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My Male Lead is in the Process of Being Corrupted (8)
“It… it’s Adele!”
Adele smiled brightly as I pointed my finger directly at him.
“A-are you really Adele? Is it actually you?”
Uwaaaaah, I’ve been so miserable!!
I immediately ran into his arms and breathed in my favorite scent.
Holding me with one arm, Adele surveyed the area. He glanced at the wooden table that I had been sitting at while I had the stew.
“Hm… One moment. This place is covered in dust and… there’s nothing here, is there?”
… If you hadn’t sent Chester flying through a wall, this place would have been pretty clean.
Adele craned his neck to peer around me and said in a regretful tone, “He is still alive. I deliberately controlled the amount of strength that I used.”
“I think controlling the strength you use means something different…”
“It’s fine. I’ll kill him properly this time… Ah, that’s right. I shouldn’t kill people, should I? However, that jerk has been considered dead for quite a while now and his departure from this world has already been ordained. To honor the wishes of those who have been waiting for that day to come, I believe an exception can be made.”
It seemed he had already realized that that man was Chester Frey.
I sold him out, telling Adele, “That guy, he was with Kylis until I got here.”
In other words, I meant that he was extremely suspicious and needed to be investigated. Adele gave me an impressed look.
“You’re very kind, Anastasia. He drove you into a corner, pushing you to the point that I could sense something was wrong and came looking for you. Referring to him as ‘that piece-of-shit guy’, he is unworthy of such a title…”
Uh… Did I use the word ‘piece-of-shit’?
I mulled over whether I deserved to be complimented. Gradually, my tearful sniffling trailed off and my breathing stabilized.
Adele asked gently, “Have you calmed down?”
As soon as I nodded, Adele let go of me and held out his hand.
“Then, please give that to me.”
I stared blankly at his outstretched hand, then back at his face.
His smile was refreshing and I was nearly taken in by it, but his inner feelings showed through and I could see that he was upset about something.
On a hunch, I removed Chester’s coat. Adele accepted it with a look of satisfaction.
“I think I should have a conversation with that guy before he runs away. It will only take a moment, so please wait here. And please refrain from walking around. I will treat your injury as soon as I return.”
“I feel okay right now, though?”
My words were sincere. I didn’t feel dizzy like I was about to collapse and my anxiety had disappeared.
Hearing my insistence that I was fine, Adele seemed to forcefully swallow back whatever he wanted to say before walking over to the wall that Chester had crashed through.
Anyway, he said he found Kylis? That quickly?
I cast a curious glance beyond the broken wall and heard the sounds of a fairly serious beating.
It feels like the sound of screaming is being removed by force, doesn’t it? Like that time with Rayleigh. Ummm, I guess I’ll just ignore it.
Deciding that it was best not to witness what I didn’t have to, I sat down and quietly waited for Adele to return.
Honestly, Chester deserved to be hit.
Using hypnotic powers to win people’s hearts is just… trying to cheat your way through life. Actually, is that how he gathered so many wives while he was alive? I wouldn’t give this guy to Lynette-eonni even if he was taxidermied.
Eonni, I know you like pretty and attractive people, but this guy’s brain is completely rotten. He’s too icky!
The more I thought about him, the more uncomfortable I felt, so I unwound the cloth that he had wrapped around my foot to stop the bleeding. The pain came flooding back as though some anesthetic effect had suddenly worn off.
Ah, it really hurts! I guess this is the injury that Adele was talking about. I forgot about it because it wasn’t hurting…
Pressing my lips together firmly, I did my best to endure the pain.
But why didn’t Chester’s last order work on me? The hypnosis controlled my actions pretty well.
By any chance, is this the power of love?!
I was pounding the table in embarrassment when Adele returned.
You came back super fast, sir.
It felt like less than 5 minutes had passed. I hastily scrambled to fix my expression. Adele, as always, seemed unbothered by my strange behavior.
“He had quite a bit of useful information.”
A-ahem. Acting casual, I put on a composed demeanor.
“How did you persuade him to talk? He was acting as sly as a fox.”
I wasn’t good at using questions to gloss over my embarrassment and I almost became sick from the stress of trying. I rubbed the back of my neck a few times.
“I told him he should cooperate if he didn’t want to end up crawling around on his stomach without his hands or feet.”
Not persuasion, just threats. I guess I chose the wrong word earlier.
“Where is Chester now?”
“Having him in the same room felt somewhat uncomfortable, so I dealt with him appropriately.”
Does that mean I don’t have to see him anymore? I hope I never run into him again.
“Please excuse me for a moment.”
Adele knelt in front of me and, with great care, delicately took hold of my injured foot. I heard a small sigh. Without asking me anything, he wiped the blood away with a handkerchief. I didn’t have to look into a mirror to know that my face was as red as a ripe tomato.
“I-I can do it.”
I had been walking around without any shoes on, so there was more than just dried blood on my feet. But Adele didn’t let go.
“Please allow me to do it.”
I bit my lip and squeezed my eyes shut.
