Still, there’s a limit to his abilities.
First of all, his divine power could certainly save someone who’s injured, but it would not work on someone who’s right at death’s door.
It’s possible to return an injured person back to normal, but it’s impossible to save a dying person.
The second was related to his brainwashing ability.
The effect of brainwashing through divine power was strong, but the efficacy was directly related to how many people were under his control.
The more people under his command, the less power he had over them.
Eventually, there were people who’d break away from the brainwashing all on their own.
The current situation was just like that.
He had brainwashed several people.
There’s too many of them.
Still, most of the people under his influence were related to me.
Whether directly or indirectly.
It was a measure that Urien had taken in order to keep me completely tied up.
Down the line, countless victims were amassed—victims who either died or lost their comfortable lives.
Those who dared to covet me.
Those who dared to be against me.
Those who dared to look at me.
Those who dared to be close to me.
Those who dared…
To be my family.
The corners of my lips quivered.
I don’t know whether it’s because of my own thoughts, or because of this body’s feelings.
In any case.
The brainwashed people were not the victims who fell under this category.
The brainwashed were the family members, friends, relatives of the victims.
They were the explicit targets of the brainwashing.
So that the deaths of my precious people be brushed off as if nothing happened…
So that, even if they were given pain and unjustified deaths, people would say, ‘You all deserve to die!’ while spitting upon their graves without hesitation…
So that, with their hands, my precious people would be…
It was just that—terrible, inhumane brainwashing.
Naturally, those who were released from the brainwashing were of that same category.
The victims’ families, friends, relatives.
Those who broke away from the brainwashing desired to take revenge, gritting their teeth in their madness or wrath.
The targets were, of course, Urien and I.
He was the one who brainwashed them, and I was the central figure in the middle of all the brainwashing.
Of course, that was of no benefit to me.
In fact, around this time, people would often rush to attack me, shouting, ‘The High Priest’s Devil!’
Each and every one of them were executed on the spot.
Still, failure was the mother of success.
With so many people rushing forward so fearlessly like that, thereafter losing their heads one after another, those who subsequently released themselves from the brainwashing began to form a group.
When alone, an individual is weak.
There is strength in numbers.
Well, this was utterly irrelevant to Urien.
The group plotted their revenge and set it into motion.
They managed to hide at the room Urien and I were using, and launched an assassination attempt.
The day I jumped in front of a blade, dying instead of Urien.
A long silence stretched between us.
After I had said, ‘Whenever you try to do that with more people, it’ll make it difficult for you to control your abilities,’ he had still yet to respond.
He just continued to smile, the corner of his lips curling up widely.
As his mouth was drawn into an arc, it soon opened, what slipped out was a crooning voice.
“As expected, you’re the only one who worries about me, Rita.”
Rita’s body remained silent.
What’s certain was this: nausea was surging.
Even so, Urien did not care about this reaction.
He continued speaking.
“But you don’t have to worry too much.
Oh, Rita, if only the flies aren’t buzzing so loudly…”
In the end, they were all just bugs to him.
With that, the man’s fork stabbed into one piece of sliced meat.
Through the fork’s sharp prongs, the meat helplessly got caught.
Red juices seeped onto the white plate.
Rita’s body was silent again this time.
The slice of meat, which had been stabbed into by the fork, was lifted and brought to his lips, and after, those lips chewed.
Then, the man’s throat moved gently.
It couldn’t be certain whether what he chewed up was the meat or me.
Looking at the man with an empty gaze, Rita soon moved her previously motionless hand.
And she, too, opened her lips calmly.
I know that you’ll handle it.”
Unlike the sappy appreciation, the voice that uttered these words was calm.
Around this time, I had already given up on everything.
I merely continued to live.
“Rita, when would you like to schedule it”
Boyish in his excitement, Urien asked.
Rita briefly glanced up at him, then focused on the food again while answering.
“It doesn’t matter when.”
“Still, don’t you think that it must be a good day You’ll be the star of that day, Rita, so tell me which day you want it to be.”
He gently urged her, but to her, it sounded like a persistent threat.
Rita was forced to stop moving her hands.
She thought about it.
Which day would you like, Rita”
“…A cloudy day.”
At the short answer that she gave, Urien tilted his head to the side.
He looked positively abominable.
