I stared at him. He didn’t look straight into my eyes. His gaze was lowered respectfully but he waited for an answer. I could see that he was anxious. His fist clenched and unclenched.
I wasn’t obligated to answer to anybody, much less a servant. But he was helping me clean up the mess I had created. He deserved an answer at least.
He froze. I looked at him and let out a sigh. It was pathetic when people assumed I just killed normally. It looked like he would slit my throat if I posed a danger here. Just because of a misunderstanding.
“It’s… not… I don’t just kill people without reason, obviously,” I said. “It would be nice to live without enemies! Even if you are kind and good, people always come at you to destroy you. Our estate already went through that. My family. My Mother, my father and my brothers are all fair and righteous and they follow the law. They are good people. And yet. There are those who would hurt them. Should I just stand by and see them suffer? Law and Justice and all that bullshit is good to hear about but every system is fundamentally flawed. I am just trying to help my family so they can live in peace while having a trust in the system like they do now.”
I wondered if Alex would let me live on the estate if I explain things to him in this manner. I could tell him the truth maybe after a few years, when we are both a little older.
There was still hope. I could talk to Alex. He would understand even if father wouldn’t.
“But you…,” said Archer, bringing me back to the present situation. “You look like… you enjoy doing this.”
I frowned. “What I enjoy is keeping my family safe and clearing these people out of the way who pose a threat to people I care about,” I explained. “Everyone dies someday. And they should have done the right things if they didn’t want to die early. It’s similar to cleaning out trash.”
Archer finally looked up at me. He wasn’t clenching his fists anymore. But his eyes were hard and his face was pale.
“You say you don’t enjoy it but still you do it,” said Archer. “I have seen people like you, My Lady. I have even worked for some of them. In the end they become so addicted to it that they kill anyone they find weak around them.”
He was right. It was what the Grand Duke had said to me in my past life, too. A killer evolves in the wrong direction. They get addicted to the pleasure of killing. They indulge in the thrill of destroying other people. Will he understand me more because he, too, has killed in his rage?
I had to admit I liked the process of it. The elaborate planning out of details. The thinking it had taken to frame it as a natural death. I enjoyed that. But the act of killing?
I never killed for fun. I didn’t really kill because others were weaker. If Sir Slanted Eyes hadn’t attacked us, I would have been living as the regular, boring old Alice Warwick. Alice had been naïve and innocent, she hadn’t even killed a bug in her fifteen years of life. I wouldn’t go on a rampage and kill anyone I pleased. Would I?
I never look at myself as being powerful and invincible just because I am able to dispose of someone if it came to that. And I would never kill children. Not even in my past life. You don’t live and claim to be strong and powerful and kill helpless children.
I had no idea how I could explain all this to the man in front of me. I had already said enough by confessing I had killed on my estate and explaining why.
“That’s not true. I mean, in terms of you might be stronger than me. Does that mean you will kill me? I am not any different.”
“Will you tell the lord?” Archer looked at me. I rolled my eyes.
“Dead people can’t talk.”
“No,” he said. “I meant…will you tell him about these things I said?”
“Why would I?” I said. “He possibly knows you would have said these things anyway. I understand. It’s alright.”
There were footsteps outside in the corridor. We had wasted valuable time on useless talks.
“Let’s talk later,” I said. “Right now, we need to clean this body up. It will cause too much trouble if the Princess finds out that her food taster is here in this state. And let him know as well. The King sent the girl and the Princess knows about this. She didn’t want to kill him. She just wanted to render him unconscious until she could search his room for any evidence of treason.”
Archer’s face hardened but he didn’t press me anymore. He wiped the blood off the floor with the woman’s skirt, gathered the toes in the folds of her clothes and carried her off on his shoulder.