Senelia guessed that the second option was probably Cliff’s desire.
“Act friendly towards Lucalina Elihan.”
Cliff replied as if waiting for a reaction.
His reply was unexpected.
Senelia reflexively questioned his words as if she was unable to comprehend.
But Cliff de Helios, as always, ordered in his own unique manner.
“Act close with Lucalina Elihan and watch Elihan from your side.”
A strange smile played on the emperor’s lips.
Strange enough that goosebumps caused a chill down Senelia’s spine.
“That’s it …Nothing else”
Senelia instinctively knew that it couldn’t possibly be that simple.
She sensed that he planned for more than just surveillance.
As if to prove her inner voice right, Cliff replied, Senelia’s body trembled subconsciously.
“Of course not.”
Between the two of them, Cliff was the only one at ease.
I have an ominous feeling.
Senelia pressed her quivering lips together, holding them closed.
As a result, the fishy taste of blood seeped into her mouth, clearly, she had once again raptured the wound on her lower lip.
Cliff had always given her orders that surpassed her imagination.
She could never even ask a question because she was terrified as to what his answer would be.
Of course, Cliff did not care about her reaction, but he did say something that was entirely out of the ordinary.
“If you watch her closely,” he said, “and if Elihan shows any signs of colluding with Benelucia, kill Lucalina Elihan.”
Senelia’s body threatened to topple over as she swayed.
She sat down.
Pretending to be okay in front of the emperor was one of the furthest thoughts in her mind.
“You want me to… want me to… You want me to…”
Senelia stuttered over and over again, as if she knew only those few words.
Hurriedly, she covered her mouth and bowed her head.
All to desperately endure the disgust rising from within.
She refused to believe what Cliff was ordering her to complete.
Just thinking about it made her stomach turn.
Her head began to spin.
How can you be so weak”
Cliff clicked her tongue at her openly.
It was an unfair treatment on his part.
Unless I was a knight, what would be the point of getting blood on my hands when this country had laws pertaining to murdering
Even if the person standing in front of him was not Senelia, they too would find murder hard to imagine.
And by the way, I am a person who previously lived in the modern world, in a country far from war.
Cliff’s order was not something easily comprehended.
He looked down at her.
He appeared as peaceful as a man who never ordered the death of another human being.
“Then are you going to die”
The emperor looked down at Senelia and watched her with a smirk.
It was a weakness that was common.
Not being able to kill someone on another’s behalf, but at the same time, not being able to sacrifice on behalf of someone else.
I am aware of the fact that it is difficult for an ordinary young lady, such as yourself, to kill Lucalina Elihan.”
Cliff threw an object before Senelia.
As if awoken by the sound, she turned her stiff, motionless head to look in front of her and saw a ring.
It looked normal at a first glance.
“Turning the jewel releases the blade.
The poison is unknown to anyone outside of the existing imperial family, so there’s no need to worry about getting caught.”
Cliff’s words hinted that she should become closer to Lucalina and use that trust to scratch her with the tip of the ring’s blade.
It was a perfect example of how the emperor uses people thoroughly as his tools.
The more he spoke, the more Senelia’s expression gradually died.
No, Senelia felt like it was she who was slowly dying.
Just as she had for the past eight years.
“…If the Marquis finds out about this, I will not survive… No, my family! …”
Senelia tried to say more, but only stutters left her opened mouth.
Her face twisted.
“Just like a soldier, she will get sick and then die, so you don’t need to be concerned.
Well, that is, if you don’t get caught.”
He lowered himself, and drew closer to Senelia.
Grabbing her hand, he reached out to the ring she had still not taken.
He picked it up and left it on her palm.
“But given your position, who would dare to say anything if you’re caught.”
Cliff face, which was shrouded in light, shone brightly.
As the main villain of the novel, he was a very handsome man.
But the appearance similar to a god of beauty, to Senelia, looked more like a god of death.
None of Cliff’s words assured her.
She didn’t want to hear them.
The knowledge of her future death penetrated deeply into Senelia’s mind.
“Why are you sorry”
Lucalina gaze was bewildered.
As if she could not fantom the reason for Benelucia’s sudden words.
The person who she had not seen for the past ten years showed her a distorted expression rather than a happy one.
