Unfortunately, the Duchy also could not avoid the plague.
This was because, like the Capital, there was an active exchange of goods through people.
It began with one of the kitchen maids.
“Oh, it’s cold,” she said, trembling as she sliced carrots for lunch.
“Aren’t you hot?” Another maid inquired, checking her condition.
No matter how much wood you put in the fireplace, it’s never enough to drive off the cold.”
“You should rest, though.
The plague has started in a nearby village.
You know Marco recently stopped by a furniture store nearby.”
The maid who continued slicing the carrots eventually collapsed.
She thought it was just a cold.
However, she had two of the servants she was traveling with, so the Doctor was called.
“It’s the plague.
This makes me concerned about the Duchess.
Has she ever had contact with the Duchess?”
The maid was lying on the bed, suffering in cold sweat.
She had a fever, cough, and difficulty in breathing—typical symptoms for the plague.
She stuttered between her labored breaths, “I haven’t talked to Madam directly in the last few days…..
but I have brought cookies to her through Alice.
Alice is a personal maid of Madam, she stays with her all day.”
The plague slew the knights one after the other like a sharp sword.
Within an instant, the plague engulfed the mansion.
The annex itself was turned into a treatment center.
The surviving employees and therapists continued to treat the sick while covering their mouths with white clothes.
However, the number of patients kept increasing.
It was a serious situation in which both the nursing staff and the patient were collapsing one after another.
Eventually, Laritte also started to experience a high fever.
The news reached all the way to the Capital.
“Breaking news! The plague’s grasp is widening and it is spreading in the Duchy as we speak! Breaking news! A lot of people have collapsed even in the Duke’s mansion!”
Of course, the fact that Laritte had caught the fever reached Ian’s ears as well.
“I’m going back to the mansion!”
He declared, shoving his things into a square suitcase.
While Oscar tried to calm him down, “Even though I tried to persuade you before, I’m glad you didn’t want to leave the Capital for several months.
But wouldn’t it be dangerous for you as well?”
“Swordmasters are not prone to diseases.
And the Duchy does not have enough people for nursing.
Laritte needs someone by her side.”
There were so many patients at the Duchy, it was difficult to find nursing staff.
Besides, even if you hired a person with a high salary, you would not be able to stop the infection.
“Then you can’t help it…….
I will also send medicine to help with the treatments.
I wish for Madam’s good health.”
It was difficult for Ian to think rationally.
If he lost Laritte, he would not be able to forgive himself.
Even more so when he wasn’t around.
Since he had been away for a long time, if he just stayed by her side without even talking, it should not pose a problem for a while.
Ian’s judgement was correct to some extent.
Laritte was suffering even at this time and needed help.
She was alone in a room on the second floor of the annex.
While in the large hall of the first floor, many employees lay one beside another.
It was a living hell in sight.
Laritte could not sleep because of the cold.
Her hair grew rough and her lips were dry.
To anyone who could see her, she looked sick.
She could not stop the tremor in her fingers, no matter how much wood she put in the fireplace and covered herself with a blanket.
She was burning up.
It was hard for her to breathe.
At that moment, she felt a cold breeze hit her cheek.
But she didn’t have the energy to call someone.
She had no will.
It was when she was lying still on the bed that she heard a man’s voice.
Laritte’s eyes flickered to a red-haired man sitting on the window sill with his chin on his knuckles.
Flashing his gentle smile was the man named Seta.
“Hello, fortune-teller,” Laritte recognized him.
“You’re wearing plain clothes instead of robes today.” She initially thought it was the cat Nabi sitting by the window.
He was also someone who created trouble after pecking Laritte on the cheek, but that didn’t matter much to her.
“Are you here for the pattern of my face?” She asked in a throaty voice.
Seta was surprised, “wait! Weren’t you surprised when I appeared? It’s not fun.”
“I am very surprised right now,” she replied very calmly.
Seta was expecting that, but with a look of disappointment, he stuck his tongue out.
