Chapter Twenty Five: The Wolf and the Sheep
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「 Back to the present 」

“Jade, keep yourself hidden and don’t make a sound,” Ophelia affirms right before covering her body under the pale bed sheets.

The day had passed in a blink and now darkness roamed the land, carrying its deadly whispers around. Jade was standing in the corner of the room, blending in with its shadows while observing everything from afar. 

‘Gilbert... I wonder what face you will show me...’ she couldn’t help but to feel an anxious feeling grow within her. She couldn’t wait to see that man turn into shreds, begging for mercy while his soul succumbed to despair. 

 

Several hours pass and, as the moonlight shun brightly, the sound of a doorknob turning echoes in the room. Ophelia’s heartbeat increases rapidly, she was feeling the adrenaline rushing in her veins. Suddenly a creaking sound is heard as he steps on a piece of the wooden floor. Everything became silent. 

“Found you... Whore...” Gilbert whispers from the end of the bed. Ophelia remained with her eyes closed but she was scared that her beating heart would be heard and all the fun would be spoiled. Then, she feels a heavyweight being created on the bed. He was on top of her.

The assassin grabs the covers and slowly pushes them down, uncovering Ophelia’s sleeping face. Gilbert thought that she looked pretty as she slept, tempting in fact. Abruptly, she opens her eyes, startling the intruder.

"What...!?" he mumbles right before feeling a presence behind him. A shiver runs down his spine.

“I was waiting for you...” Ophelia grins largely and Gilbert’s eyes widen in surprise. He was about to turn around but Jade lands a swift blow on the back of his neck, making him fall onto the other side of the bed, unconscious. 

Ophelia giggles like a young child right before rotating and facing Gilbert's body. She grabs a piece of his hair and begins playing with it in his fingers. 

"I wonder what you will show me today...!" the excitement made her voice turn a pitch higher. Ophelia couldn't wait for this theatre to come alive. 

"Master..." Jade mumbles right before bitting his bottom lip out of frustration. 

'What has happened for you to end up like this...?' earlier that day, he didn't have the opportunity to read the paper sheets or even the book but, as he saw her in this state he couldn't help but wonder what type of past haunted her. 

Even during the tea party, he was astonished at her actions. He heard the nobles comment on her braveness but he knew her eyes, those lifeless eyes that only sparkled when inflicting pain. He knew that his master was a monstrosity unable to be contained if let loose. That is why he had decided to dirty his hands for her, to protect whatever kindness she had left. 

“Shall we go then...?” Ophelia asks right before getting up from the bed.

Gilbert is tied down and placed inside a big cloth bag. His mouth had a gag that prevented him from talking while his eyes were covered with a piece of fabric. Right before leaving, Ophelia changes to a set of black trousers and a dark shirt, covered by a cotton cape with a hood.

They both head out of the mansion becoming one with the dark, avoiding the eyes of the guards that were nothing but slackers. After sneaking outside they walk until the Duke’s estate was out of their sight. In the meantime, Gilbert woke up and attempted to escape by squirming his legs and arms around, however, Jade was stronger making the assassin’s attempts nothing but a futile childish act.

 

“I think this should be far enough,” Jade drops the man onto the floor harshly and removes the cloth bag that hid his body. Ophelia then sits on a big trunk of a cut tree, glaring down at the assassin, as if he was nothing more than a small bug, easy and quick to be disposed of, “Take it off.”

Jade removes the blindfold that was covering Gilbert’s eyes and the fabric on his mouth that was now fully wet with saliva. The man coughs several times right before being able to utter a word. 

‘Where am I...?’ Gilbert looks around just to be greeted by overwhelming darkness and tall trees. He understood he was far away from the estate, in fact, he was in the middle of a forest owned by wild, dangerous animals. 

“Gilbert Averton,” he flinches as he heard his real name come out of Ophelia’s cold voice. He then focuses his attention on her, realizing that the beasts lurking in the forest weren't his highest concern.

