Chapter 6: Jeremy Makes an Appearance

Should I kill myself and try my luck at being born again? I thought pitifully. 

That was a depressing idea; maybe I might have had a different life before being Korean. I was unable to determine whether this was my third or fourth life. Perhaps my suffering went beyond that of being an Agriche.

Why is it me and not a genuine villain that was born into this family? Despite having my surname from birth, I felt no special affection for my family, this home, or the ideals I had been taught.

I did, however, concur with one principle I had learned while studying here: seize an opportunity when it presents itself.

Even though everyone in this place was crazy, only the strongest survived.

This damned family had the ability to drive anyone insane.  There was only one outcome if you didn’t fit in: you would be treated like trash. I still remembered how this family had disposed of Asil. He had passed away only because our father thought of him as a defective product.

Since then, I’ve worked hard to rank among the family’s most accomplished members. But I was still aware. No matter what abilities I had and how much I developed, I would never be safe from the eyes of my father, stepparents, and siblings. 

Knock Knock

“Miss Roxana, May I come in?”

“Yes, please do.” I replied. 

A maid entered my room through the door with an expressionless face. It was a daily ritual for Emily to come see me around this time. 

She was holding a tray with a glass of water and a white sheet of paper that had been precisely folded into the shape of a packet. 

“Go ahead” I said.

“Miss,you are currently developing an immunity against the fifth stage of N- poison. Today your dose’s potency has increased by 0.2 peron.* Your current dosage of 4.7 peron is lethal for an average human. The test subjects had experienced severe abdominal pain after consumption.”

I carefully opened the packet and poured the white powder into the glass of water. The explanation might have sounded a bit scary and bloody to one’s ears, but it was of no consequence to me. I drank slowly.

Every Agriche was taught to develop an immunity against most poisons from an early age. In order to make sure that none of the doses were lethal, the powders and serums were precisely measured and blended. My siblings and I would rather look forward to excruciating agony or momentary paralysis than death.

However, I was now ingesting this poison for my own personal reasons rather than building up immunity.

“What is Jeremy doing now?” I said.

“I last saw him in his room, Miss.”

Before Emily could take my empty glass, my door started being pounded on impatiently. The wood on the door continued to beat in a hard, rapid cadence until I nodded to Emily that I would see the guest. 

A young boy shoved Emily aside and sprinted into the room as soon as she opened the door. His attractive face was lit up by the brightness of his brilliant blue eyes. His dark hair looked great against the color.

“Sana!” he shouted excitedly.

His outburst didn’t surprise me.

My younger half-brother, Jeremy. Other than Charlotte and me, he had witnessed my father bring Cassis Pedelian home as a trophy and heard that Cassis was going to be transferred to the dungeons.

The question of how I should handle Jeremy had been on my mind since yesterday. He was fifteen years old and a bit more crazy than my other siblings. He was a predictable child to me and I had anticipated that he would seek me out by now. 

In the novel, Jeremy was the villain who had kidnapped the female main lead. He was the sole reason that led to our family’s demise.

“When did you return to your room, Noona? I was here before—.” When Jeremy realised he was whining like a child, he stopped.

“You. What are you still doing here? Aren’t you going to leave?” he turned to Emily. His demeanor changed completely as he turned to the maid, as if he found her very annoying. If someone else had walked in blindly, they might have thought that Jeremy was scolding a younger child.

To show her respect, Emily avoided making eye contact with the noble and just stared blankly. She continued to carry out my orders. She bowed her head to Jeremy before looking at me for further instructions. I could have told her to kick Jeremy out of the house with a quick glance. I turned her away instead.

“You may leave, Emily,” I said. 

With a bow, she exited.

Jeremy’s bright eyes looked behind Emily as she turned to leave. He typically wouldn’t hurt anyone who worked for me, but if Emily riled him up enough, it was always possible.

“Jeremy.” I called out, once the door closed. I kept a straight expression despite being annoyed with him. We had a routine. I acted like the kind and friendly older sister to him, and in return he was at my beck and call.  

I held out my hand. Jeremy’s eyes remained fixed on the door for a second, as if he were still considering how to deal with Emily, before he brought his attention back to me. 

He drew nearer. “Before, your room was empty.Where did you go?” He questioned.

He quickly sat down at my feet while holding my hand. He smiled, leaning on my leg like a dog waving its tail at its owner.

I understood why Jeremy had felt the need to fire Emily so quickly. He was unable to display his kind side to others. When he entered my room, I could still picture his bewildered expression. He had been upset that I had not sent for him earlier. 

“I was in the hatchery.” I lied. 

“Where the poisonous butterflies hatch?”

“Yes,” I said. I didn’t tell him that I had returned from the dungeons after seeing Cassis Pedelian.

Jeremy frowned at my response. He trusted me but disliked my answer. “Are you going to truly let those things hatch?”

“There is only one egg left. I hope I will succeed.” I said. 

“I wish it would die just like the others.”

“The eggs are hard to come by. It would be a shame if we did not get a fantastic result.” I said.

Jeremy maintained his frustrated expression. I understood that he was worried about me. He had not learned to hide his emotions yet.

In the novel, he was portrayed by the author as a dimwitted villain who didn’t hesitate to kidnap the main character or reveal all of the secrets of the Agriche family to her when she was imprisoned.

Even though Jeremy was still youthful and adorable, I could already see some of his reckless personality. When he became excited, his head would bob and his skinny legs would be crossed on the ground. He was desperate and sweet around me, despite the fact that he typically acted like every other Agriche: vicious and devilish.

I brought up Cassis Pedelian, “About the toy that father brought last time.” 

Jeremy was now rubbing one of my knees with his forehead.

“It’s odd that Father forbade us from seeing him.” I said.

“I agree!” Jeremy said. His excitement raised the pitch in his voice.

“It must not be an ordinary prisoner,” I said.

Jeremy’s eyes widened as he took in my words.

He questioned doubtfully, “Are you interested in that toy?”

I gave him a moment to fiddle with my dress’s folds before raising his face away from my skirts.

“Noona, you’ve never shown any interest in any of the toys before.” Jeremy said.

“This one looks fun,” I said.

His eyes narrowed as I gave him a gentle smile. With skepticism, he asked, “Really?

He appeared to be deliberating for a while as he cast a far-off glance toward the room’s corner. He put his chin back on my lap. “Then I will give him to you, Noona.”

It was a tremendous sacrifice on Jeremy’s part. Rarely did he share. I was confident he would agree in this situation. His eyes looked up at me intensely. 

“I was good, wasn’t I! Praise me please, Noona!”

I smiled  again and stroked his hair. Jeremy gently stroked his cheek across my hand like a tiny, furry animal. He was like a cat who was purring in content. 

I was aware that this boy would grow up to be a vicious creature. But I must admit, my heart did tend to soften a little when he clung to me and yearned for attention like this. Jeremy was easy to care for, and in return he was always willing to fulfill my wishes.

I’m so happy that you do what I want you to, I thought dryly.

I continued to pet him affectionately while thinking of other ways to use him. 

Jangmi – Jeremy is soo cute and adorable to me. 

*Peron is a made-up measurement in the novel.