I Sought Out the Tragedy’s Scheming Mastermind - Chapter 13
Translator and Editor: nieye
Don’t fall in love with him because he will die soon. That meant Hera planned to kill him soon.
‘Telling me to decide who is the golden path means that Verkley is not the right choice.’
But Eliana knew on whose side to stand.
And it was not Hera’s.
Because the first part of the novel ended with Hera’s disastrous death.
But only Eliana knew this.
And at this moment, Hera was ostensibly superior.
Eliana was still not close enough with Verkley to gain his trust.
‘If I end up in trouble, Verkley won’t save me. Just because we’re stuck together doesn’t mean he’ll reveal his powers.’
So she had to continue on this narrow tightrope.
As Eliana decided, she rose from her seat and knelt at Hera’s feet.
It was sudden, but Hera smiled and asked, “What are you doing?”
“I’ve decided that the Empress Dowager is the golden path.”
Hera glanced down at Eliana with a stronger voice than expected and a satisfied expression.
Eliana was well aware of Hera’s sincerity.
And Eliana would not survive if she sided with Verkley here.
This would all be a waste.
Eliana recalled the situation leading up until she arrived here.
‘Nobody has seen me visit Hera.’
An overly quiet corridor. Only Sophia escorted Eliana to the Main Palace.
Even if anyone saw Eliana, there would be no one to help her against Hera, the current supreme power.
This was all planned, summoning her while Verkley was away.
Hera was testing Eliana.
To see whether she would stand on her side or foolishly say she favored His Majesty.
Hera lifted Eliana’s chin with her manicured nail.
“Verkley seems to like you.”
“He’s just being kind to someone who’s always beside him.”
“Yes. Even if he has a tiny crush, as you say, turn your relationship into a coalition.”
At Hera’s words, Eliana foolishly asked, “…Is that my role?”
“This is just the beginning. You need to dig into Verkley’s mind as soon as possible. Find out who’s secretly helping him.”
“Secretly helping him?”
Hera smirked as Eliana asked back in surprise.
“I believe there’s someone who helps him. I’ve hired a couple of assassins to scare him away, and they disappeared without a trace.”
“Of course, I don’t think it’s a very threatening gesture, given that I’ve left him alone so far, but I like to be sure.”
“Leave it to me, Empress Dowager.”
When Eliana made a determined face, Hera smiled with satisfaction and pulled away.
She seemed to have passed the test.
Hera slowly lifted Eliana, who was still kneeling on the floor.
Then she comforted her with a cool smile.
“I have high expectations for you.”
Hera’s voice pierced her mind.
Yeah, this was the reality.
Eliana felt bitter as she realized she jumped straight into thin ice.
This would be a very difficult novel to survive.
* * *
“Have you returned?”
Eliana welcomed Verkley, who had just come back from his bath.
Thanks to Hera’s amazing timing, Verkley didn’t realize that Eliana had been gone.
Hera advised her to stay by Verkley’s side and not act suspiciously. She’d summon her again soon.
Eliana brushed a hand over her chest.
‘I thought I only had to be careful with Verkley. I can’t believe I overlooked Hera’s capabilities.’
In the novel, Eliana had no detailed description because she played a small villain role.
So Hera knew little about how to use Eliana.
Eliana had only sworn allegiance to Hera with her words.
But… the way she deftly brought up Eliana’s trauma, her father, then treating her as if she were special, but frightening her with warnings, etc.
Every single one of those things bothered her.
The panther was also brought in to scare her.
She tried to terrorize Eliana by bringing out a carnivorous beast, making her fear of being eaten alive.
It was the same thing she did the other day with the cat. How she cruelly snipped off its fur and pulled out its claws.
In the novel, Hera must have manipulated Eliana with her sweet words and subtle tricks to make Eliana solely depend on her.
Eliana had suffered neglect and abuse throughout her childhood.
It would have been easy for Hera to establish herself as a difficult person to disobey just by giving attention and warmth, but also terrifying consequences.
‘Nope, I don’t want to be fooled like Eliana in the novel.’
As Hera said, she already knows who is the golden path.
She did not know the novel’s ending, so the safest bet was Verkley, not Hera because she had more information on him.
It became clearer after this incident.
