Their eyes met.
Hot and cold.
Red and gold.
Neither of them turned away.
Rosetta stared at him and moved her hand slightly sideways.
As though she was aiming more accurately.
“I gave you time to think, but you ran away.
I can’t let you do that again.
So choose now—will you follow me, or…”
Her lips stopped.
Inside that room a few hours ago, she had paused like this as well.
She would stop her words from leaving her lips and delay what was to follow.
That’s why he was left imagining what it could possibly be.
What would she say now.
The lips that had been closed tightly opened right then.
Carefully, as though a red flower was secretly blooming from a bud.
“Or will you just die.”
The flower that bloomed was poisonous.
The cold wind blew between them.
Was it because the weather had been unpredictable for a while, or was it because the alley was cold no matter how deep into the summer they were
“Will you kill me”
At the straightforward question, Rosetta nodded.
“I can’t let the person who heard about my plans stay alive.
I’m a detail-oriented person.
And I’m very careful.”
As she recited this, her gaze never deviated from Cassion’s eyes.
With tension in the air, Rosetta continued speaking as her eyelashes fluttered.
“But I won’t kill you with my own hands.”
“If I just return you to the state you were in before and take you back to the cliffside, the person who caused that accident would come and take care of you for me.”
Unfortunately, that was truly plausible considering his family.
If Leo or the Duchess would find out that he was still alive after the scene of the accident had been checked, they would definitely have him be finished off.
This carriage accident was such a good opportunity for them, far superior to when he was pushed down a flight of stairs.
It was clear that the only result of this kind of accident would be ‘death’, unless there was someone who luckily witnessed the accident and gave him a helping hand, or if he returned home on his own.
After thinking this far, Cassion suddenly realized something.
“…But how did you know it wasn’t just an accident”
The woman claimed to have nothing to do with the Duchess or Leo.
But wasn’t she talking too casually about this, as if she truly knew that there was a ‘criminal’ behind the ‘accident’
‘How the hell does she know’
One of Rosetta’s eyebrows visibly rose.
Against her normally calm features, this reaction was quite different.
“Is that important now”
“It’s very important.”
“Will my answer help you make your decision”
Rosetta looked into his eyes, seeing his determination, then she looked away.
She sighed inwardly.
I knew this would happen.’
Rosetta murmured to herself in resignation.
She had already guessed that she could be asked this question at least once.
In the first place, if Cassion hadn’t asked her here, she had the intention to talk about it someday in the future.
A seed of doubt would one day bloom into a bigger, lingering suspicion.
Seeds buried in one’s heart would make things go awry.
It would rot and fester, and everything would eventually become suspicious in his eyes.
But when she knew for sure that Cassion was on her side, she would have explained everything then.
Rosetta’s gaze headed back to Cassion.
Even when her gaze wasn’t on him, he continued to stare at her relentlessly.
Seeing his constant doubts on her, she smiled and wondered what she should answer.
Of course, she already had some excuses prepared in advance.
That she heard the carriage’s crash by chance, and when she went to investigate the loud noise, she saw that the horseman was running away.
That, after seeing the guilt on the horseman’s face, she guessed that it wasn’t an accident.
And sure enough, she saw his body lying unconscious at the base of the cliff.
That, in fact, as soon as she recognized him, she thought that she should just turn a blind eye.
He was another noble and he was part of one of the other three major families of the country.
She supposed that it would be troublesome if she got involved in all this.
But she just couldn’t leave him there.
Because he was Cassion.
Because he was the eldest son of the Carter Duchy, the one who couldn’t wield magic.
As an illegitimate child herself, she felt a sense of solidarity with him, knowing the struggle of having other people whispering her back secretly as well.
And… she was lonely.
So she wanted him to live.
Perhaps because she thought he would understand how she felt.
However, she thought that she needed something in return since this was a huge risk for her as well.
That’s why she asked him to grant her ‘wish’, and he replied that he would.
—This was the excuse that Rosetta had prepared in advance, to explain why she noticed that it was not just a simple accident, and to explain why she asked him to grant her wish.
‘I wonder if I should do that.’
As she faced Cassion now, she didn’t like the idea of giving him these excuses.
In the end, these were all false.
Would she rather make excuses
Did she really need to lie now
If Cassion would reject her proposition, she was going to abandon him anyway.
She wouldn’t do anything annoying like returning him to his original state, but she’d still throw him back over the cliff.
Dead or alive.
She knew that already.
She didn’t know if this was the obvious choice.
However, it was the best choice for Rosetta.
Cassion was a ‘villain’.
It meant he had a significant role here.
There were no other supporting roles.
