Chapter 44 – Secrets to the Grave (2)
Nevertheless, Gris was still terrified even when he had already let her go. And when he focused his attention down to her helpless body, she felt a chill running down her spine, freezing her blood.
“There is a reason why I saved you.” He slowly articulated, each word sending an invisible pressure to Gris.
And though he didn’t speak the reason out loud, Gris had a guess in her mind: it was most probably connected to the turbulent relationship between Duke Vianut and Stephan.
Aside from that, she could think of nothing else that would make him save her. Perhaps her presence was needed for his elaborate plan to deal with Stephan while at the same time conveniently taking care of this ‘impostor’ sister of his.
Vianut could divulge the truth that she was nothing but an imposter to the public. Then, to drag Stephan in, he’d leak out news that Stephan had committed sexual misconduct with this ‘fake’ sister of his. And, under that pretense, he would deal with both of them cleanly.
When that speculation crossed her mind, Gris’ vision momentarily darkened. She was vulnerable indeed, but she couldn’t easily let her fragile life be torn like parchment. As such she decided she had to do something.
“I’d like to leave the mansion,” she pleaded earnestly.
She had something she simply had to do outside this mansion. Her dreams were close at hand and the only thing she needed to do was to meet Johannes first. She needed to find out whether Johannes is a follower of her father or one of the members of the Benedict family who survived the rebel army.
If he was either one of those, then she knew he probably had been looking for her for the last 3 years. In that case, she would finally be one step closer to attain it.
Therefore, she couldn’t die. Not like this.
He was the only sliver of hope in her dismal life. She has to exact her revenge even if it costs her life—even if she had to die painfully, she preferred to die under her real name. She wished to die as Gris Benedict; to boldly and rightfully die as herself under the light.
“If you grant me my wish to leave, I will remember your benevolence for the rest of my life. I will also seek to repay it however I could, Your Grace. So, please…”
Even though she knew very well that this cold-hearted man wouldn’t have such mercy in him, hope springs eternal. She couldn’t give up the slightest chance that he might feel charitable at this moment, so she pleaded. Pitiful as it might be with her lying prostate with head flat on the floor, she didn’t mind.
However, at this moment, only a cold smile was visible on the duke’s face.
“Live as a commoner? A penniless person with nothing but her body?”
It didn’t matter how much utter derision he inserted to his words. It didn’t matter how mocking it was. What mattered most to her was whether he would allow her freedom or not. Even partial freedom was fine with her.
She could bear anything. Absolutely anything. Even if she was being crushed, she would bear with it. She would even give up one of her hands if he wanted it. That was how far her desperation went.
“… I merely want to live freely. As long as I can have that, I’ll be content. Even if in the end I’ll have to struggle… that’s fine by me!”
At that, he suddenly burst into laughter as he seemed to find Gris’ wish of being happy while prostrating herself, a funny thing.
“Lift your head.” He intoned, stopping for a brief moment before he continued.
“The reason why you want to live. Make me understand.”
Those words dazzled her for a moment. But soon, she realized she shouldn’t try to understand his train of thought because his words and actions were always different from expectation.
Just like before, even though he was sure she was an imposter, he still gave her a rare puppy. And when he looked at her, he always appeared distant with a cold air as if telling her not to come close. However, despite warding her off with his cold gaze, he asked her to paint his portrait for him.
Moreover, he even invited her to a dinner to give her a last chance to confess. She was truly unable to fathom his thought. Even earlier today, he didn’t hurt at all although he stared at her as if he was ready to kill her.
To tell the truth, the fact that he gave her a chance to live was already beyond her comprehension. After all, he could easily find a way to kill her without a trace if he just racked his brain a bit.
And if she ran away, he would be chasing her to death and grip her neck. He looked very similar with a wolf-dog prowling around its prey, who would only take a step back when she burst into tears.
And though she had once reared a dog like that in the palace before, her dog was an affectionate one…
In any case, she understood there was a reason behind the man’s actions and words. However, she truly couldn’t comprehend it. Then again, her only wish right now was to escape this coffin-like mansion. Thus, she gritted her teeth and gave him a partial answer.
“I need to meet someone right now.”
After that, she lifted her head, looking at him desperately. And although he was plainly looking down at her, he also did something entirely unexpected this time.
“I will find the person for you.” He offered with a smile that sent shivers across her spine.
“But in return, you need to do something for me.