* * *
“Young Lady, we have the preliminary results of the drawing competition.”
Merlin was said to have worn a disguise and gave a fake address to the organizers when she submitted Liarte’s painting.
This was because the nobles and the organizers of the painting competition judged that they might follow the artist.
The letter that came to the fake address was engraved with patterns related to the painting competition.
“They came out faster than I thought.” (tl/n: that’s what she said lol)
Liarte slowly opened the envelope.
No wonder she didn’t have to look at the results.
It was a painting that was painted with all her might.
Also, the genuine Holy Light Paint Aaron had brought was helpful.
“What’s the result?”
Merlin, who was always calm, asked the result from the side.
Then Liarte unfolded the paper.
The result was exactly as she thought.
“We made it to the finals.”
On the day she completed the painting, Merlin felt a certain confidence. Unlike Liarte, who spoke strangely, Merlin’s face was full of joy.
“As expected, you passed.”
“Merlin said I would do well.”
“I know, but I am glad. I wish you all the best in your hard work. I knew it, but I was nervous.”
“Thank you for your concern, Merlin. In fact, I was able to draw comfortably because of you.”
“Should I tell the masters this news?”
Liarte asked Aaron, Carmen, and Michael not to do any research on the painting contest.
She didn’t even tell them what name she wrote anonymously.
Anyway, wasn’t the Duke of Haron involved in the painting competition?
She didn’t want Birche to know the results of the competition for the time being.
At least until she has a point of contact with the Duke of Haron.
She shook her head lightly and said.
“Please don’t continue to talk about the results of the competition.”
“I will follow as you say so.”
You would get a call after winning the competition anyways.
It wouldn’t be too late to share the joy with the people of Birche then.
Liarte opened the newspaper in a casual way.
Along with the picture of the Crown Prince, she saw an article with the words ‘Duke Haron’.
‘Why is he here?’
The future has changed even though Liarte has not affected it.
Originally, Duke Haron should not have appeared at this point in time.
Newspapers were a medium used to promote aristocrats in addition to announcing recent news.
In particular, the place where the article was published was a place where it could be monopolized at a high cost.
‘The Duke of Haron’s old secret is……’
Liarte read the article. The content was that he had a meeting with the Crown Prince, but there were hints that the Duke would support the Crown Prince in the future.
‘But he wouldn’t have really been on the side of the Crown Prince.’
Duke Haron was a generally dull guy except for restoring the Holy Fire.
In addition, he was a person who pursued accurate calculations in everything.
Unless the Crown Prince restores the Holy Fire, he will not easily pledge allegiance.
Liarte muttered half-aloud.
She knew it somehow.
The only reason the Duke of Haron would move was for the restoration of the Holy Fire.
The Crown Prince could not have approached the Duke of Haron first. So the Duke must have seen something in particular and approached him first.
It’s different from before the regression.
Wasn’t it different from the future when the Imperial Palace burned down instead of Birche?
‘I don’t know why, but he said that the fire in the palace suddenly went out.’
She didn’t know that was a clue.
Birche’s fire in the Imperial Palace was brought from a temple outside the empire.
Therefore, no one recognized the identity of the fire until the Imperial Palace was burned.
‘No, I’m sure they did.’
The Duke of Haron might not know it, but his mother, who was a saint of darkness, must have recognized that the fire burning the Imperial Palace was a Holy Fire.
However, the Duke has lost his presence and has been in seclusion.
Furthermore, it was only for a moment that he came out and reaped the benefits of the situation.
Only the past of the former duchess can be traced back, along with the question of how she recognized the fire containing the power of God.
The Duchess didn’t seem to want to reveal her past as a saintess who ran away from the Temple of Darkness.
Suddenly, the fire in the palace died down all at once.
The Duke of Haron, who strongly wanted to restore the Holy Fire, was interested in the Awakener who was presumed to be dealing with the Holy Power. There was no way he wouldn’t have it.
The Duke would have asked the Crown Prince to introduce him to that Awakener.
The Crown Prince was likely to lie to the Duke of Haron due to his character, based on what Liarte had seen so far.
‘He is trying to deceive him by saying that the Awakener was him.’
That made sense, but what the Crown Prince did was the worst move.
The Duke of Haron would never forgive someone for deceiving him.
It’s his vengeance.
