Chapter 17. Jansi’s real face

 

 

The capital mansion of Angellus.

 

An aide from the Duke of Angellus entered the office. 

 

The duke, who took off his glasses and put them down on the desk, asked the aide,  “So, did you find out?”

 

“Yes, Your Excellency. This is information I heard from the spies planted in Perdia.”

 

‘Who is the main player who led the Perdias to victory in the military supply incident?’

 

“Okay. Who is it?”

 

The aide hesitated at the duke’s question before answering, “The youngest daughter of the Duke of Perdia, Elodie Perdia.”

 

“What?” Duke Angellus frowned.

 

‘Elodie Perdia?’

 

It was an unfamiliar name. It felt like it would get stuck on his tongue, perhaps because it was rare that it would come out of his mouth. Then, he finally remembered the child’s existence. 

 

Surely Sylvester Perdia had a youngest daughter. An illegitimate child that was born outside the estate.

 

She was famous for her beautiful and angelic appearance, but it’s been said that there were no people around her due to her unbecoming and violent personality.

 

So Duke Angellus was not interested in Perdia’s youngest daughter.

 

‘I thought it was an excuse and a means to collude with the first prince.’

 

If she was just a troublemaker for the family and a young lady with a bad personality, she was not worth caring about.

 

In addition, it was known that even if she came from one of the four major families, she didn’t have any power. How incompetent she was.

 

Power was the blessing of God.

 

But it was difficult to tolerate her standing out in such an unexpected place because he was a principled man who could not stand exceptional circumstances.

 

“This is Perdia’s true appearance?”  

 

Even a half-blood was still their blood.

 

It was then. Bizarre thoughts ran through his head.

 

‘Isn’t it easy to remove a Perdia, who can’t even use her power?’

 

The reason why the prince and Perdia formed an alliance was engagement.

 

However, if Elodie died, the external justification would disappear.

 

It wouldn’t break their alliance for certain, but it would be enough if any cracks could arise.

 

In the first place, the Duke of Angellus did not value the existence of Elodie very much. The Duke of Angellus raised the corners of his mouth and put on his glasses again.

 

“I’ll have to trample the buds.”

 

So that they never sprout.

 

***

 

Once every three years, the night of the lunar eclipse – when the moon is consumed by darkness – would come to earth.

 

The night of the lunar eclipse was the time when the power of Irkala, the goddess of the underworld, grew stronger.

 

As the sun slipped completely over the horizon and night fell, the protection of the goddess Ishtar could not reach the ground that cried out without a single drop of moonlight. Because of that, the four major families and members of the imperial family could not easily control their powers.

 

In particular, when it had not been long since the power had awakened, the younger the age or the further the ability was beyond the individual’s control, the higher the difficulty level would be to control it during the eclipse.

 

Of course, it did not apply to all those with powers.

 

Depending on the attribute of the family, the extent to which they could be controlled varied greatly.

 

With the ability to purify poison, I had nothing to do with losing control on the night of the lunar eclipse.

 

Even if my power ran rampant, it would either do too much purification or none at all. If I didn’t work with it, it would be useless.

 

That was probably why it had been possible to pass without incident through the night of the eclipse so far.

 

However, the “mutation” attribute of the Kreundel family and the “destruction” attribute of Perdia were different.

 

I tilted my head and reminisced to myself. “Three years ago, Carlot gave a spectacular sight.”

 

I vaguely recalled the time when Carlot smashed Perdia.

 

And that was not a metaphor.

 

It was an actual, real smashing. The mansion was destroyed!

 

Because Carlot’s power was ground collapse.

 

The cries of the employees who shouted, “Can’t you please stop” were even heard in the annex.

 

But it had nothing to do with the annex, so I watched it across the river with disdain.

 

In comparison, Jansi had good control over his abilities.

 

It was known that except for an accident that occurred when his power blossomed……he had never accidentally extinguished something.

 

‘Externally speaking.’

 

It was a circumstance that showed how thoroughly Jansi Perdia managed his image.

 

Jansi’s true color was only vaguely predicted by the Perdia couple, but they did not know what was real.

 

‘I just know that he’s kind on the outside, but on the inside, he’s not.’

 

I would have been fooled without the merit of knowing the contents of the original story and knowing about the incident from six years ago.

 

But I knew the truth.

 

Jansi Perdia does not have complete control over his power.

 

At the age of 5, Jansi had a deep trauma after he invoked his powers on his exclusive servant and put her in a coma. Since that day, he always wore his gloves and avoided contact with people. The behavior of keeping his distance was also due to that.

 

Because of his trauma surrounding lack of control, Jansi was suffering from anorexia, unable to swallow food when his powers were not controlled as he wanted. Even if he somehow managed to eat, he would immediately regurgitate it.

