“Are you ready?”
“Yes, it’s been a long time since I’ve worn something like this, so it’s a little uncomfortable.”
Valletta stood in front of the mirror and looked at herself. The dress did not have many laces so it wasn’t cumbersome.
Still, she felt uncomfortable moving in the dress as if it was a psychological rejection.
“Ah, I forgot to give you this.”
Valletta took the three high-grade potions on the desk and handed them to Carlon Delphine.
A look of wonder appeared on Carlon Delphine’s face.
“What is this?”
“It’s the payment for buying me this dress, and for buying me and the child clothes and other necessities. And for the cost of living here. I wanted to give it to you earlier, but that hateful guy appeared so I was absent-minded and couldn’t give it to you.”
That day, Reinhardt finished eating with a smile while sitting next to me, and disappeared like the wind again. He appeared on a whim and she had no idea if he would take her away.
‘It seems like he had no plans of taking me to the Magic Tower right now.’
In the end, he just disappeared without telling her if something had happened.
Valletta shook her head to remove the thoughts about Reinhardt, brushed her hair, and looked back at Carlon Delphine.
“I don’t have any cash so I’ll give this instead. Would that be okay?”
“… The payment?”
Carlon Delphine’s expression darkened as he whispered.
“Yes, please tell me if it isn’t enough. Since I don’t know the exact value.”
After seeing Valletta speak calmly, Carlon Delphine burst into laughter.
He thought he was treating her considerably kindly, but he didn’t expect her to put a price on everything.
He felt like someone hit his head with a hammer.
“And today is the last day of the month to fulfill what was mentioned in the contract, so I want to give you the 60 bottles starting from the end of the next month, would that be okay?”
“If that’s okay, how about making the last day of the month the delivery date?”
The child still had dead eyes.
The Magic Tower’s Master had eyes like a dead fish, a gaze that had nothing left in life, and so was Valletta’s.
“Also, I can’t be indebted to you forever for staying here, so after this banquet I would like to open the store…”
Listening to her voice reciting her plan showing how much she had been thinking while alone, Carlon Delphine was speechless and had to stop breathing for a while.
This time, Carlon Delphine did not hide his expression.
With an expression that showed his reluctance and helplessness, he stroked his forehead.
He let out a low sigh and slowly opened his mouth.
“I didn’t ask for something like that.”
“… As I have said, I can’t provide a 100…”
“No, I think my approach was a bit wrong. I thought you would understand it sooner or later, but I made the wrong choice.”
Carlon Delphine said while touching his lips with his palms.
Seeing him sweep his lips with his palm as if trying to hide his lips, Valletta watched him with a questioning look.
“A little… how about we make a little correction to our relationship?”
“… A correction? But the contract has already been written down…”
“No, I’m not talking about that. First, let me apologize. The talk about the 100 high-grade potion was just a very child-like hissy fit.”
Soon after Carlon Delphine spoke, Valletta had an explicit doubtful expression.
What did he even say to a child who has a deep-rooted distrust? Carlon Delphine rarely regretted the decisions he had made.
“That’s right. I just wanted to help, I didn’t want to get paid for it.”
He replied with loose honorifics, feeling slightly frustrated.
Valletta nodded her head with an ‘understanding it a little’ expression.
Carlon Delphine smiled with slight relief at the understanding look on her face. But he could not help but be surprised at her next words.
“So this is sympathy.”
“Ah, I apologize if I offended you. Other people dislike this kind of word. It doesn’t mean anything bad. Anyway, I understand what the Duke is trying to say.”
Valletta’s lips wore a faint refreshed smile. Carlon Delphine rarely felt speechless.
“I’m sorry. As you may have noticed, I don’t like unpaid favors. But my heart knew enough. That’s why…”
Valletta seemed to have more things to say as she opened her mouth again.
“If it’s okay with you, please accept these as a token of my gratitude.”
Suddenly, Carlon Delphine covered his eyes with his own hands. His misery could not be put into words.
He was speechless as she tried to persuade him that she had understood. She was trying to act like an adult, but to his eyes, she was still a child.
Like a monkey in a circus in front of others, making potions with dead eyes.
Perhaps nothing would reach the heart of this child. Such thoughts suddenly crossed his mind.
