“That it’s an unfinished product that can only be created with that child… The story that Ariadne can make a finished product.”
“Didn’t you see the effect yourself? You don’t believe her, then?”
“To be honest, I hope it isn’t true. If true, it’s too risky. If this is known…”
“All sorts of idiots are going to try to approach her.”
“There could be a war over that child.”
“Will there be only war? Conspiracies and schemes will play out. I can’t even trust the King in this kind of thing. Keep your mouth shut.”
“After all, no matter how smart she is, she is still young. How dare you say such a thing.”
At the Margrave’s words, the Archmage’s eyes flashed through his glasses.
“No, I was rather impressed.”
“She knows her worth. She knows that, so she revealed it.”
“What kind of small grain is that?”
“So we’ll try to keep her from being taken away by the Duke.”
“On the other hand, she thought that if she had no value, we would hand her over to the Duke.”
The Archmage added bitterly. Marquis Baek let out a pained groan and touched his forehead.
“I didn’t expect that much…”
“You and I will be punished for our indifference. She might never open her heart to us.”, said the Archmage in a dejected tone, and he slammed into the corner of the sofa.
“She will hate me. She said she doesn’t hate me, but there is no way she doesn’t hate me. She always called me ‘Archmage’. She called me her maternal grandfather at first, but… I should have recorded it at least…
This time, the Margrave stared at the Archmage.
“Are you going to run away again? You should try to open her heart.”
“Can I try? What can I do?”
“My father should think about that.”
“… What does she like?”
“You still haven’t seen her all these days, huh? Give me a hint.”
“I don’t know either. Father, find out for yourself.”
He fiercely removed the clinging Archmage and stood up. The Archmage just sighed deeply.
* ♦ ♦ ♦ *
Ariadne sat down on the bed and opened the contract. No matter how many times she looked at it, the empty space was still empty, and the stamp the Marquis had put on it was clear. It was like a blank check.
‘I didn’t expect to be given something like this out of the blue.’
She fiddled with the part of the silver gourd that was slightly sticking out.
‘I showed them the elixir, but I didn’t know they would react that way.’
The hand that had been wiping her sweat came to mind. Wiping food from her mouth in a large dining hall. To her hazy memory also came to mind the touch that helped her cover her with the blanket, cooled her forehead, scooped up her cold drink, and collected her vomit. It was obviously the hemp wizard who took care of her sickness. He could have had someone else do it.
<My dear. Let’s go home.>
A large, warm hand that held and led her.
<Sorry for noticing this late. I’m sorry I couldn’t save you.>
The words of the Marquis whispered with wet eyes.
<I want to be a real family that you can lean on.>
That was what he said as he gave her a blank contract.
“…Is he serious?”
Ariadne spoke quietly to herself. She didn’t believe in blood ties. It was a false belief that she would be loved just because she was a family member. Neither her grandmother nor her father loved her. No matter how much she loved them, they didn’t change. But her mother was different. Her mother loved her with all her heart. She poured out her love before she even gave it.
The memory of her morning glory vine following her and holding her tightly in her arms. The memory of being kissed on the cheek and forehead. Memories of laughing together. The memory of being by her side until she fell asleep. Warm love spread.
Her morning glory vine that dragged her out of her study room until her last. Even when she withered, the vive tyed to get closer to her, and her gestures tried to protect her somehow. Just because she was her mother, Gloria loved her so much.
Not all family members give each other unconditional love. However, there were definitely people who poured love unreservedly just because they were family. Just like there were people who loved each other like family even if they didn’t have blood.
She became lonely when she admitted it, and she was afraid of expecting it, so she pretended not to know it.
‘Could we be like that?’
If you give love, it comes back, if you smile, a smile comes back. Even if she didn’t smile, they smiled first. Was it possible to be like that?
‘No, no way. It couldn’t be this easy to be in that kind of relationship.’
She looked down at the contract again. She fumbled with the tips of her fingers for the letters she had pressed down.
