Becoming the Villain’s Family - Chapter 234
Chapter 234: Side Story 26
It was at that moment.
Sabina read the agitation in the wavering gaze before her, not missing the unhidden heat.
‘I should stop here…’
She no longer wanted to be entangled.
She had already obtained what she wanted.
Getting more involved with him could lead to unforeseeable complications.
Yet, it seems the human heart cannot be severed as cleanly as a knife.
‘Am I just going to let go of this opportunity?’
It was the moment she realized she had the upper hand in their relationship.
Memories of the hardships she had faced until now swiftly passed through her mind.
Sabina began, her words preceding her thoughts.
“In your own way, you must have thought that wanting to be with me until death was a sign of interest.”
“Since Valentine is fated to never escape death.”
Ultimately, it meant he wanted to be with her until his dying moment.
For Valentine, who could never escape death from the day he was born, this might have been an inevitable conclusion.
‘It must have been a deeply passionate feeling.’
Even though, to her eyes, it seemed more like an devil dragging her into a swamp.
“Go ahead and confess your desperation.”
“Then how will you know if I will change my mind?”
Sabina spoke mockingly.
She slid her hand that had touched his ear down to his firmly set jawline and made him look at her.
Tristan, who had been silent, suddenly laughed fiercely.
His eyes, which had been staring blankly, now flickered like dark smoke.
“Do you really want to hear?”
She expected him to be hurt in his pride and trembling with shame.
Or at least to get angry.
Or to rage like a madman.
But Tristan was neither.
“I’ve never thought about my emotions. I didn’t even know they existed.”
It seemed so.
When Sabina had asked if he liked her, he had shown a remarkably clueless response.
‘Maybe that’s why I want to hear his confession.’
She wanted to see him break down.
To hold his weakness in her grasp and shake it.
She wanted him to be truly hurt.
At least as much as she had suffered.
Then it seemed like she could be compensated for all the humiliations she had suffered at the hands of the Grand Prince.
So, she was about to nod without hesitation when he said…
“Do I have permission to unleash my raw, unrefined emotions on you?”
“Once you hear them, I’ll never let you go. Even after death.”
His following words erased her impulse to proceed.
‘I didn’t expect him to be so humble…’
But she hadn’t expected him to warn her either.
Always the same man.
It was a pity, but gambling with the urge to break him seemed too costly.
She couldn’t just fall into his grasp for a moment of control.
‘It’s a shame, but let’s stop here.’
Sabina showed her hands in surrender, signaling she had no intention to attack further.
“I’ll stop the jokes here.”
His stomach seemed to churn at her words.
“I’d rather ask for something else than mock you.”
Sabina refused the revenge he had offered as a form of apology and instead requested something else.
“Find someone for me.”
“His real name is Allen Castaigne. I introduced himself to you as my lover, but that was a lie. He’s my only mentor and like a father to me.”
Tristan didn’t respond.
He just gazed at her intently, as if assessing her reaction.
“If you find him, I’ll forget everything you said and did to me.”
Her offer to forget didn’t sound particularly positive.
To forget was to treat it as if it meant nothing.
“What’s in it for me?”
Sabina looked at him incredulously as if she couldn’t believe he didn’t understand, and then answered.
“I won’t hate or despise you.”
Tristan had always lived closely with emotions like fear, disgust, hatred, and murderous intent.
Even if Sabina harbored such feelings towards him, he had nothing to fear or change.
‘Rather, isn’t it better that you hated me so much that you wanted to kill me?’
Being hated to the extreme is better than being nothing at all.
There were times when he thought so…
“Does that mean you forgive me?”
“Yes, I’ll forgive you.”
Ironically, he wanted to be forgiven.
Even if nothing would change because of it.
No, it might actually be a loss.
‘Such a foolish judgment.’
Does harboring emotions for someone also lead to a decline in intelligence?
“Anyway, I’d appreciate it if you could find Allen.”
Sabina added, emphasizing again.
As Tristan gave no response, anxiety became apparent in her eyes.
Even though she knew she held the upper hand in their relationship, that was her expression.
‘You asked me to open up my feelings…’
Ironically, it was Sabina who was blatantly showing intense emotions.
It was quite touching.
At that moment, Tristan was certain.
If Allen were alive, he would have definitely been the one to sever his lifeline.
He surely wouldn’t have resisted the impulse.
Be it a father figure or whatever.
The fact that Allen, Sabina’s only person, could shatter her soul just with his life or death…
‘It almost drove me mad with jealousy.’
