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After taking a light shower, pouring water over her body, Valletta changed her clothes and left the room.
As she was going down the stairs, she saw Carlon Delphine going up on the other side.
Instead of continuing, Carlon Delphine stopped and raised his head.
“You’re up, Valletta.”
That reminded her, the shameful things she had said yesterday also came back to her.
What on earth was she thinking saying that?
Valletta sighed deeply at the memory that came to mind. She was a little tired of herself.
‘Maybe it’s because I had a good night’s sleep, but my brain is working properly.’
Carlon Delphine’s complexion was not very good
“Did you not sleep well?”
“… A little, since a guest visited late last night and we talked for a bit.”
“Is that so?”
“Yes. And Valletta, there’s something I couldn’t ask you.”
Valletta nodded at Carlon Delphine’s notion.
“First, let’s have a talk while we eat. Duke Leon would also be there, would that be alright?”
At Valletta’s answer, he smiled faintly and turned his body. The atmosphere was somehow strange.
The assumption she may have met Reinhardt yesterday could not be eliminated, so there’s a high chance that he heard something from him.
Valletta followed after Carlon Delphine. His gait was not disturbed in the slightest. To be honest, it was quite surprising.
How can a movement be as perfect as flowing water? Valletta also learned the basics, but she was still stiff. She could barely follow such movements.
As she followed him to the dining room, Duke Leon was already there sitting at the table. He leaned back against the chair and closed his eyes for a moment, then threw a slightly unfocused gaze on her.
His jet-black pupils slowly moved. His dark, gray hair and black eyes drew attention in many ways.
After responding to his light greeting in a subdued voice, Valletta took a seat.
Carlon Delphine, who followed after her and took a seat, let out a low sigh.
There was no food on the table yet.
“That guy came yesterday and talked to me.”
Valletta nodded her head.
“And I don’t think I’ve heard the reason why you wanted to open a store. Can I get an explanation?”
“Ah, did I not tell you?”
“Yes, I haven’t heard it yet.”
Valletta let out a low sigh and nodded.
They couldn’t have a proper conversation last time since her mind was not focused.
Carlon Delphine smiled faintly and looked at Valletta. Duke Leon’s indifferent gaze was already somewhere else.
“I need something that can block the Imperial Family.”
Hearing what she had to say in front of his eyes made him feel even more worse. Carlon Delphine pondered how on earth he could convey that such a notion was wrong.
“I’m sure I had a normal way of thinking back then. Now everything seems to be just tools. Abilities, people, and even you…”
It’s probably not with ill-intention. As the child had said, she just sees everything as a tool. She doesn’t know how to use people otherwise. How to ask for a favor, how to ask for help.
Because there was no adult on her side to help her until now. She had to do everything on her own and survive.
“Alchemy is a pretty good tool. It would also provoke the Imperial Family and aristocrats who are monopolizing it.”
“People are selfish, so they would certainly jump on this with their eyes wide open. I will give them what they need, and they will throw themselves in front for me.”
Even after thinking about it again, Valletta nodded proudly. She thought it was groundbreaking.
She would use them, similar to what the Emperor did.
“Of course, if you get hurt or encounter a problem, we’ll use a high-grade potion to heal you. Since I don’t want you to die.”
“Valletta, what if… What if one of the people who was helping you dies?”
At Carlon Delphine’s question, Valletta blinked once. What if someone dies? She hasn’t really thought about it…
‘Isn’t that inevitable if I want to survive?’
Isn’t this world like that? In order to live, she has to step on others. You have to be stronger than others. That’s why Valletta had been stepped on all this time.
If interests aligned, it was natural to use each other. Just like all business relationships.
“I haven’t thought that far yet, so I don’t know. Of course, I don’t want people to die. There’s potions as well, wouldn’t that somehow help?”
“Then think about it.”
Duke Leon, who had been silently listening, spoke up. Carlon Delphine, who was contemplating, blinked at the simple answer.
Valletta’s head slowly turned to Duke Leon.
“… But isn’t that inevitable? We use each other for each other’s greed.”
“What if you’re a relative of the person who died?”
Valletta was speechless at Duke Leon’s words. What if she’s a relative of the person who died? He wants her to look at it from the perspective of a dead person’s family member?
She would like to do that, but she had no one to use as a substitute. Her only family member was Count Delight, and to be honest, she was glad that he died.
‘How was it in the past again?’
She can’t seem to remember her family from her previous life. What she remembered was also vague. It’s been twenty years, so it was reasonable.
