What came after surprise was embarrassment.
When she looked at Roger, who was always expressionless, she thought he was incapable of emotion. But him smiling today had changed her mind.
‘You must never show this to another woman.’
Seeing a bright smile on his face would surely make other women lose their minds, just like Vivian. Perhaps even more than that, love might sprout. Roger’s smile made his clear beauty shine even more.
Vivian coughed, trying to calm her rapidly beating heart. As soon as she blinked, his smile vanished. There was still a trace, but it was very light.
“I’m grateful that the Lady knows the truth.”
Roger thanked her for her open mindedness. Vivian was bewildered by the heavy-sounding word ‘truth’, but she didn’t press further.
Vivian focused on finishing her letter, and Roger glanced at her occasionally, sipping his tea. Of course, she was busy writing, so she didn’t know how often he looked at her.
Meanwhile, the rain continued to pour. The atmosphere outside was dreary, but it didn’t stop there. A huge clap of thunder resounded through the room. Vivian, who was startled, raised her head in a hurry.
“This rain… Will it really end tomorrow?”
He said it would, but it felt like it would never end. As Vivian looked out the window, Roger put down his teacup and crossed his arms.
“Maybe. However, the villagers said it hasn’t rained for a while, so I think it would be good if it rained a little longer.”
‘If that’s the case, it’s not bad for it to rain right now. The only thing is that it could cause other terrible problems like cracks.’
Vivian hoped that, even when it rained, the day would pass quietly without incident.
Suddenly, a familiar voice rang out. She looked over and spotted Tainy, leaning against the doorframe. Tainy looked calm today, probably because of the quiet atmosphere due to the rain.
“Sir Tainy. Have you been to the stables?”
Since he went out wearing a robe, Tainy’s condition was fine, and perfectly dry. It seemed that he had changed after returning from the stable.
Unlike Vivian, who spoke kindly, Roger asked why he had come with his eyes. After years of working together, Tainy could easily read his expressions.
“I think you should come up.”
Tainy pointed to the ceiling above him.
“The wizard is going to open the door today.”
* * *
When they arrived on the second floor, they saw Daniel squatting in front of the door, papers scattered all around him. He slowly turned his head towards the voice that called him. He still looked weak, but he had a better complexion than before, probably because his job was almost done.
“Can you really open the door?”
“Yeah, I think so. It seems possible. It’s very complicated, but when I looked closely, I found that similar techniques were used repeatedly. Solving one will untangle the other, so I figured it out more quickly than expected.”
His dull voice was brimming with confidence that she had never heard from him before. Before he could continue, Daniel spotted Roger trailing after Vivian, and stood up stiffly.
Roger shook his head, signaling for him to just finish the job. Vivian was slightly embarrassed by his spoiled attitude, but Daniel took out his wand with an indifferent look. It seemed like he had experienced his attitude once or twice.
“Then I’ll do it.”
Daniel stood a short distance from the door. When his wand extended toward the doorknob, a white light appeared under Daniel’s feet. It was a magic circle unlike anything she had ever seen before. The light brightened the hallway, which had been darkened by the dark cloudy sky.
As Daniel waved his wand lightly, two magic circles floated above the doorknob. He picked up a piece of paper and looked between it and the magic circle eagerly. Then, he moved his wand and pressed it firmly against a point in the outer ring.
In response, it scattered into the air without a trace. Pleased, Daniel carefully compared his paper and the magic circle, and pressed somewhere else.
The strange thing was that as his wand moved, rings of the magic circle disappeared one by one.
Vivian and Roger waited quietly, fearing that they might interfere with Daniel’s work.
After a long period of silence, almost all of the magic circles had disappeared, leaving only a complex pattern in the middle. Daniel sighed and rubbed his sweaty palms on his robe.
“This is the section that I haven’t completely solved yet, so it may fail.”
Daniel, who had been quiet all this time, spoke firmly as if he wanted to let everyone know in advance. Everyone became tense at the word ‘failure’. If it really failed, Daniel would be more upset than anyone else, so they didn’t want to express disappointment or anxiety.
After taking a deep breath, Daniel began to move his wand again. His first, second and third gesture went smoothly. Now, only three rings were left. But then there was a problem. As soon as Daniel’s wand pressed the desired place, the ring contracted and an electrical current sparked. This was the failure he spoke of.
Due to the reaction, the wand in Daniel’s hand was blown away. And the magic circle, which had almost been completely solved, returned to its initial state.
It was a failure.
A deep silence fell. No one could open their mouths hastily. In particular, Vivian could not, knowing how hard he had been working.
Daniel bowed his head. Roger managed to hold back a sigh and patted Daniel on the shoulder. He jumped to his feet.
“I will do it again. Almost everything has been solved, so I should be able to get it done today.”
Rogers did not question him this time either. From his response, Vivian could tell that Roger trusted Daniel more than she had thought. He did not need to say anything more. That was Roger’s style.
Daniel didn’t head to his room, but instead took a seat in front of the closed door. Even as they headed towards the first floor, Vivian looked back worriedly.
“Is it okay if we leave him like this? He’ll skip meals again.”
“As I said, he is the type of person who only relaxes when the job is done. So just leave him alone.”
Vivian, who was walking down the hallway, glanced behind her even though Daniel was no longer in sight. She suddenly bumped into something and stopped herself. It was not a wall… As she raised her head with a frown on her face, she saw Roger, who had stopped abruptly in front of her.
“I’ve been curious.”
While Vivian held her nose with her hands, Roger turned around. As always with him, her expression became stiff for some reason.
“Why do you care so much about Daniel?”
[TL/N: Someone is jealous again. >.< ]
His low tone was as sharp as his expression.
“Do you have any feelings for Daniel?”
It was the coldest voice Vivian had ever heard. He hadn’t heard her answer yet, but he reacted as if he had. Vivian, who was misunderstood, blinked dumbly.
‘Did I treat Daniel differently enough that it looks like that?’
“You’re asking if I have any feelings for him?”
Vivian had to reiterate his question, to make sure he was asking what she thought he was asking.
“You have a crush on him.”
“Yes?! What do you mean…?!”
Vivian denied it immediately, waving her hands.
“It’s because I’m thankful to Daniel for taking care of this. It’s strange that you’re not thankful that he’s working so hard for us!”
Of course, he was working under the condition that Vivian would faithfully participate in his research, but she was still thankful that he was making an effort.
At Vivian’s denial, Roger raised an eyebrow. Although he understood what she was saying, he could not shake his displeasure.
“You don’t like me caring about Daniel?”
The answer was obvious, but Vivian wanted to hear it from his mouth.
Roger leaned against the wall with his arms crossed, and gazed intently at her face.
There was not even the slightest hesitation in his voice, as if he was speaking only the truth. She, too, had been jealous of his attitude towards other women, so she understood how Roger felt. At the same time, her heart was pounding strongly.
“You care about other guys…”
Behind him, she looked out the window. Lightning flashed, and then the hallway was submerged into darkness. Although it was pitch black, the man right in front of her was very clear. For a moment, it felt like that lightning bolt had struck Vivian’s heart.
The Roger who was in front of her now was almost exactly like the Roger from her dreams.
It was true that they were the same person, but to Vivian, the two were different people with different personalities. However, at this moment, the man who pierced her heart like a lightning bolt was Roger, both from her dreams and from reality.