I had never thought about being wary of Leah. I didn’t think she meant any malicious intent. The throne could control demons, but what did that have anything to do with me? There were no more demons. If someone could control demons by sitting on the throne, the bishop, the pope or Sisi would’ve hijacked it already. There’d be no way they would leave it sitting there. I assumed Angelina was too tense. Moreover, even if I wanted to leave, it would be inappropriate, wouldn’t it? Trying to travel at night in foreign land was dangerous no matter how I thought about it. To add, it was pouring. Sure, there were some small tents at the former camp that were still standing. I wasn’t convinced they could keep me dry, however.
“Ross, light up the candles. Leah, is there any place to stay in this castle?”
Leah excitedly grabbed my hand and replied, “This way, Papa. Our room is in the corridor we saw when we first entered. That was where my original dad, wives and children were. Leah was just alone at the time, though. Leah doesn’t know where everyone else went.”
“I killed thirteen,” informed Veirya, calmly looking at Leah.
“Oh, I killed more, then. I killed sixteen,” boasted Angelina, arms folded.
Leah shrieked and dashed behind me. Although they were just siblings and not really her family, scaring Leah with that wasn’t appropriate… Of course, I was more focused on why the Demon King was allowed to have children in that fashion.
“Does being a Demon King provide one with the privilege of boldly starting a harem and having children left, right and centre? If that’s how it is, being a Demon King isn’t so bad… Stop, stop, stop, what am I thinking? If I think about it carefully, what I’m doing now is no different to what the Demon King did. I can’t tell my future child with Veirya that Leah was our only child in name. Additionally, if I have assets, our child would be the only one to inherit it when he or she is actually my second child. My first child might have to succeed the empire’s throne,” I mused.
I caressed Leah’s head and thought, “Make that my third. Actually, if that was how they were ranked, Lucilia’s adopted child… So… my only… or rather, he or she would be my last child… That sounds sort of sad… I should stop. If I don’t say anything, our child won’t know and neither will anyone else…”
The place really looked as though there were people maintaining the place once Ross lit up two candles. It had been a long time, yet there was still oil and wick as though the castle didn’t have any history, leading to me questioning, who exactly is maintaining this place?
Sisi would ransack the castle, yet the castle’s interior was unbelievably tidy. I could feel everything with my touch. Ross wouldn’t have been able to light candles if we were in an illusion. Angelina lit up a candle she took from the entrance and passed it to Leah, who led the way.
I recognised the red carpet stretching along the long corridor behind the throne that we tread on for my face had been planted on it before. The corridor was exactly as I remembered it. As such, it felt extremely oppressive for me. None of us spoke a word, while the flickering flames stretched and contorted our shadows.
Ross continued to light up candles on the way, but the light didn’t help relieve me of the horror haunting me. To the contrary, it only served to rattle me more. Silent and bright flames in a narrow corridor, tell me that’s not freaky.
After walking for some time, the path widened all of a sudden. It explained why Veirya was able to hunt Leah with a sword back then. I couldn’t identify where I first hugged Leah. To me, all the walls were identical.
I didn’t know why they had to design such a long corridor. We had to walk for ages before finally sighting some doors. Curious, I opened a room that I presumed one of the children’s rooms.
Nothing inside matched my expectations. Sure, I wasn’t informed of the demons’ appearance, nature and whatnot. Still, my impression was that they should’ve had blood-themed decorations in their rooms since they were a violent race. It just surprised me that they were so clean and tidy. As a matter of fact, the style bore a striking resemblance to the room I shared with Leah. Scratch that; it was the exact same. There was a large bed, simple bedside cupboards, a timber table and chairs, as well as a wardrobe and window. I wondered if I was having hallucinations. The floor felt the same as the flooring we had in our property in the North, even creaking the same way. The rain outside coursed down the window pane that chilled my hand. There was no doubt that everything was real. Nothing felt foreign.
“Leah, this room…”
“What’s wrong, Papa?”
“Isn’t this room… our room in the North? How is it the exact same…?”
“But this is how it always was,” Leah innocently claimed.
Veirya was as confounded as I was.
“They’re too similar. This is copy and paste. Why is a room in the Demon King’s castle the exact same as our room in the North?” I pondered.
I suddenly recalled Angelina’s warning: “Beware of Leah…” That’s right. We were in the Demon King’s castle, a place that none of us were familiar with. The one who was familiar with it was Leah.
I had one main question: “What exactly is hiding behind Leah’s smile?”
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