Author: Dawn

Lagritte (3)






Phiri’s lips squirmed like a worm, and the invincible refusal didn’t seem to be working.

“Why? Don’t you want to?”

“To be honest, should I tell the truth or lie?”

“Hmm… Lie.”

Seeing Phiri’s mischievous smile, I realized I had made a mistake.

“I’ll just tell the truth. I don’t feel like it. I want to rest.”

“If that’s a lie, then the truth is that you want to do it, right?”

“Whichever way I say it, you’ll make me gamble anyway.”

“That’s something you don’t know. Time has passed, and there’s no way to turn back the past.”

From the start, I had a bad feeling when she called me. That’s why I didn’t want to enter the gambling den.

I nodded my head. There was no use fighting a battle I couldn’t win.

Moreover, should I consider coming into this game world as going back to the past? It felt like a subtle jab to the bone.

“But is it okay to gamble here like this? Empire people might notice.”

“It’s fine. They only manage the gambling dens near the capital. Here, it’s the territory of Lagritte’s nobles.”

I looked for a way to slip away, but Phiri’s defense was as solid as a fortress gate.

I sighed deeply.

“Okay, let’s go.”

“Great, you made the right decision.”

Phiri nodded with a serious expression, patting my shoulder twice.

As another sigh followed the one I had just let out, Phiri spoke again.

“Don’t breathe heavily like an old man. Huh? At your age, you should be having fun and running around.”


“Let’s show them what we’ve got. Those brats up there acting all high and mighty. Annoying as hell.”

Brats? There shouldn’t be brats in a game played with magic cards. It was just probably that she was not good at gambling.

“Have you lost a lot?”

“Lost a lot? What is there to lose when I’m just using pocket money?”

“Is your pocket money the same as what I consider pocket money, Vice Leader?”

Phiri glared at me. I quickly changed the subject.

“But why do you specifically…”

“It’s money that won’t matter if it’s gone. These brats are itching to take advantage.”

Phiri extended her palm as if she was annoyed.

“They’re trying to take advantage?”

“Yeah, they are. They were planning to lose a bit and then go for the kill, but they’re getting on my nerves.”

Well, would losing a bit in a game played with magic cards work?

I didn’t bother asking. Phiri continued walking ahead, then turned her head.

“Oh, and I’m here as one of the Merchant Guild’s daughters, so play along. You’ll be my guard.”


We set a signal to communicate inside and entered the gambling den.

As we reached the second floor, the men who were playing games with Phiri greeted us with laughter.

“Oh, our lady is here already. I thought you were so angry that you left for good.”

“It’s been a while since you came to Lagritte, and you’re already throwing away money again? It must hurt a lot.”

From the way they talk, it seemed like she had lost money before. Was it because of Hamal that she came here sometimes?

I sneaked a glance at Phiri, but she avoided eye contact with me.

Well, in front of magic cards, individual skills or techniques didn’t matter much.

The cards shuffled and distributed themselves automatically. If you used a certain amount of magic power, the cards responded.

‘Designed not to be reflected in the pupils.’

I expected Phiri to say something like that. Yet, she called me, probably because she was irritated.

Hmm. Perhaps Phiri was not as bad as I thought.

Honestly, someone like Phiri could easily kill or steal money behind someone’s back.

It was embarrassing, but once during a game, I got so angry that I declared war on the city and destroyed the gambling house.

‘It was just a game back then.’

Anyway, seeing my superior get insulted in front of me didn’t make me feel good either.

It wasn’t my intention, but since I was here, I might as well do it properly.

“But who’s this friend?”

“He’s my bodyguard, and he says he’s good at cards.”

“Your bodyguard, really?”

A man with a greasy beard made a suspicious remark, and the others chuckled.

Phiri shrugged her shoulders.

“If you think he looks so strange, you can try him out. How about a duel of gambling?”

As I stood there calmly, the man with the greasy beard took a step back ominously.

“Haha. Just kidding, just kidding.”

* * *

As I expected, I could easily read the opponent’s cards.

Even when using Mystic, there was only a minimal amount of magic power involved.

Anyway, since magic cards confirm a certain amount of magic power, my Mystic didn’t raise any suspicions.

“Haha, the bodyguard can’t use magic. You’re good at this game, right? Does your father know that you’re losing like this?”

“Mind your own business.”

Our plan was simple. Gradually increase the amount we lose in a predictable manner, and then make a big gain.

But as the game progressed, I realized that something was off.

“What’s going on? The boss’s bodyguard seems to be lucky. I don’t get good cards.”

The opponents were deliberately losing.

They probably noticed that they had a better hand than us, and they were trying to send signals at the right time, but they were foiling their own plan.

And the person with the lowest hand acted as if they were bluffing and raised the stakes, only to lose.

“Could these guys be rigging the game?’

I suppressed a hollow laugh. They really think that Phiri really was the daughter of some influential merchant guild.

Did Phiri also notice that something was off?

I didn’t think so. The acting was flawless. They didn’t send any signals to each other.

Perhaps they had agreed on a certain amount beforehand.

Since I could see the opponent’s hand, I secretly signaled Phiri to take a break.

Coincidentally, the man with the greasy beard spoke with a regretful expression.

“Oh, tsk. I got no good cards today. Shall we take a break and raise the stakes later?”

“If the person who won the second most doesn’t have good cards, then no one does, right?”

In response to the conversation between the men, Phiri yawned and shook her head.

“No. I’m going to rest now. I’m tired.”

“Hey, boss. Where did you learn to win money and run away?”

A man next to them hurriedly interrupted. Phiri shrugged her shoulders.

“I just won enough. And besides, I just got here, why should I finish it all today?”

Phiri got up from her seat and gestured to me. I also pushed my chair back and stood up.

