“Madame, to this day, I still do not know why…”
The butler, who was looking back at his memories two years ago, was about to close the book when he saw an unusual phrase.
「White must grant Black’s wish. If the wish is ignored or remains unfulfilled, White will die. 」
The butler frowned. He scanned the page further down until he came across a certain sentence.
「Anyone who loses their life due to influence of this black magic, no matter the distance, their mouths will be dyed a desolate black. 」
James remembered the day Enon returned as a corpse.
No one would even bother to remember the color of the lips of a dead man. Even more so with the fact that it was customary to place a cloth on the face of a nobleman’s body. It was practice to preserve the last bit of honor the noble had from curious or capricious eyes.
However, James saw Enon’s body in its entirety.
James sighed and closed the book. A myriad of thoughts came into his head.
The deceased Enon and his lady who had treated him nicely, the mistress who was kind and flexible to her subordinates, the servants who had just adjusted to the new lord, the stable castle atmosphere, the smile of the new lord he saw for the first time in his life…
He flipped the paper and saw that on the next page, the promise of prosperity for the family is written.
James tore the pages containing information regarding those darkened lips and tongues. He hastened his movements and started burning the pages with a lamp.
In this life, he only wished for the well-being of the Maktus family.
Everything should remain in peace, not a second person must know of this.
At the same time, the face of a woman whose husband had died so suddenly and was forced to marry his brother came to mind.
When the faint sound of a bell rang, James was surprised and hastily placed the book back on the shelf. He quickly took a glimpse of the paper that had now been turned into ash and heaved a breath of relief.
At least, the more crucial information has been burned.
He quickly went down to the first floor.
There, the main cause of his guilt was looking around the empty hall and holding a bell.
Adele was wandering around when she saw the butler walking towards her. She approached him directly.
“Why is there nobody here?”
He bowed, “The lord has told me that he will be back after midnight, the servants are having a meal in the annex. If milady wishes, I shall call them right away.”
Hearing the servants’ boisterous laughter and singing voices coming from outside the window, Adele laughed warmly. She would have acted the same as them if she could. However, she didn’t want to bother them, she wished to be left alone tonight.
“Forget it, today is celebration of the harvest after all. But at least leave a knight to guard the castle?”
“Apologies, milady, I have been negligent in my duties.” He rebuked himself and added, “Do you wish to retire? I shall call for the maids immediately.”
“Just call one of them. Oh, and you should take a rest too.” She was well-aware of how hardworking and meticulous this butler was. Adele went up the stairs with a gentle smile.
Perfect timing, she really wanted to be alone right now.
No matter how much the maids always stuck to her and took care of her every need, as a person, she still needed some time for herself. She has things that she needed to do too.
Being alone also had its unique charm in itself, vastly different from having the company of others, but neither is superior to the other as each person has their own needs.
After taking a bath and dismissing her maid, Adele passed the empty hallway. Leaving her room, she shifted her eyes from left to right and went to the study. She silently opened the door and walked in.
The smell of wood and ink wafted through her senses.
The light of the full moon was pouring through the large window behind the desk. She perused the books on the bookshelf, picked the first red one she found and opened it.
「Northern wolves use unusual methods for hunting. They pretend to be sick if a prey can’t be caught by their own strength, sitting down and shedding pitiful tears. Most herbivores would unconsciously let down their guards if they see a weakened predator…」
This wasn’t the book she was searching for, so she shut it close and put it back where she found it.
This time, she found an old red book.
Her hand touched the peacock feather-pattern on the cover and quickly unfolded it. Adele frowned after finding the subheading in the table of contents.
‘The Duke’s Secret’.
She quickly skimmed through the pages.
“Mm… White and black… Wish…? If the wish is not granted…”
What would happen?
Unfortunately, the page was incomplete.
She thought this book could only be found in the palace, so she could be considered a little lucky. But if this book was really the one she was looking for, then she was a little unlucky as well. She thumbed at the torn seams of the paper and mused regretfully.
She browsed other pages, but they didn’t provide a concrete answer that she was looking for. Adele bit her lip and decided to continue reading the untorn parts of the paper.