Julion chuckled in a low voice.



It was a mocking and cruel laughter that couldn’t possibly be associated with the father I knew.

Clyde clenched his lips, covered in ashes.

But only the sound of the wind escaped his throat with a hissing noise.

“Hmm? What did you say? I can’t hear you.”

Julion approached Clyde, bending his knees and sitting down.

“……”

Soon, the rapidly regenerating tissue of the tongue and vocal cords produces words.

“…Don’t… bother me… I’m… fine…”

Julion’s eyes narrowed.

“At this level… I’m completely… fine.
So get rid of… any foolish thoughts.
No matter how many times this is repeated… I won’t budge…”

I suddenly realized.

Although it sounded like a message to Julion, it was undoubtedly meant for me.

“So just…, get the fuck out of here.
Cut the crap…!”

Don’t intervene because I’m okay.

Get out of here while you still can.

That’s what he meant.

I felt tears streaming down my cheeks.

I forcefully suppressed the urge to sob aloud.

“You’re still so confident.
Well, shall we test whether it’s just empty talk or not?”

As Julion recite an incantation, a horrifying scream burst out of Clyde’s mouth once again.

***

I don’t know how I managed to get out of the laboratory.



The next thing I knew, I was back in my room.

Outside the window, the sun was already starting to rise.

With trembling hands, I changed into my pajamas and crawled into bed.

But I couldn’t fall asleep.
There was no way I could fall asleep.

Whenever I closed my eyes, vivid images of Clyde writhing in agony resurfaced in my mind.

His voice, pleading and screaming, continued to echo in my ears.

“…I’m sorry….”

I’m sorry.

I’m sorry, Clyde.

With my face buried in the pillow, I apologized endlessly while sobbing.

***

Some time later, the sun rose, and a bright light began to seep through the curtains.

Tess the maid came in and woke me up, but I told her I was not feeling well and could not get up.

Fearing that she would call a doctor if I said I was sick, I made up a lame excuse.

I shook my head and forced Tess to leave, saying that I wanted to sleep.

I fell asleep and woke up repeatedly.

I could sense my brothers lingering outside the door, worried about me, but Tess must have convinced them to leave.

I wondered how much time had passed.

I snapped to attention at the sound of a knock..

“Miss, the master is about to leave.
It’s his last day before the business trip, and you should at least bid him farewell.”

After hearing those words, it finally dawned on me.
Today was indeed the day Julion was going on a business trip.

But now I couldn’t bear to look at his face.

I simply couldn’t meet his gaze with a nonchalant expression.

When I didn’t respond, Tess knocked on the door a few more times before giving up and leaving.



A little while later, I got up from bed.

I walked over to the window and pulled back the curtains.

I saw Julion climbing into the carriage.

The carriage carrying Julion soon left the mansion and disappeared from sight.

I hurriedly changed my clothes, cast the invisibility spell, and left the room, locking the door behind me.

Then, I made my way directly to the basement.

The air in the laboratory still carried a pungent smell.

I moved with heavy steps towards where Clyde was.

Clyde was slumped over in his cage in a prostrate position.

His clothes were completely burned away, leaving his naked body exposed.

After confirming that he was breathing normally, I placed a sheet over his body, covering him.

In the process, my hand grazed the sharp edges of the bars, causing sharp pain, but I paid no heed.

Compared to the pain Clyde must have felt, this was nothing.

He must have suffered terribly.
It was a level of agony that I couldn’t even begin to imagine.

In my attempt to get me out of here, he willingly drew Julion’s attention and subjected himself to torture.

If I were in Clyde’s position, would I have been able to do the same?

No, it would have been absolutely impossible.
Even if I knew I wouldn’t die….

Tears streamed down my cheeks, stinging my face.

I quickly wiped away the tears with the back of my hand.

‘…A week from now.’

I had one week to find a way to get Clyde out of here.

No matter what it took, I had to do it.

With resolute determination, I left the laboratory.

***



I entered Julion’s workshop and began searching for spells to deactivate the barrier.

Last night’s events were too horrific and gruesome to even recall, but they also served as a catalyst to obtain unexpected hints.

I was able to witness Julion opening the iron bars himself.

There are various methods of activating magic.

The two most common are spells, which are recited by mouth, and forming hand gestures.

The more complex and powerful the magic, the more often these two methods are combined, with the content becoming longer and more intricate.

And then, there is a third method that is frequently used: directly engraving runic symbols onto the body.

Normally, runic symbols are used when drawing magic circles or creating scrolls.

By directly engraving runes on the body, one could activate the magic by simply infusing mana into the corresponding area.

In other words, if I could decipher the runic combination Julion used as the key to open the barrier, I could free Clyde from captivity.

Needless to say, my father’s workshop was filled with a vast amount of spell books and scrolls.

It would have been better not to have any expectations of finding the desired information by scouring through them for a couple of hours.

I started my search, mentally prepared for a long battle.

But….

“…nothing.”

No matter how much I searched, I couldn’t find any relevant information, not even a small note with relevant details.

Even when I retraced my steps and searched again from the beginning, it was the same.

I had invested almost three sleepless nights into this search, but I had essentially gained no results.

On the third night, sitting in my father’s workshop with a desolate expression, I mustered the strength to move my motionless body.

I had to bring food to Clyde before daybreak.

Since Julion had left the mansion empty for a week, I had thought that someone else might have taken charge of caring for Clyde during that time.
But that wasn’t the case.

Did he think there wouldn’t be any issues if he starved for a week, considering his body wouldn’t die even if it was engulfed in flames?

Clyde’s regenerative abilities are phenomenal.

Even after repeatedly incinerating his entire body multiple times, when I checked the next night, there wasn’t a single scar left.



He could have been called the “Immortal King” in the original novel.

But even if his body recovered perfectly, there was no guarantee that the emotional scars would have healed as well.

Just watching him, I was shocked to the point of having nightmares, yet he acted as if nothing had happened.

There was no doubt that my conclusion was based on understanding my own feelings.

But Clyde acted as if nothing had happened.

He must have read my mind.

“I’m really sorry, Clyde.”

“Why are you apologizing?”

“Because I tried to keep it a secret and this happened.
If I hadn’t, none of this would have happened…”

“What are you talking about? Even when you weren’t around, I went through similar things every day.”

“…….”

“Oh, no.
That’s not what I meant.
What I’m saying is, you’re not responsible for any of this.
So don’t worry about it.”

“….Okay.”

The main reason I felt guilty towards him was because Julion, who harmed him, was my father.

I wonder if Clyde would say the same thing if he knew that.

‘…No, that’s unlikely.’

Originally, Eila Rojasis was destined to die at Clyde’s hands, as a sacrificial lamb for Julion’s wrongdoing.

A victim of revenge for what Julion had done.

If he were to discover that I, who he thought was on his side, was actually the daughter of his enemy, he would undoubtedly feel an indescribable sense of betrayal.

Imagining Clyde glaring at me with the same eyes he used to look at Julion, my heart throbbed painfully.

At first, all I could think about was staying alive.

But gradually, that mindset transformed into the realization that I had to save not only my family but also innocent people.

It was because of the time I had spent as Eila.

I could no longer think of the people around me as mere characters in a novel.

And now, Clyde is no exception.

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