Chapter Two: I Died Again
Although Theodore didn’t reply immediately, he didn’t refuse as firmly as he had earlier either.
“Weren’t you trying to acquire a second wife anyway? In that case, it would be in Your Excellency’s best interest to choose me.”
The emperor wanted to have the talented Theodore below him forever.
That’s why he was stubbornly pushing for his marriage to a princess.
In the end, Theodore would have to quickly marry any woman in order to avoid that marriage.
“I doubt that Princess Dahlia offered a one-year contract marriage like me.
Furthermore, if you treat the princess disrespectfully, His Majesty will be angry, so you can’t even ignore her.”
The atmosphere was as cold as a winter icicle.
“You were confident because you came knowing everything.”
Theodore wrinkled his forehead, deep in thought, as he tapped the armrest with his fingers.
“What do you gain from marrying me for one year?”
“All I want is to move in a way that goes against what my family is thinking.
They think of me as a well-groomed pet.”
At my metaphor, Theodore couldn’t hold back his laughter.
“Rather than a well-behaved dog, you’re more like a lion that can tear another’s throat out.”
A lion that can tear another’s throat out.
He’s not wrong.. Since I’m going to tear those three’s throats out and dispose of them.
Theodore looked amused at my resolute expression.
“Are you certain your family is going to kill you?”
“It’s fine if you think it’s a lie.
I’m not going to bother you about that, so you don’t need to worry about it.”
The heavy silence sank and pressed down on my shoulders.
As if I had just gone through a long drought, the inside of my mouth was dry.
“…I need some time to think.”
Nice, he fell for it.
“I can’t give you that.”
I gave a yell of delight in my head.
To say that he needs some time to think means that he’s already convinced, at least halfway.
If I give him time to think here, he might find a different option.
I need to finish this, short and sweet.
Let’s finish this in one go.
“I don’t have time to wait for Your Excellency’s response.
Please decide now.”
I let go of the ring I had been fingering at and took a deep breath.
Pretending to be calm, I took a cookie from the plate in front of me and took a bite.
Maybe it was because I was a little less nervous, but it was pretty sweet.
Once I ate my second cookie, Theodore finally spoke.
“No matter how much I think about it, I think we should pretend this didn’t happen…”
It was at that moment.
Before Theodore could even finish his words, my body felt weird.
Like a sandcastle meeting a wave, I lost all strength in my body and collapsed.
Then, as if I was being choked, I was suffocating.
My upper body fell forward unattractively as my face met the carpet.
Theodore’s voice sounded far away.
It felt as if someone had lit a fire inside of me as the burning pain spread throughout my body.
I had felt this pain before.
This was the same pain I felt when my stepmother killed me.
‘Am I dying again?’
As if someone blocked my mouth and nose, I couldn’t breathe.
Yes, just like when my stepmother suffocated me to death with a cushion.
“Damn it! My lady!”
To the sound of Theodore’s rough curses, I died again.
* * *
“Someone died again.”
If you speak carelessly, you might be next.”
Heavy rain was pouring.
Two workers, wet from the rain, dug at the ground in a manner that showed they were familiar with it.
The dark sky lit up, and the sound of the land cracking in half filled the air.
In the atmosphere which felt like a ghost might appear, the workers quickened their pace.
It was at the moment the second lightning struck.
From the fresh air that filled my lungs, I screamed as I opened my eyes.
As I raised my arms from the wet ground, the workers threw their shovels in surprise.
“I-it’s a g-ghost!”
After throwing their shovels, they started running towards Theodore, who was watching from above the hole.
“S-she came back to life!”
“She got a new life when the lightning flashed!”
“It’s a witch! There’s no doubt about it!”
Hearing the workers spit words like machine fire, I got up, causing the dirt on my dress to fall down.
‘Were they going to bury me into the ground while I was still alive? I almost got buried alive!’
As I got hit by the pouring rain, I let out a dumbfounded laugh and made eye contact with Theodore, whose forehead was wrinkled.
After seeing the workers who were still frozen in fear, he gestured with his hands.
