hat she didn’t lean on them, that she acted like an adult?

‘Ah.’

Suddenly, Ariadne looked down at her hand.

‘I see.’

It was a little hand.
Typical of a child’s body.

‘Because I’m still young.’

It was a new, but shocking realization.
It was common sense, she knew it.

She deserved to be protected and loved.
Even so, she had almost forgotten that she herself was also a ‘child’ corresponding to that proposition.
To her, being young has always been a great weakness and shackle.
She was like that in her past life, and she was like that in this life as well.

She looked at the Archmage and the Marquis, no, at her maternal uncle, who had given her a blank contract, and at her maternal grandfather, who hugged her and cried in front of the tainted water.
These people were sad for her and made her realize she was a child worthy of love.
That’s why they make that face.

People willing to be her guardians.
The ones that told her that she could be a child.
They were her family who loved her.

‘Don’t I have to endure alone now?’

A corner of her heart was agitated.
She felt like it was tickling, as if she had stepped into a warm place after being outside.
In an instant, she felt something that was suppressed kick in.
She was overwhelmed by the memories of her past life and the difficult situation.
She wanted to be loved for herself.
Tears welled up in the girl’s blue eyes.
It filled the corners of her eyes and overflowed.
A drop of tear flowed down his cheek as if caressing it.

“Ariadne?”

The Margrave called her in surprise.
The bewildered Archmage picked her up and tried to meet her gaze.
Ariadne stretched out her arms.
The child’s slender arms clasped the old man’s neck.

She asked crying.


“Can I trust you?”

“Hmm?”

“Can I look forward to it? Can I hang on?”

The Archmage was silent for a moment, as if speechless, then hugged the child tightly.
The child’s body was small and warm.
He answered in the main voice.

“Of course.
Of course.”

“Can I continue to live here?”

“As much as you like, baby.”

“Can I call you grandfather?”

“Please call me that.”

Ariadne buried her head in the Archmage’s nape.
The child whispered softly ‘grandfather’.

OK.
The Archmage responded in a trembling voice and comforted the child.
His eyes moistened.

The Marquis interrupted as if in agony.

“And me? Aren’t you calling me? Call me your maternal uncle, too.
Oh, yes! Give me a hug too!”

“This guy breaks colic!”

The Archmage gave out his temper.
The Marquis ignored him and looked at Ariadne with a tearful smile.
His expression was obviously different from when he was genuinely sad earlier.
He was like a bear pretending to be weak and pitiful.

Ariadne laughed through her teary face, and she held out her hand toward him.

“Uncle.”

“Yes!”

The Margrave grinned and tried to take her hand, but the Archmage grabbed her and twisted hiser body around her.


“Aren’t you doing too much, Father!”

“Do not touch.
She is my granddaughter.”

“He’s my nephew too!”

“If you touch her, the stupidity will pass on to her.”

“It’s because my father’s standards are high, I was at the top of my academy days!”

Marquis Baek exclaimed as if the world was unfair.
His expression looked so sad that Ariadne ended up laughing out loud.

The 8 year old Ariadne had changed.
The snowstorm has subsided and spring is fast approaching.
The cold hadn’t gone away yet, but through the melting snow, light green shoots were beginning to emerge little by little.
Ariadne came out into the yard in her shiny, fluffy coat lined with snow fox fur.

A fine fur coat was one of the things she received from the Margrave as a gift for her 8th birthday.

Marquis Baek, who was waiting in front of the castle gate, saw her and opened hiser arms.

“Aria!”

“Uncle.”

Ariadne approached him and hugged him.
The Margrave hugged her lightly.

“I will pick it up.
Wouldn’t it be better to just wait inside?”

“I want to meet them together.
I want to see my aunt and cousin as soon as possible.”

“I’m sure you’re looking forward to meeting them in person.
Letters can’t properly convey how lovely you are.”

The Marquis said with a big smile.
The hired servants, who had gotten used to it, didn’t care whether the Margrave looked stupid or not.
They were busy checking Ariadne’s attire.

“Miss, you lost your glove!”

“Oh my, your nose has turned red.
What can I do?”

“What about the hand warmer that the Archmage made? Did you take good care of it?”

The maids, led by Lucy, made a fuss.

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