Killian approached with an indifferent face.
As the distance between them narrowed, Laura wanted to step back.
‘Stay calm for now!’
Laura took a deep breath.
He couldn’t have seen her summoning a familiar.
No one can notice unless they are a mage who knows how to use mana.
So there was no need to panic and act flustered.
“Honey, what brings you here?”
Laura pursed her lips tightly.
He looked down at her with a nonchalant expression, then quickly averted his gaze.
His eyes scanned the space arranged in the glass garden.
“Looks like there’s something new here.”
He lightly brushed his fingertips against the smooth oak desk.
His attention was drawn to the changed interior of the glass garden. It seemed like he hadn’t witnessed her use magic.
Laura, who had been nervously watching him, secretly breathed a sigh of relief.
Killian noticed the elegant curved backrest of the chair and the thick hardcover books and sparkling glass bottles on the desk.
“What on earth are you doing here?”
He picked up one of the hardcover books.
“The 『Ant Compendium』?”
Then he picked up another hardcover book, which was very thin.
“『The Nuptial Flight of White Ants』? Tell me what these are all about.”
It’s all about studying ‘white ants,’ one of the ingredients of elixirs.
Laura swallowed her inner thoughts.
She had been extremely busy these past few days.
After the decree to uncover the secret of the Elixir creation, her enthusiasm for the Elixir, which had been temporarily put on hold, revived.
As a result, she set up a personal research laboratory in the glass garden, where she spent a significant amount of time during the day.
Her investigation into the only ingredient she had been unable to grasp, the ‘heart of a white ant,’ had just begun.
But she couldn’t reveal such things all at once.
“Because I’m interested in insects.”
“Is that so, wife?”
One of his eyebrows raised as if he couldn’t believe it.
“Aren’t they cute?”
“Are ants cute to someone who finds mice repulsive?”
“They’re smaller than mice.”
She didn’t know what to say, but as someone who had once caused a ruckus due to a mice, she decided to be brash.
“Take a look at this. It’s as white as milk, isn’t it? And these white ants, unlike other insects, mate once and spend their entire lives together.”
Killian glanced briefly at the cover depicting winged white ants in their nuptial flight.
“They’re truly admirable insects, aren’t they? Don’t you think so?”
Laura lowered her voice subtly as she spoke.
“We should live like white ants, always looking at each other for a lifetime.”
“Are you asking for a kiss from me?”
He tilted his head slightly.
In response, his silver-blond hair shimmered particularly brightly in the sunlight pouring into the glass garden.
Standing against the sunlight, his pupils appeared dark like an abyss.
In that gaze, Laura momentarily lost her mind.
“Yes… Please kiss me.”
As if waiting for his suggestion, Laura gently closed her eyes and lifted her chin slightly.
In this moment, her heart beat purely.
The thought of how much mana she could gather didn’t even cross her mind.
A cold hand touched her white cheek.
His fingertips slid across her cheek.
Laura was so nervous that she forgot to breathe.
As his fingers passed by her cheek and brushed against her ear, he lowered his upper body.
At this moment, she thought her heart was going to burst.
“What are these?”
As a low voice tickled her ear, he, who had been embracing her tightly, suddenly backed away.
“Open your eyes, wife.”
Taken aback by his stern command, Laura blinked her eyes.
He picked up the glass bottle from the desk and shook it in front of her.
The green liquid inside the glass bottle swirled around.
Laura quickly reached out her hand to take it.
But the glass bottle disappeared into his hand faster than she could touch it.
He raised his hand with the glass bottle wrapped around his fingers to keep it out of her reach.
“Give it to me.”
“If you tell me what it is.”
“That’s a very expensive thing.”
“Expensive for something like diluted paint? How much is it?”
He slightly opened his fist and glanced inside.
“It’s so expensive that you can’t even compare its value.”
It was obvious, since it was a magic potion not found in this world.
She had staked her name, ‘Laura Tauler,’ on it, though she could never sell it.
But she secretly made the potion.
This physical body couldn’t protect itself without a means to use mana completely.
If it had been her previous body, she could have easily escaped from dangerous situations, but now she couldn’t.
Even if it was just in case of injury, having a magical potion gave her peace of mind.
“An expensive water that cannot be valued…”
He opened his hand and looked down at the small glass bottle.
“Can it be a magical potion?”
Laura jumped at his sudden words.
“Why are you so surprised?”
He opened his eyes slightly and looked at her.
“Th-th-that’s ridiculous… Hahaha.”
Laura wiped her forehead for no reason.
“If you hear how much a magical potion costs, you’ll faint.”
“I wish it was that potion.”
Taking advantage of the moment when his hand loosened, Laura quickly grabbed the glass bottle. Then she carefully put it next to the other glass bottle on the desk and calmed her pounding heart.
She almost asked, ‘How did you know?’ in response to his sharp question just now.
