Lil assumed that Cesar didnt really know her heart when he reached out to her.
Even when she stayed motionless, in his eyes the situation called for him to offer his help.
His victory or defeat depended on the willingness of Lil to grab that opportunity.
She could still vividly remember Cesars outstretched hand.
‘I had warned him not to do this, but his hand still turned towards me.
At that time Lil had been overcome with a sudden thirst.
Her throat had been slowly drying up and twisted with an unknown longing, unbeknownst to her it had been shouting for freedom.
– Freedom! Freedom! –
She initially wondered how she could quench this thirst and when she looked around at other people, she discovered the sweet taste of water that was known as freedom.
That had made Lil hold his hand.
‘But looking back, was it done with a sane mind
Like everyone else, Lil wasnt perfect.
She said she was determined, but in fact, she was not.
If the desire for freedom was gnawing on her left, Mortu gnawed on her right side.
And in Mortus hellish castle, Lil may have already gone mad.
‘When a single ray of light suddenly crosses the darkness, all eyes are drawn to it, so I couldnt help but look at it, too.
Who can resist that light Who can close their eyes and not be drawn to its breathtaking beauty
Blinded by the freedom she longed so much for, Lil fell into Cesars arms.
She finally swallowed the sweet tasting freedom, but the price of her irresponsibility was high.
She had a hard time turning away from a man who said he only wanted love and nothing else.
‘Can I even turn away from this man
She wanted to love him.
Lil had truly tried, but till now, she was unable to do so…
Cesar left and Lil, who was alone again, closed the shutters.
Laying on the bed, her dizzy spirit was sucked back into Mortus castle.
Many shadows were chasing her in that castle, which some call the underworld and some call hell.
In this place, Lil was always at a disadvantage.
It was common to have no legs while running or have no eyes while looking around.
Thats why her corpse-like body failed to run away again today.
So instead, she hid behind a pillar she often hid behind and started talking to herself as she trembled in fear.
“…No, dont come to me, because Ill be obliged to give it back again… dont…”
The words she uttered like a spell were useless.
The darkness that approached quickly stopped just before her feet.
“Hey, stop it! Oh no!”
A hand emerged from the darkness.
She couldnt stop crying.
She didnt know if her eyes were still properly embedded, but tears just kept coming out.
Lil spoke pleadingly.
“Dont give it to me, I wont take it.
The hand gently grabbed her hand.
Lil twisted her wrist with all her might, trying to get her hand out.
But her efforts were futile and it handed the lump to her.
Lil looked down at it with trembling eyes.
With her tears still pouring down, Lil sobbed sadly.
“…This is your heart…”
Lils tears flowed constantly over the bloody lump of tissue.
Seeing her despairing state, the god of death whispered.
“…Why dont you just quit..”
As it was slippery, the heart slipped out of her grasp.
Lil looked at her feet as something fell in front of it.
While she looked down, her whole body began to tremble in contemplation.
Instead of the marble floor, Lil was standing on a never-ending pile of hearts.
Distraught, she opened her arms wide.
“…See I still have this much left…”
The god of death chuckled at the same time.
“…Cant I take your whole body from you then..”
“No, you cant… because Ill have to pay you back… I have to take it back… I have to give it this much…”
As if being sucked into a swamp, she could see her feet gradually disappearing.
She tried to lift her knees with all her might but to no avail.
“This, this much…”
In an instant, she sank up to her knees.
“This is a lot…”
Suddenly, she couldnt see below her waist.
Her eyes stained with panic stared in the air, but the death god only gazed down at her with joy.
It was getting harder and harder for her to breathe.
In despair, as her death watched, Lil thought.
When she woke up, Lil lay in bed like a corpse.
After some time, she finally got up and left the room.
The hall was filled with breakfast eaters, but she couldnt muster up the will to care.
Lil went down the stairs without any thoughts, passed the alley without any thoughts and walked over the market without any thoughts.
From her head to her ankle, with every step she took, it felt like she was walking through the air.
Even when she bumped into someones shoulder and overheard abusive language, Lil kept walking, or when she stepped on a duck crossing the road, Lil kept walking.
