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My Male Lead was Building up an Impenetrable Wall (5)
“… Right, I’ll help you. Then you’ll come back to your senses.”
White light gathered in Rayleigh’s hand. His face looked all the more cruel bathed in the pure, ethereal light.
Olga’s eyes widened.
I shoved Rayleigh as hard as I could, but he merely staggered back a little.
“Ms. Vesta! Take Olga!”
Olga started to say something, but Vesta moved faster.
There wasn’t even time to check which direction the two had fled in. I was so furious that I forgot to breathe for a moment. I spit each word out at Rayleigh.
“Stop before you go too far. You don’t even know me.”
I met his brown eyes defiantly.
“If you don’t want to confirm why I ended up like this or if it’s even my fault… if you just want to hate me and see me as the worst person there is, then do whatever you want. Here and now.”
“If you think I can’t…”
Rayleigh violently grabbed my arm. Surprisingly, I wasn’t afraid.
“One day you’ll find out that I was a good person and then you’ll beat the ground, filled with remorse.”
Of course Rayleigh had no intention of listening to me. He began calling up his divine power as he held on to me. A pure white light, twinkling like a galaxy, rose up from the ground. The light gradually spread out, thinning as it expanded. It formed a shell-like veil around us.
“Why did you enter that forest?”
I laughed in disbelief.
“And if I confess obediently, you’ll be magnanimous and spare my life?”
“There’s definitely something in that place.”
Rayleigh narrowed his eyes. He mercilessly yanked on my arm so that I would be unable to escape his gaze. At least for now he seemed unaware of Kylis’ existence.
The arm he was grabbing gradually began to ache. But despite being manifested enough to be visible to the naked eye, his divine power was still bearable. Rayleigh didn’t know how much his powers affected me. I eased up on my lip, which I had been firmly biting down on.
“Think carefully, Rayleigh. This is the last chance for you and for me. There’s no turning back if you go any further. Do you really plan on ruining your life over a kid like me?”
My sleeve slipped down, revealing my blackened and charred wrist. Rayleigh’s eyes grew wide. Seeing his noticeable agitation, I let out a sigh.
“You treated Adele like a deranged murderer, but the person who is actually about to become one is you.”
“C-cut the crap. Divine power can’t hurt people.”
“Can you guarantee that?”
“… I’ll just have to try and see.”
A great burst of light spread out before my eyes. It was an achingly white light where nothing but his own pride remained.
Suddenly, Rayleigh’s face became awash with fear.
I wasn’t able to comprehend his alarm at first. As if in complete disbelief, he whipped his head around, nearly breaking his neck. I turned my eyes to the same spot in bewilderment. The person I liked most in the world was standing there.
My chest felt tight.
Happy, relieved, nervous… it was difficult to narrow how I felt down to a single emotion.
Adele’s hand touched the bright light that encircled us. He ruthlessly forced an opening in the light and then immediately pushed straight in, breaking through with sheer brute strength.
I questioned whether that was even possible, but the shell-like light that encircled us lost its power and scattered as it fell to the ground. Shocked, Rayleigh let go of me.
I reached out to grab hold of Adele, but he evaded my grasp. Adele covered my eyes with a hand.
A moment later Rayleigh let out a piercing scream.
My vision was blocked, so I wasn’t able to tell what was happening.
The screaming soon ceased. However, it didn’t die away naturally. It suddenly cut off like it had been silenced.
I heard the sound of something gushing out and the sound of Rayleigh gasping for air.
“There are no other people in the vicinity.”
Adele spoke in a calm tone, completely at odds with the violent noises from before.
“Now, what shall we do?”
I could sense that Rayleigh was seriously injured and close to death.
After fruitlessly pawing the air a few times, I managed to catch a hold of the edge of Adele’s clothing.
“You… maybe you… because of the helmet…”
Recalling Kylis’ warning, I was certain that the helmet was affecting Adele negatively. But Adele neatly shot my theory down.
“It’s not that. I’m just pissed off.”
“As expected, this won’t work. I suppose I’ll have to extract all of his divine power and then kill him.”
“W-wait a second!”
What the heck?!
I was completely flustered and I had no idea what to do.
You think you’re okay right now? You haven’t even been tainted by Kylis and you’re saying such scary things! It’s not like divine power is blood!
“I-i-is that even possible?”
“It is for me.”
Meaning it’s normally not possible…
The inside of my mouth was dry. I quietly let go of Adele’s clothes.
“… Do you realize what you’ve just said?”
I had been trying to reclaim my sight, but I paused when I heard Rayleigh’s voice. It was a tangled mass of raw emotions.
What does he mean?
