another one of those regular attacks?
‘Wait, but I’m in disguise right now.’
As I was pondering how to handle the situation, I suddenly remembered that I was currently in disguise.
Meaning, there was no reason for me to be targeted as Isaac Adler.
‘… Was my disguise undone?’
I wondered for a moment if my disguise had slipped off temporarily, but recalling my memories told me that wasn’t the case.
I vividly remembered the relief I felt when I was momentarily freed from the usual icy or piercing gazes directed at me.
And decisively, the reflection in the mirror showed that my lips were still twisted, as they had been.
‘Then why the hell…’
I was momentarily lost in a daze, but as an unsettling sound began to come from the doorknob, I snapped back to reality.
‘… Maybe even in this disguise of mine, I’ve accumulated quite a bit of bad karma.’
It was none other than an alias identity of Isaac Adler after all.
A regular person would have managed their reputation but there was a chance that Adler, being Adler, would have gone around committing even more reckless acts under this alias.
Although it was quite hard to believe, given that an unidentified assailant had come looking for me just because I revealed this identity of mine for a moment, there was no room for doubt here.
So, what should I do to get out of this shitty situation?
‘No other way.’
As I was quickly racking my brain, I eventually reached a single conclusion.
‘The only option was to undo the disguise.’
It was a simple solution.
If this disguised form of mine was being targeted by someone then all I had to do was revert back to being Isaac Adler.
Of course, revealing my true identity in the middle of this opium den would be akin to suicide.
I could just briefly show my true self to the woman who sought me out. Then, once her misunderstanding was cleared, she would leave and I could put my disguise back on.
If things seemed truly dangerous, I could always use Princess Clay who was still hanging from my hand and sucking blood.
“Look, I don’t know what this is about.”
Having finished my calculations, I quickly undid my transformation and slightly opened the door.
Soon, I couldn’t help but regret that choice.
“… Ms. Watson?”
The identity of the person who had been pounding on the door as if to break it down was none other than Rachel Watson, who wore a pale expression on her face.
“Wh-why are you here?”
When Adler, who had opened the door spoke in a flustered voice, Watson’s eyes became even colder.
“… That’s what I should be asking.”
Then, she quietly pulled a pistol from her purse and aimed it at Adler.
“Why are you in the room where Neville was?”
“Are you pretending not to know? Neville St. Clair. He’s someone who is extremely precious to me.”
Adler’s pupils began to quiver subtly as he raised his hands and took a step back.
“So you do feel guilty about something, don’t you…?”
Not missing that small change, Watson, who had pressed the gun against his chest, began to aggressively interrogate him.
“Don’t dodge the question. I saw everything clearly from the building below.”
“What are you… talking about?”
“The man who has been missing for a month despite searching throughout all of London— I saw that same man standing by the window of this room.”
Upon hearing those words, Adler couldn’t help but wear a stunned expression.
“He looked quite distraught. Even though I was right below, he just stared down with a vacant look.”
“And then, when someone from behind entered the room, he seemed startled and quickly shut the window?”
As Watson spoke, she closed the door behind her.
“Tell the truth, Isaac Adler.”
“What on earth did you do to my Neville…?”
And then, she grabbed Adler by the collar with a menacing aura.
Her gaze shifted to what was behind Adler, where the window that led to the river was.
– Creak… creak…
The window, notorious in rumors that if one fell through they’d be lost forever, was wide open and fluttering in the wind.
“… It can’t be?”
Realizing this fact, Watson, who had her gun pointed at Adler, hurriedly moved towards that spot.
In her eyes appeared the window frame, stained with splatters of blood.
Of course, the reason the window was open was to threaten Princess Clay sealed in Adler’s ring, and the reason for the blood on the frame was because of feeding Princess Clay, who was now hiding under the bed.
However, in Watson’s mind, who was unaware of the sequence of events, one conclusion rose to the surface.
“… Did you kill him?”
The horrifying notion that, at the end of a struggle, Isaac Adler had pushed out the very Neville St. Clair whom she had so frantically been searching for…
“Was the threat you made to me back then about this?”
