In this type of situation, Evelyn would have normally joked around for a bit until she changed the topic to her fiancé in consideration of Lyla. Of course, it wasn’t only for Lyla’s sake since she really wanted to boast about him too. It seemed like today’s conversation would also carry on this way until Lyla, who usually listened to Evelyn without saying anything, opened her mouth.
Even after calling Evelyn’s name, Lyla didn’t say anything.
When she saw that, Evelyn seemed to have misunderstood something, and her eyes widened. “Did something happen between you and Zich?”
“No, that’s not it.”
“Is that so?” At Lyla’s firm denial, Evelyn was disappointed. “Then, what is it?”
“About your fiancé…Albus Windpool…”
“Is there something you want to ask about my dear fiancé?” Even her voice indicated the affection Evelyn had for him.
From the conversation she had with Evelyn in recent days, Lyla knew how much Evelyn loved Albus. Unlike Zich who still couldn’t accept the stark difference between ‘Marquess Evelyn Rouge’ and ‘Succubus Evelyn Rouge,’ Lyla was now more used to this current Evelyn. It was because she had grown closer to Evelyn after meeting her continuously for the past few days and she hadn’t experienced what Evelyn used to be firsthand like Zich. So, this entire situation was painful for Lyla.
‘Zich said that Albus was the cause of her corruption.’
She heard this from Zich: Albus joined hands with those robed figures to scheme against Evelyn. Since Evelyn loved him as much as she did, everything went according to his plan. Unaware of Albus’ schemes, Evelyn swam in happiness and love.
Lyla finally managed to ask, “Did you say that he was a good person?”
“Yes, certainly. I’m not just saying it because he is my fiancé. He is someone who is very good to me.”
It must have taken an incredible amount of effort to make Evelyn, who had difficulty with men, fall so hard for him.
‘If he really loved her or if his betrayal was for some political reason, it would have been much better…’
“What would you do if things didn’t end well between you two?” Lyla knew she was asking a very rude question, and she grew nervous.
It could even make the ever-so-kind Evelyn (although Zich would be shocked to hear those words together) angry. Yet surprisingly, Evelyn didn’t grow angry. She gazed softly at Lyla and sipped a bit of her tea.
“Ms. Lyla, your emotions are somewhat awkward.”
“I’m sorry. You don’t have to answer if you don’t want to…”
“No, it’s fine. I’m happy you’re finally able to express your interest in love.” As if she really felt this way, Evelyn smiled widely, but she soon turned serious and continued, “I will probably be really hurt and sad, but I won’t regret falling in love. Loving someone with all you have is a beautiful thing in itself.”
Evelyn nodded and placed her hand over the back of Lyla’s hands. “It’s fine if it’s Sir Zich or anybody else. Try loving somebody, Ms. Lyla.”
As Evelyn smiled up at her, Lyla had an indescribable expression on her face.
* * *
On the day Zich returned to his lodging, he planned to infiltrate the Rouge mansion. Lyla appeared to be a bit strange when she returned with him, but she didn’t look like she wanted to talk. Advice and interference were two sides of the same coin, and looking at Lyla’s current state, it seemed he would do the latter if he asked her to talk.
Zich could no longer use the artifact that Lyla made for him because he had used up all of its chances on the day he infiltrated the Windpool mansion. However, the difficulty level of this intrusion was much lower this time since there was no need for him to thoroughly search the mansion.
Zich carefully opened the door and snuck into Evelyn’s room. He saw Evelyn sleeping on the bed, and her rhythmic breathing indicated that she was deep asleep. Zich immediately headed towards the mirror stand and took out the biggest drawer. There was another space inside it.
‘I should take out the makeup stuff first.’
Zich took out a piece of paper and a pen from his magic box. Then, he began drawing the items inside the drawer, including their rough distance, their direction, the way they were placed, and so on. He planned to put back the items exactly like he had drawn them later. After he finished drawing, Zich took the items out.
‘How should I open this?’
He had to figure out its system and see if there were multiple compartments or if there was a more specialized function. Zich poured out mana throughout the drawer.
‘It doesn’t have a mechanical installation.’
Zich swiped his hand over the bottom of the drawer. The bottom was tightly fixed, and he tried reaching for the back.
There was something that resembled a handle. He slowly pulled it.
The bottom of the drawer slowly moved away and revealed a new space. Inside the space, there was a book with an antique-looking cover. Zich lifted the book up.
‘Is this the evidence?’
He flipped the book open. The handwriting that filled the pages was pretty, but the content of the pages couldn’t have been farther from pretty.
‘It’s a diary.’
It appeared to be Evelyn’s diary. Some would think that it was cute to store her diary in the drawer’s hidden compartment, but this wasn’t anything like that. Zich flipped through the pages and smirked.
‘What kind of diary has the future already written in it?’
Did Evelyn know about the future like him and Lyla?
‘No, that’s not it.’
Then, there was no way she didn’t know Zich before. And most of all, a succubus like her who loved men wouldn’t live so peacefully as she did now. Zich closed the book and looked at the sleeping Evelyn. There could be other ‘evidence’ in the room, but this book was all he needed to assess the situation.
Zich placed his attention back on the book.
‘They are planning to blame her for the assassination of the Crown Prince.’
Along with chilling words that cursed the country, Evelyn’s “plan” to murder the Crown Prince was clearly laid out in her diary.
