Adandito suppressed the emotions he had worked hard on and casually prepared food as if nothing had happened.
The food he prepared with care was filled with ingredients that had been forbidden until now. 

While admiring the dishes that pleased the palate, Siara noticed that something was different about Adandito.

Hierian was not the same.
Unlike Siara, who was confused about what was happening, he didn’t seem bothered by Adandito’s change.

‘I’m enough to play with Siara.
There’s no need for someone like you.’

Hierian grumbled, but he couldn’t act arrogantly as he did during the day.
So, he sincerely played with Adandito.

Adandito never left Siara’s side.
There were contacts from the messengers to meet the High Priest in the middle, but he refused them all.
He didn’t even pray.
He acted as if he had let go of everything at once.

After finishing the meal and playing board games, Hierian suddenly asked, 

“Do you want to drink?”

“Drink? …You’re just a kid.”

“Then let’s make it just me and Siara.”

Siara’s expression showed that she couldn’t adapt to the indifferent tone.

“You keep breaking the rules, so I can’t get used to it.”

“I’m awkward too.”

Siara nodded.
She had trained with Adandito for a few months. 

Adandito had an expression that seemed to say, “I can’t help it.”

After a while of being full and the atmosphere becoming more relaxed, Siara asked with a more comfortable expression than before, 

“Adandito, may I ask why your heart suddenly changed?”

“It’s not that my heart changed, but now I can change.”

“Is it because something happened during the morning prayer?”

“Yes, that’s right.”

Adandito nodded his head slowly as he answered.

“So now I want to practice living an ordinary life.
But I’m not familiar with it.
I don’t know… Can you help me, Lady Siara?”

“What do you want to know?”

“For example, drinking alcohol, eating meat, exploring the city, and sleeping in.
Things like that.”

Even though she couldn’t believe it herself, Adandito couldn’t even eat meat just now. 

He cut the perfectly cooked steak into small pieces, but as soon as the sauce and juice touched his tongue, he spat them out.

Siara, who had been watching that sight, couldn’t bring herself to be mean.

“Well, alright.
I’ll help you.”

“Thank you, Siara.
You’re my benefactor.”

Adandito smiled brightly.
Siara was taken aback by his awkwardness and replied, 

“I’m used to being scolded for my prayers, but I never expected to be praised for something like this.”

Hierian, who had been watching with wide eyes and listening to the conversation, asked, 

“Then, shall we drink?”

Siara and Adandito both replied sternly, 

“You can’t.”

“You can’t either, Hierian.”

“Why? You keep forgetting that I’m about the same age as you guys! And I can drink more than anyone among you.”

At that moment, Siara’s eyes, which had been darkened by her constant attention to Adandito, sparkled.

“Is that true? I can drink a whole bottle and still be fine.”

“I’m the same.
And drinking while healing is cheating, you know?”

“Of course.
I can drink well even without using healing abilities.”

Siara shrugged her shoulders and expressed her confidence.
Hierian also shrugged his shoulders in response. 

Watching them, a thin smile tugged at the corners of Adandito’s mouth.

“Well, at this point, I’m curious about my alcohol tolerance too.
Please teach me well by my side.”

Siara gladly nodded her head.
For the first time since the meal, she spoke in a loud voice.

“Great! As a celebration of the end of training, shall we have a drink after a long time? Let’s go to the kitchen right away!”

“Is it necessary?”

Hierian opened his magic pouch and pulled out a bottle of whiskey.
Pumpkin-colored liquid filled ten bottles on the table in an instant.
Siara was stunned as he took out ice and glasses.

“Why is a kid carrying alcohol like that?”

“I’m not a kid!”

Hierian shouted vehemently.
Siara dryly replied, 

“Well, still.”

Adandito calmly opened the bottle and set up the glasses.

Meanwhile, the sun was setting.
Adandito had once thought that if he didn’t pray in the evening, the world would crumble.
As time passed, he wasn’t as fearful, but his body had developed the habit of moving on its own.

But now, he was opening a bottle of alcohol.
Yet, the world didn’t collapse.
Normally, his head would ache, or his body would hurt, but none of that happened.
He had truly broken the taboo that had been placed on him by Eora.

His nostrils flared.
The aroma of cork filled the air.
It resembled a corner of the incense burned on the altar.
Perhaps that was why. 

Adandito chuckled.
Seeing him laugh for no reason, Hierian whispered to Siara, 

“Why is he like that?”

“He seems strange today.”

“Siara, you shouldn’t be hanging out with him.
He’s dangerous.”

“Hierian, be careful with your words.”

“But there’s something suspicious.
Just in case.
Stay by my side today, alright?”