After locking Allen in the dungeon, he imagined binding Sabina with ropes, restraining her, and then brutally…
Sabina called his name as if to urge him.
‘Should I tell her that I killed him?’
He didn’t want to hurt her and lose her forever.
In fact, he wanted to be forgiven for everything.
Caught between contradictory emotions, Tristan eventually chose the foolish path.
“I knew the whereabouts of Allen Castaigne from the beginning.”
And he announced his death.
Count Valois had finally achieved everything.
He had perfectly utilized even the blemishes that tainted his life, enabling him to paint the picture he desired.
‘I’ve completely gained the Emperor’s trust.’
He executed a traitor and, in return, formed a marital alliance with the Imperial family.
Gary Valois was going to marry the Empire’s only princess.
Although her position was ambiguous due to being the daughter of a concubine, royal blood still flowed in her veins.
‘The position can be solidified later.’
Even if she was from the concubine’s side, wasn’t she still favored by the Emperor?
With her mother’s influence and Valois’ support, she could build a more formidable force than now.
That was enough.
Now that Valois’ eldest son had become an Imperial Knight, if he could just stand beside the Crown Prince who would one day be the Emperor…
The Count was immensely satisfied with his cunning.
‘What was I even worried about all this time!’
Laughing loudly, the Count kept pouring drinks into his glass.
His young new wife, refilling his cup, smiled beautifully.
His life was a masterpiece painted by a master. Now its value would be recognized by the whole world…
“Ah, by the way, I heard from the butler. You’ve been managing the accounts for a few months now?”
At that moment, the Countess paused while pouring the drink.
But soon, as if nothing had happened, she spoke in a gentle voice.
“I can’t always be a mere guest in this house.”
“Such nonsense. What do you know about managing wealth…”
“Being born as a merchant’s daughter, I may be ignorant of other things, but I was thoroughly educated about money from a young age.”
That’s why the butler trusted my abilities and left it to me.
She added in a soft voice, looking down.
“Did you even learn anything proper in a house that only had debts after blowing up their business?”
The Count openly scorned her.
Despite being insulted right to her face, the Countess just smiled sweetly.
Unable to speak against her lovely smile, the Count clicked his tongue and emptied his glass.
How long had it been like this?
As the Count drank continuously, he eventually fell onto the bed, overtaken by the effects of the alcohol.
When he awoke from a deep sleep, he was startled.
“What, what is this?”
The Count found himself waking up in a cell.
Dense iron bars frustratingly obstructed his view.
A severe hangover pounded in his head like a hammer.
Was that the reason?
Yes, it must be the reason.
Seeing such ludicrous illusions must be due to that.
The Count tried to move his body.
However, his hands were tied behind his back, and no matter how much he struggled, he couldn’t free himself.
‘Why am I here?’
Such a scenario was never part of the perfect plan he had designed for his life.
He had never even imagined it.
“Hey, is there anyone out there?!”
The Count raised his voice.
There must be some mistake.
‘I’ve never done anything to deserve this!’
As he raised his voice in indignation, the sound of footsteps approached closer and closer.
Soon, the door of the dungeon swung open.
“It’s been a while, Father.”
Sabina sat across from the Count’s cell, crossing her legs and sitting on a chair.
She said nothing, just staring intently at him.
His daughter’s gaze alone made the Count understand the entire situation.
Or rather, he deluded himself into thinking he understood.
‘I knew from the beginning she was an ungrateful wretch, unappreciative of everything I’ve done for her…’
He gritted his teeth.
He hadn’t expected her to go to such insane lengths.
“You’re out of your mind.”
Muttering darkly, he eventually shouted.
“Think you’re here for revenge? Do you think you can get away with this?”
The Count’s backing was the Emperor himself.
“You fool, you might not know since it hasn’t been made public, but His Majesty is supporting the Valois.”
“Is that so?”
Sabina replied calmly, showing no signs of surprise.
She must have been too bold, believing that the Emperor would bow down to Valentine, and stepped out of line.
But did she really think the Emperor was so powerless as to do nothing when his people were harmed?
“Even if Valentine’s power reaches the heavens, it’s still under the sky. The nobility and the royalty are of different leagues!”
The Grand Duke’s obedience to the Emperor’s orders was proof of that.
The Count Valois wanted to scream these words, but restrained himself, not knowing what the cornered Sabina might do.
He then spoke in a placating tone.
“It’s not too late. If you let me go now, I won’t press charges.”
“Before His Majesty finds out, huh?”
Sabina, who had been silent all this time, let out a snicker and replied.
“His Majesty already knows.”