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TL Chapter 1

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“I beg your pardon?”

Lariette spoke in a soft voice. Her pale fingers trembled hearing the doctor’s words. The sleepy old doctor lowered his brows apologetically.

“I am sorry, but it was a misdiagnosis.”

“What?”

“Yes, Lady Blanche. There is no disease, you will not die!”

This was the absolute worst for Lariette Blanche.

‘I had been acting as though I only had three months to live. It was a terrible outcome with my fiancé cursing after me and my parents threatening to sell me out of the family registry. Most importantly, the Chief Prosecutor of the empire — Duke Kandel— was chasing after me.’

“My Lariette, wherever you are, I will find you. So, don’t make any plans to run away.”

Remembering his words and friendly gaze, her heart melted. At the time, she had assumed it was a gentle whisper tickling her ears. But now, after running away from him, she realized it was a definite threat. The doctor who had pushed her into this personal hellfire was laughing, not knowing the situation he had just put her in.

‘I’d rather die!” Lariette screamed in her head, barely holding back overflowing tears.

***

Everything started three months ago.

The place was the same. ‘Visiting Zakakov’s institution on the outskirts of the Capitol.’

Lariette was worried about her weak and sore body as of late. She had known the journey would be tiring. Yet, she only took one staff member and not informed anyone else. An old doctor had come to examine her.

He sighed several times, stroking his beard in silence. Lariette felt anxious holding her breath and waiting for news. The doctor, who had been quiet for a while, raised his head and faced Lariette. Seeing the deep sadness inside his green eyes, she knew that it was not good.

“Having trouble sleeping recently?”

“Yes, that is correct… Also, I keep craving strong flavors yet feel uncomfortable after I eat.”

“Does your heart race? It will sound as if you can hear your own heartbeat.”

Lariette nodded and the doctor looked at her with meaningful eyes.

“Yes doctor, how did you know?”

“Hah… how should I say this…”

His hands covered his face, a painful expression upon his features.  The situation seemed to be worse than anything she had expected.

“It is a rare cardiac disease that appears in very few people who are born with too much mana. It usually manifests before adulthood, but fortunately it’s too late for Lady Blanche.”

“What is it? Is it incurable?”

“The mortality rate for Lokadura disease is 98%.”

“Oh…”

“Lady Blanche, you will most likely die within three months.”

He had been hesitating to tell her this, but it seemed to be the truth.

*****

Lariette returned to the mansion with a calm expression; not looking like someone who was just diagnosed with a time limit.  It was all happening so suddenly that she didn’t know how to act.

‘How do people usually respond to time sentences?’

With the help of her maid, she changed into another dress.

In a daze, she thought ‘Should I cry? Or should I have shaken the doctor’s big belly and screamed at him to save me somehow?’

Lariette realized that she did not possess the energy to cry or carry the doctor’s weight. And in the first place, she had no great greed for life.

“Lady, you’re very quiet today. Was it tiring visiting the city?” asked Lariette’s personal maid with a smile.

Lariette wondered for a bit. “Anne, you know… What if?”

“‘What If’ game starts again.”

“ I’m serious this time. ”

Anne shook her head in a bored manner. It was common for Lariette to always ask about hypothetical situations.

“If you find yourself dying soon, what would you do?”

“Dying already? Lady, I’m barely into adulthood.”

“I mean, if you have a ‘rare disease’ for example.”

“I don’t know.”

Anne steadily combed Lariette’s hair in preparation for dinner. Her pink hair was dazzling, but it was difficult to manage because of its long length. The difficulty, of course, was maintained by the work of the maids.

“Wouldn’t it be sad? I’d feel sorry for the people who I would leave behind and for all the things I hadn’t done yet.”

“Things I hadn’t done before…”

“Yes, I would put together a bucket list and then die!”

“Bucket list?”

“A list of things to do before you die. For example, buy an expensive cake and eat every bite!”

Anne looked like she was dreaming of sweet cakes from a classic dessert shop.  A bucket list seemed unfamiliar to her. Lariette became dazed and continued to mutter the word in her mind.

“But what would I do? I cannot even brush my hair by myself.”

Anne laughed playfully at her answer. Lariette grumbled, saying that she could comb her hair alone, “I just do not feel confident about performing tasks on my own.” After all, the maids were highly trained.

Suddenly, in the mirror stood a finely dressed lady Blanche. Her pink hair curled naturally and hung around the waist, her cheeks were tinted apricot, and her skin was smooth like dough. Under the long eyelashes, purple eyes shone like beautiful glass orbs. Her full lips were painted in elegant rose-red.

“Lady! Doesn’t your makeup look wonderful today?”

“Isn’t it just my face that’s good looking?”

“It’s just alright.”

Lariette went out of the room giggling earnestly. On the way to the dining hall, she reflected on Anne’s answer. Lariette, unlike Anne, did not feel sad about her situation

.

