I Quit Being the Rival of the Strongest Male Lead - Chapter 3
Translator and Editor: Skye and Gina
Chapter 3 – Desiring Lam (2)
“I-it’s an attack! What the hell is this!?”
The High Priest shouted and jumped.
When he saw the poisoned needles in my back, he was astonished.
“Who dares to do this to me, God’s highest servant?”
I sighed as I straightened my tingling back.
They weren’t aiming for him, who appeared to have misunderstood, but for Ian Weidross.
Indeed, that was a logical assumption given that the High Priest has more enemies than Ian.
“I’m sure it’s the work of atheists!”
Terrorism by atheists was also a frequent thing, therefore he suspected it was true. That’s why the heir of Weidross led the Knights and even escorted the convoy.
“God will not forgive you!”
I wasn’t expecting this misunderstanding, it was fine with me. The more people who believed it was terrorism against the Holy Father, the better.
‘The more they believe that’s the case, the more Reid and I go off the suspect list.’
While the High Priest was screaming his rage, I hurriedly scanned Ian’s body.
Fortunately, not a single poison needle touched him.
“Annabelle Nadit, what the hell is this?”
His red eyes were filled with disbelief as he stared at me.
“Well, it would have been a great issue if his Holiness had been injured, but for a swordsman, it’s nothing.”
I replied rashly, not even looking him in the eyes.
“There is nothing wrong with your body movement.”
It was normal because I had already consumed an antidote.
“Okay then, bye.”
I hoped that now that no one had been harmed, this matter would fade into oblivion.
“Aren’t you Annabelle Nadit?”
I was ready to leave when the High Priest grabbed my hand.
“I believe you came in second place in the past two swordsmanship tournaments. God bless you for jumping like that simply to save my life.”
His eyes were gleaming. With deadly needles in my back, I answered awkwardly.
“I just did what needed to be done.”
“No, still this kind of favor…”
The High Priest, who was about to retire due to his old age, was moved to tears and was unable to continue speaking.
“I even requested that the Knights of Weidross escort me, and you, who had no obligation to do so, came forward and sacrificed yourself…”
Because I was already lying, I spoke beautifully to bring it to a close.
“I couldn’t stand still since I respect His Holiness very much.”
As if moved by my words, he gripped my hand firmly.
“No matter what, the temple will certainly repay you!”
“I’m afraid I’ll have to decline, but thank you.”
I felt it would be good if he handed me some money, but I had to pretend I didn’t notice Ian’s gaze piercing my face.
“Then I need to go now…”
I was about to disappear into the crowd again when Ian jumped from the black horse and snatched me up.
“Something is wrong.”
Due to his chilling words, a cold sweat ran down my spine.
But I asked brazenly, my eyes wide open.
“What do you mean?”
“You, who had been quiet for days, suddenly showed up out of nowhere.”
‘Yeah, after remembering my past life, I stopped visiting him and acting aggressively.’
“Let go of me!”
I couldn’t think of anything to say, so I went ballistic and shook his arm.
“And the fact that you went out of your way to help me.”
In fact, it was not something I would typically do. So I pretended I didn’t know anything.
“I-I didn’t actually help you! Don’t get me wrong!”
But his gruesome words continued.
“More than anything else, the strangest thing is…”
His bloodshot eyes flared.
“You usually say harsh things when you look at me; there’s no way you would back down so quietly. What the hell are you up to? Tell me right now.”
I see! The most essential thing slipped my mind.
The original me would have already spewed plenty of obscenities. I must not draw his attention to my sudden shift in attitude!
It would be a disgrace if he discovered me due to my lack of attention to minor detail.
“I tried to hold it in because I was in front of others…”
But my attitude toward him has already changed. Ian did nothing wrong to me, and my desire to win vanished.
I felt bad for swearing and shouting nasty things for no reason like before.
Along with the memories of my previous life, I regained the sense of shame, dignity, and pride that I had lost, so I opted not to curse again.
That’s why I threw an appropriate level of insults in his face.
“I hope you find a cockroach in your sandwiches! And let ten doves shake their parasites on your head as you go down the street!!”
Ian’s face had suddenly become horribly distorted.
Aaron, the pink-haired deputy standing next to him, puffed air into his cheeks to keep from laughing.
He couldn’t keep me for long since he had to keep escorting the High Priest’s procession.
‘Now, one obstacle has been cleaned up.’ I turned around proudly and blended in with the crowd.
* * *
Ian, who had returned to the Duchy of Weidross after being the Holy Father’s escort, sat lost in contemplation.
Aaron, who came to give a report, grinned.