Curious, I tiled my head to the side, but it seemed that Adele was still unwilling to remove the hand that was covering my eyes. It was as if there was something he really didn’t want to show me.
“I am aware.”
“You’ve kept it hidden pretty well.”
Rayleigh wheezed, coughing something up.
That’s blood. That has to be blood.
“I simply had no reason to reveal it.”
His flat voice, completely devoid of emotion, was creepy. I tapped on Adele’s hand. At the same time, Rayleigh spoke as if he were reciting his dying words.
“If I get out of here alive…”
“You won’t even remember this.”
Adele cut Rayleigh off mid-sentence. Then he gave a brief explanation for my sake.
“Magic power has specific, set attributes. It is likely that my attribute is the reason I was able to heal you, Anastasia. In contrast, other mages cannot do anything to alleviate harm incurred from divine power. That is why I objected when the Countess said that she would call for the Pope.”
It was easy enough to make a rough guess about what Adele’s attribute was. Rayleigh’s reaction had made it pretty obvious. It was yet another reason why Adele didn’t like using magic in front of other people.
“Huh? Then shouldn’t divine power have an adverse affect on you too?”
“There is no power capable of harming me.”
That incredible confidence…
Deciding Rayleigh might actually die at this rate, I asked Adele to give back my sight.
“Adele, I have something I want to say to Rayleigh.”
After a long pause, he removed his hand. I blinked hard.
… Did something get cleaned up?
The area around us was so tidy that I began to doubt all of the sounds I’d heard earlier.
But Rayleigh was sitting slumped over, an expression of complete exhaustion on his face. He cast a peculiar eye over his arms and legs, which were neatly attached to his body.
I want to know what happened, but I also feel like I really don’t…
Letting out a small sigh, I crouched in front of Rayleigh.
He flinched as though he hadn’t thought I’d casually use his name like that.
Hey. Aren’t you happy that I didn’t call you some other rude name? I want to smack you just as much as you want to to kill me, you know.
“What do you want? To purify me? To expose Adele’s true colors to the world? What did we do that was so wrong? What you’re worried about hasn’t even happened yet. Adele hasn’t murdered anyone and I’m working on resolving my issue.”
Before Rayleigh could argue, I beat him to the punch.
“I trust you’re not about to spout some more crap about how my being alive is harmful in itself. Even your ancestors, who had more divine power than you, weren’t that intolerant.”
Lynette-eonni had provoked him by asking about his ancestors before and perhaps for that reason, Rayleigh’s expression turned into a scowl.
I plead earnestly in my mind for this to please, please end well.
“I know what kind of future you saw, but can’t you just keep an eye on me or something? I can assure you, I’m not as irredeemably wicked as you think I am. It’s not like I’m a witch who transforms into a bat-like creature that you need to eradicate.”
Reflected in his hazy brown eyes, my image slowly came into focus. Rayleigh opened his mouth awkwardly.
“That sort of thing doesn’t exist in this world.”
“… Is that what’s important right now?”
“And none of my ancestors had divine power.”
It was an understandable response. In the original story, Rayleigh had remained unaware that he was a descendant of the first pope, Anacleto, through the end.
He thought his abilities had been acquired purely by chance.
But being in no position to pick and choose what methods I used, I was determined to take advantage of anything I could.
In any case, Rayleigh was probably perplexed. Except for him, no one had been able to detect any trace of a corrupting presence within me.
“What if I know you a lot better than you think I do?”
I snapped at Rayleigh, who was about to react with hostility once again.
“For the love of… Calm down! It would be better for you if you gave me a chance to explain. Although I understand you feel disgusted when you see me and that it drives you mad. It’s just a problem you were born with. But are you confident that you won’t feel any guilt after making me look like this?”
I rolled my sleeve up as far as I could, showing Rayleigh my blackened skin. The full view was a completely different experience from the glimpse that he’d caught earlier. Even I got goosebumps.
“You made me this way. It’s pathetically easy for you to hurt me.”
Rayleigh turned deathly pale. He shoved me away, turning around and gagging.
He was a gentle and meek person by nature, someone who couldn’t even kill an ant. But Kyils’ energy had a huge effect on Rayleigh due to the remarkable divine power that he had been born with.
After a while, he finally raised his head.
He glared at me as he muttered in a tiny voice.
“The problem lies with you! You did something wrong, it was obviously something terrible and…”
“If you really can’t stand it, then why don’t you try purifying me properly this time? Do you want to hear the sound of me screaming that badly?”
I drew closer and bent down, leaning towards him. Flustered, Rayleigh slid backwards, but I grabbed him by his shoulders. His eyes flashed with alarm.