All day, Liena’s worries were rendered meaningless as she couldn’t catch even a single glimpse of Rhetrik. She peeped at the door countless times, anticipating his sudden entrance, but he didn’t return to the palace, let alone his room, until sunset.




“Did he destroy some other kingdom in his anger again?”




Considering he was a man who found destroying a kingdom as easy as having breakfast, such a thought wasn’t all too absurd. Liena lay on her bed feeling uneasy for no reason, even though she hadn’t done much all day. The constant tension and apprehension exhausted her, making her fall asleep almost immediately.




“Hnnnmm… Such a lazy day. If only life could always be this relaxed, I wouldn’t wish for anything.”




Yawning languidly, Liena’s thoughts started to wander.




“I wonder if Sonny has recovered. She probably didn’t apply the medicinal herbs. What if the wounds get infected?”




Starting with her concerns for Sonny, her thoughts naturally drifted to Anton. Even though she had cut off their conversation to avoid hurting him, the image of the wounded man’s retreating back still haunted her.




“Sigh… He must be worried about me now. Maybe, I should’ve just told him the truth and asked for his help…”




Reflecting on the situation, Liena shook her head. If she had stayed, Anton would undoubtedly have confronted Rhetrik. And if that had happened, she couldn’t guarantee Anton’s safety. Rhetrik was the kind of man who could kill Anton without a second thought.




Suddenly, she recalled Rhetrik’s words from the previous day about cutting off his neck…




“That madman! Monster! Demon!”




In her anger, Liena kicked off the blanket covering her. She vented her rage by violently tugging at the innocent blanket as if it were Rhetrik.




But soon her energy drained. She missed her friends. She wished she could go back to the times they shared. This damned mark on her. If not for this, she would still be having fun, and living a peaceful daily life with her friends.




Tears welled up unexpectedly. She was terrified of her terrible destiny. It was bad enough being reincarnated into a novel, but now she had to endure the tragic fate of the protagonist as well. It seemed she was truly cursed by the gods.




For a long time, Liena was lost in gloomy thoughts, her eyelids slowly fluttering closed. Despite the absurdity of her situation, sleep came again with the arrival of night. She hoped Rhetrik wouldn’t return the next day. In fact, she wished he would never return at all.




As she descended into slumber, that was her last and fervent hope: that she could get away from him.




* * *




How long had I been asleep? It seems like I’m dreaming again. Liena slowly opened her eyes, her consciousness clouded and groggy. Her eyes darted around as if searching for someone. Soon, they met a pair of deep purple eyes.








“Ah, you are…”




Ah..? Her voice was working today. But her mind was still hazy.




“By any chance…Did you wait for me?”




“No… Why would I…”




“Hey, I thought maybe you missed our kiss and waited for me. But seeing me now, aren’t you glad? I thought about you all day.”




His sparkling eyes were playful. Every time she looked at him, he seemed to shimmer. She was constantly drawn to the man who exuded both a mysterious aura and a seductive charm. Yet, even if this was a dream, she couldn’t say she was pleased. She tried to change the subject.




“I… I recognize you.”




“You know me?”




“That day… in the indoor garden, remember?”




“You have a good memory. Since you remembered me, I should give you a gift.”




As the man approached to kiss her again, Liena’s eyes instinctively closed. The touch of his lips was even more intense than the previous day, making Liena’s heart race.




His fingers traced the contours of her jawline, and his tongue entwined with hers, lightly tickling her inner cheeks. He tenderly rubbed their lips together, deeply sucking on her lower lip and intermittently nipping at it.




Yet, strangely, all these actions felt incredibly real. It was an overwhelmingly intoxicating sensation as if she was being tightly bound.








“Your lips are delicious.”




“…So are yours.”








For a reason she couldn’t decipher, the man’s eyebrows, which had been raised in surprise, quickly relaxed into a gentle arch. His smile, imbued with an androgynous charm, was breathtakingly beautiful every time she saw it.




“You have such a cute side. It’s entrancing.”




“Are you… a devil?”




“Heh, why? Do I look like one?”




“No, you’re just so beautiful… It makes me want to give you my heart.”




“…Then would you?”




“My heart…? But I would die then…”




Thinking it might be the dream that made her speak such naive words, Liena nevertheless expressed the feelings she held for the man before her.




Despite her trailing off, he seemed thoroughly amused, laughing softly. Soon, with a glint in his eyes, he slid under her blanket, pressing closely against her. Lying beside her, he propped himself up on one arm and teasingly played with her lips using his thumb.




Was this truly a dream? She felt no urge to resist whatever he did. Above all, the rich scent emanating from him felt so close, it made her feel dizzy.




“I don’t want you to die either, so let’s forget the heart. How about you give me something else instead?”




“Haa… What would that be?”




As Liena’s breathing became increasingly ragged, the man smirked, lightly squeezing her cheek. His crimson lips met hers again. As a hot wave enveloped them, his voice disappeared into her mouth.








The intensity of their kiss grew, and she found herself gripping his arms without realizing it. Everything felt incredibly real, yet her consciousness seemed oddly hazy.




His warm breath filled her lungs, and his saliva trickled down her throat. The rising heat made Liena wriggle her legs.




“Easy… I’ll gift you a pleasant dream. Just close your eyes, and you’ll experience ecstasy.”

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