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TRIGGER WARNING! This chapter has mentions of Rape and attempted rape.
The section mentioned highlighted in the same colour, feel free to skip it if uncomfortable.
Chapter 25: Fool
As Nasha Laturi’s twin sister, Melia Laturi was born and raised in Cofone village.
The Laturi family may have been poor, but their familial relations weren’t poor.
There was her kind and gentle eldest sister, her lively, beautiful, second eldest sister who was the most popular person in the village, her elder twin sister with the same face, and her sickly but cute and honest younger brother. Including herself and her parents, their family of seven led a humble but happy life.
That peaceful life completely changed the day the Knight Templars came from the capital and forcibly took her elder twin sister, Nasha, back to the capital, claiming that she had been chosen as the holy maiden.
While her parents had gone to the nearest town and reported the situation to the stationed knight squad as well as the town mayor, nothing came of it. Maybe they just couldn’t be bothered to lift a finger on behalf of a single missing girl from a small village.
The family might have been at a loss, but there was some good to come out of the situation. When her parents had gone to town, they were approached by a wealthy man who happened to be in town as well. He explained that he knew of Cofone village from when he had gone there to purchase goods in the past and, hearing about their situation, offered his aid. Of course, it was on the condition that one of the two eldest daughters, renowned for their beauty, would be married off to the man as a concubine. Still, for an impoverished villager, it was a good match. The sisters gladly agreed to marry the man regardless of whom he chose, and the middle-aged man sent the parents back to their village with money for surgery for their weak son. Later, the wealthy man contacted them saying, “Unfortunately, I am unable to marry either of the elder sisters as I will be taking a noble lady as my wife. As the situation is like this, please keep the deposit money given.”
That was an act put on by the Laturi parents, for the sake of hiding the fact that they had sold Nasha to the Shrine from their children. However, Melia and her elder sisters did not realize it and were grateful for their sudden good fortune.
With nothing else to worry about, Melia decided to track Nasha down alone. Thankfully, because she shared the same face as Nasha, it was easy enough to gather information just by asking around if anyone knew of a girl with the same face as hers being escorted by knights.
Blessed with luck, Melia continued her journey and somehow managed to reach the town that lay just before the capital.
In that town, Melia was approached by some men claiming to be part of a merchant group who were delivering goods to the capital. They offered to take her to the capital if she helped with loading the goods, and Melia readily agreed.
The men said they would bring her to where the merchant group was staying and led her to a dim-lit building on the outskirts of town.
Within the building, the [sampling] of goods had already begun.
Young women, kidnapped from various places or gathered for sale, were being raped by the men of a kidnapping ring.
It was too late for her to run by the time she realized she had been deceived. Even compared to the other young women, Melia stood out as being especially young and beautiful, and was thus presented to the large man who was the head of the bandits.
Despite her struggles, her clothes were torn off, but moments before she was robbed of her chastity, the kingdom’s knights burst into the kidnapping ring’s hideout. The one who burst into the particular room Melia had been dragged into was Sigurd, accompanying them as support from the Imperial Knights. Stunned by Melia who had the same face as Nasha, Sigurd let down his guard, letting the head bandit escape after dealing him a blow.
After hearing of her situation, Melia was invited to the castle and reunited with Nasha, who had been chosen as the Sacrificial Priestess without her consent, and was trying to escape her current circumstances. Melia informed Nasha of their family’s well being, and requested to be allowed to remain by Nasha’s side as a support and relief for her, and so Melia was allowed to stay in the castle.
She quickly realized that Nasha was in love with the crown prince who was already engaged, and it seemed that the crown prince also had feelings for Nasha. Although the crown prince’s fiancee was Sigurd’s younger sister, His Highness, and not to mention Sigurd himself, were prejudiced against her, so Melia had thought that the fiancee was probably a terrible person.
If so, she might as well make Nasha the queen; then both His Highness and Nasha would be happy.
Speaking to her one-time saviour, Sigurd, and planning together to support the two’s romantic journey, Melia realized that Sigurd was also in love with Nasha. Sigurd didn’t reveal his feelings to anyone, keeping it hidden in his heart like a treasure.
When she found out his feelings, the pain in her heart made Melia realize that at some point, she had fallen for Sigurd.
She shared the same face with Nasha. Would it be possible for her?
Melia revealed to Sigurd that she knew of his feelings for Nasha, and laid her own feelings out to him. Sigurd said he may need time to sort out his feelings, but would agree if she was willing to wait. Thus, their relationship started,
Unlike His Highness and Nasha who were unabashed about their mutual love, Sigurd and Melia’s relationship was a pure and modest one with decorum. Even so, Sigurd always chose Melia to escort without fail and, after several dates, he let Melia wear his mother Yurikano’s keepsake pendant at a ball.
