* * *
Sarah wiped Claude’s face with a soft hand, whose eyes were swollen from crying. The child cried so hard that even his hair got wet. That was how she was going to go back to Alton after eating breakfast continued until lunch and then dinner.
‘I’m going now……?’
It was because she couldn’t shake Claude’s hand, which was gripping the hem of her clothes with tears in his eyes.
“He’s finally fallen asleep.”
Then May let out a sigh of relief with a tired face. Claude, who had been crying sadly and laughing repeatedly, eventually fell asleep because he had exhausted all of his mental and physical strength. He forcibly endured until he fell asleep, fearing that Sarah wouldn’t be there when he opened his eyes.
“I don’t feel good.”
Sarah struggled to put down her heavy heart and wiped the tears that still formed from the corners of Claude’s eyes. May shook her head softly and said.
“Of course it is. Heaven. I’ve never seen Young Master Claude make such a fuss.”
“I think I know why Young Master Claude was making such a fuss.”
Sarah smiled with a heavy face. Sometimes children instinctively feel something even if adults don’t tell them. Claude, who was looking into Sarah’s eyes when he woke up in the morning, must have felt it too.
‘Don’t go……, don’t go!’
From then on, Claude held Sarah in tears and wouldn’t let her go. When Ronda forced him away from Sarah, he even fell on the floor and cried. Indeed, Ambrosia’s mansion had no choice but to be confused by Claude’s loud cry. Only Benjamin and Belluna, the only ones here who knew Sarah could go a long time, looked at Claude with sad eyes.
‘I don’t think Nanny should go now. It’s weird, something’s weird.’
Claude watched Sarah with his eyes wide open, not even sleeping during the nap. Even if Benjamin slightly squeezed his head, or Belluna drew his attention with pretty magic, he never looked away from Sarah.
‘I’ll be back after a while. I promised you.’
‘Then stay a little longer. Okay?’
Even if Sarah tried to leave with a little heavy heart, she was helpless in front of Claude’s shabby eyes.
“Still holding onto the hem of my robe.”
With a careful touch, Sarah lifted each of Claude’s fingers and separated them apart. Then Claude’s eyes flinched and trembled.
Sarah and May held their breath at the same time. If Claude awoke here, it was really irreversible. She would have to spend another night without going.
Fortunately, Claude tossed and turned for a moment, then fell into a deep sleep again.
Sarah wiped her tight chest and snapped her fingers. Then, Claude’s face and hair, which had been messed up with tears, as well as uncomfortable clothes were changed into comfortable pajamas. May’s face, which was a little lost at the thought of washing and changing the sleeping child, brightened up.
“Young Master Claude wasn’t a difficult person, but there’s a huge difference between when Lady Sarah was here and when you weren’t there.”
May said that she missed her. When Sarah heard those words, she knew she had to prepare for a separation that she didn’t know how long it would be, and her heart only grew heavier. Sarah said, gently stroking May’s shoulder.
“Take care of Young Master Claude while I’m away.”
May tilted her head because she felt something strange. It was natural for Sarah to leave for a while because she would go back to Alton and take care of her work anyway. However, in May’s eyes, who had good senses, it felt like a person who could not return for a long time was saying goodbye. Even though it couldn’t be.
May hurriedly grabbed the hem of Sarah’s robe.
“No, it’s nothing.”
There was nothing much to say, so May let go of the hem she held helplessly. But she kept getting a strange feeling, and without realizing it, she looked at Sarah’s face.
“Why? You don’t want me to go, either?”
“No! You have to go. We have to deal with it quickly. Before there’s any more damage……”
May waved and approached Claude, pulling the blanket up to the child’s neck. No wonder Claude actually felt the same way as her, so she wondered if that was why he was making a fuss.
Sarah looked at May’s back and soon smiled.
“I’m relieved that you’re a smart kid. When Young Master Claude wakes up, tell him I said I love him a lot.”
May flicked back at a blatant goodbye.
But no one was there when May turned around. Only her shimmering azure shards of magic were an indication that she had cast her spell and disappeared.
