Chapter 4

"Well", she continued to wait for an answer and soon the tip of his mouth moved.

"I don't enjoy the company of humans." He answered. His eyes looked anywhere but her as he answered, from his demeanour it was clear he felt uncomfortable with such a question being asked.

Confused and a bit lost, Alexis leaned back and suddenly recalled how Agathus, the hybrid, had spoke about different species like Ogres and Dwarfs.

'Were there others?' She thought carefully before speaking.

"Oh... we don't have different species in our world. Well, we do, but only humans can speak and maybe a parrot or two..." Alexis muttered glancing around, "so what your trying to say is that humans don't spend time with you and so... they don't like you?"

"Wrong. I don't like them." 

"So what's the problem then?" Alexis was utterly bemused.

"Fix my public image." He spoke coldly.

Alexis frowned. 

'What was this? Some kind of riddle?' She thought as she stared at the man whose face didn't budge an inch. She knit her brows as she tried to figure it out.

Then, glancing down at the paper that sat between them, she double took. On the paper a first sentence had appeared in glowing red letters. She didn't understand what the words meant at all.

'Another language? But then why could she understand what these people said?' Something didn't sit right with her. 

"What is this?" She spoke while staring incredulously at the letter.

"A contract paper." The Emperor, Alastair, spoke calmly. "I'll give you a year. If you can't fix my public image by then, I'll kill you and you'll never return back to your country. If you do then I'll allow you to return".

Alexis' eyes widened in shock. Her body started to tremble slightly and then she remembered.

'This is just a dream. Not real. Just a dream.'

She reassured herself and glanced at the beautiful man whose gaze seemed to challenge her. She didn't notice the writing that had appeared on the paper besides the first sentence.

It was shaped eerily similar to the number one.

"Fine. What else?"

"You must hone your mana to defend my palace and adhere it to my needs where necessary."

"Mana? What’s that?" It sounded so vaguely familiar and she could've sworn she recalled Blair saying something about it when she gushed over a novel.

"You don't know?" Alastair looked at her in disbelief and then laughed smugly, "of course what would a plebeian like you know about mana! It's magical power and you reek of it, Dirt" he suddenly laughed at his words. "Dirt is great nickname for you, it really suits that hair colour of yours."

Alexis fumed as she took in his words. 

'Magic exists here? Well why not? It seemed pretty fantastical' she shrugged it off but she was still mad about that nickname.

Once again she didn't notice how long the writing had got on the letter.

"My name is Alexis! I'm a person and not a p-plebean?" She faltered as she forgot the strange word he called her.

"Plebeian". He corrected her with a smirk causing her to redden even more.

'How dare!- oh no, now she was starting to sound like him.'

"Well anyway, I don't know how to use magic" she smiled at him as if to say, 'I'm useless'.

"You'll be assigned a tutor." Alastair quickly countered with ease.

Alexis slumped forward.

'This was impossible.'

"So if I change the public's opinion of you in a year to something more favourable all the while protecting you and this bloody castle, I can go home?" She asked. It seemed hard to her but it shouldn't be that bad.

'What type of dream lasts a whole year, anyway?'

"That's right, if you've agreed to the terms, then please sign the contract." He gestured to the paper on the desk.

"My hand are tied..." Alexis deadpanned at him while lifting the rope tied hands. They seemed to get tighter with each passing minute.

"And they are. You just need to drop some blood on it since it's a magical contract." He laughed condescendingly once again. 

"How exactly do I do-?"

She was cut off as she suddenly felt a prick at her thumb. She looked at it to see a trickle of blood slipping down her hands.

"Eh?" It fell on the paper and strangely the wound healed and the blood on her hand cleared before she could inspect it.

"Magic." Alastair spoke as if he looked at a child while moving his hands in a exaggerating manner. He snatched up the contract, rolled it up and it quickly burned to a crisp.

"What the hell?- what did you do?" She stared at where the paper was last, which happened to be the tyrants hand. There was nothing left in its wake.

"I'll summon it when I need it" he smiled at her, just as a question struck her.

"W-wait! What happens if I don't act accordingly with the contract?" Alexis cursed herself mentally for not asking first.

In her own world, breaking a contract probably meant a fine or a penalty but she shuddered to think what it was in a world so magical. Where papers could somehow burn to crisp and ropes appear out of nowhere. But then again, this was a dream right? 

A silence once again plagued them. This time Alexis was the one at the short end as her heart raced at the possible answers. Sweat trickled down her neck as she stared at those beautiful rose coloured eyes that seemed to laugh at her.

They were cruel and empathetic. The idea of somehow getting people to like this man seemed down right impossible. How could she persuade people to like a man she didn't even like? And Alexis tended to get along with most people, from neighbours to peers to old people and even shady dealers. She just smiled and they smiled back. It was simple.

But not with this guy.

Alastair smirked at Alexis. A foreboding sense of doom loomed over him as he spoke.

"You'll explode right on the spot".

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