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[Ayuseya’s point of view]
When Illsy went to heal Tamara and Shanteya, I pulled Nanya with me and walked outside of the house.
“Hey?! What’s this about?” she asked and furrowed her brow.
I took a deep breath and said “Nanya, I want to talk to you about Illsy.”
“What about him?” she asked raising an eyebrow.
It was a bit hard to say, especially since I had no idea how she would react, but after what happened today, after seeing him like that, I knew I couldn’t just keep this a secret from her.
“Did he seem a bit… strange to you?” I asked her.
“Strange? Hm…” she crossed her arms at her chest and closed her eyes for a moment. “Yes, he did… Especially when he was beating up Prince Reynolds. That smile on his face was a bit creepy and frightening. I knew he wouldn’t do anything to harm us, but seeing him like that felt like I was looking at another person.” she said and then opened her eyes “You also found this change in him a bit strange, right?”
I nodded silently.
“Do you know anything about this? About why he acted like that?” she asked me.
I nodded again.
Nanya’s face turned serious.
I let out another sigh.
“When he extended his Dungeon Territory back at Tannaor’s Inn, I felt a strange change in it, a violent, evil change… At first, I thought I was simply imagining it, but then he killed those soldiers, and it felt like the bloodshed made his Dungeon Territory rejoice. Then I saw him smiling whenever we killed someone.” I looked into her eyes.
“I too noticed this change you speak off, but maybe that’s just his anger? He was quite furious about what happened to Shanteya and Tamara. As for his smile, I guess you saw it too, didn’t you?”
“Yes, but I don’t think his anger was the cause of it.” I shook my head.
“Then what could it have been? I don’t understand…” she furrowed her brow.
“Back when I had my first night with Illsy, he told me something.” I gulped.
“What did he tell you?” she asked.
“He told me there’s a Darkness inside of him.”
“A Darkness? You mean like a bad side? An evil side?” she asked confused.
“No, I apologize, let me rephrase that. I’ll start from the beginning.” I took a deep breath “When Tuberculus made his body, parts of the minds of the former Dungeons remained inside those crystal pieces. When he was born, those pieces became something he came to call as the Darkness. It’s like another mind inside his mind, but this one tells him to act like a Dungeon, to kill adventurers, build traps, not show his emotions towards us, and other things.” I explained the best I could.
“I never heard of something like this… But then again, I never heard of someone creating a Dungeon like Tuberculus did. So you are saying that this… Darkness is capable of controlling him somehow?” she asked, but even she found it hard to believe.
Unlike Illsy expected, Nanya appeared to be rather calm, or at least for now.
“Me neither, but it’s true… You saw Illsy yourself, the way he acted, the things he did, the things he said… Those weren’t like him. Without the influence of the Darkness, I don’t think he would have killed so many innocent people.” I shook my head, firmly believing that my husband wasn’t like Dankyun, someone who enjoyed taking the lives of others.
“No, I suppose not, but…” she scratched her head “How can it control him?”
“I don’t know…” I shook my head. “Maybe when he’s asleep or when he’s in a weak mental state. Either way, we saw clearly today that this Darkness is trying to take over him. The curse was probably done by it, but when Illsy was about to kill the prince, he jumped back. He didn’t want to do it, he didn’t want to kill him.” I said.
“Yes, if anyone should do it, that should be Shanteya or Tamara, but I don’t know if I could allow myself to let the nekatar kill him.” she sighed.
“Even then, I don’t think it would have been right. Even the lives I took or Illsy took with his weapon, maybe we could have found a way around it… When I remember the faces of those men I cut down. When I think about the fact that if I was just a little more skilled, I could have just knocked them out, or… I could have avoided it… I could have…” I was starting to panic.
My heart was beating fast, my hands were shaking, and my eyes were teary. I felt like screaming, but Nanya grabbed my hands and looked into my eyes.
“Stop it, Ayuseya! It’s not your fault, nor Illsy’s! You did what you could at that time. There were some who survived, the others were simply unlucky. It wasn’t like you had a choice. True, if you were more skilled than you are now, then you could have avoided killing them…” she looked down. “But trust me, it’s not fun to beat yourself with guilt after you already did it. The strong will always have a choice of either saving or killing… The weak usually kill because they have no choice, but the strong are not so privileged. My mother told me this, and at first, I didn’t believe her, but as I grew up and got stronger, I understood what she meant by that…” she let out a sigh.
“But still… I killed…” I said as I fell on my knees.
“No, you defended yourself.” she told me shaking her head.
I wanted to cry, and I was still trembling.
“W-What about Illsy?” I asked.
“Illsy made his choice by not killing the prince. Showing him and everyone else there that he was so powerful he wasn’t afraid of them retaliating. Another way of looking at it would be to believe that Illsy showed him to be so powerful that he wasn’t willing to sully his hands with his blood even after what he did to Shanteya and Tamara.” she smiled.
I looked down and wiped off my tears.
“What now?” I asked.
“Now, we move on and keep an eye on Illsy. Let’s pretend like you never told me this, so neither him nor the Darkness keeps an eye on me. This way, I’ll be able to do a bit of research on my own.” she nodded.