“There will be plenty here for two weeks. I’ll come often. We can do it then. If you’re so dissatisfied, why not complain about it?”

Phiri gave the same mocking smile she received when she came in and left with quick steps.

Laughter followed the faces of the men left in the room. I observed their expressions for a moment and followed Phiri.

“Boss, next time you come, bring lots of money!”

Their meaningful words echoed behind us.

* * *

“Ah, we didn’t really need to stop and leave…”

Seeming to take my words seriously, Phiri tilted her head.

“I was planning to go eat and rest soon. You always seem tired, so you should rest at times like this.”

I felt touched for a moment, and then a mischievous smile followed.

“And I was satisfied with seeing those scumbags sulking.”

It seemed that Phiri was convinced that we won because of our strategy.

I wondered briefly if I should tell her.

“But why did you call me?”

“It seemed like they were up to something.”


“They had good hands, but they just purposely lost. And the person with the lowest hand was bluffing.”

Phiri frowned.

“You mean they knew our cards?”

“No, not exactly. We went back and forth, but suddenly the game took that flow.”

“Damn, these guys… Did I really look like such a sucker to them?”

Phiri didn’t hide her disbelief, and a hint of embarrassment was visible. It was a sight I hadn’t seen before.

Well, no one could be perfect.

Even if they couldn’t use sleight of hand, it didn’t mean they lacked skill in gambling. Everyone had their own betting timing.

The inexperienced become prey. If I hadn’t had Mystic, I would have been the same.

“Should I be honest? Or…”

“Forget it.”

“People probably underestimated you because you’re the daughter of a Merchant Guild. Did those guys notice your acting, Vice Leader?”

Phiri glared at me with innocent eyes.

“But we’re going to win anyway, right? Since we know their hands.”

“Yes. So I was planning to just rest and take it easy while waiting for you to decide how much to win…”

“Forget it. I didn’t really plan on winning big anyway. As long as it’s not Lagritte, we can make a good profit.”

She probably didn’t want to cause too much commotion. Maybe it was because of the Inquisitor equipment Hamal was making.

Winning too much at the gambling den could lead to problems.

“Let’s go eat and then head to the hot springs. Oh, you need to brush your teeth, right? Should we stop by the inn before going to the hot springs?”

“Yes, if you don’t mind.”

Phiri let out a sigh as if slightly annoyed. Nevertheless, I thanked her for her thoughtful consideration.

* * *

As a famous resort area near a dormant volcano mountain, the hot springs offered various levels of quality. 

We had access to the top-notch private hot spring that required reservations.

Considering our extended stay in Lagritte, we rented it for two weeks.

Although it was my first time at the hot springs, everything was perfect and matched its high standard. 

The place was too spacious and luxurious for one person, and the temperature of the water was just right.

Since leaving the duke’s mansion, the accumulated fatigue seemed to be washed away by the hot spring, as if escaping through my body along with the steam.


Only after immersing myself in the water did I deeply feel that I was on vacation.

My limbs were weak.

Worst Condition.

I endured and persevered with the strength of an Ironman and mental fortitude, but the fatigue felt like an overwhelming overload.

With consecutive missions, I couldn’t afford to show any weakness, especially when accompanied by Phiri.

Knowing that I was suffering from profound fatigue, I made an effort not to show any signs of weakness.

Upon entering the hot spring, all those worries seemed to wash away.


In the midst of the fatigue that enveloped my body and mind, I suddenly felt a sense of loneliness.

Denif, Orhen, Marhan, and Phiri.

There were always people around me, but there was no one with whom I could share my deepest thoughts.

‘Things I can’t tell anyone.’

The fabric of my current life was woven with lies, driven by the desire to appear favorable to those around me.

Was that truly a genuine relationship? Or would it ever become a true relationship for me?

The Chief of Intelligence, Phiri, Denif, Cedric…

While I might understand them, they wouldn’t understand me.

A faint thought of negativity was starting to creep in.

‘Damn it.’

Things were going well, that’s true. I always tried to think calmly.

But still, I had many worries.

Countless events were waiting to unfold in the future. I had to handle them all on my own.

Of course, it was just a futile obsession.

Didn’t I promise myself that I would survive no matter what happened in this place?

Yet, human beliefs were always upright and firm but also fragile.

Just looking at how preoccupied I was with such thoughts indicated that.

I gritted my teeth and deliberately shook my head strongly, putting an end to those thoughts.

In the place of those thoughts, a sense of loneliness surged like waves. I closed my eyes deeply in that overwhelming sense of loneliness. Sleep came immediately.

It was a deep slumber, free from nightmares.

When I opened my eyes again, I realized that fact. That is, it meant that I was in top condition.

‘Oh, why did this happen when I’m taking a break…’

I couldn’t believe it and let out a bitter laugh. But it wasn’t all bad. I could use this time to focus on self-improvement through training.

Maybe it’s even better this way, with Phiri by my side.

“Our little brother slept so deeply, huh? It’s the first time I’ve seen you like that, sound asleep.”

I quickly turned my head at the sudden voice. Water splashed as I looked up. Phiri was sitting in a chair next to the hot spring.

Had Phiri been waiting for me to wake up? The sky was already pitch dark.

With my condition changed, at least a day must have passed. It was an obvious oversight.

I had let my guard down too much even during my vacation.

Phiri was looking at me with complex eyes that were hard to read. It seemed to be a mix of concern and compassion.

“I’m sorry.”

“What is there to apologize for during a vacation?”

Despite Phiri’s gentle smile, a sigh escaped me inwardly.

But regardless of the mistake, it had already happened. I had to make the most of the present time.



“Would you happen to be tired?”

“Huh? No.”

Phiri’s expression suddenly seemed to say, “What are you talking about?”

“Could you perhaps help me with some training?”

Author's Thoughts

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