[As an adopted daughter of the Visenna family]

As soon as I read that phrase, I immediately closed the document I was looking at.

‘Adopted daughter?’

Do they call the test subject adopted daughter these days? Are they using a slang word in a contract to violate imperial law?
I could see clearly the word 'adopted daughter' because my eyesight, which had been blurry due to sewing, improved than before.

I can't tell if I should like it or be sad, but I heard a low voice next to me.

“I'm sure, you don’t want to live as a child for the rest of your life, Ciel.”

I was surprised when my name came out of the mouth of the Archduke who had called me 'maid', 'you', and 'hey' up to this point.

I thought the only one he could call by name was his fiancee, Rienna.

Of course, it’s probably just part of his mannerly act.

Lost in thought, I lost the right moment to reply.

It appears that I had just become an impudent little child who ignored what the Archduke was saying.

Seemingly indifferent to this, he continued on.

“What you drank in my place was not Robet poison.
It’s a curse which is much stronger and more persistent than that.
Something in which, even with just tiny amount of it, could kill ten people with or without magical power.”

I nodded my head.
Then why am I alive?

Don’t tell me that my magical capacity is so pitiful and meaningless that it couldn’t even bother killing me. Is my magic worse than a rock on the road?

As expected, my magical capacity must be really terrible.
That sounds a bit sad.

Ferze solved my question right away.

“I also wonder why you're alive.
If you didn't stop me and took another sip, I would have died instantly.
And the Archduke's Estate would have been in the hands of Rienna and Callan.”

Feeling sad, I looked up at Ferze, who continued to speak in a low voice.

Even if he didn’t love Rienna, they had known each other for a very long time.

He spoke distantly as if retelling someone else’s story.

But, watching him closely, you can see the displeasure in his eyes and hear the smallest hints of sorrow in his voice.

I covered his large hand with my own small one.

If this noona was a strong magician, I could have helped you.
If I was a knight, I could've been your strength.

If I had been a saint, I would have been kicked out of my seat for breaking the rule not to drink alcohol immediately.

All I could help, as a maid, was to make sure the Archduke did not wear a uniform with holes in it.

The moment I thought that I should do better for him in the future, my resolve was shattered by the arrogant tone of the Archduke.

“I didn't expect that a maid would save my life.”

Yeah, so what, that's why you're complaining?

My cold glare towards the Archduke did not last long.

It’s not like I wasn’t mad or I have no temper, but it seems my hostility disappears in front of someone with power.

I dropped my eyes down in discouragement as he gave me an indistinct stare in return.

Stop staring at me.
There's going to be a hole in my head.

While I was thinking nonsense, Ferze said in a somewhat softened voice.

“Maybe it's a miracle that you're alive. I plan on repaying the debt I owe you for saving my life.”

“With gold?”

With gold too.”

What a generous Archduke!

Such a distinguished person the great Grand Duke is!

It’s kind of hard to believe that my appraisal of him had changed in a matter of minutes.

Isn't that how people live?

“Then when am I going to grow up?”

“I'm not a magician, so I can't lift your curse.
I heard there's only one way to break the curse—”

What is it?

When I looked at him curiously, He gave a big grin.

I blinked several times at my first encounter with his smiling face.
What a rare sight.

But… why is he smiling?

Is there any reason to make you feel better when my curse is lifted?

“If I kill you, the curse will be lifted.
The moment you lose your breath, the curse will be lifted and you will return to your original form.”

I knew you would say something like that.
Where's the knife?

I’m going to cut the Grand Duke’s fancy silver hair with a knife and make him look like a mop-head.

As I was looking at it, Ferze said lowered his head and spoke lowly.

“But Visenna says they can break your curse.”

“Are you going to hand me over to those monsters?”

You're going to sell me to the Visenna family?

Did you forget that the Visenna family once kidnapped your fiancé, Rienna?

If he hadn’t forgotten, there was no way that Ferze would recommend me to go to that clan after fighting with that family’s eldest son as if they were going to kill each other.

As I was about to cry out my concerns, another comment came out from a low voice somewhere else nearby.

“You're not asking me to break the curse of that impudent child, are you, Ferze Yekart?”

'Oh my gosh.'

I sharply inhaled as I heard another voice other than Ferze reverberate around the room.

One after another, the sound of steady footsteps echoed through the hall.

The owner of the voice was approaching me and Ferze.

It wasn't my illusion.

Actually, the owner of the voice was behind me.

My body stiffened feeling his presence behind me, I couldn’t move my head a single inch from where I was looking.

My intuition screamed out a warning that the owner of this voice—the person behind me—was a very dangerous man.

“Can’t even turn to face me? For a maid, you're pretty bold.”

