Chapter 259: The Lantern’s Light
“…I’ll kill anyone who looks at me and despises me. I’ll make them regret.”
When was the first time she came to think of such thought? Philos Trait couldn’t remember that well.
It may have been the time when her brother-in-law stared at her with lustful eyes, the time when she was adopted into the Trait family.
No, maybe she thought about it before, even if she did not say it in words.
What lay deep in the memory of Philos Trait were the eyes. Many eyes had been staring at her since she could remember. Yes, she had been exposed to such eyes all the time.
Those were strange eyes, insulting eyes and lustful eyes. Philos Trait remembered all of them as if they were entities themselves.
“That’s right, because the eyes that stare at me have hidden colors that look like they underestimate me.” Philos Trait started to hate them from a young age.
So, she decided. She wouldn’t let anyone look down at her or despise her anymore. “If there is such a person, I will strangle him with this hand. I swear to my heart.”
Then, Philos Trait asked herself, remembering the numbing pain in her cheeks.
“How should I deal with these citizens who are looking down on me right now? Can I strangle my beloved citizens?”
What Philos Trait felt was a shock. Then, a dull sound rang in the back of her skull. The sound resonated in her ears, and the bright sparkles fell in front of her. When these phenomena began to become familiar to the body, the pain finally reached Philos Trait’s spine, strongly.
She bit her back teeth. Then, she closed her eyelids and hardened her body to endure the pain. Perhaps, her skin was being torn with an iron rod. She felt as if the flesh on her back had been scraped off.
The feel was too bitter. Did it hurt? That word was not enough to describe the suffering. She was able to shrink her body and finally endure it while shedding agonizing tears.
A voice echoed next to her. It was a terribly dirty word. She didn’t know the face of this citizen, but he probably knew her well. While swearing, she heard that voice screaming at her.
Again, there was the sound of something cutting the wind. Philos Trait prepared for the impact, strengthening her body muscles.
This time she was hit on her thigh. It really had the power to break the bones. Her legs bounced as if her senses had been lost, and her flesh was burning hot.
Reason was about to be blown away from Philos Trait’s mind because of the unbearable pain. She almost hated this citizen involuntarily.
“But that’s no good. It’s impossible.”
She clenched her teeth. Philos Trait almost broke her jaw. “I am a ruler. I am the ruler of Philos. I should not be angry nor hate the citizens. Didn’t I decide that I will love the citizens more than anyone? Didn’t I decide to make this city more prosperous than any other city?”
“No matter how much I am hit with iron, ridiculed, or trampled, I must not hate the citizens.”
Of course, those citizens didn’t know about Philos Trait’s feelings. The man wielding the stick swung down the weapon, saying the following words.
「Die with regret, enemy of the citizens! 」
Iron hit the girl’s body again. In the dungeon, where even the moonlight could not enter, the thin light of a lantern stroked her cheek.
“I can’t see anything anymore.” Only darkness covered Philos Tray’s view.
Philos Trait heard the sound of something breaking through the hollow. After a few moments, a new bitter shock would hit her again. Therefore, she hardened her body and got ready for the impact. The slight sway of darkness was reflected at the edge of her field of vision.
…However, it was not the sound of beating, but the sound of tearing the flesh apart. Such sound stuck to her ears and echoed in the dungeon.
The pain never came. It was strange. After hearing the sound, there was always pain.
“I wonder if he’s going to hit me at the moment when I’m slightly relaxed in order to cry out.” Thinking so, Philos Trait opened her eyes while keeping her body stiff. As usual, it was the night itself, except for the small amount of light that the lantern illuminated. The surroundings were no longer dark, but they looked as if they were painted with black paint.
A voice echoed from there. One was moaning and the other was…
「This place looks filthy. 」
Philos Trait heard a voice somewhere in there. It had a rough tone.
「But, who am I to say such thing? I’m not a good person too. No one would bother to point to the mud and say it’s filthy. 」
“I heard the sound of something collapsing. My visibility remains poor, but the darkness is spreading in front of me in the form of a silhouette. I see something that looks like eyes. Those eyes are sharp like blades and even have a sword-like color embedded in them.”
There was only one person with such eyes in Philos Trait’s memory. She slowly opened her lips, trying to push aside the blood clot at the back of her throat. She felt this way for the first time in a long time. What came out of her throat was a rather blurry voice, but somehow, she managed to utter some words.
「…I wonder what you came here to do. 」
She didn’t ask how he came here or how he found out that she was captured. Those questions didn’t really matter to Philos Trait.
She only wondered why a person like him came to such a place.
He, the Lord of Vice, Lugis, spoke, intensifying the lantern’s light. Philos Trait could see his eyes narrowing slightly.
「What are you talking about? If an ally is in prison, I’ll be the one to open the key first. You don’t need to feel indebted, because this is the normal thing to do.」
Lugis said as if it were nothing special. In spite of those light words, Philos Trait blinked her eyelids repeatedly. There was a numbing pain lingering in her spine.
“Out of all things, he ended up choosing those kinds of words.”
“In other words, although this man has another main purpose, he was able to help me by chance, so he reached out at a whim, is that what he wants to say?”
A dry laugh almost began to emerge, but Philos Trait distorted her expression. That alone brought a lot of pain to her body. Yet, she couldn’t help but laugh.
“Ah, he ridiculed me too. After being cursed and struck by the people that I love and want to protect, this hateful enemy showed up on a whim. What a dwarf and despised existence he makes me feel. If that is the case, it is understandable that my citizens will despise me this much. How ironic and amusing this is.”
“Well, even if I can understand it, I can’t accept it.” With a little bit of power left in her quivering voice, Philos Trait professed the following words.
「…Even in this lowly state, I am still the ruler of the city of Philos. I am Philos Trait. I will not beg to receive mercy.」
Philos Trait continued with her words. Her body crawled on the ground even amid extreme pain and, somehow, managed to raise her face. It was as if she was recreating a scene from a battlefield.
The lantern’s light increased its power.
「I don’t want to live after being abandoned by the citizens nor after receiving mercy from the enemy. I won’t expose myself to such injustice…Kill me here. I’m not on your side.」
Philos Trait stared at the eyes floating in the darkness and glared intensively at them. The light of the small lantern illuminated her cheeks as if she radiated light herself.
Philos Trait sure is a strong and righteous woman. What will Lugis do after hearing her pledge?
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