She was happy, unbearably delighted— in utter bliss.
However, several days after that ball, she overheard what some noble ladies visiting the castle said, causing her heart to freeze over.
Sigurd’s family, the Asbal family, was a long-standing duchy lineage, who had served as Prime Minister for generations. It would not be a problem if she was a titled noble lady, but the commoner Melia would, at most, only be allowed to be a mistress. Becoming his legal wife was impossible. On the other hand, should Sigurd throw away his family name and title for Melia, he would then have difficulty serving the Crown Prince. There wasn’t the slightest chance he would allow that to happen.
That was why.
That was why, Melia, who was suffering from a love divided by status jumped at the chance presented to her.
By becoming the Dragon Priestess, she would be given equal status as Sigurd, even if it was only for a single generation, but she hadn’t understood anything regarding the heavy responsibility that accompanied the position.
Before the excruciating pain brought about by being the Dragon Priestess, Melia’s small amount of dignity served her little.
Every time the effects of the healing spells cast by the healers dissipated and she was overwhelmed again by intense pain, Melia would scream and cry without shame or honour, finding fault with everyone around her. If the mood struck her, she would abuse the ladies-in-waiting who looked after her, and the joy gained from their unresisting existences allowed her to forget her pain momentarily. When she found out there was a medicine that could relieve the pain of the Dragon Priestess, she threatened Malacia and Lutora into giving it to her.
Suimo’s effects were extraordinary, and after a long while, she was finally able to pass her days without excruciating pain. Thanks to finally being able to sleep and swallow food again, Melia slowly returned to her former beautiful self.
Around the time Melia recovered, someone visited her confessional room; someone who had somehow, somewhere, gotten a glass bottle filled with a flower with round petals sunken in pale purple liquid— a large-built man who had Suimo in his possession.
After feeding Melia a single drop of Suimo of his fingertip to prove it was real, he pushed the desperate Melia to the floor, a vulgar smile showing from underneath the hood he wore to hide his scars.
“It’s been a while… Do you still remember me?”
“More… Give me more.”
“You… are the woman of the man who gave me these scars, right? Perfect. I’ll make that knight’s wife’s body into something unbelievable.”
“I’ll do anything, I’ll do anything so—”
That day, the boss of the kidnapping ring who Sigurd and the knights had allowed to escape, leisurely took Melia’s virginity, using Suimo as bait.
After that, the man would bring several ruffians into the confessional room and give Melia Suimo while they played with her body as they pleased.
Due to the side effects of having taken copious amounts of Suimo, Melia had long since lost her reason and had the unwaveringly blind faith, that even after her body was tainted this much, she would still be able to become Sigurd’s wife.
And then, one day.
And then, one day while rolling around in her bed, tired of waiting for the day her role as Dragon Priestess would end, her beloved sister, Nasha’s, shout reached Melia’s ears.
“Sigurd is being hoodwinked by that woman… That’s right, it’ll be fine if we just feed the Sacrificial Priestess to the dragon sooner! Once the Sacrificial Priestess is eaten by the dragon, the Dragon Priestess’s role will be done, right? Everything will be solved then!”
Oh, I see, that’s right.
That woman should be referring to the Sacrificial Priestess, Julieta.
Deceiving my beloved Sigurd is unforgivable.
“Let’s do that! Hurry and have Julieta eaten by the dragon! It would save Melia, and also satisfy the dragon that supports the kingdom! It’s a great idea!”
Aah, as expected, her sister was both kind and wise.
She was a splendid woman who always thought about Melia.
Melia, who sent praise to her elder twin sister in her heart.
Melia, who praised her elder twin sister from the bottom of her heart, was fawning over the man who always brought her Suimo just a few days later.
“Hey, There’s something I’d like to ask of you.”
Melia offered up the one remaining proof of a bond she had left. The pendant she couldn’t even remember receiving from Sigurd, the proof of being his lover was the only thing she had left to offer the man to coax him to do her bidding.
“The Sacrificial Priestess, Julieta. Could you feed her to the Ancient Dragon? If you do that, it would immediately set me at ease.”
“Heh…? The reward would be this pendant? It does seem to have some worth.”
“When I become Sigurd’s wife, I’ll hire you…We can enjoy ourselves every day.”
At some point during their relations, he’d slowly grown addicted himself to Suimo after having licked it off of Melia’s skin. That was why her suggestion sounded so appealing to the man.
“Alright…I will listen to your request.”
“Really!? Thank you!”
Clinging to the nodding man’s large neck, Melia rejoiced.
“Oh right. At the same time, would you kill Julieta’s father too? Sigurd hates him, and I don’t think I can get along with him either.”