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My Male Lead is in the Process of Being Corrupted (7)
Eventually Chester handed me an unreasonable amount of stew. I ate expensive foods all of the time and from what I could tell, only fresh ingredients had been used. But seeing the finished product, I wondered if the ingredients had gotten switched at some point.
This is a bit too black, isn’t it? Is… is this edible?
“Don’t worry. As you saw, I didn’t add anything suspicious,” he reassured me.
Fainting here wasn’t an option, so I reluctantly used a spoon to take a tiny sip of the stew.
It wasn’t so bad that I couldn’t eat it. And I was pretty hungry since I had mostly been eating foods that were easy to digest. As I took my time slowly chewing the food, Chester responded with delight.
“I made this in a somewhat of a hurry, but I am usually much better. I will make it properly next time.”
I really hope there’s no ‘next time’.
Keeping my thoughts to myself, I held Kylis’ helmet in my arms as I ate and Chester’s expression became increasingly enigmatic.
“I’ve been wondering about this for a while now, are you not afraid of that great king? Your courage is rather impressive.”
“I’m not sure. I mean, I know that Kylis was a dangerous man, but…” I trailed off.
He was dangerous. I understood that, but it was hard to actually feel it.
Kylis seemed to have become far more sedate than he had been when he was alive. Or at least he had never threatened to kill me. Well, it was possible that he felt there was no purpose in threatening my life since he’d already taken some years from it.
Perched across from me, Chester rested his chin in his hands.
“If you have no intentions of passing away quietly, then what is your plan?”
“I’m going to persuade Kylis to give the years of my life back.”
“Are you sure that’s possible?”
“I need to at least try.”
“Why not simply loosen up and accept my help?”
I fixed my eyes on him.
“You said that you’d share some of your life force with me, right? But is it really yours?”
He laughed boisterously at my question.
“You are practically at death’s door right now. Why get caught up with every little, insignificant thing?”
I frowned at him.
“It’s not insignificant. I don’t want to live at the expense of others. Even if those people are complete strangers to me, they’re precious to someone else.”
“Living with such a noble spirit will only lead to suffering on your part.”
It’s just natural, isn’t it? It has nothing to do with having a ‘noble spirit’.
I was dumbfounded.
“I’ve never felt like I was losing out by being this way. And you asked for something ridiculous in exchange.”
“Was asking for your body a ridiculous request?”
This piece of trash…
“Stay at least 10 meters away from me.”
“If you find that phrasing distasteful, should I put it in nicer terms? I am fine with taking you as a lover.”
He was messing with me and I became extremely annoyed.
“I’m not fine with it! I have someone I like!”
Leaving it there and only saying that much felt unsatisfying, so I ended up voicing my dissatisfaction.
“You are aware that you really, truly suck, right? You don’t know anything about me. Any good feelings I have towards you are lost when you start spouting crap like that.”
Ugh. My blood pressure…
I had a terrible headache.
Ignoring the sigh that I let out, Chester started protesting.
“What, was that a problem? You can simply tell me if there is a problem.”
“I don’t want to.”
Without even pausing to take a breath, I immediately refused.
I don’t understand how that guy’s brain is wired.
Kylis’ personality had seemingly become more subdued than it had been when he was alive, so if this was Chester Frey showing some restraint, I couldn’t even imagine what his true nature was like.
Nope. I’m not curious at all. I’d like to stay clueless about that forever.
Eventually I came to the realization that raising my voice did nothing but drain my stamina. Chester only helped me as he pleased and seemed to have no intention of actually respecting my wishes.
A deep, endless sigh escaped my lips. Willing myself to try one last time, I lowered my voice.
“I need your help right now. I know that you’re aware of that fact and are taking advantage of it, but why don’t we try to respect each other’s boundaries so that I can continue to feel grateful towards you?”
“I don’t want to.”
I muttered under my breath as I calculated the odds of Chester losing his footing and falling off of the cliff before disappearing back into the annals of history.
“Life really is full of surprises. I never thought I would miss Kylis.”
In other words, I was saying that I had realized there were different levels of trash. Chester looked at me like I was crazy.
“For you to say that… just how well did that great king treat you?”
“Are you asking because you really don’t know?”
Look at how you’ve acted! Are you incapable of looking at yourself objectively for even a single moment?
