The man looked down at me quietly.
He had a different look on his face compared to the current emperor, who had killed my dad and had asked me to call him ‘father’.
His unfamiliar expression deepened my anxiety.
What is he thinking? Should I use magic? I wonder if it will work after all.
While I was thinking and agonizing inside my head, the Grand Duke smiled and nodded.
‘’So you are the child of the previous Emperor.
Hmm, it seems like things are going to be fun·····.
Prove to me your worth, if you can prove to me your value like you so much say you have, I will make you a member of my family.
I hate useless things the most.
Even if it is my child.’’
Moreover, you have to prove that your mother whose lying over there is way even stronger.’’
Even though you’re wearing such a cold face like ice, you are a nice person!
I smiled and nodded more brightly than ever.
‘’Don’t worry! As long as you protect us·····!’’
I will do everything just to keep my mama safe.
“So what are you going to do now?”
“What are you going to say to your mother?”
About that·····! Let’s just say you saved us.’’
‘’So, I saved you and your mother, who I don’t even know existed, without any apparent reason?’’
The remark made me smile broadly.
“It’s not that there’s no reason.
Because you wanted to be the emperor.
We can say you saved us to help you become one.”
“Are you really asking me to make such a blatant excuse?”
“Do you think your mother will buy that?”
“Even if it is a lie, mama wouldn’t want to be kicked out of here·····.
So mama will believe it.’’
She was more intelligent than anyone else.
My mama who taught me everything about the world was smarter than anyone else.
But as the abuse grew, mama’s health got worse and worse, and as time went by, she could do nothing but smile.
And maybe, she must’ve even given up agonizing about our dire situation.
“It’ll only be until the day you lost your value to me.
Until the day I don’t think you still have any uses for me.”
“Even that is enough!”
If I could save my mama, I will do anything to prove I’m useful.
I can do this.
Because I’m strong.
I put my hands together.
“Since you believed me, I’ll show you how strong I am.”
Without drawing a magic circle, I put my hand on the floor
I quietly observed the flow of mana under the floor.
“What are you doing?”
‘’I’m proving my value.’’
I felt countless magical barriers in my hand, sitting on the floor.
It’s probably the power to neutralize magic, which surrounds this place in layers.
Perhaps this man is the one controlling the mana.
Because all the power flows from the Grand Duke and flows into the magic layers.
‘But it’s much lighter than the dozens and hundreds of magic circles covering the Imperial Palace.’
This is not hard.
Having grasped the magic of this place, I slowly looked up and stared at the Grand Duke.
“So you! Even if it’s a little overwhelming, be patient!”
I smiled brightly at him who didn’t understand my words and let my mana flow.
In an instant, there was a strong conflict between two mana forces.
It was like a fight between a spear and a shield.
One single spear would not be able to pierce the shield, so I made dozens of spears and hit the shield countless times.
In the end, the firm shield slowly cracked, and not long after, a tremor shook throughout the castle of the Grand Duke at the same time as the mana barrier broke.
After that, I slowly opened my eyes.
What did you do·····.”
He said in a trembling voice.
I looked confidently at him and wiped my sweats off.
“How’s that? I’m pretty useful right.”
Ha, ha! You’ve done what even my children couldn’t.”
I sank completely on the floor while still looking at the grand duke.
“So····· you····· have to····· make sure····· you protect····· my mama·····.”
If it’s this man, I can trust him.
Feeling great relief having my mama healed, and believing that since I showed him my strong powers, he would protect me and my mother, I slowly lost my consciousness.
“I····· trust you····· so····· if you····· do anything bad····· I will not let it go·····.
I’ll····· kill you.”
Then I fell into a world of deep sleep.
* * *
As soon as the child fell, the Grand Duke made a stark smile.
He held the child on the floor in his arms and looked down.
“I was just asking her to show me her strength, but the child did a very troublesome thing.”
He was the one who created all the magic layers to neutralize magic power so no one would interfere.
But the kid broke it so easily.
The fact that this child did something both his daughter and son could not do was enough reason to keep her.
The neutralizing magic was a difficult kind of spell, with a varied cast of layers, it was by no means easy to break.
In any case, ‘breaking the magical barrier he personally created and invading the Grand Duke’s Palace alone.’ He who was trying to observe the event calmly broke into laughter.
I have a feeling that something more interesting will happen if I put you next to me.”
He got up from his seat with the child in his arms.
A child who doesn’t seem to be her age.
Then the Grand Duke looked down at the child for a long time.
