He spoke as though we had made a prior arrangement, which we had not, as far as I recall.
I had never made an appointment with the Duke, and I certainly haven't received any letter from him either.
Did he wait for me to show up all this time?

I immediately became embarrassed at that thought, nonetheless, I managed to say my greetings with a friendly smile.

“What a coincidence.
I didn't expect to meet you here of all places.”

“Rather than a coincidence, it seems like the Goddess of Fate has guided us to meet.”

I blinked, quite stunned by his words.
This man never failed to render me speechless and in more than one way.

Didn't he say something like this back at the Marquisate? I took little notice of it back then because I deemed it as a passing remark, but this time it was said asudden and with emphasis.


As I was still lost for words, Logan was starting to look a bit flustered.
Something in his expression made me realized he wasn't used to saying these sorts of things.
Then why would you say those in the first place?

However, this rare expression of his made me smile.
I glanced up at him and asked.

“So you're waiting for me? Why?”

“Because I would like to thank you for what happened last time…..
If you don't mind, I'd like to ask you something personally.”

“I won't mind.
However, if you want to discuss it, then why haven't you come to see me at my residence?”

Or you could send me an invitation to your manor like in the past.
I've been waiting for it for many days since I've arrived in the capital.

But then, he seemed reluctant to reply and made an unreadable face.

Looking at his stoic expression, I couldn't quite figure out what he was thinking.
Then again, he spoke another baffling response.

“I couldn't carelessly meet a noble lady at her house without an appointment.”

What? If you want an appointment, then why just send me a letter? Didn't you send me one in the past?

But I couldn't just ask him to send a letter.
It would rather seem presumptuous of me if I did.
So I had no choice but to nod as if I agree.

Logan looked at me and Nancy alternately and suggested we move to another place.

“If you haven't eaten yet, I'd like to invite you and have a chat over dinner.
You can bring your company.”

So it's like that? In your previous life, you'd invited me to your manor, so this time you will be offering a meal? I don't know what to think about this new change, but it doesn't mean I'm going to refuse his invitation, so I nodded in approval.

Logan took us into a restaurant.
I thought we were all be eating together in one table, but it wasn't the case.
He took me to a table for two.

Nancy and Sir Bolt sat at the table next to us.
Though they're at the following table, the gap between us was wide, so I couldn't hear their conversation very well.

Now that we're out of hearing range, we could talk more freely.
I glanced at Nancy before I turned to Logan and asked.

“You said you have a favor to ask of me?”


Logan was taking too much time to answer.

I wondered what sort of favor you'll ask of me, and why you waited for me out in the streets for who knows how long.
We didn't even arrange for a meeting, and if I hadn't gone out with Nancy, then you'll be standing there for the whole day waiting? Surely not, right?

After a while, Logan opened his mouth.
But his request was absolutely unexpected.

“I'm actually interested in magic.”


What are you talking about all of a sudden? This time, I couldn't quite conceal the surprise on my face and was just looking at him wide-eyed.
Is the Duke joking right now?

But there was not even a bit of mischief in his tone, no smile on his face, which seemed to tell me that he was definitely serious.
He continued in earnest as if to prove what he just said was of no joke.

“But magic isn't something that's easy to come by, so……
There was only one choice.
To go to a place where the magic resides.
Anyone who goes there may have chance upon it and might be able to come into contact with it.”

Why are you telling me this? I was a stranger to magic since I don't have an affinity for it.
It was inconceivable for the Duke, whom I met by chance today, to give me a consultation about magic suddenly.
This guy surprises me many times now.

Even if I had to probe my memories of the past, I've never heard of him being well-versed on such an arcane topic.
This isn't something you see every day.
I gazed at him with curiosity and followed along for now.

“A place where the magic resides?”

That's why I traveled to the Marquisate.
As you know, the Marquisate of Nelson has the Fountain of Magic.
Since it's located in your domain, I thought you'd be interested in some degree.”

