Predatory Marriage — Chapter 70. Auction House (2)
Translator: Atlas / Editor: Eyljee
“I feel safe knowing that you are here. Perhaps if I were alone, I would feel very uneasy… Please accept this.” Count Valtein murmured.
He pulled out the mask he had prepared for her disguise. It was a simple black mask, but it was big enough to cover her whole face. With his help, Leah put the mask on securely, completing her change.
“I wish we could end all this today.”
“Yes, I hope so too. I get nervous easily, so I hope I don’t do anything wrong.”
Count Valtein said quietly. His heart was pounding with nervousness, so much that it seemed to be about to explode. The auction in which they would participate today was very big and infamous, where several slave traders gathered to show their merchandise. The massive participation meant that the number of slaves at the auction was far from small.
In fact, the news about the large-scale repression that had been announced that same day during the Cabinet Council meeting, had already begun to circulate within the circle of the slave traders. Leah had purposely leaked that information to force the slave traders to start a massive auction before the investigations began.
Leah had worked hard to provoke today’s auction, hoping that her efforts under the table would bear fruit.
“Don’t get too nervous, Count Valtein.”
Although she was reassuring Valtein, Leah was also nervous. After all, they had been preparing for this for a long time. If today’s operation failed, future plans would become even more difficult. No matter what the circumstances were, they had to succeed.
The carriage went to a discreet and antiquated mansion located on the outskirts of the capital. The two-story mansion with a garden, did not have a large size. Joyful melodies were heard coming from the interior. The stage was like a common dance hall.
However, the atmosphere at the back of the mansion contrasted sharply with the front. The guards, armed with exposed swords, fiercely guarded the door. Their terrifying stature spoke of the secret and illegal events that took place beyond the steel bars.
The carriage stopped at the back door. Count Valtein took a deep breath and then got out of the carriage first. Then, he helped Leah out of the carriage.
The guards looked menacingly at Leah and Count Valtein. Their wild, unconventional glances made Valtein tremble. Yet Leah was with him, and this mission, which had not even begun, depended on this very moment.
Then he took out a gold coin from his pocket and showed it to them. It was a special coin that was imprinted with an insignia that allowed them the right of entry. The guards checked the pattern on the front and back of the coin, then placed it on a scale to weigh it. It was perfect. The coin balanced the weight of the pendulum precisely.
With somber faces, the guards opened the door and received them politely. As soon as they entered, an employee appeared to help and guide them.
The first floor of the mansion was mediocre. The interior was decorated with simplicity, nothing interesting to see for the casual observers. However, as they went down the stairs leading to the basement, a complex corridor appeared. It was a maze in which anyone could easily get lost, if not guided. Count Valtein whispered quietly to Leah.
“This inspection seems to be getting more thorough. In fact, it is quite frightening.” After saying those words, he immediately closed his mouth.
The couple and the guide walked through the maze. Finally, after a long time since they descended, they were escorted to a very brightly lit reception room. The reception was well organized and decorated, very different from the insipid first floor. The two saw a table with diet soda, tea and wine.
The clerk abruptly left them both and returned to the maze. Count Valtein went to the drinks and started drinking wine to moisten his tense throat. Suddenly, someone knocked on the door, and soon after, a voice was heard from outside the room.
“Can you give me a moment? There’s something you should check out about today’s product.”
Count Valtein immediately lowered his glass and stood up. He put on his mask, which was slightly crooked, and spoke solemnly.
“I’ll be right back.”
As she stood alone, Leah looked around the room. The furniture was luxurious even though it was a temporary rental place. She looked at the furniture one by one as she waited for Count Valtein. The black tea, which she hadn’t had a sip of, had gone cold long ago.
The floor clock was ticking, as the minutes passed. After confirming that the cup was cold, Leah got up from the old armchair she was sitting in, waiting for Count Valtein…
Count Valtein was taking too long. Without hesitation, she headed for the door. As her hand reached out to grab the doorknob, she suddenly smelled a sweet, minty scent.
A whispered instruction came from behind his back.
When she was in the room, Leah didn’t feel even the slightest movement, much less the presence of another person.
A cold tingling sensation ran through her neck, when something sharp touched her. A small and sharp dagger was pressing against her delicate skin. Even the slightest force, would cause the blade to tear his skin immediately.
The low voice immediately commanded him.
“Do not move.”
Before she gave that order, Leah was already frozen.That strong and unique male smell was something she would recognize anywhere. The familiar smell and deep voice made her heart skip.
Leah slowly turned around. The man standing in front of her suddenly hesitated, torn between pulling the dagger from her neck. Moments later, he pulled the blade away from her skin then grabbed her chin sharply. After a moment of silence, he slid Leah’s mask off.
Ishakan stared at her with a puzzled expression. Leah couldn’t respond and just blinked her eyes. She wasn’t ready to see him again. Her heart was pounding as if about to burst, due to this sudden and unexpected encounter.
“Why are you here…?”
Ishakan could not take his eyes off her. He was clearly agitated and murmured in surprise.
“Have you been kidnapped?”
His golden pupils turned cold at once. Before Ishakan turned the auction house upside down, Leah quickly opened her mouth.
“No, it’s not that…”
Her tongue felt heavy. She couldn’t find the right words to express herself.She was lost in thought and could only whisper to Ishakan, who had a terrifying expression.
“I have business to attend to in this place.”