No one knew where the Bellas had come from.
They’d settled all over the continent, but they never stayed in any one place for long.
People rejected the Bellas.
Their black hair, long eyelashes, and deep purple, knowing eyes were wickedly seductive.
In fact, there had once been a king from the continent who’d kidnapped and tortured innocent people just to catch the attention of his favorite Bella.
There was a legend of a Bella seducing a wealthy madam to the point of suicide.
An archduke who’d lost his life in a fight to the death over a dispute about a Bella.
Countless tales from all over the land describing the wickedness of the Bellas.
As their records piled up, Bellas began to be called devils.
However, it was Bella’s excellent knowledge of poison or sorcery that fully completed their image.
No one knew whether they were born with the talent or if it had come from hard work – but some of the Bellas created mysterious things with techniques ordinary people couldn’t understand.
Not only were they good at making poison and medicine, they could make a sword that would never rust.
Shoes that would come at the owner’s summons.
A lamp that would light up in the direction of a lost object.
They’d made innumerable amazing creations.
“So you’re a master of medicine” Apollonia asked the old woman, who was pulling down small vials from the shelf.
“What a surprise… you’re good at more than just launching surprise attacks and bashing people’s heads with your club!”
“Grandma is famous in this town.
She brought a person at the verge of death back to life, and she can make a healthy person so close to death they’re only hanging onto life by a thread…” Tanya interrupted to brag.
Yet the content of her boast… the deeds she claimed her grandmother could accomplish… they were far from common.
“Drink your medicine instead of talking nonsense.
You were careless today and forgot to drink it, didn’t you”
“No, I drank it when I went to the lord’s mansion earlier.”
The woman ignored Tanya’s protest and handed her a small bottle.
The girl grumbled under her breath for a moment, then took the bottle and swallowed the blue liquid inside as if she were very familiar with it.
“What’s the use of being talented… Even if I try hard to put a curse on the lord, I’ll fail again and again because I don’t have all the ingredients.”
The room went silent after the old woman’s words.
But Apollonia didn’t want to waste any time.
“Tell me about the lord.” Apollonia was still obscured by her robe, and she hadn’t even introduced herself yet.
But everyone in the room was still hanging on to her every word.
The old woman nodded.
“That bastard Viscount Diaman has been overseeing this province for decades.
Even though he seems to be working under the command of someone ranked higher than him, he began calling himself a Lord at some point.
He’s been performing all kinds of misdeeds for years.”
“Are you saying he seized your fortunes under the pretext of taxes”
“I wish that were the only thing… if it were, we’d be able to leave like everyone else.
One day, during the exodus of residents leaving Lishan, he issued an order restricting people in the province from leaving without authorization.
We had no choice but to settle down here.
People who violate that order will either be killed or tortured, to serve as an example for the rest of us.
There aren’t many of us left.”
The woman’s face was calm, but the face of the little girl beside her turned white.
Apollonia could practically see the terrible memories flashing through her mind.
“May I ask you a question”
“….Is it about what happened to Tanya’s mother” The old woman was no longer the ignorant bandit who’d attacked Sid earlier.
She looked at Apollonia and touched her heart with a gazed that seemed to pierce through Apollonia’s robe.
“She was my only daughter… and she left her four children behind when she died.
It happened when Tanya was five years old.
It was a miracle my grandchildren didn’t die with her.”