༺ Self-Contradiction (3) ༻
Deneb took out a very small wooden box from her bosom and placed it on the table.
Amelia could tell the shabby-looking wooden box wasn’t something ordinary.
There were three layers of enhancements for shock absorption, another three for theft prevention, four for sealing and seven for internal preservation.
In total, there were seventeen layers of protective enhancements surrounding the wooden box.
Such a sophisticated security mechanism was installed on it.
She wouldn’t be surprised if the small box had the ability to freeze the flow of time of its content.
If someone were foolish enough to steal it and tried to take a peek inside, their body would probably rot away from countless curses.
There was a tiny key in Albireo’s hand.
When she touched the box with the key, a specific pattern appeared and the flow of mana of the box was temporarily frozen.
The box made a sound that was similar to that of rattling chains. Then, the barrier surrounding it was lifted.
As the box was opened, they were greeted by the dazzling sight of a diamond with a vivid pink glow. It even outshone the rich crimson color that surrounded it. Its size was unusually large for its kind.
“Steinmetz Pink Diamond. Its weight is 62.2 carats.”
“The other name for it is the Queen of Diamonds. It’s an extremely rare item that is no longer being produced.”
Their decision to give this jewel to Amelia wasn’t solely motivated by the idea that she could use it as a pretty accessory.
Gemstones were used in both alchemy and magic.
Diamonds specifically were crucial for various things such as crafting wands, artifacts and even as a medium for large scale enhancements. Needless to say, every witch could find various ways to use large and high quality diamonds.
If the diamonds looked pretty on top of that, it would be a plus.
Based on the size and the rarity of the pink diamond, it wasn’t a far-stretch to call it priceless.
It was simply incomparable to the price of a single slave.
Sad it may sound, but even if one were to combine the value of all the slaves in Gehenna, it wouldn’t be enough to compare to the price of this pink diamond.
In other words, the Countess was telling the truth. They were really trying to accommodate Siwoo’s wish to repay their favors.
The Countess were confident in their choices as they briefly explained about the gem to Amelia, but after seeing her blank stare, they realized that they may have made a mistake.
“If the item doesn’t please you, we can offer artifacts or magical items with similar prices.”
“Alternatively, we can also offer enough gold coins for you.”
“Maybe you prefer art pieces? We possess works by renowned artists that haven’t been known to the public, such as Van Gogh’s paintings.”
They spoke as Deneb closed the jewelry box.
However, there wasn’t a single trace of greed or hesitation in Amelia’s eyes.
Normally, one might naturally feel greed after facing such a precious item, but Amelia remained unaffected.
“Does Shin Siwoo know?”
“We’ve already finalized our agreement with–”
“That isn’t what I meant.”
Amelia no longer paid any attention to the box.
“Does he know what kind of reality awaits him once he leaves Gehenna?”
“We haven’t explained it to him. But, we intended to provide enough funds for him to survive.”
“There’s no need.”
Countess Gemini had negotiated with numerous conglomerates, CEOs of multinational companies and high ranking businesses. Based on their experience, they were aware…
From Amelia’s words…
That she had no intention of letting Siwoo go.
Even if they were to present several more diamonds similar to what they have, she would react the same way as she did.
They were mistaken.
Amelia’s relationship with Shin Siwoo wasn’t just a simple relationship between a private slave and a witch.
A stronger emotion was involved in that.
But, judging from Siwoo’s desire to leave Gehenna as soon as possible, it was clear that Amelia’s feelings toward him were one-sided.
“I apologize for wasting your precious time.”
Sure enough, Amelia attempted to end their conversation right then.
“What a pity. We wanted to try and satisfy your demands as much as possible, but it seems like it isn’t enough.”
“In exchange, could you arrange a private conversation with him for us?.”
Given the circumstances, they needed to propose an alternative compensation to him.
Of course there was no way to know if he would accept it willingly.
‘What to do now?’
“You don’t need to. I’ll explain everything to him.”
Amelia’s behavior was something that could be considered as rude in most cases.
She completely disregarded the Countess’ position as a noble.
However, the Countess understood what was going on.
Sometimes, emotion took priority over losses and gains.
Even a child could see that the jewel they offered was far more valuable than the price of Siwoo’s ownership.
But, to Amelia, the Countess’ actions of offering the jewel to her could be considered as rude.
“Then, we’ll take our leave.”
Amelia didn’t even see the Countess off. Instead, she sat by herself in the reception room while drinking her tea,
“It should be that, right?”
Albireo and Deneb, who were driven out of Amelia’s mansion, strolled through the garden.
Upon hearing the rumors that Amelia Marigold, someone who was notorious for her limited social interactions, had acquired a personal slave on her own, they became suspicious.
That meant, this particular slave either had a high value or possessed exceptional qualities as an assistant.
It was the reason why they chose such a grand and luxurious item as an exchange.
“She must be falling over heels for him.”
But, they didn’t anticipate this outcome.
Who would have thought that a witch would fall in love with her own private slave?
Not to mention that she wasn’t any ordinary witch.
The witch who managed to increase her level by two in the short span of 150 years. Her rank in the hierarchy was 22nd, surpassing even the Countess themselves.
