“Are you going?”
“Yes, I’m a little tired.”
“Are you going to be in the study again today?”
“Yes, I’ll be reading there today.”
“Do you want anything to eat?”
“No, I’m fine.”
I declined the maid’s offer and went into the study.
At first, the smell of moldy books and old paper was disconcerting, but since I’ve been secluding myself in the library quite often, I’ve gotten used to it.
For the past year, I’ve been spending more and more time in the library. And since a few months ago, I’ve been practically living in the study.
One of the hobbies of the Duke of Melford was collecting books.
Most ladies collected jewelry, but the Duke of Melford’s collection was amassing knowledge; it was unique for a woman of her status and age.
Thanks to that, most of the books, periodicals, and essays I wanted to find were found in this very library.
‘The biggest problem is that there are too many books.’
Three years ago, I began studying hypnosis elements, like the scented candles Duke Melford used on Alastair.
However, the information was limited, and resources were arduous and time-consuming to find—even in a resourceful place like this.
“Ingredients of Perfume, written by Duke Melford.”
Amalion is an illegal and highly addictive narcotic often sold on the black market, mainly for recreational use. Those who have taken the drug report a strong hallucinogenic effect. Participants are unable to return to reality because they were enraptured by their deepest fantasies and desires.
That’s how sweet ‘Amalion’ was. It was difficult to find rare poisonous plants that were not known to many people.
It was also the main ingredient in those dangerous scented candles; not only was it highly addictive, but with prolonged use, it was fatal.
Alastair spent quite a long time with such an opiate, and it was amazing that he had survived without being destroyed.
I began to look for books about herbs being used for brainwashing and enchantments.
‘I’m sure it’s around here.’ A few days later, I found out more about Amalion.
The process of finding the book and then reading it was troublesome because it was in a foreign language.
I picked up a thick book and moved it to my desk.
The thickness of the book was a little bit thicker than my forearm. I found my bookmark to resume my reading,
The page went over with a fluttering sound, and I focused on the content…
How long has it been? I checked the window and the glow of the sunset on my desk. The sky was covered with a red light.
“Serina, are you busy now?”
“Yes, I’m busy,” replied I callously, turning back to the book and away from the owner of the voice who just entered.
Mikhail frowned and strode along and covered my book.
“What are you doing now?”
“Come on, brother—”
“Stop reading! You’re basically married to books!”
I released my frowning brows.
Why all of a sudden are you interfering?
“Is there anything I can do for you?”
“It’s not for me. It’s for someone else.”
“What do you mean?”
“Alastair came to see you.”
My face hardened.
Mikhail’s eyebrows went up, surprised at my reaction.
It’s already been three years since Alastair left.
Since then, I could unwind a little more and do as I pleased
After he left, Duke Melford sent myself and spies disguised as servants. I followed her orders without complaining. From my point of view, it was better. Funnily enough, Alastair’s mansion was more like a haven than the Melford mansion, my actual ‘home.’ I enjoyed a brief rest there in the name of surveillance. Just for a year.
Alastair often wrote five or so letters of inquiry, but I only wrote three lines in reply. I wasn’t very good at writing and didn’t really have anything to say to him.
Of course, it was apparent I was deliberately avoiding him.
But I didn’t expect you to come all of a sudden like this…
“……Alastair is here?”
Mikhail nodded, with folded arms and turned his head.
Come to think of it, his last letter was, ‘I miss you, Serina.’
No way. That can’t be why you’re looking for me.
But it has been a long time since I saw you last.
I sighed softly. Maybe you do miss me.
That’s why you’re the one person who doesn’t hesitate to step into this wolves’ den.
Alastair grew up to be an enviable and capable man. He has indeed proved his worth.
Now, merchants always flocked to Aguernia, and the duchy’s military power was at an all-time high. In a vote for the four greatest meritorious writers of the Empire, Duke Aguernia won the top place.
It was a giant leap forward in just three years. And he was just starting.
Likewise, he repeated the same ridiculous thing, every single time, like a parrot:
“It’s all for you.”
The more he said that the more I see how badly he was brainwashed and tortured.
At least Alastair grew up into a fine adult even if it was in the name of his imagery love.
“Aren’t you going to out and see him?”
“…… I’m busy. Tell him to come back next time. Now leave me.”
Today, I didn’t want to see him.
“That day” from two years ago haunted me in my dreams. When I see him, I think I’ll be brought back to that time in my mind.
That nightmarish day.
“He says he won’t go until he sees you.”
“Then tell him he’ll have to wait and stay like that for the rest of his life.”