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 A pitch-black figure flitted by-its eyes glinted with menacing radiance and its blade struck forward.

"---!"

Andre opened his eyes wide and stared at the ceiling in horror. The darkness of the night enveloped his entire room. He gazed blankly into the darkness and despite the beautiful moonlight gently shining into his room, he wasn't in the mood to admire it. He calmed down gradually like a candle flame approaching its end.

He was troubled by the same nightmare of a pitch-black figure almost every night. Whenever he shut his eyes, the image of Rhode clutching his shimmering blade and piercing into his chest re-emerged clearly. Every time he woke up abruptly, he felt his chest stinging in pain as though he was being penetrated once again.

However, the truth was otherwise. He had recovered fully after receiving treatments. Not only that, but the curse infection left behind by Rhode's blade had also been expelled by the Battle Angels. From the surface, Andre seemed as though he had recovered completely. However, only he knew that his soul was still deeply damaged.

Everything that he worked so hard to build had instantly shattered. Only the ice-cold tombstones of his buddies, friends, and companions who risked their lives alongside him were the proof of their existences. But what was the point of this? Who would still remember them? Only Andre.

Andre remembered when he first gathered everyone for the sake of this dream. They weren't elites and most of them were still problematic figures within the military. Andre spent a lot of effort gathering them and fighting for the same goal. They looked forward to the same future as him-to change the future of this country and world.

But now, the boat of dreams had sunk to the bottom before it even sailed off.

There were a few times when Andre hated himself so much. Why was he the only one who survived? If he died with his companions, wouldn't it be easier for him? All his hard work vanished in an instant. Nothing was left. What rights did he have to continue living in this world?

What else could he do?

Andre shifted his gaze to the side table and there was a small, delicate flower in the vase, as well as a white envelope. It appeared as though the flower had been there for a few days. He let out a sigh and shut his eyes. But the white envelope piqued his curiosity. He reached out for it and read the letter under the moonlight. There were lines of beautiful writing.

To Andre:

I don't know if you'll ever read my letter, but I still wrote it because I believe that you're not one who gives up. Although we are facing a lot of troubles now, I believe that you'll pull yourself together. I understand what's going through your head, Andre. This is a painful failure for us. But we have to hang on. Do you know, Andre? When they cremated the Magician Knights, there was only me, Cheryl, and Teacher Soderfast present. The Magician Knights' value was gone as soon as they died on the battlefield. Solent, Beldo, Karam... Who will remember their names after decades? Only us, Andre. We will never forget them. But we will truly let them down if we stop now. They're already dead, but we're still alive. They died for everyone's ideals so you must live on because this is the responsibility that you have to bear. Do you still remember what you told me? Everyone has their own future. They can succeed as long as they don't give up. Don't tell me that you've decided to give up? They sacrificed their lives for the sake of your dreams. If you don't achieve them, how are you going to face them?

I trust that you'll be back, Andre. This isn't the end. We have to continue working hard for our dreams. I've made my decision to not avoid it anymore. The Light Parliament has appointed me to head into the Land of Atonement for an investigation. I understand the risks behind this, but I still accepted. Andre, I'm not avoiding the terrifying monster and you don't have to hide. Lift your head and look forward.

I trust that you'll be back. I'll be waiting for you.

---Sonia L.

"..."

Andre read the letter in silence. The faltering flames in his eyes surged. Sonia's every word had as though turned into sharp blades that penetrated his heart.

That's right. What do I want exactly? Die? But everything that I've worked hard for will be for naught if I leave this world. My companions who died for me... How will I ever face them?

He stepped down from his bed, came to the window, and gazed at the night scenery of Casabianca. The white city was tranquil and peaceful under the luster of the moon. However, it appeared like a burning sea of flames in his eyes where the majestic palace crumbled completely with corpses filling the streets and sorrowful mourns being heard everywhere. Then, pitch-black flags were raised-in the middle was a dazzling pattern of a white star. Under the backdrop of flames and blood, it looked like a devastating army from hell...

Andre felt a chill run down his spine and returned to his senses. The illusion shattered into bits and revealed the same, peaceful city.

In the past, he always thought that it was just a dream. Then, he finally realized that this was a future instead-a future that would possibly become reality.

"I will not give up..."

Andre clenched the letter in his hand, lowered his head, and his eyes glinted in determination. The dazzling flames in his eyes reignited his soul.

