* * *
Liarte opened her eyes to Merlin’s call.
“You have to get up now.”
Soon, Merlin’s hand touched the blanket. Liarte blinked her eyes at the feeling of her gently shaking her body.
Clear air was flowing in from the open window.
‘It’s autumn now.’
Time flew by so fast. Throughout the summer, Liarte practiced dancing with Michael.
Although her skills did not improve much, she has been able to perform the basic dance as a result of constant practice.
And today is the day of her coming-of-age ceremony.
Liarte’s coming-of-age ceremony was nothing short of an unconventional move in many ways.
She was called an unawakener, but she turned out to be an awakener.
A direct awakener holding a coming-of-age ceremony in another family.
Furthermore, since the two families involved were Elheim and Birce, people kept their eyes on Liarte.
“As you already know, the ceremony will take place at the annex outside the castle. They will offer a week-long stay for the coming visitors.”
There were many distinguished guests who spent several days in the family to establish friendships with the celebrant’s immediate family members.
“Are there any people I should get particularly close with?”
It was a question Liarte asked about the visitors staying for a week, but Merlin answered seriously.
“Visitors who stay in the villa will leave after a week on their own. So the master said to just leave them alone.”
“Are there any visitors that Carmen doesn’t like?”
“Yes, that seems to be.”
Birce has not held any events that have invited outsiders.
The nobles have regarded Birce as dangerous and reluctant men of power. It wasn’t really a bad decision, though.
Therefore, no sane person would bother to stay in the annex after Liarte’s coming-of-age ceremony.
No one would want to stay for a week.
‘Elheim, The Imperial Family, or some really strange stuff. Don’t you understand me?’
Carmen gave Merlin a list of humans who would have to stay in the annex.
“I’ve practiced dancing hard so far. I hope I don’t make any mistakes today.”
Merlin kissed Liarte’s forehead gently, just like parents do with their children.
“You won’t make a mistake today. If you do make a mistake, use your power to pretend that you didn’t.”
“Is it okay to use my power?”
“Most of the people won’t notice.”
Unlike other powers, the power of water was not noticeable in small amounts.
Merlin put Liarte in a dress and curled her long hair.
“Do you know the process of coming-of-age ceremonies?”
“I know it’s a little different for each family.”
In the case of Elheim, water controlled by the owner (TL note: or head of the family, I guess) was applied to the forehead.
She knew this by watching the ceremony before she regressed.
“Birce draws a mark with the blood of the head of the family.”
“Whatever happens, do not be surprised. It would be better for you to think of it as a natural process.”
“I will do that.”
Liarte decided to take Merlin’s advice.
The time to prepare for the ceremony was not long.
As Liarte was about to leave for the annex, she saw a ceramic gun on the desk. With her hand out, she picked up the gun.
‘Just in case.’
It was a small gun, so it could be easily stored in the dress.
It was so small that it’s hard to believe it had any killing power.
“I’m going now.”
It didn’t take long to get to the annex by carriage.
What surprised Liarte was the guests seemed to have gotten there before her.
“Merlin, we’ve got a lot of visitors.”
The aristocrats had been sitting there waiting for the coming-of-age ceremony since this morning.
“Most of them are those who have sent some letters to you, My Lady.”
“They’re the ones?”
The direct awakener of the family seemed to be a coveted prey.
“I have to be careful just in case.”
“Maybe they’re the ones that should be careful.”
She saw knights in pitch-black armor approaching and pulling out a few.
“Because the master remembers all of their faces.”
After this day, the word would spread, and everyone would be careful of their behavior in front of Liarte.
Merlin thought so, but she didn’t bother saying it.
The carriage was furnished with paper and pencils for use when something urgent to be written down.
Liarte’s eyes twirled for a moment.
“What should I draw?”
She wanted to draw a creature she had never drawn before.
She has drawn Birce’s white and chubby carrier pigeons and her silver fox enough.
“Yes, My Lady.”
Liarte looked at Merlin and moved her hand.
With her short hair and unique, odd eyes, it would have been better if she had a brush and paint but now she had to settle for a pencil.
“Are you drawing me?”
“Yes, but it’s more of a simple doodle.”
The sketch turned out better than Liarte thought, so she opened the door of the carriage with satisfaction.
