His gaze might have been one of intellectual interest or just purely calculating. But all of those figurative phrases meant nothing when my eyes met his. It just feels… hazy.
Amidst those thoughts, I shook my head, trying to snap out of it. No way. I am not going to be captivated by his looks. What kind of face is this, anyway? I had to remind myself that he was a mad tyrant who killed every living thing that got in his way.
He doesn’t change even after he meets the heroine. He’s gentle to her only. This means he’d always be just an evil tyrant to me! He could slice my throat open at any given moment… He’s a murderer… Good. It did work. My head was clearing.
“Is there a problem, my lady?” the tyrant cut through my thoughts.
He looked at me indifferently. His head was slightly cocked to the side, which seemed to be provoking on its own. I dazedly tore my gaze away from him and looked towards the tyrant’s aides, who had floated gracefully away upon my arrival. I could see the blond guy from earlier. He looked like part of the furniture now.
Marveling at that, I mumbled, “No, Your Majesty.”
Courteous toward ladies, is that right? I shook my head mentally. I’d say that it was probably his face that had mostly appealed to the ladies. Anyway. I had thought just looking at the tyrant would trigger one of those video-like memories.
Apparently not. Was that occurrence random too? Whatever. I had to focus now. Giving him a small smile, I shook my head.
“It’s just that you are even more beautiful than they say, Your Majesty. Please forgive my rudeness.”
“Is that so?” His lips curved slightly.
“Yes, I… Please, if you will, Your Majesty.”
“Then pay with your life for the rudeness.”
Before he could say something like this, I changed the subject.
“May I ask you a question?”
I quickly scanned his waist to look for a sword. Thankfully, he wasn’t wearing one.
“We’ve only just met, and you want to ask me a question?”
To know that I wasn’t going to be cut open now was a small relief. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see his aides inching away even more. I looked up at the tyrant again.
“Go ahead then,” he said lazily, looking somewhat bored. “What is it?”
“I’ve heard that you enjoy unusual things, Your Majesty. Is it true?” I asked quickly.
Smiling like a shy girl, I waited for his answer.
“Hm, was that so?” He cocked his head to the side. “Well.”
The smile on his lips did not quite reach his eyes, which bored into my smiling face.
“And what if I said so?”
I smiled brightly as if delighted. He watched me for a moment, then spoke in a voice tinged with laughter.
“My lady, if you’re planning on surprising me with something unusual, you might as well forget it.”
I had never found something to be so shocking. He sounded almost as if he couldn’t be bothered with me. But he was still replying, which had to mean that he wasn’t completely disinterested. That was good enough for me.
“Oh… As this is my first time seeing you as your fiancée, I thought I’d present you with something interesting,” I said in a small voice, crestfallen. “Wouldn’t you like to see it, Your Majesty?” I added sadly, with a small hopeful smile.
He blinked wordlessly. I knew it. With his terrifying reputation, he probably wouldn’t have expected me to reply at all. Generally, when he refused someone once, they’d skitter away in fright.
Curling his lip, he countered, “In this hall, you mean?”
I could feel the countless gazes watching the conversation between the tyrant and me. Even the clatter and chatter had faded away when I started talking to him. It was the perfect stage.
“You’re here now, and that’s all that matters to me, Your Majesty,” I said, in my best impression of a shy girl’s voice.
Nothing matters as long as you are here. I was doing my best to look like a girl dizzy with excitement. Right. Think of all the chickens you’ll have after this. That should give me some courage.
His eyes thinned slightly at that. Then the corners of his eyes curved. It was clear that it was not a genuine smile. But the voice that floated out of his lips was almost melodic.
“Alright. But be sure you won’t be sorry when I’m not impressed.”
His words sounded like a deadly warning. But that was all right. At least he wouldn’t kill me out of boredom after this.
“Let’s see it, my lady,” he said indifferently.
The gaze scrutinizing me lifted.
“Thank you. Please watch carefully.” I made a point to sound touched, then gathered a few cups of wine from a nearby table.
“I’m going to show you a magic trick now,” I said in an airy whisper that clearly sounded like I was not in my right mind.
Magic? He looked slightly confused, probably thinking something along the lines of, “Is Scarlett Arman a witch?”
“In a few moments, the color of this boring dress will turn into a magnificent scarlet,” I continued in a clearer tone, cutting through his thoughts.
His eyes that had gone sharp at the mention of magic turned a shade more doubtful. I began pouring the cups of wine onto my dress one by one.
With some additional sound effects. The hall immediately fell deathly silent. Then—
“She… What is she doing?”
Little gasps and screams began bursting out from different corners of the great hall. Without even bothering to look at them, I poured the fifth cup out as if savoring it.
“Oh, it smells so nice!”
Trying to seem shy and look like I was genuinely enjoying the wine at the same time, I glanced at the tyrant occasionally with a proud smile. I quickly scrutinized his face. Yep. It was definitely working.
There was an unfamiliar glint in the tyrant’s once-bored eyes. His gaze had turned piercing as if he had gotten over the initial shock. Jittering about shyly, I pretended to be completely flattered by his attention.
I could barely keep from cheering when the utterance escaped his lips. The look he gave could not have been any clearer. Where did that nutcase come from? Finally!
Under his burning, savage gaze, the dress had completely soaked up the wine and its color. The scent of the wine was overwhelming. I checked the dress carefully for any leftover spots.
Turning to him, I smiled shyly, saying, “Wasn’t it interesting?”
At my genuine tone, the tyrant opened his mouth slightly, then closed it again. Oooh, he looks a little more human now. Now that was what I called a lifelike expression. Holding a cup gracefully, his hand had stopped in its tracks too. He stared at me with narrowed eyes. Then his lips quirked up.
“It was interesting, yes,” he said. “How you…”
Went completely crazy back there. I could practically hear the unspoken words. “I prepared this magic trick just for you, Your Majesty. I’m glad that you seem to like it.”
Shy. Bashful. As if waiting for him to tell me that I was beautiful. I stared at him with passionate eyes and rosy cheeks I got from holding my breath. Take a good, long look. Are you really going to marry this nutjob? Would you, Your Majesty?
Maybe I could get out of the engagement with this act alone! This was actually a performance I had devised after hours of careful planning. According to the book, he liked wine and blood-red things. So, this kind of fits his taste.
It was also an effective way to make me look crazy too. Those were the main reasons I chose this act, but the sight of the duke, who looked like he was going to pass out of anger, was definitely a plus. Perfect.
“Heh.” Even though I was still wearing the shy expression, I couldn’t stop a devilish laugh from escaping.
“What’s so funny?” His lips were also curled in amusement. I blinked, then smiled brightly.
“I succeeded,” I said, still in a flattered voice.
“In giving you an unusual and interesting experience.”
“Very much so. Are you proud?” His smile looked like it could kill.
When I exclaimed, quavering, “Yes,” he took an unnoticeable step backward.
We hope you enjoyed this preview of Ten Ways to Get Dumped by a Tyrant! The entire volume one is available on our web reader.