“No, you’re mistaken.”
“Was it like this?”
Watson’s hand, holding the gun, began to tremble.
“Ms. Watson, let me explain…”
And in the next instant.
Isaac Adler was suddenly grabbed by the collar and thrown onto the bed.
Standing over him was Rachel Watson, her eyes filled with tears as she aimed her gun at him.
“Our meeting may have been trivial and the time we spent together was short.”
“But to me, it was nothing less than fate.”
He tried to shake off her grip but Adler soon realized that it was impossible.
His inherently frail body couldn’t possibly overcome the strength of Dr. Watson, who was a former military officer.
“Do you even know that I was planning to confess to him on the 21st?”
Even if he wanted to, he couldn’t utilize the powers of the vampire or the Princess Clay.
Regardless of how much he controlled his strength, it was clear that if he engaged in combat with an agitated Rachel Watson, she would sustain severe injuries which could also be life-threatening.
“… You wouldn’t know”
However, if he remained still, it would be a desperate moment likely ending with a bullet hole in his head.
“You human trash.”
In such a dire situation, there was only one option left for Isaac Adler.
‘… It’s do or die for me.’
“I guess someone like you…”
Having made up his mind, Adler quickly extended his hand causing Rachel Watson, who had her finger on the trigger, to hesitate for a moment.
“… I’m sorry for deceiving you, Rachel.”
Seizing that brief opportunity, Adler hastily rubbed his lips against the blanket and began to whisper in a hushed tone.
“But I had no other choice.”
And then, in the next moment.
Watson saw it, Adler’s twisted lips that she knew all too well.
“That, that shape…”
– Whoosh, swish…
Taking advantage of her stunned expression, Adler hurriedly covered his face with the blanket and pretended to rub it.
And a moment later.
Isaac Adler, now transformed into the visage of Neville St. Clair, who Watson had been so desperately searching for, spread his arms and muttered with an awkward smile.
“Actually, it was me all along.”
A heavy silence began to fill the room.
“What on earth are you doing now?”
“It’s me, Neville St. Clair.”
For a long while, Watson stared down at the face she had so desperately been searching for, then murmured in a chilly voice,
“You couldn’t possibly be Neville.”
“… Then, let’s send a telegram and see.”
Despite the chill running down his spine at her eerie voice, Isaac Adler managed to maintain his composure as he whispered back.
“I’m talking about the contact network that Rachel had inscribed on my hand.”
Upon hearing that, Watson’s eyes began to quiver.
“How did you…?”
“Because I am Neville St. Clair, that’s how.”
Meanwhile Adler softly grasped Watson’s arm, which had been gripping his collar and whispered.
“Would you like to send a message to verify?”
For a long time, Watson gritted her teeth, still aiming the gun at him and then she took out a portable typewriter from her bag.
– Tap… tap-tap…
And so, in a room that had gone eerily quiet, the sound of typing began to echo.
“It can’t be…”
The moment the sound ended, a message began to appear on Adler’s palm.
｢Is it really you?｣
“Do you believe me now?”
Seeing the message she sent appear on his palm, a shocked Rachel Watson lowered her gun.
“.. .So you were Isaac Adler?”
“No, no, not at all.”
Hearing her trembling voice, Adler began to speak with panic in his eyes.
“Isaac Adler is my junior.”
He was finding the only route to get out of this crisis.
“… Did I ever mention that I once worked in a theatre troupe?”
“Come to think of it… you did mention it a few times…”
As Watson slowly nodded her head, recalling the memory, Adler continued with a triumphant smile.
“He was a nobody back then, merely a newbie of the troupe at the time.”
“Actually, the disguise magic he uses I taught him that for free. Hahaha…”
Adler scratched his head and chuckled, noticing the blank expression on Watson’s face.
“Anyway, he was hardworking and talented so as I kept teaching him, we naturally became pretty close.”
“Even now, he and I are on good terms, close enough for small personal favors.”
Then, Adler cleared his throat momentarily.
“… But a little while ago, he asked me for a favor.”
