Chapter 1. A Contract Worth Ten Billion.
“100 million. I’ll buy her.”
A low voice echoed in the underground room. The noisy auction house, which was boisterous just a moment ago, suddenly became quiet. I forced my lowered head upward and looked at the person who just spoke.
My eyesight was blurry, because I was drugged. I wanted to see who bought me, but my vision kept getting worse.
“O-One hundred million! Does anyone have a higher bid? One hundred million for this foreign woman!”
The host shouted with excitement; however, only silence flowed throughout the hall.
It’s an overwhelming amount. That was a considerable sum of money, just to spend on a single slave.
A fascinating flame burned within her silver eyes. She had covetous red hair that when washed, shined like a rose submerged in dew. Even if she was stuck in a dusty pit, her beauty could not be obscured. Indeed, she had such an unrivalled rare beauty that was difficult to find but to pay such an exorbitant amount of money?
Does he like that girl enough to spend such an amount? Or do they know each other?
Who is this man that can pay such a large sum?
The burning gazes were only directed toward one place – a man who was slowly walking down the stairs and heading up toward the stage. I couldn’t see his face, because he was wearing a mask and a hood. But I had a vague idea who he was. I just could not believe it.
“Is there anyone else who wants to bid? If there’s no one… Then sold! For a bid of 100 million gautes!”
The host’s announcement of the winning bid buzzed all around, as if echoing from somewhere far away. I looked up at the man who seemed to have drawn the light to himself, even in this dark basement.
Dazzling blonde hair and emotionless blue-grey eyes visible through his mask, the man’s presence was overwhelming. No one dared to say who he was— but everyone already knew the name of this daunting presence. Of course, I knew it too.
This is one of the scenes in the book.
He stood before me and clicked his tongue. Then he put a cloak over my shoulders which were exposed directly to the light, covering them and my injured arms. I squeezed the light warmth with my trembling hands.
His somewhat kind gesture was the reason why ‘Villainess no. 4’ became enamoured with the male protagonist.
But I knew his behaviour was nothing more than meaningless sympathy. I was grateful that I could now avoid the harsh gazes a little, but that’s it.
“She’s mine now, so I will take her right away.”
“Yes? Yes, o-of course.”
Another man wearing a mask completely covering his face rushed to pay the balance as if he was the man’s servant. I seem to be the only sane one among the stupefied crowd watching everything unfold in a daze.
I stared furiously… Instead of looking fondly or solemnly at the man who became my master.
I’m grateful, but that is all.
The whole situation was not scary at all because of my blurred vision, which for now became my only defence against the current predicament.
“Th-This expensive, buying, o-ordering…”
He already removed her gag. Nevertheless, my tongue felt stiff and words refused to come out properly. This was due to the drug that the traffickers forced me to inhale. Then the man who held me laughed.
“Go to sleep. When you open your eyes, you will be far away from this place.”
A voice that’s low enough only for me to hear.
Contrary to the cold yet kind tone, his face, which was the last thing I saw, was cold as ice. Then, I finally fainted.
It’s been a week since I possessed this body. My whole world had been filled with darkness.
* * *
Feeling the morning sun, I came back to my senses. It’s ticklish and soft. Feeling uncomfortable, I opened my eyes and pulled myself up.
‘Where am I?’
My hands were finally free after a long time. I lifted the blanket, just in case, but there was no chain on my ankle either.
Looking around, I could see emerald wallpaper, matched with white furniture. Plus, the curtains had frills. It was a place that looked expensive at a glance.
It was not something that villainess no. 4, who was poor, miserable, and had nothing but evil intentions, could enjoy.
“Oh, you’re up.”
“What? She is awake? Finally?”
Suddenly, the door creaked open, and a grey-haired old man appeared. Afterwards, a man with a huge build and slanted eyes, came in with a thud. Startled by their unannounced entrance, I jumped out of bed and stood alert. At this time, my arms, which were really only bones, did not have any strength left. However, I had to do something while being threatened.
“Oh, don’t do that. My Lady, there’s nothing to be wary of.”
“Maynard is right. My name is Theobalt, the butler of this mansion. I didn’t know you were awake. I’m only here to bring you some items. I’m sorry for surprising you, my Lady.”
The old man (Theobalt) supported the words of the man who looked like a bandit (Maynard). But I wasn’t so stupid to let my guard down.
This world is a cruel place for women.
I saw the questioning looks on their faces, but I focused only on searching for an opportunity to escape from this room. I was free from slavery, yet this was another crisis. I don’t know how they would treat me so far. I had to stay alert.
“These are the indoor clothes you’re going to change into. I’ll hang them here in the closet.”
The old butler, Theobalt, moved slowly. I didn’t miss any of his movements, while also paying attention to the man named Maynard.
Just like a fool, I stood there and heard the birds chirping outside. The breeze penetrated through the open window blowing at my still entangled and dirty hair. I nervously moved the hair that hindered my view then leaned closer toward the window.
You can’t relax. You can’t let your guard down.
Maybe I look like a wounded wild cat now.
Maynard gazed at my face and unconsciously breathed in. This body’s face must be pretty as described numerous times in the original story.
“This is the Archduchy of Schweiden. It’s neither a dangerous place nor will it harm you, my lady.”
The butler stomped on Maynard’s foot. Then he opened his mouth and spoke with an appeasing tone. I laid my fingers on the window and asked gently,
“How long have I been here?”
A gruff and hoarse voice came out, as if it wasn’t my own. I must have been asleep for a long time.
“Four days. I was worried, because you seemed to be very tired and couldn’t be awakened this whole time.”
It must have been because of the potent drugs. Even I, who prided myself for having a strong mentality, collapsed helplessly. I held myself back from cursing and instead reached out my hand.
“Paper and pen.”
“Uh, over there…”
As I pointed with my chin, Maynard took a step hesitantly. And when he tried to get close to me, I immediately became alert.
“There, put it down at your feet.”
“So fussy, my lady.”
No one can be trusted. I may look naive, but I know who they are; trust me.
I reached out my hand without bending my head down and quickly grabbed the pen and paper. My wrists, which had been tied for a long time, did not move as I desired, but it’s not a problem. They didn’t stop me, because they didn’t know what I was trying to do.
So now is my opportunity when they didn’t know anything about me yet!
‘I have to run.’
Schweiden’s Archduchy. That’s when everything became clear. This was the residence of the male protagonist.
‘I can’t get involved.’
I knew well what would happen to villainess no.4, who would do bad things while being next to the male lead. I’m going to die. It was so terrible that the colour drained from my whole body. My hands moved incredibly fast as I imagined myself meeting that end.
The line I drew on the white paper soon illustrated a crooked bird. I threw it at the wind, opened the window, and jumped right away.