The Guidebook for Villainesses - Chapter 179
At night, thick fog seemed to be everywhere, but in the morning, hot sunlight poured out as if nothing had happened. It was already summer. The unusually warm sunlight raised the languid heat.
Red roses were in full bloom on the wall of the building that Isadora had recently purchased, giving off a strong scent. The mist turned into twinkling dew, forming on the rose petals. Isadora used her fingertips to gently stroke the petals, they looked like they were being soaked in red water.
Suddenly, she was curious. Her heart swelled up so much that she did not even realize that the flowers had bloomed. And yet, why was her daughter still not coming back?
Lara was not dead. That was quite obvious. If she had died, there was no way Isadora could have been so fine. If Lara had died, she would have collapsed and gasped for breath. She would have been broken. But what was this comfort? Where did this firm belief come from?
“Baby, shall we go for a walk?”
Isadora reached out her hand.
The giant of fire was drying the laundry that Konny had hung in the yard. Seeing Isadora, it flew into her arms in excitement. After the war, the giant of fire had turned into the size of a palm. It sat down on Isadora’s shoulder and pointed with its small hand toward the mountain range.
“Sure, let’s go there.”
Isadora always took a walk on the same trail. She would walk slowly on the gently rising hill road, towards where she could best see the Gorgon Mountains. It was the same on that day.
The giant of fire hugged the rose that Isadora had plucked. The flower was so big and attractive that it looked like the giant of fire was barely hanging on to it. It struggled to hold the flower that was about to fall down with its short limbs. The petals rubbed against each other and let out a strong smell.
Then, Isadora heard Lara’s voice from somewhere.
She thought she was hearing things. Like a summer haze, she thought it was an afterimage created by her longing.
The giant of fire burst into flames. Without knowing that the petals were crushed, it struggled all over to express joy.
Lara and Demian were coming down the mountain path from far away. It really was Lara. She was not hearing things. She saw her daughter whom she really missed through the thick grass.
Isadora murmured blankly.
Her hazel-colored hair tied up high swayed gently, her white face was in full bloom, and her palm was raised toward Isadora dancing happily.
Isadora squinted her eyes with a face saying she already expected it. She knew her daughter was alive. She was her daughter after all. She was upset that Lara did not come back without saying a word even after the seasons had changed. However, for Lara to come back with a smile like that, that was enough for her.
“Hurry up, hurry up!”
“Get on my back.”
Lara pestered Demian. He burst into laughter and carried Lara on his back.
Demian, who was running down the slope quickly, looked at Isadora. Isadora, who was rushing down the hill to welcome them, also stopped and looked at him.
Their distance grew nearer. The giant of fire began to groan. It wanted to go to Lara but Isadora was holding it so tightly that it could not do so.
A green forest had sprung up on the land that had been overturned like a ruin. Lara and Demian ran on it like two deer and came to Isadora.
Lara came down from Demian’s back and was hugged in Isadora’s embrace. No, she held Isadora in her arms.
Lara’s body smelled strongly of grass. There was also the smell of a forest and the ground. It was the smell of flowers, sunlight, and a healthy and lovely scent. Isadora held Lara tightly and burst into tears. She touched her daughter’s face and shed her tears.
Lara looked at Isadora and hugged her mother with a smiling face.
“I’m sorry that I’m late.”
“I wanted to come back early… I didn’t know that so much time had passed. I’m so sorry.”
Demian bowed with Lara. Isadora looked into his more mature eyes and nodded.
“It’s okay. You kept your promise.”
The promise to protect Lara. The vow to put Lara first before anything else in the world. Isadora remembered Demian’s promise to her in Hautean years ago.
“Yes, I kept my promise.”
Demian smiled coolly.
The Woman Who Dominated Hell
The news of Lara’s return spread quickly. Before enjoying the reunion with her daughter, Isadora was worried for those who had been looking for the two for a long time, and had decided to tell the good news to them first.
