“I don’t know.
I said I don’t know!”
At the Cradium Guild.
In front of the empty mana stone storage room, Huber was tied to a chair, shrieking.
The person wearing a black hood spoke.
“I don’t think you don’t truly know.”
After hearing this, Huber replied pitifully.
“How many times do I have to say it? I don’t know! That day at Marquis Russell’s banquet, I don’t know what kind of accident I got into, but I hit my head! So I lost all my memories of that day!”
Huber cried and begged.
“It’s not just my head, even my shoulder got injured.
I must have been tortured hard!”
The hooded person answered in a cold voice.
“I guess you hit your head so hard and got your shoulder broken to the extent that you revealed the location.”
“No! That can’t be true!”
“Regardless, can you return all the collected mana stones that had been stolen?”
Then, sitting opposite Huber, a person wearing a white mask spoke.
“You’ve been doing very well so far.
On behalf of us, you helped the flow of mana stones in this area.”
“That’s right, that’s how much I—!”
“And you also secretly stole mana stones in between.”
The masked person sighed deeply.
“Did you think we’re fools? I wish you only did what you were told to do, but didn’t you get caught like this with your tail stepped on because it was too long? Remember this well.
If you coughed something out after having your shoulder popped, would you say something more if the other one gets broken?”
At his words, the hooded person approached Huber.
And his mouth was gagged.
Amidst the terrible screams and groans, the white masked-person stood up.
With an unusual touch, he rummaged through the mail that was on Huber’s desk, one by one.
There was one letter caught in his hand.
“The Tilrod family…”
It was Margaret’s letter to Huber.
The masked person slowly tore open the envelope with a letter opener and read its contents.
“’My daughter spent the night at the Cradium Guild… I think rumors about it would block her future… So I want you to compensate our family for that’?”
The white masked person looked over to the black hooded person.
The hooded person looked up as though to look back on that day.
“If it’s the Tilrod family… They’re a very poor family.
It’s fitting to hear such a shabby request from them.”
Still, it was a family that produced heroic knights who once contributed to the founding of the country.
But they became poor.”
“A daughter from a family like that… As far as I know, she’s only around ten years old…”
With a shake of the head, the hooded person looked over to Huber with a disgusted gaze.
However, Huber was just drooling in pain while biting the gag over his mouth.
The hooded person slammed the back of Huber’s bandaged head.
“This bastard really deserves to die!”
The white masked person approached Huber, whose eyes had become red from pain, and released the gg.
“What do you think? Has it jogged your memory?”
“I—I really don’t know.
I don’t remember anything!”
Huber cried and begged like a child.
The masked person looked at Huber with cold eyes, taking something out of his arms.
And the eyes of the hooded person grew wide.
What the masked person took out was a black bead.
Then, the masked person spoke.
“You’ve worked so hard, but it’s a shame.”
Then the bead was thrown at Huber’s feet.
The bead broke with a crumbling sound, emitting a black ink-like substance.
“What? What is this?!”
Still tied to a chair, Huber flailed and struggled.
However, the black substance now resembled a flame, flapping its tongue as it swallowed Huber.
Huber saw his legs quickly burned and turned red, after which they turned into ashes like charred firewood.
And the black flame grew in an instant and struck him.
“Darkness is genuine rest and peace.
Everything that stands in our way shall be a sacrifice to darkness, buried in secrecy.”
The white masked person and the black hooded person recited these words in unison.
Then, they disappeared from Cradium Guild.
They appeared again in the distance and watched the black flame swallow the guild’s building, burning it all until only ashes were left.
The white masked person spoke.
“The one who stepped on Huber Cradium’s tail must be Marquis Russell or the Third Prince.”
“Then I’m glad he doesn’t know much.”
“I’d be glad if only the mana stones had been taken away.
But if that’s not the case…”
The white masked person trailed off, thinking deeply.
“We’ll have to observe the situation for now.
Neither of them can be approached carelessly.”
Then, a hand was raised.
There, Margaret’s letter could be seen.
“The Tilrod Family…”
The Marquisate of Russell
In the carriage headed for the Marquisate of Russell, Radis sighed heavily.
“It’s over now.
