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Translated by Tam
Contract with the devil is a topic that has been controversial for a long time even in the Iterana Empire, which has a pro-magic tendency. This is because the guarantee of the contract is the soul of a person.
When their life as a wizard comes to an end, the devil takes their soul. If the contractual parties’ hierarchical relationships were reversed, as in Iterana, the story would be slightly different, although such cases were extremely rare.
If so, how are the retrieved souls disposed of?
There’s nothing great. The devil eats souls and possesses more magical power. It becomes a part of the devil’s power.
“When did I ask you to sign a contract?”
Then what other way is there?
Whether or not he knew Catherine’s stuffy stomach, Cesare smiled lightly.
“Well, if that’s your wish, I’ll make it come true.”
“Is there any other way?”
“I don’t know. It’s a method you’ll have to find—and I’ll follow it if I think it’s reliable.”
She was dumbfounded. Catherine was not an idiot. Except for contracts with the devil, there is no way to tie each other to promises.
No, there is, but that method was a very serious crime under the Imperial Law. In front of it, Cesare is both a demon and a Grand Duke. He could not suggest a way to violate the Imperial Law.
‘The Emperor, the Archmage, can’t know the identity of Cesare. That means there was a deal between them.’
There was no way to break the Imperial Law by using his request as an excuse, so there was still only one way left.
“As expected, there’s nothing else but a contract right?”
“Well I don’t know, what’s certain is that I’m not forcing you right now.”
“Can I break the Imperial Law?”
“Of course. If Miss Phanya wants to rot her whole life in a dungeon.”
A deep sigh came out. There is no other way for this. For Catherine to live, there was nothing that could be pledged as collateral other than her soul.
‘Do I have to sign a contract?’
No, before that, will Cesare sign a contract with her?
Even the devil judges people when making contracts.
For people, even if there was no magical power, there was a magical talent. In this case, they will desire to meet and work with a more talented wizard dreamer.
But Catherine had no talent. At best, she only had the rare ability to nullify magic.
“Think carefully. I’ll give you a minute or so.”
“No I mean, how can I decide in a minute?”
“At times like this, it wouldn’t be bad to choose the first option you thought of.”
How can he be so annoying like this!
However, it is worth it. She thought that she wanted to live a life once, even if it was as the devil’s food. Catherine bravely screamed.
“Please sign a contract with me!”
“Let’s do that.”
Her throat was choked at the permission to fall right away without delay.
—Isn’t it too fast?
“Instead, there’s something you need to know.”
Cesare leaned deep on the sofa. No, were they really going to sign a contract?
She listened to his voice with a complicated feeling.
“Those who have made a contract with the devil— can’t be saved, as the saying goes. They must be reincarnated with the memories of their previous lives for hundreds of years, when their souls are completely destroyed every time they die.”
“You know you’re part of the devil, right?”
“That’s what little b*stards do. I don’t need any more power.”
He showed off that he was offended as if he was compared to trash rolling on the street.
“What is the higher probability of you being reborn as a human or being reborn as a living worm?”
It was an assumption that she had never imagined.
“Or maybe you’re more likely to be born as a pine tree in an unpopular forest than the two. Are you confident that you will endure boredom by looking at the scenery where you have been born as a pine tree for life?”
She can’t stand it.
Apparently, Cesare wanted to tell her about the disadvantages she had to endure when signing a contract with him.
“Um. If I don’t have the confidence to bear it, can I do something that shouldn’t happen?”
Cesare stared at Catherine with an expressionless face. It wasn’t a very pleasant atmosphere. From Catherine’s point of view, even if he was serious, it could feel like he was offering it to the other person. (I’m not sure about this;;)
‘Are you giving me a chance?’
It’s an opportunity to take away the soul. What a devilish mercy.
“Cesare, if I were reborn as a worm in the next life—”
“I will fill the entire room with good-quality soil and take good care of it until I die.”
“What if I were born as a pine tree?”
“Can I move it to the office so that you can see what I’m doing?”
She can’t even ask why he does that. Due to the nature of Cesare, she didn’t think he would answer her properly.
What does this situation mean? It’s unfortunate that she got caught by the devil, and she can’t afford to give up her house, and then she ends up signing a contract with him.
However, there seemed to be no need to think longer here.
“Okay. Please sign a contract with me.”
“Are you confident you won’t regret it?”
It was the most serious and playful appearance she had ever seen. Catherine decided to answer honestly, too.
“Honestly, I’m not confident that I won’t regret it, and I’m just trying it. There’s no other way, right?”
“In reality, that’s right.”
“Let’s get along well for the rest of our lives.”
“Rest of our lives?”
“—I heard that it takes tens of centuries for a soul to completely die. Isn’t that enough for a lifetime?”
