Author: Nikss






On a cold winter night, the butler, who wore monocles with long gray hair neatly tied into one, called his master.




The man sitting in the armchair in front of the fireplace crackled in annoyance.


Unlike the formally dressed butler, his master’s shirt, with all the buttons and cravat undone, reveals his firm flesh.


And instead of the liveliness that a person of that age would seem, his eyes glowing with the heat and madness of alcohol were murky like those of a half-rotten fish.


“I’ve heard from the Imperial Palace. It’s not that important, but—”


“Just tell me what’s going on.”


When the drunken man snapped sharply, the butler immediately got to the point.


“Ciel Minerva was about to retire.”


The man who was lifting the bottle stopped at the butler’s words.


“Retire? It doesn’t sound like a kid retiring after 8 years of eating and retiring when it’s in its prime.”


“I don’t know exactly why she decided to retire.”


“Anyway, that’s fine. It’s finally going to be easier to take care of that damn thing.”


The man giggled and laughed and poured alcohol into the glass.


He must have had a pleasant night and fell into a deep sleep, drunkenly.


If it wasn’t for the words of the butler that followed.


“No. It’s too early for that.”




The man’s face was distorted at once.


However, the butler, who was accustomed to this situation, stopped talking for a while and continued without much agitation.


“It seems that the Emperor stopped Minerva from retiring on the pretext of taking an oath when they were young. We’ll have to wait and see, but there’s a good chance she’ll remain in the palace—”


A bottle of liquor flew towards the butler who was speaking.


The bottle broke into pieces with a sharp crackling sound, and a strong alcohol seeped through the carpet.


“What’s the use of such an unlucky woman? That stupid emperor, to keep her in the loop like that.”


The butler squatted silently, putting on his gloves, and began to clean up the shards of glass.


As if he didn’t care, the man stomped his feet and screamed into the air.


“That bastard, Ciel Minerva!!”


A man’s voice filled with anger echoed through the mansion while the rain was pouring down.


“I’ll make sure she rolls in the mud at all costs.”


The man’s face, reflected in the flames of the fireplace, was coldly distorted.




“So, beautiful silver-haired woman, why were you knocking on my office door so threateningly?”


Looking at Cedric, who was smiling brightly, I put my hands down on the table and said,


“Why? It’s because what happened today was too unrealistic.”


Cedric stared at me as I said that.


“More than that, please explain.”


Ciel tapped on her right cheek and lifted her gaze, looking straight at him.


“What the hell was an oath? And how do I get rid of it?” (Ciel)


“Didn’t your successor explain it well to you outside? It’s not much different from what he explained.”


As she said that, Cedric put his hands together and spoke in a languid voice.


“An oath was a promise that could only be made with the imperial family. It was mainly designed to keep the promise between the imperial family when they make important promises with external figures.”


The red eyes that had been lingering in my eyes slowly moved toward the pattern on my cheek.


“When it’s due to keep the promise, there’s a red pattern like this. If you don’t keep your promise, the pattern changes to black, and a person with a black pattern would be considered a person who has broken a promise with the imperial family and couldn’t be trusted. Then it won’t be possible.”


Ciel bit her lips listening to Cedric’s explanation.


“That’s what you meant by turning the entire empire into an enemy.”


“Well. When making an oath, there were times when you risked something as precious as your life, so it must have been even more so. A person with a black pattern could mean that he or she caused the imperial family that much trouble.”


Finally, unable to bear it, I pounded the table and shouted.


“You mean you did that to me, right? Do you really have anything against me?”


“Calm down, Ciel. If you keep your promise, the pattern on your face will disappear completely.”


Then Cedric continued calmly, “The pattern turns black only when the involved imperial family member to the oath determines that the other party is no longer likely to keep the promise. Don’t worry, I won’t do that.”


He spoke as he reached for the documents lying upside down on the right side of the desk.


“No, it doesn’t matter whether it’s black or red. Wasn’t it the same thing that would never be erased for the rest of my life?”


“Then you must grant my wish.”


For the first time, I wanted to punch Cedric in the face, who answered calmly at my furious cry.


‘Oh, come on!’


This wasn’t some kind of roundabout song, and I kept going back to square one.


“Well, you don’t have to listen if you don’t want to, but those who know the meaning of the pattern would either avoid you or become hostile to you.”


Cedric’s red eyes shone as he spoke softly.


“The problem was that more than 70 percent of the imperial population would be those who know the meaning of the pattern, including the people of the palace, the nobles, and the commoners who have heard your stories?”


If it was in my arms or legs, I could somehow cover it, but it’s hard to cover my face unless I go and live in the mountains.


If it’s red or black, it’ll be easy to stand out.


It’s like showing off that you have a close relationship with the imperial family.


‘I’m retiring because I don’t want to get involved with the Emperor further, then it’s meaningless…’


As I clenched my teeth, the words I had buried in my heart came out of my mouth.


“Do I really have to renew the contract?”


The exact content of the oath was ‘to grant Cedric’s wish’.


Since the situation was like this, it would be more realistic to change the content of the wish, rather than the wish won’t be granted.


“Yes, of course.”


