༺ The Masquerade ༻
Today was a holiday — a day void of lectures at the Esteemed Academy.
Gazing at the tranquil outside, Lizzy patiently maneuvered her wheelchair.
She silently observed her fellow students strolling around, their hands clutching various study materials.
With the final exams looming, they all fervently attempted to absorb every ounce of knowledge from their classes, even if it was to only enhance their understanding by a fraction.
For those lacking in magical abilities, the majority of the lessons were taught through theoretical notes rather than practical applications.
The sudden sound echoed through as Lizzy stepped beyond the Academy’s entrance, unfurling her umbrella.
The rainy season had passed, yielding to a time where radiant sunlight graced the surroundings. The ensuing ambiance of the street exuded a serene aura, contributing to a sense of calmness.
Amidst it all, Lizzy couldn’t help but yearn for the contentment that pervaded the lives of ordinary individuals in their daily routines.
The privileges they took for granted were beyond her reach.
After leisurely strolling down the street, Lizzy arrived in front of the grand mansion where her eldest brother, Roer, resided.
Upon opening the gate and gently tapping on the front door, a distinguished elderly butler emerged with an immaculate appearance.
“May I inquire about the whereabouts of my brother?”
“Our master is currently inside. However, as he has been indulging in beverages since early morning, he is likely inebriated at present.”
“And what about my brother’s wife?”
“Madam has ventured to Mrs. Heila’s salon.”
Given that their union was arranged, it came as no surprise that they didn’t invest much time into each other, even on holidays.
Despite the lack of astonishment, Lizzy couldn’t help but feel sorry for her brother.
Lizzy found herself troubled not only by his marital life, but by the enigma behind his decision to embark on this path.
“Please show me the way to him.”
“As you wish, My Lady.”
Lizzy commanded the lifeless corpse to follow the butler’s guidance.
And so, they arrived outside the room where Roer was indulging in his drink.
With a slight nod to the butler, Lizzy cautiously opened the door.
Upon entering, her gaze immediately landed on her brother—Roer Poliana Claudia—lying unconscious on a sofa across the room.
The air became enveloped in silence.
The pungent aroma of alcohol filled the space.
How many bottles had he consumed?
There was no trace of food in the room.
Contrarily, the table was littered with countless empty bottles, a testament to Roer’s excessive drinking.
Had it not been for his occupation as an Auror Knight, his reckless consumption of alcohol could have led to a violent demise.
Lizzy called out, but received no response.
Undeterred, Lizzy maneuvered her wheelchair closer to him.
At that moment, she noticed dried tear stains at the corners of Roer’s eyes.
He was not one to shed tears easily.
Or rather, to be more precise, since that fateful day,
Lizzy had never witnessed her older brother, Roer, shed tears again.
The reason behind this absence of tears was likely his reliance on alcohol as an outlet for his solitary weeping.
Is he asleep?
Despite the pungent smell of alcohol, Lizzy stood up with the help of crutches and sat on the sofa where her brother was sleeping.
Then she carefully lifted his head and placed it on her thigh.
Lizzy’s trembling hands brushed through his messy hair. It was only then that she saw a pair of dark circles underneath his eyes.
Lizzy’s voice quivered.
As she saw the broken, festering fragments of his inner self, concealed behind his always strong exterior, tears streamed from her eyes.
Even for herself, she no longer knew which path to take.
Then, what about Roer?
The moment when human beings experience the most suffering was not when they face hardships, but when they confront their own incompetence.
Until now, there was still a path that she could tread even if it was a thorny one.
Regrettably, she found herself unable to perceive the path any longer.
A towering wall had materialized before her, seemingly insurmountable and impassable.
She rasped, disheartened.
Had she ever truly walked that path to begin with?
Had she not always trailed behind her brother, faithfully following his lead?
Frustration consumed her as she clenched her fist, striking against the formidable barrier.
The impact reverberated, but it brought her no closer to breaking through.
She recalled the times he suffered, the blows he endured.
Witnessing her brother, drenched in blood, collapsing in anguish and despair, Lizzy tenderly embraced his battered form.
Love took many forms between siblings—parental love, filial love—but among them…
Love through self-sacrifice was the only form of devotion that defied fate.
Memories of their unwavering protection and sacrificial acts flooded Lizzy’s mind, strengthening her determination.
Even if her own body deteriorated in the process.
She would care for them.
Lizzy responded, swiftly wiping away the tears streaming down her cheeks, as she acknowledged the knock on the door.
The butler from earlier entered the room, presenting her with a letter.