But it was truly unfortunate that she had not done many things in this life. Lariette had never lived for her own pleasure.

‘A bucket list… What should I do?’

She tried to think about what she desired, but there was nothing. Greed and desire came for those who had dreams. Those who were empty simply lived without expecting anything.

Lariette arrived at the luxurious and spacious mansion halls. The servants waited in front of the dining room door. The history of the Duke house was rich and grand.

‘Even though its traditions are outdated.’ Lariette thought cynically and put on a bitter smile. It was very different from how she acted around Anne.

“You’re late. Sit down.”

“To arrive after your parents. You must be out of your mind.”

“Yes, Father, Mother. I Apologies”

Lariette sat down calmly, responding with courtesy. Although she had arrived before the scheduled appointment time, it was not wise to talk back.

“Hm, are you doing well with the Marquis of Segreb these days?”

The Duke broke the silence with his many questions. Lariette forcibly smiled and pretended to be an obedient daughter.

“Yes, Father.”

“But, enough about that. It is rumored that he is going to buy a rather large mine soon.”

“Yes, it would seem so.”

“Good. Keep in mind that your marriage with him is the only way to prove your worth.”

Of course, that’s what her father cared about. Lariette elegantly drank her tea and swallowed a sharp answer.  Sir Segreb had already been married twice.  Fourteen years older than Lariette, yet he was picky about ugly women. However, that information was not important to Duke Blanche.

It was only important for Segreb to have a lot of assets — and the fact that he would pay a large amount of money to Duke Blanche, for Lariette.  The  Duke and Duchess have maintained their steadfast position as public figures, but money has become a difficult problem. It was because Lariette’s father, the Duke of Blanche, had supported a failing business.  So, Lariette accepted a terrible engagement with the Marquis of Segreb.  It was her responsibility and duty as a daughter.

For the family...’ The word fluttered in her empty mind.

She was suddenly snapped out of her thoughts by a loud noise.

Someone had roughly slammed opened the door and entered the dining room.  It was a rude gesture especially according to the rules of high society. Yet, the Duke and Duchess lifted their heads with a bright smile that Lariette had never been shown before.

“Raon, my son! You are here so soon, you must be hungry!”

“Go warm the food for my son, it has already cooled.”

“Ah, I don’t want to be bothered.”

Raon, the only heir of Duke Blanche. Lariette’s brother came home scratching his red hair. He was dressed casually, but carried an aura of pride and shamelessness.

Raon replied carelessly while Lariette sat with great intention and perfect posture.

“The business is going well. I’m probably going to sell soon. Since when did we have family dinners?”

 “Why don’t you take an heir class if you have so much free time on your hands?”

Lariette’s eyes were gently curved, and her lips turned upwards with teasing. The exclusive wizard of the Blanche family, was responsible for educating Raon. Although, he also taught Lariette as a child. This did not continue as Raon along with their mother claimed that girls do not need to learn magic.

House Blanche was blessed and loved by a magical spirit.  Many of the greatest wizards of all time had the name of Blanche. Duke Blanche had high expectations for Raon, but unfortunately he did not receive the gift of magic.

Raon’s face reddened with anger at Lariette’s words pointing out his lack of magical skill.  He swiftly moved without thinking; Lariette’s body hardened like ice. Something was dripping from over her head: the sauce of the appetizer she was eating.

It oozed over her head, flooding her hair and beige dress. The head of the unnamed fish, which had a tux and a plate, dripped from her head down onto her knee. Empty eyes were looking back at her mockingly.

“Raon! Mind your manners!”

“Mother, I don’t want to eat with her. How can I sit in my seat while she acts like this!”

Lariette slowly lifted the napkin and wiped her head. Her slender finger holding the napkin trembled. No one in this place would offer any comfort to her.

“Why would you talk back to your brother? Lariette, go up to your room.”

“Mother…”

Lariette called out to her mother in an earnest voice. The gaze Duchess Blanche returned to her was cold.  The same was true when she turned her head to look at her father.  The Blanche Duke and Duchess only cared for their sons. Lariette always tried to gain the approval of their parents by learning her manners and being obedient. But it was always Raon who soaked up recognition, respect and attention— despite making no effort.  There was no happiness in store for Lariette.

‘I am going to die after three months.’

Her lips quivered, but only a small breath came out.

‘But you don’t care at all.’

Lariette stood and brushed off the fish and sauce on her. When the sauce hit the carpet, the Duchess finally reacted. She walked out of the dining room, ignoring the daily nagging of her mother. Red sauce flowed down the white dress like blood.

Her attitude was imposing and determined. Finally, she was going to do something.

“I will not die like this.”

Lariette declared in a whisper to herself. There was nothing to fear anymore, death was coming.

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