 

In severe cases, when he was on the verge of an outburst, he felt extreme pain both mentally and physically.

 

And today.

 

Tonight was the night of the lunar eclipse.

 

As the sun went down, the sky was painted with the subtle colors of an orange and pastel pink sunset.

 

The night was drawing near.

 

“I’m sure it will be alright,” I reassured myself.

 

There had been several lunar eclipse nights since he was 5 years old, but there seemed to be no need to worry; he had been coping well without even his parents knowing.

 

Well, if it was Jansi, he would take care of himself.

 

However, the most incomprehensible thing now was the Duke of Perdia’s decision to suggest a family meal today.

 

“‘Do not succumb to lunar eclipses and grow strong.’ What does that mean?”

 

But don’t you think of me, who might burst into a shrimp under the power of your two sons…….

 

Anyway, it was the monthly family meal, so I had no choice but to attend.

 

“Miss, try on the dress you bought when you went out with Master Carlot the other day,” Martha insisted.

 

“I just bought the one that was hanging……Is it even the right size?”

 

“Well, it’s a little big, but it’ll be okay. My lady is still growing up!”

 

“I’m going to wear it today. What do you mean it’s okay?”

 

“Oh, this much is fine.”

 

As I was arguing with Martha and preparing for the family meal, the time was running out before I knew it.

 

Outside the window, where the moon did not rise, it was so dark that I was afraid to step out into it.

 

“Come on, Miss. I can’t see the road at night, so we have to go slowly.”

 

“Okay.”

 

I followed Martha with a lantern to the main house. Surprisingly, I did not meet a single servant while I was arriving at the main mansion after passing through the west corridor. 

 

“It seems like everyone doesn’t want to die,” I half-joked to Martha. “I can’t even see my nose.”

 

It was clear that the memories of the ground collapsing, which Carlot inflicted on the mansion three years ago, were still vivid in people’s minds.

 

At my murmur, Martha began to slowly back away.

 

“So I’m going to run to my accommodation, too.”

 

I stared at her in disbelief. “……..What about me?”

 

“Enjoy your meal!”

 

“Martha!”

 

When we arrived in front of the dining room, Martha ran away in a hurry. It was a sight in which not even the slightest bit of loyalty to me could be found.

 

Suddenly abandoned by my exclusive maid, I entered the dining room alone.

 

It was natural for me to arrive last, staying alone in the annex.

 

“I’m sorry for being late.”

 

”It’s all right, Elodie. It must have been dark since it is a lunar eclipse night, but you arrived safely without falling,” the Duchess congratulated me gently.

 

After nodding amicably to the Duchess who greeted me so graciously, I took my seat.

 

At the same time, the amuse-bouche came out. 

 

(T/N:-In French, “amuse bouche” means literally “it amuses the mouth.” The French were using “amuse-bouche” as a word for appetizers when English speakers embraced the culinary term almost a quarter of a century ago.)

 

While eating, I observed the mood of the people of Perdia.

 

The Duchess was not from one of the four major families and did not have that power, so she would pass the night without concern.

 

The Duke had great power, but he also had extraordinary control, so he would pass.

 

Carlot is……

 

“You’ve improved your control quite a bit, Carlot,” the Duke commented.

 

“Thank you, Father. I haven’t only played around for three years.”

 

This year, Carlot confidently said that and laughed as if he had complete control over his power, unlike three years ago.

 

The Duke replied indifferently, without intending to be sarcastic or mocking.

 

“Yeah, I’m proud of you just destroying your bedroom this time.”

 

“Hmmm.” Carlot acted indifferently and enjoyed the taste of the food.

 

He was proud of himself, but ended up destroying his bedroom. I resisted the urge to laugh.

 

And lastly, Jansi.

 

Jansi ate with a smile on his face as usual. Although he was a little quiet, he kindly responded to the words of the Duchess and Carlot.

 

It was clear as day – I could clearly see that Jansi was trying hard, and that he seemed a bit overwhelmed. And I wasn’t the only one who noticed.

 

‘You’re breaking out in a cold sweat.’ 

 

The Duchess took a sanguine sip of wine and then looked at Jansi, who was cutting steak with a smile.

 

“The food doesn’t seem to be decreasing today, Jansi.”

 

“Ah, actually, Mother, I ate a lot of snacks during teatime earlier. I have no appetite.”

 

“How did you eat that much when you don’t even like sweets?”

 

“That’s right.”

 

Jansi, who had been talking with the Duchess with his usual kind smile, slowly put the tableware down.

 

“I’ll go wash my hands for a second.”

 

“Okay,” the Duke answered impassively. 

 

As soon as the Duke’s permission was given, Jansi stepped out of the dinner hall. He seemed to escape as if nothing was wrong, but somehow it was a hasty step. 