Even though the Duchy of Haron was not a family of Awakeners, they would be called that in the future.
“The Duke of Haron must have been on the side of the Crown Prince.”
Merlin read the article aloud over her shoulder as if Liarte’s expression seemed serious.
“Are you alright?”
Merlin realized that her Young Lady looked calm.
“If you leave them alone, the relationship between the two of them will unfold on its own.”
Liarte said oddly.
It was such a natural statement, like saying it would rain while looking at the weather in front of her.
‘Their cooperation won’t last long.’
The Duke would soon find the Torch that Liarte had submitted to the painting contest.
It didn’t matter if things went wrong.
The Duke was not a fool.
No matter how much time passed, he would have noticed that the person who had extinguished the fire that burned the Imperial Palace was not there.
‘A mysterious person.’
Looking at Liarte, Merlin thought so without realizing it.
* * *
Carmen came in the afternoon.
Carmen was a very busy man, unlike the idle Aaron or Michael, who could spare some time as a successor.
It was understandable because he was a Duke and the Owner leading Birche.
“We’re going to the venue of your coming-of-age ceremony.”
Carmen’s attitude was so impudent that she momentarily wondered if he had really made an appointment.
“The date for my coming-of-age ceremony hasn’t been decided yet.”
“I’m thinking of opening it this autumn if possible. Next year, it will be too late. It may take some time.”
“You mean the work of the Duke of Haron and the Crown Prince joining forces, right?”
His red eyes looked toward Liarte.
“That’s pretty good. You have improved a lot.”
“Thanks to Walter’s good teaching.”
Liarte also thought next year would be a bit late for the coming-of-age ceremony.
It’s summertime now.
Just as the season passed by in Birche in an instant, autumn would come right away.
She didn’t expect to announce that she would be part of Birche so soon, but it’s not that bad.
“Let’s go, Carmen.”
Carmen showed a strange reaction as if he was unexpectedly delighted when he followed Liarte.
The annex was close to Birche’s castle, but at a considerable distance.
It’s close when using a carriage, but very far when you’re just walking.
In the end, they had no choice but to ride in a carriage.
“Here we are, Lili.”
It was a building that looked more like a castle than an annex.
“I have thought about decorating it, but if there’s anything you want, please do tell me.”
She couldn’t think of anything in particular right now.
The fact that the coming-of-age ceremony itself was held was a luxury for Liarte.
“That’s the banquet hall, and up there is the room where the distinguished guests would stay, but no one would bother to sleep in here.”
Carmen said nonchalantly.
Rumors about Birche were greatly exaggerated.
In addition to dealing with the Power of Death, the aristocrats were afraid of Birche because the family itself had a strong aura of cruelty.
“They probably won’t even attend unless they’re quite powerful.”
They weren’t the kind to be afraid that Birche would eat them up.
“You look like you’re in a good mood.”
“I like that kind of stuff. Even if I’m not doing anything, they’re shaking in fear and imagining horrible things would happen.”
It was more comfortable for them to be scared from the beginning than to be bothered about it.
“It doesn’t hurt to be scared on your own, right?”
“It’s a bit cliche here, but do you have any other dresses in mind, with jewelry in them?”
Just by looking at Liarte’s expression, he could see what she was thinking about.
Carmen laughed and said, “If you don’t have one, I’ll take care of it.”
Liarte was now fully adapted to Birche.
It was the result of her hard work and strong will to live.
“Can you call me father or dad?”
Liarte, who was walking earlier, looked back.
Now, she knew that Carmen didn’t force her to do anything.
“No, I won’t.”
She then turned again and looked straight ahead.
Her whispering voice was especially lovely.
Who would look at this girl and think of Liarte, who first came to Birche?
Even at the time when she was captured and abused in shabby clothes, Liarte was a decent person.
Now, this child doesn’t flinch or get surprised when Carmen raises his hand.
Aaron and Michael also looked relaxed when Liarte was present, just like Carmen.
“You fall asleep fast.” She didn’t do anything, but she has grown up well.
Carmen was delighted by the change that took place within a few months.
The Duchy of Elheim would cling to Liarte with regret when they met her again, but they were no longer in her future.
Rather, Elheim would only realize that they were human beings who could not reach her.
“Am I a bad person if I look forward to it?”
While talking to herself, Liarte looked back again.
Carmen replied with a languid smile, as usual.
* * *
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