"Thank you... Sonia."

I promise that you'll see a whole new me when you return!

The pitch-black whip lashed forward like a viper and struck the young lady's snowy skin heavily.

"Ah...!"

Sonia shivered as she laid on the ground. She lifted her head and screamed in pain and happiness. Her entire body was filled with welts. Rhode stood before her and looked down upon her amusingly.

"You sounded comfortable. Does the whipping make you so excited?"

"Grr..."

Sonia bit her trembling lips and her teary eyes wandered. But to the contrary, the wet, dripping stain below her showed her true sensation. Rhode looked at her in disdain and caressed between her thighs with the whip.

"---!"

She lamented and lifted her head to beg for pity, at the same time avoiding his touches.

"I-I'm not...!"

"Oh? You still don't want to admit? But it makes sense since if you admitted, that would mean that you're a downright pervert. Miss Sonia, would any ordinary women be this wet after being exposed nakedly to the public and being whipped? I didn't expect you to be this licentious."

Rhode lashed the whip.

"Ah-!"

Sonia yelled and her eyes glinted with wavering flashes.

"Ah... Ha... Haa... Haa... Pain... Pain..."

Her screams echoed in the cell, but they didn't mean grief at all. Instead, they were filled with an odd, trembling lust. At this moment, there was no longer fear and panic in her eyes whenever she saw the whip in Rhode's hand. On the contrary, she was anticipative. Rhode smiled, raised the whip and stroked her body.

"Ah..."

The stinging pain and thrill struck her once more. The burning sensation and ripping pain made her incomparably excited. She moaned softly as though craving for more affection and torture.

"Hmm...?"

However, Rhode came to a halt abruptly just when Sonia got caught up in it. She looked up in a daze at the man before her. Rhode retracted his right arm and gazed at her with a smile.

"Have you forgotten, Miss Sonia? You're not my pet yet. As a master, only pets who serve me have the right to enjoy the fun that I give it. Are you willing to be my pet, Miss. Sonia?"

As the master, only the pet who surrenders to be my pet is qualified to enjoy the fun I give.

"I..."

Sonia's eyes wandered blankly. Deep inside her mind, her rationale and instinctive desire to receive happiness confronted each other. Her rationale pulled her back to her senses and reminded her that she couldn't do it. She was a human so how could she serve a scum?

No! I can't give up on my pride! Have I forgotten? Andre is waiting for me to return. I'm going to return to Andre...

Andre?

This name struck her heart like a lightning bolt.

How do I return to Andre in this manner? My body has been violated by this man and even I didn't expect that I would have such a licentious and perverted side. I actually felt so excited and happy to be whipped, insulted, and looked down upon in disdain. I can't wait to soil myself from head to toe and inside-out to become a filthy woman. Since I'm already stained, why don't I just fall into it entirely?

At this moment, another gentle voice emerged inside her head.

Do you still have a choice, Sonia? Isn't this fine? Isn't that good? Give up your restraint as a noblewoman, enjoy the purest and supreme pleasure, forget everything, and serve this man completely as his pet. Is there anything more important than this? You've lost everything and Andre doesn't belong to you anymore! Give up on what you have been pursuing and embrace rebirth! Your body has been violated many times by that man. Do you still intend to dedicate this impure body to Andre?

Rhode's finger slid across her skin. The numbing sensation tickled her soul. Under the instinct that desired happiness, she felt that her screams and rationale were slowly crumbling.

"Ha... Ha... Mas-..."

"Hmm?"

"Mas-... Master! I'm your pet! I swear! I'm willing to be your pet!"

Sonia's tears flowed down her cheeks. She felt an unprecedented sense of excitement and relief after abandoning her dignity. She had given up everything like a wild animal succumbing to its instinctive desires! This acknowledgment left her in utter despair. But it was due to this hopelessness that she felt a strong thrill.

"Please, Master! Give me the supreme happiness! I'm a filthy, perverted woman. Please whip me as hard as you can and humiliate me!"

"Good."

Rhode's eyes glinted with smiles. He lifted the whip in hand.

Swish!

"Ahhhhhhh!"

Sonia felt her pain and happiness reaching their peak. This time, she didn't feel ashamed or afraid. Her head was blank. Her body shivered non-stop and she had completely given up control over it. She opened her mouth wide while saliva flowed and let out moans that were full of joy and despair.

At this moment, her final hint of soberness vanished entirely.

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