Chapter 1. An Accidental Encounter
“If Noona doesn’t want to, there’s nothing I can do about it……. I have never washed by myself in my entire life, so I will try to wash by myself.”
“What if foam gets into my eyes…….”
If this went on, Duke Hart would see her as a heartless noona to her cousin.
“Alright. I’ll help you wash up.”
Nelia couldn’t help but comply. Only then did the gloomy shadow from his face and was replaced by a bright smile.
“Thank you, Noona!”
“Express your gratitude to the duke, not me. After all, he’s the one who installed the solar stones.”
Zenu said while immediately averting his eyes at the duke.
“Thank you, Your Grace!”
Duke Hart smiled and replied, ‘It’s my pleasure.’ but she found it strange that the corner of his flexibly raised mouth looked somehow rigid.
But it was like that for a moment, because then, the duke replied with a more natural smile, just like usual.
“I’m glad you like the solar stones.”
Nelia was thankful to Janet for today.
He constantly talked to her during the dinner, and Duke Hart didn’t seem to notice her unusual condition.
Upon entering the room, the sense of innocence that the child had was immediately erased from Zenuit when he spoke to her.
“It turns out pretending to be a child is also quite a nuisance.”
“So who told you to do that?”
“No one. But this appearance isn’t that bad because people offer a lot of sweets to me.”
“The butler and servants of this house.”
The workers in this mansion were so awkward that she thought they were robots at first, but it turned out they could also change upon seeing a cute face.
Everyone seemed to have fallen for this wicked dragon.
‘Such a sad lookist…….’
“So that’s settled, Nelia. Let’s go and wash me.”
“You can wash up by yourself. You’re not even a real kid.”
Zenuit immediately turned into a small dragon right at that moment.
“I’m not asking you to wash me up as a kid, but in this appearance. It’s difficult to wash myself clean in this appearance.”
Nelia’s eyes directed at Zenuit’s short arm.
‘It surely is……..’
With such short arms, he wouldn’t be able to reach around his wings.
Nelia lifted Zenuit as if picking up a lump.
After getting into the bathroom and filling the bathtub with water, Nelia threw Zenuit into it.
Zenuit, who got into the bathtub and got caught off guard, struggling in the water.
“How could you push me into the water all of a sudden like that!”
Nelia spoke with an indifferent expression.
“Oh, I’m sorry. My hand just slipped.”
Actually, it was a small act of revenge for causing her trouble, but Zenuit wouldn’t know that anyway.
Even so, Zenuit, who quickly adapted to it, was flapping his small wings, probably liking the feeling of warm water on his body.
“It’s been a long time since I took a bath.”
“Come to think of it……. You’ve been asleep for thousands of years.”
Tsk, that means he hasn’t washed for thousands of years……
When Nelia spoke while stepping a little further away from Zenuit, he hastily explained.
“Even so, I don’t get dirty like humans!” “Despite that, I don’t get dirty like humans!”
“There’s no such thing.”
“There is, I…….”
Zenuit cried out confidently, then muttering at the end of his remark.
“…….I’m the subordinate of the Great Sigrid.”
“I know it.”
It’s not that difficult to say things that everyone knows about.
“So you don’t need to wash up?”
“It’s indeed sanitary, but I have to wash up because it feels different.”
What is he saying?
Nelia thought, unable to understand the dragon and picked up the hamper in the bathroom.
“I’m going to wash you now.”
Nelia filled the hamper with water and poured it over Zenuit’s head.
Zenuit thrashed around at the sudden drop of water, but he didn’t seem to hate it.
Nelia mixed the towel with bubble soap and tried hard to wipe Zenuit’s scales.
“You’re doing a decent job at wiping me.”
She felt as if bathing a reptile pet, which wasn’t a natural thing to do.
However, as he said, he already seemed clean because he was a mysterious creature referred to as a dragon.
What this creature called a dragon really is………
At the same time, Nellia recalled Carlos again. At the same time, Carlos creeped up on Nelia’s mind again.
‘When he becomes a dragon, the worries I’m having right now are very trivial.’
Nelia sighed quietly when Zenuit asked.
“You looked unsettled on the way back, is something the matter?”
“……How did you know?”
Nelia thought it was unexpected that Zenuit was quite aware of it.
“I’m the subordinate of Sigrid, the Great Gray Dragon! It’s not about knowing human’s mind or such. Tell me anything.”
Nelia wondered if she could tell others what happened today, but the one she faced was the dragon.
Well, it didn’t matter.
Nelia opened up her mouth to speak while pouring water on Zenuit’s back.
“I think I made a mistake……..”
“How many people out there who don’t make mistakes?”
“Well…… That’s kinda true. Someone who made a mistake is quite an incredible person.”
Zenuit said as if he was dumbfounded.
“Even they treat a great dragon like me as a frivolous animal, how can human beings be scary?”
“It’s not like that……. It’s because I’m afraid that someone else will get hurt, not because of me.”
Another sigh came from Nelia’s mouth.
“Don’t worry. Isn’t it going to be okay if you handle it properly?”
Well……. As he said, she should contact Griff and ask him about the side effects, and if there were actually problems, they could fix it, but the truth was she’s still anxious.
When the stiff expression still displayed on Nelia’s face, Zenuit said with his short arms folded.
“I’ll tell you a special secret because you seemed sullen.”
“What is it?”
“It’s regarding Sigrid.”
Sigrid……. Was once the greatest God in the world.
“He, who has the power to rule the world, once committed a mistake.”
“Sigrid made a mistake……..?”
“Yes. Sigrid regretted the mistake until the moment he closed his eyes.”
Nelia tilted her head.
