* * *
Sarah’s refreshing laugh echoed through Claude’s room.
The bodies of Ambrosia’s knights and servants, who were dealing with the remaining monsters outside, flinched and trembled. It was the same for monsters who fought for survival.
“Is that the sound of Countess Millen laughing?”
“I’ve never heard her laugh like that……”
“No way, how graceful my goddess is! That’s probably a hallucination.”
“I’m slicing monsters in Ambrosia right now, does this make sense?”
While Ambrosia’s knights and servants were whispering, the monsters whom they were dealing with also trembled with anxiety.
“Let’s deal with these first!”
“Take care of everything before Countess Millen arrives!”
They soon regarded Sarah’s laughter as hallucination and swung their swords again. However,
Sarah’s laughter continued to come unstoppable.
“Isn’t that a hallucination?”
“Be quiet. If it’s a hallucination, it’s a hallucination.”
The knights quietly shook their heads and focused on fighting the monsters in front of them. Sarah’s face, who had smiled kindly in their minds, flickered.
“……It might be okay if it’s not a hallucination.”
As someone blushed and opened their eyes to a new taste, Benjamin, who was lying on the bed with a pale face, rose.
“I guess she’s taken care of it.”
The wounds caused by Oliven were still not healed. A cold sweat ran down his smooth forehead. Claude, watching Benjamin, hurriedly opened his mouth.
“Uncle, don’t get up unnecessarily and just lie down. Don’t trouble Nanny for nothing.”
“……Bad choice of words for worrying.”
“I’m not worried?”
“You’re worrying about me, you.”
“That’s not it.”
“That’s true though.”
Seeing Claude screaming and trembling, Benjamin smiled a little, as if it was ridiculous. But that alone made his forehead frown for a moment, as if the wound was painful. Claude had a blunt face, but an unavoidable concern flashed through his eyes.
‘Uncle got hurt because of me.’
Claude strained his eyes as if he were about to cry. The image of Benjamin, still blocking his way, kept flashing in his mind. He didn’t know that Benjamin, who was always making fun of him, didn’t even care about his body. Gratitude, regret, and guilt surged through Claude’s tiny body. Contrary to that thought, blunt words flowed through the child’s lips.
“Is Uncle an idiot? How can you block it so recklessly? Nanny wouldn’t do that.”
“Right. If it was Master, you and yourself would have been perfectly protected even at that moment.”
Benjamin’s lips, reminiscent of Sarah, softened. The wound was painful, but he didn’t feel bad, so he raised his hand and pressed Claude’s head.
“I still have a long way to go to follow Master.”
“So it can’t be helped. I have no choice but to protect you first.”
At Benjamin’s words, tears fell from Claude’s eyes. Even while being constantly attacked by monsters and black magicians, Benjamin was concerned about Claude. He put a shield on the bed, but his frosty gaze still followed as the attack flew towards Claude. And the guy who attacked Claude was definitely dealt with.
‘He left Elexa and Lady Penelois alone when the attack went on.’
Even in the young Claude’s eyes, Benjamin’s priorities were clear. It was blatant favoritism and outright affection. Even though he hated the words, he knew what was in Benjamin’s eyes as he looked at him. Benjamin’s eyes were becoming more and more like Sarah’s eyes as she looked at him.
Normally, he would have hit Benjamin’s hand on his head, but this time he left it alone. Then Benjamin, feeling strange, bowed his head and looked at Claude’s face.
“……Are you crying?”
Benjamin, who saw tears falling on the blanket, hurriedly opened his mouth in embarrassment.
“Hey, brat, what’s wrong with you? Are you hurt? Then tell me straight.”
“It’s Uncle who got hurt.”
Claude lifted his sleeve, rubbed his eyes, and slapped Benjamin’s hand.
“I’m the one who got hurt, so why are you crying and making a fuss……”
“I’m tearing up because Uncle is so stupid.”
A sigh leaked through Benjamin’s lips. He looked like his father, so he knew how to scratch the insides of people very wildly. At that time, Belluna, who had dealt with all the hallucination magic left in the mansion from afar, approached urgently.
“Young Master Claude!”
Claude’s face brightened when he saw Belluna’s face. Claude jumped out of bed and ran towards Belluna.
“Even if I risk my life to protect you, it’s no use.”
Benjamin, who was left alone, muttered in despair. Elexa and Penelois, who were watching the scene, put their hands on Benjamin’s shoulder at the same time.
“Cheer up. Uncle Benjamin.”
“It’s okay, one day Young Lord Ambrosia will understand Mr. Benjamin’s heart.”
Benjamin’s face was terribly distorted at the friendly consolation of the two. However, seeing Elexa and Penelois, who would normally tremble, still had a warm face, Benjamin just closed his eyes.
“Damn little brat.”
Because of Claude, he became a trivial uncle who had to get sympathy in the mansion.
“Sister Belluna, Uncle is hurt. He got hurt a lot.”
As soon as Claude was in Belluna’s arms, he stamped his feet and urged. It was because Sarah told him that Belluna had a good sense of healing magic.
