Sorry for the late update!
* * *
Liarte was coloring her painting.
The date of the anonymous drawing competition was just around the corner.
The Duke of Haron said he will only examine paintings that have advanced to the finals after qualifying.
Liarte drew as hard as she could, but she was not confident in passing the preliminary round.
Unlike most aristocratic children, Liarte did not have a private teacher teaching painting.
Carmen took a look at her painting, shook his head, and said it was an untouchable painting.
He added that getting a formal education would only kill her natural talent.
Therefore, Liarte’s teachers were just plant illustrations and theoretical books.
Liarte’s hand paused at Merlin’s words.
“You should take simple refreshment breaks once in a while. You’re hurting yourself.”
She looked at the refreshments in confirmation and went back to focusing on painting again.
As Merlin was about to leave so as to not disturb Liarte, she stopped and observed Liarte. A silent admiration was visible on her face for a moment.
‘It would’ve been a waste if I hadn’t seen the light.’
Liarte rarely sketched.
She drew a minimal frame and painted right on top of it.
Since she was an Awakener of Water, she used her power as soon as she felt that water permeated more than necessary.
‘I do not know why you say you’re not good at drawing yourself.’
At least Liarte had the most beautiful colored paintings Merlin had ever seen.
Liarte called Merlin suddenly.
“Yes, Young Lady?”
She was slightly surprised that Merlin had not left yet, but she continued.
“I’d like to get some unusual paint, is that possible?”
The purpose of participating in the competition was to achieve some results in the end.
The Duke will tried to find Liarte to order to learn how to restore the torch.
As now she was the one who knew how to restore the torch.
“What do you mean by unusual paint?”
“You’ve probably sold paint containing the blood of a saint at the Temple of Light before.”
“That’s out in the world too.”
The torch was actually a painting that showed the weakness of God.
So she had to draw the truth.
In addition, proper restoration was possible only with holy energy.
However, only the Pope and the saints were able to use the Holy Energy. Among those beings, none were excellent at restoring paintings.
‘That’s why the Temple of Light contains the Holy Energy in their paints.’
However, it’s a rare item containing human blood, and it did not sell well because it was too expensive.
The paint was eventually discontinued.
“It’s barely sold, so we might still have it in stock.”
When using the paint, an unusual way of applying was needed.
The Duke of Haron, who is looking for a way to restore the torch, will certainly recognize Liarte’s painting.
“I’ll bring it as soon as possible.”
Merlin excused herself politely and went outside.
Liarte recalled the beauty she had seen when she lifted Michael’s curse.
A red gem peering through transparent irises.
With gold dots and unique patterns in them.
Unlike the first time, the more she drew, the more goals were being created.
‘I want to draw better.’
It would be great if she captured the scene she saw in her paintings.
‘I want to express it better.’
She will be able to do it.
At first, she couldn’t even draw a straight line.
So she drew a line steadily for several hours a day.
Her efforts and perseverance eventually paid off in some way.
Liarte stopped to look at the entire picture.
Even though the canvas was all red, the painting was brilliant and beautiful.
‘Come to think of it, I’m the first person to make contact with the Duke of Haron.’
The Duke of Haron was shrouded in secret even before her regression.
All the tragedies that would have happened to Birce have been prevented.
However, they couldn’t guarantee that the Crown Prince and the Imperial Family would not go after Birce again.
‘How about making the Duke of Haron an ally on our side in advance?’
The Duke of Haron said he was vulnerable to his mother and former saints of Darkness.
Liarte knew some of the secrets of the precious Duchess.
To meet the Duchess, she had to draw and paint enough pictures to make it to the finals.
* * *
There was a fire in the Imperial Palace but Ninian’s palace had been restored.
Unlike the Crown Prince’s Palace, which had to be rebuilt, it was fortunate that it did not burn much.
However, all the plants in the garden withered, so they couldn’t drink tea outside.
“I don’t like them at all.”
Princess Ninian, who was sitting indoors, put her cup of tea down in dissatisfaction.
