27 Stress

"What is going on?" I asked myself as I placed Gon's box down in the corner of my room.

On the wall was this circular dial and I twisted it all the way over to the right. It was a magical device that would put a barrier around the room to prevent anyone from hearing what I was going to say.

Walking over to the black egg I'd been taking care of for some time now, I placed my palm on the surface and began to inject my mana into it, almost like a mother feeding their baby milk.

Racking my brains, I tried to recall my memories of the novel.

Although after the sexual assault incident, Bell Agnus wasn't mentioned all that often if at all, surely an engagement between two of the most powerful families would've been mentioned at least in passing.

I thought about it a little longer before shaking my head.

"No, this never happened in the novel," I concluded.

This sounded like a butterfly effect but the more I tried to wrap my head around what would lead to this change, I was unable to place a finger on it.

It didn't make sense to me.

Both Mother and Father were people that spoiled their kids rotten and would grant them whatever wish they wanted as long as they were reasonable.

Forcefully taking away someone's romantic freedom seemed out of character for them.

Sitting down on my bed, I thought about it a little longer before coming to the consensus that this was a plot trope acting out in front of me where the main character is suddenly engaged.

Well, Bell was not a main character by any means but there was someone who had the power to alter his destiny.

Looking up at the ceiling, I asked, "Was this your doing?"

I didn't receive an answer even though I had that feeling like usual whenever he was around.

"I know you're up there somewhere," I said, referring to the shitty god.

He had been watching me ever since I had entered the dungeon, making this occasion one of the longest durations of his viewing.

Normally, he would be there for a few minutes, at most an hour, before leaving to go deal with whatever other business he had.

"Are you silent because I'm right... or are you silent because you think I don't know you're actually there and are trying to play it cool? News flash old man, I know you're there."

Laying down on my bed, I awaited an answer.

If he wasn't going to answer, then I was just going to ramble on by myself.

"Isn't this too cliché?" I asked.

It was something that happens every time I picked up a light novel that takes place in a fantasy world.

"Why must every rich protagonist or just protagonists, in general, have to have a fiancé? It's like one moment the novel is in the middle of an arc then boom... fiancé. The main character is preparing for war, boom, fiancé. He's about to go confess to a girl that he likes, boom, fiancé. He's actively avoiding relationships because he's an edgy dark lord that doesn't like girls then boom, fiancé."

I shook my head, recalling all the stories I read that shoved a sudden fiancée storyline in the face of the readers.

"It's even worse because unless the story is a harem story, the engagement never even works. It's like the entire story arc about the engaged couple never even rewards the readers for all the forced interactions they must read through," I continued my rant.

"The main character always chooses the dark ice queen who has no friends, but she becomes soft for him because he gives her a few compliments here and there. Or he picks the worst option out of the bunch. The fiancée never wins and all we get is a botched engagement that hurts only one person, the girl."

The more I ranted, the more furious I got because this trope was one that I hated a lot.

"Why must you do this to me, you shitty god? Why must I suffer the curse of being engaged to someone I know absolutely nothing about? The only goddamn thing I do know about her is from your terrible novel," I said.

In the novel, Asano Ichiko ended up being killed in a feud with another clan from the East.

The battle was so bloody that when the main character went to see the aftermath, he wondered if he had stepped into Hell.

'That's all I know about her and yet... now I'm engaged to her,' I thought to myself, sighing.

I finally got a response in the middle of my train of thought.

"It wasn't me," the shitty god responded.

"What wasn't you?"

"I wasn't the one who forced the fiancée trope on you," the shitty god clarified.

"What?" I couldn't believe it. If that's the case then, it really was just the butterfly effect, which makes the trope a thousand times worse because it happened "naturally".

At least if it was forced by the shitty god, I could just blame it on the terrible writer.

On the other hand, if it's happening naturally, I have no choice but to shame this world which was a million times better and more fleshed out than the world that was described in the novel.

"You must understand this Asher Lee," the shitty god addressed me by my real name, "ever since I brought you into this world, I haven't interfered once with the timeline, and I don't plan on interfering. Everything that happens will have happened on its own."

I had a feeling that was the case but now that he confirmed it, I no longer had someone to blame for changes in this world, so I was a little annoyed to be truthful.