Lizzy unfolded it, discovering that a grand masquerade would be held at the Imperial Court the following week.
As a daughter of an aristocratic family, she understood the significance and rarity of such an event.
‘I should attend……’
The masquerade served as a gathering where all attendees, except the prince who held the right to the throne, concealed their true identities.
This clandestine environment provided an opportunity for anyone to glean information from political circles, regardless of their standing.
Furthermore, by participating in the event, Lizzy speculated that she might influence the perceptions of other nobles regarding the prospect of marrying into the Claudia family, allowing her to gauge their sincere reactions.
If it meant acquiring a new ally……
She would do whatever it took.
She was willing to sell her unsightly body.
* * * * *
“Are you really going?”
“D-didn’t you…… hate that kind of place?”
Yuriel felt puzzled as she witnessed Ferzen preparing to go to the Imperial Palace as soon as she returned to the mansion after finishing the afternoon lecture,
Meanwhile, Euphemia, who was standing by Ferzen’s side, frowned as she noticed Yuriel secretly smirking at her.
‘Who doesn’t know that……’
Ferzen had been famous for not showing his face at banquets, whether private or public.
Yuriel was merely trying to put more pressure on her, just because she knew about it.
Responding to her laughter with a sneer, Euphemia tucked her hair behind her ears.
“Even if you hate it, if it’s worth it, you can’t avoid it.”
After straightening the slight crease on his sleeve, Ferzen moved his hands toward his necktie.
However, before he could even reach it……
“I will do it for you.”
Euphemia stepped towards him.
“You don’t want me to?”
“……No. I’ll leave it to you.”
Ferzen lowered his hands and looked down at Euphemia.
Then she smiled brightly and straightened the tie around Ferzen’s neck.
Seeing that, Yuriel could only cross her arms and turned her head away.
She just had to do that same thing, later.
That thought appeased her jealousy a little.
As soon as Euphemia removed her hand from his necktie, Ferzen stroked his altar and took out a mask of a lamb that he had prepared in advance.
“Isn’t that mask…… A little bit small?”
“I’ll also become smaller, so it doesn’t matter.”
Even though Euphemia questioned him after seeing the mask, Ferzen simply laughed lightly before summoning the Underworld.
After that, he made contact with the mimic, a monster that lived on the first floor of the Underworld, and proceeded with the transaction using the ‘rental’ method.
In the case of a rental method, where only the ability was borrowed, not a direct obtained, the power of the ability would be halved, and there would be a penalty…… However, in the case of mimics, it was fine as long as the sun wasn’t up.
As Ferzen’s appearance changed thanks to the mimic’s ability, the two women let out surprised noises.
After all, the new appearance that he took on was very young.
10 years old?
12 years old?
It was around that age.
In the first place, since the name of the monster itself was a mimic, it could not imitate something that did not exist.
“…… It’s suitable.”
After saying those words with a very youthful voice that clearly hadn’t even gone through puberty, Ferzen wore the lamb’s mask.
Seeing Ferzen, who had always exuded an overbearing atmosphere, turning into someone with a docile atmosphere, Euphemia and Yuriel felt strange.
“Are you going now……?”
“This ability is useless unless the sun sets, so I will depart only when the darkness comes.”
“Is that so……”
After staring blankly at the young Ferzen, Euphemia carefully grabbed his hand. Compared to his large hands that frequently touched her body, it was so small.
If she gave birth to a son who looked just like Ferzen, and that son grew up, would he look like this?
“If you’re not going right away…… Let’s go to our room……”
Seeing that Euphemia subtly gave strength in her arm, Ferzen tilted his head before allowing himself to be calmly dragged along.
Meanwhile, witnessing Euphemia appearing more impetuous than expected, Yuriel, who had been mesmerized for a moment, gritted her teeth.
But even when she was annoyed, there was nothing she could do.
After all, it was absurd for her to be greedy here.
Wouldn’t it be better for her to attend the masquerade together with Ferzen?
However, before she entertained those thoughts more, Yuriel gave up.
After all, there’s a high probability that Lizzy or Roer would be at the masquerade too.
Of course, she shouldn’t have felt anything as Ferzen had made her a victim in the emotional dump debacle she had with Lizzy.
Nevertheless, Yuriel still did not have the confidence to face the Claudia family.
In the end, Yuriel returned to her bedroom with a sigh. Pretending to be calm, she checked the theoretical problems of Elemental Magic that would be given as a written test in the final exam.
Fortunately, as she became more and more focused on her work, the disturbing emotions quickly subsided.
