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“No… I said I’ve decided not to raise such things.”
Duke Leon looked down at Valletta. The girl with a smaller head furrowed her forehead and shook her head resolutely.
Duke Leon moved the child’s hand gently and held the cub in his arms.
“No, like I said…”
“You don’t need to kill it anymore. Count Delight is dead.”
Duke Leon rarely spoke that long. Carlon Delphine’s eyes slightly widened.
“… I know that…”
“You don’t know.”
Duke Leon reached out and stroked Valletta’s head a couple of times. It was a very soft movement, in contrast to his big and callused hand.
“You don’t want it because you think it will die soon.”
“It will grow as big as you want it to grow.”
“Duke, don’t tell me… that’s a snow tiger?”
Duke Leon responded with anod instead of a word.
Carlon Delphine, who was watching from the side, held back a smirk.
“Where on earth did you find a snow tiger…”
“It came from a cargo ship.”
“Isn’t it endangered?”
Duke Leon replied. Valletta looked tired. She couldn’t quite understand why they left endangered species by themselves.
She quickly handed it back to Duke Leon.
“If it’s an endangered species, there’s a place that could manage it…”
“No, I don’t mean me…”
“You can do it.”
Duke Leon sat down on a chair, folded his arms and closed his eyes, as if he had no desire to talk anymore.
Not just that, the fact that he had also crossed his legs meant that he had no intention to have a conversation in the slightest.
“For reference, Duke Leon’s stubbornness is tougher than steel, Valletta.”
“You’re lying, right?”
Duke Leon dealt the final blow to Valletta, who was muttering with a dispirited expression.
She showed a rare emotion as she blinked her eyes with a blank face, then she lowered her head.
“… It will die.”
Isn’t it a creature that looks like it will die if she drops it right now? Where is the guarantee that she won’t lose it?
She refuses to see something she gave her affection to die in front of her.
“Come to think of it, didn’t you say you had something you wanted to ask me earlier, Valletta?”
“Ah… I want to know more about the people that lost their bodies that you had mentioned before.”
Valletta managed to barely answer, gently holding the wriggling snow tiger sitting in her arms.
Carlon Delphine tilted his head, trying to swallow his laughter.
“… Ah, are you talking about Lost?”
“Yeah, that disease is called ‘Lost’ behind the scenes.”
Valletta, with her eyes wide open, nodded her head.
“Yes, I’m curious about what kind of disease Lost is. The symptoms, the form and method of its spread, and whether it was an infectious disease.”
“There were no symptoms. It wasn’t an epidemic, it just suddenly appeared one day. It was more of a curse than a disease.”
Valletta nodded her head.
There was alchemy that could turn a human body part into ice, but there was no alchemy that could steal body parts.
If it’s impossible with alchemy, the only thing left is magic.
‘Then, just tell it to Reinhardt and he’ll figure it out.’
In that case, the most suspicious one would be Bartio Balloxis. Based on the descriptions of him, such as having good skills and years of experience, it seemed that he was also a fairly seasoned magician.
Perhaps Reinhardt would certainly be pushed into that section.
“But why suddenly ask about that disease?”
Valletta shut her mouth. She doesn’t know how to explain it.
I had a dream about the novel that I read a long time ago, and the curse seemed to be related not only to the Emperor, but also to alchemists and magicians.
Will they believe her if she explained it like that? Even if they did believe her, what was the probability that they would keep it a secret? What is the probability that the secret would not be leaked?
“You need to, right?
Valletta nodded bitterly at Duke Leon’s words. She was sure that she only said it to Carlon Delphne, so how did he know about it?
“The payment is this.”
Duke Leon reached out and stroked Valletta’s head. As she blankly raised her head, he crossed his arms with an expressionless face.
“I think he wants you to say ‘Thanks.’”
Valletta looked up to him as if surprised by Carlon Delphine’s interpretation as he smiled.
Duke Leon was looking at her without shaking nor any shame. He didn’t even avoid her gaze.
“Why is that the payment…”
“I’m strong so I don’t need it.”
“Then sell it for money…”
“I have a lot.”
“Don’t need it.”
This one was truly one of the toughest types of people to deal with. She felt like she was dealing with a wall.
She thought that even Reinhardt was easier to talk to than him.
He was straightforward, intuitive and had a clear goal in mind. Once he said no, then it’s a no.
“It’s the payment for my help.”
Even if she wanted to ask why that is the payment, she in fact, had nothing to refute.
He was strong enough to jump down from the second floor, so there was no need for a potion, and no need to mention fame and money since he’s a duke.
‘No, he really doesn’t need it.’
Valletta kept her mouth closed. Even if she wanted to refute him, there was nothing to dispute, so it’s just embarrassing.
“Therion, he’s doing well”
“Ah, I left it to Therion’s own will. The Duke is teaching him since he said he wanted to learn swordsmanship.”
This too, in the end, was still somehow going according to the original. It was a matter of course for Therion to come to him.
Of course, as the center and main character of this world, she wanted him to grow up well.
‘Who did he learn from originally?’
The main protagonist was Therion, but it was surprising that she doesn’t remember anything about him.
Still, the swordsmanship that Reinhardt acknowledged was still there.
She nodded her head. There wasn’t much of a change.
“Come and visit next time.”
“If you need something, say it.”
“Ah, then, can you tell me more about that alchemist Gillian? For example,… starting with how long has he been close to the Emperor?”
Duke Leon narrowed his eyes and nodded.
It wasn’t that he had never looked for information about Gillian, but there was no information at all.
“I’ll find out.”
Pfft, Duke let out a windy laugh and lightly stroked Valletta’s head. Then he blankly looked down at her.
“… Thank, you.”
Valletta’s pupils trembled. She doesn’t know what action this was. Was it okay to lightly address a duke like this?
She looked at him with quivering eyes, then looked down at the warm thing wriggling in her arms.
Valletta let out a long sigh. She understood what on earth he wanted. Yet in the first place, it didn’t make sense that he wanted to be paid for helping like this.
Duke Leon lightly praised her.
He got up from his seat and walked out of the dining room with tired eyes.
Bang, bang, bang.
After Duke Leon left the dining room, Valletta’s face crumpled into a tired expression at the sound of things crashing here and there.
Carlon Delphine’s forehead also narrowed.
“I had to stay up all night for the past few days, so I couldn’t sleep.”
How much lack of sleep turned a person into a living zombie?
He raised his head and sighed with a slightly tired expression.
Wriggle, startled by the movement in her arms, Valletta looked down.
Valletta smiled wryly. It was soft, cozy, and warm.
‘… Do I deserve to raise this?
The tiny creature that was sleeping with loud breathing noises, resembled a baby white tiger in appearance.
It was fascinating that he could sleep comfortably in the arms of someone he had met for the first time.
‘It’s supposed to be a ferocious animal, would it be fine to be this careless?’
This was why it stupidly came aboard on a ship.
Valletta narrowed her eyes and tapped the snow tiger’s nose with her index finger.
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