The boy looked at her with a dull gaze.
“Didn’t you hear what I said I’m…”
His voice shook slightly, but Apollonia smiled inwardly.
“There are two ways to undo the curse mark.
As you know, the first method is through your death..”
Apollonia recalled what Gareth had mumbled the last time he’d been drunk…
“There’s a way to make sure the animals never escape.
The dog collars… can only be removed with the blood of a Leifer.
If the slave tries to escape without the master’s permission, they’ll die.”
He’d scoffed afterwards that neither he nor Petra would ever shed a single drop of blood for those animals.
Everyone present at the time had assumed it was just drunken nonsense, but they didn’t know the half of it.
Every spell had a key to undo it, and Gareth had shared the key for the curse mark.
“The other way to undo the spell… is to use the blood of your master’s family.”
The boy stared at her for a moment, stunned.
Then he shook his head and laughed.
“There’s no point in trying that.
No one with Leifer blood would ever release me.”
“No, you’re wrong about that.”
She slowly rose from her chair, and leaned towards him.
“Because the blood of Leifer runs through my body, too.”
Apollonia remembered some of the sorcery she’d studied as a child under the strict guidance of her grandfather.
There was no way to undo the spell without the assistance of a real sorcerer, but she was well-versed in theory.
Every spell had a key to undo it.
It depended on the intention and ability of the person who’d casted the spell.
Spells were relatively difficult, and often expensive, to cast, but once you found the key, they were easy to undo.
The Leifer family completely owned each of Safiro’s wolves by branding them with the curse mark.
They’d chosen their blood as the key to release it, so the release could be done by them and only them.
It couldn’t be done from just a reckless accident.
This technique had been used in ancient times by powerful families.
It had been kept a close secret for generations, but Apollonia had been taught many of the empire’s secrets by her late grandfather.
She knew the technique well.
So when her grandfather had told her about Safiro’s wolves so many years ago, even then, she’d been able to guess the key.
Gareth’s drunken rant had only confirmed her suspicions.
Only the blood of a direct descendant could be used as the key.
But Apollonia was the daughter of Gaius Leifer, who’d once been the head of the family.
There was no more certain key than that.
I’ll erase it.”
The boy looked skeptical at her words.
“I need a sorcerer, so I can’t do it right now.
Just wait a few days.”
“How many days” asked the boy who’d been certain of his own demise only a few moments ago, shaking his head.
He couldn’t believe that she would erase the mark he’d thought would bind him forever, in only a few days.
“My coming-of-age ceremony is in seven days… during that time, I’ll bring in a sorcerer.
Before then, decide if you really want to die, even after your mark is removed.”
The boy still looked dazed.
She turned around just as she reached the door to leave the room, like she’d thought of something to add.
“The correct title to address me is ‘Your Highness,’ and from now on, speak to me with the respect my station deserves.”
(T/N: It’s because he’s been speaking to her informally before now, and calling her ‘you,’ which is disrespectful.)
“What do you mean…”
“I’m sorry I was born in a time where my people suffer.
But I can’t have people undermining my authority.”
Apollonia once again approached the barrier and made eye contact with the boy.
“It’s up to you to choose me as your owner or not.
But if you ever refer to me as ‘you’ again, I’ll put a dagger in your right shoulder to match the one in your left.”
Seeing her cold expression, the boy furrowed his eyebrows, but he didn’t respond.
She glared at him for a moment longer, then turned back and grabbed the doorknob.
As soon as she pulled the handle, a low murmur rang out behind her.
“…What did you say”