༺ Incomplete ༻
The night descended slowly, but the sunset marking the transition couldn’t be seen due to the dark clouds that painted the sky grey.
The damp, unpleasant air tickled their skin as the Second Prince, Ferzen, and the nobles entered the restaurant.
They had made a reservation ahead of time by sending a messenger, and without wasting any time on the first floor, ascended to the second.
During this process, Ferzen, who had a keen eye, felt something amiss as he glanced at the diners on the first floor.
Had all of them been served their food at the same time? Even if customers were arriving in quick succession, it took time to prepare dishes, so the food should be delivered to each table at different intervals.
Moreover, this place was known to be quite expensive.
Although rumors of the restaurant’s delicious food were widespread, it still seemed strange to see the first floor packed with people, every seat occupied.
However, these observations only fueled his suspicion, so Ferzen calmly took his seat and rolled up his sleeves.
Perhaps due to the rain finally starting to fall, Ferzen could hear the faint sound of raindrops tapping against the windows.
Soon after, silver tableware was neatly arranged in front of them, accompanied by a gently burning scented candle placed in the center of the table.
However, as he inhaled the candle’s fragrance, Ferzen felt another sense of incongruity.
‘I doubt this scent would complement the smell of food.’
Of course, the candle’s scent might be a feature this establishment promoted to its esteemed customers. People often became accustomed to the odors they were exposed to for an extended period, eventually perceiving them as odorless.
Nonetheless, what if his hunch was correct, and the scented candle before him concealed some form of poison?
It might seem like a far-fetched and nonsensical hypothesis, but Ferzen decided not to dismiss the series of strong feelings of incongruity conveyed to him by his own eyes and intuition.
‘The conditions are fulfilled, though……’
After a brief moment of contemplation, Ferzen picked up the silver knife placed before him and looked down at his other hand.
In the past on Earth, silver was often considered a metal with the mysterious ability to ward off evil spirits.
It was frequently used by nobles and kings as tableware to detect poison in their food or wine.
However, silver had a significant weakness—it didn’t react to every type of poison. It could only detect certain poisons that chemically reacted with the metal.
These poisons typically contained nitrogen or sulfur.
But even though this world was his reality, it was also a world created based on the author’s setting. While most areas matched Seo-jin’s modern knowledge, it still incorporated the author’s unique twists.
For instance, various minerals that didn’t exist in Lee Seo-jin’s modern world were present here. Magic itself existed, which didn’t align with his Earthly reality.
So, what if the setting of Ag, created by the author for his web novel Struggling to Survive Together, which was the seed of this world, has become a worldly setting?
‘It would simply mean that silver will react to poison.’
Certainly, there might still be poisons that didn’t react with silver.
However, it wouldn’t be due to a lack of elements that caused a chemical reaction with silver but rather because the author had set them as poisons undetectable by silver.
Even though there were numerous references to silver tableware up to the latest update of the novel, Ferzen had never come across any poison that did not react with silver.
Furthermore, there was no separate notice dedicated to the setting and worldview of the novel that mentioned such poisons.
In a way, this was perfectly normal. It wouldn’t make sense for an author to meticulously list all the types of poisons that wouldn’t react with silver unless it served a specific plot purpose.
If the author wanted to introduce a poison for the sake of creating a crisis, he could simply create it on the spot within the story.
“What’s the matter?”
“……Have you ever heard that an egg yolk can change the color of silver?”
“This is the first time I’ve heard of it.”
“Are you trying to tell a joke? I’m not much of a laugher, I apologize…”
“That’s not it, Your Highness.”
Eggs were a staple in everyone’s diet, regardless of their social status. Additionally, egg yolks contained sulfur, which could react with silver.
Ferzen’s hypothesis was further bolstered by the fact that neither he nor the Second Prince had any knowledge of such a phenomenon.
Given the premise that silver (Ag) adhered to the novel’s setting, why was it not reacting to the poison that seemed to be in the air?
Was the poison simply taking time to take effect, or was it not a poison at all?
Lee Seo-jin had gathered information about silverware from various media and learned the basics from the internet. However, he lacked detailed knowledge of its chemical composition.
Therefore, the only way to confirm its authenticity was through action.
‘Since this could just be a misguided guess……’
Ferzen lowered his hand and brought the knife closer to his fingertips, avoiding drawing unnecessary attention.
‘If the poison from the scented candle is indeed coursing through my veins……’
Most likely, the silver would react as soon as it came into contact with his bloodstream.
Before the poison could accumulate enough to have a direct effect, Ferzen decisively slashed the tip of his finger with the knife.
A stream of blood gushed from the wound and slowly trickled down the silver knife, altering its color. It was clear evidence that his body had been poisoned.
Unconsciously, Ferzen let out a laugh.
Raymond, who had just noticed Ferzen’s condition, called out to him, but Ferzen only raised his hand in response. He then dripped some of his blood into a glass of water before him.
