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    Translated by Translated by Tam
    Edited by Edited by Tam


     

    Maggie stood in the hotel lobby for quite some time after saying that. It wasn’t a face with a story she couldn’t tell. So Catherine let her go first.

     

    “Go in, Maggie.”

     

    “—Yes. See you later.”

     

    Unfortunately, she doesn’t think they’ll have a chance to meet again. 

     

    After going separate ways with Maggie, Catherine immediately returned to the mansion. Time passed without hesitation just by looking at the pictures of her mother that she had placed between her books. It must be difficult to see her mother again. 

     

    ‘If my mother were me, what would she be doing now?’

     

    She wasn’t sure, but she was able to predict to some extent. 

     

    “—You can’t do anything if you don’t have the courage to die.” 

     

    To reveal the true identity of the underground magic circle. 

     

    Catherine left the bedroom. Then, she opened the door of the tightly locked basement and stepped under it. The peculiar chilliness remained the same. Unlike before, the heat was tense as she walked down the stone steps by step. 

     

    Crunch crunch. The sound of yesterday’s bloodstains stuck in her head and didn’t disappear. 

     

    Catherine stared once more at the basement door that had been deliberately left wide open and went down to the basement. 

     

    Kiiik

     

    As she pushed the old wooden door, the familiar red magic circle cried familiar lines.

     

    「The one who has me, rule the world.」

     

    “Hm.”

     

    It felt like the tension that had stood up to the fullest in that rustic sentence was relieved even more. 

     

    “Okay, let’s start.” 

     

    Catherine set a wooden barrel of soapy water and a lamp in the corner. And the newly prepared stiff mop was soaked in soapy water. The next one was simple. She will rub it hard until something goes wrong with the magic circle. 

     

    She pushed the mop with all her might, using the strength she had developed. Surprisingly, she could see that the red line that seemed to never be erased, was gradually faded. 

     

    “I think I can really erase it?”

     

    Damn it. She had regrets. If she was going to die without finding a trace of her mother anyway, she would erase it neatly and enjoy a peaceful life!

     

    「This—」

     

    “Hm?”

     

    「This crazy woman!」

     

    It was an exasperated cry. Catherine blinked her eyes blankly, then moved out of the magic circle. It was definitely a voice from the magic circle. 

     

    She didn’t expect the magic circle to speak. No, she knew that it was talking through the familiar lines, but she didn’t know that they could even have a conversation. 

     

    「Red pen.」

     

    The magic circle shouted once again.

     

    「You have to redraw it with a red pen. Crazy woman, hurry up, go out and get a red pen.」 

     

    “What is your identity?”

     

    Of course, Catherine was not willing to listen to the magic circle’s demands. Instead of going up to the ground and bringing a red pen, she threatened the magic circle with a posture to continue mop. 

     

    “What kind of magic circle is it that strange things keep tangled up in my house?” 

     

    No answer was heard. It felt weird to this magic circle to be acting like a well-behaved person and a human being.

     

    “Aha. You’re going to shut up, right?”

     

    People open their mouths when they are tortured, but is it different from a magic circle? She started mopping again with the feeling that she’ll see where this is going. 

     

    「Help!」

     

    If it wasn’t an illusion, the magic circle voices seemed to have become more desperate. 

     

    「Help! Master, this crazy woman is erasing me! Help!」 

     

    “Is he going to come just because you’re shouting like that?”

     

    It can’t be, she gave more strength to the arm that was carrying the mop with that thought. 

     

    Kiik

     

    No way. A voice was heard from the half-closed wooden door. 

     

    “I’m sure I gave you the key—.”

     

    The sound that followed was a voice that had already become familiar.

     

    “What kind of protest is this? If you have any complaints, you can come and see me in person.”

     

    Cesare with a relaxed expression stood on top of the magic circle. Catherine felt her own heartbeat grow louder. If it had been before, she would have reacted as she had come again, but now she felt like prey in front of a predator. 

     

    「Master! Help!」

     

    “I know so shut up.”

     

    Cesare stepped forward with his long legs. He bent down and closely examined the area where Catherine had been mopping hard. 

     

    “Yeah. Since it can’t be erased from the last time, I wondered why it was erased. Does powerful magic nullifying constitution erase even the magic circle? It’s unusual.” 

     

    “I didn’t mean to erase it.” 

     

    Of course, she just erased it and bothered him but. 

     

    Glancing, Cesare looked up at her face and straightened his back. 

     

    “So what else are you complaining about?” 

     

    “I don’t have any complaints.”

     

    Catherine, who had been agonizing for a while, added a back word. This time, too, she felt like she should say what she had to say if she were going to die. 

     

    “I was just observing what the magic circle was doing.” 

     

    “This isn’t an observation, it’s obviously cleaning.” 

     

    “If you don’t want me to erase it, you can answer my question. I asked you what it was.” 

     

    「It’s a crazy woman, Master. She can’t communicate like a beast.」 

     

    Cesare shook his head. With a ‘Well, then’ face. Catherine saw that something deep inside her had calmed down as she looked up at him.

     

    It was because Cesare’s attitude toward her didn’t feel so cold. In fact, Cesare looked more gentle than he did yesterday. 

     

    ‘He might give me a kind answer now.’

     

    Catherine decided to ask him what she was curious about.

     

    “Cesare.”

     

    “Say it.” 

     

    “When are you going to kill me?”

     

    “—Kill?”

     

    Cesare asked while narrowing his forehead. 

     

    Catherine, wondering what kind of reaction this might be, changed the direction of the question. 