“Who is that...?” he couldn’t understand. He was always cautious to not leave any clues regarding his identity but, somehow, the woman standing before him knew. 

'Did she just guess...?' in a pitiful attempt to believe he was lucky, he thought that this had been a mere accident but, as she glared at him coldly, he comprehended how wrong he was. Ophelia Criswell knew. He didn't know when or how she had found out but she knew, perhaps ever since the beginning. 

“Do you know why you are here?” he frowned as he realized that she wasn’t buying his excuse. He was aware that pretending not to know, pretending to be someone else was something that wouldn't work but he needed to delay her plans as much as possible. Gilbert wanted to survive. 

“I don’t milady, I’m just a mere butler... I don’t know who you are referring to...” he averts his eyes. Ophelia giggled at his dramatic display of submissiveness. 

“You dare to lie!? You filthy...!” Jade was about to punch him but Ophelia signals him to stop with her hand. She was finding this trashy acting extremely amusing, in fact, she didn't want it to end. 

“Oh-oh? You don’t... I see... Maybe you need some help to refresh your memory...” Ophelia’s eyes sparkle with anticipation as she opens a small bag and removes a sharp dagger from it. Gilbert's eyes widen as she strongly plants the sharp weapon on the trunk of the tree, right next to her. 

“A lady shouldn’t carry such a dangerous object around... Please milady...” Gilbert was trying to convince her but it was useless. He knew it, Ophelia knew it.

Her smile soon disappeared as she became bored of his pathetic excuses. She was tired of waiting for the upcoming adrenaline. 

She removes her cloak, showing her dark clothes as her blue eyes sparkled with the penetrating moonlight. Ophelia grins and as she approached, Gilbert felt a shiver on his spine. Her eyes were not looking for peaceful negotiation.

‘This woman... She’s going to...’ Gilbert knew her eyes very well. He saw them every time he looked at his own reflection. He begins looking around, trying to find a weapon he could use, a path he could follow, ‘I need to escape... But how...?’

"Just give me a reason Gilbert...!" the assassin's eyes widen in shock as he sees Ophelia's face extremely close to his, scaring him. Her lips were grinning as if she was expecting for him to run as if she wanted a justification for the pain she intended to inflict. 

'She's insane...!' this intense lust for blood was something he had only read about in horror books, with demons and possessions. 

“What do you want?” his eyes sharpen as he finally shows his true colors. Ophelia places some distance between them with a displeased look on her face. 

“What a waste...” Ophelia clicks her tongue and sits back down, “Who ordered you to kill me?”

“I’m sure you already know it, don’t you?” he mocks her as she plays with the dagger on her fingers, making tiny drops of blood slide through it.

“Gilbert... You are a smart man... It would be wise not to test my patience...” Ophelia signals Jade and he lands a swift blow on his left cheek, making his lip rip. Gilbert spits some vivid red blood onto the dry dirt.

“Alright, I will tell you what you wish to know, however, you will let me go,” as she heard his desperate words she couldn’t stop but wish to rip out his filthy tongue.

'Ah... How infuriating...' Ophelia grins and gets up.

“I don’t think you are understanding your place...” gracefully she walks towards him and kneels right before holding his chin covered in a messy dark brown beard, “This is not a negotiation,” she licked the dagger that held her blood making Gilbert’s soul grow cold.

‘I have never seen anything like this... This bloodlust is just...’ by looking closely to her eyes he could see how much Ophelia wanted to hurt him, not for vengeance but for her pleasure. This was her lustful sin.

“I am not stupid enough to give you the information without having any guarantees,” Gilbert knew that this was the only way he would be able to survive. He needed Ophelia to promise him his safety but, even then, it was a risky gamble.

“Of course Gilbert... I will let you go free, you have my word,” she caresses his face with the cold edge of the dagger, making the assassin's panic increase.