“Yes, he asked me to stand in for him for a month.”
After pausing to think, Adler resumed his story with a serious expression.
“It was a simple task, to periodically receive some items from the opium den.”
“Of course, it’s something he can’t do himself. If a famous actor like him were found in a place like this, it would lead to a laughable scandal.”
At this, Watson’s expression began to harden.
“But I’ve disguised myself as him a few times over the years while teaching him.”
“It was a matter of coming here in my own appearance and only disguising myself as Adler once inside the room.”
Adler, sensing Watson’s mood, continued his explanation with a slightly tense expression on his face.
“Anyway, today was the last day but little did I know that as soon as I opened the window, I would see you, Rachel…”
“I hadn’t even disguised myself as Adler yet. Even worse, that was exactly when the messenger arrived…”
“Are you insane?”
Before he could even finish speaking, Watson’s icy voice cut him off.
“Don’t you see the blood smeared on the window sill? People can die here, you know.”
“… I’m aware.”
“Then why on earth…!”
Just as she was about to raise her voice, she clenched her eyes shut and swallowed her anger.
“… I’m disappointed.”
Then, she looked at Adler with eyes that had gone cold.
“I’ve been desperately waiting and praying for you for the past month while you’ve been out of contact.”
“And you were out of contact because you were helping some asshole criminal?”
Watson’s tone made it clear how deeply Adler’s actions had hurt her.
With those words, Watson stood up from her seat.
“… I can’t even stand to look at you.”
And then, she quietly began to step toward the door.
As she was leaving, Adler, who had been sitting on the bed, hastily grabbed her arm.
Watson glanced at him and muttered coldly.
“I didn’t know you were this kind of person…”
“… But I had no choice”
Holding onto her once more, Adler quietly reached under the bed.
” I had to prepare this in the shortest time possible.”
Then, Adler pressed hard on the stomach of Princess Clay, who was lying flat on the ground.
“What is that…?”
Moments later, when he pulled out a ring adorned with a shimmering red gemstone, Watson’s eyes widened.
“On the 21st, I noticed that you were planning to confess to me.”
Adler softly spoke, avoiding eye contact, as he carefully took hold of her hand.
A blush rose on his cheeks.
“How could I make the woman I love confess to me first?”
And in the next moment, the ring, which had sealed Princess Clay till now, began to slowly pass onto Watson’s ring finger.
“… So I looked into engagement rings, but nothing was affordable on my salary”
“Still, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime ring so I didn’t want to give you something cheap.”
Adler, who had pushed the ring all the way onto her finger, murmured in a subdued voice.
“So that’s why I secretly accepted Adler’s request…”
Then, Adler sank to his knees on the bed.
“I think I was too short-sighted.”
“What do you mean?”
“I failed to consider your feelings.”
Until then, Watson had been silently listening to Adler’s words but her eyes began to shake violently.
“I’m sorry, Rachel.”
Adler bowed his head with a heartfelt apology towards Watson.
“… Perhaps you’ve already moved on because of my foolish actions.”
Adler, who had been bowing his head for a long while, gently took Watson’s hand, who was standing in front of him.
“But there’s something I really want to say.”
Then Adler looked up at her and awkwardly smiled.
“… I love you, Rachel.”
“Will you accept this engagement with me?”
As his words concluded, a different kind of silence began to fill the room.
– Description: Complete one sham marriage with Watson.
– Completion: End of Episode 1…
– Progress: 20% → 70%
A few minutes later—
Charlotte Holmes, who had been pacing in front of the room where Watson and Adler were, soon realized that the door was not locked.
After hesitating for a while with her hand on the doorknob, breaking into a cold sweat, she finally decided to trust the two and slightly opened the door.
‘Just because they’re alone in the room doesn’t mean they’re in that kind of relationship… that would be a stupid assumption.’
However, not even a second after opening the door, the sharp mind of Charlotte came to a screeching halt.
– Squeak… Creak…
This was because her only friend Watson and Adler were on the bed, holding hands with their bellies touching, sharing bodily fluids.
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