I'm afraid I'm not…
When it comes to magic, there is neither knowledge nor interest.

In the first place, the Fountain of Magic existed only by its name now.
Grandma claimed she saw the image of my grandfather in the fountain, but it happened decades ago.
The Fountain stood for hundreds of years, and there's a possibility that the power might fade as time goes on.
Perhaps that's why the three of us didn't see our fated ones that day.

I already realized there was nothing I could contribute the moment the talk of magic started, but I still raised a question.

“What if I'm interested?”

“Then I would like to ask if you know a better place than that.
The only place in the kingdom I've known where the magic resides is the Fountain of Magic……”

Forgive me, but this isn't a favor that I can help you with.
I don't even know the first thing about magic.
If you have any questions regarding it, then it would be much faster to ask someone from the Tower rather than ask an intermediary that knows nothing.
I told him with an apologetic look.

“I'm sorry, but I can't— Why don't you visit the Tower?”

At my question, Logan lowered his eyes with a bit of troubled look.

“That wouldn't be possible.”


“The Tower isn't a place for anyone who can come and go as they please.”

Apparently, the Tower indeed isn't accessible to the public.
And only those with higher ranks can go in and out without a hitch.
But he wasn't just anyone.
Isn't he an influential man leading one of the only two duchies in the Beland Kingdom? With only a mention of his name, he can go wherever he wants.
Certainly, he can go inside the Tower without much difficulty.

But all of the mind-bending questions swirling inside my head were finally answered by a single statement of the Duke.

“It's hard for a commoner like me to visit the Tower.”


By God! He was still posing as a commoner?! I should've known when I saw him dressed in casual clothes.
So all this time, I've been talking not to the Duke but to Logan, the commoner? Forget about reading the same page here, we're not even on the same book!

Words had utterly failed me as I looked at him with a complicated face.


* * *

Until when he's going to pretend to be a commoner? Although only a few people knew of his identity, he couldn't possibly fool a 5-year-old child with his striking features and noble gait.
Let alone his red eyes, which color wasn't common in the kingdom.
It is a hereditary trait unique only to the generations of the Ducal House of Harrison.

Of course, there were also red-eyed people amongst the commoners, but theirs weren't glowing like red embers as his.
Does he think he can fool the public's eye if he looks like this, wearing plain clothes and acting like a commoner?

Well, he probably might be fooling them since no one would ever think that the Duke would walk around the square in such wise.
The idea of it alone was quite absurd, as such, no one would suspect it.

I don't know what kind of change was happening in this lifetime, but the flow had diverted from the past.
In our previous lives, you would immediately reveal who you are and invited us to your manor, but now we're suddenly talking about magic……

Anyway, now I finally understood the reason why I didn't receive an invitation this time.
How can he invite me when he was still posing as a commoner?

I was lost in thoughts again when Logan suddenly spoke, waking me up from a haze.

“If you wouldn't mind, will you come and accompany me to the Royal Library? I think I'll learn something if I look at the books there.”

Shall I take a look at the books, too?”

It was embarrassing, but my interest arose.
Since the Duke was living some sort of double life pretending to be a commoner interested in magic, of course, it was natural to take an interest in.

His face lit up momentarily when I expressed my affirmation.
It didn't make a noticeable difference from his usual cold visage, but it's enough for me to notice that he's pleased.

“By all means, yes.
You must be busy, but please.
I think it would be more efficient to find it with a young lady like you than to find it alone…”

Who says I'm busy? I had plenty of time on my hands, and I could spare some of it to go to the library for a while.

Logan politely implored again when he'd mistaken my silence as having second thoughts.


Who can refuse a man staring at me so earnestly? Besides, he's a Duke.
There's nothing wrong with getting close to him and making connections.

It isn't a burdensome request to go to the library together, so I accepted and nodded in agreement.

So when are we going to the library?”

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