The Duke found it interesting for it was a gaze he had never seen from the child before.
“It’s only right since you are of my blood.”
Duke Halos’ lips rose softly.
Even if the Duke of Halos did not take Lexion as his successor right away, he believed that after some time passed, he would eventually pass the mantle to Lexion.
After all, the eldest son, Killian, was no longer a member of Halos.
However, he thought that if Lexion showed his spirit at any time, he would immediately make him his successor.
So it was especially satisfying to see the youth’s fervent determination.
Duke Halos’ face brightened, but the boy’s face was still dark.
As a child, he only wanted to get out of the shadow of his older brother.
Eventually, as time passed, the boy’s ambition became inflamed.
As long as his older brother – who stood in his way – disappeared, there was nothing to stop the boy.
The time has come for him to achieve the dream he had wanted to obtain since young.
Where he made his wish on the first snowfall at the age of nine.
The boy’s desire to protect his person could now be realized as he reached adulthood.
Lexion had someone he wanted to protect.
He was now similar to that person and would be shorter than him in the future. The person who always protected him.
The only person who reached out to him when no one held his hand.
The most precious person to Lexion.
He was determined to become stronger for her and to protect her.
So, he studied, practiced, and learned harder than anyone else.
The boy, who had been living in fierce competition, realized it as time went by.
He finally sensed the elusive opportunity had come to him.
“If you prove your worth, I will make you my successor.”
The Duke of Halos, who was gazing at the boy’s resolute eyes with interest, hinted.
‘Proof of worth’ as a successor.
Duke Halos didn’t expect his son to understand all of that.
However, if he understood it correctly and put into practice his will, he too was going to keep his words unconditionally.
After a while, the boy’s tightly closed lips opened.
There was a sense of maturity in the boy’s eyes.
* * *
Toward the end of winter, Jane and Lexion went back to their respective destinations.
Elena, who was left alone in the mansion, was busier than ever before.
She listened intently to the teachers and devoted herself to practicing her magic, so she didn’t notice the passing of time.
Winter passed, spring went by, and hot summer came.
Two weeks later, after her birthday, Elena was now considered an adult.
“Oh yes. Now that you’re all grown up, will you enter the tower?”
“Yes, Duke. I plan to go to the tower and study in earnest.”
Elena told the Halos Patriarch that she would leave him and go to the Magic Tower once she reached the age of majority.
Initially, she should have entered the tower several years ago, but she didn’t because of Jane, Lexion, and the Duke.
The Duke didn’t hide his disappointment and said:
“I’m sorry, Elena. You have been living with me and you are like a family…already leaving… time sure flies so fast.”
He gazed at Elena with moist eyes as if reminiscing.
In the past few years after Lexion entered the academy, Elena grew closer to the Duke of Halos.
He sincerely regarded Elena as his daughter and did not deprive her of his full support; accordingly, she didn’t dislike the Duke and also cared for him.
Sometimes, they would eat and spend tea time together.
Thanks to the Duke, she also learned about the state of the empire and its current condition.
“I’m sorry too. And I am very grateful for the support you have given me during this time.”
As Elena sincerely bowed her head, the Duke waved his hand.
“Don’t say that yet. You’re not leaving right now. Let’s delay the parting a little longer.”
She suddenly remembered the moment she first met him.
She was actually scared when she first saw Duke Halos.
But come to think of it, he has always been nice to her.
Killian was the only person he was cold-hearted about.
‘Judging someone based on first impression, I may have misunderstood.’
For the remaining time, Elena decided to get along better with the Duke.
“Then I’ll just go.”
“Okay. Have a nice day.”
Elena greeted the Duke and walked out of the office.
She had a simple schedule.
She was reading a magic book she hadn’t seen before in the library while planning to slowly pack up her stuff.
She still had two weeks left, so she was going to make the most of it.
‘Should I tell Lexion that I’m going to the tower anyway?’
After Lexion entered the academy, the two often exchanged letters.
The only stories Elena talked about were everyday stories, but even that, Lexion liked them very much.
‘But rather than telling this through a letter, I prefer to say it personally….’
As she was about to enter the room with that thought in mind, she saw the maids moving in a hurry.
