༺ Crossroads (3) ༻
She was filled with disbelief.
She couldn’t think of any other emotion other than that after what he did as soon as he opened his eyes.
Renee took a deep breath and composed herself.
‘…Yes, I expected this much.’
Wasn’t it the past that Vera was reluctant to talk about? It was the past that he had been restless about until the moment the spell was cast.
He must have foreseen this. Although Renee promised herself that she would accept him generously and finish the job safely…
‘…No, this is unforgivable.’
She was angry.
It wasn’t for any other reason.
It was anger at Vera’s past, which was beyond promiscuous.
It was anger at his despicableness for pretending to be innocent now even though he had lived that way.
‘…Let’s talk later.’
Renee’s expression sank. It was a silent, burning rage.
When this is over, he will have to give me a convincing explanation.
Naturally, Renee’s assumption that Vera led a lustful and self-indulgent lifestyle was somewhat far from the truth.
Vera looked at Renee and thought.
‘Ten thousand gold at least.’
She was a ‘product’ that could fetch that much if put in the black market auction house.
That’s right. Vera was looking at Renee as a product.
He was looking at her with a lust for money, not her body.
He was a man deeply rooted with distrust and endless greed. Because that’s who he was. When Vera looked at Renee, he was marveling not at her beauty, but at her value.
Vera’s gaze pierced through Renee.
His chuckle was full of joy.
‘When should I put her up for auction?’
Speaking of which, it was about time for some artifacts to come in.
‘Then, if I put this girl up last…’
The response will be very good.
As he thought about it, Vera suddenly frowned.
It wasn’t for any other reason. It was because the thought that unintentionally came to mind while he pondered was, ‘Should I put her up for auction?’
Even Vera was surprised by his own thoughts.
Considering the value of this woman, it was only right to put her up for auction, but Vera didn’t like that idea at all.
If he were to trace the origin of this thought, the answer would boil down to this.
‘…I want to have her.’
He didn’t want to give her to someone else.
Vera was filled with a feeling that could only be described as possessiveness.
He felt perplexed.
He had never felt possessive of someone in his entire life and even considered humans as the most hideous beasts in the world. Because of this, it felt so foreign to him to feel possessive of a human being.
In a way, it was because of the emotions now engraved in his current body, but it was a cause and effect that the past Vera couldn’t possibly have known about.
Silence fell over the room.
It was silence made by Renee, who tightly clenched her jaw in anger, and at the same time, it was also because of Vera’s bewilderment and his own reaction.
Vera frowned, and examined Renee again with a dark expression, thinking that he needed to understand why he was acting like this.
He examined Renee carefully for a while, then his eyes widened and spoke.
“You’re blind, aren’t you?”
He realized that Renee was blind.
Vera smiled once again.
This reduced the value of the product. He would not profit as much as he thought he would if he sold her.
It was a natural reaction to the thought, just an excuse, but Vera didn’t mind.
There was no need to think about it further since an ‘unavoidable’ reason to keep her just emerged.
Vera gently stroked Renee’s lips, feeling a sense of delight.
Renee’s body flinched, prompting a chuckle from Vera before he spoke.
“You are a very lucky girl.”
She was a fortunate woman, Vera thought, and continued speaking.
“Thank the heavens. You no longer have to worry about being sold due to my whim.”
His somber gray pupils burned intensely. Within his finely curved eyes was a clear possessive desire that no longer hid itself.
“Yes, that sounds good. You will be my pet starting today.”
The hand that had been stroking her lips and cheeks moved.
It went further towards her ears, gently caressing Renee’s earlobe.
“Now, I will make an offer I have never made to anyone before. If you behave nicely and stay obedient, I will give you a very generous reward. You can eat all sorts of delicacies at every meal, you can have slaves that serve you, and if you desire, I can grant you power.”
He meant it.
She was a delightful toy that awakened a sensation within him he had never felt before in his life.
He would gladly give it all to her if she desired.
Vera put his hand on the nape of Renee’s neck, and he continued to speak in a voice devoid of laughter.
“You must not be greedy. You should always know your place. You are a pet, a possession. You should not look anywhere else. Do not even think about stabbing me in the back. There is only one thing, and that is, you must live for me.”
Renee’s body stiffened. A bewildered expression rose on her face, followed by her heart fluttering.
Isn’t this kind of nice?
The thought slipped out of her mind. Renee shuddered as she realized what she was thinking.
Renee, who wavered at Vera’s bold expression that she had never received before, calmed herself down, suppressing the twitching corners of her mouth.
Meanwhile, Vera approached her and whispered something in her ear.
“I am a man who values promises more than anything else, so you can trust me on this. Now, nod if you understand.”
Renee, who almost nodded unconsciously at his subdued voice filled with heat, screamed inwardly in surprise that her body was moving on its own.
‘No, this isn’t it!’