It was faster to get off on this side and walk to the annex.
It was at that moment that she bumped into a man.
“I am so sorry.”
The man apologized, completely covered with a robe.
“No, it’s all right.”
“I’m just grateful that you forgive me.”
It had an ambiguous but unusual tone that you could never forget once you heard it.
The man bent down and picked up the fallen piece of paper, which was fluttering from Liarte’s hand.
“That’s a pretty good sketch,” the Duke of Haron said so.
The moment he saw the sketch, he had a feeling that he had encountered something similar somewhere.
‘Did I look at too many paintings while being the judge of the drawing contest?’ the Duke of Haron just thought so.
“Thank you for the compliment.”
“It’s true, then I’ll get going now. Congratulations on your coming-of-age.”
It was pure coincidence that the Duke bumped into Liarte.
‘I didn’t expect the Princess of Elheim to be a painter.’
To say that the sketch was quite good was not a joke, but a real fact.
The two of them passed each other like that.
Liarte recalled information that it was a characteristic of the Duke of Haron that no one knew his true face.
‘But I didn’t bump into him knowing about the torch.’
It was a strange coincidence.
“Such a man of ability, My Lady.”
“The man who bumped into me just now?”
“Yes. It’s a hand that holds an unusual weapon rather than a sword. The next time I see him, I’ll be sure to be on guard.”
Liarte was about to answer something.
In the direction Duke Haron was heading, she saw a young lady with dark brown hair.
She seemed to be constantly groping the inside of the fountain in the annex to see if something had fallen in.
‘Contrary to its appearance, that fountain is deep enough to submerge one person.’
As soon as Liarte thought about it, the young lady fell into the fountain as if she were dragged into the water.
The Nobles were just looking at the figure.
“Wait a minute, Merlin.”
For a moment, the water in the fountain surged together.
The young lady, who should have been soaked wet like a mouse, turned dry as she was before she fell in.
The stream of water carried the young lady’s body and the hand mirror that had fallen into the fountain to the ground.
Some blinked at what happened in an instant, and people’s eyes were on Liarte.
“Are you all right?”
Liarte went closer to the young lady.
She looked unexpectedly normal for someone who had nearly drowned in the water.
‘It’s a little strange.’
Soon, the young lady burst into tears.
“Thank you for saving me. I will never forget this grace.”
“You don’t have to pay me back.”
At the unexpected words, the young lady, Hestel, pretended to cry and blinked.
“Is this the only thing you’ve lost?”
The bottom of the fountain must have been cleaned yesterday.
“Yes, that is right. It’s very important to me…”
“That’s a relief.”
Strangely, Liarte didn’t have much affection for the young lady, whose chestnut hair looked black at first glance and her blue but murky greenish turquoise eyes.
‘Is it because her appearance looks similar to mine?’
The young lady grabbed Liarte and laughed.
“My name is Hestel Leaven. I would like to thank you for saving my life.”
Liarte was a person who was weak to the kindness of others.
The problem was that she didn’t trust anyone who was nice to her in an unconvincing way.
Liarte flatly refused.
“You don’t have to. I don’t want to be reciprocated.”
Was it because she was quick-witted or did she just not like Hestel?
From the moment that she first saw Liarte, Hestel thought that she hated the former princess of Elheim.
‘I feel bad because we look alike.’
She hated Liarte even more because of her pure black hair and pretty blue eyes.
“Then I hope you have a great day today.”
Liarte headed inside, being careful not to let her sketch of Merlin fly away in the wind.
“I am not that kind of person…”
Hestel, who was trying to catch Liarte while recalling the Crown Prince’s orders, was left alone.
The back of the fluttering paper with Merlin’s sketch was visible for a moment.
Hestel suddenly stared blankly at Liarte’s hand.
‘The handwriting is the same.’
It was not until Liarte’s back disappeared completely into the annex that Hestel came back to her senses.
The people saw the color of the red painting, but they didn’t bother to look at the handwriting of the title.
Having seen it over and over again, Hestel was memorizing the handwriting of the title of the painting called “The World”.
‘No. it can’t be.’
There was no way that the real owner of the red painting was here.
If all the facts were revealed, Hestel would be ostracized from society.
‘It’s all right. I’m the owner of the red painting.’
Hestel tried to comfort herself.
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