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<Traces of alchemy?>
“I don’t know exactly what it is, but…… Probably the kind that continues to be useful, seeing as how the traces feel thick in layers.”
Valletta recited low. It was not a simple formula, but it was not impossible to solve. Assuming the person who created it was Gillian.
“What the hell is Reinhardt doing?”
He should have shown up at least once, but he hasn’t even contacted her. Of course, he was probably too busy trying to get to the bottom of things.
”Jin, you may leave now. I just wanted to see if I could call you here.”
<….. you, really.>
“Quickly, before someone sees you.”
Jin shivered at Valletta’s urging, but after a moment, Jin disappeared. Valletta’s lips quivered in distress at the sight of the vanished Jin.
“Nerade, come out!”
The large tornado instantly became smaller, and soon a mermaid the size of a palm emerged from the water droplets with the sound of water droplets bursting. The bright blue mermaid with her tail wagging floated in the air.
<Oh, it’s been a long time. Didn’t you just call Jin?>
“That’s right. There’s one thing I need you to check. ….”
<I understand. By the way, my price is mana stone or alchemy stone. I really like that.>
Valletta thought she could pay with her blood, but the mermaid’s taste was fancy. Valletta’s face was stained with awkwardness at Nerade’s words. She scratched her cheek, narrowing her brows as if in trouble.
“I don’t have anything with me right now. …. May I give it to you next time?”
<Ha ha. You’re trying to make a deal with the spirit? What? This girl is funny.>
A palm-sized mermaid began to roll around in the air. Valletta touched her forehead as he watched Nerade holding her belly and burst into laughter. It was fortunate that the voice of the spirit was not heard by the general public, or else there would have been a problem.
<It’s special. It’s free today! But next time, you have to prepare it properly in return. The more advanced, the better.>
“I’ll try my best…”
<So, what can I help you with, child?>
“I heard that water spirits can go anywhere there is water. Somewhere in this castle, there should be a corpse that died after drinking the alchemy potion that was brought in for autopsy.”
<Yes, yes. Do you want me to bring you a corpse?>
“No, what does it look like? Can you show it to me?”
Nerade clapped her hands. As she spread her arms out on both sides, droplets the size of fists gathered in her arms. Nerade, who had collected as much water as Valletta’s face, held it out to her.
<Raise your hand!>
Valletta put her hands out in front of her, and Nerade placed the water gently on Valletta’s palms. The smooth surface was very slippery.
<Now, hold the water on your hands well. If you look through these drops, I’ll find them and show you.>
Nerade replied with a squeak. She began to chuckle, and then disappeared with a small tornado. It was an amazing sight to see a tornado the size of a fist slowly diminish and soon disappear into the droplets.
Valletta sat up in bed and sighed. The water droplets looked like a small ocean. She continued to gaze into it for a while, feeling as if she was seeing a reflection of a creature in the sea, but nothing was reflected. The calm water suddenly began to shake with a noise as if it had been interrupted, and eventually something appeared.
What she could see in the water droplets was a human corpse. There was pink potion on its mouth, and from the clothes it wore, it was clear that it was a servant of Duke Delphine’s mansion.
<Uh, that’s disgusting.>
Nerade mumbled in frustration as she slowly showed Valletta one by one. Maybe it was Nerade’s vision.
“It’s …… weird.”
Valletta narrowed her eyes and took a deep breath.
“It’s all right, Nerade.”
Poof, the screen she had been projecting through the water droplets disappeared. A whirlwind of water formed in front of her eyes, and Nerade reappeared. With a light clap of her hands, Nerade removed the water droplets from Valletta’s hands.
<This is it, right?>
“Yes, thank you. You can go now.”
<Next time I’ll take it twice as high! Kid!>
“Yes, I understand.”
Valletta nodded, and Nerade disappeared. When the water spirit disappeared, Valletta took off her shoes and crouched down in bed hugging her knees. Definitely, she found something strange.
‘I need more information than this.’
She needed information about alchemy and the roast. Of course, she also had to find out what it was that the Emperor had hidden in his office. And…
‘I don’t know if it’s Lesir, or that zombie….’
