Chapter 5 (Date me for only three months)
‘Peace is not the word.’
Asrazan wiped the bloody sword and thought indifferently. It was very unpleasant to face garbage when I went out because I had something to seek closely.
Then he remembered the woman he had met a while ago.
A woman with pink hair like cherry blossoms. It was a face I had seen somewhere, but I couldn’t remember it.
No matter who she was, she was clearly an aristocratic lady, but wandering the streets at night without an escort was foolish.
It was a woman who hiccuped over and over with surprised eyes like a rabbit. It was a natural reaction. Even the mercenaries who had gone through everything before birth were afraid, so it was impossible for a small woman to withstand the energy.
Asrazan gave a brief help in a situation where she was afraid even after saving her.
‘I’ll probably live like this for the rest of my life.’
As long as a persistent curse squeezes his body, it will be forever. No one will come to him, and no one will love me. As it has always been.
Although I already knew it, the thought of that pathetic hiccup made my stomach ache.
Then, a strange sign to him. It was unfamiliar, but it was a usual expression if they had met him.
“Huh, huh. Wait, wait! Ugh, why are you walking so fast… ”
The pink-haired woman, Lariette, took a deep breath and grabbed the collar of Asrazan’s coat. At that tiny touch, Asrazan looked at her in a rare bewildered way.
“Do you have a girlfriend?”
Lariette barely caught her breath and lifted her head. Glassy purple eyes glistened playfully, and a bright smile spread across her face.
“I like your face, can you date me for only three months!”
This was the first confession that Asrazan heard, and one sentence that changed his whole life.
Lariette looked at that perfect face with a smile on her face. Looking back, it was a really dazzling sight.
The man who seemed to have only an indifferent expression stared at her with a shaky pupil. It was a content that was embarrassing enough for Lariette to even think about.
“Ah, can I introduce myself first? I’m Lariette Bla… Just call me Lariette! I like nicknames too. Rie or something.”
Usually her nickname was Larie, but because of the Marquis of Segreb, she didn’t want to hear that word any more.
The surname Blanche, which she was always proud of, has now been omitted.
“What is your name by any chance? In fact, I know it because I’ve heard it before, but it’s polite to ask and call it properly.”
But can I call you by name? Should I call you the Duke? Lariette muttered as she rolled her rabbit-like eyes.
Asrazan looked at her babbling and chattering, and pondered for a long time what kind of situation this was. He couldn’t believe what he had heard correctly.
Without realizing it, he took a step back and spoke softly. He had never stepped back even in front of the king of a country, but it was a record for this moment.
“Hey, you have a great voice.”
Lariette looked at him with twinkling eyes and admired it. A bass that sounds like a cave. It was her perfect taste.
Meanwhile, Asrazan, who had never heard such praise, doubted his ears once again. He was so tired that he thought he might be having a strange imagination.
“Duke, what is your name?”
Lariette asked him again. Asrazan reflexively respond briefly. Without knowing why he was answering her.
“… Asrazan, Kandel.”
“I see. I’m Lariette. Nice to meet you, Asrazan.”
Lariette, who thought she had been granted to call him by first name, continued with a bright smile. Asrazan’s heart pounded at the greeting that he was greeted with. It had been 20 years since someone called his name.
“I guess we knew each other’s names… Asrazan, would you like to date me? 3 months only, huh?”
Lariette took a step closer to him, asking him and acting cutely. In fact, Asrazan was standing still, stiffened like ice.
But then, a cool spring breeze blew past them. Lariette’s bright hair fluttered, and the hem of Asrazan’s long coat fluttered together.
And the familiar rotting smell came up on the wind and irritated his nostrils. It was as if ragged flesh could be seen through the fluttering bandages.
Faced with reality, Asrazan’s face returned to an expressionless form as if he was embarrassed.
“You must have seen me cut that men.”
At the sudden change of topic, Lariette asked with round eyes. Dark darkness sat down on his face.
“You don’t think I can cut you.”
Asrazan shook off Lariette’s hand that was holding his collar with a cold hand. Despite the weakest possible blow, the fragile woman had a painful face.
A woman who only suffers from this one thing. Asrazan gave a brief self-help.
“I can’t afford to play with you, so get out of the way.”
He walked past Lariette. This time there was no hand holding him. It was natural.