Will it be different for the devil?
“For the rest of my life—”
Cesare closed and opened his eyes very slowly. It was a face that seemed to be savoring the meaning of the short word “lifetime”.
“It’s not bad.”
At the last voice engraved in the air, a long shadow fell over Catherine. His ice-cold hand wrapped around her cheek, but it took quite a while to realize what had happened.
“What are you—”
Catherine, who opened her eyes tried to push the man’s chest by extending her arm reflexively. However, she couldn’t move his body due to the hot breath that squeezed between his lips.
When did he come so close?
Without even having time to react properly, Catherine lost consciousness in an instant.
And when she opened her eyes again, Catherine was not in Cesare’s drawing room. She felt a warm touch down her back as she slowly raised her upper body. She was lying in her mansion’s bedroom.
“One condition for the contract to be fully established. Exchanging a part of the soul.”
It was a voice with a hint of tiredness. Cesare was sitting on the chair next to the bed, flipping through the book with calm movements.
The straight silver hair and the comfortable two-piece outfit without wrinkles were all the same as before Catherine collapsed.
“As much as I took part of you, I put part of me into you, too. You may feel dizzy for a while—”
“Do we have to kiss to exchange souls?”
At Catherine’s question, the hand that was turning the page of the book stopped. Cesare’s calm eyes met Catherine’s eyes.
“I can’t believe you’re remembering that, how should I say it to Miss Phanya— Usually, you lose your mind in the blink of an eye.”
Cesare then continued with a shameless face.
“It’s a custom.”
“Yes, it’s a custom passed down from ancient times to generations of devils. Is there any problem?”
No, was the devil also a species that considered custom?
It was a response without any change in expression, so she felt embarrassed to argue.
‘Is there any problem? Of course—’
Of course—there is?
When he opened his mouth, it was vague to say where and how the problem was. Above all, it was not the Grand Duke who requested the contract, but her.
To be honest, it was strange that the contract was granted. Also, it’s a custom between them, so it’s a bit of an odd thing to say.
“There is no problem, but please ask me from now on. A contract relationship is not a relationship where we kiss each other.”
It wasn’t that Cesare was particularly offended at those words, or that he didn’t understand her intentions. Rather, Cesare closed the cover of the book he was reading and said with a smile brighter than ever.
“Well, there’s nothing wrong with that. Let’s be careful.”
“Why are you smiling?”
He tilted his head. Still with a bright smile.
“Why am I smiling? Do I have to get permission to smile?”
It’s a custom, so she’ll just skip it, but seeing that bubbly smile that strangely touches people’s hearts makes her feel uncomfortable.
“Miss Panya, I don’t think you know, but in order for the contract to be fully established, one more thing is needed besides the exchange of souls.”
“I don’t remember learning that in class.”
“Devilology assumes that a shabby devil is subject to a contract. I’ve decided to own your soul without eating it, so I have to give you the corresponding reward.”
Is it like a salary? It wasn’t a bad rule for Catherine.
“The reward is simple. To make a wish that you desperately desire come true. If these two are successful, you will belong to me forever, and we will become a bond that goes beyond blood.”
“What does it mean to be closer than blood ties?”
As if it was an unexpected question, Cesare’s eyes widened.
“Well, it’s purely a way of explaining among the devil—”
It was hard for Catherine to understand the words of Cesare, who shrugged lightly.
“Don’t you know that when you’re talking about yourself?”
“Because I’ve never felt that bond. First of all, I don’t enjoy making contracts with humans. It’s annoying in many ways, and—”
Cesare, who had blurred the tip of his words, covered his wrinkled forehead with the back of his hand. Even looking back on the past was cumbersome, so she couldn’t ask why he accepted the contract with her.
‘I didn’t expect to sell my soul to the devil in my lifetime.’
After they did it, she realized that it wasn’t a big deal. Even if she was born again as a worm, Cesare promised to raise her, so she had no choice but to believe him.
“I’ll give you two days, so think slowly about what you wish for me.”
“Isn’t the day after tomorrow too short?”
Cesare replied in a nonchalant tone.
“Do you think you can think of a satisfactory wish after thinking about it for one more day?”
“—That’s not wrong either.”
Cesare, who put the book he had in his hand on the bookshelf, turned his head.
“Oh, and— It’s been raining since before. Don’t you have to take out the laundry you can see through the window?”
Stumbling up, Catherine got out of bed with her head raised. Beyond the window, curtains hung finely on the laundry line were seen getting wet in the rain.
Catherine pushed Cesare on the shoulder and went down the stairs faster than ever. She was in a hurry, and her wet clothes did not come off easily, but when she returned to her mansion after many twists and turns, he had disappeared.
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