‘I know it’s mean, but I can’t help it.’
I snatched the plate in front of her with the meat.
The sighs came from two different places.
When I looked to the side, Leo was staring at Vivian’s meat that I had taken away with a pitying look on his face.
At this rate, he was going to give Vivian his share of the food.
I wondered if I was being too mean, but when I hesitated, my appetite was overcome, and Vivian spoke up.
“Well, it’s…… I mean, it’s, uhm…… I made it, but it’s as good as Master’s…… because I made it with the research tools he lent me.”
“If what you say is true, why don’t you call up the chef who cooked this steak and tell him, the reason this steak is so good is not because you’re a great cook, but because the herdsman raised a great cow.”
Needless to say, Vivian was speechless.
Where would she even come up with that kind of nonsense?
When she noticed my sour expression, she began to stammer out an excuse.
“I need expensive research materials to make the tools, and I don’t have…… and since I’m a commoner, I don’t have anything…….”
” And so.”
“So, I agreed to learn from Master…… and give him the copyright and distribution rights to my invention in exchange for him providing me with my own research tools.”
Copyright and distribution rights?
I was hoping there was some kind of backstory, but this is just a way of saying that the master is a piece of shit!
With a bang, I slammed the table and exclaimed.
“I offer you a scouting job. How much are you getting paid?”
Vivian blurted out with an innocent look on her face.
“I’m an apprentice, so I’m not getting paid. I’m only getting room and board, but…….”
What fucking bullshit is this?
You’re telling me that this guy doesn’t even pay his apprentice, and then he’s taking all the credit for everything?
And then he lets his apprentice starve to death?
“Why would a mage who’s supposed to get room and board eat at the temple?”
“We-well…….. I’m such a glutton…….”
My expression was so fierce that even Leo began to glance at me cautiously.
But I was so pissed off that I couldn’t control my expression.
It was the moment when I took a deep breath to pour out all kinds of reasons for how unfairly she was being treated.
“It’s enough for me to be able to invent like this. And thanks to my master, I can study alchemy without any limitations.”
Unlike magic, which allows you to perform miracles using only your own magical power, alchemy is the art of creating magical tools using magic stones containing magical power.
Both can only be learned by mages who are born with magic, but alchemy requires a more scientific approach.
And the financial resources to break the precious stones.
For a poor commoner like her to study alchemy, the support of a master was absolutely necessary.
Vivian’s orange eyes, which had been avoiding my gaze, met mine for the first time.
I was speechless for a moment.
I instinctively knew. No matter how sweet my offer, she wouldn’t budge.
Her eyes shone with a certain conviction.
Even if you’re starving, you consider yourself really lucky to be able to invent something like this.
But knowing how she would end up, I couldn’t let her go, not for her sake and not for mine.
‘I didn’t want to use this method.’
In the end, I threw a cheap shot. Even if it was called a foul play, it was okay.
“If that’s what you want, I won’t stop you. But if you have time, come visit here.”
I handed her a map that I had prepared just in case.
“And, if you want to change the owner of your leash, go find Belinda Blanche of the Blanche family.”
Then I offered her the meat dish again. Of course, I didn’t leave out the talent scouting part.
“I’m kind to capable and obedient dogs, unlike your master.”
Vivian, who had returned to her original timid and fearful self, still held onto her strong beliefs, as evident in her gaze, as she picked up the meat. However, I felt bitter in my heart.
It won’t be long before she comes to see me.
* * *
When I returned from my long outing, having enjoyed myself to the fullest, I had some unexpected news waiting for me.
“Miss Belinda, you have a visitor who is still waiting for you.”
A visitor for Belinda?
Belinda’s personality was so bad that she didn’t have any friends.
I was thinking about Belinda’s relationships when I opened the door to the drawing room, where my guest was waiting.
The low bass voice sent chills down my spine and made me want to rub my ears.
No, it wasn’t just because of the voice.
The sunset-colored light deeply filled the drawing room.
The towering figure of a man standing by the tall window caught my eye.
Because of the backlight, his facial features were obscured in the dimness, but his shadow…
His shadow stretched out all the way to my feet, and two ominous horns protruded from it.
The fact that I didn’t scream was purely due to the synchronization.
I stood still in the doorway, not daring to step inside, and asked through gritted teeth.
W-who is this……?
“Who are you?”
The man took a step forward and stood under the chandelier.
His imposing physique was enough to make one feel overwhelmed.
The imposing appearance of a well-dressed knight without any gap.
And even a black iron half mask with devil horns.
I swallowed my dry saliva.
It was only after I saw the mask that I figured it out.
The man before me was a Knight of the North.
“Pardon the delay in introductions. I’m Allen Penadel.”
I caught a glimpse of the sigil embroidered on his cloak, draped at an angle over one shoulder.
A white shield entwined with thorns.
It took me a moment to realize which house the pattern belonged to.
“I come to you at the behest of His Excellency, the Grand Duke of Valuasten.”
A guardian of the huge barrier that blocked the nest of demon beasts at the end of the northern continent.
It was the crest of House Valuasten, known as the devil Grand Duke.
* * *
<Hirome> Ending number 8. A knight of the blue flame who stops the red moon.
This is the ending where you join the knights of the Grand Duke of Valuasten, who rule over the vast northern territories, and you can get there by focusing on Leo’s stats in swordsmanship and martial arts and running through dungeons consistently.
However, not much is known about the Grand Duke of Valuasten in-game, so all I know about him are the rumors that have spread through the kingdom.
The leader of the northern knights is said to cut down demons with a single blow.
The rumors of the Grand Duke who rules those harsh and barren lands are far from benign.
It is said that he always wears a mask to hide his hideous appearance.
His temper is said to be so cruel that one suspects poison runs in his veins, and four years ago he killed his parents, brother, and even his brother’s wife with his own hands to usurp the title.
And now I am sitting in front of the henchman of such a man.
My hand trembled as I gripped the teacup, causing the contents to spill over.
…… It’s just a delusion in my head.
Despite my state of mind, my gesture of tilting the teacup was graceful.
’If only he would remove that terrifying mask.’
I didn’t dare ask, knowing that there was a strange rule that a northern knight must always wear a mask whenever he was out of the Grand Duchy.
With a trembling voice, I managed to speak up.
“So. What brings an insignificant knight from a remote northern village all the way here?”
Ah, Belinda. Please, tone it down.
Fortunately, the knight, Sir Penadel, did not show any signs of displeasure.
In fact, I had no idea how he felt because he was wearing a mask.
That made it all the more frightening.
“I’ll be blunt: my lord wishes to take ownership of the Herrington Mines. and would like to offer you a deal.”
If it’s the Herrington Mine…….
I’ve heard of it.
‘Ownership of the Herrington Mine’ is on my dowry list, so that must mean he wants to buy it.
’Word spreads fast.’
Some people want to buy my dowry before I’m even married.
I leaned back in my chair and sipped my tea, eager to hear what they would offer.
“We propose, by mutual consent, that you remain married to His Excellency for a certain period of time and then divorce.”
…… I spewed out a small amount of tea.