As the morning dawned, the market became more and more crowded.
Nonetheless, Lil was unconcerned.
Not far from the market was the tent for recruiting new crew members for the Bell Rock.
After entering she saw Jericho dozing off on the chair in front of her desk.
Impatiently, Lil kicked the chair to get Jerichos attention.
Jericho rolled on the floor, woke up and lifted his head with a drowsy expression as if was having a pleasant dream.
But instead of getting up, he moved his body into a more comfortable position and the eyes that were wide open a moment ago closed again.
Lil slid into the chair, leaving Jericho to sleep on the dirty floor.
‘In the end, hes still like this.
Its been a struggle for us for years.
People passing by were taken aback by Lils sudden outburst.
Even though she screamed out of nowhere, she didnt feel any better.
Lil struck herself in the chest with her fist, ignoring all the stares.
Her heart, which had been thrown into a massive hole with no end in sight, kept falling endlessly.
She was filled with nothing but emptiness.
The Bell Rock rules, the Bell Rock Code.
They were all engraved by her own hands, but Cesar defied those rules in an instant.
Still, Lil couldnt refute him.
He saved her.
For Cesar, the most important thing was Lils safety, the rest was just collateral damage.
It was obvious that he would never understand what the Bell Rock meant to her.
Hes just waiting for Lils play to end soon.
After that, he hoped to be able to give her abetter life.
He put up with her long whim for the sake of that ending.
As he couldnt leave her, he was forced to participate.
Thats why Lil couldnt say a word to Cesar.
As he also devoted many years to the Bell Rock.
Besides, Cesar constantly appeased Lil.
He was never compelled.
He would have resisted if he had been forced, but he was always gentle.
Nonetheless, they fought frequently in their early days.
But the more enraged he became, the more bitter Lil reacted.
That was when he realised he acted the same way as he accused Mireille of.
And Lil realised that the more she went against him, the more guilt she felt as this was far from repaying him for everything hes done for her.
So they both cut off their own tongue.
The less they talked and the less they expressed their feelings, the faster they got along.
Since then, theyve had good days without much friction.
Thats why Lil was unable to express her true feelings now; Her resentment toward him for giving her life and the Bell Rock but then taking it away, as well as the sorrow she feels for herself or the desire to bring back every sailor who has fallen victim to the sea.
‘If I could bring them back, Id swim and wander the Ingres sea for tens or hundreds of years! I wish I could, but I cant.
Its obvious that this guilt will only increase.
Without him, this life wouldnt have been possible, and going against him felt so shameless.
Lil grabbed her mouth as her stomach came up.
I cant spit it out.
Are you feeling sick”
Lil heard a voice she didnt want to hear in her current state and eventually quickly gave up a gag.
Ed, who had been a few steps away, anxiously and quickly approached her.
“Captain Did you eat something wrong”
Lil hit Eds hand, which reflexively stretched out toward her to check if she had a fever.
At the same time, a furious tone was uttered once again.
“Your complexion isnt good.”
“Why the hell did you come here”
“Although Im a patient and in recovery, Im still a doctor.
I was going to rest until noon, but I decided to walk around the market for some sightseeing.
The market has been open since quite early in the morning even though the sun is still rising.”
Ed sat down on the floor next to Jericho.
“I wanted to say thank you, so I went looking for the Captain and someone mentioned youd be here.”
Lil, who isnt in the mood to deal with Ed, gave a sharp answer.
“Stop talking to me.”
“My stomach… You see, the stitching on my wound was beautifully done.
Your craftsmanship is amazing.”
“Ive never seen a traditional Delorian embroidery knot so perfect in my life…”
For some reason, Ed has the talent to make you feel like youre losing if you dont answer, so Lil shouted a lie.
“I didnt do it!”
Ed shouted back, raising his voice at the same time.
“Why do you think I did it”
Ed answered inwardly.
‘Well, youre the only one who knows how to embroider the Empires traditional style on the Bell Rock…
“Well, thats of course…Uh…Well, didnt the Captain ask me how to do a suture”
“The ships carpenter did it, so go see him.”
“Uh, wheres he then”