𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝟐𝟕: 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐄𝐧𝐝 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐄𝐧𝐠𝐚𝐠𝐞𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭
When Mabel woke up, she found herself on her own bed.
She cautiously sat up. Her clothes were the same as when she went to sleep, and her hands and feet were not dirty. She immediately touched her cheek, but there was no pain or even a trace of a wound.
‘What’s going on. . .?’
Last night, she heard a strange noise and sneaked into Eugene’s room through the window. There, she met him in a terrifying form, and then―
A voice broke her thoughts, looking up, she found Eugene leaning against the open door.
He had no trace or form of his appearance from last night, and he still had a well-proportioned figure, with a black mask on his face.
“Um, yesterday, I–”
“Forget about what happened yesterday.”
With those words, Mabel became unable to say anything more. Instead, Eugene continued speaking.
“Uh, um, yes.”
“Take the day off and relax.”
Saying that, Eugene had a faint smile on his face. Ignoring Mabel’s surprise, he walked out into the hallway.
Left alone in her room, Mabel tilted her head like a broken toy, wondering about the change in his behavior.
‘He called my name.’
From that day on, Eugene’s attitude completely changed.
As he had said, “Take it easy for the day,” he cooked and brought her meals. It was a simple oatmeal and soup, with the ingredients and flavors being quite plain, but just the fact that Eugene had made it was surprising to Mabel.
The next day, even after Mabel had recovered, his attentiveness continued.
While Mabel was carrying laundry outside, a sudden gust of wind blew, and the sheets in the basket were being swept away one after another. She hurriedly chased after them and found them neatly hanging on the clothesline.
Wondering what had happened, she widened her eyes and saw Eugene looking down at her from the balcony. When their eyes met, he quickly disappeared, but it seemed to be the result of his magic.
They even started eating meals together.
He came to where Mabel was eating in the kitchen and said, “I’ll eat here too.” At first, Mabel was surprised, but she accepted it as it was more enjoyable than eating alone.
Seeing him skillfully eating with the mask still on, she felt a strange sensation.
‘He suddenly became kind, didn’t he?’
After finishing the meal, he even started helping with the cleaning and laundry. Mabel was grateful for it, but considering his previous actions, she couldn’t help but feel doubtful.
Days like that continued for a few days, and Mabel, reaching her limit, rolled around on her bed in her room.
“What on earth?! Why is he so kind!”
It was already nighttime.
Today, they had dinner together again, and after cleaning up and parting ways in the hallway, Mabel couldn’t help but express her thoughts.
“He helps with cleaning and laundry, he eats with me, and he even cleans up after…”
Furthermore, today during the meal, he asked, “Is there something you want?”
I answered that we have enough ingredients and medicine, so there was nothing in particular. In response, he asked if I didn’t need any dresses or accessories.
‘Why would he ask something like that…I wonder what happened to him’
His cold attitude from when she first arrived had completely changed. Something about Eugene’s gaze toward me had changed since that night of the new moon. Perhaps the moment he transformed into that beastly form, he had been replaced by someone else.
Amidst the silence of the night, a random thought suddenly sprung to her mind, filling her with worry, ‘What should I do? If he really is a different person, then…’
‘Let’s confirm it!’
I sat up abruptly and quietly left the room in my nightdress. I headed towards the end of the corridor and gently knocked on the door.
A response came. Even to that, Mabel felt moved as she obediently stepped into his room. The bookshelf was neatly organized, and the materials that had been scattered around before were now sorted by type.
Light leaked from the inner room, and Mabel peeked her face in that direction.
“What’s the matter? It’s late.”
Eugene turned to face Mabel. It seemed that he had been reading at his desk as usual. Until now, he never turned around even when Mabel called him, but now they were facing each other like this. The theory of him being a different person seemed even stronger now.
“Um, there’s something I want to confirm. . .”
If he had been replaced by an imposter, she needed to find the real him. Mabel involuntarily held her breath and continued speaking.
“Could you take off your mask, please?”
A brief silence fell. Mabel was about to say “Never mind” when she realized.
‘If I see his face, I should be able to tell if he’s a different person. However, he probably won’t just agree and take the mask off.’
If it was someone else, trying to deceive him would be a lot more difficult. She regretted saying such a foolish thing and agonized over it, but Eugene, contrary to Mabel’s thoughts, simply answered with an “Ah” and readily agreed.
“I don’t mind.”
“Yes, of course–Huh?”
Before Mabel could finish her sentence, Eugene reached for his own mask. With practiced movements, he removed the fastenings around his ears, and the mask snapped away from his face. He placed the mask on the desk and looked back at Mabel.
“Is this okay?”
“Um, well, yes.”
What appeared before her was that beautiful face she had seen during his illness.
However, unlike back then, his eyes were now wide open. The color was a beautiful golden shade, as if polished amber. It was hard to see through the mask, but when viewed from the front, they were truly captivating eyes. From the gap in his slightly long bangs, he quietly observed Mabel.