Translator: Adam Seacord
「Layla… What are you…?」
All formality had escaped my mind. The stoic knight Layla ways lying on me, with her face buried into my groin. This much I had expected, but…
「It’s wonderful… I wanted this for so long…」
In contrast to my physical arousal, a corner of my mind was rapidly cooling. Layla’s aroused expression was drastically different from her usual self… But I doubted she was acting of her own volition. Her eyes seemed to be staring off to the distance.
「Please… Take me…」
There were a few different names for this kind of spell, but Layla was definitely being controlled by someone… A pair of Cursing Eyes, no doubt. I thought about shoving her off of me, but my lingering wariness held me back.
「Wha… Okay, wait…」
I pretended to look for something, flustered. Specifically, to give me a chance to observe Layla and our surroundings. I doubted that Gratina’s magic could control the target’s eyesight, judging from her familiar holding an item that served as her Eye when it was chasing Nubia. Still, I wasn’t sure. Was it possible that, just like I could take over one of my monsters, Gratina was taking over Layla’s body?
「You… Won’t…? Have, me…?」
Her voice sounded genuinely lonely. And nervous. I didn’t know how much as acting, or if any of Layla’s free will was left at the moment. Because, I couldn’t do something like this. Keeping my guard up, I looked into Layla’s eyes. Lit by the dim magical light, they were focusing on somewhere else… But very meekly.
「…I, I was… Always watching… So close… To you…」
Something didn’t add up. If Gratina was feeding her lines, she would have made her say something that made more sense. That meant, Gratina wasn’t controlling Layla directly. She was either hypnotized or entranced by Gratina’s Cursing Eyes, set to take effect after a certain amount of time or under certain conditions. I had no way of knowing what those conditions were, but I could only assume that she couldn’t control Layla in detail, like dictating what she says. This was most likely in attempt by Gratina to arouse and make Layla bed me in the middle of the night. Perhaps as an incentive for me, even. However, something was happening that Gratina hadn’t expected.
「Layla… How long, we’re you watching me?」
I hesitated a little before speaking to her. The only magical items in the room were created by me, so, unless an undetectable assassin had sneaked into the room, it was extremely unlikely that anyone but the two of us would hear this conversation. Still, as long as didn’t know how Gratina operated, I had to keep my guard up.
「Since I was little… Since father was alive… Since I first met you… Always…」
A different sensation of a cold pit hit my stomach.
Do I dare ask more?
Layla climbed onto me, kissing my stomach and my chest… How a knight would kiss a lady’s hand.
「We live in different worlds. I’ve always known that… Still, I… Wanted to be close to you… As your sword, your shield… Or even as your whore… I want to see what you see, together…」
Timidly, as if in terror, Layla ran her tongue on my body. While she didn’t have the techniques that the prostitutes had to move her tongue and fingers at the same time in detail, she passionately continued her service.
After considering my options, I reached out to touch Layla’s hair. She was trembling quietly. …I reached out a little farther to pet her head. Perhaps she was relieved that I didn’t reject her. Her tongue became a little more active. As if to catch her breath, she looked up at me from time to time again.
She was confessing her love. I couldn’t tell if she had already said these words to whom she wanted to, or if they had never been utter out loud before. I only knew that I wasn’t the one these words were meant for, and that I shouldn’t be the one hearing this. I doubted Gratina would gain anything from me hearing this, either. While that woman reveled in cruelty, I couldn’t imagine that she would get any enjoyment out of this, nor that this was her intent. I was confident that she didn’t mean for this to happen.
Think. If I as Gratina, how would I get here? How do I entrap someone to control them?
…What did I do when I turned Nem and Nubia into monsters? I used their feelings for each other to my advantage.
Right. I’m not too different from Gratina in what I did. I doubt that Gratina thinks Layla is in love with me. Then Layla… I see. Gratina made a mistake.
「After I had become a criminal’s daughter… After I lost my house and my position, you kept me by your side. I’m not smart, so I can’t see the same future you see, but…」
Layla wasn’t nice to me because she was in love with me. Even if I tooted my own horn and assumed that she had a little bit of a crush on me, I wasn’t the person she felt the strongest about. She was only fair, had a strong sense of moral, kind (perhaps a little too much), and was just treating Daria and I, who had just come to this town with kindness. That was it. …She only truly loved one person.
I guess I couldn’t have blamed Gratina for not understanding that. I didn’t notice how Daria felt, either. Layla substituted her feelings for loyalty as a knight, and tried to hide it… She might have been trying to convince herself that, as a criminal’s daughter, she didn’t have the right to express her feelings.
…All of a sudden, I really wanted to see Olivia. Even though I had just spoken to her through Sara, and I was in no position to do such a thing.
「I’ll be your tool. You don’t have to love me… Ever since you called me by your side when I was a child, I…」
I supposed that this is why Layla and Daria seemed to get along. They were similar, somewhat.
「I love you… I don’t have the right to walk by your side, but I, at least… Want to live as your sword…」
The dim light shone on Layla’s naked body as she sat up above. Her evenly toned body, albeit a tad more muscular than most woman, illustrated a soft curve in her silhouette. Despite Layla’s bush clinging to my waist clearly in heat… She was crying.
Lubreo Lambert… How much do you know about this girl?
I was feeling a strange sense of commonality with an enemy. One who had attempted to kill Olivia, and was now about to take my life into his hands. Then, I imagined that he must have never heard Layla utter these words, which irritated me.
While Layla and I were in embrace, her heart was absent. Lubreo, without even realizing that he had stolen Layla’s heart, marched on only to serve his ambition. I couldn’t help my gut from boiling.
Why him? Why was she so devoted to Lubreo?
In actuality, it was until later that I had realized my jealousy for Lubreo. I doubted that I could make Layla’s heart turn to me. Still, I didn’t want to let her go on like this. I want to steal her, and make her mine.
This is a trap.
Layla was a conscious marionette. Gratina was the puppet master. If Gratina wanted to, she had me dead. Layla was a living trap, and Gratina had the power to lay the same trap to anyone… It was very likely that she had set another trap to Layla as well.
But, Gratina’s workmanship wasn’t flawless. The proof was in her inability to completely control Layla’s heart, which meant that her powers weren’t all-mighty… I thought. Another proof was that she tried to use the Assassin’s Guild to try and kill Olivia instead of doing it herself when the army was sent into the village. Whether it was distance, time, number, accuracy, or something else… As long as she was human, her powers had limits. While Gratina’s Cursing Eyes that affected and controlled the minds of others, and my magic that enchanted people’s bodies were of different natures, and it wasn’t impossible that they our magic would interact with each other.
I knew it was a trap, and I still had to bite. Without Gratina, or Lubreo, or even Layla herself noticing… I was going to make Layla mine.
「Layla… I’m going to steal you away.」
I pulled her close. She didn’t resist, but expressed joy in being accepted. Her eyes weren’t looking at me, and I was watching my enemy lurking behind her.
That’s right. I’m a monster. I’ll devour you to survive. …You will be mine.