Siara reluctantly nodded.
Taking advantage of that, Hierian pulled his chair closer and sat next to Siara. 

Adandito returned to his usual expression and poured alcohol into the glasses.

Adandito and Hierian chatted and ate together by Siara’s side.
It seemed like a familiar scene with a few suspicious elements.

* * *

At the same time, Erin was in front of Dianel.
It was right after she received the report that Siara was with Hierian and Adandito.

Since she was scheduled to leave for Astita soon, Dianel intended to meet Siara before sunset.
It was to inform her of the progress of Viscount Leven’s affairs and to see her face at least once more.

Erin tried to stop Dianel’s steps.
There was no time to properly look into her eyes, and her words were abrupt.

“Your Majesty, I came to talk about the rumors circulating in the social circles.”

Dianel didn’t reply.
He already knew about the rumors that spread like wildfire after he and Erin were seen together, even though he couldn’t even look at her properly. 

Moreover, the famous white silk gloves that he had given as a gift were sent by the Empress herself.

The situation was obvious, and there was no time to talk with Erin.
As Dianel tried to pass by her, she asked, 

“Are you going to see Lady Siara?”

At that moment, Dianel’s steps halted.
Instead of answering, he quietly turned to look at Erin.

Feeling the chilling gaze, Erin trembled but continued to speak firmly.

“She is currently with other men.
You know who they are, don’t you? She is playing with the Administrator and the High Priest in her bedroom.”

Thinking it was just a trivial matter, Dianel casually averted his gaze.
His expression conveyed that there was not even worth engaging with such a lowly and bothersome opponent.

Erin was taken aback by the expression that seemed devoid of even a trace of sympathy.

“Why does someone as noble as Your Highness like a woman like her? What am I lacking compared to the lady?”

“…What do you mean, lacking?”

Dianel, for the first time since facing Erin, revealed an expression.
It was a mix of contempt and annoyance as if dealing with a very insignificant and bothersome person.

“From head to toe, there is nothing that can be compared to her.”

“Well, uh…”

Erin couldn’t bear the humiliation and scratched her face.

Dianel stared deeply into Erin’s eyes, which were filled with embarrassment and jealousy, and asked,

“Young lady, do you like me?”

Erin nodded eagerly.
Despite being frightened, she looked at Dianel with an ecstatic expression, completely immersed in love.

Dianel reached out and cupped Erin’s cheek.
At that moment, Erin’s face lit up.
The longtime secretaries standing nearby perceived the situation as very dangerous, but Erin seemed only happy as if she were dreaming.

In response to her emotions, Dianel murmured.

“Do you know what kind of being I am?”

“Well, you are His Highness, the noble prince of the empire–“

“No, you’re wrong.”

Dianel’s hand twisted and took on a monstrous form.
Feeling a chilling and damp sensation just from the touch, Erin startled and instinctively stepped back. 

As she did, she caught sight of Dianel’s grotesquely transformed hand and gasped.

The wet eyes, filled with excitement, quickly turned into terror.
Dianel openly ridiculed Erin and took leisurely steps.

“I am a monster.
When I transform, I become a monster even larger than this palace.”

“That, that can’t be true.
You’re a noble prince–“

“Do you still think that, even after seeing this hand?”

Indeed, the transformed body of the prince looked more like a monster than a noble being. 

Moreover, ever since the contact, Erin could hear screams and laughter somewhere in the background. 

She instinctively trembled at the eerie sensation, as if facing a ghost.
Yet, she remained unwavering until the end.

“Well, it doesn’t matter! I love you, Your Highness.”

Erin answered confidently, her chest puffed out.
In her expression, there was an arrogance that sought to be the only person to embrace the prince’s wounds, gaining trust.

Dianel looked at her and responded sincerely.

“…It’s a pity.”

That was his last chance given to Erin.
An opportunity for her to regain her senses, escape from the clutches of the empress, and live quietly.

However, to Erin, whose eyes had already gone blind, it seemed that she couldn’t see anything anymore.
After all, she had been blind to someone else for a long time, so she had no right to reproach.

He turned away from Erin and took his steps.
Erin’s attendants automatically broke off, distancing themselves from him.

“I will embrace Your Highness! I can do it!”

A mixture of determination and desperation could be heard in her high-pitched voice, but it no longer reached his ears.
Or rather, it wasn’t heard at all.

Since Dianel had resolved to disappear, the rebellion of the dormant demon within him grew stronger. 

Whenever that happened, Dianel would temporarily lose control, and now was one of those moments.

With a contorted face, he muttered.

“It’s truly a pity, Dianel.”

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