Since the election of the “Grand Duchess”, the chief of staff has continued to admonish the resentful maids.
Lady Ione Clark was someone brave enough to marry the man everyone feared and good enough to care deeply for her sick mother.
“I thought you understood…”
Sebastian raised his wrinkled hand and rubbed his sunken eyes.
He tried to recall the image of hope, but his eyes, which had seen too much, could not easily recall it.
Under his closed eyelids, there was only darkness.
I covered my frozen red nose with my hand and glanced at Adrian.
I tried to overcome it, but I have reached my limit.
No matter how hot he is!
I think an hour of enduring freezing cold winds that feel like it’s going to freeze my entire body is enough.
‘Isn’t this too much to deal with? The grand duke hailing from the North may be okay with this, but I, someone from the South, am not okay with this.’
I grunted, timidly letting go of my nose. I looked at the grand duke and sighed.
‘Do you have any conscience?’
No matter how hard I thought about it, the grand duke was a bad guy.
“It’s hot. Let’s open the window.”
Normally, if someone said something like that, wouldn’t they just open the window for a few minutes and then close it?
Why do you have to open the window for an hour in this cold weather?
I’m guessing this is different from the original story, but whatever…
‘Don’t you know what moderation is?’
I, who was breathing heavily due to my anger, breathed shallowly again because my nose was tingling and it felt like my heart was freezing.
Even if it looked ugly, breathing like a dog out of breath made it easier to breathe in this heinous air.
‘I never wanted to discover that.’
I snapped and glanced again at Adrian.
He’s had his arms folded and eyes closed ever since he opened the window.
Did the Grand Duke of the North fall asleep being lulled by the familiar wind?
‘Wouldn’t it be alright to close it just a bit?’
The grand duke was a human anyways, what if he were to catch a cold because of the wind?
The devil’s whisper rang in my ears.
‘Oh, yes, this is just me being considerate of his health.’
And look at this raggedy body!
I approached the carriage window with a quiet step and began to pull the window closed, inch by inch, coordinating the timing with the shaking of the carriage.
The well-placed windows moved smoothly without much effort and made no sound.
There was maybe half an inch left at this point.
Excitedly, I pressed my fingertips together to close it.
The carriage shook violently, and Adrian opened his eyes.
When I met his eyes, surprised, I reflexively tried to come up with an excuse.
He swung his sword, the metallic sound scraping my eardrum.
With an eerie sound, the white blade slammed relentlessly into the windowsill.
The walls of the carriage were much harder than they looked.
They have to support the weight of not only the people but the luggage as well, in addition to withstanding the vibrations coming from the wheels for long periods of time.
‘But why did he make it seem as easy as sticking a fork into pudding?’
“He was the first magical swordsman in the history of the empire. Unlike normal swordsmen, he was able to manipulate magical power, allowing him to push past the limits of the human body.”
I recalled a passage from the original story and froze.
What did I just do in front of someone who doesn’t have any physical limitations!
What was my problem!
‘Help me, please.’
‘I was wrong.’
In an instant, dozens of comments begging for their lives came to mind.
I stiffened and forced a smile.
“D-Do you want me to leave it open?”
“…Don’t close it.”
“You’ll catch a cold if you sleep-”
“You smell, so don’t go near the window.”
While I paused at the unexpected explanation, Adrian’s sword fell right in front of my nose.
“W-w-what’s going on!”
I thought he was threatening my life because he suddenly pointed a sword at me, but when I took a closer look, I realized there was something on the end of the sword.
A droplet the size of a fist?
“W-what is this?”
It was at that moment.
Perhaps because the window was now slightly closed, my frozen nose had melted and suddenly began to run.
Surprised by the feeling of something dripping, I sniffled loudly.
I could feel Adrian’s eyes on me after that large noise.
But I didn’t have a handkerchief.
But at the same time, I couldn’t just let it run…
I sniffled once more.
I turned my attention to the handkerchief in Adrian’s hand, who wasn’t even bothering to offer it; it was as if he didn’t know anything about the concept of “compassion”.
But for once, I understood him.
I too would not like to have a handkerchief that had been covered in someone’s snot.
