Chapter 1. An Accidental Encounter
Unlike when she came, Zenuit also followed along in the carriage, unlike when she was on her way to go there.
Zenuit was more obedient than she expected.
When he was asked to remain quiet, he just floated in the air like a balloon without saying anything and tailing her.
Nelia had to be careful not to look at Zenuit. If she kept staring into the blank air, Duke Hart might find it weird.
As a quick-witted person, he would notice that there was another creature if she kept acting wary of Zenuit.
Nelia hadn’t intended to tell Duke Hart about Zenuit’s existence just yet.
She planned to talk more properly with Zenuit and reveal all the truth when she got the clear idea on how to find Sigrid’s heart.
“Nelia, were you satisfied with the visit today?”
“I’m glad to have seen it directly…… but it seems to be a bit different than what I thought.”
Nelia lowered her eyes and sighed as if she was guilty of herself.
“I apologize, Your Grace…… You spent a lot of money for the development of medicine, and you even came along with me to meet His Highness Carlos……”
“If it answers Nelia’s curiosity, it’s fine for me.”
The duke gave an affectionate smile, as if it wasn’t really a big deal to him.
Seeing the duke acting that way, Nelia decided to find out how to find Sigrid’s heart through Zenuit as soon as possible.
Nelia entered the room and locked the door firmly after she arrived back in the mansion.
Although Zenuit said he couldn’t be seen by others, it would be awkward to see her talking to the air.”
Nelia, who was completely alone in the room, proceeded to speak to Zenuit, who followed her quietly like a living doll.
“You can speak out now, Zenuit.”
[I was so frustrated.]
“But I took you out of the Elena Tears.”
Zenuit couldn’t argue against Nelia’s remark.
[I suppose so, what’s your name?]
[Yes, I can’t just keep calling you human.]
Oh…… That makes sense.
“I’m Nelia. Nelia Benedict.”
[Nelia…… All right.]
Zenuit recited quietly, then looked at her again and asked.
[Who is the one who came along with you in the carriage?]
“He’s the owner of this mansion, Duke Hart. I work for him as his handmaiden.”
[Who was the gray-haired man that you met earlier?]
“That’s His Highness Carlos. He’s the Crown Prince of this empire. His Highness had the Elena Tears.”
She didn’t know what kind of expression the dragoon had on his face, but Zenuit’s gray eyes indicated as if he was lost in thought.
Then, he lifted his head abruptly and looked at Nelia.
[Nelia, obviously, the reason why you took me out of Elena Tears is for Sigrid’s heart, right?]
Nelia grew a bit anxious upon Zenuit’s serious questioning.
“Yes, that’s right.”
[What kind of wish will you make if you find Sigrid’s heart?]
If she were talking about a wish, she had to tell him about the duke’s curse.
Although Zenuit was Sigrid’s subordinates, does it mean she can just disclose the duke’s curse to him? After all, the curse was a deadly secret of the dukedom.
‘What should I do…….’
Zenuit was waiting patiently for her answer.
“About that……. Do I have to say it?”
Nelia asked in bewilderment, but Zenuit spoke again firmly.
[I’m similar to a guard who protects Sigrid’s heart. I can’t help them if I don’t know their wish.]
Speaking with a rather serious tone, she thought he must hear her wish first.
‘If so……. There’s nothing I can do.’
Nelia revealed the truth ever so carefully.
“Duke Hart I serve suffers from a curse that turns him into a snake.”
“Yes. He’s originally a human, but if he doesn’t take particular medicine, he’ll turn into a snake.”
Zenuit looked down without saying anything.
“When I find Sigrid’s heart, my wish is for the curse to be lifted up from the duke.”
It seemed that Zenuit didn’t think her wish could be a problem, however there was a little response.
Nelia’s eyes lit up.
“Zenuit, tell me where Sigrid’s heart is now.”
Zenuit nodded subtly.
[Sigrid’s heart is…….]
The heart is……?
[It’s up there.]
Zenuit pointed at the ceiling with his short arm.
“Where…… you mean in the sky?”
[Precisely, the time and space in the sky beyond the entrance of the dimension. Sigrid hid his heart there.]
Zenuit continued with a confident expression.
[You won’t be able to find it without me.]
Nelia reluctantly replied with, ‘Oh, is that so.’ and immediately moved to the next question.
“So, where to go for this entrance of the dimension?”
[The entrance to the dimension only opens once a year.]
“When is it?”
[On the day of the total lunar eclipse. The entrance opens for just one day.]
Nelia failed to hide her frustration.
‘Of all days…….’
The total lunar eclipse was the day when Duke Hart turned into a monster.
Last year, she managed to stroke the head of the duke’s monster form that made him turn back as a human, but she didn’t have any idea about this time.
“Can’t it be another day?”
[How dare you think of it as the door in the corner of your room? If it’s not on the day of the total lunar eclipse, it can’t!]
Zenuit flapped his wings in anger. Nelia thought to herself when she saw it.
A little creature with such a petty temper……
“Is there any other condition other than going on the day of the total lunar eclipse?”
[No, if you manage to pass the entrance to the dimension, the person whom you wish for will have to go through a test.]
The person whom she wishes for……. That meant the duke had to go through the test by himself.
“What kind of test is it?”
[I can’t tell you that yet.]
“If they can’t make it past the test, they can’t make a wish even if they managed to find Sigrid’s heart?”
As she expected, the journey to find the heart wasn’t easy.
“Since you can’t tell me about the test……”
“There’s no more condition, right?”