Hera was the one who could execute Eliana at any time.
If she stood on Hera’s side, she’d be killed by Verkley. If she stood on Verkley’s side, she’d be killed by Hera.
So she had to pretend to be on Hera’s side to reassure her and win Verkley’s trust at the same time.
At least, she had to hold out until Verkley revealed his powers.
Fortunately, Hera’s order gave her justification.
From now on, she was allowed to get closer to Verkley with all her might.
Even if someone questioned or doubted her, she could say that every favor regarding Verkley was under Hera’s orders.
When Verkley entered the bedroom, he reached out blindly, and Eliana took his hand in hers and placed them against her forehead.
He questioned with his cane in one hand. “What were you doing?”
“Ah, I was a little tired, so I was resting.”
Eliana’s face was certainly full of fatigue.
She felt exhausted just by talking to Hera.
But she gave an evasive answer…
Upon hearing that, Verkley suddenly moved her hand away and touched her forehead with his palm alone.
Verkley’s hand was very cold.
It felt like a cool ice bag resting against her forehead. Eliana jumped in surprise at his unfamiliar touch.
Verkley’s face took on a look of concern. “I guess your life at the palace has not been easy.”
“N-No, I just couldn’t sleep well last night…”
“I think you have a slight fever.”
Verkley leaned his cane against the wall and positioned his forehead against the back of his hand.
He was trying to compare the temperature between him and Eliana.
It was awkward to see him so worried even though she couldn’t have a fever.
But the feeling of his cool hand touching her forehead wasn’t bad.
“Your hand is cold.”
“And your forehead is hot.” The corners of Verkley’s mouth spread into a smile.
Even though he was staring at her with an unfocused gaze, his eyes were still intense.
How could she stand on Verkley’s side?
Eliana stared at him.
Verkley had a major target on his back.
First, Eliana had been sent to him by Hera.
And then the assassins Hera ordered. Eliana had no clue when he’d turn his back on her.
That was what Eliana Mussieux meant to Verkley.
So she had to make sure he didn’t doubt which side she was on.
Because the day he doubted her, she would die quietly.
‘At least show him you’re on his side.’
Eliana decided and reached up toward her forehead, taking his hand in hers.
“Your Majesty, I actually lied to you.”
“I wasn’t resting. I went to see the Empress Dowager.”
The words “Empress Dowager” made his lips press into a straight line.
Eliana noticed his subtle changes, even if he tried his best to hide them.
Eliana didn’t want to buy into his suspicions by lying to him for no reason.
As a person who read the novel, she wanted to try her best to avoid being killed by Verkley.
She had already died unjustly in her previous life.
She remembered being played by her sunbae, who also played the underclassmen like his own chess pieces.
She never intended to be someone’s chess piece again.
That said, she would not recklessly confront a person who could hold something over her head.
She will hold her breath and pretend to be a chess piece until she blocks the master’s move at the most decisive moment.
To defeat a master, you must be smart enough to lead them into the wrong move.
It would end up being the best match and worth all the exhaustion.
She had no intention of dying like in the novel, nor did she want to be dragged around by those two.
She would be the one leading this match, pretending to let herself be dragged around.
‘I decide how I lead my life. I won’t let anyone take over for me.’
“She must’ve wanted to see how you were doing.”
Verkley regained his composure and replied with a faint smile on his lips.
On the outside, Hera and Verkley had no problems with each other, so it was a polite remark.
Eliana nodded lightly, not correcting him.
She’d reveal too many cards if she told him she was ordered to seduce him.
They weren’t in a relationship where she could disclose anything right now. She needed to pull some strings first.
Because to Hera, Eliana was useful, but not to Verkley.
And honestly, since the count’s daughter had no control over her powers, she wouldn’t be able to charm him.
First, it was necessary to inform him little by little to avoid danger. Just so that he knows she’s not on Hera’s side.
Hera claims Eliana is on her side, but she had reason to follow her.
Hera was using Eliana anyway. She was merely returning the favor.
With Eliana’s help, Verkley climbed into bed and implicitly asked…
T/N: Hello! I’m nieye, the translator/editor for this novel. If you’d like to support me, head over to my Ko-fi (っ˘ω˘ς ). Thank you for the love <33