Konny stood at the door and was at a loss. Normally, she would have rushed to Lara, hugged her, poured out her tears and runny nose, and gushed out her resentment but somehow she could not even enter the room and only stamped her feet repeatedly.
“What’s wrong, Konny?”
Lara, who could not wait, reached out her hand asking Konny to come. Then, Konny shook her head and wept.
“No. I’m going to watch you a little longer. It’s like a dream that you’re standing there. Did you know that I cleaned that sofa and sprayed perfume on it every day? It was your favorite perfume, and I kept placing order after order from Hautean since Memoria doesn’t have it in stock.”
“Thank you, Konny.”
“Don’t go anywhere from now on. Just stay here from morning till night. Don’t go out no matter who calls you, okay? Just eat the food I give you at home and gain weight!”
Lara walked slowly to the door while Konny vented her anger. Then she answered, with Konny just in front of her.
“Milady… you’re really… evil.”
“I got it. Just give me a hug.”
“Where did you learn to say such cheesy things?”
Konny walked in and Lara held her in her arms. Then, as if she had waited for that time, she poured out her tears and runny nose.
“I’m not going to wash this.”
“Give me a raise.”
When Lara burst into laughter looking at her ruined clothes, she heard someone running down the hallway. She could tell just by the sound of the footsteps. A pair of irregular, precarious, and light footsteps.
A bright smile bloomed on his normally dark face. Lara tried to hold Valentine in her arms for fairness’ sake, but Demian moved faster than her. He snatched Valentine and brought him to the room.
“You just hug me.”
“Why? Don’t you miss me?”
Demian asked with a fearsome face. Valentine did not dare to say no and just shook his head.
A little more time later, the Barbarians came in. They cried with their bulky figures, welcoming Lara’s return. Then, they rushed to Demian, picked him up like a bundle, went outside, and hit him with their fists.
“Die, you bastard!”
“Now that you’re back, die, hahahaha!”
That day, the long-distance magic receiver kept emitting a constant light. All the receivers Valentine sold to Acerus at high prices were busy at work announcing the news of Lara and Demian’s survival. Acerus, who became the Emperor, Eunice and Ximena, who returned to Hautean, and Sonnet, who had been waiting for Lara’s return, all asked the same question—where and what had she been doing to show up so late?
Lara’s answer was shocking.
“I went to hell.”
As soon as she fell into hell in Demian’s arms, Lara realized that Abraxas had completely left her. God’s gaze, which always cared for her high up there, was gone. God’s existence, which she felt as a soul, was no longer by her side. She wanted to say goodbye.
The first thing Abraxas gave Lara was healing. Miraculous healing that could make a slight wound disappear in the blink of an eye. At first, she thought that Abraxas gave her that kind of power because Demian would go crazy and destroy the world again if she was hurt or died. She also grumbled that the power to defeat demons or the ability to heal others would have been much better.
But after summoning Vassago, she realized. This was the power Abraxas had arranged to protect Lara at the last minute.
At the moment she fell into hell, warm energy rushed to her heart, and the tip of the dagger that had dug deep as if it would reach her heart had escaped. The wound healed slowly from the inside. Lara stabbed her heart to call out to God, and with the healing power that God had given her, she was able to survive.
She wanted to say thank you to Abraxas, but God had already gone far away. Forever. They would never see each other again.
A tear trickled down from Lara’s eyes.
“I’ll be by your side.”
When she opened her eyes, Demian stood holding her. The dagger that had stabbed her in the heart was gone. The burn-like and painful wound also healed, leaving only a subtle heat.
“Where are we?”
Demian replied with a relaxed expression.
“I think we’re in hell.”
Surprised, Lara descended from Demian’s arms and looked around. A red sky, a black river, and a heavy, damp atmosphere unfolded. There was a pointy castle on top of a steep and rising cliff. It was a dark and ominous castle.
Demian sighed and said to Lara, who was flustered.
“Look behind you.”
Lara quickly turned her head. An old gentleman in a black tailcoat greeted her gracefully.
“Master, welcome to hell.”
It was Vassago.