“Is there no other issue?”
At the casual remark tossed by Raymond, the two individuals stopped dead in their tracks.
While Noah stared at him with suspicion, Cordelia was already speaking.
“What do you mean?”
“Kion said so.
He mentioned seeing something quite interesting.”
Is he the robed magician?
“I’m not quite sure.”
Noah shrugged indifferently.
Speaking out of turn would likely result in more harm than good.
“If that’s the case, Lady, would you mind taking off those gloves?”
The intense gaze was fixed on the black gloves Noah was wearing.
“You’re making an unexpected request.”
“What’s so important that you wouldn’t even take off your gloves while eating?”
When he pointed out that Noah hadn’t taken his gloves off even when he was picking up grapes for Cordelia, Noah was speechless for a moment.
Raymond pushed a bit further.
“It doesn’t seem like a difficult task.”
“If that’s the case, you must also know that I don’t necessarily need to accept that request.”
“You seem to be bothered by something.
Is there something you want to hide?”
“It feels like you’re reading too much into an outfit.”
The conversation continued, strangely intertwined and diverging.
Noah’s tightly closed mouth opened once more.
There was a hint of annoyance mixed in as if he was reluctant.
“Then, if I take this off, will my business with you be finished? Can I leave now?”
“Why would you go to such lengths, Lady…”
The woman who restrained the man from stepping forward cautiously removed her glove.
The woman, who handed it over to the man standing beside her, shook her hand towards where Raymond was.
“Is it alright?”
The woman’s hand was immaculate, without a speck of dust.
Her knuckles, her palms, everything about her hands seemed delicate and untouched by hardship.
The woman who had glanced at Raymond with an indifferent gaze quietly reiterated,
“If it’s settled, then I can leave, right? You promised, didn’t you?”
Her blue eyes, emphasizing the promise, coldly gleamed.
Yet, Raymond’s attention was drawn more to the person standing beside her.
With their eyes mostly obscured, it was difficult to read their expression, but it wasn’t hard to recognize the tension at the corners of their lips, as if they were about to break into a grimace.
It might have been intentionally revealing some emotion, for all he knew.
Even as he realized he had been caught, Raymond gestured lightly.
Soon, the two figures vanished from his sight.
“So, how is it then?”
With a soft summons, the robed figure emerged from behind the pillar.
He answered quietly,
“The power of magic is undoubtedly at work.
Those two are certainly bound by something.”
Raymond, who had been idly stroking his chin, spoke cheerfully,
“Make sure to leave a statement in the kingdom.”
“Are you planning to delay your return?”
“No, now it’s about time to head back.
If we delay the schedule any further, the royal family might start talking.”
Then, what if…?”
“What do you think?”
Although he seemed slightly surprised by Raymond’s words, he soon lowered his head and responded,
“At your command, Your Grace.”
Meanwhile, as they emerged from the space, the two of them walked briskly, distancing themselves as much as possible from the building in front of them.
It wasn’t difficult to blend into the crowd, perhaps because they were in the city center.
Upon returning to their lodging, they soon instructed someone to prepare water for washing and basins.
Two basins, one with warm water and the other with cold water were placed at their feet.
Only after locking the door securely did the two of them feel at ease, facing each other and bursting into laughter almost simultaneously.
“Did you see that human’s expression earlier? He looked flustered.”
“You noticed that?”
“Of course I did.
Ah, it feels refreshing!”
They both removed the gloves they were wearing and tossed them aside.
The haphazardly spread white gloves on the floor and the neatly folded black gloves on the side table created an odd contrast.
“Would you like to wash your hands first? Ah, no.
I should go first.
After all, it’s Cordelia’s body.”
“Do as you wish.
It doesn’t matter.”
After tying his hair into a tight bun, Noah cautiously dipped his right hand into the water.
The previously transparent water gradually took on a pale peach hue.
“They won’t have suspected anything, right?”
“They had no clue, as far as I could tell.”
“Yeah, thankfully you painted the watercolors and went with it.”
“From a distance, it’s not easy to tell them apart.”
As Noah rubbed his backhand with soap, the skin that had been repeatedly painted over with gouache revealed its original appearance.
The faintly visible circles and hexagrams brought to mind an emblem.
“If Cordelia hadn’t suggested it, I would have been in a tight spot.”
“No, I didn’t.
You’re the one who came up with the idea.”
‘Perhaps the magician might suspect that we’re under some kind of magic.’
When Cordelia had agreed to the plan, she spoke with a serious expression.
‘But what should we do? As Linus said, she can’t conceal the patterns.’
Even if they wore gloves, they couldn’t predict when they might have to take them off.
Linus had said these patterns were magical runes, so if another magician saw them, they might deduce something.
Just like how the previous magician had recognized the thread that Cordelia thought was well-hidden.
‘…It’s not like we have no options.’
‘Yes, it’s just a temporary solution.’
Upon this, Noah obtained a few pigments, mixed them, and applied a mixture similar to their skin tone onto the back of their hands.
Once the paint had dried, they put on their gloves, and it was time to depart.
“It’s not good for the skin, and it’s not a reusable method.”
He had suggested it, not wanting to keep worrying about the possibility of them noticing something, but he didn’t want to use this solution twice.
