“Nice to meet you, Ariadne.”
Taking off her armor and wearing casual clothes, Celiana looked like a benevolent lady.
She smiled softly and introduced herself.
“I am Celiana Quizelas, your maternal aunt.”
“It is a pleasure to meet you, Countess.”
Just call me comfortable.”
The Countess, who had waved her hand, put her hand on her chin and let out a sigh.
“Your uncle sent a letter about you, but I didn’t hear that the messenger was missing.
I only heard about your situation from him a little while ago.”
Deep blue-gray eyes under her gracefully flowing red hair mesmerized Ariadne.
She then put her unexpected words into her mouth.
“You look very strong.”
Did she look strong? Did she hear the Countess wrong? Even though she had gained weight lately, she was still skinny like a branch and smaller than her peers.
Sometimes she collapsed or got sick.
It was not a body that would look strong to anyone.
When Ariadne looked up in bewilderment, the Countess gave a short laugh.
“Do you think I’m lying about you looking strong?”
“Yes, a little…”
“ …I guess so.
But I’m not lying.”
The Countess explained to Ariadne, who was tilting her head.
“You came this far by overcoming hardships that even an adult, no, even a trained knight could not overcome, and displaying courage that was not easy.”
There was deep admiration in her eyes, not sympathy.
“It wouldn’t be strange if you were tired and struggling after a hard battle, but in my eyes you look like a warrior preparing for the next battle.”
Ariadne blinked her eyes in bewilderment before she leaned over to Celiana and asked.
“I look like a warrior?”
“It is not only those who take up and wield weapons that these warriors are.
Everyone who prepares to fight to win is a warrior.”
There was something stinging about the word “preparation to fight.” Just a moment ago, she was thinking about the grand labyrinth attack that she had to do in the future.
‘But does it show through just looking at it?’
She was the leader of the Snow Leopard Knights, who were said to have the most subjugation battles in the kingdom during the year, so she must have noticed something like fighting spirit.
Ariadne groped her face, and the Countess smiled.
“My husband seems to be looking at you like sugar crafts, but well, whether you are weak or strong is a little different matter.
Am I wrong?”
Ariadne shook her head slowly.
It’s an unusual perspective for her, but she’s honestly a little overjoyed.
She had to be strong going forward, and she wanted to be strong.
“Thank you for the compliment.”
As she nodded at her, the Countess’s smile deepened.
“I am really looking forward to the future.
I hope Erich looks at least half of you.”
She grumbled like a joke and brought her body close to Ariadne.
“If, in the future, your uncle or grandfather becomes worried about you and opposes it, come to me.”
“That word… Are you saying that you will secretly support me even if I try to do something that those two do not approve of?”
“You are clever.
Yes, this maternal aunt will help you if that happens.
Secretly between the two of us.”
The Countess gave a slight wink.
Ariadne realized that in a place she did not expect, she found a different kind of support than the Marquis or Archmage.
“…Does that mean auntie will help me with something that even uncle can not understand?”
“You’re not going to do anything too dangerous or bad, are you?”
I don’t do that.”
“All right then.
I will believe in you no matter what.” she replied coolly.
Ariadne looked at her with a curious mood.
‘She’s a strange person.
Opposite from the child I saw for the first time today.’
“Thank you, auntie.”
But she was happy.
When she greeted her with a broad smile, the Countess smiled back and pulled a little box from her bosom.
“Oh, this is your birthday present.
How long ago?”
“Ah, thank you.”
Ariadne took the box and carefully opened it.
It was a necklace with a small, elaborate lantern the size of her finger hanging like a pendant.
The outer surface of the golden lantern was engraved with intricate patterns, and the glass cover was filled with jewel dust.
“I’m trying to get things done in a hurry, so that’s the only thing suitable.
Do you know what it is?”
“Spirits lamp… is it?”
You already have one.”
“No, this is my first one.”
The Countess’ expression became subtle.
The spirit lamp was a kind of anti-pollution item.
The only way for humans to survive in the polluted area without dying was to borrow the power of spirits.
It was because of that that the spirit sage became a valuable job.
Without the elemental spirits, they had to endure by making use of the spirit stones created by the spirits.
The spirit lamp, which burns spirit stone powder as fuel and emits light, was the simplest and most effective tool among such makeshift tools.
If the Elemental Spirit was a submarine, the Elemental Light was only at the level of an oxygen respirator, and it was disposable and quite expensive and inefficient, but it was much better than not having it.
In this world where there were contaminated areas being cleaned up and new labyrinths were popping up all of a sudden, it was a common culture to gift a spirit lamp to someone special.