‘There must be some ulterior motive. After buying my favor and reassuring me, trying to steal the recipe, or something like that…’
She scared herself with all sorts of negative assumptions. Even so, she couldn’t take her eyes off the words written in the contract and the signature of the Margrave. She eventually buried her face in the contract and lay down on her bed. She pulled the blanket over her head and hid.
‘It won’t be. Though, maybe, maybe…’
Thoughts kept popping up in her head. No matter how much she poured out her anxieties, plans, and doubts, the embers did not die out.
‘Maybe, becoming a real family is possible… I don’t know.’
* ♦ ♦ ♦ *
Little by little Ariadne began to wander around the castle after walking was permitted. It had been a long time since a child had been running around in a blizzard castle.
A soft vitality circulated in the empty castle.
The Marquis ate every meal with Ariadne. The Archmage also appeared at the table every time.
Originally, the Archmage studied alone in the West Tower and ate meals. It was also common among wizards that they did not come out well if they shut themselves in. It was very unusual for such a great wizard to eat together in a large dining room.
‘Is it because of the lady?’
‘It’s thanks to the young lady.’
The employees would whisper and laugh secretly.
Even Ariadne, who at first seemed to have an upset stomach every time she ate, gradually got used to it as she ate together every time. She became more and more relaxed. After breakfast, it became a routine for her to walk around the conservatory holding the Margrave’s hand.
There was a huge greenhouse in the blizzard castle. Even when a white snowstorm raged past the glass dome and glass walls, the inside of the greenhouse always felt like a spring day.
‘It wouldn’t be the same way as in my previous life, would it be magic?’
Ariadne looked curiously through the glass. The Marquis followed her gaze and said.
“This is the place your maternal grandfather made for your maternal grandmother.”
Somehow, the scale was enormous. When she opened her eyes wide and turned around, the Marshal smiled softly.
“Yes. So that your maternal grandmother could read the books she bought even in winter, he made them with magic himself.”
As the time spent with the Margrave increased, she realized something. With no one near him, the Margrave would smile at her with a funny expression whenever he saw her. Then, when the butler cleared his throat or the servants stared at him with their mouths open, he was startled and returned to his solemn face. It was more dignified and more suitable for a Marquis. Still, Ariadne liked that stupid expression that didn’t suit him better. Because her mother had the same expression when she saw her.
The Marquis whispered in a soft tone.
“When the blizzard stops, let’s go outside and read the books we bought. When spring comes, let’s go to the lakeside to play. You can even swim in the summer.”
Ariadne looked up at him. He was grinning so she asked softly.
“Is there a lake nearby?”
“There is a very pretty lake. In spring, the flowers bloom like a carpet. It’s a great place for a picnic.”
“…Are you going with me?”
“Aren’t you busy?”
“I’m busy, so I’ll go with you more. You have to rest to work well.”
“Is going on a picnic with me a break?”
The Margrave picked her up abruptly.
He sat her on his shoulder. The Marquis was as big as a bear and Ariadne was small, so it was possible.
“Isn’t it difficult to walk?”
“I’m okay. I can walk more.”
“Don’t overdo it. Just think of me as a horse and ride it.”
“No, I mean…”
“Come to think of it, I guess you haven’t learned how to ride a horse yet. Hmm, when you grow to this height, I’ll buy you a nice colt.”
The Marquis gestured a little above his waist and laughed.
As she rode on his shoulder, that smile spread all over her body. The inside of her chest tickles. Ariadne, who laughed lightly, discovered the Archmage secretly hiding behind a tree in the greenhouse. Her eyesight was high, so she could see clearly.
‘He’s hiding again.’
Ever since she started wandering around the castle, the Archmage has occasionally been around her. But hiding.
At first, she wondered if he was spying on her, but upon closer inspection, it seemed that he had other intentions. She looked down at the Marquis and said softly.
“The Archmage is watching.”
“Why does he keep hiding and watching?”
“That’s right. He is not a kid.”
The Margrave clicked his tongue.
“Does he have business with me? Is it related to Elixir…”
Ariadne murmured and looked back at him.
“He is just leaving.”
“He will be back in a little while.”
The Marquis laughed.
Hello there! This is RJR. Thank you very much for reading.
Next post will be released on April, 8.
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