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“I’m going to the library to read books, so I’ll pass.”
“I feel frustrated, so I’m going to find some alchemy papers to read.”
Valletta replied appropriately with a troublesome sigh.
Gillian glanced up, perhaps because her reply was unexpected. If he looked closer, the wrinkles were indeed thicker and the eyes’ shade was deeper.
Valletta looked at Gillian. His eyes were sunken and tired. One eye was still covered with an eye patch.
“Is there a book you’re interested in?”
“……I like Alpana’s The Origin of Alchemy.”
Gillian, who was touching his chin, smiled.
“For the original series, isn’t it better with The Alchemy of Beginnings, by Bertas Author?”
“I’ve read that one, if it’s a copy, but the thought doesn’t sit well with me.”
Valletta said quickly and without the slightest hesitation.
‘You didn’t learn it randomly, did you?’
Stroking his chin, Gillian evaluated Valletta lightly. Aside from the fact that she knew how to use it, her knowledge was much deeper than that of a normal alchemist. It was astonishing even for Gillian.
Not many alchemists would even look for other people’s books. In particular, the authors Alpana and Bertas’ books were minor.
“What aspect do you mean?”
“Personally, I’m unconditionally altruistic and service-minded… …For example, I don’t like Ramuda’s Alchemy of Salvation, but I don’t like the opposite either.”
Gillian’s eyes were deeply bent. It seemed that Valletta had read many different kinds of books. If it was Ramuda’s “Alchemy of Salvation,” it was the kind Gillian didn’t like either.
The logic was nonsense. The beginning of all alchemy was the ability given by God to save humans. But that logic counted as one of the best-selling alchemy books.
‘I never thought I’d see you like this.’
It would have been a great pleasure to meet Valletta as a scholar. Gillian clicked his tongue, regretting it for a long time.
“On the other hand, Bertas’s claim is that alchemy began with human experimentation. Of course, if you examine the claims closely, you can’t say they’re wrong from the start, but even if they’re really right, I don’t really want to know.”
Valletta shrugged her shoulders. It would be more correct to say that it was the kind of thing she didn’t want to know at all.
Gillian nodded. Chuckling, he scratched his eye patch.
“Wasn’t Bertas the object of denunciation, the demon of the alchemy world? The possession of the book itself should have been illegal in the first place. In fact, I heard that the original book has detailed materials of human experimentation.”
“That would certainly be the case.”
“The principal was so horrible that it would have been processed illegally several generations ago.”
“But as I suspected, once I saw the original, I could figure out why they made this claim.”
Gillian stared at Valletta as if she was a child. Valletta, who had guessed him with narrowed brows, said, “I see,” and turned away. She didn’t want to talk about this any further.
“If you wish, you may take a look. It is in the forbidden archive of the imperial library.”
“…… Forbidden archive?”
“Yes, there are quite a few illegal books in there. It is difficult to take them out, but I can give you permission if you want.”
Valletta remained silent. As a scholar, she was curious, but she didn’t want to be put off by seeing something like that for no reason.
‘…… By the way, human experimentation?’
For a moment, “Leshir” popped into her head. A corpse brought back to life, a ghost that wandered around without dying.
Looking at it closely, Leshir might be a kind of human experiment. If it wasn’t magic that brought Lesir back to life, as Reinhardt had said, then alchemy was the most likely explanation. If it was alchemy, what the hell was the purpose of putting a less-than-perfect soul into a corpse?
“…… Then could you bring it to my room? I can’t take anything out of my room anyway. It’s safe there too.”
“If you promise to have a cup of tea with me, I’ll do that.”
Didn’t they just have a conversation? Valletta nodded instead of responding.
‘I’ll have someone bring it to you.”
“Yes, I’ll go to the library then.”
Valletta left Gillian.
Kien led her to the library, where she checked out several unsuspecting kinds of alchemy, especially the papers and books of the ancient alchemists. Fortunately, it wasn’t that difficult to take the books out of the library, as Kien mentioned Milord’s name.
After borrowing about ten books in the form of rental, Kien’s expression turned bored. Sure, it wasn’t outwardly obvious because he was just as good at managing facial expressions as the Duke was. He had a look in his eyes that said, “What the hell?”
“I’ll take it for you.”
“Oh, well, I’ll just have these three books.”
Valletta picked up three of the books and handed them to Kien, who stared at them and then suddenly lifted the remaining seven books.
Valletta opened her eyes round.
“I can’t carry them?”
