The archduke’s brow crumpled.
“To refuse without even listening to the request. You have no manners.”
“You precisely talking about manners is funny. Shouldn’t an apology come first before asking any request?”
“What should I apologize for?”
“You accused me of using black magic.”
The Archduke, who was about to retort, shut his mouth. He stared at her for a moment, then gently closed his eyes and nodded his head.
“That’s right. That was my mistake. I admit it. It was my fault for falsely framing you, so I apologize.”
It was surprising that he apologized innocently. Was that really a sincere request?
I looked at it with bewildered eyes, but now the grand duke demanded an apology from her.
“By the way, shouldn’t the person who heard me living in hell day by day have to apologize for not giving my younger siblings back?”
“I didn’t know they were the younger siblings of His Highness the Grand Duke.”
“Who believes that?”
In fact, he didn’t even trust anyone. Anyone could see that the witch had a dark ulterior motive, and she took the Grand Duke’s siblings with her.
“If a witch picks up a child on her way, does she raise it without taking it to the police? Even when picking a puppy, nobody does that.”
“They said they were abused. How could I take them back with an abusive family?”
The Grand Duke’s face became grim.
“If it wasn’t abuse, would kids want to leave a rich house and live with a witch in a shabby hut?”
“So you’re saying I’m from a family that’s worse than witches?”
“Seeing as you tried to execute me in front of the children, I can’t call you a good guardian.”
The Archduke paused and let out a deep sigh.
“I admit, that was something I shouldn’t have shown to the kids. At that time, I completely lost my reason… ”
“I don’t think that’s the only thing you should regret… I heard the kids were locked up?”
Seeing him crinkle his forehead again, it seems that he was not reflecting on that at all.
“Is it confinement to live in a mansion with hundreds of rooms, dozens of gardens, a lake, and five toy rooms?”
“But children have to go out and experience the world once in a while. I loved running and playing in the forest.”
“But the world is dangerous for unusual children. There is a good reason why they are not allowed to go outside, so I do not accept criticism from people who do not know the circumstances.”
I waited in silence, but the Grand Duke did not seem to have any intention of telling me what had happened.
“Still, they don’t have to live a boring life. The kids haven’t experienced much… ”
The Archduke casted a sharp gaze at her. It seemed that he didn’t like the fact that she kept asking questions.
“Children from novelty do not do odd jobs in the kitchen or go digging for carrots with their hands in the dirt.”
“Will children from novelty be demoted for doing such a thing?”
“I mean, nobles have to do things that suit nobles.”
“That’s right, I know, but isn’t it enough for the kids to enjoy it?”
“People can’t make a living doing only fun things.”
“No Adults, but it’s not necessary to set the line for children. When you are young, having various experiences is important. That all helps them grow up and become responsible adults. It’s important they learn how to choose their way in life.”
“Your Highness knows mushrooms well. The chestnuts didn’t know anything about it.”
Talking about danger. When she recalled the moment the other day when the children tried to eat poisonous mushrooms, calling them strawberries, her eyes widened for a moment.
The grand duke, who kept his mouth shut watching her while she chattered, suddenly spat out.
“You seem to have raised a lot of children.”
She raised a lot of other people’s children besides her own. Looking back at her days as a kindergarten teacher, she let out a deep sigh. She won’t be able to go back now.
Sensing the suspicious gaze belatedly, she clapped her hands and turned around.
“Oh, and! I heard that His Highness abandoned the children?”
The smooth face was distorted.
“Why do you think that… Honestly, if you just listen to the children, you shouldn’t be raising a child… ”
Looking at him, I added quickly.
“Of course, I could have misunderstood because they were children. But it’s definitely the Grand Duke’s fault that he doesn’t get along with his younger siblings that much.”
“That’s right. That’s a misunderstanding and it is also my fault.”
Wasn’t he a very bad person seeing he admitted his fault? She handed over the tea cup she had stolen. The Grand Duke laughed and took the cup.
Another silver spoon appeared. Did he think she might have poisoned the tea in the meantime?
“I’m telling you this honestly because everyone knows it… ”
He continued, confirming that there was no poison.
“Expedition, subjugation, delegation… Because of those missions, I’ve been staying at the mansion for less than three months out of ten this year. So it is not unreasonable to misunderstand that children have been abandoned.”
