The smiling little child was truly lovely. It was heartbreaking to know that a child with a face like this was being used like a circus monkey that has dead eyes.
“I want to become an adult soon.”
Carlon Delphine asked in a low voice at the child’s words.
At his question, the child shed a bitter smile that was not like a child at all.
“Then I would be set free.”
“… You want to be free?”
“Yes, I want to live and return to a house that has a warm family. I feel like I’m in prison right now.”
Carlon Delphine stared blankly at the child. It was too bleak of a wish for a child to have.
Carlon Delphine took out what he had in his pocket and placed it on the child’s palm.
It was a chocolate he urgently brought from the banquet hall earlier.
“Baby, this is all I have right now but… hide it and eat it when you’re hungry. I need a little more… Once I have established myself, I will definitely help you.”
“… Haha, you’re weird, Uncle. I’ll enjoy eating it.”
The eyes of the child who burst into laughter were now filled with vitality.
He couldn’t forget the moment when her dead eyes gleamed with life.
Seeing her childish side, Carlon Delphine’s eyes widened in surprise.
“Go then, baby.”
The child clasped the chocolate in the palm of her hand and waved her small hand.
Then, as if afraid that Count Delight would come back, she quickly walked farther away.
Carlon Delphine followed her traces for a long time, even after the child disappeared.
After that, once in a while, the child would appear in the Imperial Palace.
As time went on, the child’s body grew, she became more proficient in alchemy, and she seemed to be more and more devoid of emotions.
The child was asked to do things that the adults should be doing, just because she was a little more amazing and special.
She didn’t attend the banquet, she was just there to lighten up the mood.
Everytime she appeared as an alchemist at the center of the banquet hall, he would look at her dark, dying eyes and would try to think of some way to help her.
But since then, having contact with her has been impossible.
If possible, he would like to get her out of Count Delight’s arms, and take care of her under his family.
As he watched the skinny child become mechanical as she drew alchemy formulas, Carlon Delphine’s mouth became bitter slowly.
After that day, Carlon Delphine had decided. If one day that child needs help, he would do anything to help regardless of the reason.
At the voice of the child, Carlon Delphine slowly escaped his thoughts.
Anyway, unlike before, he can now help her by being on her side.
“No, let’s talk about this step by step. And I don’t need high-grade potions. It’s just a simple favor, I hope you don’t get burdened.”
Valletta’s eyes slightly narrowed.
“Anyway, let me know if you need anything. You just need to ask for help. There’s no need for payment. If you ever need help, I will help you with anything.”
He wasn’t able to help her for thirteen years. He promised that he would help her someday.
Every year, he had to see the child wither and kill herself.
Valletta made a strange expression, but nodded as if she had understood his intention.
He awkwardly patted Valletta’s shoulder a couple of times.
“Don’t worry about the Imperial Family. I keep my words once spoken.”
Was it just an illusion that her calmness seemed to be unreliable?
Carlon Delphine just smiled and nodded rather than poking at it.
“Get ready to leave. Don’t worry, you don’t need to stay too long at the banquet.”
“And remember what I used on that magician yesterday?”
“What do you think about it?”
It was a short question with no unnecessary words added in.
With a puzzled expression, Valletta blinked once and shrugged her shoulders.
“I thought it was a unique alchemy. I was a little surprised that the light after the casting was different from mine, and that ice came out in the first place…”
She thought that alchemy could only be used to make potions, or turn stone to gold, or gold into stone so it was a little surprising.
She thought one couldn’t attack with alchemy.
“As expected. It seemed that what the Count taught you was too narrow.”
“Alchemy has many wonderful and amazing powers like magic. Although it’s obvious, sometimes it can be a threat.”
Valletta nodded her head.
‘Well, most of my alchemy was just formulas for transmutation alchemy.’
An alchemy formula that only changes material, and the mixture was generally limited.
They were the only books that she could usually read, so she thought that the whole world were only filled with those kind of books..
‘… I was completely hit on the head. ’
Valletta held back a smirk at the unexpected situation.
She wasn’t expecting much, but realising that he had hit her in the head even after he died, didn’t feel good.
(PR/N: he meaning Count Delight)
“I will study other types as well.”
“That’s why I said you need to learn the basics again. Valletta, you’ve literally learned how to hold and wield the knife since you were born, that’s why you don’t know the other uses of knives.”
Carlon Delphine calmly continued to explain. Valletta nodded her head once with a strange expression, showing that she agreed with him that she needed to learn.
“Knives are simply used to refine things, sometimes it can take a person’s life, but at the same time, it can be used to protect yourself.”
Carlon Delphine lightly stroked Valletta’s head, and then took it back.
“Get ready and come down, Let’s go together.”
Valletta nodded her head.
‘It’s like dealing with a doll.’
He now understands a little why the Magic Tower’s Master said that. He knew that they were both broken, but Valletta herself doesn’t seem to realize it.
He couldn’t answer which one is better. In the end, it didn’t change the fact that both of them are broken, which one is better or which one is worse, the answer could not be determined.
Carlon Delphine’s sigh deepened.
He thought he had finally made progress after a long time, but now there’s a bigger wall in front of him.
All he could do for now was to make sure that the Imperial Family would not be able to touch her.
“His Grace, Duke Delphine and his… c-companion has arrived!”
Everyone’s eyes turned to the entrance as the loud voice resounded in the banquet hall.
A look of wonder appeared on the faces of the people who were chatting and drinking their glasses.
The expression ‘Companion’ meant that it was at least not an aristocrat or that he does not know the identity of the individual, since Duke Carlon Delphine has never brought a companion.
Duke Leon, the man sitting in the corner drinking strong alcohol, naturally turned his head towards the entrance.
The murmuring of the aristocats who saw Carlon Delphine and the young girl, who appeared through the wide-open entrance, increased.
“Oh my god, was there not a wanted poster?”
“What is her relationship with Duke Delphine..?”
“Didn’t the Imperial Family issue a poster as well?”
“How can a person who could be a possible murderer…”
After the combination of the murmuring around him and the situation in front of him, deep wrinkles appeared on Duke Leon’s face.
He didn’t say much. He expressed himself with a short, bold word.
A heavy aura slowly crept up, and the other aristocrats around him sneaked out of their seats.
Carlon Delphine glanced around the hall, and began to stride towards Duke Leon.
Duke Leon finished pouring the alcohol into a crystal glass and frowned.
“It’s been a long time, Duke Leon.”
“… Go away.”
“There are many eyes on me and I feel like I would be baptized wherever I go, so it’s not easy to leave.”
Carlon Delphine did not back down easily even with the short response filled with displeasure.
Fortunately, there were only a few people who kept the balance there. Among them, there were people who were well-positioned to stand on the side of justice.
“Look. I’ll be okay, but I’m worried about the baby.”
At the nickname said by Carlon Delphine, Duke Leon gaze went to Valletta, who stood beside him.
He met her indifferent eyes in the air.
“… This child.”
Duke Leon’s brows narrowed as he mumbled something.
Carlon Delphine had been calling someone ‘Baby’ that he wanted to help for the last ten years, but Duke Leon never thought it would be the daughter of Count Delight.
He could still remember that Delight was someone that Carlon Delphine could not touch.
‘It’s certainly a big shot.’
A sigh escaped Duke Leon’s lips. There was a faint smell of alcohol.
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