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A large carriage ran non-stop down the road that was soaked with evening dew. In the dark streets at night, there was nothing but the sound of horseshoes and wheels.
With my entire body still within the swaying carriage, I stared out of the window where there was only darkness. And as I gazed at the red hair that was reflected in the glass, I silently rolled the word that had been in my mind since earlier on my tongue.
My palms were soaked with sweat once again. When I heard that I was going to meet my rival, I was more anxious than calm, and more fearful than expectant.
It was already expected that I wasn’t the only candidate.
It was a fact that could be seen just by looking at the message that flew through the system window, ‘Sell more shares than anyone else and beat the other candidates to become the main character.’
However, meeting the competition in person was another story. What sort of person were they? Could it be that they were possessed just like me as well?
What was certain was that I’d have to sell more shares than that person, no matter who it was. If I fell behind in the competition, I’d ‘cease to exist’, and I wanted to avoid that ending at all costs.
As I was twisting the hem of my innocent dress for no reason, I suddenly felt a stinging gaze. It was because Winnard, who was sitting across from me, was looking at me.
“Don’t be too nervous.”
He said with a smile as soon as our eyes met.
…How did you know I was nervous? It couldn’t be more like a ghostly intuition.
“Well, it’s because I’m not interested in anything apart from you.”
What the hell. Are you reading my mind too?!
I would have been shy if someone else had said it, but it was suspicious because Winnard was the one who said it.
Come to think of it, I followed him out of curiosity of what kind of person my rival would be, but I still don’t know where our destination is yet.
In order not to let this opportunity slip by me, my questions quickly poured out like rapid fire.
“Where are we going right now? Just who the hell are we going to meet? And… how much did that person sell…?”
“Who knows. You’ll find out when you get there anyways, right?”
However, Winnard just shook his head and gave a vague answer while smiling.
“I can’t tell you because of the rules, Lorella. But of course, I don’t know everything either.”
Again, again with that bastard’s rules!
The only thing that hurts when I bring it up is my mouth. I grumbled for no reason because I felt sulky.
“You don’t even have anything to tell me, and you still call yourself a guide. Just how far are you going to bring people this late at night? Wouldn’t it be better if you just took me straight to our destination in the blink of an eye like last time?”
“At a time like this, I wanted you to get some fresh air, but was it actually pointless in the end?”
The corners of his lips were still curved in a smooth arc as ever before, but something was still a bit suspicious to me.
“We’ll arrive there in a little while. Why don’t you close your eyes if you’re tired?”
…Just look at this. Doesn’t it feel like you’re changing the subject a bit too obviously?
However, instead of questioning him, I just quietly closed my eyes. And while I pretended to sleep, I thought carefully over what he had said.
I wasn’t sure how much of Winnard’s words I should believe. Was it true that guides couldn’t intervene in a candidate’s affairs?
What if he could help me, but just found it to be too bothersome? Are you just trying to turn me into a share selling machine, just like a dog rolling around and doing tricks?!
The suspicion that had emerged once, ended up snowballing in size.
Still, even if that wasn’t the case, there were still a lot of questionable points. Wait no, the truth was that my trust in Winnard had already hit rock bottom, ever since he had pretended not to see me in prison and disappeared.
A handsome face that was flowing with elegance, a charming eye smile, and red lips that were always painted in a smirk. The face that I had praised as being a savior rather than just a guide in my eyes, only looked suspicious now.
‘I guess I just looked like a pushover…’
I gritted my teeth inwardly and took a deep breath.
Then, I immediately held my breath and leaned forward, clutching the front of my dress. No, I pretended to fall flat on my face.
I could feel his embarrassment just from his voice which was calling my name. I purposely wept and lowered my head even more.
“I-I can’t breathe… all of a sudden…!”
“To think that I have to be rivals with someone. And with someone I don’t even know as well! Heuk…!”
Surprisingly enough, he, who was normally composed and relaxed, looked startled and carefully placed his hand on my shoulder. Although it seemed like he was about to help me get up so he could get a closer look at my face, I kept my head down forcefully.
“H-Hey, are you alright?! Why are you like this all of a sudden?”
“What do I do if my rival is actually a really good person? What if I finally met my soulmate, but it turns out that they’re my rival…!”
“Why are you imagining such nonsense all of a sudden, Lorella?”