Even if I don’t want to go back to the Tilrod household, I can’t anymore.”
She calmly cut off all ties and turned around as though she had built a dam, and she knew that she wouldn’t be able to go back.
‘And Marquis Russell… You’re not going to cancel the contract, are you?”
It felt like there were goosebumps rising on her nape.
There was a reason why she was feeling anxious.
Radis knew that Marquis Russell’s decision was based on a complete misunderstanding.
First of all, it was a big mistake to think that Olivier Arpend, the Third Imperial Prince, liked Radis.
If Radis really was just a normal sixteen-year-old girl, she would have seen the world around her with rose-tinted glasses, and she might have accepted Marquis Russell’s assumptions as the truth.
However, as her soul had suffered countless twists and turns in the cold reality that she experienced, she believed otherwise.
It didn’t make sense.
Considering that Marquis Russell had those long black bangs over his face like a curtain, he clearly saw it wrong.
‘If I rely on this contract, or whatever it is, I might get stabbed in the back.’
Didn’t even her own flesh and blood abandon her because they had been blinded by money?
So how could Radis possibly trust others?
As she watched the blurred outdoor scenery as the carriage sped by, Radis muttered.
“Marquis Russell will set up a meeting for me and Prince Olivier someday, but until he finds out that he was wrong, I’ll be able to stay at the Marquisate.
In the meantime, I’ll have to find a way to live.”
While deep in thought, the carriage passed through the Marquisate’s main gates and stopped in front of the mansion.
It was only then that she realized she had arrived.
Radis got off the carriage, and there, a man with an enormously large, buffalo-like physique greeted her.
“Welcome to the Marquisate of Russell, Miss Radis.”
His body was as big as a mountain, but his voice was gentle.
“My name is Allen, and I serve Marquis Russell as a butler.
If there’s anything you need, please feel free to let me know.”
Dazed by Allen’s appearance as he looked more like a commander of guard knights than a butler, Radis barely snapped out of her reverie.
‘I have to stay here for a while, so I can’t look strange!’
Radis bowed her head to greet him, trying to look as polite as possible.
“Thank you for having me.”
Allen looked at Radis with a smile.
Radis’ luggage seemed to be all that she was carrying now.
She was also dressed simply, as though she had come for a short one-day or two-day trip.
Allen beckoned behind him.
Then the servants, who were waiting to pick up her luggage, bowed down and greeted her.
“Please follow me.
Oh, allow me to hold your bag for you.”
At Allen’s words, Radis waved her hands in surprise.
It’s my bag.”
Radis had never been welcomed or treated like this in both her lives, so she was quite flustered by Allen’s kindness.
And in turn, Allen was also taken aback by Radis’ rejection, but like the seasoned butler that he was, he responded well.
“If the Miss is more comfortable with that, then that’s also alright.
Please come this way.”
Radis attended Prince Olivier’s birthday feast not too long ago at this mansion.
However, since the banquet was held at an annex, it was her first time to enter the main mansion of Marquis Russell’s estate.
The annex had already been so gorgeous that she gaped at it, but the main building was like an entirely different world.
There were soft carpets lining the hallways, and it was a shame to step on them with dirty shoes.
There were no decorations along the hallways that revealed the owner’s taste, but everything that she saw was grand and luxurious.
The columns showed excellent craftsmanship, and the walls were covered with silk wallpaper.
Even the curtains were embroidered with gold thread.
Radis followed Allen as he guided her, trying not to look around so much.
She held her old, dirty bag high to cover herself, as if it was a shield to protect her.
Arriving in front of a door, Allen politely opened it for her.
“This is the room that Miss Radis will be using.
Please use it comfortably and consider it your own home.”
Radis doubted her eyes.
Beyond Allen, there was a large drawing room through that door.
Overall, it was a room that had a bright atmosphere decorated with mint color tones.
In the center, there was a marble table that was so large that even if Jade, Margaret, David and Yurhi were here to sit around it, there would still be so much space left.
The walls were lined with antique paintings, while on each side were cabinets and decorative vases.
The room was full of warmth and a refreshing scent, as if someone had lit the fireplace with fragrant firewood.
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