The soft and fluffy feeling that touched her ankle was a new sensation.
As if having difficulty, she shoved the snow tiger with her foot. Still, it ran to her and hugged her ankle again.
“… I have to go out.”
She muttered with a troubled expression.
The snow tiger’s head tilted slightly to the side.
Valletta took a breath. Perhaps it was because she hasn’t been immune to it for a while, but it’s definitely cute.
However, she was afraid of touching it with her hands. She felt like it would die if she touched it, and she was afraid that she would adjust her strength incorrectly.
“I’ll be back after a while.”
The snow tiger replied as if it understood, but did not remove its two front paws from the embrace.
… I’m sure it didn’t understand.
Valletta rubbed her face and took a deep breath.
“If it bothers you, take it with you.”
“Will it not die? It’s a cub that I received as a gift.”
Quilt looked at Valletta with an expression saying ‘what kind of novelty was this’. He had never seen a mystical creature like a snow tiger die because it went outside.
“It won’t die.”
Quilt bluntly answered.
Valletta shrugged and looked at him for a moment, then pfft, let out a windy laugh.
“You don’t know how or when it will die.”
“I am your escort.”
“Yes, but not this cub’s escort.”
“I am to protect whatever Valletta-nim owns.”
Quilt nodded at Valletta, who asked ‘Is that so?’.
Valletta, who had been standing in place for ten minutes and pondering, leaned down and carefully held the snow tiger in her arms.
“I don’t know how to deal with the weak. I feel like it’s going to die just by touching it.”
Not expecting an answer, Valletta mumbled to herself. The quick-witted Quilt, of course, did not open his mouth.
As she walked down the arched stairs with the snow tiger in her arms, she saw Carlon Delphine waiting at the bottom of the stairs. He was wearing a cloak with a fedora on his head, still looking very neat.
Carlon Delphine, who was reaching out his hand to her as she descended the stairs, furrowed his brows when he saw Quilt coming down behind her.
His stretched out hand slightly stiffened and then brought it down.
“Valletta, there seems to be some stranger.”
“Ah, this is Quilt. An escort that guy sent.”
Valletta, who finished answering by nodding her head at Carlon Delphine’s question, turned her gaze to Quilt.
“And Mr. Henchman, this is His Grace, Duke Carlon Delphine. The owner of this mansion and a person that I owe.”
“I have no desire to remember trivial things such as a Sokor’s name.”
“As you can see, he’s a magician.”
Valletta, ignoring his obvious hostility, casually introduced Quilt.
Of course, Carlon Delphine did not smile at his rudeness. He hated rudeness and disrespect the most, and most magicians fell within that range.
“I can see that there’s no difference between the master and his henchman in terms of rudeness.”
Sure enough, Carlon Delphine furrowed his brows, showing that there was no need for him to be polite.
Quilt’s face grew grim. He took a step toward Carlon Delphine.
“You better be careful with your words, Sokor. I don’t know how high your position is but…”
“Ah, Your Grace, Duke. Would it be okay if we take this along?”
Carlon Delphine narrowed his eyes and looked at Valletta and the snow tiger in her arms.
He taught her what to call him in the morning, and within a few hours she was saying ‘Your Grace, Duke’ again.
“If not, I’ll leave it behind. Please speak comfortably.”
Carlon Delphine met Valletta’s gaze.
What was in her violet eyes were still achromatic color. She had no expectation and had no intention to persuade.
If she didn’t want to, she wouldn’t have brought it no matter how much it cried, but she’s acting like she didn’t know it herself.
“Valletta, I think the way you are asking is a little bit wrong. I’m sure I taught you how this morning.”
Valletta’s brows furrowed.
She doesn’t think that just thinking about the words that she never got used to saying, would make her open her lips.
“I’ll just bring it back.”
“It’s not difficult. All you have to do is stand there and move your mouth. Don’t be scared and try it.”
Valletta bit her lip.
Why do I have to do something I don’t want to do just because of the cotton ball that I have in my arms?
She had little idea as to what Carlon Delphine was trying to teach her.
‘Will I change if I do this?’
She didn’t think that it was possible to change what she was used to doing for 20 years in an instant.
Valletta sighed again, not knowing how many times she did it, and opened her mouth.