The sound of flipping papers echoed in the quiet bedroom.
Yuriel, who was immersed in work, exuded a calm and intelligent charm unlike usual.
After some time passed.
At the sudden knocking sound, Yuriel’s concentration was broken. She turned her head towards the door.
When she glanced towards the window with the corner of her eyes, she calculated that the current time was just before darkness descended completely.
Then, perhaps, it was Ferzen who had knocked on her bedroom door just now.
After coming to this conclusion, Yuriel jumped up and approached the door.
She carefully grabbed the doorknob and turned it.
But there was no one outside the door.
No, there was someone there.
She just didn’t see him.
Yuriel, who had forgotten that Ferzen had changed his appearance for a moment, lowered her head to meet his crimson eyes.
“I’m leaving soon, I just stopped by for a while.”
Ferzen spoke to her in his young voice.
Worried that his neck would be in pain from looking up at her, Yuriel leaned down completely to meet his eye level.
Then she carefully reached to stroke young Ferzen’s cheek.
It was so squishy.
At the same time, Ferzen’s brows furrowed slightly.
Normally, Yuriel would shrunk away upon noticing his frown, however, right now, his furrow just looked cute.
Yuriel lowered her hand that had been touching his cheek, grabbed Ferzen’s shoulder, and pulled him into her embrace.
Even though his body odor had gone back to when he was a child, his usual smell was still there.
Laughter comes out of her mouth due to that sense of incongruity.
A young child with the smell of a man.
Even though Euphemia’s reaction had already given Ferzen a vague understanding……
He couldn’t comprehend something he didn’t understand.
Even after having rough intercourse with him, is it possible for a strange motherly love to bloom solely because of the fact that he had become younger on the outside?
So Ferzen called her name and beckoned her to lean her head a little closer.
Then Yuriel pushed her face closer to him……
Ferzen reached out and grabbed her chin before turning her to the side.
In the direction Yuriel’s face was facing, there stood a very large full-length mirror.
Since some lights still painted the sky, the mirror naturally reflected Ferzen’s true face.
Yes, the wolf inside its sheep’s clothing was revealed.
“Did you grow up without reading fairy tales?”
“Don’t be fooled by appearances. Yuriel.”
His tiny hands proceed to caress her breasts.
At first glance, it seemed to be safe as it was being done by a sheep.
However, In the mirror…… A wolf was growling as if seeing a delicious prey in front of its eyes.
Before long, Ferzen stood on his tiptoes and placed his hands on Yuriel’s shoulder. Then, he closed his eyes and kissed her.
Feeling surprised, Yuriel’s obsidian-like eyes alternately gazed through the Ferzen in front of her own nose and the Ferzen reflected in her mirror.
As soon as Ferzen removed his lips from hers, Yuriel rubbed the corner of her mouth with the back of her hand and took a step back.
No, she tried to.
Before she was able to, she stumbled down to her ass awkwardly.
Then Ferzen, in the form of a sheep, walked between Yuriel’s legs and opened his mouth.
“After I return from the banquet, I will stop by your bedroom……”
“Do not sleep, Yuriel.”
Glancing to the side, Yuriel saw a wolf licking its mouth in the mirror.
Eventually, darkness completely descended. The mirror that reflected his true self finally reflected only Ferzen’s appearance in sheep’s clothing.
“Why aren’t you answering?”
As if to give her a scolding, Ferzen grabbed the hem of her skirt with one hand and ran one finger of his other hand down the middle of her black panties.
Yuriel, who couldn’t even think of closing her legs, replied in a small voice as her face blushed and her body trembled.
“I-I will not sleep……”
“I-I will be w-waiting for you……”
The sheep laughed.
But Yuriel couldn’t see any form sheep in its appearance.
“I’ll be going.”
“O-okay…… Have a s-safe trip……”
A sheep who talked calmly.
A woman who listened attentively.
At this moment, just which one of them could be called sheep?
TL note: I don’t think this is legal…….
also, I managed to get my ass locked up on the fire doors……..I spent 1 bloody hour in that bloody emergency stair since no fucking one was opening the fucking door, I almost pulled a Lizzy and peed on mah skirt.
OH YEH (EDITOR HERE, YOU KNOW…THE GUY WHO SAVED YA’LL FROM THE GAY CHAPTER THIS BLOODY MORON WOULD POST ON APRILS FOOLS), IM SUPPER HAPPY WE FINALLY GOT TO CH 100, IT’S LIKE A NEW CHECKPOINT SO TO CELEBRATE THIS PLS SEND FEET PICS.
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