“Actually, I could do it! I mean, I’m an INFP after all, huhuuu…”
“Now what else is this? I can’t do this anymore. Just raise your head up first, alright?”
“Don’t you know about INFP? Timid attention seekers!”
I talked about whatever I wanted, even bringing up MBTIs, which I had been obsessed with in my previous life.
“Heuk, do we have to meet in person? You… hic, can’t you just help me this one time, hmm…?”
It was me who recited embarrassing lines, even in front of Periot, who I didn’t even want to associate with. Compared to that, this much was nothing to me!
Then, a deep sigh came from Winnard’s mouth.
“Listen to me, Lorella. I’ve already said it over and over again, but I can’t. If a guide directly intervenes with a candidate’s behavior, he or she will be disciplined.”
…At least it now seemed like rules really did exist.
I focused my concentration on not missing even a single word of his, even as I was producing tears and snot.
“Really. That’s why I’m keeping a low profile now, because the guide of the candidate we’re going to watch has broken the rules. Thanks to you, I can go and watch it secretly like this. Without a guide, the candidate will be exposed to multiple dangers, Lorella.”
I lifted my head involuntarily for a moment.
Oops. Tears, tears!
I quickly buried my face in my palms and shook my shoulders again.
“So there’s no choice but for us to follow the rules. Since I have a duty to protect you.”
“Ha… but no one would care about an ordinary candidate like me…”
Winnard tried to soothe me, patting me on the shoulder.
“Ordinary you say? No way. If that were the case, do you really think I would have come to be your guide? As soon as you sold your shares, you were the first to get a cookie reward.”
“Really…? Out of all the hundreds of candidates, am I really the first one…?”
“Of course. And for there to be hundreds of candidates, there’s no way there can be that many.”
“Then how many are there?”
“About that, even I’m not too sure, but what I am sure of is…”
It was then.
As soon as he stopped talking, the hand that was patting my shoulder also stopped.
‘Did I get caught already?’
I had the thought that it was already a complete failure, but I kept on pretending to cry shamelessly without showing it. However, Winnard no longer comforted me, nor patted me on the shoulder.
After a short period of time had passed like this.
A low laugh escaped from his mouth.
However, the voice saying my name was somehow even lower. Don’t tell me… you’re angry?
As expected, I got caught. Would I have had to do this if you had just told me sooner?
Wow, aren’t you so quick-witted!
“I look forward to you generously using that brilliant brain of yours to sell shares.”
Is it just my delusion or can I feel a subtle thorn behind those sly words?
“Anyway, you’ve already been caught, so you can lift your head up now, right?”
“Even if you don’t like it, there’s nothing you can do about it.”
Winnard said sarcastically, but I kept my face buried in my hands and remained stubborn.
Only a deep sense of regret filled my throat.
So just what the hell was it that you were so sure of! Can’t you just finish what you were going to say?!
My lips opened and closed by themselves with the urge to pester him for an answer.
The sound of sad sighs constantly leaked out from the gaps in my hands.
* * *
pls do not share this anywhere or the transmigration gods will transport u into boku no pico !! this translation has been stolen from mioscorner.com, pls only read there i’m begging u :kneels:
Fortunately, that uncomfortable and awkward period of time didn’t last for very long. That was thanks to the carriage soon coming to a stop, not long after.
Winnard, who opened the door and stepped out first, silently held his hand out to me. As soon as he escorted me out of the carriage, he snapped his fingers with a flick. At the same time, the large carriage disappeared without a trace.
After a moment of surprise, I looked at our surroundings and asked.
“Where are we?”
It was a forest devoid of any light. Only the faint sound of an owl’s chilling cry from somewhere brushed past my ears. It seemed like something would pop out of the dense forest.
“Shh, this way.”
Winnard, who put his index finger to his lips in a pretense to tell me to be quiet, took the lead cautiously. We proceeded carefully in the darkness, where we couldn’t even see an inch ahead of us.
I wonder just how long it took for us to walk through such a small forest. The ruins of a small building lay in front of me.
I relied on the pale white moonlight to examine it more closely.
Dome-shaped ceilings with holes here and there, a crumbling wall, and arched doors lined with dried ivy. Did I have a rival in a place like this?
As I looked around the collapsed building, I heard footsteps from inside the building.
“You’ve finally appeared.
