Desian came up with a simple method for dealing with the situation.
The duke was confined at home, sick.
Rumors of the disease swept through the entire nation.
It was also said that the cause of the disease was unknown.
The emperor himself sent a doctor from the imperial palace to take charge of the treatment.
High ranking nobles often came to visit, but were turned away due to the infectious nature of the disease.
It was a little while later before the rumors of the duke’s illness reached Citrina who was still staying in the ducal annex.
Citrina was in the study when she heard the rumors of Duke Pietro.
Recently, she was in the habit of finishing a simple luncheon and coming up to the study to read.
However, she felt especially restless these days.
She hadn’t seen Desian’s face recently as Duke Pietro’s return neared.
‘What is this situation? What happened to Duke Pietro?’
Although she was continuing with her usual routine, Citrina was feeling a bit anxious.
Her anxiety was relieved when Aaron visited the library.
“Citrina, are you reading a book today too?”
Aaron entered the study without knocking.
He seemed a bit worked up.
Aaron’s voice was especially excited.
Citrina took her eyes off the book in an odd way.
Is something happening?”
“Didn’t you know? Duke Pietro is ill, Citrina.”
Citrina collected her thoughts for a moment.
Rather than dead, he was sick? Then had Desian not killed him?
Unaware of Citrina’s thoughts, Aaron began to chatter about the duke’s condition.
“I heard he came back not too long ago, but since he came back from the North…I’m not so sure about everything.
I heard it’s really cold in the North.”
“Ah, it must be a mild illness.”
Aaron tilted his head when she said ‘mild’.
Aaron’s attitude suggested it was not a mild illness.
Her mind began to spin fast.
‘The duke has a major disease?’
Then that could have been the work of Desian.
Though simply killing him would be easier than covering it up with an illness and risk being discovered.
‘There’s no reason for Desian to lie and say the duke is ill.
That’s more of a chore.”
Anyway, a lot seemed to have changed from what she remembered of the original.
The situation was quite hopeful.
‘I’m really happy to hear that someone is sick.’
His Majesty’s doctor examined him, and it looks like the symptoms are serious.”
“How do you know that?”
“I overheard the servants gossiping.
Besides the disease must be highly contagious.
The doctor also whispered that he was mentally damaged, saying that he must have gone through some kind of mental manipulation.”
“…Ahh, I see.”
“Do you know what this means?”
Aaron’s eyes twinkled.
Citrina felt an ominous hunt as she asked.
“Um…what does it mean?”
“It’s like we’re finally free, Citrina!”
“Oh, um, we’re free?”
“If Duke Pietro dies soon, I would…like to get out of here.”
‘Aaron always wanted to leave this place despite his title as the Cursed Prince Pietro.’
Citrina nodded her head.
“And since then, the surveillance has disappeared.
No one will know even if we sneak out.”
‘No, is that really how low the surveillance has become?’
Aaron was sensible as well, like a male lead.
To the degree that he had said, the security on the annex must be almost lifted.
‘No matter how sick the duke is, the servants won’t stay put.’
Questions bubbled up in Citrina’s head.
Aaron’s words broke her train of thought.
“Citrina, have you ever been to the capital city square?”
Aaron scrutinized Citrina’s face.
Citrina looked at Aaron and blinked a few times before replying.
“Oh, I’ve gone a few times.”
“Ah, I’ve never been out there before.
I wonder what the world outside is like.”
Citrina’s heart fought between the ideas of ‘keeping her distance’, ‘that she was leaving soon anyway’, and wanting to make good memories.
‘Since I’ve changed the original, I messed up Aaron’s future so I shouldn’t be too distant.’
Citrina felt uncomfortable and indebted.
She had torn up the original work.
Consequently, Aaron’s future had become uncertain.
‘It’s better to make good memories while I’m here.
I’ll be gone for a few years after this anyhow, so I’ll naturally be forgotten.’
After thinking, Citrina smiled coolly.
“Then shall we go out?”
Aaron quickly sprang to life.
“How about tomorrow?”
Why don’t we go out tomorrow during the day?”
“Yup, I like it! Ah, why doesn’t Older brother come with us?”
Aaron suggested in a high spirited voice.
Citrina didn’t have an easy response.
After a brief silence, Citrina frowned slightly.
Citrina couldn’t help but have doubts.
‘Will Desian go too? It would be nice to go together.’
It was unlikely he would leave the ducal estate to go outside.
