Yelena’s face grew hot and she shifted her gaze towards the plate she was holding.
Her heart was thumping. It was beating a little too much for it to have been just because she was embarrassed by the food stuck to her mouth.
Yelena chewed slowly.
The drumming of her heart didn’t settle until much later.
A flustered Yelena’s eyes widened.
"The dead body disappeared?"
It was afternoon.
Yelena stayed up all night the previous night in the library, reading its books.
Because she couldn’t strain herself, she wasn’t allowed to do any work and abstained from leaving the castle. Naturally, the only place she could go to was the library.
It was then that Ben came in, urgently looking for her.
"Yes. I received word earlier."
Incan had died immediately after Kaywhin had thrown his sword at him.
It was an immediate punishment for his actions, so to speak. He went as far as kidnapping the duchess and even wounding her, a felony worthy of death.
The corpse was retrieved by the estate, but there was a prolonged debate about what to do with the body.
Throw it to some stray dogs, feed it to the monsters, hang it on the castle wall.
No, just burn it.
The final decision was made two days later: send it to the royal castle for trial.
Incan was already dead, but the punishment of decapitation was still viable.
Everyone agreed with this decision because then, Incan could officially be killed twice and the whole world could easily learn the details of Incan’s crimes.
And so, it was just yesterday morning that a horse carriage carrying Incan’s corpse, its decomposition inhibited by drugs, and a witness left for the royal castle…
And now, news that the dead body had disappeared had just reached the ducal castle.
"Was it stolen?"
"Well… there was a witness who saw the body disappear."
"Yes. According to the witness, the body was completely fine, but then it suddenly melted without leaving a trace."
"…By any chance, was the witness drunk at the time?"
"The investigation is ongoing, but for now, it’s certain that there were clothes left at the scene."
This meant that only the body had vanished, leaving the clothes.
Yelena had an uncomfortable look on her face.
"So even if it was stolen, that means the culprit stripped the clothes off the body before taking it…"
Yelena didn’t really want to imagine it.
The moment her instinctive disgust took control of her, Ben spoke.
"Also, because of that, the people who were transporting the body are mainly spreading this rumor at the moment."
"That perhaps what happened to the body was because of the black magic Incan practiced when he was alive."
"Do you know about black magic?"
"Well, just the basic gist of it…"
It was dark magic, as its name suggested. In other words, evil magic.
As one could tell just from its name, black magic was not a common type of magic.
Unlike ordinary magic, the process of learning black magic involved inhumane actions that deviated from common sense.
Human sacrifice and murder.
On top of that, gruesome practices of ingesting human flesh.
It was called black magic for that very reason and because of that special characteristic, the practice of black magic in and of itself was vilified. Thus, it was almost impossible to see the magic being used today.
"How is black magic connected to the disappearance of the body?"
"This is one of the things the public says about black magic. Since it is a magic that defies the will of the gods, users of black magic are unable to return to the gods’ embrace upon death. Instead, they are completely erased without a trace."
Yelena slightly wrinkled her forehead.
‘Completely erased without a trace, they say.’
If that was really true, that would explain why only the body disappeared, leaving the clothes.
"…Ben, what do you think? Did the body really disappear because he practiced black magic?"
"I can’t say for sure. First and foremost, I think the investigation must progress for us to easily find the answer."
"I will keep you updated as the situation becomes clearer."
"Very well. Thanks."
Yelena briefly put down the book she was reading and thought deeply.
‘Incan practiced black magic?’
Yelena found this neither unbelieveable nor unexpected.
Rather, she actually found it quite plausible.
Yelena had already thoroughly seen Incan act suspiciously on the day of the kidnapping.
He reeked of an unknown odor. He was able to take on a group of more than ten strong, young men. His hands definitely turned black after he exerted his strength.
‘And it was strange that he had already recovered from his injuries and showed up completely fine.’