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    Cedric, who quickly became a wet mouse, didn’t seem to have figured out the situation yet.


    That’s right, because Calib, who had been a calm and cute younger brother, poured water on him!


    “Ellia, are you okay?”


    Even the younger brother ran to me ignoring Cedric, who was dripping water with wetness. It was cute for him to run like a kitten and check on me first.




    I felt sorry for Cedric that was looking down blankly with a puzzled face, seemed shocked.


    Calib said to him, “Apologize!”




    “Apologize to Ellia! I’m telling you, she’s my savior!”


    “Sa, viour…?”


    “Yeah. If it weren’t for Ellia, I would’ve been eaten by a wolf!” Calib hugged me as if he was protecting me in front of Cedric’s sword that was aimed at me and shouted. 


    At that fierce voice, Cedric hurriedly put his sword back as he regained his senses.


    “If it weren’t for her…”


    “How can you aim a sword at Ellia in the first place?” Calib shot his brother with a vicious face. “I’m so disappointed.”


    Whoosh. After he properly got such a shock, Cedric’s face crumbled away.


    Without paying attention to his brother, Calib was busy looking only at me. “What should we do? Your sleeves are wet.”


    “Huh, eumm…”


    That’s right. Because I was sitting next to Cedric, whom you poured water on.


    But mine was ‘only’ sleeve and Cedric was the ‘entire’, though?


    “You’re going to catch a cold. You’d better hurry up and change.”


    I mean, it’s ‘only’ sleeves, though? The one who needs to change clothes is your brother…


    Calib made a fuss and stood me up, who sat on the floor. Then as he was about to take me to the bedroom, Cedric asked in a cool voice.


    “Why didn’t you come back even though you’re able to use magic?”




    I looked back at Cedric, wondering what he meant.


    He said, looking only at the back of Calib’s small head. “If to block the people of the Grand Duke’s Castle from finding you, you could even use gravity magic to set up a shield, then teleportation would’ve been easy.”




    I blinked in surprise. “Block? A shield? How can you use magic?”


    Didn’t you not have a cane and couldn’t use magic because you hurt your hand?


    I gazed at the tense Calib with such expression. The small hand that was grasping my finger was white with all his strength.


    “…Calib?” My voice shrinked due to shock, and those tiny shoulders trembled.


    Soon after, I heard a forced swallowing of tears. 


    “Hic… Hicc…”


    “C-Calib? Are you crying?”


    I quickly squatted down and looked at Calib while I was surprised after asking him that.  He was biting his plump lips and gulping down his tears alone.


    I didn’t mean to scold you or anything…!


    “D-Don’t cry. Calib, why are you crying?”


    I reached out my other hand and hugged his soft back.


    “I’m not scolding you. I didn’t ask you to say anything. I’m just asking because I’m curious. Mm?” I felt impatient for no reason.


    Yoonie, who matured so early that he rarely expressed his emotions, also cried like this whenever he burst into tears. As if he’d cry alone and didn’t want to lean on me even though I was next to him. He held it in and cried as if he didn’t want anyone to know that he was crying.


    That memory came back to me and I couldn’t leave Calib alone.


    “Calib, come here.” I hugged him and said so.


    He was definitely in my arms, but I felt like he was crying alone in a corner. Then he wrapped his arms around my neck. I felt his forearms’ flesh shaking. That’s why without letting go of Calib, I carried his slightly heavier body.


    “Ah, Ellia…!” He widened his eyes in surprise. The rose-like red eyes with raindrops looked straight at me. In a short period of time, I put my forehead against his warmed forehead.


    “Why are you crying? I didn’t mean to scold Calib.”




    “I asked just because I’m curious.”




    “You told me that before. You’re curious about me. I’m also curious about you too.”


    “…Ellia too.”




    “Hic… Ellia is curious about me too?”


    “Of course. I’m curious about you everyday. That’s why I asked you without thinking twice. Turns out you’re surprised.”


    I felt bad for his bent back because he lost confidence. I patted him on his back and waited for his tears to stop.


    “Calib, since when did you become so childish…”




    Cedric tried to say something without noticing, so I stared at him and mouthed. He crumpled his face for a while as if he was unsatisfied with this situation. However, his wits hadn’t rotted so he kept his mouth shut.


    It wasn’t long before Calib said. 


    “…Like that.”




    “With Ellia…”


    “Mm, with me.”


    Calib licked his lips for a while, plucked up his courage, and said while facing me.


    “I want to be with Ellia, like that.”




    “Usually, if someone hurts their hand, they can’t use magic. It’s for real. But… But, weirdly, I can use magic.” 


