Thank you crissymac for the kofi~!
“It’s my first time meeting you, but you sure speak rudely.”
“Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t feel the need for honorifics since you’ll work under me anyway.”
“I have no intention of entering the Association, and I will not enter.”
At Valletta’s firm words, Gillian’s smile widened. He might have felt displeased, but he covered it with a smile.
Gillian nodded slowly.
“That was definitely discourteous. I apologize.”
“By the way, is there a problem with the fact that I can make two advance-grade potions?”
“No, I just wanted to tell you that it’s commendable. I’m looking forward to you entering as a junior.”
“Thank you for your compliment.”
“Well then, I look forward to seeing you again next time.”
Valletta responded by bowling her head. Gillian backed down without speaking more than she thought.
It was only after there were the three of them remaining at the table, did Valletta relax her body. Still, seeing the child not letting out a single sigh, Carlon Delphine smiled wryly.
Valletta, who had yet to realize that she was still clenching their hands together, leaned on the backrest, looking tired.
‘I don’t think they will give up as easily as I thought.’
Even if things were still not ready, it would be better if they got a permit and proceeded with the planned business.
Since potions were not classified as drugs, it was not that hard to get a permit for it.
As she was about to get up from her seat, she sighed in a low tone when she realized there was still a hand that was holding hers.
Looking at the hastily released hand, Carlon Delphine simply shrugged.
“Ah, I’m sorry.”
As Carlon Delphine got up from his seat, Duke Leon, who was watching Valletta, opened his mouth.
“You should not provoke the Emperor.”
Upon hearing her answer, Duke Leon patted Valletta’s head once then removed his hand.
The man, who seemed to be contemplating something, simply waved at Carlon Delphine and left the banquet hall completely.
“I’m sorry for not warning you about the Emperor. Even though he seemed infinitely kind, he was someone who slaughtered his parents and all his siblings to get the throne.”
“… Is that so?”
“How much have you learned about history?”
“I didn’t learn that deeply. I only learned about the origin of the empires and world history, I don’t think I’ve learned a lot about it.”
Carlon Delphine nodded at Valletta’s answer.
He could guess how they were grooming Valletta. They pretended to teach her a lot, while excluding everything that was important to prevent her from being vigilant.
“Now that they have seen your face, I’m thinking of heading back, what do you think?”
“I’ll explain things on the way.”
Carlon Delphine escorted Valletta out of the banquet hall.
The other aristocrats must have been regretting that they could not talk to the newly emerged hot potato.
Valletta, who was riding in Duke Delphine’s carriage, looked at Carlon Delphine who was sitting across her.
“The current Emperor was originally born as the youngest with no rights to succession.”
Carlon Delpine spoke in a low tone.
When the Emperor ascended to the throne, both Carlon Delphine and Duke Leon witnessed the bloodbath. And up until the moment he didn’t give up and was praised as a hero.
“He may have looked like a good person on the outside, but he was quite greedy and smart. He knew how to use people, he was not blinded by the small things, and could see the treasure farther from that.”
“Are you talking about the Emperor?”
“That’s right. The Crown Prince at that time was not even lacking that much. He had a good reputation, was resourceful, and a rare pacifist.”
Valletta nodded at Carlon Delphine’s explanation. Surely, the Emperor was someone who could hide his hostility with kindness.
If he doesn’t show his displeasure, the other person won’t even know that they had offended him.
“The current Emperor was the first to frame the Crown Prince in order to dismiss him. After that, with a few more words, it caused internal discord that resulted in a riot. Siblings that got along now pointed their swords at each other.”
He shook his head, thinking about that time as if it was something tragic.
Carlon Delphine was just ten years old, but even then, the current Emperor’s actions were disparate.
The mother of Carlon Delphine, who was the Duchess of their house at that time, agreed with the youngest prince.
Nevertheless, after sending the prince back, she would click her tongue, sit Carlon Delphine down and warn him.
“A giant Imoogi* was born in the Imperial Family.”
“… What Imoogi, Mother?”
“He will become a dragon, and will do anything to ascend to heaven. He had such eyes. Since the next Emperor has been decided, your generation may go through a lot. If possible, stay out of his sight.”
(T/N: Imoogi seemed to be a legendary animal in Korea. Korean folk mythology states that most dragons were originally Imoogi, or lesser dragons, which were said to resemble gigantic serpents. Image at the end.)
Carlon Delphine sighed as he recalled his memories. He leaned back and exhaled slowly, then opened his mouth.
“There were mountains beyond mountains, people from all over the place died without knowing the reason why. And complaints spread even to the former Emperor who could not handle it properly.”