“What kind of mistake……. Is that?”
Zenuit hesitated as if he was about to say something great.
But he flapped his wings, making the water splashed everywhere.
“It’s a secret!”
Just as quick as his little wings flapped, Nelia’s clothes got wet in no time because of the splashing water.
Nelia laughed ridiculously at her wet clothes.
Seeing that, Zenuit put his hands on the waist and pulled his chest as if he just did something great.
“How do you feel now?”
Nelia nodded……. And then pushed Zenuit into the water again.
“AGH! What are you doing?!”
“If you played a game, you should have predicted it.”
“I’m just messing around because you seem weak!”
“I’m just also messing around.”
Nelia and Zenuit’s grumble in the bathroom didn’t stop for a while.
Perhaps due to Zenuit’s clumsy effort to comfort her about today, her anxiety had decreased a little after getting out of the bathroom.
‘Alright, let’s contact Griff first, and talk to Carlos if there’s really any side effect.’
Then, on the very next day, she wrote a letter to Pharmacist Griff regarding the side effects of the medicine, and he replied that he didn’t think so.
Although it was through a letter, she could feel him leaping up in anger through the writing.
She wanted time to pass quickly so that she could talk to Carlos about this, but he hasn’t contacted her for days since that day.
She didn’t know how he would contact her, so she searched through the mailbox every day.
‘It’s the same today.’
Nelia sighed and turned around where Duke Hart was standing.
“Nelia, I’m thinking of dropping by the library today. Are you in?”
Today happened to be weekend.
‘Right. I’d better go out than just heaving a sigh in the corner.’
The weather was nice, so she thought it would be nice to go to the library and take a walk around there.
Duke Hart spoke with a smile again to respond to Nelia.
“Alright, then I’ll request the carriage to be prepared…….”
“Noona, it’s the weekend. Where are you heading to today?”
Zenuit appeared and stood in front of Nelia, covering the sight of Duke Hart.
“I’m going to the library.”
“I wanna go, too!”
Nelia has already predicted this kind of situation. Zenuit would try to follow her around marvelously.
She would leave him in the mansion when he appeared as human, and he would follow her to work at the Imperial Palace when in his dragon form.
Nelia concealed the thought of wanting to be apart from Zenuit today and asked him sweetly.
“You would be bored going to the library, wouldn’t it be better to play with Ton in the mansion instead?”
“I’d rather stay with Nelia Noona!”
Ton, who was standing beside him, mumbled with a noticeably sad face, ‘Right…… You’d naturally rather be with Noona.’ but the innocent-looking dragon didn’t seem to pay any attention.
“Alright, Nelia. There’s a park near the library, so it would be nice to go for a walk there with Zenuit.”
When the duke added, Nelia had no choice but to comply.
‘There’s nothing I can do…….’
Nelia had to go out with Zenuit that day.
When Zenuit arrived at the library, he read the book more quietly than she thought.
However, Nelia hastily took the book away because one book he had to choose has a difficult title.
Nelia checked if Duke Hart was concentrating on reading before whispering to Zenuit.
“If a child read such a book, what would the duke think about you?”
“Then do you want me to read a fairy tale?”
“Fairy tale books are really fun, too.”
Nelia pulled out an illustration book that looked like a fairy tale book and handed it to Zenuit.
The illustration book just happened to have a gray dragon drawn on it. It seemed to be a book that unraveled Sigrid’s myth using pictures.
“Although Zenuit doesn’t appear in the story, you can recall about Sigrid in the past by reading this.”
Only after Zenuit was handed an illustration book that Nelia opened the book she had been reading since earlier.
Right after that moment, Duke Hart called out to her so she had to close it again.
“Nelia, is something the matter?”
“It seems that you’ve been talking to Zenuit seriously earlier.”
The duke obviously seemed to be immersed in reading the book earlier, but it turned out that she and Zenuit must have been more noisy than she thought.
Nelia searched for an appropriate excuse.
“Oh…… I had to coax Zenu a little because he said that the library was boring.”
Duke Hart stared at Zenuit.
His silent gaze felt somewhat burdening, it made Nelia wonder if the duke had any doubts about Zenuit.
Regardless how many times Duke Hart has acted like a pushover for matters related to her, he might not be fond of Zenuit who appeared out of nowhere.
‘Because there’s one more dependent guest in the house…….’
On top of that, kids needed a lot of care.
With focusing on solving the curse these days, he might find it even more annoying.
Even now, when she talked to Zenuit, he seemed to have been distracted by the noise they made.
Nelia looked at the duke and spoke with a sullen voice.
“I’m sorry, Your Grace. You must have been bothered by Zenuit, right?”
The duke smiled and shook his head.
“No, if it’s Nelia’s family……. I will also treat them as my own.”
But, is something the matter? His smile felt somewhat rigid.
When Nelia’s expression barely changed, the duke continued.
“I told you, Nelia. I wasn’t bothered by anything. Please take good care of Zenu.”
Nelia felt guilty for Duke Hart’s kind answer, but was inwardly relieved.
Even if she told that reckless dragon to return to the dragon form, he wouldn’t listen to her, and she would have to rack her brains if the duke looked at Zenu with a glint of discomfort.
“Thank you, Your Grace.”
Nelia grabbed the duke’s hand.
The duke looked down at their hands. He finally had that usual soft smile on his face.
But then, Zenuit’s head popped out of the bookshelf while calling for Nelia.
“Noona, take out the book up there for me.”
Nelia took off Duke Hart’s hand out of surprise and hurriedly went to Zenuit, who was on the other side of the bookshelf.
So, Nelia wasn’t aware.
About what kind of expression the duke had on his face.