Wasn’t he that kind of character
It was a huge risk for her to change the fate of a character who had a significant role, and for what She wouldn’t be able to gain what she wanted.
And a butterfly’s wings would eventually cause a storm.
No one would know when that would happen.
If he still refused to be on her side, she had to return things to the original again, or at least to something that resembles the original.
At the beginning of the novel, she couldn’t lose the merit of ‘knowing the future in advance’.
Rosetta’s purpose now was clear: to make Alicia happy.
In order to achieve this goal, even if her methods were cruel, she would do anything in her power.
Rather, the lack of humanity or morality at this point would only help keep her plans going.
If Cassion was abandoned near the scene of the accident now, it would be impossible for him to return home in his current physical condition.
Then, there would be two options left for him to choose.
Die after being discovered by Leo.
Or, luckily survive just like in the novel and plot his revenge.
There was also the option to live somewhere else peacefully without exacting revenge, but this was unlikely.
The evidence was when he entered the alleyways.
He stopped every few steps because he was afraid of running into the people that passed by, and he was too overly conscious of his surroundings.
In the end, he even willingly jumped into a dark, dangerous alley on his own because he thought it was deserted.
How long would he survive like this
He would jump into a dark path to avoid, to hide, to escape from any visible danger.
He couldn’t live like that for the rest of his life.
And his emotions would build up every time this happened.
And these would be amplified by his recent close call with death.
Even if it would be later than the original, Cassion would eventually turn out as the same.
For Cassion in the novel, ‘revenge’ was not just revenge, but it was also him struggling to live like a human being—to survive until the bitter end.
From now on, his mode of survival wouldn’t just be to endure.
Either he dies, or they die.
He would have to choose.
And if it would end like the original, unfortunately…
‘He would die sooner or later.’
What reason did she have to hide the truth from a man who would eventually die because he wouldn’t side with her
Her conflicting thoughts concluded like that.
In a way, this was an impulsive and dangerous choice, but Rosetta wanted to win over this man, even if it meant that she would have to take a risk.
Rather than forcibly pulling a leash to keep him controlled, it might be better to guide him by holding his hand and letting him walk on his own.
Her previously tightly shut lips opened slowly.
Cassion’s clouded eyes shone sharply amid the tension.
“Before I tell you, you must keep a promise.”
“What is it”
“Believe everything I say.
Even if it’s unbelievable.”
He didn’t answer right away.
His persistent gaze still faced her, but that was all.
Rosetta smiled and shrugged her shoulders.
It was a provocation towards him for him to answer quicker.
Nevertheless, Cassion agonized over his choice.
Because he wouldn’t be able to take back what was already said.
If he answered that he wouldn’t believe her, then her lips would close forever.
But if he said he would believe her, then he really would have to.
At that moment, he felt a sharp pain at his side.
He blocked it with his hands, but his vision blurred as his head spun.
He was at his limit.
He didn’t have time to think anymore.
His eyes would close at this rate.
And once he woke up…
He might not even wake up anymore.
The woman, who showed not an ounce of mercy, did not move.
Perhaps she was the kind of person who could turn her back on him without hesitation even now.
Cassion gritted his teeth.
And at that, he gripped the wooden plank that Rosetta was holding.
With a groan as though his own soul would seep out of his lips, Cassion nodded.
“I’ll believe you.”
He knew that his only real option left was to follow Rosetta, so he replied as such.
Even at this moment when he was on the brink of death once again, he still didn’t want to die by another person’s hand.
Yet if he was going to be by her side, then he would willingly hold her hand.
Rosetta calmly looked at the dying man, then she opened her lips.
“My nanny had abused me and my sister, Alicia, for a long time.
One day while she was ‘lecturing’ us, I fainted… And suddenly, I learned something.”
“The truth is…”
He could barely hear her staggering words as he blinked his eyes.
Instead of the woman’s voice, what he heard more clearly were the trees that swayed in the wind.
The hand that the woman used to hold the lumber was now in the air, and in turn, the man who held the jagged plank fell helplessly to his side.
Looking at his fingertips, Rosetta continued to talk.
“In the near future, my lovely sister Alicia… I found out that your lunatic younger brother Leo will make her suffer.
The tone she spoke with was cold.
Actually, she spoke faster than usual as though she was in a hurry, but her tone was as dry as before.
This created an eerie feeling.
The nonsense she was spouting almost sounded true.
Even she knew that it was ridiculous, so it couldn’t easily be considered the truth.
“Both you and I.
I learned the fact that we will both eventually die.
That’s everything I found out.”
A smile dawned over someone’s lips.
The two of them.
The speaker and the listener.
Rosetta and Cassion.
Neither knew who it belonged to, this powerless smile.