“A cloudy day But you prefer sunny days, Rita.”
“…So, you’re not going to hear me out”
Instead of answering the question, Rita asked another one back.
Green eyes turned and looked at her.
Rita’s face could be seen reflected in those bright green eyes.
It was as if she was drowning amidst a swamp.
Soon, Urien’s lips tugged up into a smile, and he nodded.
Alright, let’s do that.
I like everything that you like.”
After saying so, the man rose from his seat.
The chair dragged across the floor, making a high-pitched sound.
Sauntering towards her, he stopped behind Rita.
And, he combed his fingers through her hair.
His fingertips brushed against her nape.
Every patch of skin that his cold fingertips touched, goosebumps rose.
“Beneath a sky full of dark clouds, the two of us, promising eternity to each other… Yes, I do believe it will be sentimental, in its own way.”
Isn’t that right, Rita
Listening to the voice just above her head, still chewing, Rita turned her gaze.
There, out the window, where the sunset had painted the heavens red.
Yes, I was talking about a ‘cloudy day’ just like this one.
In the end—at the end of it all—I would like it if the wedding would be on a cloudy day.
That is, I would like it better if the downcast sky would bring upon such a downpour that would make it seem as if there’s a hole in the sky.
If a thunderstorm would visit, if lightning would strike, if fire could raze the ground.
If it’s a day in which it seemed like everything would be blown away by a massive gust of wind.
If, yes, it’s the worst day to ever come.
So that people could point their fingers at this wedding, calling it ‘a marriage that heaven has opposed’.
As long as it’s at least a marriage that would not be allowed any blessings.
Let’s do that.
Staring blankly out the window, Rita closed her eyes.
The scenery that slowly faded before her remained to be red.
It was truly, utterly red.
Right after that.
The world turned upside down once more.
* * *
A small groan spilled through my lips.
But when I realized that a man’s face was waiting right in front of mine right then, a slight sense of confusion washed over me.
Perhaps because I had just jumped in front of Urien and had taken the blow of a sword instead of him.
My chest hurts.
It hurts a lot.
It hurts so much that it felt hot.
It was too cold for it to be hot.
The man who wielded the sword seemed to really want to kill Urien.
Considering how deeply he had stabbed.
The sharp blade had penetrated completely through the left side of my chest.
Through my ribs, directly towards what it caged.
The world had slowed down.
Truly, utterly slowly.
To the point where even the flecks of dust in the air could be seen.
As the sword penetrated my chest, I stumbled.
Beneath a world that moved slowly, the body of the man who had stabbed me collapsed before I did.
Soon, a red streak burst out from the very spot he had once stood.
On the spot where life had once been, it looked as if petals fluttered with the color red.
The sight made me smile.
To be exact, what made me smile was the sight of Urien, who appeared behind the man he had just cut down.
There was a blank look on his face.
The nonchalant, courteous smile that he always had was nowhere to be found now, no matter how much I might even rub my eyes.
His blank face slowly became distorted.
For a moment, the world was truly, utterly still.
The silence before a guttural scream would break out was, of course, ever so silent.
A horrific cry pierced through the silent world.
It was a familiar, yet unfamiliar voice.
It must be Urien’s, yet he never would have cried out in this way.
Urien had always been a man who wrapped himself with layers upon layers of insidiousness.
The only truth that could be seen upon him was his desire, deep within his eyes.
Here, however, it’s as if he was finally laying everything bare.
His tears, his frustration, his pain, his sadness, his screams, his anger.
It was an amalgamation of all kinds of negative, pathetic emotions.
One corner of Rita’s lips slightly went up.
Oh, I’ve always wanted to see him come undone like this.
That’s exactly why I jumped in front of Urien just as the sword aimed at him thrusted forward.
I offered my chest to the sword.
To be precise, the left side of my chest, where my heart was.
A place that his divine power would never be able to mend.
It was for the sake of a greatly certain death.
For the sake of dying at once.
Just for the sake of seeing this man in so much pain.
From the man who I resented the most, I took what he cherished the most away from him.
Of course, I also wanted to choose my own death.
Rita’s body slowly collapsed.
The line of sight slowly tilted forward until, little by little, it soon got closer to the ground.
Nevertheless, the smile on Rita’s lips did not disappear.