Then, the butlers that were waiting behind him took the two people away.
“What’s going on?”
I definitely couldn’t breathe and thought that I was going to die.
When my eyesight turned dark, I was sure I was going to die, once again.
However, I had opened my eyes once more.
Theodore’s pupils wavered slightly.
He looked surprised, as if he was experiencing this for the first time.
He agitatedly whispered to himself, “That’s weird, how did she get up?”
What? How did I get up? This crazy bastard.
“Are you perhaps asking me how I got up when I should have patiently lied in the ground and waited to get buried?”
At my angry response, Theodore tilted his head and crumpled his face.
While I was considering whether or not I should throw the shovels that were left behind by the workers at him, Theodore reached out his hand to me without hesitation.
“If you don’t want to actually get buried, come out from that hole first.”
‘You were the one who tried to bury me!’ I furiously thought, glaring at him.
Due to how deep they had dug the hole, there was no way I could get out by myself.
‘He was really making sure to bury me properly.’ Biting my lower lip tightly, I grabbed his outstretched hand.
“You need to explain properly, or I’m going to call the royal guards and report you for attempted murder.”
When I grabbed his hand, Theodore pulled me out of the hole with ease.
Then, he placed his outer clothes over my head.
“Let’s talk when we get back.”
I followed Theodore, who swept his wet hair behind him.
Once we entered his study, the butler came in, almost as if he’d been waiting for us, and brought us a big towel before leaving.
“At the end, you definitely ate a cookie with your hand.”
I nodded, using the towel to pat my wet hair and body dry.
“Yes, is there a problem with that?”
Did he poison the cookie?
Seeing my attitude, Theodore stopped drying his hair and showed me his hand.
“Do you see this wound? This is from when you grabbed me.”
I looked at his wound.
It was the wound my ring made when I tried grabbing his hand and he hurriedly moved away.
“…How are the two related?”
“I might be able to agree to your proposal.”
What? What is he saying all of a sudden?
This bastard, did he go crazy after he failed to kill someone?
Theodore, who had dropped the towel on the desk after haphazardly drying himself, walked towards me.
As his big figure stood in front of me, his shadow fell over my face.
“I apologize, but since this is an important issue, let me try once more.”
Before I finished speaking, Theodore took the pen in his hand and scratched his palm hard.
With the sound of his ripping skin, the scent of blood filled the air.
“What are you doing… ugh!”
And without a warning, he brought his bloody palm to my nose and mouth then pressed down.
At his sudden action, I gasped in surprise, causing the scarlet blood to drip into my mouth.
As soon as I did that, the same pain I had experienced earlier ran through my body.
I died again.
…No, I thought I died.
“As expected, you woke up.”
As soon as I sat upright, I made eye contact with Theodore, who was sitting with his chin on his hands in a relaxed manner.
“What? I’m still alive?”
I definitely felt like I died, but strangely, I didn’t.
“Just what are you? Why did I feel like I was going to die from the pain, but still… No, why did I die and then come back?”
At this point, nothing could stop me.
“There is a curse on the Lapileon family.”
A curse? Suddenly, a curse? It’s a familiar word.
Before I died, Siph definitely said that he put a curse on me.
But why would the topic of a curse come up here? I asked why I kept dying.
An unidentifiable uneasiness fell over me.
Red lights in my head began to sound and yelled at me to run away.
“Those who carry the blood of the family in them are born with poison in their bodies.
Our immunities against poison in general are strong, so even if we were to drink your average poison, we wouldn’t die.”
What? What kind of crazy talk is this? The Lapileon family curse? I never heard about this in the past!
“It’s possible to kill someone with just a few drops of blood.”
A few drops of blood? Wait.
“My ring scratched you and drew some blood, and I touched the ring.
Then with that hand, the cookie….”
T-then was the thing I ate earlier poison? This jerk really thought he killed me and was seriously going to bury me in the ground?
Even while seeing my shock, Theodore spoke nonchalantly.
“But surprisingly, the lady did not die.
Just like now.”