(PR/N: Apparently “Beyond mountains, there are mountains” is a Haitain phrase that means as you solve one problem, another will present itself. Or surmount one obstacle, and the next comes into view. )
“Yes, it was clever. I wouldn’t even know about it if my mother, the former Duchess Delphine, hadn’t told me.”
Carlon Delphine nodded in agreement at Valletta’s words.
“And the people, who were trembling in fear seeing their family and friends dry up or suddenly die, were furious.”
Valletta’s eyes widened. He seemed to know how to incite the people. Not in the same way, but Valletta was also thinking of using the common people.
Valletta leaned against the carriage with her arms crossed. If she would use the people to attack, she was sure that her thought of using them as a shield would be discovered.
“The inside of the Imperial Palace was so messed up that the administration could not even restore it due to cracks, and because the discipline of the Imperial Family was not straightened, the aristocrats were corrupted and ran about disorderly.”
“It must have been a complete mess.”
“That’s right. There was an urgent need for a leader that could lead everyone.”
Valletta’s answer was acknowledged with a nod of praise from Carlon Delphine.
“But in that messed up state, the youngest prince was strangely calm.”
“He seemed to be smart even as a child.”
“Yes. The boy, who was only twelve years old, reigned over the aristocrats and persuaded them. Of course, Duchess Delphine also came.”
“In the meantime, she took care of the Imperial Capital’s employees’ necessities and shared food with the people using her own money. She dispatched soldiers and provided clean water.”
A relaxed and gentle expression flashed in front of his eyes. In fact, the reason why she spoke a little carelessly was due to her strange kindness. She readily admitted her mistake.
Looking back, the Emperor’s expression was not that much different from Reinhardt’s. It was the expression of someone who could take advantage of other people. It was an eye that only those who could see through a person’s essence would have.
“The Emperor dispatched the alchemist, Gillian, to check the situation and ultimately, things calmed down. Everyone shouted that the curse was over. People exclaimed that it was thanks to the kindness of the youngest prince.”
“That slyness was not as much as that hateful guy. Rather, this was more… full-scale.”
Valletta patted her chin and murmured in a low voice. Reinhardt lived however he wanted.
He would bow his head for his goal, but there was no way he would do something like that behind the scenes. Reinhardt would rather destroy everything.
“If that’s true, I won’t have time to prepare. I should have been a little more careful with my words and actions. I didn’t think he was that kind of person”, she said.
He would not think that she would just roll into his hands with this incident. There was only one way he could take her.
He would probably just make her enter the Imperial Palace.
‘I don’t know what method he would use though.’
It was clear that he would not stay still. Reinhardt seemed to be doing something these days as well, but there was no news.
“Come to think of it, you haven’t talked about the advance-grade potion.”
“Yes, did that offend you, Your Grace?”
“It was bitter that you didn’t trust me, but I wasn’t offended. It would be funny if I asked you to trust me when we haven’t known each other for a long time.”
Carlon Delphine answered honestly at Valletta’s sudden fastball. He had no choice but to answer honestly.
Dangling it in front of the little child was the only way to make her understand. If not, no matter how much he says it, waiting for her to understand, the child would never understand.
If he doesn’t give her some guidance, she would not understand.
“I have been watching you for a long time.”
“Yes, I found out after hearing the two of you talk.”
“Yes, that’s why I wanted to tell you that there’s no need to doubt me.”
Valletta stiffened and quietly looked at Carlon Delphine. Then she lowered her head, seemingly pondered for a moment, then lifted her head and let out a faint sigh.
“I don’t believe in unpaid favors. If you don’t want me to doubt you, expect a payment from me.”
“However… I understand your words. Whatever your intention is, I know in my head that you mean well.”
Carlon Delphine just silently listened to Valletta.
“It may look frustrating and that I’m suffocating. You might be thinking why I’m this stiff but…”
Valletta sluggishly lowered her eyelids. She chose her words over and over again, hoping that she would not hurt the other with this rarely spoken sincerity.
Carlon Delphine stared at the long eyelashes that hung down worriedly. Like a prisoner trapped in a dark, deep sea, the child was filled with nothing but hopelessness and frustration.
“Me and that hateful guy have been living like this. It was not difficult for us to get down on our knees and bow down. I don’t have the confidence to stand up now.”
In fact, she would not hesitate to kneel down, put her forehead on the floor and bow down over and over again in front of the Count every time she destroyed something. It was not a matter of pride in apologizing whenever someone would provoke her.
Valletta leaned her head against the carriage’s window as if she was slipping down with a blank expression.
“Thank you, Your Grace.”
“Me and that hateful guy might have been a little better if we had met an adult like you ten years earlier.”
And we all miss Reinhardt, he’ll appear on next chapter, ya’ll have to wait though though fufu~
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