Author: rolypoly

“That, of course… you should have heard of the collapsed Golem.”

 

“It wasn’t necessarily that.”

 

In it lay the treasures of the predecessor king and the royal family.

 

However, until receiving the kind letter from the old wizard Asto and learning about the talent of Noah, the Duke had never dared to thoroughly investigate it inside.

 

He doesn’t know why, but for some reason…

 

It seemed like the Great Queen didn’t really want it.

 

This is only natural, considering that she doesn’t only have good feelings toward the late king.

 

Anyway, after meeting Noah, Maximilian felt grateful because he was able to tackle tasks like homework that he had put off. 

 

“I know what I’m saying may sound strange. Noah Sinnet, you were just a boy I didn’t know at all.” 

 

A ten-year-old wizard boy and a twenty-five-year-old Duke.

 

At first glance, no one would have expected any relationship or feelings to blossom between these two very different people.

 

Moreover, the two weren’t very talkative.

 

They only heard about each other indirectly, with Clarisse between them.

 

But it has already been seven years.

 

“At some point, I stopped seeing you, Noah Sinnet, as just a stranger. It wasn’t all that difficult to cherish a child who had crossed the line once.”

 

“….”

 

“I’m sorry if my sincerity embarrassed you. But for some reason, because of what happened a little while ago… I was afraid that you might have been hurt.”

 

It seemed like he was talking about a moment ago when he gave Noah a murderous look.

 

“Actually, I was just flustered and didn’t know how to act.”

 

“The Duke…flustered?”

 

Noah asked in surprise because it seemed so out of place.

 

He nodded slowly.

 

“Maybe even if I had eye contact with Clarisse, I would have made the same face.”

 

So, what the Duke was saying seemed to be saying that he didn’t have such a stern expression on his face because the other person was Noah in particular.

 

“And I wondered if I should just move on like this… but I thought we should talk about it at least once, Noah.

 

Noah waited for his words, holding his breath.

 

“What do you… think of Clarisse?”

 

“That’s…”

 

Noah pondered for a moment and shook his head slowly.

 

“It is a question that cannot be answered lightly.”

 

Deep feelings for her blossomed, and even though he acknowledged this, Noah still felt a deep friendship for her.

 

Such complicated feelings cannot be summarized in just one word.

 

“A girl… is just a girl to me, so there is no noun or emotion to point to in place of it.”

 

Probably not forever though.

 

Noah swallowed the word, and fiddled with the mask with a slightly trembling hand.

 

“If that’s the case, someday you’ll also experience pain. I, too… don’t wish for it to happen. But…”

 

Noah didn’t understand the true meaning of the Duke’s vague words. Whether it’s a general theory that deep emotions come with pain or whether there are other circumstances that will tear at Noah’s heart, is uncertain.

 

But either way, the outcome was actually decided, so Noah just nodded. He couldn’t let Clarisse be lusted after by a monster.

 

Noah himself couldn’t tolerate this.

 

Although in front of Clarisse, he ended up forgetting even such obvious facts and just hugging her as he pleased.

 

“Even so, the value of the affection you cherish will not be changed.” 

 

“….” 

 

“You have a very precious heart. Being able to find an irreplaceable partner is something that is not given to just anyone.” And the Duke quietly looked at Noah’s eyes behind the mask and said,. “That is a heart worthy of blessing. I sincerely… want to congratulate you on your growth.”

 

That couldn’t have been possible. This was just a disease.

 

However… he can’t believe he said blessing. 

 

While Noah inwardly denied his words, he couldn’t bring himself to disregard his sincere blessing. 

 

“However, we should be careful that emotions lead directly to action.”

 

“….”

 

“I hope that, as a gentleman, you’ll express your feelings appropriately and go through the proper channels to seek consent. Only then will you be able to protect Clarisse and yourself.”

 

Not only Clarisse, but he protects himself?

 

Sensing his confusion, the Duke added an explanation.

 

“You tend to be overly detached. You will never be a man who can act shamelessly and force his mind to take precedence. If anything, you will only cause more suffering and hide further into the darkness.”