Meanwhile, Lariette looked at him as he left and immediately grabbed her nose with a finger.
“He’s so cool.”
Even charismatic and sexy was precisely her taste. I felt like I was about to have a nosebleed.
* * *
The restaurant on the first floor of the inn where Lariette was staying prepared meals during the day and sold alcohol at night. After wandering around looking for Asrazan for a long time, but unable to meet again, she returned to the inn and was thirsty with beer.
‘How can we meet again?.’
It was impossible to go to the Duke of Kandel’s residence in the body of a single woman. It was clear that she would be rejected even if she carried the name of Blanche.
She sighed and drank the yellowish beer. The refreshing texture of the liquid seemed to relieve some of the stuffiness.
Fortunately, no one bothered her as she drank alone. It was because she had already hung one as an example by magic once. Knowing that she can use elemental magic, no one will be able to approach her carelessly.
The surroundings were crowded with people talking loudly. Lariette, who had no one to talk to, blankly overheard the conversations around her.
And, quite by chance, she came across the information she was looking for.
“Information Guild? Duke of Kandel? Why?”
“Aren’t the rumors true? There it is, that….”
“Ah, that rumor? Then the information that that person can live with….”
“It must be a purification wizard, obviously.”
Bang! Lariette put her beer down on the table of people talking with a loud noise.
The men’s eyes were focused on the appearance of a pretty woman who suddenly appeared.
“Can you elaborate that?”
Contrary to the bright smile, a ball of fire was burning in her hand. At that simple and clear threat, the man next to him sighed in relief.
“Uh, uh, what are you talking about… Are you talking?”
“Rumors of the Duke of Kandel. What is the rumor that a purification wizard is coming out?”
“Are you talking about the rumors that everyone knows?”
“I’m not in that ‘everything’, so don’t ask me twice and give me an answer.”
The flame in Lariette’s hand shook like a threat. The man hurriedly opened his mouth without swallowing dry saliva.
“There are rumors that the War Ghost Duke is under a terrible curse. It is said that if you get close to that evidence, the smell of death will linger.”
“Smell of death?”
“Yeah, it smells like a rotting corpse.”
Lariette tilted her head and looked back at her memories. Even though she approached him, she couldn’t smell that bad smell at all.
So she listened to what was said, thinking that it must have been exaggerated because it was a rumor.
“That’s why the information guild is always looking for a purification wizard to break the curse… However, the curse is so severe that even the purification wizards often run away.”
“At first, there were very few purification wizards.”
The man kindly added, just in case she ever knew.
As he said, purification magic was not popular, so the number of wizards was small. It was very different from the overflowing healing wizard.
The reason that purification magic consumes more mana than healing magic is that its efficacy includes the removal of curses. In other words, since it is rare to be cursed in life, purification magic is bound to be unpopular.
“… All the alcohol here, I’ll buy it.”
“Yes? Hey, really?!”
After receiving useful information, Lariette opened her mouth with a very recalled expression. The man was delighted with the sweet proposal, but soon met her harsh eyes.
“If you go around talking about the Duke of Kandel just one more time, I’ll make you a whole roast, so you better watch.”
Those whispered words were clearly intimidating. As if to prove this, the flames in her hands blazed toward the sky. The man just nodded madly.
‘I can’t let someone talk about my future lover.’
Lariette snorted and captured the magic. At the same time, the mercenary recruiting station staff reminded me of the words of the mercenary recruiting station, who said they did not seek ‘regular’ purifying wizards. There was no doubt that I had seen my skills in water.
If the other job postings were no different, there was no need to step twice. A well-thought-out script ran through Lariette’s mind.
To catch a tiger, you had to go into the tiger’s den.
* * *
A cheerful bell rang, and the well-oiled door gently opened. During the daytime, there were usually no customers, so the staff raised their heads and looked at the entrance.
Lariette, wearing a large shawl, slowly opened her mouth as she walked lightly.
“I came to buy information.”
She lowered the shawl that covered her hair, revealing a face that must have been well-groomed. In the case of the noble lady, the information guild was the most welcomed guest, so the faces of the staff brightened in an instant.
“Oh, come on. What information are you looking for?”
The staff who ran to Lariette and greeted them muttered a little.