He never thought that his kindness would be turned down this way. In the first place, Carlon Delphine never thought that his kindness would be rejected.
It doesn’t seem to be something to worry about much though.
“It’s not sympathy…”
Carlon Delphine opened his mouth again, and with a dispirited expression, closed it.
If he said no, she would then pretend to be convinced and would fake a smile. She would pretend that she understood.
Is there another way that would not burden the child again?
Carlon Delphine slowly blinked his eyes. Beneath his eyelids, the appearance of the child he had met in the past was still vivid.
It was about thirteen years ago when Carlon Delphine first saw Valletta. She was seven years old, and he had just inherited the title of Duke at the age of twenty six.
Carlon Delphine saw the child’s alchemy for the first time in the Imperial Castle.
In front of the big, blackened adults, the child wrote down an alchemy formula with her dead eyes and small hands, and activated the alchemy.
“Valletta, next is a healing potion.”
The voice that answered Count Delight’s friendly voice, was colder and drier than a parched desert. There was no life left in her eyes.
“Well then, Your Majesty. Is there any potion you would like to see more of?”
“If that’s the case, then yes. I heard there are some potions that could make the body not feel tired.”
The Emperor and the aristocrats alike saw the child as a circus animal. And everyone’s gaze shined with greed as they looked at the child. She herself was money.
She will continue to generate money, she may have one’s life in her hands, and could maybe even postpone death.
The moment Count Delight lowers his guard, there would be more than one hand that would reach for the child.
The potions made by the child were amazing. Even from a distance, he could see that the purity was high.
She was able to make potions that would be impossible to do even with hard work, and at that age.
The alchemy formula had to be written without shaking, and to make a sigil, a circle had to be drawn without a crook.
Even though a lot of people were watching her, the child did not make a single mistake.
Everytime she would take more time, Count Delight would tap with his heels a couple of times, and the child would shudder and tremble, speeding up her drawing phase.
… He thought it was pitiful.
“You couldn’t draw a circle properly earlier and you were one beat slower.”
“I apologize, Father.”
It was an impulse of Duke Delphine’s to chase after Valletta and Count Delight, who said they would take a break after the performance, somewhere not in the banquet hall.
He wondered if he could give strength to the pitiful child, and it was a coincidence that he heard their conversation.
“…I apologize, Father.”
In front of Count Delight clicking his tongue in disapproval, the child simply answered in an emotionless voice and bent down.
It was not clear whether she was really apologizing or not.
“You didn’t mean to embarrass me in front of His Majesty, right? If you make the same mistake again…”
“I will do my best.”
Like a machine, the child just apologized and obeyed.
In a way, it seemed like she didn’t want to make things bigger, and wanted to get off her knees from the ground and get out of the situation quickly.
And Count Delight seemed to be displeased by it
“From today, you’ll starve for two days and copy a hundred of the alchemy formulas that you couldn’t draw properly earlier.”
“Go to your room, kneel in your room and think about your mistakes. I’m going to meet His Majesty for a while.”
The child answered meekly and bowed her head.
The child sighed when Count Delight returned to the banquet hall.
“That raccoon-like person.”
As soon as that grunting voice hit his ears, Carlon Delphine, who had been hiding, was forced to come out of the corner in amazement.
“… Baby, hello.”
Carlon Delphine greeted her awkwardly.
“Who are you?”
“I’m sorry, did I scare you?”
“A little. Did you hear us?”
The little child was startled and asked in a whisper.
As Carlon Delphine squatted in front of the child to meet her at eye-level, the child lowered her head slightly.
“I heard the baby calling a raccoon. Unfortunately, there’s no raccoon nearby.”
“That… You can’t tell my Father.”
The child hesitated for a moment, and cautiously spoke out.
Carlon Delphine reassured the child by exaggeratedly nodding.
The little child had dead eyes, but when he looked at her, her gaze seemed to have a little bit of life.
Hey there~ Thank you for reading! If you enjoyed what you have read, do consider tipping us a little through: https://ko-fi.com/rainofsnow. Once we receive a certain amount, an advance chapter would be posted as a thank you. Don’t forget to mention the series that you’re supporting~
You can also support us through Kofi Shop: https://ko-fi.com/rainofsnow/shop Kofi shop would allow you exclusive access to some advanced chapters. Do click the link for more details~