As she said it, Ian felt as if his body was being ripped down to shreds by a sword.
“Because the days I spent here were extremely happy,” she continued.
That made him feel multiple things.

If his partner wasn’t Laritte, he wouldn’t have been able to hear such honest words.
She was someone who did not feel shy whenever she spoke.

“Do you remember what I was like before? I said I did not want to be sick.
It’s the same, I did not want to die.” Like everyone else, death was a fear of the unknown to her.
It did fill any person with fear once in a while.
She wasn’t afraid anymore, and all she had to do was let Ian go.
She did not feel empty anymore.

“I’m not afraid to die anymore.
You always make me change,” she held out her hand toward Ian, still holding his other hand.
“So take responsibility for me until the end.”

Ian hesitated.
It was his greed to hold her hand.
Still, it was a very tempting offer.
Laritte continued to ask for his hand, “isn’t it better than that? I like you and you like me, so I’m lucky.”

Ian struggled between his greed and conscience.
If he held her hand, he must remain here.
And his choice would drive Laritte to death.
After much conflict, he joined hands with her.
Ah, why couldn’t man be a creature that could only think rationally? It was deplorable.

Laritte was satisfied when he accepted her offer.
But he had other thoughts.
‘I’ll have to find a permanent way for Laritte to live.
Otherwise, I will eventually have to leave again.’ But for now, he was happy to be with her.

‘I should urgently airlift all the items made of dragon’s remains from all over the country.’

‘After all, communication was the best solution.
I must thank you, girls.’

 

***

 

It was only then that Ian informed everyone of his return to the mansion.
The mansion was still under the grasp of the plague.
Ian began helping the nursing staff.
Laritte was fully healed the next day, so she and Ian together started taking care of the employees in the annex.

“I brought lunch, it’s in the basket.
How much more is needed?” Laritte asked as she procured food from the main building.
Ian tapped his chin as he estimated the amount she placed down on the kitchen table of the annex.

“We have dozens of patients, we only need to repeat this amount five times.”

“I’ll be back soon.” Both Ian and Laritte were busy.
Day after day, more and more employees began to get better.
This was because their nutritional status was usually good.
Thanks to their high salaries, there was no starvation, and the stress of working in the mansion was low.
Eventually, the nursing staff also increased.

“Since when did you not have a fever?” Doctor Colin asked as he checked a patient.

“It must have been 16 hours.
When I noticed the fever was gone, I was drenched in sweat.”

“This proves that you’re well.
It’s great.
But rest here for half a day, don’t go out.
After that, you can leave this place.”

As more and more people got better, Laritte also began to take a breather.
As she sliced bread, Ian came into the annex kitchen.

“Ian, have you eaten?”

“Not yet,” he sighed.
He would be happy if Laritte had her meals properly.
“You have about an hour to spare, so please go to the main building and have a meal.”

“The people in this mansion are also busy nursing the others, so we can’t.”

The two quietly ate the bread.
They leaned side by side on the sink as they stared at the same place.
It was peaceful.
Then Laritte remembered something of her, “it’s time.”

She reached out to Ian with her other hand that wasn’t holding the bread.
He hesitantly took her hand and shook it.
He and Laritte had signed an unusual agreement.
In fact, it was similar to what Laritte suggested.
For the next thirty days, they had to shake hands once a day.

“Why?”

“I heard skinship is essential for lovers,” under Laritte’s skirt was a small book the size of her hand.
It was a dating advice book with the title, ‘How to Maintain a Relationship with Your Lover the Right Way.’ She had accidentally found the book in the library while bringing meals for the patients from the main building.

“According to this book, it’s good to hold hands steadily for thirty days after the first date.
You shouldn’t go further, but they said that holding hands increases intimacy.”

Ian and Laritte were acting strangely, starting a relationship a year after they got married.
Ian was still good with it.
“Then what do you do instead of holding hands after thirty days?” said Ian without much thought.
He bit his beard with his fangs.

“The next stage is to hug and kiss.
They said it was appropriate to keep that level until sixty days of dating.
It’s a pity we’ve already kissed twice,” Laritte spoke seriously.
She already had the book memorized.

“And kiss until the 100th.
Do you know what a kiss is? It’s an act of twisting your tongues–”

“I know,” he wanted to stop talking, but she didn’t understand.

“It’s good that you know, I don’t have to explain it.
Actually, the book doesn’t tell you the details.
Now, after the kiss, it is a good stage to get married.
At this stage, the lovers should do nothing but have se–,” she couldn’t continue because Ian covered her mouth with a very flushed expression.
The bread he was eating fell from his mouth.
It rolled down and fell in the sink.

“Please stop! You are driving me crazy in so many ways!” Laritte’s face was half-covered by his large hand.
She could only blink at his reaction.

“But this is really important.
Besides, you promised that you would have a child with me.
Anyway, to make a child, se–,”

“Make a child?!” Ian felt really pathetic.
Hearing those words directly from Laritte’s mouth was making him go crazy.
He released her only after he calmed down.
“Isn’t it enough to call it the act of creating a child?”

She was confused, but she nodded in response.
He was a weird man, she thought.
Shaking his head, Ian picked up the bread that had fallen to the ground.
“I’ll go first.
Get some rest in the meantime.” Laritte shrugged.
She washed her hands and followed.

 

***

 

24 hours was not enough for Ian.
Thanks to the considerable reduction in the number of patients, he had breaks more often.
But he rummaged through papers late at night.
It was a list of the dragon’s artifacts he had in the mansion.

‘The magical energy gradually disappears from the sword Seta gave.
I’ll have to conduct experiments, but now it’s time to replace it with something else,’ he had to prepare as many items as possible for the future.
Luckily, thanks to the dragon subjugation at the exchange meeting, he had some spare time.

‘I have to pay the knights.
There must be quite a few things, so I have to contact the Emperor.’ The most important would be a long-term solution, not a temporary method.
Seta said there was no way to fix it forever, but just in case.
‘First, I’ll have to search the whole country to find that dragon again…..’ He had a lot to think about.
On the other hand, there was not enough time.

Ian hastily rummaged through his paperwork, while Laritte was still awake.
She was sitting at the window of her room, looking up at the moon.
How much time was left? She had a lot of questions, but she didn’t bother to ask Ian.
Ian also didn’t say anything.

Although they acted as if they had forever, Laritte had a foreboding of her death.
Would she be holding her breath until she got to the stage where she would be okay with getting married? She wondered if Ian would be left alone.
She wondered if he would be less lonely if she left after having a child with him.

It might be a pity if she couldn’t watch her child grow up.
But her other worries took precedence over such future events.
Could she really have a child with Ian? She recalled Ian reacting weirdly.
Perhaps…..
he was an eunuch.

Even the dating advice book said that it was better not to marry a man who was unable to perform sexual functions.
But she did not love him because of that.
If Ian knew, he would be hilarious.
Laritte chuckled, imagining his reaction, and then let out a sigh.

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