Chapter 2

 

 

 

The Past

***

 

It was about ten years ago that Valletta Delight met Reinhardt. The nine-year-old was the only daughter of Count Delight, and she was most treasured. At least that’s how the world knew it. 

 

One day, after participating in a conflict with the barbarians, her father threw a dirty, scrawny boy in front of Valletta. 

 

“Father?”

 

“I picked him up lying around the battlefield. He has a pretty face, and I thought it would be perfect for him to become a slave.”

 

Count Delight said, carelessly taking off his armor. Listening to the dry voice of her gray-haired, purple-eyed father, Valletta bowed her head with a troubled look on her face.

 

The boy’s shoulder was very distorted as if he was stabbed by a sword. His condition was not good to look at. He was a mess, bleeding profusely and running a high fever.

 

“I don’t have a need for a slave… “

 

“No, it’s necessary for the future empress to have one. Think of him as a shield that will protect your life with his own life in times of need.”

 

“But…”

 

It was not a suggestion, but more like an order. Valletta’s lips quivered as she frowned. She didn’t like the idea of having a slave. She was born and raised in this world, but she was bound by the memories of her previous life. Because of this, her moral values were very different from those of the people here.

 

More than anything, Valletta felt uneasy about the beautiful boy with silver hair who was moaning in pain. She even felt a sense of déjà vu, as if she had seen him often somewhere. 

 

“Valletta Delight, are you talking back to me now?”

 

Count Delight’s gaze frightened her. Valletta kept silent. He was cruel in his obsession with his daughter. The reason was simple. It was because she possessed the qualities of an alchemist. Alchemists were rare in the empire, and very few were born with those qualities.

 

Alchemists were essential in order to make potions. Even if the alchemist was born a commoner, they would be promised a position at once. 

 

Valletta was born with the qualities of an alchemist and an aristocrat. And not just any alchemist either, she had the ability to become a high-ranking alchemist. It was a very lucrative business, one that might give her family an opportunity to make a connection with the royal family. In fact, her father had been talking with the imperial family about Valletta’s talent.

 

Count Delight was a true merchant, and once he saw how valuable Valletta was, he spared no effort to make her talent known. 

 

 

“In a week, you need to make friends with the Crown Prince at the banquet. It’s better than being a stranger.”

 

“…”

 

“And make sure to be friends with the other nobles. Since we don’t know what will happen and who’s going to be emperor.”

 

“…”

 

“Valletta, why don’t you answer your father?”

 

“Yes, father.”

 

Valletta nodded while speaking those now accustomed words. 

 

From the beginning, Count Delight had the idea of having Valletta marry into the Imperial family. Of course, he tried to make it subtle but his intention was much too obvious.

 

Naturally, her thoughts were completely different from her response. For her part, she honestly did not appreciate being used in this way. However, she was only a little girl with no power, no money, and no authority. A nine-year-old little girl.

 

No matter where she goes or where she is, she will never be able to leave his grasp. At least not under the current circumstances. 

 

“I’ve put a proper leash on him, so he won’t be able to disobey.”

 

“Yes,” Valletta replied weakly. 

 

The boy, who was struggling with death on the floor, finally opened his eyes. His beautiful ruby eyes looked around blankly before eventually reaching her.

 

Despite the boy’s heavy breathing, Count Delight glanced at him and continued his monotonous voice as if he were explaining to Valletta how to use a toy.

 

“If he doesn’t listen, you squeeze this.”

 

He placed a necklace with a red bead around Valletta’s neck. Valletta looked down at the bead, which was horribly red as if it was made from hardened blood.

 

“He has the seal engraved on his heart, so he dare not disobey a single word. You can order him to do anything you want.”

 

“What? No, perhaps later…” 

 

Count Delight coldly gazed at Valletta as she shook her head, feeling stunned by the sudden order. ‘What on earth does he want me to order such a sick child to do?’ It was obvious that no matter what she ordered, the boy was simply too weak to even get up properly.

 

“You’ve been talking a lot lately, haven’t you?”

 

Count Delight gave Valletta a sharp look. She didn’t want to offend him. He rarely inflicted physical violence on her, but he did punish her with things she couldn’t bear mentally. Things like killing her pets, locking her in a dark room without a sip of water for several days, and even hanging her upside down once. He didn’t want to leave marks by hitting her because it would lower her value, but he did everything else until Valletta surrendered and obeyed him unconditionally.

 

Count Delight was a madman. He met a crazy woman, had a child with her, and that child was Valletta.

 

And Valletta knew Count Delight well.

 

He would do the dirty work of buying and selling slaves secretly, while outwardly providing relief supplies and food to commoners and refugee villages, winning the hearts of the people. On the outside, people thought he treated Valletta as his cherished daughter, but in the mansion, she was anything but. 

 

‘That’s why he* died.’ (*her father-Count Delight)

 

In the novel, she once saw a sentence that said, “The future master of the magic tower was brought in and used as a slave by the Count but the Count failed to control him.”

 

Also, it seemed to say something about a very beautiful boy, but she couldn’t remember.

 

“Hurry up!” 

 

“Ah…sit down!”

 

At Count Delight’s urging, Valletta hurriedly said the words that randomly came to her mind.

 

After spitting out the words, Valletta stiffened.

 

‘Sit down’ was the only thing that came to mind when she suddenly tried to give a command.

 

The silver hair boy looked at Valletta disgustedly.

 

‘Did I order him as if I ordered a dog?’

 

Just as Valletta was wondering if she should change her order, Count Delight reached for the bead she was holding. As soon as his large, calloused hand touched the bead, the boy groaned as if he realized something and knelt at her feet. 

 

“Master.”

 

The boy smiled brightly while he was breathing hard and blood trickled down his shoulder. The boy’s red eyes flashed gruesomely, smiling as if he were a good listener. His mouth was smiling, but his eyes clearly were not.

 

[The boy was very handsome. Valletta instantly fell in love with his bright red eyes, white skin, and gorgeous silver hair that seemed to sparkle under the sun.]

 

Just as Valletta was about to answer with a forced laugh, a passage from the novel suddenly popped into her head, and her body froze.

 

‘Is he a dog?’

 

Even the main character of this world chews with one hand.

 

“Oh, Uh um, yes. Hmm, hello….”

 

Valletta finally answered, stuttering.

 

“Well, what’s your name?”

 

“Reinhardt, Master.”

 

He was the future great wizard and master of the magic tower…The villain in the novel that gave the protagonist a meaningless ordeal,  then killed them after he lost his interest.

 

“….”

 

It was obvious that his name was Reinhardt. 

 

“It’s your birthday present. Use it well.” Count Delight said.

 

“Yes, father.” 

 

‘What should I do when my father gives me a ticking time bomb for my birthday?’

 

Valletta really wanted to ask the intellectuals, even though she knew that there was no advanced technology called the Internet here.

 

***