[For the time being…….]
For the time being?
Nelia nodded even though his word was vague.
First of all, the method and timing to find the heart must be confirmed. The dragon that was pulled out of Elena Tears wouldn’t have lied.
“I understand. Now that I know about this…….”
Zenuit shouted in a hurry with his short arm stretched toward her.
[Are you going to tell Duke Hart about me?]
“Of course. You said the subject of the wish has to go directly through the test.”
Nelia’s eyebrows were taut.
[If I said you can’t, you can’t tell him!]
“Then when can I tell him?”
[When I…… allow it.]
Nelia was starting to be suspicious about Zenuit’s presence. It was said that he was the one and only subordinate of Sigrid, but she thought he wasn’t really reliable.
She didn’t read the Legend of Sigrid to the very end, but Zenuit’s existence was never mentioned until the part where she left off.
If he was so important as a guard for his heart, he would have been mentioned before, once at the very least.
The duke obviously told her once that Sigrid’s subordinate was guiding the path to his heart, but there was no detailed description about them.
With that being said, regardless of the fact that the dragon came out of Elena Tears, she was a bit suspicious of him.
Nelia narrowed her eyes while staring at Zenuit.
“If you were Sigrid’s subordinate, do you have any special ability?”
[You’re asking such an absurd question all of a sudden.]
“It’s just…… I’m suddenly curious. Sigrid is someone who possesses a great power. If you’re his subordinate, I thought you were incredible as well.”
Zenuit snorted briefly.
[Of course, I might seem clumsy right now since I’ve been trapped in Elena Tears for a long time, but I can cause thunder in the clear sky.]
When Nelia responded that way, Zenuit brought his shoulders up.
[Shall I show them to you?]
This was a good opportunity to check if Zenuit was a scammer or not.
In response to Nelia’s answer, Zenuit flew upward. And when he closed his eyes and murmured something, a flash of lightning occurred in the grim sky.
Zenuit, who was flying in the air, flinched and soon fell to the floor.
Nelia quickly picked up Zenuit. Zenuit had his eyes open in distress.
[I guess my body got exhausted because I immediately used my energy again after a long time…….]
What’s wrong with Sigrid’s subordinate…….!
Even so, it seemed that he really had a particular ability because he managed to summon lightning in the clear sky.
Nelia erased her suspicion for now.
[I’m so exhausted.]
Zenuit spoke powerlessly and he seemed on the verge of closing his eyes.
[Anyway……. Nelia. Keep my words in mind. You shouldn’t tell anyone about my existence yet.]
She could hear Zenuit breathing regularly shortly after.
Nelia looked down at Zenuit with a puzzled look.
‘He must have fallen asleep.’
The next day, Nelia woke up early in the morning because she was cold.
Just as she expected, Zenuit pulled all the blankets on the bed and covered himself in it, leaving her cold.
Nelia glanced at Zenuit with a disapproving gaze.
‘He’s a dragon, so why did he cover himself with a blanket?’
She assumed reptiles could also feel coldness as humans do.
Nelia was staring at Zenuit when he opened her eyes, perhaps feeling her gaze. Zenuit rubbed his eyes sleepily and spoke to Nelia.
[Oh…… Nelia, did you have a good sleep?]
“No, I couldn’t sleep because of you, Zenuit. Why are you taking the blanket for yourself despite being small?”
[I must have felt comfortable sleeping in the fluffy place after a long time.]
Nelia thought of making a separate bed for Zenuit.
Zenuit rose from the bed.
He looked so cute when struggling to get up with those short legs, which made her heart melt.
Ah…… Nelia put her hands on her forehead.
Does she really have to stay with this demanding dragon for a while?
Nelia washed up, changed, and went downstairs. Duke Hart was already reading the newspaper with coffee in the hall on the hall in the ground floor as usual.
“Good morning, Nelia.”
“Good morning, Your Grace.”
It wasn’t really a good morning for Nelia due to the coldness she felt all night, but the duke didn’t have to take blame for that.
However, she was very disturbed by Zenuit, whose stomach was growling beside her and constantly telling her that he was hungry.
‘But since others can’t see him right now……’
Nelia also approached Duke Hart and asked just before Zenuit let out a whine saying he was hungry.
“Your Grace, do you have something similar to feed in the mansion? If not, maybe raw meat or something like that will do…….”
It was Zenuit who answered instead.
[You’re not trying to feed me that, are you?]
Nelia couldn’t answer Zenuit when she was in front of the duke, so she only gave a slight nod.
[Do you think I’ll eat food that animals eat? Of course, I don’t eat raw meat either!]
The duke, who couldn’t see Zenuit flying around distressfully, spoke in a curious tone.
“Feed……? I’ll have to ask the servant, but there probably isn’t. I think we have raw meat. But may I ask why you’re looking for food?”
“Oh….. I saw a sickly stray cat on the way back to the mansion yesterday, and it bothered me all night. I thought I’d give it some feed if Your Grace had it.”
Zenuit cut off the conversation between Nelia and the duke.
[Bread would be better! I’d rather eat bread!]
Nelia smiled awkwardly and told Zenuit’s demand to Duke Hart.
“Come to think of it, I think it’s better to give bread crumbs rather than raw meat.”
“Alright. Nelia should have breakfast first before feeding the cat.”
Duke Hart said and led Nelia to the dining room.
Nelia had no choice but to eat first and ignored Zenuit, who claimed and shouted that he was hungry as well.