Although they couldn’t confirm their assumption yet, the circumstantial evidence was too strong to ignore.
And so, they found themselves in a difficult situation.
“Are we going back just like this?”
“What else can we do? Baroness Marigold is known to be stubborn.”
“Still, we should at least let him know that things aren’t going well for us. Maybe we should arrange for him to receive a different form of compensation.”
“If we were to directly gift him with something, the Baroness might feel offended. It would be better for us to send it through her instead.”
However, the matter wasn’t of that much importance that the Countess would ponder over it for more than ten minutes.
After all, it was common sense to not carelessly meddle in matters between a man and a woman since ancient times.
“She should be able to handle it on her own.”
“I feel bad for her now.”
After their idle chatters ended when they got into their carriage, they brought up a new topic.
It was about the witch who recently sneaked into Gehenna.
“By the way, have you caught her tail?”
In response to Albireo’s question, Deneb shook her head.
“No luck in that regard. I’ve even dispatched our spies and hired several witches to track her but there’s no news yet.”
“Is there a chance that she has already returned to the modern world?”
“Unlikely. She hadn’t seemed to make any moves yet.”
If an exile was spotted in Gehenna, they would be eradicated without exception.
Since they still insisted on coming despite such risks, it meant they had a goal in mind.
But, no disturbance happened in Gehenna so far.
Indicating that the exile was still laying low somewhere in the blind spot of their surveillance network.
“I’ll contact Countess Adonai to investigate Gehenna’s financial flow. We might find her records of purchase.”
“Alright, I’ll send three people to go to the Red Roof Salon.”
The thoughts about Siwoo and Amelia quickly faded from their minds.
With so many matters occupying their minds, the Countess were having an incredibly busy day.
Even after working diligently as a slave for five years, Siwoo still couldn’t overcome the rules of nature.
After doing lewd things with the twins and cumming 11 times in succession.
He only managed to get about 2-3 hours of sleep.
It was only natural that when he found himself lying in bed with nothing to do, he’d fall asleep and wake up in the evening.
“My daily routine is a mess.”
When he opened his eyes, the sun was already starting to set.
The crimson sunset was painting the drifting clouds with a pastel colored palette as it rolled above the grassy hill.
Somehow he had a feeling that tomorrow would be a long day.
Siwoo stretched his body.
He felt like royalty because hadn’t felt such luxury in a long time.
At that moment, he heard the sound of rustling paper.
It came from his own bed, so he quickly sat up.
“What is it?”
Siwoo looked at this bed.
There was something familiar placed on it.
So, he picked it up.
Those were sketches for the magic circles that he had been painstakingly researching.
Around 200 sheets of paper were scattered all over his bed.
Instantly, his mind woke up.
There was no way that those rough sketches could crawl out on their own to find their way to their creator.
That possibility was already a horror in itself, but the more realistic possibility was even more terrifying than that.
Siwoo looked at the rough sketches with trembling eyes.
Since he felt all his senses were working properly, this obviously wasn’t a dream.
‘Then, who brought it here?’
‘No, rather than saying that they brought it here, it seemed more like they had thrown it here.’
He gathered all the rough sketches and neatly organized them before shoving them into his drawer.
Cold sweat trickled down his forehead.
The magic circle was his only insurance.
Even if someone were to discover the fact that he knew how to use mana, they must never discover his plan to use that magic circle to escape from Gehenna.
That was why the barn was the safest place to store the sketches.
No one had come there for the past five years and even if a witch happened to visit it, they wouldn’t go out of their way to dig through that stack of straws to get it, especially not with the nauseating smell coming from that stack.
‘Who could have done this…?’
Siwoo’s head turned towards the door connecting his bedroom and the living room.
It was a faint sound, like a teaspoon gently tapping on a teacup.
That meant someone was in the living room.
Chances were the person who threw the sketches was the one who was in the living room.
Sweat began pouring on his face.
His heart started to pound like crazy.
He cautiously put his hand on the doorknob and twisted it open.
In his line of sight, there was Amelia, sitting on the couch, crossing her legs as she leisurely sipped her tea.
The sunset light spilled through the balcony.
Amidst the world tinted in fiery orange.
A chillingly beautiful pair of blue eyes stared at Siwoo, sending shivers down his spine.
“Take a seat.”
Amelia said to Siwoo, who was frozen stiff like a log.
It was the worst situation possible.
If it were Amelia who found those sketches, she would have interpreted to some extent what the magic circle was created for.
Siwoo felt his mind going blank.
The plans he had meticulously drawn up until now crumpled before him.
‘I should have concealed it more thoroughly.’
‘But, it has been five years.’
‘No one had ever found out about it in these five years.’
‘Maybe she already knew from the start?’
‘Watching me acting like a lab rat trying to escape to satisfy her voyeurism tendencies?’
There was a Kipushi’s cherry cake on the table, but he didn’t even glance at it.
Next to the cake was a stack of paper and a pen.
Amelia flipped the paper over.
There were densely written magic formulas on it.
She selected one among them and handed the paper to him.
“Try to solve it.”
“Ms. Associate Professor…”
Her voice was firm, refusing to humor him with any kind of conversation.
After hesitating for a while, Siwoo reluctantly picked up the pen.
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