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My Male Lead Became Fierce (1)
When I opened my eyes it was just before dawn. I draped a shawl over the nightgown that Ilina had changed me into and went downstairs to see Oscar-oppa slouched on a sofa. With slightly disheveled hair and a moderately tanned face, it was only under extremely persistent scrutiny that a resemblance to me could be found.
I greeted my brother in a friendly manner.
“Oppa, you didn’t sleep?”
“I have something on my mind.”
I sat down next to my brother and he gave me a suspicious glance. My brother seemed to be holding his breath, but then he opened his mouth to speak.
“I heard you went to the forest again today.”
“Uh-huh. It’s a place with nice scenery.”
Although I was hiding Kylis’ identity, I had no intention of sneaking around, so I spoke honestly.
“You hadn’t mentioned it in a while, so I thought you had completely forgotten about it.”
I made a puzzled face. My brother lightly admonished me.
“You went to the forest by yourself even before you got sick, didn’t you? Don’t get the wrong idea. I didn’t follow you, I just happened to see you. I was worried at first, but you came back perfectly fine and I thought it would be okay if you went out and got some fresh air from time to time.”
An eerie sensation ran down my spine.
I, no… the original Anastasia Sinclair went to the Forest of Repentance?
Then did she meet Kylis for the first time back then as well?
“But after you got sick, you never visited again. I asked, ‘You’re not going to the forest?’ But you said that you didn’t know what place I was talking about as if you didn’t even remember it.”
It must have been an extremely unnatural change for Oscar-oppa to have remembered it for this long.
As expected, something must have happened.
“Were there any other sudden changes? I mean, that you saw…”
My brother spoke quietly as if embarrassed by my question.
“Sorry. As you know… we didn’t talk that much.”
I pressed my lips together, barely managing to respond.
Possibly due to the dark expression on my face, my brother sincerely apologized to me.
“I don’t really get it, but I’m sorry that I couldn’t help more.”
I shook my head and changed the subject.
“Oppa, what did you and Adele talk about during the day?”
“Ah, Mother said she thought you should be diagnosed so we could be certain about whether you’re rejecting divine power or not. When I told him her opinion, Adele’s expression became grim. I’ve never seen him so angry before. He asked if they still didn’t believe him even though he attested to your condition completely straight-faced.”
I felt a sense of uneasiness, stronger than I’d ever felt before.
“For Adele to react like that… Just how is it diagnosed?”
“For example, the Pope could pour a tiny bit of divine power into your body to induce a reaction.”
All of a sudden I felt like a foreign substance was filling my veins. My brother must have thought that I’d be touched that our parents were so worried about me that they appealed to the Pope for help, but I was overcome by a cold sense of vertigo.
A-absolutely not! If they do that, I’ll definitely die!
It took some time before I could refocus and look over at my brother. I forced my stiff lips to move.
“Then I might die. I’m not kidding.”
My brother started to take my words seriously for the first time.
“Is it that bad?”
“I lost my sense of taste and my palms were completely burned, so they looked like the hands of a corpse. A lot of time has passed and they seem fine now, but that doesn’t mean that I wasn’t sick back then. Make sure to ask Mother to reconsider her idea, got it?”
My brother facepalmed.
Of course, it was natural for my family to want to get a clearer picture of my symptoms, but the amount of pain I’d have to suffer as a result was too great. It was more than I would be able to endure. His face etched with concern, my brother looked at me and let out a sigh.
In an extremely hesitant tone, my brother revealed something that he had been hiding from me.
“Ana, our parents are having a hard time accepting your illness. You look a little surprised. There certainly hasn’t been a case like yours before…”
I heard and processed my brother’s words at a frustratingly slow pace.
Our parents are having a hard time accepting my illness… So is that why they haven’t come back yet?
… When was the last time I got a letter from them?
“What, is that why they’ve been avoiding me?”
My feelings of hurt were evident on my face and in my voice.
They didn’t even give me a chance… I was shocked and terribly scared too. Couldn’t we have worried about it together?
What I wanted wasn’t a practical way to solve my problem, it never had been. The Duke was fully aware of how I felt and he would have conveyed that to my parents.
“It’s more like…”
“I’m going back upstairs now.”
I turned around without hesitation.
“Anastasia! Wait a second!”
“Leave me alone.”
I needed something to focus on. I was desperate for something that wouldn’t push me towards my feelings of anger and distress.
Ah, that’s right. There is Kylis.
It was possible that we had met a long time ago. I rummaged through my bedroom without knowing what I was looking for. Desk drawers, under the bed, inside the flower vase… I searched everywhere.
But the maids regularly cleaned the bedroom and Anastasia Sinclair wasn’t the type of person to keep a diary.
“Ahhhh, it’s so frustrating!”
I suddenly shouted and started punching my pillow. Ilina, startled and a bit worried, came in.
“Miss, is everything all right?”
I was on the verge of tears. Ilina, who had a soft spot for me, immediately comforted me.
“What happened? Please tell me.”
I took Ilina’s hand and sat her down next to me.
This maid sitting in front of me… maybe she knows me better than my own family?
My heart was beating erratically. As if I were going over my past mistakes, I took on a voice that seemed convincingly remorseful.
“Ilina, maybe… did I do anything strange right before I was diagnosed with a terminal illness? Even if it was something trivial, please tell me if you’ve ever felt shocked or upset by something I’ve said.”