“……I feel uneasy.”
As she pondered the last words Sarah had left behind, May bit her lips. After standing for such a long time, May saw Claude’s sleeping face and murmured as if she had made up her mind.
“I need to report to Mr. Butler and Mrs. Head Maid. The Duke needs to know that Lady Sarah is weird.”
* * *
“Please, My Lord, please, My Lord, please……”
Jade stamped his feet, looking over the barrier with an anxious face. Ethan Ambrosia, who went over the barrier last night, was not seen until the next evening. Jade was waiting for Ethan in front of the barrier where he had disappeared.
“Please come back, My Lord.”
Once or twice, he made excuses to the Third Prince and the Second Prince who visited Ethan, saying, ‘He’s on a walk, he’s on a patrol.’ When the Duke of Ambrosia did not show up all day, it seemed that the leaders had already noticed that something was going wrong.
‘If the Duke of Ambrosia doesn’t show up by tomorrow morning, it’s good to consider what His Majesty the Emperor might think.’
‘Even the magician doesn’t show up. We know we’re unreliable, but we’re here for the Imperial cause. If you act alone, you can think of it as giving your tail to the other side.’
The Second Prince Ilior and the Third Prince Eleon had already said a word to Jade and left. Ilior warned that the Emperor was watching the situation here, and Eleon informed him that the Emperor was ready to exploit Ambrosia’s weakness with any excuse.
“But I can’t say ‘Our Duke has gone through the barrier with the exceptional power of Ambrosia to patrol beyond!'”
Jade eventually collapsed into his seat, tearing his hair out. Of course, the reason he was so distressed was not purely because of his worries. The worry that Ethan would have been injured or in big trouble in the Alton Estate beyond that barrier was the most useless worry in the world. The only thing Jade was worried about was himself.
“I’m sure he must be doing something there. Organize it, refine it, process it, make it plausible and document it…… It’s all for me!”
The delay in Ethan Ambrosia’s return meant that he had a lot of work out there. All tasks necessary for post-processing and commercialization were the responsibility of Jade, the closest subordinate of the Duke of Ambrosia. Unfortunately, it was because he was very capable. Worried about the amount of work that would increase as much as the waiting time, Jade had to swallow his tears.
“Eohuhuhu, I’m going to ask for a pay raise.”
“Yes, yes. Of course I’ll raise it.”
“I should also ask for a vacation. I’ll just lie down and do nothing for a year.”
“That’s a little tricky.”
“Huhuhu, I want all the people of the Empire to know that My Lord is such a heartless man!”
“What do you mean heartless? Where else could there be a Lord who quietly listens to Sir’s words so graciously?”
“What a benevolent person! A person who is very scary, cruel, cold, and won’t look back……”
Jade wept and murmured, and soon felt something strange and stopped talking slowly. It was weird. He was sure he was alone. He was sure he told the Knights to keep even an ant from passing by.
‘Why is there a conversation?’
Strangely, he kept talking to someone over and over again. Also, someone with his Lord’s voice was kindly answering Jade’s self-talk.
“It must be a hallucination, it must be a hallucination”
Jade covered his head and slowly took a step backwards as he sat down. Then, as he opened his tightly closed eyes, he saw a familiar heel in front of him. It was definitely the shoes his Lord was wearing last night. The shoes were created by a craftsman who used the skin of a cow that grew up feeding only the first dewy grass on a mountain, ground diamonds into threads using a genius technique, and then firmly making them. Those shoes that wouldn’t wear out even if you wore them alone and climbed a mountain for a year. The very shoes that were made exclusively for Ethan Ambrosia in the Empire were seen before Jade’s eyes.
Jade raised his head slowly with a pale face.
“Is it a hallucination?”
“It’s probably a hallucination, right?”
“Can’t you just call it a hallucination, My Lord?”
Jade smiled awkwardly as he watched his Lord look down on him with an absurd look in his eyes. He must welcome his Lord who had escaped the barrier safely. It was what he had hoped for so much. Somehow, he only wanted to push his Lord back into the barrier.