I felt like hiding my bright red face, but Adele spoke to me in a soothing tone of voice.
“Anastasia. In any given town, even outside of the Empire, there are people employed by my family as well as places in which those people work. I will show you what to look for, so if you ever find yourself in a situation where I am unable to help you, please head to one of them. You will be able to find whatever help you need.”
“I’ll keep that in mind!”
I absolutely won’t forget it.
“… I was foolish.”
My eyes shot open at his unexpected remark. Adele let out a sigh.
“In my desire to be praised, I looked away and lost sight of you.”
“B-but you still came pretty quickly. I haven’t been here that long.”
An hour? Maybe two?
“I could have come sooner, but I kept hesitating out of fear that it would make you uncomfortable. I think about you all day long and I’m probably overstepping my bounds, but I can’t bring myself to stop.”
My heart beat wildly in my chest. As expected, Adele’s sweet and honest words were the best medicine.
“I’ve healed your injury.”
He hadn’t said ‘stopped the bleeding’, he had said ‘healed’. I tilted my head and checked my foot.
“Wow! It’s completely healed.”
I had heard that healing magic wasted a lot of magic power and wasn’t very effective. But Adele had healed me so easily that, despite not having met a normal mage, I wondered whether that was actually true.
While I was admiring his handiwork, Adele picked up my other foot and began to wipe the dirt off of it.
Resigning myself to his care, I asked, “How did you find Kylis, anyway?”
“He has been wreaking destruction on everything around him. It seems he has no intention of trying to conceal his existence.”
“He has been traveling along the road blessed by the Pope, destroying temples as he goes. At his current pace, he should arrive at the office of the church within a week.”
“Sheesh. Shouldn’t we stop him?”
Adele made a puzzled expression.
In a tone of voice that suggested I had nothing to worry about, he explained, “Whether he’s simply become tired of wandering around, searching for holy relics, or whether this is some last-ditch effort, he’s using up an incredible amount of power. If he continues and makes it to the office of the church, it will only be a matter of time until his existence is discovered. And at the rate at which he is using up his power, even the current pope’s divine power should be sufficient to deal with him. This time he’ll be taken apart so thoroughly that he’ll be reduced to dust.”
“Do you mean that Kylis is going to destroy himself?”
“Of course your life force needs to be returned, so I’ll act before they seal him away again. Although it shouldn’t be necessary for a week or so.”
Essentially, Adele was saying that since Kylis had chosen the path to his own destruction, we simply had to wait. But somewhere in the back of my mind I still felt troubled.
“Is it really okay to just leave it like this?”
Things had worked out so smoothly that, rather than feeling happy, I felt strange.
Adele straightened up and then comforted me by saying, “I know that you’ve been through a lot. You will be all right now.”
It was hard to say anything in response.
Adele tenderly kissed me on the forehead, just as he had done before.
“I’ll send you back to your bedroom so you can get some rest.”
“Ah, one second!”
I brushed past him and picked up the helmet that I had quietly put down earlier.
“I’m good now.”
Adele’s face was full of dissatisfaction.
“… You don’t have to bother with that.”
“We might end up needing it.”
“I should have tossed it into a…”
Before I could respond, the scenery around me changed.
When I opened my eyes, I was in my bedroom. It was eerily dark and quiet. I counted the passing seconds in my mind.
Um. Adele isn’t following me back, right? Thank god…
I let go of the tension I’d built up. The problem was, as soon as I relaxed, my insides suddenly turned inside out and the contents of my stomach started to come back up.
Practically passing out, I fell asleep and when I opened my eyes my mother, father, and brother were all staring at me.
What’s wrong with my voice?
I was shocked to hear how hoarse my voice was, like a patient with a bad cold. My mother pushed me back down as I tried to get up.
“Sleep a little longer.”
I tried to stay awake since I had already woken up anyway, but my mother’s gentle touch as she stroked my head made it impossible. Unable to properly speak with my parents, I fell into a deep sleep once again.
Luckily, the next time I opened my eyes I was able to fully wake up. Although it was already midday, I was glad that I hadn’t slept the whole day away. But the meal that Ilina brought me was completely unreasonable.
“Isn’t this just boiled water?”
I complained about the tragic meal, which was so miserable that I almost believed it was wheat starch water.
Just hot, whitish water!
But of course, Ilina wasn’t an easy opponent.
“This is all you are allowed to eat.”
“But my stomach is fine!”
“The Madam ordered me to manage your meals strictly for the next few days, Miss. And she warned Master Oscar not to give you any other food.” 
Sob. Sweet-talking Oppa into secretly giving me chocolate was so great while it lasted!
Resigning to my fate, I picked up a spoon. 
Honestly, I probably don’t even need a spoon. I could just drink this like a beverage.
 ‘Master’ is a form of address used for boys and young men.
 The phrase ‘울며 겨자 먹기’ translates literally to ‘crying while eating mustard’ and refers to a person forcing themself to do something they would rather not. It is similar to the English expressions ‘bite the bullet’ or ‘grin and bear it’.