Winnard whispered quietly. The tension within me rose once again. I crouched behind the bushes and swallowed dryly.
Just in time, the clouds lifted as the moonlight poured in.
And underneath that, I saw someone of small stature, covered in a large cloak.
‘That woman must be my rival…’
I couldn’t see the silhouette of her body very clearly thanks to the cloak, but I could be certain that she was a woman. That was because every time she’d move her foot, the toe of a red high-heeled shoe would slip out from beneath the hem of her long cloak which was narrowly dragging against the floor.
“You’re here early, Sable.”
I didn’t know when they had been there, but someone suddenly appeared from the bushes near me. Although the woman didn’t even flinch at all, I ended up being even more startled than the woman, and almost screamed.
Had it not been for the large hand that gently covered my mouth, I would have.
The man approached the woman at the same time when winnard gave me a soft warning. She also turned around slowly, as if she was expecting him.
It was then I got a glimpse of her red lips painted in a coy smile through her large hood.
The cloak then fell to the floor, revealing her face.
Without realizing it, my lips parted.
The first thing that caught my eye was her long hair that fell down to her waist. Her enviable luscious black hair rippled gently under the soft moonlight.
Her eyes were a mysterious purple. As if an amethyst had been taken and embedded in them, the dazzling appearance catching one’s gaze in an instant.
I couldn’t take my eyes off her at all… no, she was so beautiful that I almost lost my mind.
Moreover, contrary to her elegant countenance, she was wearing an alluring black dress filled with luxurious rubies and clung nicely to her figure. Even I, as a woman, was mesmerized by her figure.
Silent exclamations continued to burst forth from me.
It seemed that I wasn’t the only one who had been distracted by her appearance. Hot desire and passion swirled nakedly in the eyes of the young marquis standing in front of the woman.
“I did everything perfectly, just like I promised you.”
“You mean… everything?”
“Yeah, it’s all been burned to a crisp.”
The marquis said and raised his chin arrogantly.
“There’s only a heap of ashes left. No matter how hard they try to dig through it, they won’t find anything.”
A beautiful smile, just like that of a flower, bloomed on the woman’s lips, who just nodded her head slightly. Just then, a gust of wind from the dark forest caused the long black hair that was covering her slender neck to disappear.
There seemed to be a dark bruise on her white skin. I got goosebumps since it looked like traces of a beheaded head being stuck back together.
“Sable, you’re mine now.”
As if seduced by her smile, the marquis strode up toward her and ran an arrogant hand through her long hair. Then, he tried to kiss her.
Just as the lips of the two of them were about to touch each other.
Someone emerged from the darkness and pointed a large sword at the marquis’ neck. Although the sharp sword neither pierced nor penetrated his neck, it threatened him from such a position where it wouldn’t be strange if his head was completely lopped off, just by moving a little.
Unlike the marquis, who stiffened up in embarrassment, the woman just looked at him without any change in her expression.
“You did well, Marquis.”
She, who had just been smiling quietly beforehand, now smiled broadly, revealing her pearly white teeth. However, the eyes that were staring at the marquis seemed to be somewhat indifferent.
As I clutched onto Winnard’s arm tightly, I felt like I couldn’t even breathe.
It felt like I was watching the climax of a horror movie that I had always been curious about. Although it was extremely frightening, I couldn’t turn my eyes away since I was still curious about the ending!
“Sable! How dare you…!”
An angry shout reverberated through the air.
“I killed them all, as promised! And in the most brutal way possible, just like you wished for!”
“Did I… ever make such a promise?”
“Wh-What did you say?!”
“All of that, that was all the Marquis’ doing.”
“Are you going to betray me now, Sable? Betray me, who knows everything about you…!”
At that moment, the eyes of the woman, who had been calm this whole time, suddenly lit up.
As if that were a signal, the man who was pointing the sword quickly subdued the marquis so that he was kneeling in front of her. There wasn’t even time for him to fight back and resist.
With the blade against his own neck again, the marquis bit his trembling lips until they bled.
There was a moment of silence. The woman was still looking down at the marquis with an indifferent gaze, while the marquis had his forehead resting against the floor, seemingly as if he were thinking about something.
Eventually, the marquis raised his head and pleaded with her in a voice full of tears.
“I-I don’t care if you betray me. Sable, I’ve dedicated everything to loving you. So please…”
“Tell me you love me…”
His voice was extremely pathetic, as if he had overcome the fury. It was such a desperate confession that even my own heart ached while listening to it.