According to her memory, Therion wasn’t able to solve the underlying problem either. They were simply classified as monsters by drastically reducing the number of Lesir later.
‘There must be a solution.’
If Duke Leon was tangled, that meant that Carlon Delphine was also tangled. Either way, it was a specification.
‘It’s a headache …….’
Valletta grabbed her throbbing head and pushed herself under the covers. What was certain was that she hadn’t been able to sleep well for some time. After tossing and turning for a while, Valletta finally fell asleep.
* * *
“Is there any reason why I should spend my morning eating with the Crown Prince?”
“I want to eat with Miss Valletta.”
“I see my opinion is excluded.”
Milord placed the plate of food in front of Valletta.
There was no reply.
Valletta looked down at the food, and touched her forehead. Her head was throbbing with a headache.
‘I didn’t sleep well all night.’
She knew her insomnia was serious, but her symptoms were even more severe now that she had something to pay attention to. The room was all about books on alchemy and the bed. Nothing sharp or anything that could harm herself in a thousand dangerous ways.
It was literally a prison with a soft bed. The windows could only be opened by the maids who came to clean them every morning. Even then, it was only for a short time, no more than ten minutes. It was not impossible to escape with Jin if she took advantage of the opportunity. However, she could not move carelessly.
“So, now that you’ve grabbed me like this, what am I supposed to do?”
“You can do anything you want. As long as you wear this.”
Milord held out a necklace that looked like a choker. In the middle of the black leather strap, there was an amethyst-like jewel embedded. Valletta reached out and observed the choker, not even bothering with the food. There was an alchemical sealing formula written on the inside of the leather strap. Inside the jewel was also a magic circle of sorts that seals magic. She thought she was going to learn the sealing formula by looking at it too much already.
“It’s amazing. I can’t believe you made this in just a few days.”
“My aunt gave me what she had. I can’t just keep you locked up in your room.”
“So if I wear this, what is the extent of my activities?”
“You are not allowed to go outside. You can only go to the garden if you are accompanied by the deputy chief of the department or above.”
Milord’s words left Valletta speechless. For a moment, she could not say anything. Valletta burst into laughter. The laugh that spilled out of the ridiculousness was a mockery.
“You’re really ……… pathetic.”
Valletta slowly put on the necklace. She needed the freedom to do some research.
It was enough to get into the imperial castle. She had to find out what was beyond the hidden alchemy. Even more so if it was a trick to strangle the Emperor.
“Didn’t I tell you that I can’t accept you for bantering.”
“That didn’t mean you had to be ugly, though.”
“Be careful with your choice of words.”
“At least Reinhardt tried to lock me himself….Your Highness, the Crown Prince has many things in his possession, but he only relies on His Majesty.”
Valletta irritated Milord. The reason why he obeyed the Emperor’s words without question was because he believed in the Emperor. Milord was basically a person with a strong sense of justice. His true nature wouldn’t change easily.
It’s not easy to change one’s true nature. …… He eventually turned his back on the emperor after noticing his corruption.
He actually led a rebellion. That would be a decade or so later than now…..
“Don’t compare me to that demon (Reinhardt). He killed people. He killed innocent people.”
Valletta shrugged, putting a piece of fruit in her mouth. She closed her eyes as she savored the sweet and sour fruit. Only after eating two slices of apple did she leave her seat.
“Now that I’ve worn the choker, can I move about on my own?”
“Yes, the entire Imperial Castle is enchanted. Do not expect him to come to save you, as you believe he will.”
“Your Highness, I think you’re misunderstanding something…I never believed in that boy, not once in my life.”
Valletta replied, turning her head away before grabbing the door.
Milord’s brow furrowed as if he had just heard an answer he didn’t like.
“You don’t have to lie to me.”
“I don’t believe or expect it, I simply predict it.”
When she finished speaking, Valletta went outside. Guarding the outside was the deputy knight commander who had come for her. Duke Leon’s direct deputy knight commander, it seemed …….