“Research?” I asked a bit confused.
“Yes, I’ll see if there’s any mentioning of two minds in the same body in the documents in the next library we come across.” she smiled.
“I see. I guess, this Darkness does explain why his Inner Mind is like that. It’s like standing in a pitch black abyss.” I let out a sigh.
“Wait, what?!” Nanya grabbed my shoulder and looked at me with a furrowed brow.
“Erm… His Inner Mind is very dark, but Illsy himself is like a bright shinning sun in there.” I didn’t see why this was so surprising to Nanya.
“That can’t be… Every Dungeon in existence has a clear, light colored Inner Mind, no matter how evil they may be. Mine is a light-yellow, so Illsy’s supposed to be light-green. Why is it pitch black? If this is true… then the Darkness could have a bigger hold on him than we have initially presumed, but… You said he was bright like a sun, right?” she asked.
“Then this Darkness doesn’t have complete hold on him. As long as he realizes this, he might still have a chance, but… if we tell this to him directly, then the Darkness could intervene and keep our words from reaching him. ARGH! I can’t figure out how deep rooted is that thing’s control over my husband!” Nanya scratched her head in exasperation.
She was starting to lose me, but if I understood correctly, then the very fact that Illsy’s body in his Inner Mind wasn’t under the control of the Darkness meant that he wasn’t 100% controlled by it yet. Because of the way his Inner Mind looked like, the Darkness may have had more control over his body than even he came to realize.
“What do we do then?” I asked.
Nanya looked at me and then let out a sigh.
“First, we get you back on your feet and wipe off your tears. You look like a mess!” she smiled and patted me on the head “Then, I’ll try and think of something. Either way, this is completely unheard off… at least to me. MOU! Stupid Illsy!” she cried out.
With the way things were going, I could only hope and pray that we would find something with which to help Illsy before the Darkness took over him completely. At the same time, I hoped it would never catch wind of our little plot and attempt to take Illsy away from us or do something to us.
“Nanya? What happens when a Dungeon doesn’t like the wife he picked?” I asked.
“The Dungeon will most likely kill the wife and find another, why?” Nanya asked.
I gulped and said “Well then, I hope the Darkness won’t think about replacing us if it finds out we are plotting against it…” I smiled a bit awkwardly.
“Let’s hope so…” Nanya sighed.
[Shanteya’s point of view]
I woke up in a comfortable bed in a warm room. Although I didn’t recognize where I was, the energy of this place felt somehow familiar. Through the small window to my right, I could see an endless forest and the light of the sun as it shined through.
Tamara was here as well, sleeping soundly in the other bed. She was curled up in a ball and covered by her blanket, letting only her little nose pop out from under it. Looking at her brought a small smile on my lips, but my heart felt empty.
I pushed myself up and took a sitting position. On the wall in front of me was a small note written in Shorayan. It was from Illsy. He came and saved us.
“I knew Master wouldn’t forsake us…” I thought and closed my eyes for a moment.
When I opened them again, I found myself crying. I couldn’t stop from shedding tears, but I tried my best to keep my whimpers as low as possible.
What’s happening? Why am I crying like this? I asked myself as I tried to stop, to keep up the appearance of a flawless woman, but even my jaw was trembling.
I was afraid of something, but I had no idea what until I cast my eyes upon the note again.
Master… no… Illsy… I love Illsy, but… I’m not… I thought, but the words didn’t form in my mind.
The fear of the truth kept me from accepting it. Even now, when I should have been thankful to him for saving me, for doing so much for me, I found myself wanting more from him.
I’m disgusting… I thought and clenched the sheets of the bed while my tears rolled down my shivering jaw.
It was hard to keep my whimpers in, but I did my best.
After I calmed down a bit, I was looking at the note and asking myself what else could I do.
Illsy had two wives, and I was just there as a mere slave. I should have realized by now that the only reason I wanted to stay as his slave was because I loved him and knew that my relationship with Illsy couldn’t grow past this. I wanted more, more than I was allowed to. I was acting like a shameless woman who after tasting a piece of a delicious cake, she wanted to have it all.
Even now, as I stood in this room crying by myself, Illsy was in the other room together with his true wives. He slept with them, cared for them. He became a man with them, but with me, who from the start offered herself to him… with me, he barely kissed and hugged. At best, I was a friend, not a wife or even… a lover.
“I’m a fool… a shameless fool.” I thought as I wiped off my tears.
Illsy wanted to set me free, but out of fear of losing him, I kept refusing this opportunity. I couldn’t let go of him, I couldn’t let go of the only thing connecting me with him. Even this [Bond of Trust] was merely a decoration, seeing how quickly even Tamara obtained it.
Did being kidnapped by the prince brought me to this state? No… It was me waking up in this room alone, without him by my side, what made me realize the truth of my own selfishness. Illsy was there with his two wives, instead of being here with me… He didn’t even keep me in the same room as him.
Why couldn’t he sleep by my side? If he did, then… I tried not to think, to stop thinking actually.
I just made matters worse, so I slipped back into bed, holding the tears in and the cry to a minimum.
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