‘So... this is fear, is it?’ he only felt something like this when his mother went missing, however, he had forgotten it alongside his humanity long ago.

“Your father, he paid me to do it,” contrary to his beliefs, Ophelia gets up and starts laughing extremely loudly, as if something had overcome her own body. To Gilbert, it looked almost as if someone had possed her body, a demon, a monster, who knows. He looks beside him just to find the platinum-haired man look at the scenario with a painful look on his face, almost as if he pitied her.

‘I would’ve never thought this man would be such a threat...’ as Gilbert recalled his plan he had undervalued a crucial part: Ophelia’s slave. He thought he was nothing more than a butler even if he had a somewhat fit body but, since he was stuck in bed for a long time, he didn’t saw his habits and routines. That man was a complete wildcard that he forgot to take into account.

“Who gave you the information inside the mansion?” Ophelia stopped laughing and, with a serious posture, she questioned him. Inside, she was hoping Gilbert would know who was the spy, saving her the upcoming trouble.

“I don’t know,” he replied coldly. She didn’t like this answer and so, she kneeled in front of him again, placing the tip of the dagger on his left cheek which was now bruised from Jade’s previous punch.

“That’s not the answer I want to hear Gilbert...” she grins as blood started to come out of his tanned skin.

“It’s true! I don’t know! It was always through letters that were delivered at my door!” she clicks her tongue and removes the dagger, making Gilbert’s pained expression turn into relief.

“And where are these letters now?” Ophelia gets up.

“In my room! I can go grab them if you want!” Gilbert’s eyes were glimmering with expectation. He knew that if he got the chance to go back to the mansion he could devise a plan to escape this situation since the chances of him surviving were slim to none.

“You should repent for your sins,” Ophelia sits back down on the trunk of the thick tree with her legs crossed. Her lips portraited an evil grin.

‘Lying is not good, little rat... My father would never do something dumb as not ordering the letters to be burned, and neither would you...’ she knew exactly how he thought since she already knew his methods, in fact, she had a first-person experience.

Jade grabs his dark hair and pulls his body up, right before delivering a heavy punch on his abdomen. Saliva came out of his mouth alongside some blood from the force of impact. He could feel his organs burning from the pain. Then the slave shoves his body on the floor, making Gilbert’s head hit one of the trees. A small river of blood stained his skin as he coughed continuously.

'Could it be...?' his vision began becoming slightly blurred as he tried to focus his attention on the platinum-haired man. He had heard the rumors but he thought they were surreal since, the majority of the time, rumors were just rumors, nothing more, nothing less. But, seeing how precise that man was with his punches and his attacks, he knew that he had been negligent. 

“P-Please stop...” Gilbert stutters as he felt his body screaming in pain.

“We’re not done,” Jade declares. His eyes were cold-blooded while his expression remained unchanged, unbothered by his actions. He didn’t even flinch in hurting a man, it was as if he had done this over and over again.

‘It’s not possible...’ Gilbert always thought his destiny was to be an assassin, to get rid of annoyances in the society but now, looking at this platinum-haired man that became one with the night, he could understand. His whole life had been a lie because he was not a true assassin, he could never have those heartless eyes, that unwavering soul, and strength in punishing the other.

 

✽ ✼ ✽ ✼ ✽ ✼ ✽

 

「 Ophelia's memories, 2nd life 」

“Eat,” Marquess Verne states right before banging his hand on the table, “I said... Eat!”

I bring the tablespoon to my lips, drinking the tomato soup slowly. His voice was loud as it ranged through my ears. 

“The ball is tomorrow so you have to be in your best shape Ophelia, we wouldn’t want your father to think something is wrong right?” Verne’s eldest son, Julius declares while handing me a loaf of bread. His chocolate eyes were quite similar to his father but, contrary to the Marquess, his hair was blonde just like a sunflower, blooming wildly in the Seedling. 