“… If I still say that it’s inevitable, it’s still far off from the right answer, right?”
When Valletta asked the difficult question, Duke Leon was speechless. He seemed to understand Carlon Delphine’s frustration, who had been complaining about it last night.
She’s a smart and intelligent child, there was no way she couldn’t understand what he was trying to say.
Duke Leon who had been leaning sideways, as if he was tired, frowned and straightened his back.
He turned and looked at Valletta, who was seated next to him at the round table.
“You don’t have anything you treasure?”
“There was, but they’re all dead. To be precise, I had to kill them. If I didn’t kill them, my father would have killed them more painfully.”
He could tell how many things she had to kill through her calm words.
“Valletta-nim is… kind, but cold. She won’t look after me. I’m sure that if I died, she would just think that it was inevitable. I’m right beside her, but she seems too far away.”
Duke Leon blinked and pushed back the afterimage of his memories. It was a conversation he had with Therion recently.
“When they died, what did you think about it?”
“It’s been a long time, so I can’t remember. But the things that I treasure wouldn’t die anymore, since I don’t plan to have one again.”
She had decided to not raise any animals, beasts, or insects. She stopped giving her heart.
Because of that, the world has become a little more bleak, but with less hard work. She would help them if necessary, but she had no intention of stroking their hair affectionately.
One must always be on the lookout for affection because it was something you get pulled into without realizing it.
“How was it in the past?”
“I thought I shouldn’t have given them my heart.”
After their conversation, Duke Leon raised his head and looked at Carlon Delphine.
Carlon Delphine was frozen and had his face buried in his palms.
Anything that was rotten on the inside needed to be scraped out and filled with something new, but the rottenness was so persistent that even removing it was impossible to do.
“… What on earth did Count Delight make you do?”
Valletta shrugged at Carlon Delphine’s hesitant question.
“It wasn’t a big deal. He liked it when I submitted to him and when I obeyed his orders, but I would often save animals out of a little sympathy.”
“… No way.”
“Alchemy should only be used when my father wants it. But I would often break the rule and the price was…”
Valletta’s words were vague, but Carlon Delphine could guess what she had been through.
Carlon Delphine slowly turned his head. His clenched fist had turned white.
“But I think I understand what the two of you were trying to say.”
Valletta nodded. She seemed to understand what they’re saying.
In short, they don’t want people to die. Basically, people feel repulsed when people die. Of course, Valletta also does not enjoy it.
She remembered that feeling to some extent. However, it was forcefully made dull, making it difficult for her to imagine how other people feel.
“So, you’re saying… If someone dies, their family will feel bad, so try to avoid death as much as possible, right?”
After a long silence, Duke Leon accepted it. He folded his arms and closed his eyes again.
She turned her gaze to Carlon Delphine.
“If I do something first, the Emperor won’t be able to come out strongly. There is no king who can still rule even after turning his citizens into his enemies.”
“I see. You’re not going to change your plan, are you?”
“Yes, that’s all I can safely do for now, as someone who has no influence.”
Valletta meekly agreed.
If she had intended to change her mind due to a sense of guilt or petty morality, she wouldn’t have made that plan in the first place.
There were still things needed to be done before that.
“Also, I’m curious-”
At that moment, Duke Leon stood up without a word. Carlon Delphine and Valletta raised their heads in surprise.
“Where are you going?”
“Out. Eat first, talk later.”
“… Ah, go and come back…”
Duke Leon jumped out of the dining room’s balcony.
Even the first floor was built in a place with slightly higher ground, so the second floor where the dining room was even higher… it’s amazing that he jumped out from there casually.
“I’m sorry, my friend is unsophisticated.”
“No, he probably did it because he’s strong.”
And Duke Leon, who disappeared in a flash, reappeared in less than an hour. While holding something in his arms.
It looked like a fluffy ball of pure white cotton that was rolled up. He strode over and placed the ball of cotton in Valletta’s arms.
Valletta’s face revealed a rare surprised expression.
Valletta tilted her head blankly, and fiddled with the thing that was wriggling in her arms.
Gwang. At the small sound from the cotton ball, she hurriedly loosened the strength in her arms and lowered her gaze.
Valletta pursed her lips.
No, no matter how you think about it, isn’t this a bit too much? What is this white thing? A puppy?
However, it seemed to have some stripes. From its face, down its whole body, and up to its tail, black stripes were drawn throughout.
“… I, this kind of thing…”
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