* * *
* * *
“There is no one in Birce that can stop my will of serving you, my master.”
Merlin answered politely.
“However, the information about Hans is not a suitable topic to talk about before bed, so I would like to report it tomorrow morning.”
“I see. But please do wake me up early tomorrow morning.”
Merlin sighed internally.
‘You asked to have a conversation with me.’
Liarte, who she serves as her master, was more difficult to deal with than she had thought.
It was good to express an opinion clearly, but she also tended to not say what she wanted as well.
She either obeyed what was given or seemed generally satisfied.
Throughout her entire time here in Birce, she had never been asked or asked for anything.
‘She’s asking for something to help Birce.’
It was rare of her to make demands for herself.
“Of course. I’ll gather all the information about Hans and the Black Powder tomorrow morning.”
Merlin wanted her to be a young girl who takes care of herself like her peers or Michael.
She’d be happy if Liarte were to be more selfish than she is now, be selfish, be arrogant, and make arrogant demands.
She felt sorry for her.
There’s a saying that says that you are more precious than you think.
However, there was still a bit of distance between the two of them.
It was a pity, but she can’t help it now.
“I have to do my best to serve you.”
They have a lot of time.
Merlin tucked Liarte in with a soft blanket, turned off the lights, and left the room.
* * *
After a while.
Merlin quietly walked down the corridor of the main building.
Soon after, she came to Carmen’s office door.
Merlin’s movements may have already been heard, but she knocked normally.
“Come on in.”
With Carmen’s permission, Merlin opened the door.
Carmen, who was sitting at a fancy desk in his office, raised his head and made eye contact with Merlin.
“Something about Lili?”
“She went to bed early. Is there anything I need to report?”
“No, don’t tell me about what I didn’t ask. I’m not trying to intrude on her privacy.”
Carmen, who sat on the patriarch’s seat, was more ruthless than she thought.
Still, he has been more relaxed recently.
It seemed as if the winds had changed direction in the sharply frozen Birce Manor.
Even Aaron and Michael were noticeably softer in their attitudes.
“There’s something you need to be careful about.”
It was Liarte, the master of Merlin, who caused the change.
Birce was untamed, but once they get affection, they never change.
“On the day Lili made it rain in the Empire, the lower-class water awakeners of Elheim were temporarily unable to use their abilities.”
“Is it related to my Young Lady?”
“That’s what I do not know, but the movement of Elheim and the Imperial Family was extraordinary.”
“I’ll be more vigilant around my Young Lady.”
Carmen’s red eyes cast a cruel light.
“They wouldn’t dare come here, to Birce. But if anyone tries to touch Lili, kill them immediately. There is no need to capture them.”
“Okay. I will keep that in mind.”
Because he was a parent with one biological child, Carmen could not condone any inferior being laying a hand on any one of his children.
Lirate’s mind was not stable yet, so he could not say anything freely, but the letters kept coming.
Even if he warns them and breaks their arms, they’ll still be covetous.
A smirk crept across Carmen’s lips.
This time, a letter bearing the seal of Elheim came in.
The Duke of Elheim, who had not even contacted Birce during his lifetime, seemed to have sent something expected.
It’s about asking for Birce’s cooperation to return the water awakener.
The cliched phrase that they had realized they had done something wrong to Liarte was all fake.
Liarte will not return to Elheim again. (tl/n damn fucking right)
Above all, Carmen had no intention of returning Liarte to that living hell.
Although she was an adult, what is the sure way to make her a member of Birce?
‘It’d be a waste of time for her to get married to Michael.’
Carmen gave Merlin a big smile.
“Shall I adopt her as a daughter?”
“I’m sorry, I can’t answer your joke.”
“I wasn’t joking.”
Carmen, in his own way, said it quite seriously.
* * *
When Liarte woke up, it was past one o’clock in the morning.
After coming to Birce, she often overslept for no reason.
Her life back in Elheim, where she had to always wake up at 5 A.M, now feels like a dream.
‘How did I wake up in the middle of the day?’
Merlin, who was searching for things in the room, approached Liarte.
When she lifted the white curtain on the window of the treatment room, the wind came in and shook Liarte’s hair.
“Do you want me to tie your hair, Young Lady?”
“I don’t care about it.”