Theodore stood up from the chair he was sitting in and approached the bed.
“You found out about my family’s secret.”
I didn’t even ask! You just blabbed on your own!
Wait, why is he just freely telling me secrets no one else should be knowing?
Don’t tell me… He’s going to try to bury me alive again? Or maybe this time, actually kill me?
“I-I didn’t hear anything.”
Frightened from the dangerous atmosphere, I fled to a corner of the bed.
Theodore coldly scoffed while looking at me who ran away with all my power.
“R-really, it’s the truth!”
I came here to save myself from my family, but am I going to end up dying here instead?
I began to desperately shout and pretended not to hear while covering both my ears.
When I did that, Theodore got on the bed.
And without giving me a chance to escape, he lightly grabbed my wrist.
I unconsciously took a short breath when I saw his beautiful face so close to mine.
From between Theodore’s wounded fingers came the smell of blood.
“Exactly one year.”
“You have to be my wife.”
He’s not trying to kill me?
With a suspicious face, I tried to read Theodore’s expression.
Although I originally thought he was trying to calm me down to kill me after, I didn’t think that was the case anymore.
“…Why are you accepting my proposal all of a sudden? Is it because you’re sorry for trying to kill me?”
If we go into the details, I didn’t try to kill you.
The person who made the wound and the person who ate the cookie were both you, My Lady.”
If you had told me, that would’ve never happened in the first place!
“…Do you know how most people react when they find out about the curse?”
As soon as Theodore pulled my wrist he’d been holding on to, there was a small gust of wind.
Due to our distance which had shortened in a single moment, I felt strangely nervous.
“Most people get scared and run away.”
Theodore dropped his gaze.
Seeing his long and fine eyelashes sink, my jaw unknowingly dropped.
“As soon as just our fingertips touch, they become terrified and beg me to let them live.”
Due to the stagnant atmosphere, I almost asked him to let me live.
“Or they suddenly feel superior since they know such a unique secret.
As if they’ve suddenly become something, they feel special and sympathize with me, pouring devoted love towards me.”
With a murderous face, Theodore spoke as if he was chewing thoroughly.
“My ex-wife was like that.”
Is he talking about the ex-wife who received a huge alimony for the divorce?
“But they soon open their eyes to reality.
The thing is, humans actually bleed quite often.
If they get a paper cut from reading a book, if they fall, if they get hurt while cooking, or…”
He smiled shallowly as he looked at the wound on his finger.
“If they get cut on a ring, like this.”
I felt nervous, as if I was standing on thin ice at the middle of a deep lake.
Being unable to speak, I tightly bit my stiff lips.
“And from then on, they start going crazy because they hate even being in the same space.”
Ah, I didn’t really want to know stuff like this.
I didn’t want something complicated like this.
I was just looking for a way to survive.
Changing his expression, which had become cold and rigid, Theodore let go of my wrist.
“My ex-wife used my secret she somehow found out as a weakness, and asked me to marry her.
Then she ran away, claiming she was scared.
She received a huge alimony in order to keep the secret.
Although she knows that if she carelessly says something, she’ll die, so she probably won’t.”
‘Stop saying such scary words with an expression that looks like you’re talking about the weather!’
The blood in my face drained away.
Theodore, who had been whispering to himself, quietly turned to look at me.
“This secret is why I was trying to reject your offer, My Lady…”
“I’ll cancel it,” I said firmly, raising my hand before he could even finish speaking.
I have to cancel it.
I had no idea he had such a crazy secret.
The most important thing to me is ‘safety’.
That’s why I can’t live with a man whose whole body is a weapon, whose single drop of blood could kill.
And let’s say I’m not dying because of his blood right now, but who knows if that would change one day?
I absolutely cannot.
“What a shame.”
Even at my refusal, Theodore didn’t seem at all surprised.
“Do you think I’ll let you even after you found out about my family’s secret?”
For a second, it seemed as if his red eyes were filled with madness.
I lowered my head slowly.
“Let’s spend the next one year well, wife.”
I think I’m screwed.
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