He brought a small, elongated box as if it had been prepared in advance. It was thicker and longer than two fingers put together.
“Is this it?”
“Yes. The only way to use it is to put the blood on it.”
“It’s so complicated.”
“Say by someone who requested it.”
“I’m sorry.” I apologized to him with my palm up.
Shale picked up the box again and opened his mouth. “Using hair is possible too. Instead, you have to cut it into small pieces, dissolve it with a special solution, and put it in. Everything will be revealed here though.”
“Ah, that’s easy. I thought it was complicated to get and use it,” I said as I received the box.
“Hey, that’s very expensive!” Shale screamed at me.
“They say its price is the same as buying five buildings.”
“That’s why I’m giving it to you. That’s something I cherish, but I gave it to you. I’m even having a hard time having it.”
Shale took the credit.
“Thank you. You’re the best.”
He cleared his throat and blushed when I complimented him in courtesy.
“What the, there’s no need for you to say it.”
“But there are two?”
I opened the box and found two. Two special solutions.
“That’s all I have. If you want to give it back after using only one, give it back. If you need to use both, use them.”
There were two of them, so another thought passed by me. I shook my head quickly and put the blood test solution back into the box.
* * *
Late evening the next day when the sun went down. I didn’t sleep a wink until the next afternoon after I got the blood test solution and went back to see Valery. If I hadn’t slept deeply at Coral Beach the night before, I probably would have had a nasty headache by now.
I picked up and let go of the blood test solution several times. It made me wonder countless times whether to use the mana stones that Blake Ariandel left behind. In the end, I made an appointment with Valery without making my decision.
Come to think of it, it was my first time walking around the capital with him. We always came to the outskirts and stayed in a quiet place, so it was our first time coming to a noisy and crowded place.
Even though the night market was held twice a week, it was quite large. We wore hoods for a rather casual look. It wasn’t that no nobles came here. Still, Valery was exceptionally stand out, so we didn’t want to draw as much attention as possible.
From the entrance, numerous lanterns were lighting up the night market road enough to notice that place was a night market just by looking from the entrance.
“It’s my first time coming here.”
“I think I came here about twice when I was a teenager. But the place wasn’t here.”
“It’s my first time to come with a woman.”
He added quickly. I laughed and patted him.
“You don’t have to explain about it. What did you do there?”
“It was all Your Majesty’s orders. Take a look at the lives of the imperial people.”
Valery smiled quietly when I showed signs of disappointment.
“What did you think it was for?”
“Maybe like drinking and singing as energetic teenagers? Or cause an accident?”
“What kind of accident?” Valery asked, tilting his head.
“Something like fighting in the alley.”
“It’s definitely not fun on my side.”
“Let’s just say it was exemplary.”
“Is this your first time in a place like this, Bella?”
I thought it over and nodded.
“What a noisy place… When I was in the North, I stopped by the market occasionally. I ordered something from people, but there were times when it really frustrated me.”
“Even though that didn’t last long.”
Even if I wore a hood deeply, I became an object of hostility the moment someone recognized me. Before recalling the memory of my previous life, I went out unknowingly and almost got into big trouble. Even though there were more timid and hostile people in the North than in the capital, I often suffered from dangerous situations there.
“I don’t think it was pleasant.”
Valeriy’s expression darkened somewhat. He wouldn’t have known if I was Blake Ariandel, but he would know something about Carbella Rudbihi’s life in the North.
I tapped Valery’s arm. “I can have fun today.”
“I hope so.”
Before I knew it, we had completely entered the night market. At the same time, there was a sudden noise from the front.
“Shall we go over there?”
I pointed towards the sound.
* * *
Two days later. After going to the night market, I locked myself in my room and worried all day. After spending a full day, I finally made my decision.
I grab the red mana stone. Blake Ariandel left four pockets in total. One contained a piece of paper with something written on it; the three were mana stones pockets.
She said they were all top-notch, but they were something she could get simply because she had money. It was unusual whether she had an informant like Shale or Sir Shubart or used other methods. So it was necessary to find out about Blake Ariandel as well. If I accepted the deal, I think she would open her mouth to achieve her goal through me.
After taking a deep breath, I grabbed the red mana stone and called Blake Ariandel’s name. Soon the red mana stone glowed and became hot, but there was no other response.
“…What is it?”
I thought it would guide me to the place where Blake Ariandel was, but it just glowed.
“Is it only used for calling her?”
I wondered about it, thinking I had to wait about five minutes as she was away. The mana stone I was holding suddenly heated up. When I opened my hand, a light came out, and I heard a voice.
“I’ll be right there.”
And the light disappeared again. Blake Ariandel’s voice was clear.
“What the, I can just go to her.”
Still, since she said she would come, it would take 30 minutes to an hour to prepare. I pulled the string and asked the maid to call Ian. Soon Ian appeared.
“Did you call for me?”
“A little later, Blake Ariandel will be here. If the conversation gets deeper, I will go to Iskar and have the rest of the conversation there, so don’t let anyone come to the second floor. If my mother or Sir Shubart comes, tell them that I’m sleeping.”
“Yes, I understand.”
Ian went out again. Strangely, my heart was pounding as time passed. I should have been drinking tea to calm myself down. My heart was pounding so hard that I couldn’t move and stood there like a rock.
I had been standing still like that for a long time. The space in my room suddenly distorted, the landscape became blurred, and Blake Ariandel appeared. I wondered if that was how I looked when I teleported to Iskar too. Blake Ariandel turned to me.
“…than I thought.”
Her dress was fine, but it was obvious that her hair was roughly tied to the side, perhaps because she came in a hurry.
“You thought it was early?”
She nodded when I hit the right place. The provocation she had when she came here for the first time couldn’t be seen, and she had a gentle expression now.
“I thought it would take another week. I was even prepared that it would take a month.”
“Because I’m impatient.”
“That’s good news for me. So you want to hear the secrets of the Rudbihi family?”
Instead of answering, I looked at her for a moment and opened my mouth. “I do want to know. But I don’t know if I can do your request.”
“…then I’m in trouble too.”
“Do you want your father to disappear right away?”
“No, that’s not it. But I hope it doesn’t take too long.”
“You don’t think you will change your mind at all?”
She nodded without any hesitation at my words. “I’m not going to live like a doll anymore.”
Life like a doll. It was as if those words were referring to me too. That must be why she felt I was like her.
“Okay, I’ll make a deal.”
Then Blake Ariandel’s expression brightened at once.
“So you need to tell me what Rudbihi’s secrets you know.”
Blake Ariandel nodded again. “A promise is a promise. Can we have a conversation right here?”
She asked on the subject of spying on me by putting a device under my bed, pointing at the door, and asking if it was safe. Since she was full of energy, I thought it might be a serious story, so I took out the teleportation stone.
“If we’re going to move, let’s go to where I’m staying. I think it will be a little safer there.”
She stopped me when she saw my teleportation stone. She had a similar teleportation stone in her hand.
Why does she carry so many mana stones?
I thought it was okay to cherish mine, so I put it in my pocket and nodded. Then Blake Ariandel grabbed my hand.