It was not in his vocabulary to keep a person who appeared spontaneously and intruded in his territory, alive.
It’s not just any place but the great residence of the Grand Duke.
However, maybe it’s because of the whims of the child that he decided to keep her life.
It was curiosity, for a person who carries herself proudly and strong.
That was all, and yet, it somehow felt strange.
“What the hell are you?”
The Grand Duke, who was still staring at the child, slowly put the child down on the bed.
“I’m expecting more from you in the future, my new daughter.”
A small smile spread over his face.
The child’s dazzling smile kept coming to his mind, so the Grand Duke couldn’t force himself out of the room for a long time.
Finally, after examining the woman and the child who was lying next to each other, he slowly stepped out of the room.
It was then.
As soon as the Grand Duke came out, a kid who looked just like him jumped out.
“What’s the matter?”
At the sight of his son looking up at him, the Grand Duke quietly put his hand on the child’s head.
“How old are you this year?”
“Eight years old!”
The Grand Duke bowed down slightly to pick up his son.
Then he felt a heavy weight.
That thing is lighter····· and much smaller.’’
“Is that what’s in there? Is it very small? Can I play with it?”
“It’s a child who will be your younger sister.”
“Am I finally getting a younger sister?”
Allen’s eyes were sparkling.
“Then am I allowed to make her roll on the floor? Because my sister makes me roll on the floor every time we meet!”
“Or can I drop her from the tree? My sister said that would make me taller.”
“Because she’s small you have to be careful with her.”
Allen pouted, but the Grand Duke only put his son down and turned around.
Even though the shield of their palace was broken, he walked back with a pleasant smile.
* * *
My eyes opened at dawn.
It wasn’t until after blinking a couple of times that the sense of reality came back to me.
We weren’t there.”
It was only after I felt the blanket wrapped around my body, I realized that I fainted again after using magic.
The good news is that I woke up earlier than the last time.
When it was really bad, I couldn’t get up for the whole three days.
I woke up, struggling, and checked if my mother was next to me.
‘’I’m glad you look much better, mama’’.
The sound of steady breathing shows how my mama was sleeping well today.
“It’s such a relief, mama.
Every time, mama is the one saving me.
But this time, I’m the one who saved mama!”
I slightly overlapped my body on my mother’s body.
No matter how much I look at it and feel it, my mama is alive.
Somehow, tears start to fall.
“I am great too!”
Then I clenched my fist.
I died nine times, but I finally achieved what I wanted.
It’s really great.
There is nothing I can’t do now.
“The Grand Duke also agreed to save us.”
I’m a little sorry for breaking the barriers, but······.
“Since he let me and mama stay here······.
should I give him a small present?”
It takes a lot of strength to recreate magic barriers that have already been broken.
I sat down and touched the floor.
I will make a barrier that will never break, of course, I will do a little trick so that I could use my magic anytime, but it will be a strenuous job.
Of course, due to the nature of the Grand Duke, it is clear that he will put his own barriers on top of this, but it would be much better to have my barriers covering the house rather than defenseless.
With that thought, I made a barrier with all my heart.
Then, before fainting again, I quickly went to my mother’s side and lied down.
“Will he like the gift······.”
I hope he likes it.
Letting us stay here means we’re family now.
Then good night.”
My eyes closed slowly.
Even if I didn’t want to sleep, I always fell asleep like a broken record after using magic.
* * *
The reason I woke up the next morning was because of an unusually loud sound.
I woke up, yawning, and I saw a woman flipping the curtains loudly.
The woman dressed in black and white made eye contact with me and made an unpleasant expression on her face.
“Have you woken up?”
I hurried off the bed, watching the woman approaching me at once.
Then, with my back covering my mother, I picked up a pillow around me.
“Who are you!”
“Nice to meet you.”
The woman with her hair tied neatly came closer and looked down at me.
“I am Secilia, the maid who will be in charge of the overall management and education of the lady starting today.”
The woman looked at me up and down and breathed a sigh of pity.
“Are you not going to greet me back?”
But I felt instinctively repulsed by the “adult” who expressed hostility toward me.
I stared at her with my lips pouting.
“······You have to say hello.”
“Is that a greeting? You can’t do that when you first greet someone.”
She shook her head with a disapproving look.
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“And you have to confirm the identity of the other person first before you say your greetings.
In particular, you shouldn’t let someone below your rank greet you first.”
With a sharp tone, she came up to me in an instant and took away the pillow.
“Then why did you greet me first?”
“Aren’t you also just my subordinate?”
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