“Are you thinking about Annabelle?”
“Seeing you saying such harsh words, I think I’m right.”
His dark blue eyes were dubious. Ian refused to answer.
Aaron was right. During the escort assignment, he only thought about her.
There was another atheist attack on the way back from the imperial palace to the temple, so the poisoned needles were swiftly brushed aside.
But Ian couldn’t let the situation go.
It was odd. Given the angle and direction of the poisoned needle’s trajectory, it’s reasonable to believe it was aimed at him, rather than the High Priest. Which is even more strange when you think about it.
Why would Annabelle endure poisoned needles for him?
The poison wasn’t too strong for a swordsman, but she had so many needles in her back…
“There are two possibilities in this circumstance that we can think of.”
Aaron stood in front of him and spoke seriously.
“First, she wants to steal credit from you, who escorted His Holiness, and shine…”
Ian, who was listening carefully to his words, responded immediately.
“The High Priest is pleased with her, but not enough for Annabelle to rise to fame.”
Aaron lifted his brows and continued.
“Second: she’s concerned that Mr. Ian may be hurt and unable to play fairly.”
Ian shook his head.
“Annabelle and fair play don’t go together at all.”
“Anyway, don’t you appreciate it? Perhaps you should express your gratitude…”
“Even if it hadn’t been Annabelle, I could have avoided that much.”
Maybe, no matter how unlucky he was, he would have brushed one off.
He didn’t need to be grateful because it didn’t appear to be especially poisonous either.
“She hasn’t been here in a few days, hasn’t she? Perhaps she had a change of heart.”
There was a brief moment of silence after those words before Ian shook his hand angrily.
“That’s it. I don’t have to pay attention to her and just live my life as usual. Why would you be concerned about how she feels?”
“I’m just really curious.”
Aaron grinned and laughed.
“Unlike usual, the last swear words she uttered were cute and specific… You should avoid doves on the street and keep an eye on your sandwiches.”
“Get the hell out.”
“That’s such a harsh thing to say…”
“Why don’t you go and get lost right now?”
He went to bed later than usual after harshly kicking Aaron out. Suddenly, Ian realized that the entire amount of time he had spent thinking about Annabelle in the previous 22 years was less than the amount of time he had spent thinking about her today.
‘It’s probably just a passing whim.’
In bed, he tossed and turned. When he closed his eyes, all he could think of was Annabelle, who had deadly needles on her back. The visual impact was too strong to ignore.
‘Although she isn’t a hedgehog…’
Her back, which had been pierced by many poisonous needles… Her back, which had vanished into the crowd, lingered in his mind.
He eventually stood up and fetched a servant.
“Oh, Sir Ian. What happened to you, why are you up in the middle of the night…”
“I need to know if Annabelle Nadit’s body is in good condition. Particularly her back.”
“As soon as possible.”
He sat upright, arms crossed, and pondered as he sent out the servant.
‘It was simply a strange incident. I’m not going to have to do this again, so once I’m certain she’s safe, I’m going to completely ignore her.’
* * *
“Are you really crazy? Why would you do such a thing…?”
“You should thank me.”
Reid came to see me after hearing the rumors, but I replied harshly.
I was totally fine since, in addition to swallowing the antidote beforehand, I had previously been treated secretly by a doctor.
“Ian didn’t take any blows. He avoided all strikes thanks to his quick reflexes. That’s why I got hit instead, just in case I didn’t get wounded and was caught.”
“How do you know that?”
“I’m in second place. I’ve had a million fights with Ian. You might not be aware, but I am.”
It was rather comfortable to be the Empire’s second-best swordsman. Because it was far too simple to deceive someone other than Ian.
Reid, with his brown hair and brown eyes, looked nothing like me. He didn’t have the smallest aptitude for swordsmanship, so he couldn’t even wield swords.
So it was easy to make him shut up.
“Well, you won’t be able to succeed on your first try. There will be results next time.”
Reid didn’t seem to have any doubts about me because of my previous enthusiastic talks about hurting and destroying my long-life rival.
“This is our one and only chance to live a noble life. We must do everything possible to destroy Ian Weidross.”
‘Although we’ll be the only ones to end up ruined, how frustrating.’
But Reid planned everything, and to mess it up, I had to persuade him to reveal to me his plan in detail.
“So, what comes next?”
When I asked a subtle question, Reid proudly responded.
“The day after tomorrow, the hibiscus explosion we were discussing together, let’s blow it all up!”
I sighed inwardly.
If one of Ian’s nails were to fly away, we’d fly to jail.
In the end, I was the only one who could step up.
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