“Julius, remember to bring out the matter of the ships. We need the Duke’s patronage otherwise...” James' voice became sharper as he emphasized the importance of his words. 

“I know father, I won’t let you down,” Julius smiles charmingly.

“Ophelia you better do your job properly or else...” the terrifying brown eyes of the Marquess were on me, like a wolf on a sheep.

“I-I will do it, sir...” my hands were trembling as I struggled to fit anything into my stomach.

“Good,” the Marquess signals the butlers to bring him the roasted beef.

 

“Aren’t you excited, puppet? You will be able to be with your sister again,” Maeve, the maid that served me, chuckled in a mocking tone as she combed my hair sloppily.

“Y-Yes... Very...” she made me feel uncomfortable. Maeve never did any chores except when the Marquess ordered her to. I know she despises me, just like everyone else in this house.

“Good, now go to bed, I’ve got better things to do,” she yawns right before leaving the room. The comb was left on the desk and the bed was unopened. I sigh.

Mentally I was already preparing myself to encounter them. Amanda, my elder sister, would definitely mock me until the end of the earth.

‘Of course, you can’t even keep a man, you are nothing more but a cursed beast,’ it is something between the lines of what she might say.

‘I didn’t raise a child to lose a husband like this... When I thought you couldn’t disappoint me further... Indeed you exceed my expectations... How did you come from me?’ is something between the lines of what he might say.

 

The harsh rain fell outside, knocking on the windows as the brute wind blew it further and further. It was such a cold and dark night, one that already held a premonition.

“Happy birthday to me...” I mumble in a soft singing voice as I blow on a candle that was providing me with some light. Of course, no one remembered, why would they? Tears flew down my face as I covered my body with the warm blankets.

Soon my tears ran dry and my head began to hurt but, even then, I managed to fall asleep soundly.

 

I wake up with ratling noises on the window. The rain had stopped and the wind was as quiet as a mouse.

‘Am I imagining things...?’ I open my eyes and, without getting up, I look around. Everything was where they were meant to be.

I close my eyes once again and fall asleep.

 

✽ ✼ ✽ ✼ ✽ ✼ ✽

 

「 Back to the present 」

“Yo-You’re a monster!” Gilbert’s teeth were filled with blood as his face became dirtier.

“A monster? A rat dares to insult what’s mine?” Ophelia gets up and steps on his head harshly, making the grass and dirt become tainted with his red fluids, “Repent!”

“I’m sorry!” after several minutes of feeling his skull being crushed between the hard floor and Ophelia’s foot, the assassin begged.

“Hold him,” Jade grabs his body while Ophelia picks up the small dagger that was, once again, vertically standing on the trunk of the tree, “Now... You still don’t seem eager to talk...”

“I am! Please!” as Gilbert’s expression turned anxious, Ophelia came closer to him.

“Then... Will you tell me...?” her sweet whispering voice echoed in Gilbert’s left ear.

“Uh...? What...?” Ophelia’s face was tainted with some blood drops as her eyes sparkled with pleasure. Suddenly, an excruciating pain hits Gilbert’s body as he felt the liquids come out of his body.

“Does it hurt?” she asks with a cold, unwavering, and unbothered expression. Gilbert’s attention turns onto the floor, where his ear was perfectly cut in one stroke. Behind him stood Jade holding the bloody dagger as his eyes portraited pure emptiness.

'Yes... That's the expression...!' a grin fills Ophelia's lips as she finally reached the peak of her euphoria. 

“Ah! You monster! It hurts!” his eyes were filled with tears. Gilbert had forgotten pain long ago since he was never caught after polishing his skills, that’s what earned him his nickname “The Ghost”, but, now, he was screaming as he felt a growing burning sensation on what used to be his ear.

“Monster?” Ophelia giggles, as if she was mocking him, just to see anger fill his eyes, “Don’t you mean Curse?” she grins.