“If it is because of His Majesty the Emperor’s order for me to fight, it’s not your fault.
So, you do not have to apologize, Ben.”
Lucalina told Benelucia as if to appease him.
Benelucia felt the more she spoke, the harder it was for him to raise his head.
At the age of 15, Benelucia had left to war.
After that, for a total of six years, Lucalina confronted the emperor and was then eventually driven out to take part in the battlefield.
When the war came to an end, she was sent out in preparation to take the place of soon-to-return man.
For that reason, Lucalina had been on the battlefield for eleven years.
So, how could Benelucia tell Lucalina that his ‘I’m sorry’ really meant that ‘I don’t love you’.
I’m sorry… I’m sorry, Luna.
I think I’ll just leave now.
I’m so sorry.”
In the end, Benelucia escaped from the Marquis of Elihan as if he was running away.
There is no way I can stand there and do anything.
When he returned to his estate, he unknowingly headed straight to Senelia’s room.
The room where she once lived when in his Duchy.
A rush of guilt weighed down on the duke, but nonetheless, he did not turn to leave the room.
“It’s really the same.”
Benelucia glanced around the room and muttered to himself in despair.
Senelia had stayed by his side for a year, then spent another year with him during the nights.
During that time, she had never stayed in the Grand Duchy for longer than he needed her.
Then after that time, that room had become hers to live in for the next six years.
But even without that person, the room remained the same.
Seriously, Senelia had left with nothing.
She had been his shield, a lover that was used to completely block out any rumors of marriage that came Benelucia’s way for six years.
“I think it’s time we stop.”
“Yes, Grand Duke.”
This was the third time the two had parted.
However, this was the first time he was not the one who ended it.
Senelia had become accustomed to parting.
It was Benelucia each time who did not conform.
There was no special reason when the two became lovers again.
Benelucia had sent an invitation to a party to Senelia, requesting her to attend as his partner.
Once she accepted it, they affirmed their relationship just as easily as when they broke up.
But not every time ended with the reaction Benelucia wanted.
Why did I ask Sally to break up with me in the first place
Benelucia thought back blankly.
When was our first breakup
Ten years ago, Benelucia returned to the capital after a long-fought war at the orders of Cliff de Helios.
But even after that, he would still occasionally return to the battlefield.
This due to the appearances of monsters, and many people aiming for larger pieces of land within the empire.
So, while residing in the capital, Benelucia would remain faithful to his lover.
But once he left the capital, he cared only for his duties.
It was the same pattern for his lovers during the two years before meeting Senelia.
Though, Benelucia seemed to care a tad bit more for Senelia than he did for them.
“If you need anything, ask the maid or the butler.”
Before leaving for the battlefield, he would always remind her of that.
Of course, even when the housemaid and butler asked if she needed anything, Senelia would always give a negative answer.
Three years back, there had been a day when Senelia, who had always wanted nothing, had sought out the duke before he left the residence.
“Your Majesty, I have something to tell you.”
It was a rare day when Senelia had caught Benelucia, who was in the middle of getting ready to leave for battle.
Looking back, he had probably had a few small expectations at that time.
“What Tell me, Sally.”
Benelucia, who was getting dressed, faced her immediately and asked.
They had been lovers for three years by then, but they had known one another for five.
During that time, Senelia had never expressed her likes, dislikes, or anything else for that matter.
So, Benelucia had been curious about what she could have said.
If you ask me to stay with you instead of leaving for battle… I think it would be alright to disobey the emperor’s orders, just this once.
“I would like to go to my home.”
Of course, although Benelucia had high expectations, Senelia didn’t ask for anything from him.
“…Is that all”
Benelucia asked, unknowingly disappointed.
Senelia was neither his wife, nor his property.
So, there was really no reason for her to tell him about where she wanted to go.
It would be even worse should Benelucia disagreed.
“…Yes, I think I will stay there for a while.
It has been quite some time since I last returned to the Daphnen’s estate.”
Perhaps Benelucia, influenced by his momentary emotions, should have criticized himself for his selfishness for missing the brief silence before Senelia’s answer.
“Then let us use the warp gate.”
“No, My Lord.
But Benelucia did not.