But it would be nice to experience the joy of the outside world.
“I for one like it.”
If we go outside together, we can see a new world.”
Citrina shrugged her shoulders.
Rather, before Citrina left the estate, there was one problem she needed to resolve.
She needed to be paid by Harold.
‘I need money to go outside.
I If I don’t have money in the outside world, I’ll only suffer.’
Unlike Aaron who was full of romantic ideals, Citrina was a realist.
Everything outside costs money.
And under the condition that she did not quit her job in the first month, her first salary was supposed to be quite high.
She if she got some of her wages in advance, she would be able to live decently.
‘Let’ get the money.’
Citrina smiled with satisfaction.
“Wait a minute, Aaron nim.”
The timing was just right.
She closed her book and headed to Harold.
Despite the duke’s illness, the situation at the ducal household was relatively calm.
Everybody was going about their normal routine, except that Desian hadn’t gone back to the prison.
Although everybody knew of Desian’s existence, they all seemed to accept him.
Really peaceful days followed, except that Desian’s face was not seen.
Citrina easily found Harold.
He was checking one of the rooms in the annex.
Harold looked at her.
Unlike in the past, his eyes had some vigor.
It seemed that he had been released from mind-control magic.
“How can I help you, Citrina nim?”
“Is His Excellency all right?””
“I don’t know exactly, but you don’t have to worry too much.”
Unfortunately, Citrina could not meet directly with the duke who was in isolation with his illness.
Therefore, she would need to infer his state by relying on rumors.
The conversation with no particular outcome ended.
Aaron seemed to know a little more than Harold.
Citrina went straight to the point.
“Can you give me the money I am supposed to receive this month now?”
“Ah, it’s almost payday.
“When will it be processed?”
“I’ll bring it to your room tomorrow with the statement.
Oh, by the way.”
Harold’s complexion somewhat darkened.
“Baron Foluin sent a letter.
As you stated before, would you like me to tear it up?”
Please do that.”
There was no need to increase her stress.
She had a clear sense of what the letter from the baron’s family would contain.
Citrina decided to ignore their words neatly.
‘Cause I might leave soon anyway.’
If her gut feeling was correct that Desian was becoming kinder and he continued to improve, she wanted to leave as soon as possible for the other empire to meet the dwarf and spirit.
She thought she would never meet the baron, baroness, or Elaina in that time frame.
The next morning, Citrina was paid her wage.
Harold put the first month’s paycheck in a thick envelope.
“How much did I earn?”
The envelope she received was fairly thick.
Her expectations were raised for no reason.
After Harold left, Citrina looked inside the envelope.
Soon, she couldn’t hide the corners of her mouth that went up.
‘What is this? Isn’t this way more than I expected?’
The duke was certainly a duke.
The amount was enough that she could go to Ronata Atelier to learn the trade and start her own business.
Deeply surprised, she whistled with a small smile.
“I don’t have to worry about money for a while.”
Was this the price for her life?
Inside the envelope was obviously enough money to keep her going for a long time.
“So… the duke is growing on me.”
The words slipped out of Citrina and she bit her lip for a moment.
It felt like camaraderie had sprouted from going through this and that.
‘Let’s work hard to help each other.
I can survive and Desian can live a good life.
Elaina can also be happy, ‘
Thinking so, Citrina smiled quietly.
The morning sun streamed in drowsily.
Apparently, the meeting time was coming up quickly.
‘Aaron is coming, and maybe Desian too?’ She needed to start getting ready.
And just as Citrina was finishing getting ready, she received an expected visit in an unexpected manner.
There were three polite knocks on Citrina’s door.
Rather than Aaron, it was Desian Pietro.
She had guessed it would be Aaron who came to her door.
Therefore, when Citrina opened the door, she was a little embarrassed.
Desian looked as indifferent as ever.
Aaron poked out from behind him.
“Older brother promised to go with us!”
As Citrina was listening to Aaron’s words, she had yet to realize that Desian’s ears had turned slightly red.
So she just stared at Desian lightly.
“Outside…it’s dangerous, Citrina.”
“Yes, Citrina, dangerous.”
At Desian’s response, Citrina nodded her head slowly.
Aaron mentioned it was his first time to visit the capital.
The center of the empire was always noisy thanks to various events.
‘Are you worried about me?’
Citrina squinted and examined Desian’s actions.
His expression was still unreadable.
However this was still a fairly good sign.
Desian’s interest in other people has definitely increased and he feels empathy now.