Imitating was easy, but when will it ever be the truth? It would be better to run away before she gets used to imitation.
“… Please, Carlon. Can I bring it along?”
“Of course it’s okay. Good job.”
Before her head could turn to thoughts that he was just a tool, Valletta blinked slowly at Carlon Delphine’s hand that stroked her head and moved away.
Does he not know how corrupted a person can be, or was he just pretending not to know?
“But why did he suddenly send an escort?”
Valletta blinked once.
A painted-like smile once again appeared on her lips. Carlon Delphine’s expression turned strange.
“It’s always because of his whims. No need to concern yourself with it, Your Grace.”
‘It’s none of your concern.’
Quilt’s expression, who was watching them, hardened. There was no need to observe her for a long time for him to know one thing for sure.
The two of them do not seem to be the same, but they do resemble each other. That’s why she could understand what he was thinking.
Quilt, there must be a reason why she hesitated for a while and didn’t answer his question.
She had a rough idea what his master was thinking. Quilt clenched his fists.
“Learning how to walk on your own without leaning on someone is fine, but don’t forget that you have people on your side.”
“I haven’t forgotten. I will ask for help if I need it.”
In response to Valletta’s answer, Carlon Delphine hummed and rubbed his chin. He nodded slowly and opened his mouth again.
“All right. But I would like it if I was helping right from the beginning.”
“There’s nothing in particular that I need help with right now, it’s okay.”
“… I know, but sometimes, trying to stand alone without leaning on the people on your side could upset them or make them sad.”
Valletta kept her mouth shut as if she didn’t understand, but she tried her best to keep it in mind.
Quilt’s expression stiffened as he turned his head.
There was an invisible wall here as well as with his master.
Who was inside it? That existence was probably…
“So, are you taking this magician with you?”
“Does he know the situation?”
“He’ll keep it a secret. Since this person is that guy’s henchman.”
Carlon Delphine narrowed his eyes, looked over to Quilt for a moment, and then nodded.
The unfriendly man was the true form of a magician. His hate for humans was obvious.
“Well then, let’s go. Of course, we’re going out through the backdoor.”
“Yes, I’m officially supposedly working inside the mansion today.”
Carlon Delphine went out the backdoor and exited the mansion through a door hidden in the red bricks. Following him while wearing a robe, she saw a shabby carriage in between the bushes.
“Today, I’ll lightly teach you some basics of alchemy.”
“We’re not going sightseeing but will have a class?”
“We’ll do things at the same time. From now on, classes will be held there. Valletta’s lab is also set up there. Since there are no alchemy-related tools in the mansion.”
That was certainly true. No matter where she looked in the mansion, she couldn’t find any tools or objects related to alchemy.
She doesn’t know since she didn’t go down the basement, but seeing the servants and the butlers walking around, it was probably a storeroom.
‘They must be prepared in case of an emergency.’
The house was left cleanly empty just in case their tail was caught. So there would be no evidence or whatsoever.
Without solid evidence, even the Imperial family would not be able to capture a Duke of the Empire.
In particular, the Duchy of Delphine was a contributor to the public and was a well-known prestigious family.
They won’t be able to touch him carelessly.
“But how were you able to hide it?”
(T/N: Prolly the fact that he’s an alchemist.)
“We’ve been like this since the old times…”
Carlon Delphine gently touched his chin as if he was carefully thinking. He paused for a moment and opened his mouth again.
“Yeah, since this kind of special constitution was starting to be discovered. At that time, the hunting was in full swing.”
“The underground lair was built around that time, the Alchemist.”
Carlon said while pointing down with his long finger.
Carlon Delphine entered the carriage first and the moment he tried to reach out, she was already climbing the carriage with the hem of her robe on her hand.
Anyway, Quilt, who was trying to escort her, and Carlon, who tried to hold her, stiffened on the spot. They didn’t know that she could climb up the high carriage without stairs.
They thought it would be difficult to climb in a flowy dress, but even with a dress and a robe, she did it naturally.
Carlon clasped his hand and smiled awkwardly.
Quilt followed behind and climbed into the carriage. He didn’t want to ride on something a Sokor made, but it was noticeably impossible to escort her through the roof of the carriage.
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