After emptying his cup at once, he added with a sigh.
“Because they are still too young to understand the circumstances of adults.”
So it was. The Archduke’s expression darkened. My face must have darkened as well.
“I don’t know why I’m asking a witch to understand this, but I put the safety of my siblings above all else.”
That’s what any parent or sibling would do. She nodded and listened to the Grand Duke’s words. First of all, it doesn’t seem like abuse like the kids said. Misunderstandings just piled up. It seemed that the Grand Duke cared deeply for the children.
“The problem is that I have to go on another expedition soon. But while I’m gone, I thought they’d run away again… ”
The Grand Duke tapped only the rim of the teacup with his fingernails, as if lost in thought. He took a deep breath and lifted his head.
“I feel like I’m crazy for asking a witch like this, but… ”
His eyes were meaningful. What was he asking for? Was it about the children?
She swallowed dry saliva and urged.
“What… What’s the favor you want to ask for?”
The hesitant grand duke bit his lip once as if he was determined, and he said.
“As a babysitter for a while while I go on an expedition…”
“Yeah! Yeah! Good! I like it!”
As the claps and her cheers echoed loudly in the little cave, the Archduke plugged his ears and frowned at him.
“It’s suspicious because you like it so much… ”
“No one in the world likes being asked to be a babysitter for the Blaine family.”
Who would not think of taking care of such lovely children as their dream job? She wanted to go to the Grand Duchy already. She was so happy!
But instead of answering, the Grand Duke scolded her for asking the same question.
“I’ve felt it since the last time, but I can’t communicate with you.”
That’s what she felt too. But what did he know? Now she could go see the children.
She got excited and snapped her fingers. The tea cups and plates spread out in front of her disappeared one by one, and before she knew it, only a bonfire remained in the cave.
After tidying up, she jumped up and grabbed the Grand Duke’s hand.
“Where are you putting your hands now?”
“No, that’s not what I mean.”
“Is that important now? Come on! Hurry!”
“It hasn’t stopped raining yet.”
When she turned her head out of the cave, she became sullen.
“My, why didn’t I learn weather magic?”
Pick, the Archduke laughed again.
* * *
“Your Highness, I have to speak bitterly for today.”
The adjutant’s face, seen through the papers, looked like a lump of cast iron heated in a furnace. Elliot looked down again at her papers and nodded at him.
“When did you not?”
Only one week left until departure. Before that, there was a mountain of work to be done. That’s why the adjutant couldn’t hold back his anger and grabbed the edge of the desk as if to break it.
“Are you sane?”
“Sir Daniel of the Marquis of Arwen, who asks the Grand Duke if he is sane, is certain to be insane.”
“Why does the one who went to find her babysitter bring a witch?”
The Grand Duke, who had gone out alone, brought a young woman! Since this was unprecedented, all the servants were speechless after whispering with rosy imaginations. The lady who took the Grand Duke’s hand and got off the white horse was none other than the cannibal witch of the Black Forest. Even that was not enough, and when the Grand Duke introduced the witch as his new babysitter, everyone became contemplative. While everyone froze as if an untimely midwinter frost had landed, only the witch was excited like a child welcoming spring. So that must be…
“Have you been seduced by the witch?”
“Does it look like that?”
Daniel narrowed his eyes and examined the archduke carefully, but found nothing suspicious. The young man in front of him was just the usual Archduke Blaine, who exudes vicious energy from work.
“Nope. But maybe I felt the wrong way because my holy power wasn’t enough…”
“No, not enough. Not enough to spy on the witch.”
“Daniel, listen carefully.”
The Archduke finally put the papers down and clasped his hands together. He had a habit of telling a not very pleasant story. And it wasn’t wrong this time either.
“I decided to exclude you from this subjugation.”
From the time he started his life as an apprentice servant in the grand ducal family as a child, Daniel accompanied Eliot everywhere he went. Of course, there was a gap in the days when he joined the Holy Knights for a while. Although they were officially in a relationship between a superior and an assistant, privately, they were two close friends. But to subdue a dangerous monster and leave the person he trusted the most behind… Daniel couldn’t possibly understand him.
“Because you have an important mission to take on.”
What could be more important than protecting his life by his side?
“If you command anything to me…”
“Watch the witch.”
Hello there! This is RJR.
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