The duke was not dead either.
She felt unmistakable that things were changing little by little.
Is this what it felt like to see a half-grown rabbit you have raised?
Of course, in terms of size, she was closer to a rabbit than him, but Citrina decided to ignore that.
She felt relieved to see his changing appearance.
Instead of smiling back at her, Desian lowered his gaze down.
It couldn’t be, but he seemed a little embarrassed.
‘Well, since Desian is coming with us, let’s start Phase 2 of the rehabilitation project.’
Citrina smiled inwardly.
How was everything going so well? She hoped things would get better and better.
It was time to start the project code name ‘Episode Real Experience’.
It’s better to show both good and bad people.’
The capital was always crowded with petty criminals among the people.
Since the original work had been changed, nothing in the future was certain, but a few petty criminals should be no match for Desian and Aaron.
Her mind was strangely amused.
“Ah, Desian, how to we get to the city center?”
Desian finally smiled at Citrina when he heard her question.
Citrina’s real question wasn’t ‘how will we get to the city center’.
Actually, she wanted to know how the hell they were going to sneak out of the ducal estate.
The answer was simple.
It was teleportation magic.
Desian’s magic allowed Citrina and her party to travel at once to the city center.
In the blink of an eye, Citrina and the others were at the side of the city center.
Citrina looked around impressed.
“Wow, how can it be so fast? Should I learn magic too?”
Citrina held a hand up, opening and closing it.
It didn’t work unsurprisingly.
Unfortunately, she no mana.
…While Citrina was acting so obnoxiously, Aaron was looking around in admiration.
She wanted Desian to experience more situations, but he was just standing there looking at Citrina.
She had been the focus of his attention for some time.
This was a little…it made her feel good and a little burdened.
“This is the center of the capital.
I can’t believe it! Citrina, Brother!”
It’s even fascinating to me.’
Citrina agreed with Aaron’s admiration.
She also caught sight of the square.
She saw a beautiful fountain in the middle of a large square.
Along with being beautifully carved, the water flowed down in waves.
The three of them stopped in front of the mountain, but people were walking past two and fro.
To get the rehabilitation project right, she needed to find a gloomy side street.
‘Where exactly can I find one?’
Desian, who was watching Citrina’s gaze move back and forth, asked.
“Citrina, what are you thinking about?”
“It’s a very gloomy and dark side street… Ah.
Desian’s eyes were straight on her.
They must have been pure evil, like a stained piece of paper, but they couldn’t be corrupted any more.
Citrina hurriedly shut her mouth.
But Desian already seemed to have heard.
Citrina’s face didn’t turn red easily.
However, it felt like her neck was burning up just then.
She must have been mistaken.
Citrina coughed before answering.
“…I made a slip of the tongue, so please forget it.”
Citrina cautiously spoke in a nonchalant tone.
She didn’t want to ruin the groundwork she had set of for her favorable impression.
“Citrina, Brother, look at that!”
Her relief pitcher was Aaron once again.
Aaron who was walking a few steps ahead of the two, pointed his finger forward.
“The murals are so pretty.”
Certainly there were many exterior walls surrounding the square.
There were countless beautiful murals on the walls.
‘There’s the mermaid mural, a mural of the founding emperor in his casket.
There’s really a lot.’
Desian stuck to Citrina’s side almost as if he was guarding her.
Aaron on the other hand, was extremely excited.
He was already far ahead.
“We’re in the capital, this is so cool.
Come on, Citrina, Older brother!”
“Yes, we’re coming.”
Citrina admired the view as they walked beside the murals for a long time.
More accurately, she was looking at the state of security in the empire’s main square.
Seriously, it was so clean without a single piece of trash.
The faces of passerbyes were full of laughter.
It felt like an ideal city.
‘No, how can it be so clean without even one gangster?’
Citrina looked around.
She couldn’t believe there weren’t any thugs.
From what Citrina remembered, the city square was busy and there were often fights between gangsters.
Where were the thugs?
It was Aaron who gave the worried Citrina her answer.
“Citrina, over there.”
His finger pointed to a dark alleyway.
“Wow, that looks really scary, right?”
“Yes, you’re right.”
As she answered, Citrina grinned.
Right over there.
That back street would work.
“Shall we go? What do you think? It should be amazing, right, Older brother?”
Aaron’s eyes sparkled with curiosity.
Desian who was watching Citrina’s smiling face, nodded with a blunt look.