* * *
When Zich came back to his room, Lyla was waiting for him.
Zich asked, “Did something happen?”
“Did you find it?” Without any explanation, she asked a direct question. However, it was not hard to understand what Lyla was asking about.
“What is it?”
“It seems like they are going to frame Evelyn for the assassination of the Crown Prince.”
Lyla’s expression became stiff. Zich moved towards a chair and plopped down on it.
“How are they going to frame her?”
“I haven’t figured that out yet.”
Lyla sat in front of Zich. “What are you going to do from now on?”
“I have to think about it.” Zich drank a cup of water from the table next to him. Then, he turned his attention towards Lyla who was staring at him. “Do you have something to say to me?”
“What if we just assassinate Albus Windpool right now?”
“We don’t have to go the long way. It’s going to take more time too.”
Zich stared intensely into Lyla’s eyes. Lyla felt as if he was searching through her memories, so she looked away.
“…You’ve grown attached.”
“…She’s a kind person.” Lyla continued, “She’s so nice that I wonder if she’s the same Succubus as the one in our memories.”
“Joachim was also the same. He was not confrontational to the extent that he was seriously contemplating about leaving the family for his brother who hated his guts.”
“How the heck did those kind people become such infamous villains?”
“Well, they may have changed dramatically because they are like that. The easiest color to dye black is white after all. Also, you might laugh at me, but I was the same. No matter how cold my family was, I used to be a person who longed for his father’s love.”
Zich moved his back away from the chair. He put his right arm on the armrest and crookedly sat on the chair. Then he replied, “To answer your question with one word, the answer is no.”
Lyla was quiet for a while and then said, “…If we kill Albus, we can prevent the conspiracy. Even though Evelyn would be filled with sadness at the death of her fiancé, she won’t be framed, and she won’t become Succubus.”
“There’re still those robed guys. Even if Albus disappears, I don’t think those guys will give up. On the other hand, they might hurt Evelyn while trying to find the variable. If we want to prevent that, we might have to guard Evelyn until she naturally dies. Are you able to do that?”
“…” Lyla was not able to reply.
“We have to at least kill those robed guys. If we want to do that, we have to wait until they approach Evelyn.”
“Then are you saying that we’re just going to wait and see?”
“…Are you confident that you will be able to save her?”
“Of course,” Zich nonchalantly replied. He spoke as if there was no possibility of failure. “Moreover, I’m also very confident in my ability to torture that guy, Albus Windpool.”
Then Zich smiled. There was something about Zich’s laughter that instilled fear in people; it was to the point that even Lyla flinched even though she was absorbed in a serious mood.
* * *
Although an enormous event like the king’s birthday was coming up, the aristocrats’ social events still continued. On the contrary, nobles who would have usually been stuck in their own estates came to the capital and hosted parties for all kinds of reasons. Some hosted parties to build friendships, make connections with high-ranking nobles, brag about their wealth or privilege, or simply enjoy themselves. Many invitations were sent to Evelyn since she was the Marquess’ daughter.
Normally, she would have spent her time at the lake, but all her plans had gone to ruin because of the monster’s appearance. Moreover, her father and older brother’s arrival was continuously being delayed. Thus, Evelyn had to attend all the parties as a representative for the Marquess of Rouge. It was tiring, but she didn’t care.
She didn’t dislike parties, and most of all, it was because her fiancé escorted her to all of them.
“Hello, Evelyn. You are beautiful as ever.” Albus’ way of speaking was cheesy as if he had smeared butter all over his mouth. However, Evelyn was looking at him through rose-tinted glasses as she blushed and smiled sheepishly.
“You are as cool as ever, Albus.”
“If I want to stand next to you, my standards have to be high so that I won’t embarrass myself.”
He put his hand out. Evelyn carefully grabbed his outstretched hand. Albus helped her get into the carriage and then followed after her. Today, they were going to a party hosted by Duke Sonus.
It was a private party, and only a few people had been invited. The people who had been invited were all high-ranking nobles above the count level. It was literally a party where only the Kingdom’s greatest powers could join. Moreover, a very notable figure was planning to attend.
Albus asked Evelyn, “Did you hear that the Crown Prince will be attending this party?”
Evelyn replied, “Yes, I heard. The Crown Prince is the Duke’s grandson after all.”
“It’s been a while since we last saw him.”
“Hey? Are you interested in the Crown Prince? I’m starting to get jealous.”
“Stop joking around.”
Evelyn made a solemn expression, and Albus laughed while apologizing. Then she smiled again and began conversing with Albus. Talking to someone you loved was always a joyful experience; it was to the extent that Evelyn didn’t even notice time passing by.
Yes, that was probably the reason.
“We’ve arrived, Evelyn.”
It was the reason why she didn’t realize the carriage had stopped.
“We’ve already arrived?”
“Yeah. The Duke’s place is right in front of us.”
She saw the extravagant mansion outside the carriage window. Evelyn tilted her head in slight confusion. “It was so fun talking to you that I must have forgotten about my surroundings.”
“Wow, you enjoyed our conversation that much? I’m so happy.”
Albus opened the carriage door and held out his hand to help Evelyn come down. When Evelyn landed on the ground, she adjusted her clothes. Since she was going to a party filled with high-ranking nobles, she had to take meticulous care of her appearance. For that reason, she didn’t notice Albus smiling maliciously while looking at her figure.Previous Chapter Next Chapter