“He stole years from your lifespan.”
That still doesn’t make you any better than Kylis, does it?
Of course I despised Kylis just as much for leaving me here alone after having led me to this place. But at least he didn’t make me feel so creeped out.
Chester grinned while playfully complaining, “I am starting to envy that great king a little. I hope the people who have lost their hands to me are as positive as you are.”
K-keep it in. It’s not like he’s someone who’d change just because I said a few words to him anyway.
“He didn’t take them by force.”
I held back a litany of curse words and gave him a simple reply.
Apparently unconvinced, hints of dissatisfaction showed through Chester’s smiling face.
“I wondered why you reacted so indifferently when you saw me. You have quite peculiar tastes, oh lady whose beauty rivals a silver rose.”
I didn’t feel the need to correct him. If he thought I was peculiar and gave up paying attention to me, I’d be pretty happy.
Once I was reasonably full, I put down my spoon and opened my mouth to speak.
“Why was this place built on top of a cliff? What do you do when you want to leave?”
“If you leave through the back door, there is a bridge. Of course, attempting to cross it now would be an act of suicide.”
“… I should have looked around a little more.”
Actually, don’t they usually put that sort of thing close to the front door? What the hell is with this setup?!
Even though it wasn’t as if the bridge had suddenly appeared out of nowhere, I still felt like I’d been tricked somehow.
Chester glanced at me as I stood up, his eyes somewhat subdued.
“… Are you truly thinking of leaving?”
“What’s the point in staying any longer if Kylis isn’t here?”
“Are you saying that being with me is a waste of time?”
What the hell?
“Hey. We only met about an hour ago, didn’t we?” I pointed out with an indifferent expression.
It was too much trouble to snap back at him. Our conversation hadn’t been particularly deep or taxing, but I was exhausted.
Suddenly, Chester issued a command.
“Look at me.”
His voice was suffused with power. His jade-colored eyes shone brightly and I stared at him as if beguiled.
“Who is the one that you love?”
Before I could think, Adele’s name tumbled from my mouth.
It’s not like I was trying to hide it or anything. Are you really using hypnosis to ask me something like this? Didn’t you say that using a lot of power was tiring?
But that didn’t seem to be the answer that he wanted.
“… Answer me again.”
“An incredibly cute boy named Adele. What’s the point of this?”
You’re not thinking of going to look for Adele so you can be mean to him, are you? Well, he probably wouldn’t care. Rather than being afraid of Kylis after finding out his identity, Adele was more annoyed that he couldn’t kill him. I doubt it would be any different here. Yeah, I’m sure he’d just ignore the hypnosis. Actually, instead of ignoring Chester, it would be better if he beat him up a little.
As I was lost in my own wandering thoughts, the intensity of power that was restraining me suddenly dropped off before disappearing entirely. The power had been effective in controlling my actions, but it appeared that manipulating my mind was another story.
“That’s strange. Did I hypnotize you properly?”
I paused for a moment to think. Judging by Chester’s reaction, it didn’t seem like he had used his powers just to find out who I liked.
A thought popped into my head and I blurted it out.
“Were you trying to make me like you?”
Chester Frey was the worst kind of trash.
I felt my stomach drop as I heard my name. Approaching in a single stride, Chester grabbed my chin with a hand and tilted my face upwards.
“You won’t leave, will you? Say that you’ll stay with me. I would be immensely grateful if you would remain by my side, keep me entertained, and protect me from that great king. It seems you have yet to realize it, but considering that you were able to synchronize with that great king through your dreams, I believe that he likes you more than you think.”
The intention behind his order was crystal clear.
I know who this piece of trash plans on using as a meat shield.
I was about to tell him ‘no’, but at that moment…
“Anastasia, I found that b*stard.”
I heard the sound of an impact that sent someone flying into one of the walls, followed by a louder noise as the wall collapsed. But there was no time to worry about that.
Everything was so fast that I wasn’t exactly sure what had happened, but apparently the man who had appeared out of nowhere had used his foot to remove Chester from my sight. The air about him was almost charged as he spoke.
“I came because I thought you might be awake, although perhaps it was impolite to do so. Have I offended you? And how did you end up here?”
I blinked. In an instant his red, shining eyes and harmless smile put me at ease.