    I looked at his hand that was injured when he grabbed the dropped knife with his bare hand.


    It hadn’t completely healed yet. 


    Yet, he could still use magic. What’s wrong?


    He then muttered. “And… When the wound is healed, I have to go back. But there…”


    Calib dropped his head like a child admitting his wrongdoing.


    “There’s no Ellia there.”




    “Here, when I’m with Ellia… I can become ‘Calib’. But there, I have to be ‘the Great Young Lord’.”




    “I hate that. I just want to be here with Ellia…!”


    “You can’t do that.”


    When I was hesitating because I didn’t know what to say, Cedric said sharply. At that moment, Calib’s body stiffened.


    “You know it too, Calib.” He spoke in a quiet voice and slowly approached us. I heard the sound of damp steps. “That I’m under a curse. That’s why until I fall asleep, you have to be a Grand Duke.”


    I held my breath even though I knew what he was talking about. Listening to Cedric’s indifference voice, I realized how heavy the burden Calib had to carry.


    Calib murmured in a strucked voice. “But if you go to the ‘Sanctuary of Knowledge’, you might be able to find a way to solve your curse.”


    “That method is considerably unlikely. Who wants to marry me in that condition?”


    Huh? Marriage? Suddenly?


    It was when I gazed upon Cedric, wondering what he meant.






    “Ellia is… curious about me too, right?”


    “Hm? Yeah, I do.”


    “Then, then… I’ll tell you everything.”


    Calib stared at me. I saw that his red eyes, which began to tear up again, overlapped with Yoonie’s.


    “So, so… Can’t you go with me?”


    “Hm? Where?”


    “Can’t you go with me to the Grand Duke’s Castle?”




    “My brother… Can’t you marry my brother?”


    …Huh,… Huh?




    After crying for a long time, Calib soon fell asleep, perhaps because his fever was rising. I carefully closed the bedroom door so that he wouldn’t wake up.


    “Has Calib fallen asleep?”




    I glanced at Cedric who was sitting near the table, taking his top off. His pale and solid bicep was the first to be seen.


    No matter how wet his clothes were, didn’t he take it off too much? Is it okay for a noble to be like that?


    I didn’t know what I should be looking at.


    But why were his muscles so perfect? Better than the ones who were preparing for the national team…Ah, no.


    I shook my head to shake off such thoughts and brewed a warm chamomile tea.


    “Here. It’s unworthy, but…”


    “Thank you.” Cedric answered politely and grabbed the mug. 


    Although he aimed a sword at the first sight, he turned friendly after confirming Calib’s safety.


    [Please forgive me for being rude.]


    He bowed his head and apologized politely. Well, if Yoonie had been missing for 20 days and was alone with a stranger in such a shabby house like this…


    Yeah, I sure would’ve grabbed their hair first, saying, “What are you doing, bastard?”


    I glanced at Cedric, who drank tea without a sound, and spoke. 


    “So, you’re under a curse?”


    I already knew that, but once again, I pretended not to know.


    He answered with a gentle nod. “Yes. That’s right.”


    “But marrying me doesn’t solve the curse, does it?”


    “If I can prove with marriage that I’ll devote my loyalty to my family, I can also enter the ‘Sanctuary of Knowledge’.”


    “You can’t go in until then?”


    “Yes. I’m an official adoptee, but I couldn’t continue my lineage. That’s why I have to go through this inconvenient way.”


    It was already a famous story within the empire that Cedric was the adopted son of the late Grand Duke.


    “But if it’s you… I think there will be a lot of ladies who want to marry you.”


    “If I had the right to succeed the Grand Duke position, they would.” He looked puzzled for a moment and said, “As Calib said… You must already know that Calib felt left out of the family.”


    “Ah, yes.”


    “It’s because there is me.”


    “What do you mean it’s because of you?”


    “He was kidnapped as soon as he was born for some reason. After growing up in an orphanage for four years, we managed to get him back.”


    In the process, the late Grand Duke and his wife were killed.


    “That’s why the vassals don’t like Calib. Because they already have me as an excellent successor and they interfered after they found a flaw in the legitimate son.”


    “It doesn’t make sense. Anyhow, he’s the biological son of the Grand Duke couple, so it’s natural for parents to search for their child…!”


    At my words, Cedric also said he thought the same as he slowly nodded back and forth. 


    I said, controlling my sudden anger. “Phew, but you said you want to set up Calib as the Grand Duke.”


    “Yes. In order to confront the opposition of the vassals, I gave up my right to succeed the Grand Duke position early on.”




    “That’s why, who wants to marry me?”


    The calm hydrangea eyes looked straight at me.


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