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Chapter 36: Choices
“My past is exactly what everyone at the Shrine believes it to be.”
He carefully ran his brush along the rim of my eyelids.
I kept my eyes closed as he drew a beautiful design from the corner of my eyes to my cheeks, using the indigo jagua ink with gold dust mixed in.
“I don’t remember the face of my mother who sold me when I was five. But I do remember the person I had my first time with. Because of this needlessly good-looking face and pale body, men always got on top of me, spread my legs wide open and thrust their dirty penis inside. That was why I was allowed to live.”
Malacia placed the slender brush down. Prompted, I slowly opened my eyes.
A transparent butterfly, flapping its wings out of my jade eyes, gracefully flew into the mirror.
“But Lord Anderheim, there is one thing that everyone is still mistaken about.”
This time, it was I who grabbed the brush and drew the motif of a sacred lotus in between his eyebrows, as Malacia gently closed his scarlet eyes. It was a pure flower that bloomed amidst the mud. The sacred lotus represented ‘Purity’, ‘Sanctity’, ‘Calm’, and finally, ‘Chastity’.
“I don’t particularly ‘hate’ the deed itself. I don’t have a body that can sleep with women, and am feeble. Although I may be such, I am nevertheless a man, and won’t get pregnant. The men who felt excitement sleeping with me, being like this, were indeed pitifully comical. I’m very good at faking that orgasms”
“Everyone said that my early life was pitiful. I was fucked by men, without ever having my first ejaculation. Just as I got used to my reality, next, it was my body being tampered with, as I became a plaything for the nobles. Where was my happiness, my peace? Don’t you think it was none of their business? “
He expected me to chime in agreement, but I could do nothing but shrug.
“Can you not tell this to Lutora? He might cry.”
“I won’t. I am reflecting on my sleeping around already being bad enough as it is.”
“Oh? You don’t want to be eaten by him in the end?”
Despite appearances, Lutora was a person with considerable influence amongst the knights. In addition, he was born in a distinguished family, and his father was the present Knight Commander. If the one he showed favour to were, say, the daughter of a nobleman, she would happily offer her body, and have sexual relations with him.
“I wonder what to do. I don’t like my lover being a child after all. Looking at the Knight Commander and Sigurd, you can see that the Oswein family has some strong attachment. Being restrained doesn’t suit my personality.”
“Sigh…You have to give that show of courage no matter what, don’t you?”
He expressed, not realising that in itself was “Special Treatment”. I laughed in my heart at his ignorance. Done painting the lotus, I placed the brush down on the table.
I twirled his white hair with my fingers. Bringing my face close to Malacia, who thinly opened his eyes, I lightly sucked on his lips.
He had a look of surprise on realising that I had come closer. I felt pleased. Meeting his lips with mine a second time, I pushed my tongue inside, through the slightly parted lips that seemed to usher me in. Malacia’s saliva, that I tasted for the first time, tasted wildly different from Jolga’s. As I finally released Malacia’s head after savouring his soft lips and warm mouth for a long time, he eyed me with a look of suspicion.
“Is that you showing me affection or something? “
“Don’t kid around…that’s nothing but a quick parting gift. Depending on what that(Jolga) chooses, I might not return.”
“Even if I were killed by Jolga, it shouldn’t affect you or Julieta. Once the heat dies down, you can escape to another country. I would recommend our neighbour to the south. As for Julieta, Sigurd will protect her.
Taking off the clothes I wore, I took in hand another set of clothes prepared beforehand.
On top of a sleeveless upper garment, I wore a silk shawl large enough to cover my whole body. I wore harem pants that had a slit near my butthole and a hip scarf with a fringe.1 The instep that I wore the Panja anklet on was still red, freshly scarred with the traces of the Oswein family’s branding iron. As expected, this was the result of the skills I had learned in my past life. I had created scar makeup in my past life using wood glue and paint. As I did not have them now, I substituted them with starch and animal glue. It turned out much better than expected. It was something you couldn’t discern as being fake at a glance.
I had prepared it by myself, but still… when I thought about how I would die in this skimpy Raqs Sharki, a Belly Dance dress, I despised it a little.
Today was the day [The Light of the Spirits] would be held.
Sigurd and Julieta were already hiding in the Oswein Mansion close to the royal palace, waiting for the moment the Crown Prince and Nasha went to watch the circus.
I had already reserved a seat in the gallery for the night’s performance in the main tent stage. I had planned for Jolga and me to be hidden by a thin curtain, and observe the Crown Prince and Nasha from there. Well, my real aim was what would happen after the main performance, but might as well enjoy from the beginning.
