After crossing the long hallway within the Duke of Mercedes’s mansion, Winston’s feet stopped in front of a room that was always locked at night.
After checking his clothes for a moment, he knocked on the door.
“Master, this is Winston.”
After a moment–
A low voice that fit the silence of the night came back to him.
After receiving permission, Winston quietly opened the door and went inside.
The room was bathed in moonlight. The most moonlit room in the Mercedes mansion was, by far, the room of the head of the house.
The moonlight was more dazzling today because it was after the rain. Thanks to this, there wasn’t even an issue working at the desk even if only one candle was lit.
This room could be said to be “the room most suited to the night”, and the man in front of Winston could be said to be “the one most suited for this room”.
The man did not take his eyes off the papers in his hand when Winston entered. But Winston waited for him with his hands together, regardless.
How much time has passed?
The man who finally put down the documents picked up an object lying on the corner of the desk.
The moon and evening primrose, the patterns of the Duke of Mercedes, were delicately engraved on the long snout, elegant curves, and round barrel. The silvery object was a magic pipe crafted only for him.
Winston, who had been waiting all along, opened the lid of the jar placed on the other side of the desk.
It was filled with finely dried sedatives.
He took a scoop and stuffed it into the body of the pipe.
When Cardien inhaled while biting it with his mouth, the fire started automatically with a clicking sound, and thin smoke rose from the barrel.
For a while he closed his eyes and inhaled the smoke.
Winston looked at Cardien without saying a sound.
After a while, Cardien slowly opened his eyes.
Dry purple eyes that seem to have lost their vitality, stared into space, then to Winston.
Only then did Winston speak.
“We have hired another tutor for master Vincent. She is a talented person who graduated from the Imperial Academy and received a ruby certificate–”
But Winston was unable to finish what he intended to say.
It was because of Cardien’s muttered words as he closed his eyes again.
“Vincent’s education was delegated to the butler, so you don’t have to report it one by one.”
Winston closed his lips at the heartless and dry words.
Of course, he was well aware. The fact that this was a report that didn’t need to be reported.
After a pause, Winston soon began a new report on a different topic.
“And I called the doctor because the young master was not feeling well. Currently, he is sleeping after being prescribed medicine.”
Cardien opened his eyes, removed the pipe from his mouth and looked at Winston.
Winston bowed deeply and revealed the truth.
“It seems he got a fever because he was caught in the rain with light clothes. It’s my fault. I’m sorry.”
“He got caught in the rain?”
There was a hint of force embedded in Cardien’s voice as he asked the follow-up question.
Winston, who swallowed his saliva, managed to answer.
“…..when he heard that he is going to have another tutor…..”
A cold sneer hung over Cardien’s lips.
“It’s not something the butler should be sorry for.”
After thinking about something for a while, he asked Winston, “What is Vincent doing now?”
“I checked that he was sleeping and came out.”
Soon after, Cardien stood up from his seat, taking a strong pull from his pipe.
Winston looked at Cardien with shaky eyes.
Winston stared blankly at Cardien’s retreating back and belatedly chased after him.
‘It was definitely the last room on the third floor, right?’
Livia moved stealthily, recalling the structure of the duke’s mansion she had seen in the original.
The overcoat she wore was also black, so she felt like a thief who had come to rob the place.
‘I’m not a thief, I’m a tutor.’
But it was undeniable; she had to look like a thief now.
She couldn’t draw attention to herself. Not all the servants knew of her existence yet, and she didn’t want to make a fuss.
Livia finally arrived in front of Vincent’s room, avoiding the moonlight coming through the window.
She put her ear to the door, but she couldn’t hear anything.
Swallowing her saliva, she opened the door very carefully.
If Winston was here she intended to return quietly.
“Huh? There’s no one?”
Contrary to her expectations that Winston would be standing by Vincent, there was no one beside him.
In this unexpected situation, she hurried through the door.
The room was warm, as if it had been heated. It was clear where the heat was coming from.
‘Where did you go, leaving a sick child…..?!’ Livia berated Winston in her head.
If he was going to leave, shouldn’t he have left a maid by Vincent’s side? Winston’s complacency made her blood boil.
It was then–
Suddenly, in the quiet room, something like crying could be heard. Livia jerked around and looked back.