“Miss, I’ve never once been upset while I’ve been by your side. Um, anything else…”
Ilina intently mulled over the unexpected question. Her brow was furrowed for quite a while before she finally seemed to recall something.
“Come to think of it, you did say something a bit sad.”
“You said… ‘I have no regrets.’”
It was the sort of statement that someone who had led a satisfying life would give right before they died.
“… I said that before I knew about my terminal illness?”
“Yes. Back then it was extremely rare for you to smile while speaking, so I remember it clearly.”
I organized all of the information that I had received today in my head.
Before she had become terminally ill, the former Anastasia Sinclair went in and out of the forest without anyone else knowing. And Kylis had known Anastasia. Moreover, he seemed to have talked with her enough to have remembered that she enjoyed reading books.
Also, according to Ilina, she had guessed about her death beforehand and seemed to have no regrets about it.
However, I had almost completely assimilated with Anastasia and that memory didn’t exist for me. It didn’t seem like the former Anastasia had retained the memory of that time either.
Before I possessed her, Anastasia Sinclair, who had lived the same life as she had in the original story, truly believed that she had an illness that couldn’t be cured.
In the original novel she had died in front of Adele, but she had greeted her death more lonely than anyone else. She hadn’t once thought that she had ‘no regrets’. I had no explanation for that other than her losing her memory of meeting Kylis.
As expected, I’ll have to wring it out of that guy!
“Oh, the Young Lord said that he’d be late because he has an early morning audience with His Majesty. I was told to tell you not to wait.”
Since my brother had returned, the number of my guardians had increased to two. And Adele had work that he’d been putting off that he needed to do.
I nodded to Ilina and vowed that I wouldn’t return home tomorrow without something to show for it.
The next day I watched the sun rise as I slipped past my brother and sped off towards the Forest of Repentance.
Once I had stepped into an area that I thought was sufficiently overgrown, I shouted out the name of that ghost that might have shortened my lifespan at the top of my lungs.
If he doesn’t show up, then I’ll keep calling until he does!
“Kylis, Kylis, Kylllliiiiiiiissssssssss!”
“I’m at a loss for words.”
The ghost, mounted atop his horse, appeared without making a sound. I boldly skipped past the greetings.
“Answer me this. I’m certain that I’ve met Sir Knight in the past, there’s even someone who saw me coming here a few years ago, but I can’t remember it at all. Sir Knight, you did something, didn’t you?”
It was obvious that Kylis would remain silent once again. Resolute, I gave him a warning.
“This time I’m not going back until I get some answers. I even brought something to eat!”
Although yesterday’s fatigue had yet to completely disappear, my body had been tempered by all kinds of nutritional supplements and medicines that tasted so bad I could throw up. I could hold out for two or three hours.
Kylis was still close-mouthed. I was so frustrated that my heart was about to burst.
Ah, I don’t remember taking medicine to prevent anger sickness. 
I made the look in my eyes as sharp as I could.
“You know, Kylis… Why do I have to come here alone for you to show up? Is it really because you’re shy? Adele is friendly and easy to talk to, I’d rather meet with Adele here.”
Thinking that Adele’s harmless way of speaking could have made Kylis confess more, I felt a twinge of regret burning in my chest.
Kylis finally responded.
That’s right, Adele.
I nodded vigorously.
“He’s someone that I’d want to see no matter where or when. His smile is really pretty, his occasional refreshing expression is cute, and his hands are extremely warm. And he trusts me. He’s working hard to show me his good side.”
Although the truth was, he didn’t have to. I liked the Adele that secretly revealed the wickedness in his heart as well.
Kylis dismounted from his horse. Once again the ground sank in ominously due to his natural disaster-like presence. It seemed like he was concentrating on my voice, so I finished up my thought.
“That kid is much more complex than I am and I like him.”
Kylis’ helmet moved towards me.
“So anyway, please help me. If I want to live a long, lovey-dovey life with Adele, then I need to be healthy.”
“You want to live? Now, after all this time?”
His tone of voice was unexpectedly aggressive.
“… For the trivial reason that you fell in love?”
Kylis wasn’t mocking me. It was just a sign that he truly didn’t understand my reason. It was as if, even up to this moment long after his birth and his death, he had never once surrendered himself to that feeling.
“Wanting to live because I want to love and be loved, how can that be a trivial reason?”
“Does that thing think the same way that you do?”
All of a sudden, I became extremely angry. I was really, really upset.
“Did you just call Adele ‘that thing’? How could you say that? Even if you look down on me, you can’t do that to Adele! You don’t even know what kind of person Adele is!”
A lot of emotions had piled up and it was like he had set them on fire. I thought my hands might break into pieces if I hit him with my fists, so I hit him with my palms, but it still hurt like crazy.
Gahhh! I’m so mad!
 Hwabyeong (화병 [火病]) is a disorder with both physical and psychological symptoms, thought to arise from the stress of repressing one’s anger or frustration. It is recognized primarily, perhaps exclusively, in Korean culture and is more likely to be diagnosed as stress or depression by Western doctors.
As a side note, there is a Simpsons episode with a very similar concept wherein Homer attempts to suppress his anger despite Bart’s intentional provocations, resulting in stress-based lumps appearing on his body which nearly kill him.