 

That… was quite an accurate statement.

 

Noah realized once again that the Duke had been watching him for a long time.

 

“However, measuring the distance between oneself and others is a difficult task. Even adults struggle with it, so for a teenager with little experience, it’s even more difficult.” 

 

“….” 

 

“If there comes a day when you’re deeply confused and in pain… it would be good to seek counsel from a trusted adult.”

 

Talk to an adult.

 

These were very strange words for Noah to hear.

 

Most of the adults he knew were mostly those who spoke words that diminished Noah’s magical abilities. If Alstair, who was respected by everyone, had not taken special care of Noah, they would have harmed him dozens of times.

 

“Any adult would consider it a great honor to be invited as a counselor for such an outstanding young man like yourself.”

 

No, that wouldn’t be the case.

 

Noah recalled how Clarisse had said several times when he was young, ‘The Duke is secretly the king of praise.’

 

As expected, it seems like she was right.

 

Even someone like Noah can be praised.

 

Although what he said didn’t seem absolutely right, somehow Noah slowly nodded his head. 

 

As Quentin asked for their understanding, saying he had urgent business to attend to, their conversation ended there. 

 

“Thank you for listening to my nagging without showing any sign of dislike.”

 

“I… didn’t think so.”

 

No, actually it wasn’t that much.

 

Noah felt the Duke’s deep affection. 

 

He never thought that he would ever again experience the affectionate feelings he had received from his teacher so long ago.

 

“The Duke’s words are indeed very helpful…”

 

But because it was embarrassing to put honest words into his mouth, Noah responded with ambiguous words from his heart. 

 

Maybe this was enough.

 

A faint smile appeared on the usually stern face of the Duke.

 

* * *

 

It was almost two days after the incident that Devina, who had fainted, woke up.

 

She hadn’t been asleep the whole time for the past two days.

 

Occasionally her eyes would open, but each time Devina would do her best to close them tightly and escape into the world of unconsciousness.

 

But is that also the limit now?

 

With her eyes forced open, Davina stared blankly at the ceiling with empty eyes. 

 

She had no thoughts in her empty mind. No, she was refusing to think of it.

 

Looking at her room being dark, she wonders if it’s still early morning. 

 

Oh, if only she could sleep better.

 

‘…Max.’

 

But the man’s name that suddenly came to her mind brought her back to reality.

 

The tears flowing again were probably due to shame.

 

How on earth could she have caused such a misunderstanding?

 

Somewhere in his heart, there will be a strong place for Davina to remain.

 

Although it was a vain delusion.

 

Devina slowly rose to her feet.

 

The long sunlight that the curtains had not completely concealed was passing over the bed.

 

It seemed it wasn’t dawn after all.

 

Just then, she heard the sound of the door opening.

 

Thinking it might be a maid, she turned around, only to find her father, Count Bexley, standing there.

 

“….” 

 

He stared at Devina for a moment, then came and stood next to her.

 

“…Her Majesty the Great Queen has bestowed her favor.”

 

He didn’t offer the common phrase “Are you okay?” to his daughter, who had just woken up after a long time.

 

Though it was somewhat disappointing not to hear those words, Devina remained silent and simply looked at the Count, curious about the favor bestowed by the Great Queen.

 

“Your marriage will be declared invalid on paper.”

 

“That’s…” 

 

“You have made a big decision to study abroad for the education you’ve always wanted.”

 

“Father, what on earth!” 

 

“This way, there won’t be any obstacles in your brother’s future. The official position of the royal family will be to support you, so they’ll reluctantly let you go.”

 

“Such nonsense…”

 

How can such a decision be made overnight? And that while she was passed out.

 

She moved her staggering body and managed to move out of bed.

 

“I, I will see Her Majesty. She… she can’t do this to me! After all I’ve done!”

 

“That’s what I want to say, Devina!”

 

Then her father forcibly grabbed her arm and squeezed it. It was a cruel hand with no mercy. 

 

“You seem useless to her!”

 

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