The three walked side by side, and Citrina couldn’t help but wonder.
On her left was Aaron, and on the right was Desian.
No one had walked into an alley this safely.
“It’s dark and nothing much is coming out.
Should we go somewhere else?” asked Aaron.
If they went back like this, nothing would be gained.
Citrina laid the groundwork indifferently.
“I think there will be something if we go a little further inside.
It could be interesting.”
“Let’s go on a fun adventure!”
Aaron quickened his pace with excitement.
He walked a little ahead of Citrina.
“Don’t walk fast, Aaron.”
Desian who had been silent until then, stopped Aaron.
“Ah, that’s right, I’ll stick to Citrina.”
Aaron shuffled back.
It took a while to walk over like that.
As Citrina had hoped, they soon met someone who looked like a shady thug.
He had a shaggy beard with arms covered in tattoos and hands full of bloody knives.
His eyes felt gloomy too.
‘He’s carrying bloody knives! That’s the guy.
Just as Citrina opened her mouth, the grim-looking man sighed and said to himself.
“Phew, I worked hard today for my mom by chopping meat.
I have to work hard for my sick mother.”
Citrina shut up straight away.
He seemed to be the owner of the butcher shop in this back alley.
‘…you can’t judge a person by their looks, Citrina Foluin.’
She abruptly felt the need to reflect on herself morally.
Except for that person, she couldn’t find any thugs like she wanted anywhere.
‘Should I give up? The duke isn’t dead and he already cares about me.’
It was then.
She heard a husky, phlegmy voice from behind.
It somehow seemed like the type of person Citrina was looking for.
“Hey, you there.”
Aaron and Desian ignored his voice.
The man sounded like he was trying to baby-talk them.
The sound of the wind rushed past and soon the man was walking briskly to stand in front of them.
“What are you, fearless little ones? Two newbies and one young lady?”
He was a tough looking man with a burned head.
He had a delinquent attitude.
‘Finally got a thug.’
Citrina tried to hold back her laughter by squeezing the corners of her mouth.
“What, young lady? You’re laughing? By the way, you look rich, so why don’t you give up?”
Citrina’s clothes were not what a commoner would wear.
The same was true of Aaron and Desian.
Duke Pietro’s abuse of his sons was a secret to the public anyway.
‘This time is real.’
Citrina bit her lip as she watched the thug and said.
“You shouldn’t live like that.
Trying to take away a poor little lamb’s money.”
This was a more theatrical style.
Citrina had to admit her acting skills were poor.
“People should live well.
You should be very very good hearted.
If you continue living like that, you will be punished later on.”
“What kind of speech is that, young lady?””
“Citrina, shall we go?”
Desian ignored the thug’s words and asked her.
Citrina sang to herself on the inside.
If this had been the original work, the thug would have been torn apart.
But Desian was holding back.
“What are you talking about?”
The thug kept talking looking dumbfounded.
Citrina replied, ignoring the threat as if a screen was between her and the thug.
“Yes, let’s go.
I’m really scared that my money will be taken away.
Let’s teleport to another place.”
Citrina glanced towards Desian and stopped talking.
Desian’s expression was appalled.
“Are you scared, Citrina?”
It wasn’t an expression without any emotion.
Citrina asked again slowly.
“Then I’ll help you.
It won’t be dangerous.”
Citrina’s eyes were covered before she could speak.
One hand closed her eyes completely.
A perfect darkness came before Citrina’s eyes.
Furthermore, there was no sound like she was in a vacuum.
‘What the hell is going on right now?”
Just like that, there were a few seconds of complete silence.
It was a brief silence, but it felt terribly long for Citrina.
It couldn’t just be her feeling.
As Desian spoke, light slowly leaked into her eyes.
Back to the starting point.
She was back at the square they had visited a while ago.
“There’s nothing to be afraid of anymore.”
“Oh, oh, that’s right.
Citrina, nothing happened, we just transported right away so it should be okay.”
Aaron echoed with a bewildered look.
“Ah, did we just teleport?”
“W, well, should we go get a drink?” I’m thirsty.
Citrina, there’s an interesting building in front of us.
Why don’t we go inside?”
Aaron cut off her words in a hurry.
Desian had a natural attitude.
However, Aaron’s attitude was awkward as if he was acting.
‘Since it was only a moment, it must have just been teleportation, right?’
It was suspicious, but…
Anyway, Citrina decided to respond to Aaron for now.
“Yes, that’s great.”
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