“Rossi! What’s going on? Why are you so busy?”
It was after lunchtime, so it was time for workers to take a break.
Usually, during breaks, most of the maids wouldn’t show up in the mansion. Today, however, was strange.
“Lady! Master Lexion is here!”
Elena was stunned.
It was Summer now, so Lexion should be in the academy.
But for some reason, he returned earlier than expected.
‘I wonder why. Could there be an accident?’
Otherwise, there was no reason for Lexion to return.
Lexion was not a child to have an accident.
Elena was perplexed.
She met him after half a year, and she was a little taller than Lexion, but now he was taller than Elena.
‘No matter how much you grow. How can you grow up like this…?’
Elena rolled her eyes.
‘I have now reached puberty, yet I couldn’t be any bigger.’
She was very envious of Lexion
“Hello, Lexion. It’s still Summer, but you are back already?”
Elena looked up at Lexion and asked.
She had always had Lexion look up at her before, but when things changed, she felt awkward.
Still, a youthful look remained on Lexion’s face.
“Yes. I have some work to do.”
Lexion replied but didn’t explain it to Elena in detail.
‘What? Up until now, whenever he comes back to the mansion, he would spend most of his time with me.’
‘Was it because he’s a teenager now?’
Lexion was 13 years old. It stood to reason that in this phase emotions frequently fluctuate. Nevertheless, she was a bit disappointed.
A few hours later.
Elena discovered why Lexion was so busy.
“… What? War?”
As Elena, Lexion, and Duke Halos gathered for dinner, Lexion made a mind-blowing remark.
And calmly he said, “I intend to participate in this war.”
Startled by his sudden remark, Elena had her eyes open wide and looked at the Duke, eyes telling that he wasn’t actually serious right now.
But Duke Halos must have already known.
He nodded his head as if it was nothing.
“You seem very surprised, Elena.”
“Yes. I am very surprised. Lexion is only 13 years old now. But he’s already participating in the war!”
The Duke chuckled when she revealed her feelings, which was not her usual.
“I had a feeling Elena would react like this. But you don’t have to worry. The first time I went to war was when I was 11. The Halos are far stronger than anyone else.”
As she listened to him, she could not think of anything to object to.
She had heard of the Duke of Halos several times when she learned the history of the Empire from Yuri.
One of them was when he joined the war at the age of 11 and brought victory to the Empire.
He was from the same bloodline as his father, and since she knew Lexion’s future actions in the original, Elena believed he would brilliantly overcome it…
Still, she couldn’t help but worry about her little cutie going to war.
“Don’t worry too much, sister. It’s no big deal.”
Contrary to the cruel words, Lexion smiled softly.
‘War is no big deal?’
Declaring it boldly, he was certainly of the same blood as the Duke.
‘Not long ago, he was a child who would cry in my arms… When did you grow up like this? This older sister is sad, definitely sad.’
As Elena was feeling upset in her heart, the Duke explained about the impending war.
There were a few smaller countries around the Solace Empire where they lived.
Among them, there was a maritime kingdom called a trading hub in the south.
The Empire waited for an opportunity to devour the Hositamtam Kingdom, and not long ago, it sent its troops.
However, the military power of the kingdom was stronger than expected, so the Imperial army struggled.
Upon hearing the news, the Imperial family immediately tried to send more troops, but more than half of the knights directly under the Imperial family were only able to occupy the other small countries, so they ordered the nobility to convene.
Since they received the yellow orders, families with a ranking higher than the Count had to send a certain amount of troops.
Of course, Halos, the Duke, was also included.
And in the role of leading the army to war, Lexion voluntarily participated.
Elena understood that she would experience the effects of territorial warfare across the continent, but she had been busy with her life, so she didn’t know the details.
‘If I had known sooner, I would have been able to stop Lexion.’
… It would undeniably be dangerous.
However, Lexion’s eyes didn’t waver.
It was not the eyes of the child she was accustomed to.
‘But does he have to leave so soon?’
It was far earlier than the original.
In the original, it was written that Lexion would engage in war at the age of 15.
‘Is it possible that the original has been greatly changed because of me, thus leading Lexion to participate in the war at an earlier period?’