One hour before Larissa’s death.
“I will not let you manipulate Lord Remington’s castle!” Ellerie shouted, tears stinging her eyes. Yet she refused to cry—not in front of Larissa, she could not. “His heart, his people! None of those is yours!”
They were in the prison of the castle, where Larissa was tied to a pole, her wrists bound behind her by chains that locked any magical powers. However powerful she was, she could not use her abilities once caught in those chains.
In front of the tearful Ellerie, Larissa seemed unusually calm; nay, she was normally calm as well, she was merely unexpectedly calm—at least according to Ellerie’s interpretation.
Larissa chuckled. It was just one short breath out of her nose, yet it was a chilling breath that somehow froze even Ellerie’s tears.
“Oh, Ellerie,” she said, “You are so innocent, it makes me want to puke. If you’re going to get rid of me, just do it already. Why fake those mermaid tears?”
For a moment, Ellerie trembled. Her tears were as real as her feelings for Remington. How could the witch say they weren’t? Moreover, how did she freeze her tears even when chained? Since when had she acquired such power?
“I’m not a witch,” Larissa clarified, “Everyone here has some kind of power. What makes me so special? Is it because I haven’t been charmed by your lord?”
“Mh...!” To this, Ellerie did not reply. Larissa must really be a powerful witch indeed, she thought. She made her hesitate, with just one line, even though deep inside, she was sure that it was Remington’s affection that Larissa wanted.
She’s just provoking me, Ellerie thought, don’t fall for it. Wait for Lord Remington…
As if on cue, the master arrived. His footsteps were so quiet they were almost inaudible.
“Executioner,” he said in an even tone.
At his command, a masked and armored male stepped up. Executioners were always masked and for one reason: so that acquaintances of the executed would not be able to identify and avenge their loved ones.
“Waste no time,” Remington told the executioner, “Make sure the witch Larissa is dead. No need for torture...just make sure she is dead.”
The executioner nodded. He did not speak, for the same reason he did not show his face.
“Ha!” A curt, dry sound of laughter escaped Larissa’s bloodred lips. “Look me in the eyes one last time, Remington,” she demanded.
Almost instinctively, Remington turned, gazing into her eyes one last time.
“You will pay,” Larissa said, simply but confidently.