In particular, it was also something that parents must take care of their children.
Usually, it was given as a commemorative gift when a child runs an errand for the first time or went out alone.
Even if it was difficult to have a fancy and small spirit lamp that could be used as an accessory like nobles, most parents took care of even a clunky and large brass spirit lamp.
In the novel, when Axel, the protagonist, loses his adoptive father at a young age and wanders alone, what saves his life was a spirit given to him by his adoptive father as a gift for his first errand.
Ariadne, who had read the novel, naturally knew about the spirits lamps.
Enough that she could tell what kind of spirit was just by looking at it.
However, she has never received a spirit lamp as a gift.
Since she was conducting contamination-related experiments, gifts such as anti-contamination items were probably prohibited by the Duke.
“You must be past the age to receive your first spirit lamp… oh my God.”
The Countess stood up from her seat, resting her forehead on her forehead and swearing softly.
She strode over and took her elemental back necklace from her box.
Then she put the spirit lamp on Ariadne’s neck.
“You came all the way here on your own.
You did a great job, my nephew.”
The Countess spoke kindly, like when Erich’s first errand, and then she stroked Ariadne’s hair.
Ariadne looked up at her ‘motherly smile’ as if she were possessed, and then grabbed her spirit lamp with both her hands.
Her cheeks turned red like apples.
“Thank you… auntie.”
Celiana silently hugged the child and gave her a kiss on the cheek.
* ♦ ♦ ♦ *
There was one more room given to Ariadne near the west tower of Blizzard Castle.
It was a room for elixir production, made at her request.
Where the Margrave gave her keys so that only she could come in and out, and the Archmage filled it with materials.
Ariadne opened the door with her key and entered.
A dark green liquid was boiling in a small cauldron lit by magic.
‘Swampy green.’ Alright, then she checked the status of her fluids and headed to the cupboard.
She climbed the ladder and whimpered out some of the ingredients.
She then sat astride a high chair and worked on her material.
‘Grind the horn of the unicorn with the claws of Harpua to make powder.’
It wasn’t easy for the little girl.
She wrestled with it for a long time until she obtained a handful of fine flour.
‘It’s definitely hard to do it alone.’
The Archmage said that he would attach an assistant if needed, or that he would become her own assistant.
It was Ariadne who rejected it.
‘I have to keep the elixir recipe a secret for the time being.’
When she said she wanted to do it alone, the Archmage immediately agreed.
He even praised her not to tell anyone, and that the secrets that were spoken were not secrets.
Ariadne’s hand, which was collecting her powder, suddenly slowed down.
It’s new, but was she not greedy? They were great people.
Even though she decided to believe them, she couldn’t completely trust them, so she was holding all sorts of secrets.
‘… When the time is right, let’s reveal all the recipes.
She had no intention of monopolizing the Elixir forever like Duke Eldeer.
She couldn’t even stand it.
The well-collected powder was poured into the cauldron.
Then, the green liquid gradually brightened and turned to a transparent golden color.
‘Is it a success?’
Knowing the recipe didn’t mean she could make a potion at once.
She had experience in potion making itself.
There was no dexterity, and her young body was in a hurry.
Everything she made last winter was a failure.
If her stamina had been better, she would have practiced more often and completed it quickly, but if she overdoes it, she would collapse right away, so she couldn’t do that.
‘In the original story, what condition did Ariadne live in until she was 16 years old?’
It was a question she often wondered after learning about the aftermath of her experiment and her physical condition.
It was a question that there was no way to find out.
Ariadne didn’t even know what kind of character the ‘original Ariadne’ was.
Because she’s a character who never properly appeared in the novel.
All she could know was the description of the situation and background she was in, her constitution and talents.
But she had no idea what kind of person she was.
‘Since I was born as Ariadne, I will never know.’
She turned off the light and glanced in the mirror, waiting for the golden liquid to cool.
There she saw her face, which looked better than before.
It’s a completely different face from the previous life, but she didn’t think it’s someone else’s face at all.
Because she had had this face since she was born.
‘Face… To be honest, it’s pretty, but I don’t really like it because it looks so much like the Duke.
If I looked like my mother, it would have been better.’
Did she think the same thing when she looked in the mirror?
She was born as Ariadne
Ariadne in the original novel was a person who did not exist from the beginning.
Thinking about what kind of person Ariadne might have been and what kind of heart she might have lived was meaningless imagination.
Still, she sometimes had these thoughts.
Maybe it’s because she still couldn’t believe that she was born as a character in a novel.
Next week there won’t be any new release of this story.
See you on May!
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