I’m going to the gardens now, can you escort me? Incan move with the deputy knight commander and above…”
“…… I see.”
His green eyes were irritated, but eventually he nodded nonchalantly. Valletta walked down the familiar path with the deputy knight commander. In fact, the garden walk after meals was what she always did with Milord.
“What’s the name?”
“It’s …… Kien.”
“Are you a commoner?”
“Is there a problem?”
“No, I just thought it was typical of Duke’s personality.”
Valletta replied with a shrug.
Fortunately, there were no people in sight in the garden. She stood in the middle of the garden and looked around. She stood still for about three minutes, but there was no response.
“How long are you going to hide?” (Valletta)
“I wondered if the Master had called me by mistake again.”
A chuckling sound could be heard in the air. The leaves on the branches of the tree swayed and Reinhardt landed gently on the floor, his silver hair dancing.
The moment Kien, the deputy knight commander, was about to draw his sword, Reinhardt’s gaze reached him. At that moment, Kien’s movements came to a halt. His lips were tightly attached, and the only thing that could move was his eyes.
“Oh, that seems painful.”
His posture was more like that of a man about to draw his sword. Valletta looked at Kien with a bit of regret, thinking of what he had done to her during the assassination of Count Delight’s residence.
Her eyes widened and bloodshot. Reinhardt burst out laughing and quickly flicked his fingers.
“What did you do?”
“I let the image of the Master looking at the flowers be reflected. If they look at it from the outside, it will seem that way. No one will know that we are having a conversation.”
“…… How did you know I was going to see the flowers?”
At Valletta’s question, Reinhardt raised the corners of his mouth with a subtle face and smiled gently.
“Is there anything I don’t know about my Master?”
Where the hell does his confidence come from? Valletta, who was glaring at him with a cold stare, sighed deeply.
Reinhardt’s gaze scanned slowly from Valletta’s head to toes, then came up again. His eyes rested on Valletta’s neck.
“You’re wearing something interesting. After not seeing you for a while, you became someone else’s property. You’re in trouble.”
“…… What are you talking about? This was the price of gaining freedom within the imperial Castle.”
Kien gritted his teeth. He wanted to move, but he couldn’t move at all against the invisible force that bound his entire body. It made him feel sick to see the two people still talking in front of him.
“Did you find out anything?”
“Of course. But do I have to kill him?”
“No, he’s the Duke’s subordinate.”
Reinhardt folded his arms and stared at the muscular knight. There was no wasted flesh on his body, apparently the result of tireless training.
“The first thing is interesting. Have you ever heard of a corpse being brought back to life?”
Valletta’s eyes opened wide at Reinhardt’s words. She couldn’t hide her surprise, and Reinhardt tilted his head and stared at her. She made a wry face at the sight of him erupting in laughter.
“Because you’re so cute.”
Valletta sighed at his shrewd words. Seeing the curious look in his eyes, it seemed that something very interesting had happened. And it was probably about “Lesir”.
“I was curious who dared to impersonate me, so I went to the 4th village of Kertonan in the north, where the first incident happened.”
“While inspecting the corpses, I discovered something strange. First of all, there were two kinds of corpses. One corpse was bitten to death and the other had a well mutilated face. Some of them were missing their eyeballs.”
“I think so too. Secondly, the maggots were accumulated in those corpses, but there wasn’t any creature there.”
Reinhardt stroked his chin.
“Then suddenly they started to move.”
Reinhardt’s eyes were tinged with tremendous enjoyment. He seemed to feel all of this was just stimulation.
Valletta nodded as she stared at him. Kien’s growl died away. She looked at Kien, he was listening to their conversation with a panicked gaze.
Valletta made eye contact with Reinhardt again. As their gazes met, a faint smile appeared on Reinhardt’s lips. Valletta, who was looking at his bent eyes, swallowed her breath.
Because she was reminded of Reinhardt in her dream, who was kissing her with that face. The sensation that had been wandering around in her mouth suddenly rushed through her mind. Valletta’s face turned red and she covered her mouth with the back of her hand.