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TAGWF Chapter 2.1

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2. Archduke Schweiden’s Official Lover

“Extra edition, extra edition*!”

*(a newspaper sold or distributed in the streets to quickly deliver news that is judged to be of high interest to the public, such as unexpected events, accidents, disasters, and sports event results.)

“Archduke Schweiden has a woman to marry!”

Children ran around the streets and handed out newspapers. Then people who would usually ask them to get lost, handed their money voluntarily. For those who were tired of life, stories related to ‘Archduke Schweiden’ had always been a source of vitality. It’s the content that people buy unconsciously and unconditionally. But today was especially more interesting.

Who is the woman who will marry Archduke Schweiden, the one known to be ‘Everyone’s Lover’?

Isn’t he the man who declared that he wouldn’t participate in an arranged marriage? Who is the woman that stole the heart of such a cold-hearted man?

People glued their eyes on the back of the red-haired woman, as she hooked her arm around Archduke Schweiden’s. Curiosity rose even more because she seemed extraordinary just by looking at her back.

“Give me one, too.”

At that time, inside an alley.

A young man called up a child selling newspapers and offered a silver coin. Unable to hide his excited face, the child ran into the alley to give the man a newspaper. Silver was too much for just a one-page newspaper. However, the child, who raised his head and saw the other person’s face, flinched and stepped back.

“I’m not going to eat you. Just sell the newspaper.”

The young man raised his eyebrows and lifted the silver coin. The child quickly held out a newspaper, snatched the silver coin, and ran away. Fear was deeply engraved on the child’s face, who saw an appearance very different from his own. The man opened the newspaper only after sending the child off in such a state.

“As expected, it’s you.”

The picture didn’t show the face. But he could tell just by looking at her back.

It’s her.

‘Marriage…’

The man clenched his fist. He couldn’t understand. He lost her in the desert and came all the way here by following the trail of the human traffickers. But he couldn’t believe she’s suddenly getting married.

Of course, it wasn’t the worst outcome he imagined, but it’s still quite a suspicious development.

The thought that perhaps this Archduke Schweiden might have bought her caused a surge of displeasure within the man.

“Mom, look at him!”

At that time, a child pointed his finger at him again.

As he attracted more and more attention, the man pulled the hood he wore further down and started walking.

Unlike the people walking on the street, he possessed tanned brown skin as though he was born in the sun. His black hair was cut short. Looking at his slanted eyes, no matter how good one was with flattering others, it would be difficult to say anything good about his character. On top of that, he possessed red eyes that understandably  scared the children away.

Beast or the mad dog of the desert.

Those were the nicknames this man had been given so far.

“I’ll get you back soon.”

Entering the shadows, the man kissed the woman in the newspaper.

His actions emitted a feeling of sorrow.

***

“Is this really my room?”

“Yes.”

Ah long live God, Buddha, God of the Sun, and customer-nim.

The next day, I said I wanted to draw as soon as I woke up. Then Lacius brought me into this great room.

“The sunlight is adequate and I can see the outside scenery.  It’s also in a high place so it will make painting more fun….!”

Even professional art students can’t draw in such an incredible room. Because most of the time, just buying art materials was already a pain for them. I clenched my hands with a deeply impressed face.

“These paintings on the wall, by any chance……”

“They’re paintings of Fragonard, Tiepolo, and Boucher.”

Gasp. Dear customer-nim, can I really enjoy this luxury?

Admiring the paintings with overwhelming emotion, I almost revered Lacius. Unsurprisingly, the painting style here resembled that of Rococo from the 18th century. It’s splendid, light, bouncy, and interesting. It suited my taste perfectly.

“I hope it will help you paint.”

“What are you talking about?! It’s very helpful!”

Of course, what I have to draw today is not a court nobleman, but it will help fill my heart with inspiration.

“Easels were placed in both the center and by the window.”

“Perfect locations.”

“And it’s a design that’s suppose to rotate, I think you’ll like it.”

Gasp.

Seeing the canvas spin while stuck on the easel, made me catch my breath.

How much is this?

I suddenly want to draw like crazy and help Lacius live a happy life.

“I’m going to start drawing a maid.”

Motivated, I explained this and that to Lacius who was watching what I will do and draw from behind.

“A maid? Does it mean you can make a person?”

“Do you know about familiars*? The animals that wizards use?”

*(In European folklore of the Medieval and Early Modern periods, familiars were believed to be supernatural entities that would assist witches and cunning folk in their practice of magic.)

“I know the concept.”

“It’s similar to that. But, it will look like a human being, and when the caster dies, it will disappear too.”

These maids have to do various things in the future. Not only did they have to serve me, but they also had to help the butler, and protect the mansion. So I was going to draw them with all my heart.

I pointed to the huge canvas I bought from the art store with a pencil and said,

“And this would be a cat escort that will be able to smell me wherever I go.”

“Are you preparing for a situation like a kidnapping?”

“Yes, that’s right.”

I couldn’t erase the idea that I might be kidnapped from my mind. It may be a bit of a negative view, but I always try to hammer the stone bridge before crossing it* when it comes to the safety of my body. I don’t want to die without knowing who’s pushing me from behind.

*(No matter how sturdy a stone bridge looks, you still need to make sure it is safe and strong before crossing it. In other words, it means to always think about your safety and be careful in everything.)

“I guess you don’t trust my protection.”

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