Ordinary noble ladies would visit the intelligence guild mainly to investigate the man who was a lover or a man who wanted to become a lover. Since it was not a difficult client and she was an aristocrat, the pay was quite salty, so it was good.
“I want to ask you a question about a man…”
“Oh yes! Of course. Who is it?”
The staff who kindly received Lariette’s shawl confidently replied that anyone would just say something.
The clothes inside the shawl were too shabby for a nobleman, and a little anxiety came out, but sometimes noble ladies wore maid’s clothes to hide their identity, so he thought this was the case again.
“This is Duke Asrazan Kandel. I heard that he visits the information guild regularly. When does he usually come?”
But as soon as Lariette finished speaking, the staff quickly put the shawl back on her shoulder. A firm answer followed.
“I don’t sell information about him.”
“I don’t need detailed information. I just have to know when he will come.”
“No! We will never sell any information about him, no matter how much money you pay. If you know that your life is precious, you will just die.”
The staff recklessly began to push Lariette’s body toward the exit. It was only natural because he was more afraid of the ears of war than a single noble lady.
Lariette, who was struggling not to be pushed, threw the bait with a strong impression.
“… I don’t know what rumors you’ve heard.”
“I know the purification wizard he is looking for.”
The employee, who was about to deny it with a cold face, stopped pushing her at Lariette’s resolute reply.
He take the bait. Lariette thought with a smirk.
“The best purification wizard in the Empire. Don’t you need any information?”
The staff stared intently at Lariette with her shaky pupils. His eyes were trying to figure out what her true intentions were.
It cannot be easily affirmed. If she gave any answer, it was like handing over information about the Duke of Kandel’s curse. Recognizing this, Lariette smiled leisurely and cleaned the shawl above her head.
“Are the exterior lights on when important guests arrive?”
Lariette, who had already covered her face with a shawl, turned around without any regrets and headed for the exit. After hesitating for a while, the employee sighed and answered.
“I think they will come here in a few weeks.”
With a rattling-bell rang, she walked out the door. Having heard enough information, the only thing left to do was wait.
It had been about a week since the information guild’s exterior lights were lit up brightly.
Lariette, who had been watching the empty time wasted with frustration, prepared as soon as she found it. She told the inn that she would stop staying as of today, packed a small bag and hurriedly headed to the information guild!
As I opened the door with an urgent heart, the bell rang especially loudly. Lariette’s hair was tangled up here and there because of the haphazard run.
Whoops, she exhaled harshly and looked up into the building. And in her vision was the one she was longing for.
Asrazan, he was dressed the same as last time.
A black uniform-like coat swayed down to his ankles, and a bandage was wrapped around his chin inside his black shirt. Even the sword on his waist was black.
He looked back at Lariette slowly, still with an expressionless face. His blue pupils, who found her, seemed to shake at first glance.
“I found it, Asrazan.”
Lariette let out a proud laugh and took a deep breath. I ran and kept running out of breath.
Seeing that ‘Duke of Kandel’ was called by name, the staff opened their mouths and looked at her and Asrazan alternately.
Lariette didn’t care and walked towards him.
“Even if I think about it, I think I was in a bit of a hurry last time, I’m sorry. Ask you to be my lover without getting to know each other! How upset are you?”
She managed to catch her breath and quickly cleared her tangled hair. It was unacceptable to have a head like this at an important moment.
Meanwhile, Asrazan narrowed his eyes and looked at Lariette.
It must have been enough to scare you last time, but the woman came over and over without fear.
“So, shall we start with our employer-employee relationship?”
“It seems that the previous advice was not enough.”
“Haha, are you going to cut me?”
He wouldn’t be able to. Lariette added with a smirk.
Asrazan frowned, wondering what to do with this ignorant, rushing rabbit.
“I will introduce myself again.”
She tilted her head to one side and opened her mouth.
“I am Lariette Blanche, the best purification wizard in the Empire.”
“I will purify your curse. In return, lodging is provided. It’s a shame, but I don’t have a home right now.”
Lariette put down the white paper on the table with a playful smile. The contract, which he didn’t know when it was prepared, had Lariette’s signature elegantly drawn.
The tiger den that Lariette spoke of was not just an information guild.
She decided to go into the true tiger’s den, and for that, she gently waved ragweed in front of the tiger.
She didn’t know that the tiger’s eyes were fixed on the delicious prey that shook the grass.