“Hurry up and heal him.”
Belluna smiled and comforted Claude. Then, she approached Benjamin, who had a face full of betrayal.
“What’s going on? I came because I thought Benjamin was hurt.”
“Don’t be sarcastic, Belluna. Because that brat has already turned my insides all over.”
Benjamin narrowed his brow and glared coldly. The treacherous gaze never fell away from Claude. Claude answered with his chin up coyly.
“When did I turn Uncle’s insides upside down? Olive or Oliven turned it upside down.”
Benjamin shook his head, realizing that he was the only one hurting if he talked more.
“But why are you not getting any treatment at all? You know how to do some sort of healing magic.”
“I tried, but it didn’t work.”
“I don’t know if Oliven’s really determined to kill the brat. It’s full of black magic.”
“……That’s why it collides with your magic.”
Belluna’s face hardened seriously. Black magic was the power that made nature flow backwards. Against time and against laws. Therefore, it had the opposite flow to white magic. If one tried to cure it with the magic of white magic, the wound could have gotten worse.
“……That guy, he didn’t use black magic when he attacked me.”
Benjamin looked at Claude with a complicated gaze. They relentlessly exchanged attacks and even dealt with black magicians, but he did not use deadly black magic against Benjamin. Perhaps it was because Oliven had no intention of killing Benjamin. There was only one person Oliven wanted to kill, Claude Ambrosia.
‘With a little brat only the size of a millet’
Benjamin clicked his tongue, recalling the distorted face of Oliven when he was attacked instead of Claude. It must have been an attack with the intention of killing.
“Then I can’t help it either. When Master comes, she’ll solve it for you.”
Belluna shook her head. She could do something if the wounds from black magic were light, but Benjamin’s wounds looked deep at first glance. It was even more dangerous if she accidentally touched it and a mana collision occurred.
Belluna closed her eyes tightly as she heard her master’s laughter still coming.
“When Master calms down, she’ll come here.”
Benjamin nodded, but Claude’s face turned white. He thought Belluna could treat Benjamin if she came, but she said she couldn’t, so he was suddenly scared.
“What if Nanny can’t do it? Is Uncle going to die?”
“I won’t die. There’s nothing Master can’t do.”
Benjamin shook his head firmly, but Claude was still unaware of the greatness of Sarah’s power. He knew she was strong. However, in Claude’s head, the image of Sarah, who had already collapsed and vomited blood, was engraved very firmly. In Claude’s head, Sarah was the person he and his father should work together to protect.
“Uncle, what to do……”
Claude became weeping and buried his head on Belluna’s shoulder and sobbed. It was a very pathetic cry as if it were already a fact that Benjamin was going to die.
“I’m not going to die.”
Benjamin protested in an absurd voice, but Claude didn’t get it.
“Is Uncle Benjamin going to die?”
“Countess Millen will do something for him, Elexa.”
Elexa, who was influenced by Claude, also quickly became teary, and Penelois comforted him but gave him a sad look.
“……I will never forget that you protected Young Master Claude.”
“Ambrosia will remember forever.”
Veron and Ronda, who were silently watching, also added a word one by one.
“Lady Sarah……, please come quickly.”
Even May put her hands together and prayed. Benjamin ground his teeth as he saw them all acting as if he was going to die.
“You guys are really.”
Benjamin’s pale face looked a little red because of his rising temper. Claude came down from Belluna’s arms and approached Benjamin. And he said, holding his hand affectionately.
“Uncle, I’m sorry for all this time”
“I won’t die.”
“I’ll call you Brother now.”
Benjamin, who was going to say something, flinched.
That’s not bad?
A thought passed by his mind. Belluna’s face became a little cold as if she could see that he would pretend to die until their master returned.
“I hope Brother Benjamin doesn’t die.”
Claude held Benjamin’s hand and prayed. Without Benjamin, he would feel a little bored now. He liked to play with Sarah and Elexa. But it was fun to quarrel with Benjamin without hesitation, and above all, it was good that Benjamin, who was not even interested in others, was complaining only to himself. Claude only now realized that he had become very fond of Benjamin.
“……I’m not going to die.”
Even Benjamin, who pretended to die and tried to play a prank, smiled a little as if he felt Claude’s earnest heart. He patted Claude on the head with a very soft touch unlike usual. Feeling the soft curls of the hair in his palm, Benjamin could see why his master had such a blushing love for the child. It was a small, soft, and warm creature.
“……You can’t die, Brother Benjamin.”
“Got it, Claude.”
Everyone covered their mouths with their hands as they saw the two people calling out their proper names, not Uncle and brat. It was kind of moving, but because of this, it felt like Benjamin was on the verge of dying for real.
“Young Master Claude, Master is enough for Benjamin……”
It was the moment Belluna, who was not familiar with the scene, smiled and tried to clear up Claude’s misunderstanding. A faint light emanated from Claude’s body, who was holding Benjamin’s hand tightly and closing his eyes.
When Belluna is blinking her eyes slowly. In the interim, white, bright light burst out of Claude’s body like an explosion in an instant.