In the meantime, Merlin did not touch her hair as much as possible, except when changing Liarte’s clothes.
When she raised Liarte’s hand, her body (L) hardened a little.
Seeing Liarte’s blank expression, it seemed to be an unconscious reaction.
“Then I’ll use a ribbon.”
Liarte was calm today.
She wasn’t surprised when Merlin suddenly moved sideways or backwards.
With a murmur, Merlin’s hand straightened Liarte’s hair.
It felt like she had tamed a wary cat, so she held her breath and smiled.
“What pretty hair.”
Merlin thought it would be a waste to even tie it up a little.
So she tied her hair loosely with a thin ribbon.
The emptiness on her neck was awkward, but Liarte thought she would gradually get used to it.
“The doctor has determined that there were no other side effects of the excessive use of your abilities.”
Merlin sat Liarte in the bed in the treatment room.
“So, you’ll be able to leave the infirmary tomorrow.”
Merlin handed the materials that she had been organizing over to Liarte.
“I’ve organized it so that it’s easy to read and understand.”
It was a document about the Black Powder and Hans.
Liarte read the materials and listened to Merlin’s explanation.
“Hans turned out to be a spy of the Imperial Family. Just in case, we investigated all the traces and found out that he had a secret meeting with the Crown Prince, but it’s hard to get physical evidence of the Crown Prince’s involvement.”
The comparison of the Black Powder and the liquid substance that Hans he was trying to feed Aaron were written at the bottom.
“I didn’t find it as Black Powder, but I did find out what Hans was trying to feed Aaron.”
“What was it?”
“It was human blood. The unusual mana construction suggests that it is directly related to the Imperial Family.”
“The Crown Prince must have lost so much blood.”
“We think so too.”
Even in the future, Elheim could not find out where the Black Powder came from, so Birce could not have been able to produce it.
Merlin continued explaining.
“However, unusual facts were revealed when we tested a combination of the Black Powder and the Imperial Blood.”
Someone who ingests the Black Powder descends into madness until they die.
Apart from their body that is moving erratically, their mind is clear.
That was all Liarte knew.
“The Black Powder explodes immediately when it gets in contact with the Imperial Blood.”
“It was an assassination attempt, when Hans tried to feed it to Aaron.”
Merlin showed a ghastly face.
Her clenched fists were burning bright blue. (e/n bestie you good? Blue doesn’t sound ideal)
“It’s all right, Merlin.”
Liarte put her hand on Merlin’s.
“It’s in the past. Aaron is fine now.”
Merlin’s body drained of energy.
After a while, Liarte changed the subject.
“What’s this paper?”
The last piece of paper had a picture.
“This is what I finally found out. The Black Powder has side effects when it comes into contact with most bloods, but when it comes into contact with Birce’s blood, it shines brightly.”
An awakener’s blood contains mana.
“But that is all. Below are the places in Birce that Hans wandered in.”
The time and place were marked in color on the map of the Mansion.
Liarte saw an explanation underneath it.
Things about how to get to the place or how long Hans stayed there.
“I couldn’t believe it, but I heard from the Master that you’re going on a picnic in these places.”
When she heard the story from Carmen, Merlin shook her hand in rare agitation.
“Yes, Aaron, Michael, and Carmen all said they’d go with me. It’s more of an investigation than a picnic.”
Liarte was not yet used to the layout of the Manor.
If she was to go to Birce’s kitchen, she would not have been able to say it’s an investigation.
Merlin wisely curtailed her words.
“You’ll have a great time.”
Liarte smiled as softly as the sunlight that came from the window.
It was a bright and pretty smile.
Merlin looked at her figure for a while.
Liarte had a look on her face that showed she had opened her heart.
The spring-like change that occurred on her facial expressions was lovely.
Even more, Birce has changed a lot with Liarte.
Merlin had a hunch that this future duchess would change Birce more in the coming time.
Liarte took the map of the mansion and found a trace of ink that hadn’t dried up yet.
‘It was just recently written.’
Come to think of it, the size of the writing was not consistent with the rest to say it was printed with the picture.
As if someone had written it by hand.
Liarte asked, “Don’t tell me…”
“Did you make this, Merlin?”
Merlin turned her head shyly.
That was her answer.
* * *
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