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Her eyelids fluttered, and Ortansia's consciousness slowly resurfaced.

Her body felt quite heavy. How long had she been sleeping?

As she desperately held onto her consciousness, teetering on the edge of sleep again, someone unexpectedly touched her hair gently, Then whispered  in her ear.

"It's time to wake up, young lady."


The voice was so intimately close, Ortansia couldn't help instinctively jolt awake.

Looking hastily in the direction of the voice...


It's him, Gerard's attendant, peering at her with a smirk.

"My, my, must you really react like you've seen a cockroach when you heard a whisper nearby?"

"Well, if you suddenly hear a whisper right by your ear, you'd be surprised, right?... Wait, huh?"

Responding reflexively, Ortansia looked at Lucian's face… then suddenly remembered what happened just before her consciousness faded.

'That's right, I was trying to stop Oniisama…'

Together with Lucian in front of her, she rode into the Duke of Linie's mansion.

The Duke of Linie was planning to use the power of the demon god to take over the country.

Prince Victor was about to be sacrificed.

And her step brother Gérard, who was thought to be in support of the Duke of Linie betrayed the Duke of Linie at the last moment and turned on him.

Just when it seemed like everything had been resolved, the man before her—


Ortancia hurriedly checked her own chest.

Then she noticed something even more strange.

"What... is this?"

Ortansia was clad in a black dress she had never seen before.

There was no pain at the spot where she was supposedly stabbed, but what exactly was going on?

Ortansia looked back at Lucian once more.

Finally, she realized that her surroundings wasn't Duke Linie's mansion, where she had been until she lost consciousness, nor was it the Duke of Verite's residence.

'What is this place...?'

The bed on which Ortansia was sleeping was indeed similar to the bed in Ortansia's private room at the Duke of Verité's mansion.

However, the space itself was bizarre.

Looking up to the point where her neck began to ache, Ortansia saw a dome-shaped ceiling far above.

In terms of the overall structure, it bore a striking resemblance to the temple she had visited shortly after being taken in by the Duke's family to receive blessings.

'But it's completely different!'

The atmosphere was dim overall, with signs of decay here and there.

Moreover, unlike the tranquil air that pervaded the cleansing atmosphere of the temple, the air here felt ominous. Just being in this place seemed to tighten around her neck like a soft noose, inducing a suffocating sense of confinement.

The atmosphere was abnormal. Even the hideouts of the cult that worshiped the demon, where she was once kidnapped, didn't feel this intense.

...It was almost reminiscent of the time she had visited the spirit realm.

The very nature of this space might be a place separate from the world Ortansia usually lived in.

Ceasing her survey of her surroundings, Ortansia gazed at Lucian once again.

He was looking at her, amused by her confusion, without displaying any bewilderment himself.

"You're the one who brought me here."

"Yes, that's very astute of you, my lady."

"This is the demon… Realm."

The situation before losing consciousness, the strangeness of this space, and... the man in front of her.

Based on several pieces of information, Altancia couldn't help but think in that direction

In response to Ortansia's question, Lucian narrowed his eyes slightly.

Without hesitation, his hand reached out towards her.

Ortansia instinctively tensed up, but instead of anything else, Lucian simply started patting her head.

"That's correct! As expected of you, young lady."

'Who is this person...?'

The enigmatic nature of the man in front of her, combined with his actions resembling those of the days when he used to teach Ortansia, left her bewildered.

However, she couldn't let herself be swayed.

Lucian stabbed her in the chest and brought her to the realm of demons.

...He was undoubtedly Ortansia's enemy.

"You were also part of the demon-worshipping cult."

When Ortansia voiced that, Lucian furrowed his brows in displeasure for the first time.

"Please refrain from jesting, Miss Ortansia. I would prefer not to be lumped together with those tasteless individuals."

"But you are! You're with them, aren't you!?"

"...You're mistaken. They're just pawns, mere foot soldiers not even worthy of being sacrifices. As a gourmet, I only desire opponents that pique my own interest."

Saying this, Lucian casually licks his lips.


The gesture sends shivers down Ortansia's spine, causing her entire body to react.

'This way of speaking... could it be…'

She trailed off, uncertain.

No, that can't be right.

Ortansia wanted to believe that, but she also knew that what was needed here and now was the ability to discern the truth.

She quickly focused her attention and looked at Lucian again.

In that instant, she saw something like a grotesque shadow behind him, and a cold sweat ran down Ortansia's spine.

...Thinking back, the first time he appeared at the Duke of Verite's residence was shortly after Ortansia had been kidnapped by the demon-worshipping cult. A man who captivated many with his remarkable beauty, displaying skills that even surpassed Gerard.

Masterfully maneuvering between Altancia and Gerard, he was the one who had orchestrated this situation.

...Why hadn't she noticed until now?

"...You're the demon, aren't you?"

Hearing her soft mumur, Lucian laughed.

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