Shivers ran down his spine as blood poured out of his wounds, turning the dry dirt moist. His soul was beginning to leave his body as Jade grabbed him by the hair, holding his body still. Gilbert’s eyes saw a woman standing before him but, somewhere deep down in his soul he knew the person in front of him was no longer a human. The lack of kindness in her eyes, the lips that portraited her desire, without a doubt, Ophelia wasn’t human, she couldn’t be.

“P-Please... I’ll tell you everything I know just let me go...” his tears flew down harder. Gilbert didn’t want to die, he still had so many things to achieve, so many dreams to fulfill.

 

✽ ✼ ✽ ✼ ✽ ✼ ✽

 

「 Ophelia's memories, 2nd Life 」

I wake up with the sound of a window knocking over and over again as the wind played with its uses. Quickly I get up and close it.

‘I don’t want any water inside if it begins raining again...’ I think as I take a look around. The room was dark but everything looked normal even though the window was mysteriously opened. I couldn’t bring myself to question it since the maids regularly enjoyed playing pranks on me like this.

“Found you...” as I was about to lay on the bed I feel a sharp pain enter my abdomen through my back.

“Ah... I-It hurts...” I groan as I lose the strength in my legs and feel my body fall onto the bed.

“You shouldn’t be sleeping with the Marquess you know... Some people don’t like that type of service...” a man’s voice. I looked back slightly just to see a brown bearded man with regular brown hair. His gaze was sharp but his lips carried a smile as if he was pleased with his work.

“I-I don’t...” I try to speak but I am quickly interrupted.

“You don’t need to play games with me, missy, you see... All women are whores, some just need some help to understand it,” he chuckles as he cleans the knife with a small piece of cloth. 

Rain starts pouring down, almost as if crying out of laughter from my pitiful luck. Suddenly, lighting hits followed by a thunder sound. I see the man's face and he sees mine. His eyes widen in shock.

“No... You’re way too young...” the man approaches me and grabs my hair, pulling it harshly while uncovering my face, “How old are you girl?”

“I’m eighteen and I’m Ophelia Criswell... Layton Verne's wife...” as I finished explaining everything I could he throws my head onto the pillow. I attempt to get up but the pain was excruciating. Blood was leaving my body uncontrollably and I could feel the strength I once had,  escape my grasp. 

‘Was I stabbed...?’ I begin to feel dizzy due to the blood loss but try to remain conscious as long as I possibly can.

“Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck!” the man's voice gradually becomes louder as he runs around in circles, “I messed up... I messed up! Shit!”

He shifts his attention onto me. He looked conflicted since he knew he had made a very big mistake.

“That’s it!” he grins as he notices the oil lantern on my desk, “Well, I can’t have you snitching on me can I miss?”

 

✽ ✼ ✽ ✼ ✽ ✼ ✽

 

「 Back to the present 」

“Are you scared?” she approaches him once again and grabs his face forcefully, his eyes were covered with horror.

Ophelia was enjoying this so much that her whole body was compelled by desire, making her usually pale cheeks blush and sweat drip from her pores.

“For every second you don’t reply...” she grins right before grabbing the dagger from Jade and making a cut on his arm. His dirty clothes began to be covered with red as his fluids poured out, "One... Two..."

“Stop!” he screams as he starts to feel the agglomeration of pain.

“That’s not what I asked Gilbert...” she continues, enjoying the situation, smiling lustfully, "Four... Five..."

“Yes! I am scared! Yes!” he yells and Ophelia stops just to see his shirt filled with cuts and holes. 

“Good Gilbert good... Do you want to live?” she cleans the dagger, transferring the blood onto her clothes. 

‘What is this...?’ Gilbert couldn’t understand this woman's actions or even her words, ‘Is she going to let me go?’

“Yes,” his eyes were filled with determination and Ophelia smirked.

“Then let’s play a game...” she holds his chin, “Kill me and you’re free.”

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