Chapter 1. An Accidental Encounter
‘I forgot this.’
Nelia took out Charlotte’s pendant necklace, which had been kept in her pocket.
The pendant necklace jingled under Nelia’s hand.
Despite all the troubles it went through, the pendant necklace was still shining. It shone gently just by having the moonlight that went through the window of the hallway.
“Here, the pendant necklace.”
When Nelia was about to hand it over.
The tightly closed pendant was opened.
Nellia and Charlotte exchanged surprised looks at each other.
It was because the pendant necklace, which had never been opened before, was just opened.
“The pendant is opened……”
Charlotte put her hand over her mouth in disbelief.
“It’s never been opened before.”
Nelia was aware of that.
Not only was the quite firm-looking hooligan couldn’t open the necklace, Charlotte herself also was never able to open it in the original work. Something sparkling inside the pendant fell on the floor and rolled into the corner.
Nelia leaned over to see what had fallen from it.
Is it a gemstone?
The blue-colored round gemstone seemed to shine in a unique way in which it appeared close to jewelry.
“Charlotte, look at this. This must have been inside the necklace.”
Nelia handed the gemstone she had picked up to Charlotte. Charlotte turned the gemstone around to examine them carefully.
“I can’t believe there was something like this inside…….”
“Is there any writing or drawing in the pendant?”
When asked by Nelia, Charlotte laid the pendant over her palm.
Nelia could also see the both sides of the revealed pendant.
Inside the pendant, something similar to hieroglyphics was drawn on a white background.
“Do you know what this means?”
She wondered if such a thing was only used in the monastery, but Charlotte’s frowning eyes seemed to not know anything.
“The priest who gave me this pendant said it is very old. Isn’t that an old saying?”
Although she doesn’t know all the languages around the world, there would be no place that wrote hieroglyphics that would look as close to the one drawn on the white background in this day and age.
‘There’s something intense in the text…… What’s this? Is it an animal…….?’
There were also letters that could be guessed roughly, but it seemed impossible to interpret the meaning.
Nelia was intrigued.
Charlotte was also surprised at the fact that the pendant was opened, but she didn’t seem to think much about the meaning of the letters drawn inside.
Charlotte closed her eyes holding the pendant without hesitation, took the gemstone from her finger and brought it close to her eyes. And she looked inside the transparent gemstone.
“Nelia……. I don’t know much about gemstones, so I have to ask, will this turn into money…….?”
Nellia was taken aback by Charlotte’s question.
The average person would naturally have the same question as Charlotte at the sudden appearance of gemstone.
However, she found it surprising that Charlotte, who didn’t seem to be very interested in material values, experienced it and asked that.
‘Yeah, Charlotte is human, too.’
Nelia replied while stretching her head.
“I don’t know much about gemstones either, but I think so.”
“Is that so……..?”
Charlotte’s eyes sparkled.
Did she feel like hitting the jackpot at the gemstone that practically appeared out of nowhere?’
However, Nelia was once again surprised by Charlotte’s behavior.
Charlotte put the gemstone on Nelia’s palm and thrusted it toward the owner.
“Then…….. I’ll give this to Nelia.”
The blue gemstones shone beautifully in the light.
There was a strange and strange sense of surprise at the sight, so Nelia didn’t get what Charlotte was saying for a moment and just stared vacantly at the gemstone.
“…….This is not the time to act like this.”
Nelia returned to her senses and pushed her hand toward Charlotte.
“Charlotte, I can’t just accept this. You know how much it’s worth, so take it.”
Charlotte shook her head despite Nelia’s stern voice.
“I’m giving it to you because I don’t know its worth……. If I know the worth later, the willingness to give to Nelia may disappear……..”
Charlotte took Nelia’s hand and spread her palm forcefully. And she gave the gemstone she was holding.
“The pendant, which had never been opened, was now opened thanks to Nelia. Therefore, if it weren’t because of Nelia, I wouldn’t have obtained this gemstone…….”
“I can’t express all my gratitude to Nelia with this gem, but let me do this, at least.”
Charlotte’s voice was desperate.
It wasn’t the recipient, but the giver who was desperate.
Nelia looked up at Charlotte while wondering about what to do with such a burdensome gift.
As a matter of fact, Nelia didn’t really need this gem either.
It might be because she lived so poorly in her previous life. The environment around her that she sometimes couldn’t handle it. Duke Hart brought everything to her before she could say she needed anything.
Charlotte, on the other hand, wasn’t in such a comfortable situation.
She was a commoner and paid by a monastery.
Nevertheless, seeing the gemstone that was considered a jackpot, she thought that the benevolent heart was like the virtue of the female lead.
Charlotte looked nervous as she waited for an answer. After seeing that, Nelia finally put down the burdening thought in the end.
Nelia clenched the gemstone and said.
“Thank you, Charlotte. I’ll take care of this.”
“Yes. Thank you for receiving it, Nelia.”
Charlotte, who smiled brightly as if she was shedding tears, looked relieved.
Charlotte went back in the early morning the next day. It was because she was worried about staying outside the monastery without informing them.
It was just Nelia who was seeing him off.
“Be careful on your way, Charlotte!”
“Yes, Nelia……..! See you next time…….”
After a brief greeting at the front door, Nelia went back inside the duke’s residence.
When she opened the front door and went back in, the duke greeted Nelia as he sat on the sofa with his long legs crossed.
The duke seemed to dislike Charlotte even more because of yesterday.
