Book 1, Chapter 23B
A Traumatic Experience
Steven froze, and then began to laugh, “I didn’t expect you to be so smart! Indeed, I’m not an enforcer, but…”
“No buts! Don’t even think of touching me, or I scream!” The young girl’s voice grew louder. They were in a remote area, and all parts of the Deepblue were designed to minimise the leakage of sound. Her loudest screams wouldn’t make it far enough to be able to save her. However, there was magic recording equipment all over the Deepblue’s public areas. Her voice would be recorded.
The Deepblue was under the ownership of a legendary mage. If Steven tried to take her by force, Sharon would find out soon enough. With her temper, Steven’s best outcome would be being beaten up ruthlessly like Randolph had been and getting thrown out of the Deepblue. Everything here had its own value, and Erin knew hers very well. No sane person would give up their identity as an apprentice of Sharon’s just for her body.
Steven stopped as expected, not taking a step further. She didn’t dare provoke him much— this man’s aura caused her to shudder in fear— but she didn’t linger any further as she started to run off towards the teleportation point. Even if it would use up a lot of money, Erin didn’t want to remain close to him for one more moment.
“You might want to reconsider,” his voice suddenly sounded from behind her. There was something else that made her hesitate— the crisp jingle of gold coins hitting each other.
‘At least 200!’ Erin judged instinctually, slowing down to look back. Her heart rate increased, and she began to think, ‘I’m already safe anyway…’
Steven remained where he was, gazing upon her like a wolf looking at prey. His calm smile was filled with confidence as an intricate leather pouch swayed in his right hand, continuing that oh so sweet jingle of gold. The pouch wasn’t large, but it had been stretched greatly.
Erin was even more certain of her initial guess upon seeing this. There had to be at least 200 coins inside, and her abundant experiences and keen senses revealed a slight magic glow in the darkness. This leather pouch had been made with magic!
Magic leather was extremely expensive, and it was very rare to see it used in pouches. Only a core member of a noble family could afford such luxuries, increasing the amount of space within the pouch and lightening the contents within. They also caused any materials inside to last much longer as well. A pouch with even the most basic of flash spells as decoration would far exceed its capacity in cost.
Steven’s grin grew more and more similar to that of a venomous snake that had trapped a frog, “I just touched you, so this is your payment. Come, take it!”
Erin felt her throat go dry, unable to say a word. She really wanted to just turn and run, but her feet began to shift in Stevenson’s direction while all sorts of thoughts ran through her mind unceasingly.
‘He won’t force me to do anything. Besides, he’s already touched me, so this sum of money is compensation for what happened, right…’ While her thoughts were in a mess, she suddenly found that she had unconsciously walked over to the noble youth. He seemed to know her every thought, grabbing her hand and placing the pouch in her palm with a demonic smile, “This is yours.”
“But I…” Her throat was so parched at this point that she couldn’t continue. Nothing made sense to her, but she couldn’t tell what exactly the issue was either.
“I know you’re in dire need of money, and the Deepblue has always been about peace and voluntary exchange. Here’s a suggestion…” Steven paused, his eyes sweeping over the girl’s body in such a way that she shivered. “If you maintain your current body and come to bed with me, I’ll definitely give you a satisfying reward. For instance, I can pay off all your debts…”
“No, I can’t…” Erin shook her head with all her strength, looking pale as she retreated step by step. However, her grasp over the pouch was strong, her joints already turning white from how much force she was using.
Steven stood with his hands behind his back, not looking like he was going to pressure her. “There’s no hurry, take your time to consider it. The proposal is valid for the month.”
Erin suddenly turned and darted away.
Minnie appeared behind Steven, like a spirit walking out of thin air. Her dull eyes trained themselves on the girl who was heading into the distance as she spoke coldly, “Someone like her living on the boundaries of the Deepblue could do anything for money. This is the kind of person you want? If that’s the case, don’t even think about touching me.”
Steven suddenly chuckled, speaking in a low voice, “Our marriage has already been established. Based on the law, I can touch you however I like!”
He pulled Minnie to his side, right hand reaching into her robes as he began to fondle her forcefully. The girl turned pale from anger, but all struggles and resistance was rendered pointless. The seventeen-year-old Steven was sturdy and strong, completely suppressing a young lady like her.
“Master won’t let you off!” Minnie exclaimed with all her might. She kicked and punched, trying her best to resist. She’d completely forgotten that she was a mage, not just a lady who’d recently come of age.
“Master?” Steven snickered, “Do you think you could pay the Deepblue’s fees without any financial support from my family? So much has changed in one month; if not for our help, Marquess Niall may not even be able to keep his own land. He wants to turn every gold coin into a magic arrow, so how would he have the money to support his genius daughter studying in the Deepblue? Stop being so naive. If he were that capable, why did he sell you to us?”
The girl grew one shade paler when she heard the word ‘sell.’ A trade had been conducted behind the scenes of the marriage; the hasty exchange of benefits was basically just selling her away.
“Without me, my dearest Miss Minnie, your glamorous and relaxed life as the apprentice of a legendary mage could disappear tomorrow. Have you really thought this through?” Steven’s words blew over Minnie like freezing winds in an icy hell. Her joints stiffened, and her struggles grew feeble.
His hands were just as cold as his voice as they slid down, “If you’ve thought this through, then please spread your legs.”
Minnie suddenly trembled violently, tears involuntarily falling from her closed eyes. Steven soon resumed his elegant tone with a slight smile on his face, “As for Erin, I only have one reason for being interested in her. Our little Richard obviously likes her, which is why I have to make her mine beforehand. You’ll help me with Richard, right?
“My dearest Minnie, you’re too fixated on your magic research, and haven’t paid attention to the outside world for such a long time. I’m sure you haven’t even paid attention to the news about your own family, no? Do you know who it is that attacked Marquess Niall? I can tell you that it’s Viscount Alice Archeron, the same family as Richard Archeron. You should actually be happy; if it was Richard’s father Gaton that had attacked the marquess wouldn’t have been able to hold on until our reinforcements arrived. If that had happened, do you think you would remain worthy of marriage into the Solam Family? You’d be no different from that girl in the border districts. Still, though, the body of a defeated marquess’ daughter would be worth gold. A lot of gold, yes, but still a buyable commodity.
“Alright. This is all to say that Richard is a common enemy. That’s why, dearest, you should help me.”
Steven patted Minnie’s face, and then watched in satisfaction as she looked towards Richard’s residence with hatred.