“I know you are ill, but your face doesn’t seem to have any defects.
I’m glad! Let’s take good care of your face for the future.”
“Are you here as my new nurse?”
Laritte, who did not know the true identity of Seta, thought so.
Seta was still lost in admiring her face, but came back to his senses when she asked him.
“No? No one sneaks in for that.
I have something to tell you.”
Seta tossed a dagger over the duvet of the bed.
Its scabbard was made of gold.
Decorated with rubies, it felt very expensive to even look at.
Meanwhile, Seta proudly said, “it’s a dagger made from a dragon’s ribs! Hope you’re happy to accept it.
I picked this up from the rarities.” Laritte didn’t even have the energy to get up and take the dagger.
“Why this all of a sudden?”
“There’s something I didn’t tell the human man,” Seta recalled the past.
Originally, he thought of enjoying the human world for a long time, but he was very satisfied with receiving Laritte’s face, so he returned to his place filled with rarities early.
The head of the Red Dragons asked why he returned so soon.
Seta pouted as he was reminded of the old chief, who already heard of Seta’s stupidity.
“As I learned later, there was another way for the two of you humans to be together.
Of course, since it is only effective for a short period of time, I must say goodbye in the end!”
Laritte was clueless about what Seta said.
She hadn’t heard anything from Ian, so it was only natural for her.
Oblivious, Seta continued happily.
“All objects made from dragon remains have magical power, don’t they? So, they have the effect of protection from the mana of a region.
If you put such objects around you, you can be together.
If so, there will be no more misfortune.
Keep in mind that the effect does not last long.”
“I’m sorry, but I have no idea what you are talking about.”
“You don’t have to play innocent.
I might not care, but are you ashamed that I came in person? Were you moved by this dragon’s big heart?” Seta laughed proudly as he looked over the window.
“But where did the man go?”
Laritte knew he was talking about Ian.
She realized why Ian left the mansion.
Raising her upper body, she asked, “could you please elaborate on that story?”
“Why do I have to tell you, human? You must be very proud of me just being here! I’ve never seen a human like this in my entire life! ….I’ve never seen such a beautiful face!” He said enthusiastically.
Laritte wished he would come just down from the window and close it.
Well, he liked her face and had never acted arrogantly.
She laid down on the bed helplessly again.
“You’re very obsessed with my face…..”
“Of course not.”
“You know what? My hobby is to slap my cheek.” Seta hardened.
Laritte continued quietly and timidly, “then my face swells up…..
and someday it leaves a scar.”
“Why would you do such a terrible thing! I don’t understand you humans! Don’t treat your face carelessly!” He screamed, grabbing his hair.
‘Wow, it’s working…..,’ Laritte thought blankly.
He was really a weird person.
“Don’t! Don’t do it! I’m warning you, human!”
“Otherwise, it gets boring.
I’m annoyed that you only talk about things I don’t know.”
“God! Why did you lead Seta to a trial by giving humans something more precious than jewels! As soon as I meet you, God, I will surely have my revenge!”
In the end, Seta had to tell everything.
Laritte also learned the truth.
Ian left for the Capital and didn’t come back for months….
It was because of her.
“…..Why hadn’t Ian told her?” She calmly voiced her concern.
“How would I know? Now that I’ve told you everything, don’t slap yourself on the cheek!”
“I normally don’t do that, so don’t worry.
Nobody does that, no matter how strange a human is.” Only then did Seta realize that he had been deceived.
But he had no way to get revenge.
Because he valued Laritte’s face.
He couldn’t cast a curse, nor could he use magic.
In the end, he got angry and left.
“Bad humans! Humans even deceive dragons! Humans who can’t even live for a thousand years!”
“Humans only live a hundred years.”
“Human talking to a dragon! But please, live long, you rude human! Though you have annoyed me!”
The room became quiet again after Seta left.
Through the open window, the sound of other patients suffering on the first floor could be heard.
Laritte fumbled over the sheets, her hand finding the dagger that Seta had left behind.
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