     

    “Are you going to feed me to the devil if you don’t kill me?”

     

    The painful scream of the man who was being dragged down to the basement yesterday was clearly visible in her mind. 

     

    “I like either way, so please do it in a less painful way. But there’s something called affection we’ve spent together.” 

     

    Catherine looked up at him with a desperate look on her face. She felt that if death could not be avoided, she wanted to avoid pain at the very least. Cesare stared at her. 

     

    “I was wondering what you were talking about—”

     

    Tsk. She heard a short tongue kick. 

     

    “Don’t you have any choice to avoid death?”

     

    “You threatened to kill me that day, didn’t you?” 

     

    “What are you talking about? I never said I was going to kill Miss Phanya.”

     

    It was crazy. Never said? Catherine recalled her conversation with him yesterday. 

     

    ‘Are you going to kill me?’

     

    ‘Maybe.’

     

    It’s a bit ambiguous, but isn’t it clearly included the intention to kill her? 

     

    —However, if he had the heart to spare Catherine, even in the slightest way. 

     

    This was an issue not worth worrying about. 

     

    “Please spare me.”

     

    She threw away the mop and knelt down in front of Cesare. If she could save her life by begging, she thought she would beg more than a thousand times. Needless to say, Catherine had too much work left to do. 

     

    After leaving Orléans, she had not yet fully enjoyed her freedom. 

     

    He doesn’t know how hard it has been to clean the mansion and deal with strange people. And if possible, she wanted to see her mother’s face one more time. 

     

    Catherine was convinced that her mother would be alive. It was clear that if she died like this, she would regret it for a hundred years in hell. 

     

    Cesare smiled uncontrollably. 

     

    “You’re changing your position quickly. You just said don’t kill you painfully before.” 

     

    As Cesare’s words were true, Catherine had no choice but to make an awkward face. 

     

    “How about getting up first? You will hurt your neck.” 

     

    Catherine jumped up without hesitation at the words. She didn’t know how uncomfortable it was to kneel on a dirty and wet floor. 

     

    “This place is too dark, so let’s go to a bright place.” 

     

    A bright place? 

     

    Isn’t it perfect to deal with the devil in a dark and humid place like a basement? 

     

    「Master, what are you going to do with the erased part of my body?」 

     

    “Hang in there. I cleaned up the area yesterday and today, so it will be quiet for a while.” 

     

    Cesare’s eyes gleamed purple. 

     

    “[Remor]”

     

    Catherine lowered her head, conscious of his gaze. She has to pretend she didn’t see it. She felt chilled because the remarks that he had cleaned the area sounded as if she had been included.

     

    “Lady Catherine.”

     

    However, she had no choice but to raise her head at the subsequent call. She doesn’t know when, but everywhere that was dark was full of light now. The dull walls and floors were endlessly covered with luxurious paintings and carpets. 

     

    “Welcome. I’ll bring you to the drawing-room.”

     

    The man who suddenly greeted her was Gren, Cesare’s butler. She seemed to have moved to Cesare’s mansion in a blink of an eye. Now it’s not surprising, so she followed after Gren.

     

    “How about Cesare?”

     

    “He’ll stop by the office and come back.” 

     

    He’s busy. She was very grateful for the fact that he took the time to think about her life and death even though he was busy. 

     

    “Oh my, you should call me in advance!”

     

    “But I’m glad I always have herbal tea just in case. Today is peppermint.” 

     

    The maids, who ran smiling, disappeared with a colorful tea set in front of her. 

     

    Chirping. The sound of a bird chirping through the open window sounded like music. 

     

    “Uhm.”

     

    It feels too peaceful for the situation. However, she couldn’t help but hold on to Gren, who didn’t know anything and ask him to persuade his master. 

     

    ‘How should I persuade him?’

     

    The opponent was a devil, not a human being, and he was a great being who even had the same devil as a servant. 

     

    Can she really get the answer she wants from such a being? 

     

    Not long after, Cesare entered the drawing-room. 

     

    “Have you eaten?”

     

    “Yes.”

     

    “Well, you’re the one who will eat your meal even if the sky falls.” 

     

    It was true, but she was offended for no reason. 

     

    “Is it a problem to eat well?”

     

    “I never said it was a problem.” 

     

    “It sounds like a problem.”

     

    Cesare shrugged and took a seat on the sofa opposite. 

     

    “Well. If you don’t like it, I’ll be careful in the future.” 

     

    This is a pity, but she thought she was pushing it too hard. Catherine brightened her distorted face.

     

    “No. I like it. Please continue.” 

     

    Cesare bluntly ignored Catherine’s earnestness. 

     

    “Okay, let’s get to the point, Miss Phanya.” 

     

    Finally, the topic that will decide her life or death has emerged. 

     

    “I won’t do any harm to you if you can just listen to my request.”

     

    “What kind of request is it?”

     

    “Keep silent about the magic circle and my existence.” 

     

    Isn’t it a ridiculously easy request? Before Catherine replied that she would, Cesare continued in a rather subdued voice. 

     

    “For your information, I don’t believe in human covenants that are weakened by the winds of time and external pressure.” 

     

    “—Then what do you want me to do?”

     

    “It’s up to you.”

     

    It meant rejecting any promises that were only words or had a price attached to them. With the exception of those two methods, Cesare’s trust must be gained. But how? 

     

    There was only one method left within Catherine’s knowledge.

     

    “—No way, are you going to sign a contract with me?”

     

    She laughed in vain since she couldn’t believe it while she was saying it.

     


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