The princess was innocent but very capricious.
Unlike her lovely appearance, the whims that swirled every day were enough to remind her of Empress Talesia.
Fortunately, unlike the empress, Ninian doesn’t use violence.
Her hand was not too cruel.
“Princess, calm down.”
A maid patted Ninian like a child.
Young-ae, who was with her at the meeting, had to just respond to whatever Ninian did.
“Do I look calm? Why can’t I go see Duke Lian? Duke Lian and I are friends.”
Ninian pouted her lips and put her teacup down.
“The Palace is on fire all of a sudden. My father forbids me to go to the Duchy of Elheim, it’s unfair.”
Ninian was immature because she grew up with only beauty in mind.
That’s why she complains like this even though she heard that the relationship between the Emperor and Elheim was unusual.
“Hestel, say something.”
In this little garden, Ninian was a tyrant.
Hestel, who recently came in as a companion of the Princess, read the air and started talking.
“Wouldn’t it be better to refresh yourself first? I heard some interesting news about an anonymous painting contest.”
“What about it?”
Ninian nodded sharply. She meant for Hestel to tell her more.
“Half of the paintings that will advance to the finals are by new artists.”
“Isn’t it because they’re anonymous?”
“Not really. As the prize for this competition is big, many new artists from all over the world must have participated. There is also news that the price of the paintings will go up.”
Ninian was immature, but she knew how to understand social trends.
It would not have been common for such a large number of nobles to participate anonymously.
“Everyone’s clamoring to collect the award-winning painters.”
Ninian looked back at Hestel.
“Didn’t you participate in this competition? You must be included in the award-winning painters, Hestel.”
Hestel was a self-made person.
She has a significant difference in status from the princess, but she became her companion only thanks to her painting skills.
“Yes, that’s right.”
Hestel laughed very awkwardly.
Long dark brown hair. Unlike her good-looking appearance, there were tear spots around her eyes.
Ninian looked into her eyes, clearly searching for something.
“I think you look like her.”
“Who do you mean by ‘her’?”
“You know, the twin of Prince Lian. Did he say her name was Liarte?”
No one openly mentioned Liarte, who left with Birce.
Ninian laughed as she didn’t care about implicit rules.
“I didn’t even think about it, but you two look vaguely similar.”
In spite of her disparaging remarks, Hestel dared not raise an opinion and just accepted Ninian’s words.
“What kind of person was she?”
“She looks a lot like Prince Lian. They actually look similar, but overall different.”
Ninian’s feelings for Lian were sincere. So she kept Lian’s features clearly in her mind.
“Were you close?”
As Hestel asked, Ninian shook her head.
“I’ve never spoken to her, but I’ve never bothered her because she’s my sister-in-law as she’s the twin of Prince Lian.” (tl/n: delusional)
She was hardly interested.
Hestel carefully rose from her seat while listening to her story.
“Where are you going?”
“I think the ribbon inside my dress is loose, so I’m going to tie it up again. I’ll be right back.”
Ninian smiled again at the thought of becoming a family with Lian.
Outside, Hestel looked around.
Ninian did not follow her.
She walked up to the man who called her.
It was the Crown Prince escorted by knights.
“Are you learning societal rules?”
“Yes, Your Grace.”
Hestel’s talent was in fact mediocre.
She managed to paint, but it was never at a level that satisfied Ninian’s aesthetic.
But other artists by the Crown Prince’s side retouched her paintings so that she could be recognized by Ninian. (tl/n: this is just sad.)
“Get ready. You’re my biggest tool in bringing her to my side.”
“I understand, Your Grace.”
The Crown Prince chose Hestel because of her ability.
“Obviously, I said that you can charm at least one person with your abilities.”
Hestel’s ability was none other than brainwashing.
The Crown Prince planned to raise Hestel step by step, make her belong to a powerful high-ranking nobles, and brainwash Liarte someday.
His foolish greed to acquire her was spreading like fire.
* * *
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