Before I left for the circus tents, I borrowed Malacia’s hand, dressing up like a favoured concubine preferred by nobility, waiting upon them. Just for tonight, I could not let the others find out that the one escorted by Jolga is the former Prime Minister, Anderheim Yucht Asbal. Listening to Malacia, there seemed to be many nobles who liked to dress in this manner, regardless of gender. No matter what the time or place, men’s tastes do not change much, do they? I confirmed by looking at the mirror. Seeing how I looked now, I didn’t think anyone could figure out that I was Anderheim. It was a good guise even if I say so myself.
Wearing a dark justeaucorps and a long gilet, Jolga, who visited the mansion, seemed like the very figure of a nobleman on his day off. But I modified his hair and dress a little. I deliberately ruffled up his neat hair, making the black hair tinged with red to fall his forehead and ears, making it seem messy on purpose. The blouse had a few frills, but was lustrous, the cloth closely following the contours of his muscles. I changed the gilet into something comparatively shorter, that barely reached the waist.
With just that, Jolga’s outward appearance as he wore a sword on his waist, seemed to be tinged with a never seen before air of roughness. He was celebrated as a dashing man to begin with. But he now seemed like someone wealthy leisured madames would cling to.
I wrapped the shawl around my head.
With a sacred lotus drawn on his forehead, Malacia seemed unchanged from his usual demeanour of a priest. He quietly muttered.
“I still do not understand. Why did someone of your calibre come so far, only to entrust your fate to the likes of the Knight Commander?”
What Malacia wanted to say was that I could easily manipulate the Knight Commander to my whims if I wished to, yet I did not.
Malacia had followed me quite closely these past four months.
He acted like my hands and feet, discerning what I wanted before I even said it out loud, and then taking actions to fulfil my wishes. He had been of considerable help.
Even that Malacia found it difficult to understand my actions. But what I wanted from Jolga was neither subordination nor compulsion.
I simply curled up the corners of my lips, laughing at the question he threw at me.
“Malacia, remember. Choices, you see, are a curse.”
I fear this will be the last trap I set.
If I win this gamble, I could them move the pawns at will, automatically cornering my opponents.
In the rare chance that I failed, they would still be unable to stop the tides that had already been set into motion.
The world was a stage, and this simply meant I would be leaving it.
“I received a curse from the choice Jolga made. I fear I cannot be freed from it for a lifetime. Yet, I need Jolga’s help in fulfilling my purpose. For that sake, I will let him use my body as much as he wishes.”
“It sure is difficult.”
“Is that so? I think it is quite simple. Perhaps that puppy will teach you the answer.”
“No way…that’s definitely not going to happen.”
This time, it was Malacia’s chance to shrug.
In the meanwhile, Thomas knocked on the door of the room where Malacia and I were changing our clothes.
It seemed like the carriage had come for us.
“Malacia, you’re going to visit the circus with the children first, am I right? “
“Yeah, I received an invitation from the leader of the troupe. I’m sure it is the suggestion of that fellow who’s escorting me to the circus.
“He’s greedy for you as always. He has quite the tenacity.”
“He paid for it, so I don’t mind. I’d only hate it if I were taken out of the country.”
“Well, it should be nice to meet the [Shrine-Raised] after a long time. I’ll see you later then.”
I said my goodbyes to Malacia and went to Jolga who had already gotten ready and was waiting in the reception room.
On seeing me, Jolga’s jaw seemed to have dropped as he sat on the sofa. As I snuggled up to him, he quickly regained his bearings and came closer, intending to tear off my shawl. Realising his intentions, I pinched the tip of his nose hard.
“Are you an idiot? Don’t forget the goal, our goal. Just for whose sake did I dress up like this you think?”
“…To entertain me”
“Screw you, bastard.”
I slapped away the hand that came close. Jolga seemed especially pleased by the fake brand stuck on my instep. As he caressed it, he made an expression of great delight. Caving in to his demands, I was carried in Jolga’s arms into the carriage in the end.
As the carriage came close to the main tent of the circus, a knight riding a horse caught up to the carriage and reported through the window— “The Crown Prince and Lady Nasha have left the castle.”
Nodding at my words, Jolga squeezed my hand as if to placate me.
As I gripped his hand tightly in return, I looked up at the gigantic circus tent, covered in red and white stripes.
Well then, let us raise the curtains.
The act that decides Jolga and my fate begins now.
Hasr11: Sorry for the late update, really hard to edit your own translations. I desperately need more editors…
Feel free to give the test a shot. Who knows, you might have what it takes to be an editor and get free spoilers.
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