Laura pretended to tidy up the books he had touched, buying time.
She still couldn’t face him because her heart was still pounding.
“What brings you here, anyway?”
“Just stepping out for some fresh air, that’s all. But why are you here?”
For a moment, he tightly closed his lips.
He seemed to be unable to figure out why he came to the glass garden for a moment.
Silence fell between the two.
While waiting for an answer, Laura looked up at him, and Killian stared down at her as if there was an answer on her face.
At that moment, a strange tension flowed between them.
He averted his gaze first.
“I’ll go now.”
He turned his head and looked at the tropical plant. His beautiful face drew a graceful curve, and his soft hair seemed to touch the sharp collar.
Laura’s gaze was once again drawn to his appearance.
“Yes… what did you say to me?”
After calling her several times, he could finally open his mouth.
Only then did she realize that he had been patiently waiting for her to take his hand until she grabbed it.
“I will escort you.”
“Thank you, honey.”
Laura reached out her hand in excitement.
Mana was transmitted through the firm grip.
Laura couldn’t take her eyes off his hand until they got on the carriage waiting in front of the mansion and left the glass garden.
He was the first one who took her hand.
It was a hand that required all kinds of efforts to hold onto.
Emotions endlessly rushed in like mana.
The carriage carrying the Archduke and Archduchess of Lucendorf raced towards Tormaite residence.
“I can’t wait to see the legendary phoenix.”
Laura opened her mouth while looking at the scenery outside the carriage.
To be precise, finding the ‘feather of the phoenix’ was the main purpose of today’s party, but after all, you have to have a phoenix to get a feather.
“Is there really a phoenix?”
“I don’t know.”
Killian shrugged with a disinterested expression.
“Aren’t you curious?”
“Maybe the phoenix we’re going to buy will be real.”
“Lord Warren is here, but will we really get the phoenix? But…”
He stopped talking and looked at her expectantly.
“I didn’t know my wife was so interested in phoenixes.”
His gaze was persistent, as though trying to uncover her innermost thoughts.
Her heart fluttered. A lot.
Laura tried to control her expression and said,
“It’s the Emperor’s greatest interest. It’s even reached the Imperial Court. Naturally, anyone from the Empire would be interested.”
“Do you also have an interest in the Elixir?”
“O-of course. It’s a mysterious elixir that can even resurrect the dead.”
“Resurrect the dead?”
“Yes! Isn’t it amazing?”
“It’s just a rumor, there’s no need to take it seriously.”
“…Don’t you believe in the idea of resurrecting the dead?”
“It’s a potion of the imagination. Because humans fear death.”
With that, Killian’s jaw clenched and he stared out the window.
He doesn’t really believe in the existence of Elixir.
“It can really revive the dead.”
Laura muttered to herself.
Of course, she couldn’t complete the Elixir, but she knew.
The Elixir she made nullified death.
Even if another wizard made it from the same ingredients, it would not be the same as Laura’s elixir.
Because the amount of mana she could hold was beyond imagination.
But he wouldn’t believe such a story anyway.
After all, she was just a delicate and fragile archduchess.
“Judging from the Emperor’s determination towards Elixir, it seems more like reality than imagination. If I had to bet on one side, I would bet on His Majesty.”
As Laura continued the conversation that had stopped, Killian turned around and looked at her quietly.
“You believe that the Elixir can revive the dead.”
Killian gazed at Laura, who answered resolutely, for a long time.
His unwavering gaze lingered over her face.
Feeling uncomfortable for no reason, Laura turned her head and looked outside the carriage.
Suddenly, the carriage stopped.
Then a waiting servant from the Duke of Tormaite quickly approached and opened the carriage door.
When Laura was preparing to get off,
A big hand gently grabbed her wrist.
Laura turned to him with a puzzled face. Had he been staring at her? Their eyes met right away.
“You should get today’s kiss.”
His voice was husky.
For a moment, Laura wondered if she’d misheard.
As she stared blankly, he leaned forward and kissed her.
The lips that had surprisingly come close, moved away before she could come to her senses.
“Get off, wife.”
Killian ordered indifferently, not like the man who had just kissed her.
Laura felt like she was floating on a cloud as she got off the carriage.
Until now, he had kissed her reluctantly.
He’d done it once a day, as if it were a task he was forced to accomplish.
It had always required subtle hints and maneuvering around him to gain permission for a kiss.
But what about the kiss just now?
‘He did it without even paying attention to me.’
Laura kept touching her lips and recalled the situation when they had kissed a little while ago.
It was certainly much better than when she had to force it.
‘To be honest, he didn’t mind the kiss, either. At this rate, maybe I can ask for it twice a day?
Laura stole a glance at him with a subtle expectation.
Should she ask him now?
It was when she was peeking at the opportunity,
“Who do you want to save, wife?”
“I want more kisses…”
“Ah, no. What did you say?”