However, contrary to my expectations, Cedric’s answer was very quick and firm.


“It’s a wish I’ve been longing for, for more than eight years.”


As soon as I saw his bright red eyes, I felt goosebumps all over my body for a brief moment.


Maybe it wasn’t just me, Caliberne muttered in my head after hearing Cedric’s words.


[Oh, look at that smile! I told you. He’s been a little crazy since he was a kid.]


Yes, I knew that the buds of his obsessiveness were growing.


‘But how could I have expected that he was drawing a big picture from that age to prevent my retirement?’


Screamed deep inside as I gripped both of my hands into fists.


And how the hell would I know that you’ve learned the thunderstroke on your own?


I’m one of the top three knights in the Empire who knows how to use a thunderstroke. I never thought Cedric would do something I didn’t teach him.


“But, where the hell did you learn that?” asked Ciel.


“Reading from the books.”


I know that thunderstroke was a skill that could never be learned just by reading or because it was written in a book.


“As expected, you were practicing secretly. You didn’t even tell me.”


“Ciel, don’t be so upset. Wasn’t it admirable that your student secretly trained to surprise a teacher?”


Seeing Cedric’s eloquent answer, Ciel could only lean her throbbing head in her hand.


From a teacher’s point of view, of course, with the growth of a disciple, a teacher couldn’t help but be happy for such a student.


However, if this student’s growth hindered my retirement, the story was different!


‘You’ve grown up well, but…’


Really! I want to tear my hair, thinking of the past when I kissed the ring without much thought.


“Don’t you have any other wishes? Think about it again.”


Ciel pleaded with a desperate voice, but Cedric asked her with a rather surprised expression.


“No, Ciel didn’t think about what I was going to wish for while making the promise back then?”


“I thought it would be at most just 30 minutes of playing together or holding hands all day!”


“Well, that’s not bad either,” Cedric said, stretching his back and leaning against the back of the chair.


“But it’s still an oath, shouldn’t we make a wish that was far more important than that?”


In the end, he said he had no intention of changing it


Cedric lifted the blank paper, held it out, and said, “My only wish was for you to renew the contract.”




“You’ve worked at the palace for a long time, and I’ll pay four times the amount you used to receive. I could give you more vacation if you want to.” (Cedric)


Seriously, I wonder if I even need to hold onto it like this.


My salary has long since reached the highest among the highest paid in the imperial family.


If I get four times the amount now, in less than three years, I will have enough money to spend my whole life.


“No, I don’t need—”


“And I could get rid of all the distractions to your work environment.”


“Does that also apply to Your Majesty the black-haired, red-eyed Emperor, who prevents my fair retirement through unfair contracts?” (Ciel)


“Dismissed. That’s not possible.” (Cedric)


Upon hearing Cedric’s immediate reply, I gave up and asked back.


“How long would the contract be?”




“Well, I don’t want to say this. But, do you have any conscience left?”


I looked down at him with a very cold glance for a moment, and Cedric smirked and waved his hand as if he were having fun.


“Just kidding, let’s make it eight years, just like the previous contract.”


Eight years…


The fact that I came to the palace when I was 12 years old was a long time ago, and it meant spending that much time here again.


Besides, if there was a war in two years, I would also be executed, otherwise, I would have to live in anxiety about when the war would break out.


It’s not a big deal to fight in a war, but it’s a war where the defeat of the Deamant Empire was foreseen, and if I lose, I’m sure I’ll be executed.


Just thinking about it made me dizzy.


“Well, if you don’t like it that much, there are other options.”


Ciel turned her head at lightning speed and asked, “Did you just say ‘other options’?”


“Yeah, I’ll give you another option if you want to retire.”




Hearing my question, Cedric smiled and got up from his seat.


Heading to the corner of the office, he rang the bell for the servant, then returned to the table and sat down.


“Wait a minute. Paul should be here soon.”


Not surprisingly, about three minutes later, the door to the office opened, revealing Paul holding a silver tray covered with cloth.


“Did you bring it, Paul?”


“Yes, Your Majesty. We brought it without any problems.”


It was parchment and a quill that lay neatly on an open silver tray.


When Paul put the quill and parchment down in front of Cedric, he pushed the parchment at me and said,


“If you promise to sign this simple pledge, you may retire.”


The pledge he offered was only one page long.


It seemed more concise than the contract I made when I signed with the imperial family.


“A pledge… What’s the pledge for?”


When I looked at Cedric suspiciously, he answered without batting an eye 


“Well, I don’t doubt you, but…”


His long finger with a protruding joint stretched out toward the quill pen.


Cedric, who lifted a nice navy pen, smiled as he handed it to me.


“You’ve been working in the palace for eight years, and there were some security issues.”


Cedric’s eyes, responding with a bright smile, were somewhat suspicious.


“Could I retire if I just sign this pledge?”


“Yes, Ciel.”


What kind of pledge would it be? If I just sign this, I’d be able to resign!


‘Let’s see…’


With such a reluctant feeling, Ciel accepted the pledge.


The pledge was not very long, nor were there too many provisions.


Enough to see at a glance. But I muttered with my mouth wide when I found it impossible to believe it.


“What’s this…?”


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