No matter how cheeky he was, this wasn’t Vera.
I like how he’s being honest, and I like how he’s showing his emotions so openly, but he’s still not the same Vera!
Renee bit her lip hard to clear the thoughts from her mind, then hardened her expression and answered loudly.
“I don’t want to!”
She slapped Vera’s hand away.
She did it proudly with her chest puffed out.
Vera, who was stunned and had a dazed face, suddenly chuckled.
Normally, he would have slapped her cheek or broken her neck.
However, what Vera felt at the moment was delight.
“So you’re a bitch with an aggressive side, huh?”
It meant that she wouldn’t be so easy. That’s right. It would be more fun that way.
Vera burst out laughing at the thought, and Renee’s face wrinkled strangely.
‘Is he a pervert?’
Is this what Vera’s into?
Does he find pleasure in being rejected?
Is that why he’s rejected my confessions until now and chose to be tormented this way?
It was a fleeting thought.
Then Renee, who regained her trust in Vera and thought, ‘By all means, it can’t be like that, right?’, had a troubled expression like she was in pain, and then she remembered her original purpose.
‘First of all, I don’t think there’s much difference from what Vera remembers until now.’
Aside from her impression that he was more trashy than she thought, there seemed to be no distorted parts of his memory or perception.
‘If that’s the case, then the problem must have occurred after he met me during the previous round.’
In fact, it was becoming increasingly clearer that there was nothing to be gained from digging deeper into Vera here.
‘What should I do now…’
Miller said that the spell would last for a day.
In other words, that was how long this ‘ruffian Vera’ would be out.
‘…I still have to go to class.’
Is it possible to take this ‘Vera’ to class?
Suddenly having skeptical thoughts, Renee let out a big sigh, and Vera’s forehead narrowed.
“Did you just sigh?”
“So you’re acting up in front of me, huh?”
Vera crossed his legs and continued talking with a warning tone.
“I can forgive you for playing hard to get, but sighing is too impudent.”
The moment he spoke those words, Renee felt a ‘rage’ from somewhere inside her.
She was somehow pissed.
She couldn’t help but feel like she was being looked down upon.
Renee, who narrowed her eyes at those thoughts, didn’t bother to shake off those feelings and instead made a decision.
‘I feel like we’re wasting time like this anyways.’
If she were going to do this, it would be better to tie a leash and drag him around.
Renee, thinking that she had seen everything there was to see and that there was no more need to hold back, smiled.
Then, she opened her mouth.
“If you don’t like my behavior, then hit me.”
…It was a statement that made her realize once again how important the environment is to people.
Vera’s expression hardened.
“Try hitting me.”
It was a natural reaction to her cocky attitude.
As is often the case with people who find themselves in situations they never dreamed they would be in, Vera raised his hand in dismay at being told something he never imagined he would hear.
It seems she needs to be ‘educated’.
She might need to be hit a few times so she knows her place.
The moment Vera swung his hand with those thoughts…
Vera felt his chest tighten like it was about to burst.
Vera’s body staggered, and his eyes widened.
Renee smiled as she felt him reach for his chest.
“Why? Aren’t you going to hit me?”
Naturally, Renee was confident because she knew this would happen.
‘It’s exactly as Vera said.’
Just before the spell was cast, Vera’s words flashed through her mind.
– First, provoke me. If it is the me from the past, I will lunge at the Saint from the slightest provocation. The moment I do, I will be restrained by the oath, and I won’t be able to run wild afterwards.
– Will that work?
– I’m certain with this much, so rest assured. During those times, I feared breaking the oath more than the sky falling.
He was right that he would lunge right away with a ‘slight’ provocation.
‘With this, I have tied the leash.’
Now all I have to do is make him behave and drag him around all day.
A stifled groan escaped Vera’s mouth.
Vera looked up at Renee with a helpless expression, gasping for breath.
It was a horrible sensation that was all too familiar. And at the same time, something he never wanted to feel again. His reaction was one of surprise at the sensation of being suppressed by the oath.
“…What… What have you done? You whore.”
He said, gritting his teeth, and Renee smirked.
“Oh my, what should I do? I’m not a whore.”
Soon after, she stood up, hit her cane on the ground and took a step towards Vera. Then she lowered her gaze to the direction where she felt Vera’s presence.
“Now, you should call me ‘Saint’ politely.”
She did so with the intention of making sure he understood the hierarchy between them.
At that, Vera felt his heart sink.
Because the moment he heard that, he felt a chilling sensation run down his spine.
There was only one person on the continent who could be called Saint.
The Master of the Holy Kingdom Elia.
The Apostle of the Lord.
She was in front of his very eyes, and his oath was twisted for some reason.
All of this meant one thing.
‘…I’ve been caught.’
The Holy Kingdom found out about his existence, about his Stigma.
The realization filled Vera with despair.