 

I checked the atmosphere of the family while I sipped on my water.

 

The atmosphere of not having a conversation remained. Everyone just put the well-cooked food in their mouths with grim faces.

 

No one noticed Jansi’s strange expression.

 

‘Why am I the only one who knows?!’

 

My conscience in my good heart was too pricked to just ignore it.

 

But I didn’t want to meddle in Jansi’s business, especially because he didn’t even like me.

 

My eyes, agonizing for somewhere to rest in the awkward atmosphere, touched the tableware Jansi had been holding. 

 

The knife was slightly bent from the strength he had exerted on it.

 

‘I can’t do it.’

 

As long as I knew Jansi’s pain, I couldn’t look the other way.

 

I wasn’t sure if I could help Jansi, but I couldn’t let it go.

 

I used Jansi’s same lame excuse and blurted out, “I’m going to wash my hands for a while, too.”

 

The Duke looked at me for a moment and then nodded.

 

“Go ahead.”

 

After leaving the dining room, I set out to find Jansi.

 

Due to Jansi Perdia’s gloomy and two-faced personality, he wouldn’t be in a place where people would come and go.

 

If so, the place where Jansi would be now, not even lit by moonlight, was easy to deduce.

 

He must be where he was 6 years ago on the night of the lunar eclipse, a secluded area near the annex where people never ventured.

 

After taking the lantern, I immediately started walking toward the garden.

 

The reason why I was looking for Jansi, who hated me while pretending to care for me on the outside, was because of a debt in my heart.

 

In the case of the Angellus military supplies incident, I took the credit for the solution that Jansi would have come up with in the future.

 

Jansi may not know, but it had been on my mind all along.

 

“Keugh…”

 

As soon as I entered the garden, I heard someone moaning.

 

It wasn’t necessary to see who the moans belonged to.

 

A large figure crouched among the bushes in the dark garden.

 

Jansi, whose powers ran wild, would not remember, but this was not the first time I had witnessed the crouching Jansi’s back.

 

The sight of his suffering brought back memories of the past.

 

Six years ago, it was entirely a coincidence that I saw Jansi crouching in the corner of the garden so that no one could see him.

 

It wasn’t far from the annex.

 

It was a moonless night, so I came out with a curious mind and opened my eyes wide when I saw Jansi in pain.

 

“Brother……?”

 

“Keu…..gh….“

 

Jansi, are you okay?”

 

“……..go away.”

 

“What?”

 

“Get lost!”

 

I shrank in surprise at the sight of Jansi’s anger.

 

His blue eyes shone sharply in the light of the lantern I was holding.

 

Deep down, I had liked Jansi.

 

Unlike Carlot who hated me, Jansi treated me like family, like his little sister and called me Lili. 

 

“Please, get lost. I’m begging you….”

 

“I’m sorry!”

 

At the voice that faded away, I dropped the lantern and ran to the annex as if running away.

 

I’d seen Jansi’s unpretentious bare face for the first time.

 

I realized then that this was Jansi’s authentic self.  

 

Surprisingly, Jansi’s attitude toward me after that day was not different from usual.

 

As if he didn’t remember what happened on the night of the lunar eclipse.

 

Now that I knew the contents of the original story, I realized why Jansi was like that….

 

‘Still, the fact that he hates me remains the same.’

 

Now that I found Jansi, it was time to pay off the debt.

 

I remembered the scene where Estelle was healing her brother with her female-lead-sunshine powers – you know, the power of unrelenting positivity and love? –  in the original. 

 

‘Didn’t you hug and comfort Jansi, who couldn’t control his power because his power was running rampant?’

 

Ugh. That was a bit… 

 

There was a description that he opened his heart to Estelle’s sincerity, who gave herself up for Jansi even though she herself could be in danger under his power.

 

“There is no need to open the door to your heart to me for this,” I muttered.

 

If it was someone’s patting that calmed Jansi when his powers were on the verge of going berserk, then it didn’t matter if I was Estelle or not.

 

I stayed as far away as possible from the slumped over Jansi, and then stretched out my arm as hard as I could. This was a precautionary measure, in case Jansi ran out of control and I was in danger. And then I finally patted Jansi’s back.

 

“Heu, Heugh….”

 

“It’s all right.”

 

“….Ugh.”

 

“It’s all right.”

 

“…keugh.”

 

“It’s okay.”

 

“……..”

 

“It is going to be okay.”

 

I patted Jansi hard, telling him something that felt like it was okay.

 

In fact, I had a thought, which was that just as Jansi completely forgot what happened six years ago, he possibly wouldn’t remember what happened today anyway.

 

Surprisingly, Jansi’s body, which was trembling violently, began to calm down.

 

PHOTO

 

***

 

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