I actively cooperated with him, who indiscreetly changed the topic.
“This is a transformed slime. Unlike normal slimes, which can’t do much harm to people, the-”
While speaking, Adrian bit down on the tips of his glove, sliding his hand out before proceeding to dip his index finger into the slime.
When the finger made contact with the slime, it stirred and spewed out a stream of water that wrapped tightly around Adrian’s fingers.
“It’s okay, just keep looking.”
I’m not okay with that!
I was confused, but Adrian seemed calm.
‘I haven’t seen anything like this in the South, but is this normal in the North…?’
Adrian didn’t have any reaction, so I assumed everything was okay, but I was wrong.
The stream of water tightly wrapped around his finger began to shake and turn red.
Even a fool couldn’t have seen that coming.
“Normally, they forage in swampy areas, but there’s no such thing as those in the frozen north.”
Is this what he meant when he said it was a transformed slime.
I nodded, before suddenly tilting my head.
Was I mistaken?
I think the slime, which used to be just the size of a fist, grew a little bigger.
I blinked, and it grew a little more.
“Oh, this is-”
At the sound of my surprised voice, Adrian simply flicked his hand to remove the slime.
It seemed to be too insignificant to be called a demon.
‘Oh, what? It’s no big deal, it’s like a clear leech.’
As I grumbled inwardly to myself, pleasantly surprised, Adrian, who had removed the slime from his hand, voiced somewhat sternly.
“Don’t underestimate the transformed slime. I’m not like a regular person.”
It was as if he had read my mind.
“It’s not easy for the average person to get the slime off, and it grows rapidly while it’s feeding. It starts out as a small area, like the size of a finger, but within minutes, the whole body can be eaten.”
My jaw dropped in astonishment.
I couldn’t hide my surprised expression.
Adrian slowly reached out and cupped my chin, closing my jaw.
“That’s why everyone in the Northern territories is engraved with a seal.”
“It’s a sign that they’re mine, so to speak.”
Was he obsessive?
Adrian, who was cleaning up the slime, looked serious and added, “I don’t mean it in that way.”
‘I only thought about it in my head, but did it show on my face?’
I laughed awkwardly, feeling a little uncomfortable.
“The dragon is the king of the demons, and its aura is feared and avoided by them.”
When he had finished speaking, Adrian leaned in close.
His straight, long fingers pressed against my round forehead.
“It’s engraved on every northerner.”
The index finger that was pressed against my forehead felt cool.
“If you’re imbued with the aura of the king,”
The piercing blue eyes glowing from a distance were frighteningly clear.
“The smell of humans gets covered up.”
Oh, so that’s what he meant.
“That is, to avoid being targeted by demons.”
“…To not die?”
I was just mindlessly listening to his words, but only at the last line did I realize what he meant.
I almost died just now.
‘Wow, what? I didn’t see any mention of anything like this in the original. That’s embarrassing.’
But it was strange to think about.
Why didn’t you just give me a seal or a stamp!
‘Wouldn’t it have been nice if you took a picture of it in advance and explained it to me?’
Sniffling, I glared indistinctively.
“Then, how can I…”
“Of course, my wife should have a seal.”
But despite what he’s just said, Adrian hasn’t budged.
Didn’t you imply that I just almost died?
Although I was cringing, I apologized and asked with the most pitiful voice I could muster. The person with the seal was a twisted person.
“Then, can you give me the seal now? I became scared after what I’ve just heard.”
“I’ve explained it briefly for you to get a basic understanding, but engraving seals on people is a tricky task. We’d need two wizards.”
“Can’t the grand duke do it?”
“I’m not a magician.”
As soon as Adrian finished his explanation, my runny nose flowed, as if it had been waiting for this moment.
I don’t know if it was due to my relaxation or if it was because the window I had closed earlier reopened, but one thing was certain.
‘It’s cold, I can’t take it anymore!’
“Well, wouldn’t the slime be able to come in with the window open? So if you could close the window a little bit…”
Adrian’s eyebrows rose at the blunt question.
But I was slightly disturbed by another unexpected threat to my survival.
What if a slime came in or a leech or something else!
“Why? I’m cold and scared.”
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