The crimson drops of blood mingled gracefully with the water. Ferzen then placed another silver knife into the clear glass.
The Second Prince jumped to his feet as he witnessed the color of the knife changing.
However, Ferzen remained composed. He retrieved a handkerchief from his chest pocket and used it to stem the flow of blood from his wound.
Ferzen couldn’t help but reflect on how crude this reality was, even though he knew that the original characters of this world reflected the author’s intellectual limitations, and the world’s setting and worldview were bound by the boundaries of the author’s imagination.
It was like a patchwork quilt, sewn together from various scraps.
But this ragged reality was the only world he currently inhabited.
* * * * *
The first floor fell into an eerie silence. The patrons, having finished their meals and wine, had all risen to their feet, their expressions a mix of trepidation and determination.
Then, a middle-aged man, hands clasped together as if in prayer, hurriedly locked the door leading to the street from inside the establishment.
The silence became oppressive, and tension filled the air as everyone on the first floor drew their weapons and began to cautiously ascend the two staircases leading to the second floor.
However, as they reached the top of the stairs, they found themselves unable to take another step.
Their legs seemed as if they were anchored in place, and all they could manage was heavy, labored breathing.
Their fear seemed to be physically shackling their ankles, preventing them from moving forward. But they were prodded by the memory of words spoken by a certain man long ago, words they recalled now.
「The birds that roam the sky have their own nest. The beasts that roam the forest have their own den. So, how come you guys don’t have your own country?」
The voice that had uttered those words was that of Marquis Phrygia.
At that time, he had hidden himself in the shadow, ensuring that there would be no direct link between him and the individuals who now ascended the stairs.
The reason for his concealment was clear.
He wanted to avoid any connection with them once their lifeless bodies were discovered, possibly by a warlock.
With determined steps, they continued their ascent.
Upon reaching the second floor, they were greeted by thick, impenetrable darkness. But it wasn’t just the darkness that met their eyes.
Amidst the obscurity, they could discern a woman with flowing silver hair and a man with eyes burning an eerie shade of crimson.
Their fear and confusion robbed the room of silence. Labored breaths, tainted with fear and despair, shattered the hush.
“Don’t let your breath get away from you.”
Ferzen admonished them in his unmistakable voice.
“Grip your weapons firmly. If the retreat is cut off, then wouldn’t advancing be the only option?”
Ferzen observed them in the dim light as he rolled down his sleeves.
At this moment, he realized that the spark of rebellion had likely been kindled by Marquis Phrygia.
The thought struck him as rather amusing.
In this feudal society, it was a wonder that common people would willingly sacrifice themselves for their king and country.
Instead of doing that, they should have cursed their incompetent king and vented their resentment toward him.
In fact, the Ernes Empire had secretly been encouraging such sentiments within the Roverium Kingdom.
Even if the people in front of him were swayed by empty words, the fact that they were here, prepared for death, indicated that they saw the current king of Roverium as a good ruler.
But how could an incompetent king be considered good?
“Swords and spears should never be pointed at the ground.”
“Listen closely, aim for the heart of the enemy in front of you.”
Some of those behind Ferzen felt uneasy as he referred to them and the entire Ernes Empire as ‘the enemy.’
It was a natural reaction, as humans generally hesitated to accept the role of a villain.
But Ferzen was different. He had been cast in the role of a villain since birth, and he had played that role throughout his life.
After adjusting his loosened tie, Ferzen continued.
“When your breath gets caught in your throat… spit it out and attack your enemy.”
Those who held weapons, their hands trembling with fear and anticipation, inched forward.
The sound of their heartbeats echoed like a war drum, announcing the beginning of the battle.
They roared with determination and charged forward.
……Their scream that resounded would awaken the others.
……Their spilled blood will guide others so that they don’t get lost.
……Their body that would be abandoned after becoming a cold corpse would become a stairway that would lead them to a place that they originally could not climb.
But Ferzen had every intention of crushing this rebellion.
Their screams would not reach anyone.
Their blood would not flow anywhere.
And their corpses would not become a stairway leading to anything.
Outside, the rain pouring intensified.
Thunder rumbled through the air.
The building of a restaurant shrouded in darkness……
As if in response to the thunder, it suddenly radiated a brilliant light.
TL note: 13/20
Well, now its em awarkd moment where I dun have anything more to say cause it’s sunday.
It’s a Sun-Day (Hah imma km) got it?
The SUN is on the DAY
it’s 1 P.M
Imma eat barbecue and drink beer like a 40y dad.
Oh And imma play Truc with my brothers for the day.
(Being the youngest sibling does have it’s perks I guess, I mean being the only girl in the family also means I can get some very nice perks too)
You should check out the illustrations on our discord server: discord.com/invite/JnWsEfAGKc
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