His predecessor was alive? What are you talking about?
I gulped at his perplexing words. The man must have heard the noise because he laughed. He reminded me of Demimore with the way his eyes curved.
The curve of his eyes when he smiles……. The man was mimicking Demimore’s natural smile.
“That’s my fault too. I didn’t know I’d be that good at imitating. He’s more troublesome than I thought, but he’s still okay.”
With a heavy sigh, the man said. All the while, I was relieved that the man had wiped that Demimore-imitating smile off his face.
Looking at his smile, I didn’t know what to say.
“Are you listening to me?”
He raised an eyebrow, as if he sensed I wasn’t paying attention to him. I firmly bit my lip and nodded.
Oh, I also have a headache. Grandpa thus appointed Estin Conler as head of the household while he was still alive.
It was obvious that it had to do with the curse the man had earlier mentioned. I made an effort to think calmly.
So, since this man foresaw that I would be born as Mary Conler, he used me to cast a curse on the family, causing the head of the family to pass away. Is that all there is to it?
No, perhaps it’s not a true curse. This man may be attempting to murder Estin Conler under the guise of a curse.
I muttered without realizing it after thinking that far.
The man looked surprised at my words, but I was more surprised, because I hadn’t expected the words to come out of my mouth.
I would have used my hand to slap my mouth if he hadn’t been in front of me.
“Am I crazy?”
Because the words had already been said, there was nothing I could do but nod my head mutely in response to the man’s query.
The man’s eyes showed curiosity and, for some reason, amusement.
“Why am I crazy?”
“Why do you want to kill my dad?”
As I asked this question, tears welled up in my eyes. I wiped them away with my palm, but they continued to flow no matter how much I wiped them away.
Even through my hazy vision, I could feel the man smiling at me as I continued to glare at him.
“Because he’s bothersome.”
“Do you kill everything that annoys you?”
I wiped away my tears and asked while sniffling. The man’s tone sounded as if he were talking about the lives of flies, not people.
As my sobbing became louder, the man stopped answering my question and reached out his hand, as if to wipe away my tears.
I took a step back because I didn’t want his hand to touch my face. The man frowned when I refused his touch.
“Stop crying if you don’t want me to wipe your tears.”
“Will you not kill my dad, huff, if I stop crying, then?”
“When did you begin addressing Estin Conler as “dad”?”
I was angry because what the man said made sense, smiling in vain as if what I said was ridiculous.
Is that what you should say? I felt like I needed to slap him to feel refreshed, but my little hands were trembling.
And to slap him, I’d have to close the distance a bit more…… If I stayed any closer to him, I’d be so uncomfortable.
Just the thought of that man watching me all this time gave me shivers all over my body.
How long has he been keeping an eye on me?
Considering that he knew the name Ha Sohee and that I was reborn as Mary Conler, it was highly likely that he had been watching me since I was Ha Sohee.
I searched through my memories as Ha Sohee in an effort to piece together memories of that man. Although they were hazy, I was unable to recall any experiences where I was intensely involved with someone to the point where I drove them insane.
Perhaps he was an animal I had saved? It wasn’t impossible because I had previously saved street dogs and cats.
But I shook my head. These lovely creatures could not possibly be such evil beings.
“You don’t want Estin Conler to die?”
What an obvious question.
I eagerly nodded as the man took out what appeared to be a ring case from his pocket.
“Then you just have to get engaged to me.”
The man opened the case and held it out to me. Inside was a jewel with a red ruby, just like the one given to me by Demimore. The only difference was that this man’s ring had three rubies. Looking at this ruby, I thought of Demimore’s red eyes and suddenly missed him.
I shook my head.
“I’d rather you kill me.”
I said, pushing away the ring case the man held out to me. The man’s eyes widened as though he had just heard something strange.
“You used to be a little too obsessed with life.”
“What’s the point of living like this?”
I gave a curt reply.
“Your death is not a threat.”
“Should I kill Estin?”
The man spoke in an innocent voice and smiled, a smile that also reminded me of Demimore.
It made me shiver because his smile didn’t match the words he was spitting out. I wanted to push the man away and run, but I couldn’t leave Rex lying next to me.
‘What if he really kills him…….’
No matter how hard I tried to think of alternatives, none were particularly appealing. Is getting engaged to this man really necessary? The man extended the ruby-studded ring to me once more.
“Okay, we can get engaged later.”
His voice suddenly grew quiet. He seemed to be trying to appease me.
“Just put this on. I promise not to harm Estin Conler.”
Although it was a better situation than being engaged, I was hesitant.
What does that ring do? As I was thinking, the man spoke again.
“Now, on your fourth finger.”
“My fourth finger is…….”
“Oh, does it still hurt?”
This man is even aware of this. I put my hand back behind my back and furrowed my brow. I heard a thud behind me all of a sudden. At the sound, I joyfully turned around.
As I suspected, there he was, standing tall and proud. I rushed to him upon seeing him, relieved. I gave him a tight hug.
Arsene licked my cheek, seemingly trying to calm my startled self. He then growled and flashed his teeth at the man. The man took another step back.
“I was so close.”
At the depressing words of the man, Arsene barked and growled. Arsene appeared to be very angry.
If his enormous teeth suddenly dove into the man’s nape, I wouldn’t be shocked. You have my support, Arsene. Behind him, I clenched my fists.
“Okay, I’ll stop now; you nearly killed me,”
“Mary, I’ll see you later; remember what I told you.”
The man disappeared. I resisted asking the man more questions about the curse because I feared he would bring up the engagement again.
Who is Arsene, exactly? Why did that man go when Arsene appeared? I unknowingly gave Arsene a tight hug once more.
“Did you come to help again?”
Arsene’s temperature was so warm that I relaxed. Tears threatened to fall, but I held them back.
“You know everything, right? Do you think he’s going to kill my dad?”
Arsene may not be able to answer, but I kept whispering in Arsene’s ear.
Arsene continued to lick my cheek affectionately, as if to reassure me. Then he quietly slipped out of my arms and pushed his neck towards me.
“Why are you suddenly…… eh?”
Was Arsene originally wearing a necklace?
With my hand raised, I began to feel around for Arsene’s necklace. When I pressed down on it, I heard a clicking sound and a piece of paper fell into my hand.
The note read “Sophia Bruno.” Come to think of it, it’s been a while since I’ve seen such a white piece of paper.
Arsene approached Rex and licked his cheek as I agonizedly scanned the note. Then, as if by magic, Rex began to blink.
“Oh… I must have fallen asleep. Uh, what’s this dog?”
“He came over here because he wanted to play with me.”
I was startled by Rex’s comment and turned to ask, “How do you know Arsene?”
“He resembles the Arsene I previously mentioned to you!”
Rex and Arsene had become friends at some point. Rex was happily holding Arsene’s neck.
My head, which had been jumbled with complicated thoughts, felt a little bit clearer as I watched them.
The combination of cute things was the best. As I watched Rex and Arsene with a warm heart, I saw members of the knight order waking up in the distance.
“Did they fall asleep too?”
“I suppose they did… Does the lake have a sleep effect?”
“What do you mean? Did someone come?”
I quickly regretted not pretending to be asleep in response to Rex’s pointed question.
Rex seemed to want to ask me more, but the knights were running towards us. I exhaled in relief.
“Let’s return to the mansion for the time being.”
My sigh was brief because Rex continued speaking in a chilly tone.