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“First of all, I’ll give you a compliment.”
My body froze and I couldn’t answer anything.
“You’re really becoming Ian Esteban’s wife. That’s pretty good.”
“We thought you were being overly reckless. 100,000 Mars were hanging on the belief that it would turn out to be a corpse within ten days. You know what?”
The man who was leaning in close to me kept whispering in an obnoxious tone.
“How did you seduce him? Did you twist your tongue and say that this is the only way to calm down the scandal? I didn’t know you were so quick-witted. People say that just before you die, your brain works fast.”
His low, insidious voice giggled.
“Well, in the end, you became more useful. It’s as if a pawn transformed into a knight. Congratulations.”
I clenched my teeth. I shouldn’t have been discovered as Lee Seo-yeon; I am not their puppet.
My trembling body had barely calmed down. Now my life, number 76, is in their hands.
“I don’t think Ian Esteban really fell in love with you, but you both are a famous married couple, so you will be in the same bed with him every night. Now, I’ll hand this over to you. This is a precious item, so take it well.”
A cold, hard object slipped into the palm of my hand. I couldn’t bring myself to lower my head and check it, so I bit my lips instead.
“…What is this?”
“A pendant studded with obsidian. It’s pretty, but if the bishops here find out what you’re holding, well, that’s the end of it. Perhaps you will be burned at the stake?”
Hearing those words, the pendant in my hand felt like the tip of an awl. The Nine guild members grinned.
“Keep this near Ian Esteban for at least ten minutes every night. If you stay in the same bed with him, it will be fine within range. Anything beyond that becomes difficult.”
“Well. Isn’t it not that difficult, right? Simply hold it in your arms and fall asleep while holding it.”
The Nine guild members spoke to me as if I were a kindergartener.
I gripped the pendant tightly. If I am caught with this object by Cathedral members, I will be burned at the stake.
That meant this was such an evil object.
‘It has begun. A magic trick on Ian.’
In the original story, I did not know exactly how Nine succeeded in putting a magic trick on Ian. Because it was not described. But this was the only certainty I had.
Fate has changed. In this new fate, I am the medium who casts a magic spell on him. To put it another way, I became number 76.
I used my tongue to moisten the dry roof of my mouth then opened my mouth.
“If I do that, what will happen?”
“That’s none of your business, right?”
The guild member’s voice immediately became irritated. That was then.
My thigh throbbed with a burning pain.
I barely suppressed the spontaneous groan that was about to escape out of my mouth. My thigh, where Nine’s tattoo was visible, hurt like an iron was pressed against it.
The guild member came closer to me, with my face contorted as I endured the pain.
“Why are you being so conceited? Are you happy that I complimented you? Yes, you are only a chess piece.”
“Do not forget. Your life is in our hands. But I promise. If you complete this mission successfully, I will reward you in ways that a slave like you could never imagine. Yes, we are slaves who are not even commoners… But if you have money, you can eat a lot of delicious food and wear pretty clothes. It’s good, right?”
What is good about that? You son of b*tch.
My face began to break out in cold sweat slowly. He didn’t even recite the spell. Still, he was able to inflict such pain on me in an instant.
If I made up my mind, he could end my life right here on the spot. It wasn’t a bluff that my life was in their hands.
“You should feel grateful. Thanks to us, you were able to become a woman of the Holy Knight Commander, even only for a moment…”
A low voice rang out in my ears.
My body stiffened as I realized who it was. It was Ian’s voice. I hurriedly straightened my face.
At that moment, his face was reflected in the glass table.
I straightened out my trembling eyes and loosened the corners of my stiff lips. I looked back after taking a few deep breaths.
“Ah. Sir Ian.”
Ian approached me with a puzzled expression, having just finished a conversation with Lucian.
He staggered on his long legs and came closer to me in an instant, looking me in the eyes.
Ian’s forehead narrowed slightly.
“What’s wrong with you? Did something happen?”
This time, his attention was drawn to the Nine Guild One standing beside me. Ian said this while checking the guild member from head to toe.
“Who is it? What is your name and position?”
I clenched my fists tightly. I felt a sense of relief the moment I saw Ian, as if I’d been pulled out of the water.
The Nine Guild member smiled at Ian with a gentle smile. I finally saw the guild member’s face for the first time. He seemed to be a young man.
Contrary to what he had whispered to me, the guild member said with a friendly face.