"All the choices that you make, all the changes you bring, all the deaths, all the lives saved... all of it is up to your hand Asher. So, from now on, please don't look up at me and begin to blame me for things that weren't in my control. This universe has its own free will and I'm leaving it alone," the shitty god told me, almost as if he was trying to lecture me.

Rolling my eyes at how much he was trying to emphasize that it wasn't him who forced this cliché trope on me, I couldn't help but feel like he was trying to hide the fact that he did the exact same trope in his novel.

Halfway through the story, as the romance was getting stagnant between the main character and his harem of beautiful women who fell in love far too easily, he introduced a fiancée into the mix just so he could make the others jealous and get the ball rolling again.

Every time I spoke to this shitty god, all it does is remind me of how terrible a writer he is and that reignites my anger all over again as a reader of his shitty novel.

I gave him two middle fingers before rolling around and facing the mattress with my head down.

I closed my eyes and began rethinking my plans.

Now that there was a fiancée in the mix, I had to alter a few things here and there so that I could resolve this plot device without messing up the setups I had been preparing the past month or so.

Crossing my fingers in my mind, I hoped that the trope wouldn't escalate to the next level.

'Please don't transfer to the academy,' I begged internally.

Having my fiancée attend school with me would be a major obstacle because now there was a person who was directly connected to a powerful human in Asano Gonkuro.

And that powerful human will care a lot about what I do because I'm engaged to his daughter.

If I wasn't engaged to his daughter, the level of care would be drastically lower.

My future plans involve the demons who will invade the academy, and with one misstep, she'll report back to her father, placing my loyalty to humanity at risk.

Yes, I was going to help out a demon.

But please trust me, people, it's for a good reason.

I doubt Ichiko would view it the same way especially if she was raised in that strict Asano family where a lot of things to them are viewed in black and white rather than grey where most things truly lie.

"Fuck!" I screamed into my pillow.

'Please don't transfer to the academy. We can be engaged without having to attend school together. Please... please just stay in your hometown,' I thought to myself.

It wasn't his fault, but I still felt the need to say, "Why did you do this to me, God? Why?"

"I didn't do this," he quickly reminded me. "Did you already forget?"

"It was a metaphorical god. I'm not talking about you right now," I scoffed, lying without hesitation.

Hearing the knock on my door, I took a second to regather myself from the state that I was in before jumping out of bed.

Turning the dial to the left, I turned off the barrier and then opened the door.

It was Cyro, looking like he had just barely escaped whatever conversation was happening downstairs.

I even saw a few beads of sweat on his forehead which was rare to see from a paladin of his caliber.

He ran into my room, closed the door, then locked it.

Before I could say anything, he turned the barrier on in my room using the dial.

"What's wrong?" I asked.

Cyro looked at me while shaking his head.

"All those two have been doing since you left the room was passive-aggressively make fun of each other," said Cyro. "It felt like at any moment, one of them was about to snap and begin fighting the other person."

I had heard a few of these insults earlier when I walked in.

"Then they began to brag about their children and now I have a duel lined up with the eldest son," he sighed.

"You think you'll win?" I asked.

Cyro smirked and told me, "Don't ask the obvious."

He sounded braggadocios but the truth was that he was simply confident and rightfully so.

"So," he said, putting his arm around my neck, "guess you have a fiancée now. Lucky you."

I stared at him with these empty eyes that pierced through him, and he chuckled.

"I'm just kidding," he said, putting his hands up in the air as if telling me not to shoot.

"Do you know why Father engaged me to a stranger out of nowhere?" I asked Cyro.

He thought about it for a while before shrugging.

"I have a few ideas but to tell you them would only stress you out even more so," he made the gesture of zipping his mouth shut, "I'll just keep them to myself. Just ask Father once the two of you are alone. I'm sure he'll answer."

"I know he will but... it's nerve-wracking waiting like this."

"Why? Are you scared of being engaged to one of the most powerful families? Or do you not find your fiancée cute?"

"Why would I find them scary?" I clicked my tongue. "Are they more powerful than us?"

Cyro didn't say a word, but his silence was more than enough as an answer.

"Exactly. And I don't even know what she looks like," I continued. I could remember blurs of her from Bell's memories that came from the news or the faraway past where the two of them were both children, but other than that, she was like a blurry photo.

"Then why are you so nervous?" asked Cyro.

"Because I don't know why Father has done this all of a sudden when he promised the two of us years ago that he'd never force anything political onto us," I answered with a little bit of anger in my voice.

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