However, the woman standing in front of him answered his plea with a smile.
She leaned forward toward him slowly with her hair tucked behind her ear. And after making eye contact with the marquis, she smiled beautifully, just like painting.
“I’ve never once loved you.”
The creepy laughter that was added along with that last greeting seemed to cling to my ears.
Evil! What the hell? What’s with that woman?!
I raised my hand and rubbed my entire ear. I think I’m going to have nightmares tonight!
Then, she turned around. The steady sound of high heels faded away without a single bit of trembling.
The marquis, who was banging his head on the ground and crying in despair, as well as the man who grabbed him and forcibly dragged him away, both disappeared before I even knew it.
In the night sky, the only sound that could be heard was an owl’s intermittent hooting.
Just how much time had passed already? I couldn’t come to my senses for a long time and just stared in the direction that she disappeared in.
“How do you feel after seeing your rival?”
Just like usual. No, a little more laughter than usual seemed to permeate the voice of Winnard as I moved my head to it.
“My lady still doesn’t seem to have very much trust in me, so I’ll especially show this to you, just this once.”
Probably because this didn’t count as a direct intervention of my actions. As soon as he finished speaking, the sound of snapping fingers rang in my ear.
And with that familiar bell sound, the system window appeared in front of me once again…
「‘That bastard isn’t the male lead, right?’ claps and buys 10,000 of Ms Sable Lilly’s shares!」
「‘A Mansour1 in cider2’ shakes the cider to buy 20,000 of Ms Sable Lilly’s shares!」
「‘This area’s hype king’ squanders away their family’s fortune to buy 20,000 of Ms Sable Lilly’s shares!」
That wasn’t mine.
It was when the nape of my neck became stiff at the first number I saw.
A message appeared again with the sound of the bell.
「This area’s hype king recites a poem shyly.」
「My sister (于里言尼) has such good style (槪幹支拿),
Do everything (河鼓風去) you want to do (削多海 蘿),
I acknowledge (左虜人正) all of this (右虜人正),
Roll forward (狎鷗漏器), over and over (大窟 大窟).」3
My fists were trembling before I knew it. Like a person naked in a cold place, the sound of my molars grinding against one another came out through my teeth in succession.
It was a rage that I had never experienced before, nor in my past nor present life.
 만수르 refers to the name of emerati prince Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan whose name has become synonymous in internet slang to ‘a fabulously rich person’ and by extension can be used to describe someone who has an abundance of something, in this case, a person who has an abundance of refreshingness.
 사이더 is internet slang for a refreshing/satisfying situation.
 korean wordplay that mimics 사자성어 (four character idioms). basically fake phrases that have the same homophonetical sounds as their hanja (chinese character) counterparts.
a few things this chapter:
can we give it up for lorella’s a+ acting skills in the beginning bc SIS NEEDS A GRAMMY FOR NOT ONLY THE ACTING BUT ALSO THE LEVEL OF SHAMELESSNESS SHE HAS LMAOIHSDJISDF PLS i could never
ALSO NOT LORELLA LOWKEY GOING YURI ROUTE SHGDLFIJSDF sis legit could not pull her eyes off of sable and i do not blame her for that bc same sis we are the same we no better than a man fr ;-;
ALSO OMG SLAYYYY i’m one of those few that may have been swayed by our newly introduced main character candidate now HGLKDSSFDJ I DO LOVE MYSELF A GOOD GIRLBOSS THO GHDSLFKSDFJ
like girl fr i didn’t even need to be fully introduced to the marquis to know i wouldn’t like him fuck him LMAOOOO
also some intrigue on our girl sable bc whats that mark on her neck ???? interesting hmmmm and so the pLO T THICKENS
ALSO this chapter is SO LONG WTH plus the slang goodnight, esp after this chapter bc wtf was that poem at the end i wanted to kill myself after trying to find all the definitions and stuff HGDSLKFFJ
3 thoughts on “SMCS Ch 16 — The Rival’s Identity”
LMAOO did not expect that but I’m all down for it let’s gooo
Also thank you for your translations, excited for the next one! Wish you a great week!!
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Noooo my username changed after I made an account to leave a comment :”)
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Oh wait it’s back wtf, anyway ye have a great week!Until next time ❤
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