“Haha, the commander is very cold. My name is Edward of Baron Vichen.”
As if muttering, Ian uttered the name. Although his identity was revealed, Ian’s eyes were still cold when he looked at Edward.
“So, what’s your business with my bride?”
“We were just having a light conversation, haha.”
“Judging by your face, it doesn’t look like you were just having a light conversation, my bride.”
Ian frowned as he looked over my face. Edward’s eyes were piercing and he was staring right at me. I bit the flesh in my mouth.
My body was engulfed by the anger rising from my thighs, but it was not the time to act emotionally.
‘You have to pull yourself together.’
I smiled broadly. Very wide.
“I didn’t realize how quickly time passed because he told me so many funny stories.”
When I looked up at Ian and said so, he looked at me as if he didn’t believe me.
“Yes. He is a great storyteller. I guess I was too preoccupied to realize. Have I been away for a long time? I will go back now.”
“Wait a minute.”
Ian stopped me just as I was about to move.
Lucian, who had been one step away, rushed over to Ian’s call. Ian sighed and looked down at Edward, tilting his head.
“Investigate a man named Edward Vichen. Especially about his position.”
I was taken aback by Ian’s reaction. Was it your decision to do this because of my screwed up face?
My face looked fine the last time I checked.. It was a little paler than usual, but there was nothing much different.
“Sir Ian, haha. You are suspicious of me. I was just here to celebrate your wedding.”
“I will find out when I finish investigating you.”
Ian’s tone was cold.
Edward appeared perplexed, but not entirely befuddled. Perhaps Edward Vichen doesn’t have a problem with his identity.
I slightly bit my lower lip before quickly changing my expression and returning my gaze to Ian.
“Ian, this person must be confused. By the way, would you like to try this jelly? It was very sweet and delicious.”
I picked up the pink jelly on the buffet table and brought it to Ian’s lips as I said this. Ian looked at me as if he was about to refuse it. I lowered my voice and whispered.
“Hurry up, hurry up. My hand hurts.”
Everyone seemed to be staring at my aegyo in this direction. Ian sensed that everyone’s gaze was drawn to us, and for a moment he looked nervous, he soon opened his mouth.
I lowered my voice and whispered once more.
“Is it delicious?”
“It’s very damn sweet.”
Ian was annoyed because he was eating sweet jelly, and while saying that his voice was slightly squashed. Even so, he chewed and swallowed the jelly without spitting it out. I felt compelled to compliment him.
I turned to Edward. I asked what he was doing and told him to leave quickly.
“Then I’ll take my leave now. I hope you have a good night.”
Lucian smiled softly and took Edward away. I stared at Edward’s back for a moment as he walked away.
That punk. Why did you come here on a day like this and take on such folly?
“I just want him to disappear….”
I clenched my right hand and blinked foolishly.
It’s gone. The pendant.
Until recently, I was holding it in my hand.
“Irene? What’s wrong with you again?”
Ian’s voice startled me, and I raised my head.
“Ah, It’s nothing. Would you like some more jelly?”
Ian stated firmly, as if he disliked the jelly. Even though I smiled as if I was teasing his face, my insides were in a panic.
‘Where did it go?’
Did I lose it? I slowly glanced at the floor. Also, the pendant was nowhere to be found. I couldn’t lose that thing.
“Didn’t that guy say something really strange?”
“He really didn’t. Don’t worry.”
“I’m not worried. How can a bride talk to another man for so long on the eve of our marriage?”
“Ah, was that the problem? I’m sorry. You are secretly monopolistic.”
“It’s not about monopoly…”
I could hear Ian say something, but I couldn’t understand him. I almost had a brain fog. Where did the pendant go?
“Excuse me, I’m going to get some fresh air.”
In the aristocratic culture of the Rehart Empire, these words also meant going to the bathroom. Ian gave a slightly suspicious expression, but then nodded his head.
“See you later.”
“Lady Irene, I’ll follow you!”
Annette quickly followed me after catching Ian’s eye. She didn’t follow me all the way to the bathroom, fortunately.
I was left alone, and then I groped every part of my body. I clearly didn’t spill it. So where the hell did it go?
“Where did the pendant go?”
That was then. My hand had the same cold, heavy feeling as before.
I stared blankly down at my right hand. Like a lie, a pendant in my hand.
 Chess piece means pawn