Contrary to what he said, his voice did not seem very displeased.

Rather, he seems interested in me.

My mind began to spin fast. Unfortunately, it was impossible to guess a person from the voice alone.

I had no choice but to move my neck around.

Naturally, I made eye contact with the man who was observing me.

The man in front of me had jet black hair and red eyes.

His drooping eyes looked fierce, although a bit drowsy—almost like those of a Jaguar after a fulfilling full-course meal.

There was no sword on his belt, but the dark navy uniform that he was holding in his arms looked very familiar.

‘……is he from Imperial Knights uniform?’

Imperial Knights they were objects of envy among everyone.

There were even some shameless people who had the nerve to go around wearing fake uniforms, but there was no way this man was a fake knight.

On the right chest of the uniform, there was a badge only worn by the imperial knights, as well as several medals lined up in a row.

His relaxed footsteps emanated a subtle composure.

Most knights were disciplined and everything about them was organized and orderly.
However, this man even had the neck of his shirt unbuttoned and loose.

‘He seems a bit unorthodox for a knight.’

He looked two or three years older than me at best.
He appears quite young.

He had the feel of a young gentleman who had just come of age.

Sort of like a person who lives however he wants to……

Ah, I forgot that I’ve become a child.

From a child's point of view, he was a scary brother, no, an adult.

Jet black hair that was rare in Djibril Empire.
The Imperial Knight’s uniform that no ordinary person could wear.

There was one person who, for whatever reason, never carried around a sword despite being a knight.

First Confucius of Visenna!

Don't tell me…..
No, I don't think so.
I hoped the man in front of me wasn't the man I was guessing.

'Please not the first Confucius!'

Fortunately, it was extremely unlikely that he would come here.

The biggest reason was that, the Duke Visenna family and the Archduke Yekart family had a very bad relationship.

They had such a disagreeable relationship that to simply say that they had a bad relationship was a severe understatement.

Yekart's bloodline, a member of the royal family, purportedly said that Vissenna was a lowly rock on the street which came out of nowhere.

The Visenna clan were not a group of people who would simply disregard remarks like this.

The current Duke of Visenna, Eustia Visenna, immediately kidnapped the previous head of the Yekart family.

It was the beginning of a bad relationship. The fact that the previous head of the Yekart family was Ferze father.

Ferze visited the Visenna family exactly two times for personal reasons.

The first time he went to the Visenna family was not as the Archduke, but as the young master of the Yekart Family.

– Young master, the duke has disappeared.
Without even a single word……

– It must be the Visennas.
I will find the duke.

The cold and indifferent boy was also calm about the fact that his father had been kidnapped.

However, he couldn’t just ignore his father’s disappearance, so he took the trouble to go to the Visenna family in an effort to find his father.

A boy who had his father kidnapped would be expected to be found crying and stomping in a rage asking why they had kidnapped his father, but he completely flipped that expectation by finding their weakness and holding it against them, demanding the release of his father.

Thanks to that, his father was released unharmed.

The second time he visited the clan was after he became the Archduke.

It was a year ago.
It was when the heroine, Rienna, was kidnapped.

The Visennas had a reason for kidnapping Rienna even with the risk of having the temple as an enemy.

It was the same reason that they had kidnapped his father.

It was to take control of the Karnen Mine, which was in the possession of the Archduke and where rare magic crystals could be found and obtained.

In addition to the Imperial Order, there was a stir of public opinion from the empire that the Saintess should be saved quickly.

Unlike when his father was kidnapped and taken to the northern region to the Visenna’s territory, he headed to the Visenna clan immediately.

Ferze, accompanied by the White Night, attacked the Visenna.

It was the Archduke Ferze Yekart who had rescued Rienna from the threatening situation in which she could have died at any moment.

It was an unexpected move from the same young duke who had been making an issue out of the conditions of the contract for when his father had been kidnapped.

It was because of the responsibility of saving a saint as a member of the royal family of Djibril.

A rumor began to spread that there was going to be a war between the two families when he took his knights and attacked Visenna.

In spite of this, the kidnapping incident was concluded due to Rienna’s mediation that they should just return peacefully.

Contrary to Ferzé's expectations that she would have been seriously injured, Rienna was not injured did not have a single scratch on her.

The Visennas were indeed villains, but they did not consider themselves low class villains.

The Visennas, like the atheist bunch that they were who did not make any donations to the temple, simply issued a light warning.

It was quite clear why Rienna wanted to return quietly.

It was because the assassin that had been sent to Visenna was licking Duke Eustia Visenna’s shoes with his arms and legs cut off.

Rienna, who saw the scene clearly, knew it intuitively.

She mustn’t ever turn the Visenna's into her enemy for whatever reason.

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