The sound was coming from the bed.
After nervously swallowing dry saliva, she cautiously approached the bed. What she saw there made her freeze.
Vincent’s closed eyes were dripping with tears. He was crying in his sleep.
The poor child seemed to be dreaming.
Livia could infer what the dream was about. She remembered reading Vincent’s inner thoughts in the original story.
[With my back leaning on a lonely beautiful tree, I missed the person who would not come back.
And on those nights, I always suffered from a terrible fever.
Alone without telling anyone.]
“………it wasn’t just a fever.”
Did Vincent dream like this every day when it rained?
How much emptiness must he have felt after seeing the empty surroundings when he awoke.
“You are still a child.”
It was too much pain for a child to bear.
“Even if I can’t change reality….”
Livia put her hand on Vincent’s forehead, which was wet from feverish sweat.
“I can change your dream.”
After a while, a silver light resembling the moonlight burst out from under the palm of her hand.
Vincent was running in the dark.
To be precise, he was chasing a back, which gradually moved away.
‘Mom, don’t go!’
Vincent, who returned to his childhood, tried to catch the woman who was walking away, his short arms and legs swinging wildly.
But Vincent knew the end of this dream all too well.
Vincent doesn’t catch the woman after all.
After endlessly chasing after her, he ends up being left alone in the dark.
Even though he knew how it would end, Vincent couldn’t give up pursuing the woman.
‘Mom! Please don’t go!’
No matter how desperately he shouted, the woman heartlessly did not look back.
‘After all, this time…..’
It was the moment when Vincent’s knees were about to buckle with despair.
Suddenly, Vincent felt a warm hand caressing his back.
When he looked back in amazement, the space that had been entirely dark was shining brightly before he knew it.
The lonely space was filled with light.
Vincent witnessed an incredible sight when he turned his head to the sudden voice.
‘Come here, my baby.’
She, who had always been far away, was waiting for him with open arms.
Vincent stared blankly at her, but began to take one step at a time.
And when he came to his senses, Vincent was running at full speed toward her.
Soon Vincent jumped into her arms.
‘Mom, mom,’ he cried.
Vincent buried his head in the warmth he felt for the first time in a very long time.
‘I hope this time doesn’t end forever.’
Livia looked again at Vincent, who was still in tears. However, she could see that the meaning of the tears had changed.
‘You met your mother.’
In the original work, there is no mention of Vincent’s mother. Only that she left the young Vincent in front of the orphanage and disappeared forever.
‘She never came back.’
Knowing the ending made Livia feel even more burdened.
Was there any way she could help him?
As she thought about it, she laughed.
Why was she thinking about this when she didn’t even know what her life would be like tomorrow?
In addition, there was no clue about Vincent’s mother in the original.
Cardien could know something… But there was no place for Livia to intervene.
In the end, there was nothing she could do.
Except for allowing Vincent to meet his mother in his dreams.
In the meantime, she looked down at Vincent who had regained his composure, and wiped his forehead with her hand.
“Good night, Vincent.”
After saying a good night that would never be heard, Livia cautiously left the room.
She just wanted to go back to her room quietly, but–
“Who is there?!”
A stern voice could be heard from behind.
She recognized the owner of the voice at once.
It was a disaster. Apparently, he had finally returned.
‘What should I do?’
As Livia stood there without answering, the sound of footsteps got closer.
Was that the sound of footsteps for more than just one person?
The sound of footsteps stopped right behind her back.
“Who is walking around in front of the young master’s room at this hour?” Winston demanded to know in a serious voice, as if he mistook me for a servant.
What should she do, run away?
‘What do you mean running away?!’
If she ran away from here, it would only be suspicious, and it was already too late to run away.
After all, there was only one option.
Haha… Livia turned around with an awkward smile.
“…….it’s me, butler.”
Coincidentally, the cloud that had covered the moon passed and the moonlight poured over her head.
Winston’s eyes widened when he recognized me.
Winston was not the only one surprised.
Livia looked blankly up at the man standing next to Winston.
Silver hair that seemed to have pulled out the coldest part of the moonlight, dry purple eyes that showed no emotion at all, and the deep shadows perched under them.
Why was this man here…..?!