In the past, he didn’t seem to openly show it, but now she thought he didn’t even want to talk to her (Charlotte).
But Nelia closed her mouth at the confusing atmosphere, knowing that the duke disliked Charlotte because he thought she had put Nelia in danger.
“Shall we go to the palace now?”
After the tumultuous holiday passed, the unpleasant work schedule began.
At times like this, she was a bit resentful at him.
Why did the duke have to take on an important job as prime minister and go to the Imperial Palace every day?
Moreover, she had to accompany him because he turned into a snake when their bodies were a certain distance away.
‘Come to think of it, why didn’t he turn into a snake yesterday?’
Nelia realized yesterday that the duke had come to rescue her in his human form without turning into a snake even though they were away from each other.
Did he not actually turn into a snake even if they were separated?
A glimpse of hopeful thought came into Nelia’s mind, and she asked the duke the moment they got into the carriage.
“Your Grace, we’re not together yesterday, so why didn’t you turn?”
But a disappointing answer awaited in return.
“I took medicine. That’s why I was able to maintain my form for hours.”
Nelia looked up at the Duke.
“But why did you take the medicine…….? Did you know what was about to happen to me?”
“I have to be prepared just in case. I didn’t have a good feeling yesterday.”
How astonishing. The duke seemed to have a vision of the future.
If the duke hadn’t taken his medicine as usual, he wouldn’t have been able to save her.
Nelia remembered the duke’s magical ability in yesterday’s incident.
He lifted people up in the air without even lifting a hand, and blew them away.
His ability were almost similar to magic.
Come to think of it, he also won without any weapon in hand on the day he fought against Carlos.
The strangeness didn’t end there. The incomprehensible natural phenomenon also accompanied him last night.
Lightning struck the clear sky, and a strong wind suddenly blew.
Of course, it might be the whim of nature, but if Nelia were to make a guess based on her intuition, it might be a phenomenon related to the duke.
“I’ve never heard of the Hart Family being related to magic…….”
On the contrary, it was a traditional knight family that produced many knights a long time ago.
It barely made sense.
Nelia slowly opened her mouth while staring at the duke.
“Your Grace……. By any chance, were you a wizard?”
The duke tilted his head at Nelia’s question. The silver hair fluttered gently in the air.
“Then, explain what you did yesterday when you lifted a person without touching him?”
The duke seemed to be pondering, ‘Uhm…….’ and gave a smile.
“It’s the power of love. When you try to protect someone you love, the ability that you’re not even aware of will…….”
Nelia immediately cut off the duke, who was trying to bring down the story slyly again.
And she stared at the duke.
“You’re trying to drop it again…….!”
“Nelia, you’re so pretty and lovely today.”
Nelia firmly pushed the duke on the chest despite the rain of kisses that seemed to be peppered on her mouth.
The duke asked affectionately while tucking Nelia’s hair behind her ears, perhaps he had read Nelia’s disappointed expression.
“Are you that curious?”
“Yes…… You keep trying to hide it from me.”
The duke released a brief exhale. His mischievous expression has subsided quite a lot.
“Rather than trying to hide it……. I just don’t know how to explain this ability I possess.”
“……. Is it not magic?”
“Yes, it’s definitely not magic.”
The duke looked down, his eyelashes dropped slowly.
“I don’t need any weapons, mana, or even spells.”
“Then how do you use your ability?”
“All I need is one thing. A flick of finger is enough to exert a small amount of force. And when I have a lot of energy like yesterday, I can just do it by thinking of it.”
Nelia’s mouth opened slowly.
“To use such a fraudulent ability…….?”
Somehow……. She has been aware of it from the moment he beat Carlos, the swordmaster, and unscathed during the whole process.
With this extraordinary ability, there was no way he wouldn’t win.
“What’s the reason you’ve been hiding such an amazing ability…….!”
The duke gave a faint smile.
“Some people are as pure as Nelia, but most people are afraid of unknown forces like the one I possess.”
Nelia immediately understood what the duke was implying.
‘That’s right, though…….’
Even if she was amazed by it for a moment, she also wondered about the unknown power just a moment after.
Where did that power come from, and how did he get it?
“If I say that I have an unknown ability on top of the curse that makes me turn into a scary beast, even those who knew me well would also be afraid, too.”
The duke spoke calmly, but the atmosphere was somewhat bitter.
“So, anyone, including Marquis Clint, doesn’t know about this. Nelia is the person I talk about this with.”
The duke brushed Nelia’s cheek.
“What do you say……. Does Nelia become afraid of me now?”
Nelia knew that the duke told about this in the first place because he believed in her. Nevertheless, asking that kind of question was most likely the human’s mind which wanted to know and ensure it.
There was no reason to hesitate in answering the question with its answer.
“Your Grace is just you.”
There was just one more characteristic that could define the duke.
Beautiful appearance as if a sculpture made by craftsman, a curse that turns into a snake, and a talent for seducing people.
And a peculiar ability.
Nelia took off the duke’s hand that was caressing her cheek.
“Yesterday, thanks to your strange ability, Ton was rescued, and avoided being sold as a slave.”
The duke smiled weakly at her playful remark.
“When I talk to Nelia, I feel like a normal person. The unknown curse, the strange ability, it’s as if all of them mean nothing.”
On the contrary, Nelia couldn’t help but feel like becoming an important and special person to the duke.
Did her ordinary self bring something special out of him?
It was a pleasant balance.
*Please support to save ROS. Your help is desperately needed.