The quality of the pigments wasn’t good since they had hastily acquired them from the market.
“You’re talented, you know that? Thanks to you, we got through the crisis unscathed!”
After lathering with soap and dipping his hands in warm water, then rinsing several times in cold water, all traces of the paint on his hands were finally washed away.
“What if there were marks left on the skin?”
As Cordelia sat down nonchalantly beside Noah, looking at the smooth back of the hand, she playfully spoke,
It’s not like doing this once would harm my skin that much.”
Cordelia suddenly gazed at her hand, or rather, Noah’s hand.
Unlike the face she saw that was smooth and delicate, his hands were rough from calluses and the skin showed the signs of time.
They were large and powerful, bearing the weight of years.
Noah always seemed to have a lot to say about his profession.
While riding in the carriage, he would recount minor incidents from the guild just to keep her entertained during boredom.
Those stories were also quite interesting in their own right.
He seemed especially happy when talking about interactions with his fellow guild members.
She envied him a bit.
As Noah wiped his hands with a towel, Cordelia picked up the soap and gazed thoughtfully at the slightly opaque basin.
“Should I change the water?”
It seems like it’s enough.
Is this how it’s done?”
“Oh, spread your fingers a bit wider.
Let me help.”
Noah held Cordelia’s hand with both of his and vigorously lathered it with soap.
His strong, large hands scrubbed with quite some force, and it was a bit painful.
Cordelia let out a half-hearted cry.
“Ow, it hurts!”
“Oh, does it hurt?”
Startled, Noah let go of her hand and looked at Cordelia.
Her face, facing him as she knelt, was delicate and exquisite.
Of course, it’s his face.
But still, there was a strange feeling, perhaps because he knew there was a different essence beneath the surface.
The red blush of embarrassment under her eyes, as if surprised, made his face look incredibly endearing.
I can bear it.”
Unable to overcome the awkward atmosphere, Cordelia blurted out something, anything.
Has she finally gone crazy? To think such thoughts when she looks at her face!
Of course, she’s quite pretty, though.
“Just endure it a bit more.
It’s better to wash thoroughly.”
As he said that, his touch became noticeably gentler than before.
After washing away the paint for a while and rinsing, they were finally able to leave the basin.
As Cordelia separated from Noah, her shoulders, which had been tensely relaxed, finally lost their tension.
She wiped her hands with a soft towel and placed it on the bedpost where she was sitting.
“By the way, was it okay to say that?”
“That he’s not my taste…”
It seemed the words he had said to Raymond were bothering him.
Gazing at Noah who stood there with a puzzled expression, Cordelia shrugged her shoulders.
“You had to say that much for him to understand.
From what you say, it seems like you have some kind of relationship with your father, but you won’t be able to say anything about it.”
“My last name is Weichen, so it’s a laughing matter, and it’s not like I’m going to accept an offer like that in that situation.
I’m the ruler of my house.”
Noah, who had been rubbing his lips for a while, held his head up as he spoke, attempting to keep it from dropping.
“He’s quite something.
You could have become a good match.”
People with such conditions weren’t rare in the kingdom either.
While Noah seemed regretful, Cordelia casually spoke, her arms crossed.
“I have no interest in those who don’t respect me.”
She had encountered many people who pretended to respect her but then acted as they pleased.
Even with much inferior conditions, they dared to be confident, and once they began being good to her, they acted as if it would last forever, becoming presumptuous.
“Even when I’m clearly showing that I value you, why should I be polite to someone who doesn’t even pretend to see you?”
Cordelia extended her hand to Noah, and as he hesitated and placed his hand over hers, she grabbed him tightly and pulled him toward her with a mischievous smile.
Noah, who had been drawn obediently, stood before Cordelia.
His eyes rolled around as if he didn’t know where to look, and Cordelia spoke affectionately.
“By the way, don’t worry about my marriage prospects.
Right now, even portrait proposals have been overflowing, claiming they want to marry me.
It’s so overwhelming, it’s exhausting.”
The actual amount that came was probably that much.
Rick must have picked and chosen from his line.
Surely, that person, even if he doesn’t have much thinking capacity, wouldn’t just give her away to any household.
With her beauty, her intelligence, and a background like her!
Well, I didn’t pay much attention to it.
Seeing Noah fumbling with his words as if he didn’t know what to say, her mouth went dry for no reason.
How do you see me?
Just as she was about to ask that question, they heard a polite knock on the door.
The pleasant atmosphere shattered, and a deep voice resonated from beyond the door.
“Are the two of you inside?”
“Uh, just a moment!”
As soon as she heard that voice, Cordelia inwardly clicked her tongue upon seeing Noah hastily retracting from her grasp.
Opening the door, as expected, Tiren was standing there.
Not only the room, but even Tiren’s expression seemed complex as his gaze shifted between Cordelia and Noah.
Cordelia whispered as she followed him into the corridor.
“Did you find the magician?”
But there’s a welcome guest in exchange.”
Noah, who was following Cordelia, raised an eyebrow.
Tiren, who was walking ahead, opened the door at the end of the corridor.
Compared to the other rooms, the interior was noticeably larger, and at the center, the person standing there turned their head.
Seeing the red hair, brown eyes, and a slightly uptight expression that made them look a bit edgy, Cordelia greeted the person with joy.
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