It was not long ago that Dietrich was so wary of me, but now, he had his head bowed low, kneeling in front of me.
The sight of him like this made me feel weird.
“Please, I beg of you.”
“Please let me leave this place.”
“…Even if it’s for only a short while, that’s also fine. There’s something that I must do outside. I must.”
“There are people I have to save.”
Were ‘they’ the ones who he kept referring to in the game?
“I cannot lose them.”
I was struck with déjà vu. This was certainly a scene from the game.
Of Dietrich begging Charlotte to let him go.
But of course, he was not allowed to leave.
This was a scene that appeared only when Dietrich was about to die soon.
In numerous routes, Charlotte always appeared whenever Dietrich was dying.
And as Dietrich had no one else to lean on, he begged Charlotte earnestly, placing his final hope on her.
[ Please… They won’t be able to live without me… ]
[ I beg of you… ]
Then, this would lead to the ‘Game Over’ screen.
Back when I was playing this game, Dietrich had died so many times, over and over, even after I had done my best to raise him with high stats. I could do nothing but grab the back of my neck due to my rising blood pressure. The guy had absolutely hapless circumstances.
“Stop that, Dietrich. Get up.”
I couldn’t leave the mansion either, so I had no ability to allow him to leave.
[ Steel Mentality is being implemented. ]
Letting out a sigh, I looked at Dietrich.
What should I do with you?
“Dietrich, I can’t let you out of this place. That’s beyond my capacity.”
The moment he heard this, Dietrich lifted his gaze. With our eyes locked together, I stared back at him.
His eyes seemed to be in deeper despair.
“You were the one who let me in here, yet you can’t let me out.”
“Did you let me in because you wished to play with me?”
He came to a tremendously wrong conclusion.
“If so, then now it makes sense.”
That’s not it. You’re wrong.”
I wanted to explain. It’s true that I locked him up in this place and cornered him into a deadly situation, but it was not out of my own volition.
“No. That’s really…”
“How can I trust your word?”
The situation was getting worse and worse.
That’s when I realized.
Why I didn’t want to be deeply involved with Dietrich, despite helping him out.
Perhaps, in the back of my mind, I saw that this was going to happen.
“By any chance… are you being threatened? Who was it that told you to lock me up?”
His speculation was getting worse.
However, from Dietrich’s point of view, it was understandable.
“Dietrich. I just don’t want you to die.”
“I don’t want you to get hurt.”
Raising one hand, I brushed a finger below the scratch on his face.
Perhaps this wasn’t his only injury.
He resolutely kept his clothes buttoned until the collar on his neck, right below his chin. It’s more likely than not that he had many small wounds in places I couldn’t see.
“I’ll apply some salve, Dietrich.”
“You took care of me, so.”
I rose to my feet and brought back the salve.
When I opened the small jar and took some of the salve on my finger, Dietrich reacted only then.
Dietrich got up from his seat to avoid me. He didn’t seem to have any intention to apply the salve on his own either.
“Don’t get hurt, Dietrich. But if you happen to get hurt, you have to apply some medicinal salve properly.”
He stared at me blankly.
I gave him the salve that I was about to use on him.
“Here. A gift.”
Dietrich looked at the salve jar in his hand for a long time, then he left the room without voicing what he was thinking.
…I guess I’ll take a rest by myself now.
However, shortly after Dietrich left, a system window popped out.
[ ‘Dietrich’ is the 99th soul to enter Lindbergh’s Mansion. Among all the souls that have come here, ‘Dietrich’ is achieving the unprecedented.
Aren’t the 98 souls that came before him pitiful? ]
98 people, it said.
“If both Dietrich and I are added to the total, then there are 100 victims…”
Or perhaps I shouldn’t be added since I did not die.
How many people had fallen to their demise in this mansion?
But what happened to all of them? Where were their bodies?
As I finished reading what was on the system window, unanswerable questions arose.
[ Charlotte, Maid of this Mansion, for the sake of fairness, give a penalty to ‘Dietrich’.
Will you accept this task?
※ Rejecting the task shall result in a penalty. ]
[ Yes / No ]
At this point, the system wasn’t harassing Dietrich anymore, but me.
With the intention to listen, I pressed [ Yes ].
[ Charlotte’s Task ]
[ Charlotte, Maid of this Mansion, teach ‘Dietrich’ a lesson!
Lead him to ‘Aculus’. ]
One of the most terrible monsters in the mansion.
In the game, Charlotte was often the one handing down penalties to Dietrich. And one of the penalties was to lead Dietrich to a room of great difficulty.
The rooms in this mansion consisted of simple traps, monsters, psychological trials and the like. The rooms’ difficulty levels were also in that order.
[ Aculus, who has continued to live in the deep abyss, hungers for prey as it could not hunt for such a long time. Aculus is desperate for food.
Charlotte, Maid of this Mansion, don’t you feel responsible?
Lead ‘Dietrich’ to Aculus! ]
Now it’s saying that I should feel responsible for a monster I had never seen before. Wow.
[ ※ Failure to accomplish the task shall result in a penalty in which Charlotte, Maid of this Mansion, will be trapped in the ‘Room of Nightmares’. ]
Even when, originally, I shouldn’t be affected by the traps in this mansion?
But considering how I had thrown up blood just recently…
It seemed as if, the moment I was given a penalty, the things that had no effect on me before would start to affect me just like that.
The ‘Room of Nightmares’ was one that had a high-level psychological curse.
When caught in the curse of that room, that person would be left to wander inside a nightmare with no end in sight.
[ Steel Mentality is being implemented. ]
As I felt my emotions rising—whether it was anger or fear, I did not know—the system window popped up.
Looking at it for a long time, now with a calmer state of mind, I stood up from my seat.
And I went to Dietrich.
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