“However guilty you may be, you are still the Crown Prince’s fiancée and the guards still remain. It would be ludicrous for you to carry it yourself.”
Valletta nodded her head and stepped aside after being slightly convinced. Kien walked briskly toward her room, as if the books were not too heavy.
“Aren’t you afraid?”
“What is it?”
“His Majesty is a scary man. He will be merciless. But you are not afraid at all.”
As he walked up the stairs, Kien’s voice was blunt. There wasn’t much emotion in his voice. Of course, there were no mixed feelings of sympathy, so Valletta shrugged lightly.
“They say that if you feel strongly from a young age that you’re going to die if you don’t do something, you develop a strong heart.”
“What do you mean?”
“Oh, we’re here. You don’t have to come anymore.”
Valletta took the books from Kien and went to her room, grunting. As she put the book down on the bed, she looked at Kien, who was waiting outside the open door.
“What do you mean I don’t have to come anymore?”
“I mean you won’t have to escort me in the future. Go get some rest.”
Valletta closed the door behind her. There was an old book on the desk that she seemed to have forgotten about. The paper was so yellowed and discolored that she was afraid the paper would shatter even if She put her hand on it.
“I’m too tired to sleep anyway, so I might as well read until midnight today.”
She didn’t want to wake up in a cold sweat, and she didn’t want to open her eyes feeling like she was falling into a deep hole. Sleeping soundly while she was held in the palace seemed to be a regretful thing to do. Fortunately, there was water in the room, and notebooks and pens. There was also a candle, so there wouldn’t be any evidence remaining if she burned them after writing.
Valletta leaned her back against the bed and sat down on the rug floor. She raised her knees and put the book on top of it. She carefully flipped the cover of the heavy book and slowly skimmed through the contents. Her movements, slow at first, became faster and faster the more she got into the book. The reading that began in the afternoon continued late into the night, until the moon rose.
Her eyes were heavy and blurry. When she reached the last page, she slowly raised her head. There were certainly a lot of papers and books of various types, probably because it was at the palace.
“What time is it?”
Seeing the moon rise, it seemed like it was just past midnight
She squeezed her stiff eyes with her hands. The blurred vision slowly returned to its original position.
She slowly lowered her head.
“Jin, come out.”
Tiredly, she leaned her neck back, and the back of her head reached the mattress of the bed. She let out a long breath. It was fine when she was engrossed in her book, but when she looked up again, it was reality.
<Do I look like a pet that you can call and put back whenever you want?>
“No, I’m sorry……”
She rubbed her forehead against her knees as she slowly held her arms around her knees. At the sign of Valletta, who seemed tired and exhausted, Jin quietly sat on her shoulder, coughing.
<Hmm, are you okay?>
“Yes, the Emperor’s office….. Can you see if there is anyone in the office with the dragon painting on the second corridor on the first floor?”
<I just take a look?>
“I’ll have to think very carefully about how to get there.”
She had to find out what the Emperor had hidden in his office. Valletta furrowed her brows wearily.
<When it comes to moving, it’s the water spirit’s specialty. They can go anywhere there is water. If it’s on the ground, land spirits are perfect.>
Nerade, who smiled brightly, suddenly showed her face. Valletta nodded. She slowly swept her face and stood up. The only thing left was Bertas’ papers about that human experiment.
“If Jin says there’s no one, would you mind moving me to him?”
“Of course. It’s a simple matter of building water on both sides.”
Nerade, who clapped her hands cheerfully, gave Valletta fist-sized drops of water like last time.
Jin hit Nerade, who burst into laughter, with his wings.
<You’re so loud. Can’t you be a little more careful? I thought you are a senior spirit.>
<This old man is really nitpicking! I guess that’s why he’s not popular!>
<What is it? This genie with no water in his hair and no dryness……!>
Valletta stared blankly at the fight between the two spirits with blurry eyes. She rubbed her eyes with the back of her hand.
‘What am I looking at now?’
As if they heard the sneer that escaped from between her lips, Nerade and Jin looked at Valletta’s expression and sneaked out of sight.
As the two spirits disappeared, Valletta pushed the pile of books to the side. She carefully stood up with water droplets in her hands.
At the same time, the droplets hit her like a quick wave. It swallowed her whole, from head to toes.
The size of a fistful of droplets was already enough to cover her. Her purple eyes slowly closed. The droplet of water that swallowed her became a little smaller and disappeared in the blink of an eye.
The next moment, no one was in the room.